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Today I’m posting as part of Tracy Marchini’s #Thankful4forPBs, interviewing picture book author Shelley Kinder about her debut book, NOT SO SCARY JERRY.

You can enter to win JERRY and all twelve participating books by visiting #Thankful4PBs at Tracy’s blog! 

Shelley, tells us a bit about your participating book…

NOT SO SCARY JERRY is a quirky monster story about friendship, individuality, and accepting people as they are. The twists and turns will keep readers on their toes (and giggling too).

What are three things your protagonist is grateful for, and why?

  1. Jerry is grateful for hugs because they make him feel all warm and gushy inside.
  2. He’s also grateful for lasagna because it’s the perfect middle-of-the-night snack.
  3. And Jerry loves his pink watch because it glows in the dark, making nighttime not so scary. Plus, it’s quite a fashion statement!

As the author, what picture book(s) are you thankful for, and why?

There are so many wonderful books, but I do love NO DAVID! by David Shannon for its simplicity and wonderful illustrations. And because my kids love it too.

Please share one person that’s made a big impact on your picture book career, and how?

I can’t narrow it down to just one person. I’d have to say that my mom and also my husband have played big roles in my career as a writer. My mom always believed in me and pushed me to follow my dreams. I always knew I could do what I put my mind to because of her affirming words in my life. My husband has always been supportive, as well, and he’s so good at reading my first drafts and sharing his thoughts on what could make them better.

What are you hopeful for (or looking forward to) in 2018?

I’m looking forward to my second picture book, THE MASTERPIECE, being published in the spring. It’s a faith-based book about God painting the sunrise. My mom is illustrating the book, and the process of working with her on this project has been amazing. It’s going to be beautiful! She doesn’t even realize how talented she is.

Thanks, Shelley…I am thankful you shared your story with us!

Shelley lives in Indiana with her not-so-scary husband and their four little monsters. Some of Shelley’s favorite things are family, photography, music, and sushi. NOT SO SCARY JERRY is her first picture book.

Learn more at

Click the image below for the #Thankful4forPBs giveaway entry page!

Man, you guys are more than half-way there! You’re at mile 19! And though it seems like there’s crazy amounts of marathon metaphors floating around PiBoIdMo, I’m going to add one more.


That point where you’re tempted to say:

  • November 19th – girl finds dog and learns to dance
  • November 20th – girl finds chicken and learns to dance
  • November 21st – girl finds sunglasses and learns to dance
  • [Repeat until November 29th]
  • November 30th – girl finds dog, chicken, sunglasses, hot sauce, tape dispenser, colored pencil, 1990’s car phone, empty cardboard box, car tire, chicken nuggets and wrist watch and learns to dance!


But I’m here to say—don’t cheat yourself.

True, nobody will know if you don’t come up with all thirty. And nobody will know if you’re truly inspired by all thirty thoughts/ideas or if you play fill-in-the-blank from now on.

But you’ll know. And aren’t you the most important part of this process right now?

StSo what if you’re looking at “girl finds 1990’s car phone and learns to dance” and thinking, “well, that’s better than what I got today…”

Then I say, it’s time to explore!

Inspiration doesn’t just come from within. Inspiration comes from the larger world. So when was the last time you:

  • Went to a museum
  • Saw a great (or terrible) play
  • Took a trapeze lesson
  • Learned a new dance
  • Tried a new food
  • Laughed until your cheeks hurt
  • Scared yourself silly
  • Made something with your hands (illustrators: build, knit or otherwise non-illustrate something)
  • Went to the batting cages
  • Watched a documentary
  • Attended a non-book related, public lecture at your local college
  • Shopped a thrift store
  • Did anything that required dressing up (either costume or fancy-pants)
  • Sat around a campfire
  • Ran through a corn maze
  • Rode a rollercoaster
  • Gave an unexpected gift

And now you’re thinking—this woman is ridiculous. How can I have time to take my kids to soccer practice, watch a documentary and come up with a brilliant new picture book idea?

And to that, I hope you all say:


Stay strong, PiBoIdMo-ers. You’re almost there.

Tracy Marchini is a freelance writer and editorial consultant. Before launching her own editorial service, she worked at a literary agency, as a book reviewer and as a newspaper correspondent.

She’s the author of Pub Speak: A Writer’s Dictionary Of Publishing Terms and can be found at and on Twitter as @TracyMarchini.

As a children's book author and mother of two, I'm pushing a stroller along the path to publication. I collect shiny doodads on the journey and share them here. You've found a kidlit treasure box.

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My Picture Books


illustrator TBA
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Early 2019

illus by Melissa Crowton
Tundra/PRH Canada
Summer 2019

illus by Ross MacDonald
Fall 2019

illus by Vivienne To
Spring 2020

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