World of Julie

World of Julie

Mom on the edge.

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Back in March, I was lucky enough to win one of agent Steven Malk’s trivia contests on Twitter, and he sent me a huge pile of amazing, amazing books. My favorite from this pile changes daily, but Ramona immediately glued herself to Happy Birthday Bunny! by Liz Garton Scanlon and illustrated by Stephanie Graegin.

This book is so lovely and sweet, and I am desperately in love with the illustrations, but Ramona — well, she saw it as a user’s manual for how to have a third birthday. Because the bunny in the book is turning three, and Ramona was soon to turn three when we got the book.

And so when, about a month before her birthday, we asked what she wanted, she said, “A rocking zebra!” There was an implied “of course” at the end of her sentence. Because, in Happy Birthday, Bunny!: “What’s this box and what’s inside? A rocking zebra — take a ride!”

In her mind, when you turn three, you get a rocking zebra. It says so right there, in the book. Good thing we got that book. Otherwise how could she have known what she was supposed to get for her birthday?

Well, that’s all well and good until you’re the parents of an almost-three-year-old and have been informed that the birthday essentially won’t exist without a rocking zebra. And you realize that there are fancypants rocking zebras that cost $150. And that you don’t have time to get Stephanie Graegin to make a super cool one for you.

Well, we did find one, you’ll be glad to know, and so Ramona was able to celebrate properly. (I guess I’m glad, in retrospect, that she asked for this and didn’t expect there to be an owl, a fox, and a badger at her birthday party.) (Maybe because children see anthropomorphic animals in picture books as cuddly cute humans? Discuss.)

So this week I review Happy Birthday, Bunny! on Brain Burps About Books. You need to go to the show notes to see how Katie adorably drew a big heart around my head and announced my book sale.

You can listen to this podcast episode (an interview with Bruce Hale) directly in iTunes, here.


I feel so incoherent and amazed at this news, but here it is: I have a book deal! I am super crazy excited to announce that Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book) will be published by Viking Children’s in the summer of 2015.

Snappsy! A book!

My critique group/support group/tell-me-I’m-not-crazy group¬†Carter and Elizabeth sent me these peonies:

with this note:

What does the note mean, you ask? You’ll know when you read the book. Or, you know, maybe sooner, I haven’t really worked out my promotional strategy yet.

When Danielle called with the news, I pretty much screamed for the entire phone call. So the kids knew there was something going on.

Julie [on phone]: GARAGARRAAGGGGG!

Eli: Did your book get published?

Julie [considers explaining publishing process, again]: YES!


Henry: GARAGA…[goes back to reading]

Zuzu [pointing outside]: How come they get bubbles and I don’t?

Ramona: I’m hungry! HUNG-GA-RY. Feed me.

So we all deal with exciting news in different ways.

Also I told them the book was being published by Viking/Penguin, and they were bummed when they realized it wasn’t being published by a Viking Penguin.

I am so happy about all of this. Joanna Cardenas is amazing and enthusiastic and just as excited as I am. She loves my book and I love that she loves it and it is still completely weird to me that words came out of my brain and somehow an editor in New York City not only read those words, but likes them. My agent Danielle Smith is an incredible, hardworking, passionate woman, and I’m so lucky to have her on my team.

New review: Grumpy Goat by Brett Helquist

First of all, I love grumpy picture book characters. Right off I am likely to love  your book if your main character is annoyed, grumpy, naughty, or a little mean. But this goat, with his indiscriminate kicking, harumphing and antisocial behavior really worked his way into my heart. Love him. And love this story, and of course the illustrations.

You can hear my full review on this week’s episode of Brain Burps About Books here, or listen directly in iTunes here.

We Love Picture Books!

A week ago, we were lucky enough to be featured on Candlewick’s year-long We Believe in Picture Books video project!

Want to know what books we’re grabbing for? They are, in order:

Baby Penguins Everywhere by Melissa Guion

Hello! Hello! by Matthew Cordell

The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli

The Pet Project by Lisa Wheeler, illustrated by Zachariah OHora

PSSST! by Adam Rex

Ah Ha! by Jeff Mack

Steadfast Tin Soldier by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Jen Corace

Bear and Bee by Sergio Ruzzier

Chu’s Day by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Adam Rex

How to Be a Cat by Nikki McClure

Betty Bunny Wants Everything by Michael Kaplan, illustrated by Stephane Jorisch

Giant Dance Party by Betsy Bird, illustrated by Brandon Dorman

I’m Bored by Michael Ian Black, illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Thanks to Carter Higgins, Betsy Bird, and Rosemond Cates for putting our video on their blogs!

New Review on Brain Burps: How to Be a Cat

This week on Brain Burps About Books I review How to Be a Cat by Nikki McClure. I am so in love with the cut paper illustrations in this book, the simple text, the use of white space, and the cats’ expressions most of all. This book is gorgeous.

You can hear my review on this week’s episode of Brain Burps, or listen right in iTunes here.

Happy Summer!

I never really liked summer until we moved to Maine. It was always so sweaty before. But now it’s when the weather is perfect and everything is green and bursting.

practicing the long jump | World of JulieEveryone is home! Though this is not our home. It’s the high school track. The boys took track this spring and want to keep up with it, so we’ve been running here and they practice long jumps.

tiny apples | World of JulieDo you see them on there? All the tiny apples? Last year we had maybe 20 apples; so far this year looks like over 100.

Little Free Library | World of Julie

The Little Free Library is bursting, too. If someone doesn’t come take out some books soon, I’m going to have to do some serious weeding.

ripening cherries | World of Julie

Almost ripe cherries.

mountain laurel | World of Julie

This is a mountain laurel, which I forget about every year, until it suddenly does THIS.

ripening blueberries | World of Julie

Blueberries! (Well, greenberries right now, but they’ll be blue in a month.)

hops/beanstalk | World of Julie

Our hops vine is…well, frankly, it’s scaring me. This thing grows several feet a day and I couldn’t really take a photo of it because it reaches so far into the sky that you can’t see the top of it. Notice also how I am too frightened to get close to it, but have no qualms about placing my dear daughters next to it, for perspective. I made sure they jumped away before they were either woven into its vines, or started to climb the thing in the hope of finding a giant to slay.

“mushrooms (any kind will do)”

One of my most favorite parts of parenting is finding secret little things like this, which make my heart explode with love.

New review on Brain Burps: Andrew Henry’s Meadow

Andrew Henry's MeadowToday over on Brain Burps I review Andrew Henry’s Meadow by Doris Burn, which is one of my favorite new books. New to me, I should say. The book isn’t new at all. It’s 45 years old. Were you lucky enough to read this book when you were a kid? We just recently discovered it and we’re all so captivated by the illustrations, and, most of all, the story.

Check out the episode for my full review!

How I Got My Agent

I am SUPER excited to be featured today on Julie Hedlund’s How I Got My Agent series! When I was looking for an agent, I always felt like “how I got my agent” posts were very helpful — both for outlining what to do, and also for showing how many different ways there were of getting an agent. Hop on over and check it out!

Weekend fun: launching rockets

So Dave built model rockets with the boys. Of course they were super excited about it. What I didn’t expect was how exciting I would think it was. It’s the sort of thing where you can’t really help but jump up and down and scream, “Yay!”
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September 2014
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