Author Spotlight: Rita Gigante, Bobbie Sterchele-Gigante, Donna McDine, and Renie De Mase

Meet the authors/illustrator team behind Angel’s Forever Home (Mascot Books), a true story about a dog who was rescued from a Chilean earthquake, and searches for his forever home. Facing his fear of rejection for not being like other dogs, he embarks on a journey that teaches him the importance of patience, courage, and the willingness to open his heart to others.

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Where did you grow up?

Rita: Old Tappan, NJ.
Bobbie: Northvale, NJ.
Donna: I am a lifelong resident of Rockland County, NY and have resided in Tappan, NY for the last 21 years.
Renie: I grew up In Airmont, NY (Suffern).

Did you read a lot as a child?

Rita: No, I didn’t have an interest in reading till senior year in high school.
Bobbie: Yes. Pre-teen.
Donna: I was an avid reader as a child. I especially enjoyed the Nancy Drew mysteries. I still have the collection to this day.
Renie: Yes, all the time.

What were some of your favorite books/authors/artists?

Rita: There are so many and very diverse. Some are The Great Gatsby, The Eden Book series, Outlander, The Biology of Belief, Becoming Supernatural, The Glass House, etc.
Bobbie: The Godfather’s Daughter, An Unlikely Story of Love Healing and Redemption, Judy Blume books, astrology and healing books.
Donna: Judy Blume was my favorite author and I read Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret so many times the book was torn and worn out.
Renie: Renoir and Monet, I don’t really have a favorite artist.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Rita: I always knew I would help people but just allowed it to unfold to where I am today.
Bobbie: A nurse.
Donna: I had dreamed of becoming a reporter and enjoyed watching the Lou Grant show with my dad. It always intrigued me how the reporter would put their story together.
Renie: A mom and an artist. I considered interior decorating or art therapy as well.

Tell us about some of the jobs you’ve had before you became a writer/illustrator.

Rita: I am a psychic, medium, healer, health coach, massage therapist and exercise physiologist.
Bobbie: Nurse, hairdresser.
Donna: In high school I worked in the bakery department of a local supermarket and eventually fell into the work as an administrative assistant. While I continue to write, I continue to work as an administrative assistant to keep the steady income flowing. Which is imperative with college tuition for our daughter.
Renie: As a teenager I worked in a bakery, a florist, and a clothing store. Later I worked as a realtor while trying to build up my art career.

How did you get started writing/illustrating?

Rita: I started writing my memoir 15 years before it came out in 2012.
Bobbie: When I started college I wrote lots of poems from my life.
Donna: Back in 2007 I came across the Institute of Children’s Literature aptitude test and my long-shelved desire to write was re-sparked. I eagerly completed the test and mailed it back. Yes, back then we used snail mail…LOL. And I now have six children’s books to my credit along with many print and online magazine articles.
Renie: I sketched and painted all the time growing up. I took every class available in high school. I studied art in NYC then continued with art lessons. I painted murals in both schools and private residences. I had the opportunity to teach children in an art/craft studio. I am now commissioned for custom artwork, painting pet portraits and house rendering and that is how I was asked to illustrate this book, I originally painted a pet portrait for the author.

What do you like best about writing/drawing?

Rita: For me it is very cathartic and healing. I also love to bring stories to life, make people laugh, and help others in their healing process.
Bobbie: Bringing a true story to life.
Donna: Once I have a story idea in place and I have conducted my research whether it be for historical fiction or internal character interviews, I move forward with the story. Even though I am the creator of the story, it often amazes me the twists and turns a story takes from my original plan.
Renie: Just the feeling of creating something, I find it to be a combination of fun, exciting, rewarding, and relaxing all at the same time.

What do you find the most challenging about writing?

Rita: Getting started.
Bobbie: Having the time to do it.
Donna: When conducting my research for my historical fiction books, The Golden Pathway and Powder Monkey I needed to remind myself when to stop the research and get down to the writing.

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What do you think makes a good story?

Rita: A character that speaks to me. Good descriptions of people, places and events. A story should make you want to read more even when you get to the end. Anything that I can learn from.
Bobbie: The truth and experiences of someone’s life.
Donna: From my perspective it’s important not to be preaching to the reader by a lesson. To create a true world where a child can relate to his/her life will keep them interested rather than trying to get a lesson across.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Rita: Meditation, exercise, and discussion with other authors.
Bobbie: Inspiration comes from within and experiencing life with new people every day.
Donna: My inspiration comes from many facets. From jotting down conversations my children have had with their friends over the years while playing, newspaper articles, or even an overhead conversation or action while out and about.
Renie: Sometimes from my feelings whether I’m going through a good or even difficult time, which will affect my work. The beautiful colors outside also inspire me.

What is your favorite reading/writing/drawing snack?

Rita: Popcorn.
Bobbie: Cheese doodles.
Donna: French vanilla tea with bite-sized cold chocolate chip cookies. Yum.
Renie: I don’t eat when I am painting, however starting early in the morning with a good cup of coffee is always nice. Although I’ve gotten so into my project that I’ve dipped my brush into my coffee instead of the water…

Do you have any quirky writing/illustrating habits?

Rita: Not really. Just need a quiet place and sometimes exercise will give me motivation and great ideas.
Bobbie: I doodle while I write.
Donna: My research, character interview, outlines, and first drafts are always written long-hand with my favorite writing pen. A Graf von Faber-Castell pen gifted to me by my husband and daughters when my first children’s book, The Golden Pathway was published in 2010.
Renie: Not really quirky, but I have an old eraser I should toss but I love using it, even though I have newer ones, I always use that one. Also I like blending colors with dirty water for shadowing.

What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors and illustrators? 

Rita: Push through. Know that whatever you have to say is worthy and can help others. Trust the process.
Bobbie: Write from your heart.
Donna: Participate in writer’s workshops, conferences, and critique groups. Read, read, and read some more in the genre you find the most inspiring to write for.
Renie: Just create, don’t overthink, especially wondering if it’s “right “or “wrong,” because it’s not either, it is your creation, just let it flow out…. When drawing a person or an animal, always use absolute black and absolute white in the eyes. A teacher taught me that when I was younger and I always think of that, just a simple fact.

If you could spend a day in any imaginary world from a book you’ve read, where would it be and why?

Rita: Outlander. Love the culture, land, time period, etc.
Bobbie: I would be in the afterlife and experience what it would be like and then come back to Earth and share my experiences.
Donna: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. It is absolutely fascinating how the characters go from one world to another.
Renie: I would spend the day in a mystical garden; I like the woodland/garden watercolor scenes with fairies and angels all around.

 

For more information about Rita Gigante and Bobbie Sterchele-Gigante, visit www.spaceofgracehealing.com

For more information about Donna McDine, visit www.donnamcdine.com.

For more information about Renie De Mase, follow her on instagram.com/renies_art/

 

 

Q&A with Bethanie Murguia


by Julianne Black


“I wanted readers to be able to make up their own minds about unicorns and magic. Children so often hear the word “No.” This book asks, “What do you think?”

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Do you believe in magic, like when you see something fantastic out of the corner of your eye? Was it a horse in a hat … or was it a unicorn? I was fortunate to have caught up with Bethanie Murguia, author of Do You Believe in Unicorns? (Candlewick). She had some words of wisdom on imagination superpowers, the creative process, and yes, finding unicorns!

Q: I received a copy of Do You Believe in Unicorns? to review and was immediately excited to share it with my 6-year-old! Tell me about how the idea for the elusive unicorn came about, but also about the concept of finding what you expect to see making its way from idea to print.

A: It began with the image of a character in a hat. It could be either a horse or a unicorn—but there’s no way to be sure. I love that the hat creates possibility. Because it’s ambiguous, our own beliefs, experiences, and knowledge become a big part of the story. I wanted readers to be able to make up their own minds about unicorns and magic. Children so often hear the word “No.” This book asks, “What do you think?” It was a vague idea in the beginning, though, and it took many, many revisions to get to the final book. I have 52 versions of this story on my computer. It’s daunting to work on a project when you don’t know where it’s headed, but seeing it work out well is also a good reminder to have faith in the creative process.

Q: Many of your books, including The Too-Scary Story, I Feel Five! and Princess! Fairy! Ballerina! are centered around creativity and imagination like little reminders about the power of wonder and enchantment. Can you tell us your earliest recollection of when you realized your imagination was your superpower?

A: I love this idea of imagination as a superpower. As an adult, I recognize the power of imagination and what a gift it is to be immersed in creating or reading a book. As a child, I don’t know that I paid much attention to it, but I realize now that I definitely had an active imagination as a child. When I was seven, we moved into a house that was over 150 years old. It was so magical to me, with stairs that went nowhere, secret spaces behind tiny doors, and hatches in the wood floors that I was sure led to treasure. I spent years trying to talk my parents into ruining the floors to pull up those nailed down hatches, but they never agreed. It was probably a favor in the long run because it kept the possibility of treasure alive in my mind in the same way the hat allows for the possibility of unicorns. I think possibility is really powerful.

Q: Your illustration style has been described as ”Self-assured pen, ink, and watercolor illustrations….” by Kirkus Reviews. I have to say the description “self-assured” must be music to your ears. As an artist myself I know how intimidating it can be to put your work out there! Tell me about this style of hard and defined line paired with soft shadow and minimal detail. What kind of background can you give us to how your technique evolved?

A:
I’ve been playing with pen and ink since I was in elementary school. I was obsessed with calligraphy and I attribute any perceived “self-assuredness” to years of repeating letterforms over and over and over. But I also adore watercolor because it’s so unpredictable. Combining the two gives control of important details while also allowing for looseness. With that said, I’m always trying out new ways of working. My first books were done with nib pens, but I’ve been experimenting with bamboo pens and brushes because they have very different line qualities. I used both a nib pen and bamboo pen for Do You Believe in Unicorns?.

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Q: Your website is absolutely adorable. I love that your ”About” section is told in snapshots and text and reminds me I need to journal more in my sketchbook! Do you think on paper in doodles and half-created scribble ideas or do you create the ideas in your mind prior to them ever seeing paper? What is your preferred method of harnessing all those loose possibilities?

A: I always doodle! I wish I had a clear picture in my mind, but that’s not the case. I just keep drawing until characters or ideas begin to gel. And sometimes, it takes months or years. I keep files of ideas that haven’t come together … yet. I draw and write and do thumbnails in sketchbooks until I have words and images for a few spreads at least. Then, I start trying to make a book. I also have a giant corkboard in my studio where I hang bits and pieces to see how they might fit together.

Q: One of your blog posts states, “Whenever I have the opportunity to speak about the creative process—whether to children or adults—I usually offer up two pieces of advice: 1. Be a collector 2. Be an experimenter.” Can you elaborate a bit about how this relates to daily life and give an example of a major win in your life to which you can attribute those two points?

A: I think all creative wins require some form of this—collecting raw materials from the world around us and then experimenting with how to put them together to convey what we want to say. I’m always looking for ideas, keeping sketchbooks of moments that are interesting to me—sketches, snippets of conversations, etc.—anything that makes me feel something. These become building blocks for stories. In my case, it’s rarely a lightning bolt that strikes, but rather, continuing to gather little pieces of inspiration.

Q: Any projects in the works for which we should be on the lookout? Do You Believe in Unicorns? was just released in September, but what’s next?

A: Yes! I just finished the final art for The Favorite Book, another collaboration with Candlewick Press. It’s a picture book that explores how we make choices, allowing readers to pick all sorts of favorites along the way. I’m very excited to see this one in print (Fall 2019). And, I recently launched a site, findmoremagic.com, that’s an extension of Do You Believe in Unicorns?. I wanted to create an experience that would expand on the themes of the book. The site has fun DIY activities, a unicorn mystery, and a UnicornCam app for spotting unicorns (iOS).

Bethanie Murguia is represented by Rubin Pfeffer at Rubin Pfeffer Content and you can learn more about her at aquapup.com.

Julianne DiBlasi Black has written and illustrated several books, including Sleep Sweet, the multi-award winning Augmented Reality picture book. bookturnip.com.



2018 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards Winners Announced

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Grand Prize Winner:
The Hugsmiler’s Hugs: A Story About Learning Values by Jessica L. Simons

$100 Drawing Winner:
The Lost Celt by A.E. Conran


Activity Books

1st Place: Dino Mazes: The Colossal Fossil Book by Elizabeth Carpenter
2nd Place: Mindful Me Activity Book by Whitney Stewart, illustrated by Stacy Peterson

Animals/Pets

1st Place: Looking for Lola/Taco by Jennifer Kuhns, illustrated by Gabrielle Pate and Edward Luena
2nd Place (tie): Penny the Pink Nose Poodle by Dana DiSante, illustrated by Ingrid Lefebvre        
2nd Place (tie): Bubby’s Puddle Pond: A Tortuga’s Tale of the Desert by Carol Hageman, illustrated by Nathaniel Jensen
Honorable Mention:
Cloud the Horse: Cloud and Reddy the Red-Shouldered Hawk by Elizabeth Goodman Hardwick, illustrated by Lindsey Rowland                             
Ellie the Wienerdog: It’s Hard to Swim by K.J. Hales, illustrated by Serene Wyatt    
Judah’s Promise by Irene Maslowski                                     
Noname The Feral Cat! by Cynthia O’Brien, illustrated by Anne Berry                   
Tamara Turtle’s Life So Far by Regan W.H. Macaulay, illustrated by Javier Duarte
Chuck’s Journey Home by Anne E. Soares, illustrated by Randy Jennings                            
Miles and Jax by Kimber Iverson, illustrated by Jill Pearson                       
Quincy the Quail Saves a Life by Barbara Renner, illustrated by Amanda M. Wells
Tales From A Crowded Pet Room by Theresa Cones                                        
The Tortoise Tales by Sally Scott Guynn                                 
Tootsie McPeezalot by Sharon P. Stanley, illustrated by Jack Foster                        
Don’t Feed the Elephant by Sherry Ellis, illustrated by Md. Anwar                            
Miles and Jax: Master Planners by Kimber Iverson, illustrated by Jill Pearson                    
Wings and Feet by Lisa Reinicke, illustrated by Scot McDonald                 
Look Out, Gentry! by Elizabeth Moerschel, illustrated by Eve Funnell                    
Adelita  by Dorothy F. Potash                                     
Super Rooster and Wonder Cat by Alma Hammond, illustrated by Hugh Keiser                 
Bart’s Escape out the Gate by Lisa Reinicke, illustrated by Analise Black                             
Bob’s Spiritfly by Laura Kristi Cronin, illustrated by Dominic Glover                        
The Twin Dolphin’s Adventure: Meet Dusk and Dawn by V.A. Boeholt                                
Cody the Pony Goes to Pony Club by Michelle Path                                         
Gifts of Spirit 2: Animals and Their Natural Gifts by Kimberly Heil                             
Why are the Pigs Purple? by Sharon P. Stanley, illustrated by Eugene Ruble                     
Fenix: The Fearless Feline by Corey Seemiller, illustrated by Kacey Seemiller-Mitchell  

Arts/Music

1st Place: Los pajaritos by Yolanda Borras, illustrated by David Hicock
2nd Place: Charlie the Caterpillar by Andy Gutman
Honorable Mention:
Pop Lullaby by Andy Gutman                                     
Singing Bird: A Child’s Story by Naejh, illustrated by Natalya Kharitonova            

Best Cover Design

1st Place: Ellie the Wienerdog: It’s Hard to be Good by K.J. Hales, illustrated by Serene Wyatt
2nd Place: Castle in Danger by Karen Rita Rautenberg, illustrated by Valierie Sokolova
Honorable Mention:
Grandpa! Grandpa! What Will I See? by William P. Bahlke, illustrated by Lothar Speer  
Sonya Dor: Child Extraordinaire & Dreamer Galore by Saul Stoogenke, illustrated by Yoga D.C. Ariesta and Saul Stoogenke                               
Red Boots: Landis and his Magical Birthday! by Adam Wacker, illustrated by Aaron Boyd   
A Very Squeaky Mystery by Laura Angelina & Randy Williamson                               
Charlie the Caterpillar by Andy Gutman                                
The Very Loving Caterpillar by Sean Browne, illustrated by Doan Trang                
Pop Lullaby by Andy Gutman                                     
Why Can’t Uncle Come Home? A story for children struggling with the wrongful conviction of a loved one by Christiane Joy Allison, illustrated by Liz Shine

Best Illustrations

1st Place (tie): Gifts of Spirit 2: Animals and Their Natural Gifts by Kimberly Heil
1st Place (tie): Lily Pond by Shelley Daniels Lekven
2nd Place (tie): Ellie the Wienerdog: It’s Hard to Swim by K.J. Hales, illustrated by Serene Wyatt
2nd Place (tie): Bubby’s Puddle Pond: A Tortuga’s Tale of the Desert by Carol Hageman, illustrated by Nathaniel Jensen
Honorable Mention:
Los pajaritos by Yolanda Borras, illustrated by David Hicock                       
Sonya Dor: Child Extraordinaire & Dreamer Galore by Saul Stoogenke, illustrated by Yoga D.C. Ariesta and Saul Stoogenke                               
Bart’s Escape out the Gate by Lisa Reinicke, illustrated by Analise Black                              
Howl of the Lambergoon by Anthony Spaeth, illustrated by Marta Stawska                        
Pop Lullaby by Andy Gutman     
Bill and the Little Red Plane by Jonathan Walker                
Miles and Jax by Kimber Iverson, illustrated by Jill Pearson                       
Sammy’s Flame by Sam Ashkenas, illustrated by Dorene Uhrich                             
A Very Squeaky Mystery by Laura Angelina & Randy Williamson                                 
Grandpa! Grandpa! What Will I See? by William P. Bahlke, illustrated by Lothar Speer  
Why Can’t Uncle Come Home? A story for children struggling with the wrongful conviction of a loved one by Christiane Joy Allison, illustrated by Liz Shine               
Red Boots: Landis and his Magical Birthday! by Adam Wacker, illustrated by Aaron Boyd Miles and Jax: Master Planners by Kimber Iverson, illustrated by Jill Pearson                    
Charlie the Caterpillar by Andy Gutman                                
Cowboy Cody by Becky Wigemyr, illustrated by Dane Larocque

Best Interior Design

1st Place: Sonya Dor: Child Extraordinaire & Dreamer Galore by Saul Stoogenke, illustrated by Yoga D.C. Ariesta and Saul Stoogenke
2nd Place: The Twin Dolphin’s Adventure: Meet Dusk and Dawn by V.A. Boeholt

 Book Series

1st Place (tie): Other Life Lessons series by Meaghan Hadwyn and Niki Snjaric                  
1st Place (tie): If You Were Me and Lived in... A Child’s Introduction to Cultures Around the World series by Carole P. Roman, illustrated by Kelsea Wierenga
2nd Place: If You Were Me and Lived in... An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time series by Carole P. Roman, illustrated by Mateya Arkova
Honorable Mention:
Junior Lifeguards series by Elizabeth Doyle Carey                                           
The Legend of Dragonfly Pond series by Alene Adele Roy                                           
Talking Tales series by Erica Graham                                      
The Centaur Chronicles series by M.J. Evans                                       
The Engirlneers series by Shannon DeVivo and Heather DeVivo-Winz

Book Trailer

1st Place: Daisy, Bold & Beautiful by Ellie Collins
2nd Place: The We Belong Bunch: Pookie J.’s School Day by Dr. Samuel and Angela Johnson, illustrated by Fanny Liem
Honorable Mention:
Lily Pond by Shelley Daniels Lekven

Bookmark

 1st Place: Martina Ballerina by Imelda Sobiloff, illustrated by David Pfendler
 

 Chapter Books

1st Place (tie): Castle in Danger by Karen Rita Rautenberg, illustrated by Valierie Sokolova
1st Place (tie): Oh Susannah: It’s in the Bag by Carole P. Roman, illustrated by Mateya Arkova
2nd Place: The Tooth Collector Fairies: Batina’s Best First Day by Denise Ditto, illustrated by Gabhor Utomo
Honorable Mention:
Seaper Powers: In Search of Bleu Jay’s Treasure by Kim Cameron, illustrated by Rebekah Phillips
Seaper Powers: The Mystery of the Blue Pearls by Kim Cameron, illustrated by Rebekah Phillips
The Ghosts of Stony Manor by Roberta Hoffer, illustrated by Madison Gaines                   
Gross Heroes: The Snot Free Zone by D. W. Dawson                                         
Nerdi Bunny and the Busy Bee Bully Bear Business by Aisha Toombs, illustrated by Michael Morris                         
Hare ‘n’ There by Jenny Morris, illustrated by Sarah Hardy                          
The Tooth Collector Fairies: Home from Decay Valley by Denise Ditto, illustrated by Gabhor Utomo                                         
Seaper Powers: The Riddle by Kim Cameron, illustrated by Rebekah Phillips                     
Seaper Powers: The Rescue by Kim Cameron, illustrated by Rebekah Phillips

Charity/Making a Difference

1st Place (tie): Dynomike: Love Bug by Frankie B. Rabbit
1st Place (tie): The Lost Celt by A.E. Conran
1st Place (tie): When a Child Cries by Cassie Lee, illustrated by Reginald Byers
1st Place (tie): Justice Makes a Difference: The Story of Miss Freedom Fighter, Esquire by Dr. Artika Tyner and Jacklyn Milton
2nd Place: Sesame Street: Celebrate You! Celebrate Me! by Leslie Kimmelman
Honorable Mention:
Chuck’s Journey Home by Anne E. Soares, illustrated by Randy Jennings                              
The THING on Mount Spring by Jenny Morris, illustrated by Sara Hayat                 
The Bubble in Me by Dr. J. Alvarez                                           
The Very Loving Caterpillar by Sean Browne, illustrated by Doan Trang

Children’s Nonfiction

1st Place: Super Rooster and Wonder Cat by Alma Hammond, illustrated by Hugh Keiser
2nd Place: Buckets, Dippers, and Lids: Secrets to Your Happiness by Carol McCloud, illustrated by Glenn Zimmer
Honorable Mention:
Sammy the Seahorse by Martha Driscoll & Ann Driscoll, Ed.D, illustrated by Susan Andra Lion   
I’ve Got Dibs! A Donor Sibling Story by Amy Dorfman, illustrated by Darren Goldman

Cultural Diversity

1st Place: A Recipe for Home by Ghenwa Yehia, illustrated by Inna Ogando          
2nd Place: My Brown Skin by Thomishia Booker, illustrated by Jessica Gibson
Honorable Mention:
The We Belong Bunch: Pookie J.’s School Day by Dr. Samuel and Angela Johnson, illustrated by Fanny Liem
The Shapeless Shape by Victor Saad & David Kelley, illustrated by Edu Vea                         
Pola’s Flower by Diana Lynne Nadeau, illustrated by Lobsang Gyatso                     
Super Rooster and Wonder Cat by Alma Hammond, illustrated by Hugh Keiser                 
Freedom for Me: A Chinese Yankee by Stacie Haas                                           
Bonjour! Let’s Learn French by Judy Martialay                                   
Fenella and the Enchanted Forest by K.M. Ryant Hutzel, illustrated by Denis Proulx

Educational

1st Place: Ellie Rae Discovers Eight Ways to be SMART: A book about Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences by Mary R. Massey, Ed.D., illustrated by April Bensch
2nd Place: Little Katie Goes to the Moon by Carmela Dutra
Honorable Mention:
Talking Tales: Catch that Chinchilla by Erica Graham                                       
So You Want to Learn: Juggling by Matthew Wall            

Family Matters

1st Place: A Recipe for Home by Ghenwa Yehia, illustrated by Inna Ogando
2nd Place: The Tiny Mouse by Nakita Foreman, illustrated by Mary Ann Clawson
Honorable Mention:
I’ve Got Dibs! A Donor Sibling Story by Amy Dorfman, illustrated by Darren Goldman     
Daddy’s Family Tree by Kenneth Braswell, illustrated by Merve Terzi                    
Stuck in Bed: The pregnancy bed rest picture book for kids ... and moms by Jennifer Degl & Angela Davids, illustrated by Jennifer Lynn Becker                    
A Family Just Like Mine by Barbara-Anne Puren                                
Why Mommy Works by Meaghan Hadwyn and Niki Snjaric                   
Bobby Birthday by Larissa Juliano, illustrated by Joshua Allen                   
Why Can’t Uncle Come Home?: A story for children struggling with the wrongful conviction of a loved one by Christiane Joy Allison, illustrated by Liz Shine

Fiction: Collection of Short Stories

1st Place: Winter Wonder: A Collection of Stories for Children & Young Adults by C.M Huddleston, Katherine Ladny Mitchell, D.G. Driver, M.J. Evans, Joyce McPherson, Catherine McCarran, Meg Trotter, Cassandra Davis, Rebecca Hammond Yager
2nd Place: The Tortoise Tales by Sally Scott Guynn             

Food Related

1st Place: What’s On Your Plate? by Whitney Stewart, illustrated by Christiane Engel
2nd Place (tie): A Recipe for Home by Ghenwa Yehia, illustrated by Inna Ogando
2nd Place (tie): Maddy & Cole (Vol. 1): The Food Truck Grand Prix by Richie Frieman

General

1st Place: The Shapeless Shape by Victor Saad & David Kelley
2nd Place: Mason’s Messy Room by Chris McClean
Honorable Mention:
Aimee and Divine Inspiration: On a Journey by Diane Bourgeois

Graphic Novel

1st Place: The Hidden Loch by Marlaine Maddux White, illustrated by Claude St. Aubin
2nd Place: Audrey’s Magic Nine: The Pencil and the Fuzzy, Book One by Michelle Wright, illustrated by Courtney Huddleston

Green Books/Environmental

1st Place: The Natural Storyteller by Georgiana Keable, illustrated by Shirin Adl
2nd Place: The Mystical Magical Abracadabracal Daniel McDougal McDouglas McFly by Sheryl Davis, illustrated by Eric Summers
Honorable Mention:
Sweet T and the Turtle Team by Cat Michaels, illustrated by Irene Jahns                               
I Am a Butterfly: A Story About Big, Beautiful Changes by Sally Stone                                    
Magic Moon: Bears Ears by Shirley Moulton, M.S.

Growing Pains

1st Place: The Shapeless Shape by Victor Saad & David Kelley

Health

1st Place: Mindful Me: Mindfulness and Meditation for Kids by Whitney Stewart, illustrated by Stacy Peterson
2nd Place: Jayla Spreads Loving Kindness by Antonia Aviles, illustrated by Lovyaa Garg
Honorable Mention:
Planet Scrabbage and the Vegerons by Paul Ian Cross, illustrated by Philip Wills          
The Kool Kids & The Land Of The Giants by James Tate, illustrated by Jay Reed  

Historical Fiction

1st Place: A Family for Leona by Beverly Stowe McClure
2nd Place: Castle in Danger by Karen Rita Rautenberg, illustrated by Valierie Sokolova  
Honorable Mention:
Freedom for Me: A Chinese Yankee by Stacie Haas                                           
Wanted: Bronco Charlie Rides the Pony Express by Alexandra Parsons, illustrated by Beatrice Favereau

Holiday

1st Place: Catching The Christmas Spirit by Bob Outman, illustrated by Dave Franks
2nd Place (tie): Dancing Dreidels by Alva Sachs, illustrated by Patricia Krebs
2nd Place (tie): The Very Best Christmas Tree EVER! by Mark Edgar Stephens
Honorable Mention:
George by Roxy Morgan, illustrated by Laura Winslow                  
Spivey’s Web by Sandra Warren, illustrated by Susan Fitzgerald                               
Felice the Christmas Fairy by Irene Mathias, illustrated by Anja Uhren

Humor

1st Place: Cinderella’s Other Shoe by Philippa Rae, illustrated by Tevin Hansen

LGBT

1st Place: Xander’s Story by Alejandro and Christopher Garcia-Halenar

Media Kit

 1st Place: Martina Ballerina by Imelda Sobiloff, illustrated by David Pfendler

 Middle Grade Fiction

1st Place: The Lost Celt by A.E. Conran    
2nd Place (tie): The Centaur Chronicles: The Stone of Integrity by M.J. Evans         
2nd Place (tie): The Crystilleries of Echoland by Dew Pellucid                       
Honorable Mention:
Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend by Cheryl Carpinello, illustrated by Zyad Kadri
Gross Heroes: The Snot Free Zone by D. W. Dawson                                         
The Longest Halloween: Gabbie Del Toro and the Mystery of the Warlock’s Urn by Frank Wood
Danny and the DreamWeaver by Mark Poe                                        
Castle in Danger by Karen Rita Rautenberg, illustrated by Valierie Sokolova                      
The Villains of Splazat by Jesse Arrington III                                       
The Tortoise Tales by Sally Scott Guynn                 

Mystery

 Honorable Mention: Some Dude Fell Overboard by Grant Fieldgrove

 Outdoor Recreation

1st Place: Cowboy Cody by Becky Wigemyr, illustrated by Dane Larocque

Picture Books 5 & Younger

1st Place (tie): Half-Cat by DJ Corchin, illustrated by Tyler Hawx
1st Place (tie): How to Move an Elephant by AJA               
1st Place (tie): Never Have I Ever Seen by MaryKate Cohane, illustrated by Bonnie Wiegand
1st Place (tie): The Hugsmiler’s Hugs: A Story About Learning Values by Jessica L. Simons
2nd Place: Pop Lullaby by Andy Gutman
Honorable Mention:
5,4,3,2,1 Ka-Boom! by Sarah Stevenson, illustrated by Ozzy Esha                             
Cassie Pup Takes the Cake?? by Sheri Poe-Pape                                               
Los pajaritos by Yolanda Borras, illustrated by David Hicock                       
Cowboy Cody by Becky Wigemyr, illustrated by Dane Larocque                               
Every Month I Love You More by Ashley West                                   
Grandpa! Grandpa! What Will I See? by William P. Bahlke, illustrated by Lothar Speer
I Am a Butterfly: A Story About Big, Beautiful Changes by Sally Stone                                    
Little Mouse’s Sweet Treat by Shana Hollowell, illustrated by Jennifer Finch                      
Brayden’s Magical Carousel Horse by Anita A. Caruso, illustrated by Randy Jennings     
Brayden’s Magical Forest by Anita A. Caruso , illustrated by Randy Jennings                      
More Than A Princess by Shaista Pabla, illustrated by Drew Maunula                     
Sir Walter Farluba by Donna LeBlanc, illustrated by Anton Servetnik                      
Brayden’s Magical Jungle by Anita A. Caruso, illustrated by Randy Jennings                       
Bronson Has A Toothache by Cynthia Ng                                             
Peggy Pelican Goes Fishing by Janet Givens                                        
Why Can’t Uncle Come Home?: A story for children struggling with the wrongful conviction of a loved one by Christiane Joy Allison, illustrated by Liz Shine                
The Twin Dolphin’s Adventure: Meet Dusk and Dawn by V.A. Boeholt                                    
A Very Squeaky Mystery by Laura Angelina & Randy Williamson                                              
Things Can Grow Between Your Toes! by Laurie L. Bolanos                                          
Sonya Dor: Child Extraordinaire & Dreamer Galore by Saul Stoogenke, illustrated by Yoga D.C. Ariesta and Saul Stoogenke               
Growing Up Tobey: The First Year by Caroline Barthen, illustrated by Blueberry Illustrations Bart’s Escape out the Gate by Lisa Reinicke, illustrated by Analise Black                               
Martina Ballerina by Imelda Sobiloff, illustrated by David Pfendler                        
Gillie Can Share by Sarah-Leigh Wills                                      
Charlie the Caterpillar by Andy Gutman                                
Ellie the Wienerdog: It’s Hard to be Good by K.J. Hales, illustrated by      Serene Wyatt
Talking Tales: Puppy’s Bubble by Erica Graham                                  
Sammy’s Flame by Sam Ashkenas, illustrated by Dorene Uhrich                              
I Don’t Like Vegetables! by Mrs C, illustrated by Crosland Jennings                         
Oogie’s Rainy Day Adventure by Michael Weinbergrer, illustrated by Steve Bonham     

Picture Books 6 & Older

1st Place (tie): Dancing Dreidels by Alva Sachs, illustrated by Patricia Krebs
1st Place (tie): Ellie the Wienerdog: It’s Hard to Swim by K.J. Hales, illustrated by Serene Wyatt
1st Place (tie): Grandpa! Grandpa! What Will I See? by William P. Bahlke, illustrated by Lothar Speer
1st Place (tie): I Am a Butterfly: A Story About Big, Beautiful Changes by Sally Stone
1st Place (tie): Lily Pond by Shelley Daniels Lekven
1st Place (tie): Martina Ballerina by Imelda Sobiloff, illustrated by David Pfendler
1st Place (tie): Red Boots: Landis and his Magical Birthday! by Adam Wacker, illustrated by Aaron Boyd
1st Place (tie): Sammy the Seahorse by Martha Driscoll & Ann Driscoll, Ed.D, illustrated by Susan Andra Lion
1st Place (tie): Sonya Dor: Child Extraordinaire & Dreamer Galore by Saul Stoogenke, illustrated by Yoga D.C. Ariesta and Saul Stoogenke
1st Place (tie): The Blue Footies by Joan Dee Wilson
1st Place (tie): The Hugsmiler’s Hugs: A Story About Learning Values by Jessica L. Simons
2nd Place (tie): A Tale About Ears by Joshua August, illustrated by Jonas Scott
2nd Place (tie): The Krayon Kids by Karen Márquez Morales, illustrated by Caitlyn Notaro
Honorable Mention:
Bubby’s Puddle Pond: A Tortuga’s Tale of the Desert by Carol Hageman, illustrated by Nathaniel Jensen
Gifts of Spirit 2: Animals and Their Natural Gifts by Kimberly Heil                                             
The Smiley Face Blatoon Lady by Nefari Ydarb, illustrated by Araceli Casas                          
Big Fish Dreams by Lori Fisher Peelen, illustrated by Consie Powell                       
The Wish by Tara McCarton, illustrated by Allison Lagueux                         
Lester, The Scared Little Leaf by Nina Gardner, illustrated by Chad Thompson                    
Sammy the Station Wagon by Tal Nuriel, illustrated by Aidar Zeineshev                             
The Mystical Magical Abracadabracal Daniel McDougal McDouglas McFly by Sheryl Davis, illustrated by Eric Summers
Up and Down Twins by Susan Manzke, illustrated by Rachel Manzke                     
A Recipe for Home by Ghenwa Yehia, illustrated by Inna Ogando                             
Wings and Feet by Lisa Reinicke, illustrated by  Scot McDonald                 
Planet Scrabbage and the Vegerons by Paul Ian Cross, illustrated by Philip Wills
Miles and Jax: Master Planners by Kimber Iverson, illustrated by Jill Pearson                    
The Most Splendidly Spectacular Circus of Starborough by Michelle Path, illustrated by Hanna Purkiss  
Crazy Crab by Mark C. Evans, illustrated by Steve Page                 
Noname The Feral Cat! by Cynthia O’Brien, illustrated by Anne Berry                   
Why Can’t Uncle Come Home?: A story for children struggling with the wrongful conviction of a loved one by Christiane Joy Allison, illustrated by Liz Shine                
Eli’s Magic Moment by Kevin Poplawski, illustrated by Michael Rausch                
Odonata: The Flying Jewel of Maiden Grass Pond by Barbara Gervais Ciancimino, illustrated by Steve McGinnis                               
Veva and the Beaver by Carlos F. Tarrac                                               
Bill and the Little Red Plane by Jonathan Walker                
Xalien the Purple Alien: Xalien Goes to the Zoo by Michelle Path, illustrated by Charlotte Roberts            
The Power of Me by Gibson Maximillian Sabalos, illustrated by Lisa J. Michaels                
An Underwater Adventure - "Your Name" and the Dolphin by Saskia Resuens and illustrated by Katrien Van Schuylenbergh               
Cody the Pony Goes to Pony Club by Michelle Path         
Miles and Jax by Kimber Iverson, illustrated by Jill Pearson                       
Dragonfly Surprise by Theresa A. O’Kane, illustrated by Tamara R. Sayre                              
Adelita  by Dorothy F. Potash                                     
Buckets, Dippers, and Lids: Secrets to Your Happiness by Carol McCloud, illustrated by Glenn Zimmer    
The Twin Dolphin’s Adventure: Meet Dusk and Dawn by V.A. Boeholt                                    
Pharaoh’s Arrow by George Neeb                                          
Clondike and Mudo’s Adventure by M.C. Armbruster                                     
The THING on Mount Spring by Jenny Morris, illustrated by Sara Hayat                 
The Moon and Star by Peggy Sullivan                                   
The One and Only Owen by Nicole Evans Haumesser                                     
Hare ‘n’ There by Jenny Morris, illustrated by Sarah Hardy                          
How Christmas Got its Colors by Jim Melko, illustrated by Sammi Davis                
A Dozen Differences by Kirsten Elaine, illustrated by Gabriela Alayón                    
Nanny in the Nursery by L.M. Azpiazu                                   
New Jack Rabbit City: A Colorful Children’s Story by Gail Galvan & Mike Evanouski

Poetry

1st Place: Shimmer, Songs of Night by Raven Howell      
2nd Place: American Days by Georgina Schroeder             

School Issues

1st Place (tie): Bury the Bully by Stefanie Noonan
1st Place (tie): Kindness is Key by Alexis Bloomer
1st Place (tie): Sophie Washington: The Snitch by Tonya Duncan Ellis
1st Place (tie): The Shapeless Shape by Victor Saad & David Kelley
2nd Place: Adriann Takes a Stand by Melondy Roberson, illustrated by Roszella Roberson-Offord
Honorable Mention:
Oh Susannah: Things That Go Bump by Carole P. Roman, illustrated by Mateya Arkova
The Thumb Book of Kindness by Tevin Hansen and Nichole Hansen                                        
Buckets, Dippers, and Lids: Secrets to Your Happiness by Carol McCloud, illustrated by Glenn Zimmer    
Magic Moon: A New Beginning by Shirley Moulton, M.S.                                             
The Big Cheese Festival by S. Jackson & A. Raymond, illustrated by Mary Schmidt             
Wings and Feet by Lisa Reinicke, illustrated by  Scot McDonald                 
Bobby Birthday by Larissa Juliano, illustrated by Joshua Allen   
The CrimeFighters: The Heroes Stop a Bully by Chris McClean                                     
Odonata: The Flying Jewel of Maiden Grass Pond by Barbara Gervais Ciancimino, illustrated by Steve McGinnis

Science Fiction/Fantasy

1st Place: The Keeper of Fire by Davina Marie Liberty
2nd Place (tie): The Aeonians by J.E. Klimov
2nd Place (tie): The Great & the Small by A.T. Balsara
Honorable Mention:
The Uncontrolled by Zachary Astrowsky                                               
The Adventures of Biker Frog and Lady White Bear Volume Three: The Hermit by C. Kindler

Special Needs/Disability Awareness

1st Place: Sesame Street: Celebrate You! Celebrate Me! by Leslie Kimmelman    
2nd Place: Dragonfly Surprise by Theresa A. O’Kane, illustrated by Tamara R. Sayre
Honorable Mention:
The A in Autism Stands For Awesome by Lindsay James, illustrated by Jamie Wolenter
A Very Tubie Christmas by Meikele Lee, illustrated by Rebecca Robertson          
Arianna’s Magic Boots by Karen Gasperini, illustrated by Deanna McRae                            
Arianna’s Magic Boots VOL 2: Underwater Sea Adventure by Karen A. Gasperini, illustrated by Deanna McRae                 
Sophie and the Magical Wheelchair by Kari Kadrmas

Spiritual/Religious

1st Place (tie): The Kool Kids & The Land Of The Giants by James Tate, illustrated by Jay Reed
1st Place (tie): Bob’s Spiritfly by Laura Kristi Cronin, illustrated by Dominic Glover
2nd Place: Sometimes Someone Dies by Meaghan Hadwyn and Niki Snjaric
Honorable Mention:
Dear Diary: My Brother Died Today by Suzanne Gene Courtney                                
Noname The Feral Cat! by Cynthia O’Brien, illustrated by Anne Berry                   
An Angel from Above / Un angel desde arriba by Dr. Ma. Alma Gonzalez Perez, illustrated by Patricia Gonzalez
Stella’s Story: Dealing With Sibling Loss by Amanda Seefeld Markle, illustrated by Christopher Bowman                              
The Tiny Mouse by Nakita Foreman, illustrated by Mary Ann Clawson                   
Judah’s Promise by Irene Maslowski                                     
After ‘While, Crocodile by Jack Runion, illustrated by Emmalee Ellison                  
Pola’s Flower by Diana Lynne Nadeau, illustrated by Lobsang Gyatso                     
When a Child Cries by Cassie Lee, illustrated by Reginald Byers

Sports

1st Place: Skating Forward: Olympic Memories, Olympic Spirit by Joanne Vassallo Jamrosz
2nd Place: Junior Lifeguards by Elizabeth Doyle Carey     
Honorable Mention:
Lionel Messi: A Soccer Star Who Cares by Kimberly Gatto

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math)

1st Place: Geometry is Fun for Me by Vicky Owyang Chan, illustrated by Crystal Ferguson
2nd Place: Little Katie Goes to the Moon by Carmela Dutra            
Honorable Mention:
The Engirlneers Protect the Ground Water by Shannon DeVivo and Heather DeVivo-Winz My Mummy is a Scientist by Kerrine Bryan & Jason Bryan, illustrated by Marissa Peguinho         

Unpublished Manuscript

1st Place: Drifty; Broken to Beautiful. A (Mostly) True Story by Dave Ives, illustrated by John Loyer
2nd Place: The Tale of Tyriii by Bianca Staines
Honorable Mention:
Brutal Hackage: A Young Adult Thriller by Jane Frances Ruby

Young Adult Fiction

1st Place: A Drop of Blue by Isa Briarwood
2nd Place: The Great & the Small by A.T. Balsara
Honorable Mention:
The Crystilleries of Echoland by Dew Pellucid                                     
IF by Mike and Renee Winterbauer

Young Adult Nonfiction

1st Place: Skating Forward: Olympic Memories, Olympic Spirit by Joanne Vassallo Jamrosz

Youth Author Fiction

1st Place: The Power of Me by Gibson Maximillian Sabalos, illustrated by Lisa J. Michaels


* E-Book Award Winners *

Arts/Music

1st Place: Mr. Hoopeyloops and His Amazing Glass by Andi Cann, illustrated by Fabrice Bertolettp

Best Illustrations

1st Place: Theseus by Simon Spence        


Chapter Books

1st Place: Sweet T and the Turtle Team by Cat Michaels, illustrated by Irene Jahns                
2nd Place: The Girl by Leeah V, illustrated by Sammy Jay
 

Charity/Making a Difference

1st Place: From Riches to Rags by Jaclyn Howell
 

Children’s Nonfiction

1st Place: If You Were Me an Lived In... Cuba: A Child’s Introduction to Cultures Around the World by Carole P. Roman    


Cultural Diversity

1st Place: Alabama Oh by Andi Cann, illustrated by Micaela Stefano                       
2nd Place: If You Were Me and Lived in...the Ancient Mali Empire: An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time by Carole P. Roman, illustrated by Mateya Arkova


Family Matters

1st Place: Selah’s Painted Dream by Susan Count Hastings, illustrated by Elena Shved     2nd Place: Can A Princess be A Firefighter? by Carole P. Roman, illustrated by Mateya Arkova     
Honorable Mention:
Someone You Love Has Cancer: A Child’s Guide to Understanding by Robin Martin, illustrated by Kalpa Joshi     
The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name: Short Stories by Fiza Pathan
 

Green Books/Environmental

1st Place: Mermaids on a Mission to Save the Oceans by Janet Balletta, illustrated by Alyssa Figueroa & Alexander C. Appello
2nd Place: The Futurevators by S. Thomas, illustrated by G. Thomas
Honorable Mention:
Nuclear! (The Rosemary Series Book 1) by Alan French                                  
The Plastic Pollution Adventure by Monty J. McClaine, illustrated by Abira Das                  
Wide as the Wind by Edward Stanton

Growing Pains

1st Place: Captain No Beard: An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate’s Life by Carole P. Roman


Health

1st Place: Special Food for Sam by Dr. Nicole Audet, illustrated by Mylène Villeneuve   
2nd Place: Felix Is Curious About His Body by Dr. Nicole Audet, illustrated by Mylène Villeneuve

Humor

1st Place: Dragon Breath by Dixie Phillips and Jacob Gibson, illustrated by K.C. Snider


LGBT

2nd Place: The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name: Short Stories by Fiza Pathan                 


Middle Grade Fiction

1st Place (tie): Jake, Lucid Dreamer by David J. Naiman
1st Place (tie): Special Food for Sam by Dr. Nicole Audet, illustrated by Mylène Villeneuve  
2nd Place (tie): Felix Is Curious About His Body by Dr. Nicole Audet, illustrated by Mylène Villeneuve
2nd Place (tie): Daisy, Bold & Beautiful by Ellie Collins
Honorable Mention:
Hedda Stein-Sun’s UnRemembered Islands by Anthony Nordvik-Nash


Picture Books 5 & Younger

1st Place (tie): Mother’s Day with Snowman Paul by Yossi Lapid, illustrated by Joanna Pasek
1st Place (tie): Rocket-Bye by Carole P. Roman, illustrated by Mateya Arkova
2nd Place: Cub’s Wish by Angie Flores, illustrated by Yidan Yuan
Honorable Mention:
Snuggle, Sniggle, and Sometimes, Snickle by Stephen Spivey, illustrated by Adam Hembrough
 

Picture Books 6 & Older

1st Place: Theseus by Simon Spence
2nd Place: A Flag for the Flying Dragon: A Captain No Beard Story by Carole P. Roman
Honorable Mention:
Sarah’s Shadow by Nick Jones, illustrated by Si Clark


School Issues

1st Place: Daisy, Bold & Beautiful by Ellie Collins
2nd Place: From Riches to Rags by Jaclyn Howell

           
Science Fiction/Fantasy

1st Place: Esme’s Wish by Elizabeth Foster           

 

Special Needs/Disability Awareness

1st Place: My Special Mind by Laura and Trey Day

 

Spiritual/Religious

1st Place: From Riches to Rags by Jaclyn Howell


STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math)

Honorable Mention: The Beedog by Addie Broussard, illustrated by Joyeeta Neogi


Young Adult Fiction

1st Place: My Crunchy Life by Mia Kerick
2nd Place: Adele and the Giant King by Izzy Beisiegel
Honorable Mention:
Owl Eyes: A Fairy Tale by Molly Lazer                                     
Lucid World by Denise Lammi   

For more information or to enter a book in one of our contests, visit dragonflybookawards.com.

Sponsored by Story Monsters LLC


 

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