Friday, December 31, 2021

Happy New Year 2022

 What am I celebrating at the close of 2021? So many things!

 Yes, 2021 was a challenge, but it was also a great opportunity for exploring new ways of connecting with the broad range of clients that I serve and finding innovative ways to meet their needs.  Zoom enabled me to provide seminars sponsored by the publishing house for which I consult and respond to teacher requests to visit with young scholars in their classrooms to share the tools and ideas that are fundamental for creating magic with words. I also received some lovely pictures and stories from teachers around the country to show me how they utilize my books in lessons. Such fun!

My blog and Facebook Page were indispensable in allowing me to celebrate some of my favorite authors with my many readers. And…I was treated to some wonderful books that came across my desk for me to review, which is always a delight.

So, here’s to the talented, hardworking authors I mentor, the publishers who send me their marvelous books, and the teachers, parents, and students for whom I write. I’m looking forward to spending more great times with all of you in 2022! Thanks to all of you for your tremendous support!!

Monday, December 27, 2021


THE GINGERBREAD COWBOY excitement just keeps on coming!

A couple of days before the Christmas holiday, April Robert from Little Leaders Academy, St. Louis shared some adorable photos of Gingerbread Cowboy activities the students enjoyed. There was a CVC (consonant/vowel/consonant word-building) game and storytelling with story dice.



I always enjoy seeing all the places my books travel and the creative approaches of educators as they incorporate my books in their lessons. 

Thank you, April

You can learn more about April and  LITTLE LEADERS ACADEMY by following these links.


Friday, December 17, 2021



December has been an exciting month for my favorite cookie!  

Two weeks ago, he was the star of an elementary school Zoom presentation that I provided for a local elementary school. The third-grade teachers reached out to say they were working on a project about finding the magic in stories. They hoped I could speak to their scholars about the tools I use and how I find ideas to help enable their students to create their own stories. Of course, I agreed and was honored by their request. I was delighted to receive this follow-up message:

 Hi Janet, 

 “I can not thank you enough for the experience you gave all of our kiddos this morning. What a special and impactful time for our 3rd graders. Thank you for sharing your expertise and insight with all of us. 

They spoke of you later that day when we dove into their writing! 

 Thank you so much for all you did and bringing the magic of stories into our classrooms! “ – Grace

 This week, he inspired a class in another school district to create stick puppets to act out the tale!

 I absolutely love all the imaginative ways teachers utilize my stories in their classrooms!

Tuesday, December 7, 2021



Books are always a happy surprise!

Here are some entertaining children’s books by some of my favorite authors

(and a few by yours truly) for you to consider.

There are board books, picture books, and a marvelous anthology of Yiddish stories to explore.

Click on the titles to go to Amazon to learn more about your selections.




Adorable monsters teach the names of body parts in this silly dance that is fun and very readable throughout. (Ages 1-5)  


THE GOING TO BED BOOK   by Boynton is a delightful way to end a busy day. Join her adorable animal friends as they parade through their bedtime routine. (Ages 2-5)

DINOSNORES  also by Boynton

is just pure fun as a colorful collection of dinosaurs prepare for sleep and then… Oh no! The dino-sized snoring begins! Boynton at her entertaining best! (Ages 0-4)

A PET JUST FOR MEPaula D. Golden 

This playful journey anticipates the excitement of a first pet. Will it be a furry companion, a chirping bird or crawling critter?  Share the fun of guessing what pet is coming home. Available in English, Spanish, Dutch, French, Armenian (Ages 2-7)


This rhyming story is an excellent read-aloud experience. Wonderfully executed, smart, imaginative, and with a delightful twist at the end! A story parents will enjoy reading again and again. (Ages 1-4)


LOVE IS EVERYTHING Charles Ghigna       

From a starry sky, to a mountain forest, Ghigna invites readers to believe in the beauty of nature. His joyful refrain “I believe,” applies not just to the observable world.  He suggests it is felt inside each of us in wanting to do what’s right. The characters' buoyant enthusiasm for life encourages us to remember – Love surrounds us, if only we have the eyes to see and the heart to believe in each other and ourselves. 

(Ages 5-8)

A POEM IS A FIREFLY Charles Ghigna

What a charming way to introduce young readers to the world of poetry.  “A poem is a whisper. Whooooooo.  A poem is a shout. Hoooowllllllll. A Poem is a thought.” and so much more! Follow along as a bear, owl, wolf and other woodland animals explore the question of what is poetry only to discover it can be different things to different creatures… But always a marvelous source of enchantment. (Ages 5-8)


The Gingerbread Cowboy can run from the rancher's wife, he can dash past the javalinas and he can giddy-up right by the cattle grazing on the mesa.  But what happens when he meets a coyote sleeping in the sun? A lively Western version of the classic read-aloud tale. (Ages 4-8)


The adventure of a young groundhog who is frightened of his shadow until a fun-filled journey through the woods and farms surrounding his burrow allows him to discover his courage on Groundhog Day. An author's note provides factual information about Groundhogs. 

(Ages 4-8)

GRACIE JANE Janet Squires

Gracie Jane has a heart as big as the Western sky, and she's always ready to lend a helping hand. So, she doesn't think twice about rescuing Fifi La Rue and taking the lost pup home. After all, how much trouble could one little dog be on a great big ranch? It's nonstop fun and excitement when one good deed turns this cowgirl's life upside down! (Ages 4-8)

TEN CUDDLY PANDAS  – Paula D. Golden

This is a delightful countdown quest built around subtraction. Ten pandas go on a playful journey through the mountains of China where curiosity lures each into an adventure until only one remains. Written in rhyme, this story introduces young readers to simple subtraction word problems with matching numerical equations. (Ages 3-5)

THERE’S ONLY ONE YOU – Kathryn Heling

The charming rhyming text speaks directly to the reader as it explores the many ways in which YOU are unique and assures the audience that being you is wonderful! The text acknowledges the obvious, but gives equal consideration to other more subtle qualities: interests, abilities, manner of speaking, even the various ways in which learning takes place.  A joyful and uplifting story. (Ages 3-7)


HONEY ON THE PAGE: A Treasury of Yiddish Children’s Literature Miriam Udel

 Udel  offer readers the pleasure of storytelling paired with a glimpse into Jewish history and culture. The stories and poems are charming and engaging. The tone is delightfully conversational. The text is complimented by imaginative illustrations. Young readers will enjoy read-aloud stories. Independent readers will find an immediate connection to some stories and grow into appreciation for others.  Adults looking to widen their cultural experience or seeking to deepen their understanding of the rich tradition of Yiddish literature will find a well-researched resource here.

Monday, October 11, 2021


 Memoir Writers -- Save the date for this free workshop.

Tickets are available At Eventbrite

Friday, July 9, 2021

Picture Book Friday

Charles Ghigna, also known as Father Goose, celebrates wonders large and small in his new charmer LOVE IS EVERYTHING.

From the vastness of a starry sky, to the beauty of a mountain forest, to birds on the wing, Ghigna invites readers to believe in the beauty of nature and the changing of the seasons. His joyful refrain of “I believe,” applies not just to the observable world.  He suggests it is felt inside each of us in wanting to do what’s right.

Belief in goodness and kindness weaves a thoughtful thread throughout from music, art, and poetry to “everything that is good and true.” Each page is a call for unity, reminding readers and listeners of our shared dreams and wishes and that we all need love to get along.

This gentle story is beautifully illustrated in soft colors that perfectly reflect the quietly optimistic tone. The characters' buoyant enthusiasm for life encourages us to remember – Love surrounds us, if only we have the eyes to see and the heart to believe in each other and ourselves. 

Highly recommended for home and school libraries. 

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Writers Wednesday -- A visit with a new work by Miriam Udel.


In HONEY ON THE PAGE: A Treasury of Yiddish Children’s Literature, Miriam Udel has compiled an exemplary collection of Yiddish children’s literature.


Drawing on works from Europe as well as North and South America, she has edited and translated poems and stories from the original Yiddish that offer readers not only the pleasure of the storytelling, but also a glimpse into Jewish history and culture. Udel is clearly a scholar, providing a depth of understanding in her Introduction, Notes to Young Readers and the succinct biographies that precede each author’s story. But don’t imagine for a moment that there is anything dry or stiff in this notable assembly of work. The stories and poems are charming and engaging and beautifully complimented by imaginative illustrations. The tone is delightfully conversational.

 The book is divided into eight thematic areas:

Jewish Holidays,

History and Heroes

Folktales, Fairy Tales, Wonder Tales

Wise Fools

Allegories, Parables, and Fables

School Days

In Life’s Classroom

Jewish Families, Here and There

 In her note TO THE YOUNG READER, Udel explains that her goal was to share stories that were appealing, but also teach readers about different cultures, places, and times. Her work takes the stories a step farther by also identifying shared ideas and experiences that readers would find relatable.

 A comprehensive Introduction provides a thoughtful discussion of Udel’s inspiration and methodology in selecting materials. She also takes care to ground the reader in the historic tradition of Jewish storytelling.

HONEY ON THE PAGE is an excellent resource for family reading because it will appeal to a broad audience from preschool to teenager to adult. Young readers will find enjoyable stories read by grownups.  Independent readers will find an immediate connection to some stories and, as they grow, have the opportunity to develop appreciation for others. Parents and librarians will discover a charming collection of new stories to share. Adults looking to widen their cultural experience or seeking to deepen their understanding of the rich tradition of Yiddish literature will find a well-researched resource here.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Picture Book Friday


Gabby Dawnay and illustrator Alex Barrow have once again teamed up to create a fourth title – If I Had An Octopus –to add to their If I Had A Dinosaur, If I Had A Sleepy Sloth, and If I Had A Unicorn series of picture books.

What would be your perfect pet? That’s the question a little girl must answer.

Dolphins are too grand. Jellyfish are too wobbly. Crabs? Nope too many claws. Our young storyteller wants a clever pet with many charms and lots of arms!

Her perfect pet is…an OCTOPUS!

Vivid colors and lively action with every turn of the page makes the case as the little girl discovers the fun of simultaneously engaging in multiple sports or creating a musical afternoon with a variety of instruments thanks to her eight-legged friend. And, of course, an octopus would be a great asset in the kitchen.

Dawney cleverly incorporates facts about the octopus into the imaginative storyline – octopuses have no bones and fit through tiny openings, they squirt ink when frightened, and they can nearly disappear thanks to their remarkable ability to camouflage themselves – making this story an ideal read for introducing a study of ocean life for young scholars ages 3 and up.

The rhyming text adds another layer of charm for reading aloud.

If I Had An Octopus would be a delightful addition to any picture book collection.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Picture Book Friday


THIS SMALL BLUE DOT, from author and illustrator Zeno Sworder, is a heartwarming story centered around a young girl’s message to her new sibling.

The little girl and the baby are both nameless and always depicted in the gray shades of pencil drawings which give them both an “every child” quality. The young narrator begins her story from the broad cosmic perspective of our solar system by pointing out the small blue dot that every human calls home, followed by our interconnectedness with the natural world. Set against strong primary-color backgrounds and bold, often over-sized crayon illustrations, the girl finds delight in the wonderful variety of life from pears to elephants.

The story takes on a more personal note as she shares some of grandfather’s wisdom about growing up and her joy in being young enough to sing, dance, and celebrate the power of her imagination.

Best of all, she discovers, is the beauty in people’s hearts no matter how different they may be and the truth that we all come from the same beginnings with the possibility to explore, dream, and find your own sense of wonder.

The Gingerbread Cowboy Book Trailer