Tag Archives: charlesbridge publishing

and the “groundhog’s dilemma” giveaway winner is . . . [ahem cue drum roll please].



Congratulations to Buffy Silverman! You’ve won your very own copy of Kris Remenar’s debut picture book GROUNDHOG’S DILEMMA. I’m so happy for you! This adorable book will be available in early December, so I’ll pre-order your copy and have it sent your way quick as a bunny on Red Bull.

Bushels of thanks to everyone who visited Frog on a Dime and offered such kind, encouraging comments for Kris. You’re the best! Honest. Cross my heart, hope to die, stick my finger in my nose, I mean, pie.

P.S. Pssst. Buffy, please send me your mailing address and I’ll whisk your prize to you as soon as its available.

groundhogsdilemma (2)

By Kris Remenar, Illustrated by Matt Faulkner, Charlesbridge Publishing


Though the groundhog and crocus creep into their holes
It’s Spring, and the almanac shows it;
Though a polar wave over the continent rolls
It’s Spring! And we don’t care who knows it!
~ Robert J. Burdette, “March,” c.1888

frog on a dime has a picture book giveaway winner!

Congratulations, Jennifer!

Congratulations, Jennifer!

Congratulations to [drum roll please] Ms. Jennifer Whistler! You’ve won your very own copy of IMANI’S MOON, the beautiful new picture book by JaNay Brown-Wood and illustrated by Hazel Mitchell.

Written by  JaNay Brown-Wood and illustrated by Hazel Mitchell/Charlesbridge Publishing/ISBN 978-1-934133-57-6, Ages 6-9

Written by JaNay Brown-Wood and illustrated by Hazel Mitchell/Charlesbridge Publishing/ISBN 978-1-934133-57-6, Ages 6-9








BIG thanks to everyone who entered and shared what you love about picture books–so many lovely comments. For example, here’s what Jennifer has to say:

I love picture books because of the bonding time they provided when my daughters were young. I read to them every day: at quiet time in the morning, at naptime in the afternoon, sitting on the window seat when it was raining outside, after bath time. Now that my daughters are grown, I still buy them picture books every so often, just because. 

Many thanks to Hazel for visiting Frog on a Dime this week and to Charlesbridge Publishing for your generosity!


A challenge is only impossible until someone accomplishes it. ~ JaNay Brown-Wood/IMANI’S MOON

jump to the moon with hazel mitchell (and enter her book giveaway!)

Written by  JaNay Brown-Wood and illustrated by Hazel Mitchell/Charlesbridge Publishing/ISBN 978-1-934133-57-6, Ages 6-9

Written by JaNay Brown-Wood and illustrated by Hazel Mitchell/Charlesbridge Publishing/ISBN 978-1-934133-57-6, Ages 6-9

Who isn’t mesmerized by the moon? Little Imani’s lunar fascinations go beyond enchantment to obsession as she wills herself to touch the moon. In doing so, she would prove her worth to all of the naysayers in her Maasai village who literally look down on her. Inspired by her mother’s tales of Maasai mythology, not only does Imani accomplish the feat, she proves to herself that “a challenge is only impossible until someone accomplishes it.” Imani is quite a someone.

Frog on a Dime is pleased to host the illustrator of IMANI’S MOON–the adorable Hazel Mitchell.

Hazel Mitchell is originally from England and now lives and works in Maine. When she wasn’t riding horses as a youngster she was drawing them. After attending art college in the UK, she spent several years in the Royal Navy and then worked as a graphic designer. Now she’s doing what she always dreamed of – creating books for children. Don’t you love it when dreams come true?

Welcome, welcome, Hazel. I’m excited to talk about your new book, written by JaNay Brown-Wood. What first attracted you to IMANI’S MOON? I loved the story and the fantastical elements. I also liked the idea of the setting in Africa and drawing a Maasai child! It was quite a challenge.

And now that it’s finished, what do you love most about Imani’s story? That it’s a book! (That’s always surprising.) I do love the way the colours and textures came out. Great job by Charlesbridge Publishing!

There’s been a lot of discussion lately about the need for greater diversity in children’s books. How do you think IMANI’S MOON helps to fill that gap? I think IMANI’S MOON is a great book to add to the diversity bookshelf. Imani is in her own environment. This is not a case of forcing a child of color into a story for the sake of diversity. She’s just Imani–in her culture with her trials and tribulations–just like any other child.

Hazel and her beloved friend Toby

Hazel and her beloved friend Toby

People outside children’s publishing or those new to the industry are often surprised (even alarmed) to learn that authors and illustrators do not often collaborate on a book. Can you talk about that? When I was a newbie I didn’t realize authors and illustrators worked separately either. At first, I thought the writer might feel cheated. And some do, I think. But the more you work in the industry, the more wisdom you acquire. We have editors and art directors for a reason. Having a little distance between the author and the illustrator is good. And the input from an art director and editor can be crucial. If there’s an issue with artwork, I’ve found that they’ll refer to the author when needed. It’s a team situation. Without the freedom to create, the illustrator can feel frustrated and then the art might not be as good as it could be. You can feel boxed in. The writer has his or her vision, and the illustrator needs to be able to have their vision as well.  A picture book is a collaboration; it cannot work without each part of the whole. That’s when the magic happens!

And we can see that magic in IMANI’S MOON, Hazel. It’s so lovely. Now, since Frog on a Dime exists to offer encouragement, could you tell us about what or who encourages you? Right. Oh, so many. First, all the books that I have read along the way and learned from. You can’t read enough. My peers – those I have met so far on the journey. It can be a lonesome profession and like minds are crucial to help you along. And those I have met who are further along the path and have been kind enough to mentor me. Going to conferences and workshops has been a great source of knowledge and inspiration.

Here’s your chance to be encouraging, Hazel. What’s one thing a writer or illustrator could do today to improve their craft? Create SOMETHING!!!

Love that! And what do you do when you’re “stuck” as you’re trying to create something? Make a cup of tea. Do something mindless (chores!). Work on something else. Read a book. Have a bubble bath. Talk to another creative.

I love those ideas, Hazel. I’m a big believer in the inspirational power of tea myself. Before you go, I’m curious to know what’s on the horizon for you. I have a busy year upcoming with three books I’ve illustrated – ANIMALLY from Kane Miller, WHERE DO FAIRIES GO IN WINTER? from Down East, KENYA’S ART from Charlesbridge and in 2016 by debut as author-illustrator TOBY from Candlewick Press.

How exciting! Thank you so much for visiting Frog on a Dime, Hazel. It’s been a delight getting to know you.

You can learn more about Hazel when you visit HazelMitchell.com. You’re welcome to purchase IMANI’S MOON directly from Charlesbridge.


Enter a drawing to win your very own copy of IMANI’S MOON.

All you have to do is leave a comment about why you love picture books! It’s that simple.

The drawing will take place at Noon on Friday, November 7, so don’t dilly dally!


Photo by Vicky Lorencen

Photo by Vicky Lorencen

And now, we’ll close with one of Hazel’s favorite quotes . . .

We are all lying in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. ~  Oscar Wilde



meet debut PB star kris remenar


Kris Remenar with illustrator Matt Faulkner

Kris Remenar with illustrator Matt Faulkner

KristenwithkidsFrog on a Dime is all about encouraging writers. Today I’m delighted to introduce my very first guest . . . the incomparable Kris Remenar, debut author, children’s librarian and one of my personal cheerleaders.

Welcome to Frog on a Dime, Kris.

Thanks for inviting me over, Vicky!

So, when did you know you wanted to become a writer?

I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was eight. I won my first writing contest in second grade. I wrote about stranger danger (even as a child, I went for the controversial topics.) I gave my stories as gifts when I was in middle school and took independent creative writing classes in high school. Then, I entered a writing contest my senior year of high school and didn’t even earn an honorable mention. I thought I’d “outgrown” my talent. So, I stopped writing for years until I became an elementary teacher. As a teacher, I modeled writing for my students and I felt like a long-lost friend had returned. I joined SCBWI in 2000 and I’ve been working on my writing ever since.

What is it about writing for children, specifically, that appeals to you?

I like the freedom of it. Groundhogs can talk, hippos can fly. And almost always, there’s some sort of happy ending. Kids’ books are hopeful.

I tend to write (and think in) picture books. I’ve begun writing my first YA novel, and it’s a little overwhelming to grapple with hundreds of pages instead of 32, but I’m digging watching the characters unfold at deeper levels.

You’re had an exciting development in your writing career recently, can you tell us about the day you got “the call” from Charlesbridge—and don’t skimp on the details!

February 2, Groundhog’s Day, is my birthday. I was at the library at my job as a children’s librarian. My editor, Yolanda Scott, and I had been through two rounds of revisions on a manuscript, but I hadn’t heard back from her in over a month and I figured she was trying to find a way to gently break bad news. The smallest, bravest part of me dared to wonder if I’d get “the call” about my manuscript that day because the story is about Groundhog’s Day and I liked the synchronicity of it all. The superstitious part of me didn’t want to jinx it by thinking about it, and the hugely self-doubtful part of me said “prepare yourself for another rejection.”

Yolanda was away from her office speaking at a conference, it was a Saturday, I had no right to hope she’d call that day. But she did call, around 4 p.m., and I grabbed my phone to run to the back offices. When Yolanda told me that Charlesbridge wanted to acquire my book, this amazing, breathless, telescopic feeling came over me. The eight-year-old me, the twelve-year-old me, the twenty-nine-year-old me, all the me’s who had waited for this day felt elated and justified in putting forth the effort over all the years. And it felt like “of course the call came at this time from this supportive, generous editor.” I couldn’t have plotted it better if I’d tried.

That’s amazing, Kris! Congratulations! I was actually listening to Yolanda present at the SCBWI conference the day you got the call. I enjoyed hearing Yolanda, have I to admit I was distracted because I kept thinking—stop presenting, Yolanda, and call Kris already!

I predict your story is going to give encouragement to a lot of writers, especially since you were able to land your first contract without an agent. What advise would you give to someone who has been pursuing publication for a long time, with close calls, but no contracts?

Keep going! It took me 12 years from the time I sent out my first manuscript to the time I finally sold a book. If I had called it quits after 5 years, or after 10, I never would’ve received “the call.”

I have to ask . . . how did you keep going for 12 years?

Have you heard that quote “writing makes me crazy, not writing makes me crazier?” I kept writing because characters talked in my head, or I’d have a flash of a scene in a dream that I just had to put on paper. Being a member of SCBWI and having the camaraderie of those who get that, and who never said that writing for children is “sweet,” made the years of rejection bearable.

Thank you so much for sharing your story, Kris. You are a true encourager!

Be sure to watch for the debut of Kris’ picture book in fall of 2015–illustrated by wonderful illustrator Matt Faulkner (who is also Kris’ husband!). You can count on Frog on a Dime to celebrate that exciting event.

And to wrap things up, Kris’ favorite quote . . . If there’s a book you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it. – Toni Morrison

Bonus Information! Kris blogs about picture books and ways to use them in the classroom to teach the Common Core State Standards. You can check out her recommendations.