PB Review + Interview / Abuela’s Super Capa

AbuelasSuperCapa-High-ResolutionBook: Abuela’s Super Capa (2023)
Author: Ana Siqueira
Illustrator: Elisa Chavarri
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: Picture Book

Opening Lines of the Book…
Saturdays are superheroe days for Abuela and me. Super hugs! Check. Super shakes! Clink. Super capas! Ready. Let’s save the world!


This book is such a fun take on superheroes. We have Luis and his sidekick, Abuela. And then there’s the Tiny Intruder (little sister Isabel who is so stinking cute!).


The illustrations are so colorful. And I love how active Abuela is, at least until she gets sick. (Yes, there’s an illness in this book. But don’t worry, this is not one of those books where we have to say goodbye forever to Abuela. There are some tears and sadness, but not about that.) The ending is particularly heartwarming, involving the Tiny Intruder.

Highly recommend 🙂

Super Capa


Q: This book has a special background to it. Can you tell me about the inspiration?
A: I had been trying to write a story about a grieving boy from Peru and his stuffed penguin. But the story didn’t work until… my mom died. And that’s when in the midst of my grieving, I got inspired by my real life and the beautiful and fun relationship between my mom and my younger son. As a seventy-year-old grandma, my mom would run the house playing superheroes with my son. She even made costumes for them. And TA-DA, my story got unstuck through heartfelt words, sad tears, and happy memories.  And I learned my lessons. 1. Get inspired by your own story and experiences. 2. Write the story through children’s eyes and be concrete.

Q: This book went to auction, right? Can you tell me about that experience? How did you pick which publisher to go with?
A: It was at the same time fun and flattering to have three big-5 publishers fighting for your book and at the same time overwhelming. I loved all the visions, editors, and publishers. I got market packets that made my heart thump. I couldn’t make up my mind. But, I decided to go with Luana Horry with HarperCollins because her enthusiasm on the phone infected me with happiness and hope. But the other two editors were also sweet and amazing. Any option would be fabulosa. 

Q: What is your favorite line/scene from the book? (without giving away spoilers)
A: I have to say that I love both the line and illustration from when Luis is all by himself, with his big cape and a tear in his eyes thinking: Rest? Until when? When can I have my sidekick back? – I have goosebumps each time I look at this spread. It is so emotional and I can feel Luis’ feelings through art. I can’t thank Elisa enough for this beautiful spread.


Q: The book is about superheroes. If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
A: I think I would love to clone myself so I can have one Ana teacher, one Ana writer, and one Ana Abuela/ Mami/Esposa. Also, teletransportation, so I can go see my family in Seattle, Pensacola, Cuba, and Brasil at any time. 

Q: This story is also about a grandparent in the hospital. What’s your best advice for kids who are dealing with sadness?
A: When my grandma in Brazil (Vovó) got sick, my daughter, at that time only three years old, would sit and play, very patiently, with her. So, trying to make your grandparents feel special even considering their limitations can add some light to their lives. And if your Abuelo or Abuela was your sidekick, they will always be. But find other family members to help you go through this tough moment. Connect even more with siblings, parents, family, and friends, and when possible include your super abuelos too. 

ana-photo6) Where can people find out more about you and your books?
A: You can find more about me, my family, and my books at https://anafiction.com/
Also, follow me at https://www.instagram.com/asiqueira1307/,



12 months to feature 12 picture books…

This picture book review is part of a monthly challenge I’ve set for myself. Have a recommendation for me? I’d love to hear about it in the comments. (Published within the past 3 years, please!). I may just feature your pick one of these months!

PB Review / Leif and the Fall

pb-leif-and-fallBook: Leif and the Fall (2020)
Author: Allison Sweet Grant and Adam Grant
Illustrator: Merrilee Liddiard
Publisher: Dial Books
Genre: Picture Book

Opening Lines of the Book…
Leif is a leaf. A small green leaf with browning edges, who lives in a big oak tree. “The breeze is blowing harder,” Leif says to himself. “The days are getting shorter. It’s nearly fall.” Leif knows that in the fall, leaves fall from the trees. And Leif is worried.


I love the play on words on the name Leif (who’s a leaf). The story follows the attempts of Leif and his friend Laurel try to avoid falling when it comes to autumn. There’s a very fun refrain: “All leaves fall in the fall!” And perfect to help us see that most of our worries are really something we shouldn’t be worried about. A perfect story for this time of year! 

Thanks to Tunisia Williams for recommending this book.



12 months to read 12 books recommended by 12 friends…

This picture book review is part of a monthly challenge I’ve set for myself. I’ve asked my friends on Twitter to recommend picture books they’ve enjoyed reading (published within the past 3 years). I will choose to feature one each month.

Note: The original 12 Challenge isn’t necessarily just for picture books. But I’ve set it up this way for my own challenge.

PB Review / Beatrice Bly’s Rules for Spies

20220108ma_0069Book: Beatrice Bly’s Rules for Spies: The Missing Hamster (2021)
Author: Sue Fliess
Illustrator: Beth Mills
Publisher: Pixel+Ink
Genre: Picture Book

Opening Lines of the Book…
Beatrice Bly was no ordinary spy. Beatrice was a … SUPER SPY!


What a fun little mystery! Join Beatrice Bly, Super Spy, as she tries to figure out the mystery of the missing hamster! As a kid, I loved these types of books. And while adult-me figured out the mystery, I’m sure kids will enjoy the whodunit process.

The setting is Beatrice’s school, and the victim is the classroom hamster. Beatrice and her friend look for clues, finally bringing us to the happy reunion.

Love the illustrations. Love those opening lines. Love that her name rhymes with spy!



12 months to read 12 books recommended by 12 friends…

This picture book review is part of a monthly challenge I’ve set for myself. I’ve asked my friends on Twitter to recommend picture books they’ve enjoyed reading (published within the past 3 years). I will choose to feature one each month.

Note: The original 12 Challenge isn’t necessarily just for picture books. But I’ve set it up this way for my own challenge.

PB Review + Interview / If Your Babysitter is a Bruja

brujaBook: If Your Babysitter is a Bruja (2022)
Author: Ana Siqueira
Illustrator: Irena Freitas
Genre: Picture Book

Opening Lines of the Book…
If it’s almost Halloween and you have a new babysitter … be wary. She might be a bruja! A witch!


It can be such a nerve-wracking experience to have a new babysitter. I love how this story helps you know that new babysitters can bring some great fun. I love the main character’s big imagination, especially the little nod to The Wizard of Oz (with regards to how to defeat a witch).
And while the main character creates hardship for the babysitter, it was nice to see a moment where she realizes that she has crossed a line. And that’s when she starts to figure out that maybe the babysitter is more fun than she first thought.
Certainly, a fun read with Spanish words sprinkled in. The illustrations are wonderfully colorful. And the little MC is adorable in her two little buns. While it’s set during Halloween, it really could be read any time of the year!


Q: Where did you get the idea for this book?
A: This story was based on a personal experience. I was not the babysitter or bruja, and I was not the girl. But I was the mother of a girl who decided I was a bruja, and not her mom, when I told her we couldn’t stay on the beach anymore. Of course, it lasted three blocks walking and carrying her to convince her I was her real Mami.

Q: Why did you write this in the second person?
I tried writing this story in the third and first person. I love writing in the first person. But something was not right. It was maybe too scary. Then, I read all the books by Elise Parsley. I love them. That’s when I tried writing it in the second person. This voice allowed me to transform this story into a fun story without being so scary.


Q: When you write, do you have illustrations in mind? How do they compare when you see the final art?
A: When I wrote, I imagined the illustrations would show the reality while the girl was imagining. For example, when she thinks she was being grabbed by her pants and thrown on a Twisted Torre, we would see the Bruja holding her hands and taking her to the playground slide. But the final art is so much better than my imagination. It is vivid and full of energy. The way Irena mixes her imagination with a dash of reality allows the readers to dive into her imagination.

Q: Can you tell me the story of how this book was sold?
A: I worked on this book during a class with Mira Reisberg from The Children’s Book Academy. She was sweet enough to give me a scholarship. At the end of this class, we could pitch a story to an agent’s and editors’ showcase. I got three likes, or golden nuggets, from three editors. I submitted first to one. And she submitted me some ideas for a Revise and Resubmit. But after I completed my revision, I had already gotten an agent: Andrea Walker. We didn’t submit it to the previous editor, because my agency was not working with this publisher because of some controversies, but we submitted it to Alyza Liu, who had requested my story during the showcase. And that’s how we sold it.

Q: How much work did you have to do with the editor once the book was sold?
A: Alyza Liu gave me amazing feedback: make the girl more active. At first, she was mostly reacting to Bruja’s actions. That dash of ingenuity from the girl added a lot of humor. Besides that, all the changes were minor and fast.

Q: What’s your favorite line from the book?
A: It’s so hard to choose. The rhythmic lyrical sentences in this story are so much fun. But I like the last line when she repeats the first line with a twist.  But to prevent spoilers, I will have here my first line: If it’s almost Halloween and you have a new babysitter… be wary. She might be a bruja! A witch! If she zooms in on a broom, black sombrero on her head, cackling like a crow… ¡Corre! Run!

Q: Do you have a favorite illustration from the book?
A: I love them all, but I always laugh when I see Bruja’s expression spitting the magic potion.  And I love the scene where the Bruja cast a sleeping spell that nobody can resist.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do with (or as) a babysitter?
A: Now that you asked me this question, I remember… I had a nanny who might have been a bruja. She was very explosive and one day she hit my little sister. I told on her and she got fired. So, maybe, who knows, this Bruja has been also the inspiration for my story.

Q: What’s your best advice for new writers?
A: Try different versions of all your stories. When the previous editor suggested me a big change for my Revise and Resubmit, I thought she was not right. But I tried, and… I loved it. So try. Sometimes you will not agree with a critique, but what if you try? Of course, don’t delete your old version. But even if you try it and you hate it, you will probably learn something new about your story, your style, or your character.

ana-photoQ: Where can people find out more about you and your books?
A: Check my website and contact me with questions too. Website: https://anafiction.com/

Ana Siqueira is a Spanish-language elementary teacher, and an award-winning Brazilian children’s author also published in the Foreign Language educational market. Her picture books include Bella’s Recipe for Success (Beaming Books, 2021), Abuela’s Super Capa (HarperCollins, 2023), Room in Mami’s Corazon (Harpercollins, 2024), and a few more books to be announced. Besides writing, Ana loves to read, teach, and play with her Cuban-Brazilian-American grandchildren. Twitter: @SraSiqueira1307



12 months to read 12 books recommended by 12 friends…

This picture book review is part of a monthly challenge I’ve set for myself. I’ve asked my friends on Twitter to recommend picture books they’ve enjoyed reading (published within the past 3 years). I will choose to feature one each month.

Note: The original 12 Challenge isn’t necessarily just for picture books. But I’ve set it up this way for my own challenge.

Review + Interview / Bella’s Recipe for Success

book-bellaBook: Bella’s Recipe for Success (2021)
Author: Ana Siqueira
Illustrator: Geraldine Rodriguez
Genre: Picture Book

Opening lines from the book …
I’m helping Abuela in the kitchen when … “I can play the piano with my eyes closed!” mi hermano brags.


A beautifully-written book about perseverance! Poor Bella just wants to be good at something.

I love the connection with the grandmother: “We can always try again.” What a wonderful reminder. And that’s what Bella keeps doing, over and over as she tries to perfect the baking of polvorones. Of course, she has many disasters (hence the cross-out in the title), but … well, I won’t quite spoil it, but again the title is a little hint.

Love the Spanish and English throughout the text. And all the animal metaphors/similes are fun. There’s a recipe at the back so you too can try baking your own polvorones. I think I just might need to get my apron out. 🙂


ana-photoFull disclosure: Author Ana Siqueira is one of my critique partners. And I am actually one of Bella’s book godmothers or aunties or something like that. Anyhow, that’s what it feels like when you get to see a book at the earliest stages (at a time before Bella was even named Bella) and to see this book in its final form. And yes, I remember all those revisions, Ana!

Here is my interview with the wonderful writer of this book

Q: Tell us a little about yourself. (How did you become a writer; where you’re from; that sort of thing.)
A: I’m from Brazil where I wrote and got two books published. One of them – A LUA NAMORADEIRA (THE FLIRTING MOON) got a prize from the Brazilian Academia de Letras. But this was a long time ago. I moved to this country in 1992 and then life happened and I stopped writing. I worked as an interpreter, a teacher, and a cafe owner. In 2018, I wrote a book for my 2nd-grade students based on the DUCK SONG video. I sold this book to TEACHER’S DISCOVERY and then, TA-DA, I got excited and decided to go back to writing. In 2019, I joined Storytellers Academy and some critique groups and I started my journey back to writing.

Q: What’s the best part about writing for children?
A: It’s so much fun writing, but it’s even more fun reading to them. It’s fun to hear them giggling or to reply to their questions. I can’t wait to get some more school visits.

Q: Where did you get the idea for this book?
A: This was inspired by my perfectionist daughter and many of my students. I also love reading and researching about #growthmindset and I think this is an important topic.

Q: What was the hardest thing about writing this book?
A: I have just restarted writing. Writing in Brazil in 1991 and writing here in 2019 are very different. I had to relearn writing picture books. I had to take many classes and do LOOOOTS of revisions. Thanks for always being willing to check one more revision. Hahaha.

Q: What’s the worst baking “disaster” you’ve had?
A: I enjoy cooking better than baking. But I just had a disaster when baking the polvorone recipe at the back of Bella’s book. Instead of vanilla, I put in anise and the cookie dough tasted horrible. My grandson and I laughed so much, it was worth it.

Q: What’s the first thing you baked as a child?
A: I remember being in a culinary class during my middle-grade years and baking some onion bread. I was a desastre there too. I cried so much slicing the onions. I dropped onions on the floor. I kept asking for more onions. But this is the only recipe I remember from this class. So making mistakes is a great way to really learn, right?

Q: Is there anything you’ve tried to make in the kitchen that still gives you trouble?
A: My husband loves a plate from Cuba called congri. It’s basically rice and beans cooked together. However, for some reason, sometimes my rice gets too sticky, sometimes it burns, sometimes it’s perfecto. I guess I have to keep on trying.

Q: This is your debut picture book. Explain what it’s like to finally hold this book in your hands?
A: It’s such a big emotion. OMG. You work so hard. And then… You can see it. You can hold it. You did it. Bella is almost like my child.

Q: Where can people find out more about you and your books?
A: Check my website – https://anafiction.com/
Follow me on Twitter – https://twitter.com/SraSiqueira1307

Review, Interview, Giveaway / Jurassic Rat


Book: Jurassic Rat (2019)
Author: Eleanor Ann Peterson
Illustrator: John Seckman
Genre: Picture Book, Dinosaurs, Rats

Opening lines from the book …
Long ago in dinosaur times, there lived a rat as big as a cat.


I don’t know a child who’s NOT fascinated by dinosaur times. Come to think of it, I’d say most adults are pretty fascinated too! In this story, we’re introduced to a rat dad who has a big family to feed. But when you live in the Jurassic era, well, there are lots of dangers. Did I mention … DINOSAURS?!

I found the information about rats (as big as cats!) very interesting. I’m rather glad the rats of today aren’t quite so big. And generally, I’m fine with rats as long as they stay out of the house or the garden. (Unless they’re a pet, of course. I once met a very lovely rat named Stockings who was a pet. Her owner (a young girl) was very keen to let me know how smart rats are and how they do make wonderful pets. After meeting Stockings, I’m very much in agreement.)

The illustrations by John Seckman are really quite delightful. And I love all the thumps and whumps and the ploppidy plops that accompany Rat on his mission to try to feed his family and evade some hungry predators.

Would definitely recommend it to anybody interested in dinosaur times.



Eleanor Peterson reads her book, Jurassic Rat.

I was able to interview the author, Eleanor Ann Peterson. (Spoiler! There’s a BOOK GIVEAWAY at the end of the interview.)

Q: Hi Eleanor. First off, please tell me a little about yourself.

A: I’m originally from Ottawa, Canada, but after meeting the love of my life in Three-Rivers, Quebec, we married and moved to Italy. There I worked in a family-run bakery, computer shop, and lastly, in a machining shop with my hubby and son. My eldest daughter lives in Toronto.

I enjoyed creative writing when I was in school and kept it up when I left. Writing is an outlet for me to get thoughts out and make use of them. To improve my craft, I took writing courses and attended SCBWI conferences. Besides writing, I enjoy painting, photography, playing with clay, sports, and going for long walks in the wilderness.

Q: What’s the best part about writing for children?

A: The best part about writing for children is that anything is possible. The most incredible and bizarre can happen to your characters. I like to use the “what if” question. Like, “What if cows could fly?” I like to tell stories that come from a different angle or are based on real-life experiences. Teachers always told me to write what I know, what I want, and not what’s popular.

Q: You mentioned to me a story about your first book presentation. Tell me about that.

A: Oh goodness! After the book came out, life happened, and I couldn’t market my book the way I had planned. Then things got sorted out, and I was determined to present my main character, Rat, to the world. I contacted my local library, and the librarian was enthusiastic about my book presentation. I showed her my puppet of Rat and later sent her a clip of my bilingual (English/Italian) presentation which I filmed and edited with Movavi video editor. She was thrilled to have me. The event was published in various local newspapers. I was so excited. I prepared props and activities for the occasion. It was carnival season, so I had a dinosaur suit I would wear during the presentation on February 24th, 2020. A few days before the presentation, COVID-19 broke out, and we were all on lockdown. The event was canceled ‘til further notice. *Sigh!*

Q: Where did you get the idea for this book?

A: The idea for Jurassic Rat came while I researched how to remove roof rats from my old rambling house without poisoning them. I tried to talk them into moving elsewhere, but that didn’t work. In the end, my cats convinced them.

While surfing the web, I came upon an article of a fantastic discovery in Spain and China about an unearthed rat belonging to the Jurassic Period. Bingo! I had a story. Having studied the evolution process during my university studies, I thought, why not introduce young readers to the evolution of species in a fun way. I bet you didn’t know that the rat’s ancestors roamed the Earth alongside dinosaurs.

Q: Did this book need a lot of research? If so, what kind of research did you do?

A: As in any concept book, you need to get things right. Facts count even in picture books. I researched other fossilized rats found on different continents and tried to reach out to the scientists who wrote the articles but to no avail. I sent my research links to my publisher and editor, and they checked if the information was accurate. I also had the opportunity to collaborate with the illustrator, John Seckman. He also had to research which animals and plants lived in that period. I.e. T-Rex dinos did not yet exist in the Jurassic period. There are links in the backmatter for further reference.

Q: If you could visit the Jurassic Period for one hour, what would you want to do there?

A: Ride a sauropod while searching and documenting flora and fauna unknown to man in our era. I’d probably get eaten by a dinosaur while examining an insect.

Q: This book is about a rat dad on a food mission. What’s the most dangerous/exciting “food mission” you’ve ever been on?

A: The most dangerous was when I went fishing with my nephew in Canada. We didn’t catch anything other than mosquito bites and almost tipped the boat. I prefer veggies to meat. Therefore, the most exciting mission is clutching my basket and hiking stick and taking a walk in the wilderness searching for medicinal herbs for tea and edible plants and mushrooms for my omelets.

Q: What’s your favourite dinosaur joke? (Feel free to do rat joke instead, if you like.)

A: Q. Why don’t you see dinosaurs at Easter? A. Because they are eggs-tinct.

Q. What kind of rat can tell you what 6.022 x 10^23 means? A. Mole rats.

Q: Where can people find out more about you and your books?

A: You’ll find out all about me on my website: https://elenaorannpeterson.com You don’t need to subscribe or give me your email address. All you have to do is click follow, and you’ll get my latest blog posts in your inbox. (Sorry, I still haven’t figured out how to set up MailChimp newsletters yet. But it’s on my to-do list.)

Connect with Eleanor on:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/EAnnPeterson
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/eleanorannpeterson/
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/eleanorannpeterson/
Facebook personal: https://www.facebook.com/eleanor.a.peterson
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.it/eleanorannpeter/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHPeCYEAqvWHsADZxmYxnBw


*Chance to Win* a copy of the picture book: JURASSIC RAT by Eleanor Ann Peterson


Jurassic-Rat(So I know how to contact you if you WIN!)

Eleanor Ann Peterson is offering a free copy of this book for a giveaway, and YOU just might be the lucky winner. Open to entries from around the world!

You can win an additional entry by liking and commenting on this blog post!

Contest ends May 23, 2021 (9pm ET)