Thursday, April 18, 2024


Hello, Friends!

I'm thrilled to share the cover and early reviews of my next picture book, THE LAST DAY JULIAN WAS MY BEST FRIEND, illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff and out June 4 from Two Lions. You can preorder it anywhere you get books.

Isn't it beautiful! 

Best friends and neighbors Anthony and Julian are having the summer of their lives. Making pancakes, riding bikes to the beach, playing in the sand and surf…They have everything they need for an epic summer vacation. But Anthony is worried. He has a secret―a secret about Julian’s missing marble. And he knows that once Julian finds out about it, he’ll be mad. He may not even want to be Anthony’s best friend anymore. So Anthony is determined to have the best last day as Julian’s best friend…until he can’t hold in his secret any longer. But maybe Julian has a surprise of his own to share with Anthony…

Kirkus called it "A touching story of true friendship and the power of forgiveness."

And Goodreads reviewers have said:

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ February 23, 2024
This book teaches the value of loyalty, honesty, and forgiveness among two best friends. It teaches a child to face their wrongdoings as they recognize the emotion of guilt for the first time. I enjoyed this aspect of the book as all children face some guilt in their lives at some point. The illustrations were well done. I didn't find any faults with this book. I would recommend it to my friends with younger kids. All kids could benefit from this book's lesson.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ February 25, 2024
Thanks to NetGalley and Two Lions for my ARC in exchange for my honest review. This book will be published June 4, 2024.

This cute children’s book is about Julian and his best friend Anthony. Julian got a marble for his birthday. It was his best present ever! The two best friends played with it until one day it disappeared.

Adults will easily spot that Anthony took it because it was so cool but the lesson for kids is one of sharing, honesty and forgiveness. ❤️

A sweet book with cute illustrations.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ April 4, 2024
A lovely story about friendship and forgiveness! Julian and Anthony are best friends and are having a great time cooking pancakes, playing at the beach, and camping out. But the entire time, Anthony knows that this will be the last day they are friends. Slowly, the reader learns that Julian's favorite marble has been missing and Anthony has it (but he hasn't fessed up to his deed). He knows that when he finally tells the truth, the friendship will be over, so he's savoring this last perfect day. Luckily, when he gives the marble back, Julian isn't as angry as Anthony predicted (Anthony's own guilt was much worse than telling the truth). A beautiful look at honesty and true friendship with gorgeous illustrations to match!

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ April 11, 2024
A touching, heartwarming examination of what it means to be a young child and good friend. Beautiful and enchanting!

I couldn't be more excited for readers to join Anthony and Julian on their touching friendship journey.

Take care!


Saturday, March 9, 2024

Countdown to eruption! 3-2-1...

SOMETIMES I AM HOT LAVA comes out on April 2, 2024! In this big feelings book, Buddy is a regular kid until he gets angry and his magma begins to boil. Sometimes he's so upset, he erupts! Fortunately, Buddy knows some tips to cool himself back down, just like igneous rock.

Illustrated by Amelie Videlo and published by Beaming Books. 

Preorder your copy today wherever you get books! And please let me know what you think. TY!


Friday, February 16, 2024

 Hi Everyone!

Big news! CREEP, LEAP, CRUNCH! A FOOD CHAIN STORY has been named a finalist for Oklahoma's 2025 Donna Norvell Award!

This award recognizes a book that has "made a significant contribution to the field of literature for children through second grade."

All my thanks to the Oklahoma Library Association for nominating our book, to Christopher Silas Neal for his beautiful illustrations, and to my editor Rotem Moscovich and all the folks at Knopf Books for Young Readers who made this book so, so lovely. 

Wow. 💗

Friday, January 5, 2024


 Hello, Book Friends!


What an amazing reception for CREEP, LEAP, CRUNCH! A FOOD CHAIN STORY, my newest picture book, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal and published by Random House Children's Books!

Shortly before release day on December 12, the reviews started rolling in...and they continue to come.

*Starred Review, School Library Journal “VERDICT: This is an excellent introduction to the food chain, and will be especially popular among elementary science teachers.

*Kirkus “A good and read-aloud-ready way of introducing an important natural process.”

*Publishers Weekly “In this useful look at the food chain, readers see predator and prey together but never the moment of devouring, making for a STEM portrait suited to even sensitive readers. Back matter provides more about the featured flora and fauna.”

*Outstanding Science Trade Book for Students K-12″ NSTA (National Science Teaching Association)

*Find out about the book’s cumulative structure, back matter, and how the title came to be in this Interview on Picture Book Builders

*Interview about Jody’s and illustrator Christopher Silas Neal’s processes on Debbie Ridpath Ohi’s blog

*Imagination Soup says, “This is a perfect STEM read aloud introduction to food chains and forest biomes” here.

*We Are Teachers “Best New Books for Kids and Teens in December 2023” here

*Author Chat with Jody Jensen Shaffer, YA and Kids Book Central here

*Book review with Sal here

*Book review with YA (and kids’)Books Central here

*Youth Services Book Review here

THANK YOU, THANK YOU to everyone who reads, reviews, and loves this book!


Friday, April 28, 2023


 Dear Book Friends,

I'm super excited about my forthcoming picture book with Christopher Silas Neal! It's called CREEP, LEAP, CRUNCH! A FOOD CHAIN STORY, and it takes readers on a forest food chain journey from morning to night, with lots of surprises along the way! From the sun to plants to animals, everything in nature has its place. But there's a twist you won't see coming! Back matter includes information about food chains and the animals in the story.

CREEP, LEAP, CRUNCH! A FOOD CHAIN STORY releases December 12, 2023 from Knopf Books for Young Readers, but it's available now for pre-order from Knopf ( or your favorite bookstore.

It's nonfiction, cumulative, active, lyrical, informative, and a great read-aloud. And just look at that cover!

If you get a chance to read it, please let me know what you think!

Take care,


Wednesday, November 30, 2022

November is Family Literacy Month

 Hello, Friends!

November is Family Literacy Month. It's a special time to put reading and books in the forefront of our family activities.

What does that look like? It looks like...

  • Adults reading books, magazines, the back of cereal boxes, road signs, ANYTHING to/with kids
  • Adults talking to kids about what the kids are reading
  • Adults encouraging kids to think about what they read
  • Adults listening to kids read out loud
  • Adults providing language-rich environments for their kids (language-rich just means lots of interesting and varied reading material)
  • Adults modeling reading to kids (I know you've got a TBR stack somewhere!)
  • Adults doing literacy extension activities with kids (after you read a book together, have the child write his or her own story of a similar style or voice, or do a craft that reinforces what they learned, or read another book about the same subject, but maybe nonfiction this time, etc.)
  • Adults taking kids to the library (or bookstore) for books, magazines, programs

In short, family literacy is families spending time together with books! What could be better?

Kellie Houx of the Courier-Tribune in Liberty, Missouri, interviewed me for Family Literacy Month. Hope you enjoy her article, linked below. Happy reading!



Choice of books, positive parent modeling keys to family literacy


Friday, April 17, 2020


Hi everyone,

I had a little fun yesterday creating a book trailer for EMERGENCY KITTENS! Hope you enjoy it!

Stay safe!