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Some of you are probably hoping this is a post about tracking Ammi-Joan Paquette, the [amazing] agent with Erin Murphy Literary Agency. But it’s not. It’s about tracking Ammi-Joan Paquette, the author!

Yes, Joan (as she prefers to be called) made her kidlit debut with THE TIPTOE GUIDE TO TRACKING FAIRIES from Tanglewood Press. She has since released NOWHERE GIRL, a middle grade novel, and now, another TIPTOE GUIDE!

And what’s it about?

MERMAIDS!

Who doesn’t love mermaids? They’re pretty, they have flowing manes of hair, they can breathe underwater, and they start name crazes like “Madison”. (OK, anyone under 30 isn’t going to understand that reference.)

TL: Joan, first fairies and now mermaids. Why do you think children are so fascinated with these creatures?

AJP: I think fairies and mermaids are two of the creatures which most fire the imagination—I was going to say “of the very young,” but actually, the appeal is open-ended! Perhaps because they feel just one step removed from reality, it’s easy to visualize them lurking just out of sight, right around the edges of perception. Who knows what might be possible, if you truly believe? For this reason, I don’t think our collective love for fairies or mermaids will ever wane—they’re just too likely.

TL: Your TIPTOE GUIDES combine photographs with whimsical illustrations. Whose idea was it to combine these two styles?

AJP: The first book in this series was inspired by a nature walk/fairy tracking adventure I took with my daughters when they were young. As we walked, I took photos of our discoveries and wrote down a lot of ideas and notes, many of which (the notes, not the photos!) were incorporated into the final manuscript. So early on there were definitely photos in my head. As I polished the story into an actual manuscript and eventually sent it on submission, though, I really put the illustration side out of my mind—and once it was acquired as a picture book, I just assumed it would probably be illustrated with art. My wonderful editor, Peggy Tierney of Tanglewood Press, was the one who conceived of this combined artwork/photography medium. I couldn’t be more thrilled with Marie Letourneau’s finished products—they are even more gorgeous than I could ever have imagined!

TL: So your TIPTOE GUIDES are about finding a little more magic in the world. Why is this an important message?

AJP: I think a hopeful outlook is like a cherry on top of life’s sundae. There’s a childlike quality to expectancy, to being open to the possibility of more that can open some of the most amazing doors. Message? I don’t know. I just like the way it feels to me.

TL: Is there a third tiptoe guide in the works?

AJP: Not yet! But who knows what may lie ahead?

TL: Well, maybe our blog readers know!

So let’s have a contest to give away a signed copy of THE TIPTOE GUIDE TO TRACKING MERMAIDS! Our last drawing contest was such fun; let’s do another.

Parents, have your children draw the cover to what they think should be the NEXT TIPTOE GUIDE!

It can be a guide to anything. Tracking bonobos? Tracking robots? Tracking mud? OK, these are bad. But I just know YOU have an idea for something GREAT.

Send your illustration (one per child) to tarawrites (at) yahoo [dot] com by the close of April 15. I’ll pick a winner on April 16!

Have fun and good luck!

Thanks to everyone who visited Salina Yoon’s post about her newest and most challenging novelty book, KALEIDOSCOPE. The winner of the signed copy is:

DONNA SHEPHERD!

Congratulations, Donna! Be on the lookout for an email from me…

Didn’t win? No worries. There’s more giveaways coming in the next two weeks. Yes, it’s a busy Spring over here! Here’s a sneaky peekie (what my five-year-old calls it):

Ame Dyckman and Dan Yaccarino’s BOY + BOT

Sarah Frances Hardy’s PUZZLED BY PINK

Carolyn Crimi and Stephanie Buscema’s PUGS IN A BUG

Ammi-Joan Paquette & Marie Letourneau’s THE TIPTOE GUIDE TO TRACKING MERMAIDS

It’s a Picture Book Palooza!

Plus, don’t forget, if you’re not already subscribed to my blog via email, join today to be entered into a SEPARATE “new follower” three-picture-book-prize-pack giveaway on April 1st (EXTRA YARN, BOY + BOT, ARNIE THE DOUGHNUT). I’m not foolin’! Just enter your email address in the left column.

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My Picture Books


Available now at:

Coming Soon:

I THOUGHT THIS
WAS A BEAR BOOK
illustrated by Benji Davies
Aladdin/Simon & Schuster
August 2015

LITTLE RED GLIDING HOOD
illustrator TBA
Random House
October 2015

7 ATE 9: THE UNTOLD STORY
illustrator TBA
Disney*Hyperion
2016

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