Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Winner of I JUST LIKE YOU by Suzanne Bloom

Dear Friends,

Just a quick post today to announce the winner of I JUST LIKE YOU by one of our favorite Author/Illustrators Suzanne Bloom. (Winner selected by random.org)

(Martin, Please send your mailing address and to whom you’d like the book inscribed to claragillowclark(at)gmail(dot)com. Or DM me on Twitter) 

Author: Suzanne Bloom
Illustrator: Suzanne Bloom

Review Issue Date: August 1, 2018
Online Publish Date: July 16, 2018
Boyds Mills
A sweet celebration of differences. There's not a cardigan in sight, but the spirit of Fred Rogers is all over this rhymed chorus of "likes." 

Text and drawings © Suzanne Bloom 2018

Please stop by Suzanne’s website to learn more about her and her wonderful books.

 Suzanne will be available for school and conference visits in Fall ‘19 and spring ’20. 

Thank you, Dear Readers, for all the encouragement you offer authors! You’re the Best, and I JUST LIKE YOU!   ~Clara

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Award Winning Picture Author Illustrator, Suzanne Bloom shares about her process

Dear Friends,

What a special treat to have Award-Winning author-illustrator Suzanne Bloom give us an inside view of her writing and illustrating process for her newest book just out in August, I JUST LIKE YOU. Suzanne is generously donating an autographed book to one lucky winner who leaves a comment. Spread the word via twitter, FB, Google+ for more chances to win! ENJOY!

First, this GREAT REVIEW about the book. Then keep scrolling for Suzanne’s fabulous show and tell!

Author: Suzanne Bloom
Illustrator: Suzanne Bloom

Review Issue Date: August 1, 2018
Online Publish Date: July 16, 2018
Boyds Mills
Price ( Hardcover ):
Publication Date: November 6, 2018
ISBN ( Hardcover ):
Category: Fiction
A sweet celebration of differences. There's not a cardigan in sight, but the spirit of Fred Rogers is all over this rhymed chorus of "likes." "You don't look just like me. / You don't see the things I see. / You don't walk just like me," but still and all, "You just like me! You just like me!" Bloom suspends pairs and larger groups of anthropomorphic young animals on plain, unmarked white backgrounds for these amicable declarations, and she goes to town on highlighting her figures' diversity—dressing a gray elephant in a colorfully striped shirt, wrapping a looong scarf around a woolly llama's looong neck, outfitting an ostrich with pink ruffles and a parasol a-dangle with pompoms, placing a wombat in a wheelchair and a little squirrel atop a tall unicycle. Nor are behavioral differences neglected, as a methodical porcupine ("I like to take my time") leans over a blank sheet of writing paper while the tiger cub in the next seat ("I'm speedy") is awash in notes and drawings. Scenes gradually fill up as the author gathers all and sundry together to dance (or shyly watch), to eat, and climactically to read (books printed and handwritten; in English, Danish, and Braille; a map; a sheet of music; a sewing pattern; a blueprint). The mood then calms for a concluding scene of two friends sharing an easy chair with a final: "I just like you! / Yes, I do." A manifesto to bridge the deepest chasms of otherness and to melt the stoniest of hearts. (Picture book. 4-8) 

Now read on and savor this feast of pictures and words!

 I JUST LIKE YOU  by Suzanne Bloom                  

It’s not easy to sit silently waiting for a story to begin, waiting for more listeners to come in and settle.
So I took this time to start a sketch and invited the early arrivals to suggest ideas for how to make a friend.  Their answers are in several languages and include questions and compliments. Simple really.

This story lodged in my brain at least five years ago, and by that I probably mean 20.  It was populated with people of all varieties.  As it evolved I turned to animals because I was sure I would inadvertently leave someone out.  To be fair…even with animals, there are no fish or insects.  Sorry.  


Often it’s good to wait for a story because the other inspirations occurred much later. At a summer camp where I worked, Art Amy started “Love Letter” Day.  The art barn was awash with construction paper scraps and a thousand or so cut-out hearts. The love letters were mostly like letters and it was an opportunity to express appreciation and affection.  

So, bits and pieces of ideas drifted, floated and popped in over time. Some people call this procrastination.  I prefer to call it “Productive Procrastination”.  And in this realm, I am the queen.  Except, I confess, I do spend too much time on Facebook.


Dragon Fruit from China

Clara’s chair reimagined

The auditions result in some disappointment for many characters who must wait for another 
book.  Can you tell who made it into this book?

HINT: Some may have different costumes in the book.

At the beginning of each project, I’m sure it’s a brilliant idea. Then I’m sure I’ve forgotten how to draw.

Yes, every time. So I scribble and doodle for a couple of weeks until characters decide to make an appearance. 

The story comes first, except for when a character emerges first. Occasionally the title comes first but not usually. (Linear thinking doesn’t work for me.)  When it’s time to do the final art, I’ll pick the easiest one and it sets the tone. In this book, it was the last page. The story itself determines the medium; dry pastel or watercolor and colored pencils.  

For reference I have old copies of Ranger Rick. After sketching, finals are pinned to the line so I can see it all.

I love this last page.  It might be my favorite in the book, except for the lion getting a spa treatment.

As I thought and wrote and drew, I imagined the adult reader looking into one face or many and having the chance to say over and over to one child or a classful, “I just like you. Yes. I do.”  And one child or many will have heard that they are liked, likeable, valued.  Simple, really.

Text and drawings © Suzanne Bloom 2018

Be sure to stop by Suzanne’s website to learn more about her and her wonderful books.

 Suzanne will be available for school and conference visits in Fall ‘19 and spring ’20. 

Thank you, Suzanne, for sharing and showing your fascinating and informative journey from idea to finished book. By the way, this book is another perfect pick for October’s National Anti-bullying month, but a truly excellent pick for year round sharing. 

Thank you, Dear Readers! I JUST LIKE YOU for your ongoing support of authors/illustrators and wonderful Children’s books. Please leave a comment for our Splendid Friend Indeed, Suzanne Bloom. I’ll be back next week to announce the winner of I Just Like You.


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Librarian shares about THE ORANGE SHOES by Trinka Hakes Noble + WINNER ANNOUNCED

Dear Friends,

I was so delighted when a retired librarian, Gaye McCallum shared on FB about how much she loved The Orange Shoes and used it in her school library classes for many years. She agreed to share those thoughts and her experiences with all of you. Inspiring.

Here’s what Librarian Gaye McCallum wrote:

The Orange Shoes by Trinka Hakes Noble is a timeless novel that captured my heart on my first read. As a librarian, I was able to share this novel with every age from Kindergarten to Fifth Grade and teach such valuable lessons. I incorporated it into valuing each person’s talents, knowing that riches don’t necessarily equate to money, understanding the cruelty of bullying, and the importance of love of family. My students and I had amazing discussions about what they would choose to do as a bullied classmate, her classmates, and also talked about why the bullying might have occurred. We marveled at Delly’s artwork and how she turned such cruelty into beauty. The love of family was also a topic that was warmed all our hearts as we discussed ways that family is our shelter. Her mother’s creativity as well as her father’s love and pride in his daughter were wonderful subtopics to pursue.  

I highly recommend this book to all families, teachers, and anyone who longs for a heartwarming story filled with beautiful illustrations.

Thank you, Gaye. I’m sure your review will inspire teachers and parents to purchase this book for students and children or to request it from their local library. 

Many of you may recall Trinka’s book, Rettie and the Ragamuffin Parade: A Thanksgiving Story that was featured here last November. Here’s the link back to that post in case you missed it: Thanksgiving with Author Trinka Hakes Noble + Giveaway

And now Announcing the LUCKY WINNER of THE ORANGE SHOES

Congratulations go out to:

Jilanne, Please email me: claragillowclark(at)gmail(dot)com with your mailing address and to whom you’d like the book inscribed. Thanks! And thank you everyone who stopped by to leave a comment or read the post. 

Next up is a Splendid Friend Indeed who will share about her brand new picture book, another perfect pick for National Anti-bullying Month. 

See you soon!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Author Trinka Hakes Noble shares for Anti-bullying Month + Giveaway

Dear friends,

October is National anti-bullying month and in her poignant post, my lovely friend, Author Trinka Hakes Noble shares about her real life story of being bullied in school and her Award Winning picture book, The Orange Shoes. Trinka is generously giving away a copy of the book to one lucky winner who leaves a comment. Maybe you have a story to share, too. We want to hear from you!

The Power of the Pen - Writing From Real Life 
by Trinka Hakes Noble

When a writer’s own childhood is woven into a story, there is a from-the-heart sharing that connects with something deep inside all of us. There is a sincerity, a vulnerability, an earnest innocence and the endearing, wide-eyed outlook of a child that is honored and treasured. Such a story is The Orange Shoes.

It is often said that authors will go back to their own childhood to right a wrong or to fix something that happened or didn’t happen or should have happened. What happened to Delly, the main character in The Orange Shoes, happened to me in real life when I was eight years old. It was a day I will never forget.

I grew up in a big family of seven kids, so getting a new pair of fancy shoes usually wasn’t an option. You either wore hand-me-downs, or got a very sturdy pair of brown tie shoes called Buster Browns. Those Buster Browns would last a kid through rain, sleet, mud and snow, but they weren’t very pretty. In fact, they were ugly, but that is what I wore. If you look in the corner of the illustration of Delly hugging her Dad, you can see them, patched with pieces of black inner tube. Back then, shoes were patched to last until the end of school, and then you went barefoot for the summer, which I did.  

But one Saturday, when we went to town for out piano lessons, I saw a beautiful pair of orange Mary Janes in a shoe store window. Oh, how I wanted those beautiful orange shoes! But they probably cost too much money.

Lo and behold, the next morning, those orange shoes were setting right by my bed! I couldn’t believe it! On Monday morning, without asking my mom, I took those orange shoes to school and hid them under a bush on the edge of the playground. Then, at recess, I ran to that bush, took off my old Buster Browns and put on those bright orange shoes. I wanted to show them to the other girls who were playing by the swings. I thought my shoes would make them as happy as they made me, but I was wrong. Those girls didn’t even smile. Instead, those girls stomped on my shoes, kicked dirt on my shoes, and scraped and scuffed my shoes until they were ruined!  

Now, here’s the thing. I didn’t do anything about it. I didn’t talk back, or fight back. I tried to run away, but they chased me all over the playground. I didn’t even tell my teacher, and I had a really nice teacher, just like Miss Violet in the book. This really bothered me my whole life, so when I became an author, I decided to write a book about that day, but I would let the girl in the book do what I wished I had done, but didn’t.   

What Delly did was use her artistic talent to turn that wrong into the most glorious right. She painted pretty flowers, vines and leaves right over all those gouges, cracks, scuff marks and scrapes, and she created the most beautiful pair of orange shoe the world has ever seen! In the end, Delly triumphed by wearing those beautiful painted shoes to her school’s Harvest Festival Family Night. Delly and her orange shoes were the hit of the evening.

In The Orange Shoes, I meshed two writing genres, personal narrative and realistic fiction. I revisited my childhood to creative a story that righted a wrong, and changed what happened into what should have happened.  

Trinka Hakes Noble with Artwork by Elementary students - School Visit
As one 3rd grader put it at a recent author’s visit, “Boy, you sure got even with those mean girls, didn’t you!”

Yes indeed, I did!  And it’s called The Power of the Pen.

The Orange Shoes is now in its 8th printing and is used in many schools across the nation to teach character building and to enhance the National Anti-Bullying Month of October.  

The Orange Shoes won the International Reading Association’s prestigious Teacher’s Choice Award (2008) and received a Bronze Award from the National Parenting Publication (NAPPA).  It also received Best Books of the Year 2008 from The Children’s Book Council.  

The Orange Shoes was nominated for the following:

The New York State Reading Association’s Charlotte Award
Delaware Diamond State Award
Arkansas Diamond Primary Book Award
Indiana Hoosier State Book Award
Missouri Show Me Readers Award
Nebraska Golden Sower Award
Tennessee Volunteer State Book Award
The prestigious Jefferson Cup Award 2008

Trinka’s most recent title is Rettie and the Ragamuffin Parade - A Thanksgiving Story.  Forthcoming in the fall of 2019 is her newest book, A Fist for Joe Louis and Me, both published by Sleeping Bear Press.

Learn more about Trinka on her website at www.trinkahakesnoble.com  

THANK YOU, TRINKA, for stopping by today to share your wonderful book and story with us! AND THANK YOU, DEAR FRIENDS, for taking time from your busy lives to leave a comment. Please spread the word on FB and Twitter for more chances to win Trinka’s beautiful book, THE ORANGE SHOES. I’ll be back next week to announce the winner.


Friday, August 17, 2018


Dear Friends,

Thank you each and every one who stopped by the blog this week to leave a comment for Author/Librarian Jen Nails. Your support of authors and good books is always a great boost for writers. We really do appreciate everything you do for us!

MG is one of my sweet spots and as many of you probably know FOOD is a passion of mine as well. I love recipes and talking about food and researching ways to create healthy meals which are also tasty, so that bit about 20 recipes included in the book was very tempting, but I did not add my name for a chance to win. I also know that Jen has a wonderful gift for voice, so if you weren’t the lucky winner, you’ll want to order this book for your favorite young reader, for yourself, your school library or classroom.

Thanks, Jen Nails, for the gift of your time and your delicious book, One Hundred Spaghetti Strings. 

We have a great line-up for fall with more chances to win some terrific books by favorite authors!

The LUCKY WINNER of the Comment Contest is: SIOUX ROSLAWSKI

          ****CONGRATULATIONS, SIOUX****

(Sioux, Please email me with your mailing address and include to whom you’d like the book personalized. Jen will send it off to you asap) claragillowclark(at)gmail(DOT)com. 

If you haven’t already, please stop by Jen’s website or follow her on social media:


Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Author-Librarian Jen Nails Talks about Process + #Giveaway

Dear Friends,

Please join me in welcoming Author-Librarian Jen Nails for the Back-to-School giveaway. Jen talks about inspiration and process as well as sharing a little about what she’s working on now. She’s generously donating a copy of her middle grade novel One Hundred Spaghetti Strings (published by HarperCollins spring 2017) for the comment contest. All you have to do for a chance to win an autographed copy is leave a comment for Jen. Let me know in your comment if you share on Twitter, FB, Google+ or follow this blog, and you’ll get more chances to win. Winner will be announced on Friday, August 17th, so hurry!

Author/Librarian JEN NAILS
Born and raised in Las Vegas, NV, Jen Nails has lived in Boulder, CO and New York, NY. She's taught English, theater, and creative writing, and is now a K-12 Librarian/Media Specialist (the best job she's ever had). Jen is the author of two novels for middle grade readers.

Writing from the Inside Out. . . by Jen Nails

I remember hearing Jacqueline Woodson speak at the New York SCBWI conference a few years ago and someone asked her if she experienced writer’s block and if so, what did she do? She said that she didn’t believe in writer’s block. She said if she ever sat down to write something in particular and wasn’t feeling it, she started writing something else, until she found the thing that she needed to be writing. If she came back to the first thing, great, if not, great. This has helped me over the years to recognize that it’s okay to put something on hold if you really, really, really have to write about something else in that moment. 
My novel-in-progress about three 7th graders who try and prevent the implosion of a Las Vegas casino has been through at least nine or ten drafts and I’m totally full steam ahead about it, but over the summer, there was something kind of tugging at me. 
I got divorced three years ago, and since then I’ve become addicted to national parks. Somehow, bringing my sons to the parks has become both an addiction and an antidote. I’ve been keeping little diaries that kind of chronicle each of our visits and I am using them to create a guidebook for heartbreak, an “off the beat and path” travel guide to healing and becoming whole again. 
The thing is, there are so many threads and themes that I had begun to follow in the novel that are actually more relevant to this nonfiction book. In fact, one of the poems from the novel is now a part of the travel guide. In keeping with Clara’s theme of Writing from the Inside Out, I wanted to share that I think it's so important to honor that thing that is eating at you, that is begging to be put on paper to get it out of your system, even if it isn’t the thing that you are “supposed to be writing right now.”  

Here’s Jen’s latest book for middle grade readers! Review below.

Book Summary from amazon:
   This brave and heartwarming middle grade novel will leave your belly rumbling and your heart full. Because when life hands you lemons, it’s time to get cooking! Perfect for fans of Sarah Weeks, Leslie Connor, and Lynda Mullaly Hunt. 
    Since Steffy was little, she and her older sister, Nina, have lived with their beloved Auntie Gina. But when the girls’ dad comes home to live with them, everything changes. So Steffy does what she does best: She cooks her way through the hardest year of her life.
    Sometimes it feels like everything but the kitchen sink is being thrown at her—too many ingredients that don't quite work. And all Steffy wants is for her family to be whole again. Can her recipes help bring them back together?
One Hundred Spaghetti Strings also includes over twenty recipes—which Steffy cooks throughout the book—so aspiring young chefs can try them out when they’re done reading!" AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

To learn more about Jen and her books or to follow her on social media, check out the links below:
Publisher's Weekly review, February 2017 

Thank you, dear readers, for joining us at this busy end-of-summer time. Don’t forget to visit Jen's website or follow her on FB and Twitter.

And thank you, Jen, for sharing insights into your creative process. I loved your line, “Honor the thing that is eating at you.”

I’ll be back in a few days to announce the winner. ~Clara

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Announcing the Lucky Winner of FOOD FIGHT FIESTA

Dear Friends,

Thank you each and everyone who stopped by the Book Birthday Celebration for FOOD FIGHT FIESTA by Tracey Kyle. And THANK YOU, TRACEY for being our guest and for your generous donation of a personalized copy of your new picture book! The winner picked by random.org did such a great job of spreading the word by commenting on the post, sharing on twitter, FaceBook, and Pinterest. AND the lucky winner of FOOD FIGHT FIESTA is Carol Baldwin! CONGRATULATIONS, CAROL!!!! (Please send me your mailing address and to whom you’d like the book personalized and Tracey will have it on its way to you asap.) 

We’ll have several more picture books and some novels to giveaway between now and the end of the year. If all goes as planned, I’ll be back next week! If not. . . Well, you know, I’ll be in touch! ~Clara

Food Fight Fiesta: A Tale about La Tomatina.

Kyle, Tracey (author).

Illustrated by Ana Gomez. 
July 2018. 32p. Skyhorse/Sky Pony, $16.99  (9781510732155). K-Grade 2. 
REVIEW. First published June 22, 2018 (Booklist Online).
One of the world’s more unique and messy festivals happens every August in Buñol, in the Spanish province of Valencia, when tens of thousands of people honor the town’s patron saints by throwing tomatoes at one another. Introducing this exciting-sounding event is an American eighth-grade Spanish teacher writing in a singsong style: “The crowd is soon covered in bright, crimson juice. / ¡Caramba! Tomatoes are still on the loose!” Rather than cloying, these rhymes are a good fit for a hectic food fight, which is accompanied by accordingly frenetic illustrations by a Madrid-based artist. There are a few questionable choices—a confusing map highlighting Portugal, not depicting the required goggles on all of the kids, and allowing the final couplet to depend on a boy “cuddling a tomato” in his sleep, which doesn’t seem like the wisest thing to do. All that aside—and barring any attempts at a cafeteria reenactment—this is a good time, and an author’s note, glossary, and bibliography anchor this fun and widely unknown romp in fact.— Andrew Medlar

Tracey Kyle published her first bilingual picture book, GAZPACHO FOR NACHO (Two Lions) in 2014. She is also the author of A PAINTBRUSH FOR PACO (little bee) and the forthcoming ALPACA PATI (Running Press, 2019) and PEPE’S SPECIAL DAY. OLE! (little bee, 2019). She spends most of her day as “Señora Kyle,” teaching Spanish to an energetic group of 8th graders, and when she’s not writing she likes to cook, read and practice yoga. Be sure to stop by Tracey’s website to learn more about her wonderful books: http://www.traceykyle.com

Tuesday, July 31, 2018


Dear Friends,

Summer has been especially busy this year, but a Picture Book Birthday for a friend who lights up a room with her smile could not be passed up! And now, presenting the one, the only, Tracey Kyle and her new picture book, FOOD FIGHT FIESTA! I just know you’ll love the vivid colors of the unusual La Tomatina Festival. (learn more about it in Tracey’s post.) You may even decide to have one of your own. La Tomatina is perfect for tomato season, si? AND Tracey is generously donating an autographed copy of FOOD FIGHT FIESTA! to one lucky winner who leaves a comment about the post. More details about that at the end.

Here’s a little bit about Tracey:

Tracey Kyle published her first bilingual picture book, GAZPACHO FOR NACHO (Two Lions) in 2014. She is also the author of A PAINTBRUSH FOR PACO (little bee) and the forthcoming ALPACA PATI (Running Press, 2019) and PEPE’S SPECIAL DAY. OLE! (little bee, 2019). She spends most of her day as “Señora Kyle,” teaching Spanish to an energetic group of 8th graders, and when she’s not writing she likes to cook, read and practice yoga. 

Be sure to stop by Tracey’s website to learn more about her wonderful books: http://www.traceykyle.com

Writing from the Inside Out by Tracey Kyle

If you’ve ever wanted to have a food fight, then book a flight to Valencia, Spain right now.  On August 29th, in the tiny town of Buñol, about 20,000 people will show up to throw tomatoes for a few hours. 


The last Wednesday in August each year is the celebration of LA TOMATINA, the world’s largest food fight. Tons of tomatoes are grown just for this festival, which has grown in size so much that you now need to buy a ticket to participate. It’s quite the fiesta: after the food fight (la guerra de comida…doesn’t that sound so much better in Spanish?) there’s a paella cooking contest, music, parades and fireworks. 

I’ve lived in Spain twice, but I’ve never been to LA TOMATINA. I did, however, learn about it when I was teaching AP Spanish.  Other than the article in the textbook or some online sites, there was nothing about this unusual festival.   
At the time, my first book was about to be published, but I didn’t have an agent and I was so busy teaching that the idea of a Tomatina picture book  marinated for a while. I kept hearing that editors wanted “character-driven stories” and I knew this story, if I ever wrote it, would be a concept picture book. 

I began to study concept picture books, sitting in Barnes and Noble reading on the floor of the kid section. This helped me with structure. On Monday mornings I would return to my crazy, stressful, busy job as a teacher and forget about the book. I love teaching, but the intensity of the day does not afford me the time to get lost in creative thought. 

It was at a weekend writer’s retreat nearly a year and a half later that the TOMATINA story finally blossomed. Our mentor, Candice Ransom, showed us how cutting out pictures and words from magazines could spark ideas. For hours, I pasted scenes in a notebook. When the session was over, I realized I had a lot of tomatoes! I wrote the first lines I thought of in that notebook: “Whoosh! Tomatoes are filling the air / SPLAT! Tomatoes are stuck to my hair.” Once I had the voice and the narrator’s point of view, I wrote the first draft in a few hours. I let it sit for a month, came back to it for revisions, and then worked on a different story. I wasn’t sure it would get published, but that goes through my head with everything I write. 

I also needed an agent, and I’d spent two years submitting work to people without any luck. Then, at an SCBWI conference, I bumped into the Jennifer Unter of The Unter Agency. I say “bumped into” because Jen and I had attended the same high school and ironically we were in Spanish class together, but that’s another blog post! I knew she was going to be there and I only wanted to say hi and find out how she was doing after all these years.  But in the course of our conversation, she told me to send her some stories. About eight months later, she’d sold three books of mine. FOOD FIGHT FIESTA was one of them. 

This book was a happy journey for me. It was one of the first manuscripts Jennifer sold, and we have a very comfortable relationship. I tell everyone it was fate to run into her thirty years after graduating! Also, I had the opportunity to work with a wonderful editor at Sky Pony named Allison Weiss. She was not the editor who originally bought the story, but she championed it from the minute she took over and was so enthusiastic. (I secretly think Allison would love a good food fight!) Lastly, I knew the minute I saw Ana Gomez’s illustrations that her style was perfect: whimsical, engaging, energetic and authentic.
This experience also showed me that sometimes an idea needs time to grow. I’m not a patient person, and as a teacher I’m used to doing everything immediately! because there’s so little time to think. As an author, however, I’ve had to slow down. I still keep an idea notebook and cut out pictures. When a rhyme or a phrase pops into my head, I make a note of it. And eventually…SPLAT! Like a crushed tomato landing at your feet, the idea bursts open and becomes a story.  

Now, go buy your ticket to Valencia. LA TOMATINA is only a few weeks away!

KIRKUS REVIEW: An American child travels to Buñol, Spain, to take part in the town’s annual raucous celebration of the tomato. La Tomatina is a large organized food fight in which residents wear goggles and spend the day throwing crushed ripe tomatoes until the streets are covered in one ruby red, pulpy mess. In an easy flowing rhyme, the narrator describes their enthusiastic participation. “ ‘Tomate, tomate,’ we hear the crowd sing. // We’re ready to squash the tomatoes and fling! / The truck moves in closer. ¡Ole?! Here we go! / Grab a tomato. Get ready…now THROW!” Cartoon illustrations depict the rowdy, frenzied event as everyone and everything is splattered and splashed in the fruit’s squishy juices. And when the loud “BOOM!” of the cannon signals the end of the fun, everyone cleans up, happy to have enjoyed another festival of the tomato. Adults and children alike may notice that despite the glee with which the text describes the mess, characters’ clothes are remarkably unstained by the end. The narrator presents white, as does much of the crowd, though it is definitely a multiethnic affair. An author’s note explains the increasingly popular event, where tourists and locals alike enjoy parades, music, fireworks, and paella, the saffron-based dish of rice and seafood. A high-spirited celebration of a unique experience. (Picture book. 5-8)

The winner of FOOD FIGHT FIESTA will be announced in one week. As always, thank you so much, dear readers, for stopping by to leave a comment for Tracey. We truly appreciate your support of authors and good books! Spread the word for more chances to win. Winner chosen by random.org. Leave a comment and don’t forget to visit Tracey here: http://www.traceykyle.com