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by Jennifer Raudenbush

Thanks to Tara for allowing me to share the cover reveal for my debut picture book!

In 2017, Tara drove two hours to my critique group’s very first writing retreat to give a craft talk and critique picture book manuscripts. She took a chance on us, shared her knowledge with us, and helped us believe in our writer-selves. We are forever grateful!

IN THE PALM OF MY HAND (Running Press Kids, Hachette) is a lyrical concept book about a child who takes a walk in nature and discovers great possibilities are contained in tiny treasures—an acorn, a wild flower—and even himself.

Although I’m a big Storystorm fan, this book’s inspiration was sparked by a humorous picture book called FEAR THE BUNNY, written by Richard T. Morris and illustrated by Priscilla Burris (Atheneum, Simon & Schuster, 2019). I’m a poet at heart and was smitten at how Morris used William Blake’s famous poem “The Tyger” in his picture book. I told my Writing with the Stars (shout-out to Tara Luebbe) mentor—the amazing, incomparable Cate Berry—how genius I thought this book was. How I wish I’d thought of the idea. How I’d love to do something somewhat similar. And she encouraged me to pick up my pencil and go for it.

So I did.

I challenged myself to start with a snippet of poetry and somehow turn it into a picture book. As a springboard, I used the famous opening lines of Blake’s “Auguries of Innocence”:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

I wrote Blake’s lines at the top of my notebook as an epigraph, then played around on the page and allowed my creativity to take over. The first iteration was similar to the published version, but focused more on the water cycle. An editor’s critique at the NJSCBWI conference encouraged me to revise & resubmit (R&R) by removing both the focus on the water cycle and the epigraph. That editor ultimately passed on the manuscript, but it found a home at Running Press Kids! Now, the book’s focus leans more into the connectivity of nature.

Illustrator Isabella Conti made the story come alive with her exquisite art. I love her details, such as a repeating sea gull and butterfly that little ones can hunt for. And I’m thrilled with the finished product.

My goal with this book was to make people fall in love with both the beauty of words and the beauty of nature. I hope its readers will do just that!

IN THE PALM OF MY HAND is now available for preorder where most books are sold, for a March 14, 2023 release.

And now, the cover reveal!

Boy with curly hair standing in a field, waist-high green grass dotted with dandelions in varying states, yellow to fluffy white seed. He is bringing a flower closer to his face to look at it. Bush/tree in back right and the rest is light blue sky. Title "IN THE PALM OF MY HAND" in dark orange hand-lettering at top.

To celebrate her debut cover reveal, Jen is offering a giveaway of one fiction (non-rhyming) picture book critique.

Leave one comment below to enter.

A random winner will be selected next month!

Good luck!

Jennifer with dark brown hair a little past shoulders, kneeling down with a hand on her chin, dark glasses, glowing peach sky in the backgroundJennifer Raudenbush feels most alive when she’s creating stories, especially picture books and middle grade novels. Jen lives with her husband and teenage son in eastern Pennsylvania, where its natural beauty provides endless inspiration. She also loves to cuddle with her pup, adventure with family, and escape with books. Connect with her at or on Twitter @jenraudenbush.


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