A Chat with Donna McDine, Author of ‘Dee and Deb Off They Go Kindergarten First Day Jitters’

donnaMulti award-winning children’s author, Donna McDine’s creative side laid dormant for many years until her desire to write sparked in 2007. Her latest release Dee and Deb Off They Go Kindergarten First Day Jitters joins the four early reader children’s picture books, A Sandy Grave (January 2014), Powder Monkey (May 2013), Hockey Agony (January 2013) and The Golden Pathway (August 2010) all with Guardian Angel Publishing. Join McDine as her adventures continue as she ignites the curiosity of children through reading. She writes and moms from her home in the historical hamlet Tappan, NY. McDine is a member of the SCBWI.

Connect with Donna on the Web: www.donnamcdine.com / www.donna-mcdine.blogspot.com



About her latest book, Dee and Deb Off They Go Kindergarten First Day JittersThe anxiety of finding one’s own place and friends in kindergarten without the comfort of having her fraternal twin sister nearby at first overwhelms Dee until she realizes even without her fraternal twin sister, Dee and her classmates for the most part are in the same boat.

Find out more on Amazon.

Thank you for joining us today, Donna McDine. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself? I have always enjoyed immersing in a book that has me easily blocking the distractions of the world around him and I’m striving to create that joy from my books. 

deeWhen did you first get bit by the writing bug? I fondly remember watching the television show, Lou Grant with my dad and I always found it fascinating how the research to the investigative reporting was conducting. I dreamed of becoming a reporter myself one day, but for some reason I did not follow this path. Happily I find myself many moons later writing for children. 

Why did you decide to write stories for children?

My writing bug resparked in 2007 when I came across the aptitude test for the Institute of Children’s Writing and eagerly completed the test and mailed in. To my pure joy I was accepted into the program and I’m now proud to say I have five published books to my credit.

Do you believe it is harder to write books for a younger audience?

I don’t feel it’s harder, but rather a different approach is required. Engagement and not preaching is essential in having the child wanting to come back for more.

What is your favorite part of writing for young people?

Watching their faces light up with excitement when they find a book that resonates with them and they then ask for more books along the same style or theme. It’s exciting to watch them open up the world at their fingertips.

Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?

The anxiety of finding one’s own place and friends in kindergarten without the comfort of having her fraternal twin sister nearby at first overwhelms Dee until she realizes even without her fraternal twin sister, Dee and her classmates for the most part are in the same boat. 

What inspired you to write it?

The desire to share my personal childhood experience of being separated from my fraternal twin sister for the first time and that it all turned out okay.

Where can readers purchase a copy?

Pre-orders are available at my website www.donnamcdine.com and once December 1, 2015 rolls around Dee and Deb Off They Go Kindergarten First Day Jitters will be available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Guardian Angel Publishing as well as my website.

What is up next for you?

I’m dusting off a long ago shelved work-in-progress with a historical fiction theme.

Do you have anything else to add?

Keep reading and never stop. The exploration of the world is endless through books.

Thank you for spending time with us today, Donna McDine. We wish you much success.

Thank you, it was a true pleasure visiting with you and your visitors today.


Interview with Leslie Josel, Author of What’s the Deal with Teens and Time Management

Leslie JoselLeslie Josel is the Principal of Order Out of Chaos®, an organizing consulting firm specializing in student organizing and chronic disorganization.  Launched in 2004, Order Out of Chaos® offers organizing, time management and coaching services; provides family education and ADHD resources as well as teleclasses, webinars, videos, and products to hundreds of families.

Leslie is a graduate of the JST Coach Training Program for teens and college students with ADHD. She is a Golden Circle member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and earned her Chronic Disorganization and Hoarding Specialist certificates from the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD).

In 2015, Leslie’s second book, What’s the Deal with Teens and Time Management, a parents’ step-by-step guide to help teach their teens the time management skills they need to succeed in school, home and in life, was published. Leslie is also the creator of the award winning “Academic Planner: A Tool for Time Management,” a student planner that helps middle and high schoolers develop and master time management skills. 

A respected resource on ADHD and Executive Functioning in students, Leslie speaks and conducts workshops nationally to parent and educator groups on a variety of issues and topics facing students today, including The Matan Institute, National Ramah Camping Commission, and Morgan Stanley.  Leslie has also been featured in national broadcast and print media such as the Hallmark Channel’s “The Better Show”, “Conversations in Care” radio, The Associated Press, Family Circle Magazine, and Educational Dealer Magazine.

Also known nationally as an expert on chronic disorganization and hoarding issues, Leslie has appeared on many episodes of TLC’s hit television show, “Hoarding: Buried Alive”,  and the Cooking Channel’s television special, “Stuffed: Food Hoarders”. In 2014, Leslie received a Telly Award, the Internet/Online programming’s highest honor for her work on dLifeTV. 

She is also the co-author of the award winning “The Complete Diabetes Organizer: Your Guide to a Less Stressful and More Manageable Diabetes Life” (Spry, 2013).

To sign up for Order Out of Chaos’ monthly newsletter, read their weekly blog, access free videos, resources and information or learn more about Leslie, visit their website at www.orderoochaos.com.

For More Information

Where did you grow up?  

I grew up in Oceanside, Long Island that is east of New York City. And I lived there until I left for college at Cornell University in Ithaca.

When did you begin writing?

I have always liked to write, even as a little girl. My father used to say to me that if you could write you could do anything with your life. I think that is true. I started really writing when my business started to grow and people craved resources and info. So I was always writing newsletter copy, blog posts, tweets, speeches, power points, etc. So the next step naturally was a book. 

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

Late at night. That’s my time. I love the stillness of the day and the darkness.

What is this book about?  

What’s the Deal with Teens and Time Management: A Parents’ Guide to Helping Your Teen Succeed takes parents step-by-step through the basics of teaching their teens the time management skills they need to succeed – at school, at home and in life. It is really user-friendly guide full of best practice solutions for helping your teen. I open the door to the world of time management, what it really means, why it’s important and why teens probably don’t get it. And I offer up my “Triple Ts”-my tried and true Tips, Tools and Techniques-to provide support and guidance for parents looking to help their teens understand, develop and implement time management skills. 

What inspired you to write it? What's the Deal with Teens and Time Management 2

I have been in business now for over a decade. I travel the country regularly presenting to parents, students and teachers on issues surrounding teens today. Over the years, the single most requested subject I am asked to speak on or parents are concerned about is time management, an issue filled with emotion, anxiety and confusion. Not a day goes by that I am not speaking, writing, emailing, coaching or talking on this subject. Having developed my arsenal of “Triple Ts”, it was time to write a book! 

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

Very easy. I had a publisher that gave me a lot of rope and let me write the book I thought parents would read.

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

I gave myself a very short deadline to get this done. Don’t underestimate how long writing a book takes. OMGoodness. I would have given myself way more time!

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book? 

They can go to either my website at www.orderoochaos.com OR they can go to Amazon and purchase a book directly there.

Do you have a video trailer to promote your book?  If yes, where can readers find it?

http://orderoochaos.com/shop-products/#!/Whats-the-Deal-With-Teens-and-Time-Management/p/46682579/category=5059090 here is the link to the video trailer. They can also find it on my website. Just go to Time Management Book Info and you will find the video.


What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Write what you know. Write what you are passionate about. Write from your own voice and be authentic. The best complement I always get is when people say that they hear my voice in their head when they are reading my books. Then I know I did my job right!

What is up next for you? 

Lots! We also sell academic planners that teach time management so we are expanding our product line for next back to school. And you can find those on our site as well.  Book number 3 is percolating. We are offering more webinars and videos to our Order Out of Chaos community. And I am traveling more and more speaking to parent and educator groups. 

Is there anything you would like to add?

Just a huge thank you to your readers for hanging with us today.



And to be patient with your teen. My son is ADHD and has time management deficiencies but through patience and consistency I was able to teach him these skills. So if I can do it so can you!  Remember, time management is a Life Skill that doesn’t come naturally to everyone. But it can be learned.

And Now…For This Announcement


As you have probably noticed, I haven’t been blogging as much as I used to. Seems I must be a good real estate agent, because I have been very busy and some have told me it’s unusual for a newbie to have such a successful first year. Yay me!

So, after careful consideration, I decided to put my writer’s blog–Little Shepherd–on hiatus for a while. The good news is that the updates I used to make there–announcements of when I blog at Christian Children’s Authors, goal updates, writing news, and the sharing of youth ministry resources–will appear here at The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection.

Hope you all have a great weekend. Thanks for your readership.

Interview with Melissa Abramovitz, author of ‘Helping Herbie Hedgehog’

0799Melissa Abramovitz has been a freelance writer/author for 30 years and specializes in writing nonfiction magazine articles and books for all age groups. She is the author of hundreds of magazine articles, more than 40 educational books for children and teenagers, numerous poems and short stories, several children’s picture books, and a book for writers titled A Treasure Trove of Opportunity: How to Write and Sell Articles for Children’s Magazines.  Melissa graduated from the University of California San Diego with a degree in psychology and is also a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature. She is a member of SCBWI, NABE, and The Working Writer’s Club. Visit her website at www.melissaabramovitz.com  

Thank you for joining us today, Melissa. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself? I’ve been writing professionally for about thirty years and love being a writer. Most of the work I do is writing books for educational book publishers, but I also write magazine articles for all age groups, some fiction, poetry, and children’s picture books. So I’m what you call an eclectic writer since I don’t stick to one type of writing or one genre. In addition to working full-time as a writer, I enjoy volunteering regularly at my local animal shelter – yes, I’m an animal lover and really enjoy doing something that makes a tiny positive difference in the world. And I spend as much time as possible with my family. I have two grown sons and three beautiful grandchildren! 

When did you first get bit by the writing bug? I have enjoyed writing all my life. As a child I used to write stories and poems all the time, and the first thing I ever had published was a poem I wrote when I was in high school. The poem won some sort of competition and was featured in a local school district publication. Believe it or not, I even enjoyed writing term papers in high school and college because I liked finding new ways to express myself through writing. But I never envisioned having a career as a writer until later on. I got my degree in psychology and planned to become a clinical psychologist, but that never came to be. When my children were small, I was lucky enough to be a stay-at-home mom, and I decided to take a writing class to explore the possibility of starting a part-time career in writing that I could fit in around my main role as a mom/homemaker. I sold the first magazine article I submitted to a publisher, and I was on my way! But it wasn’t all smooth sailing – like all writers, I received and still receive lots of rejections. But being a writer has proven to be a perfect career for me. 

HHH9x150Why did you decide to write stories for children? The first writing course I took was through the Institute of Children’s Literature, so I learned a lot about writing for children through that class. I also write for adults, and enjoy that too, but there is something very special about writing for kids. Not only do I like creating stories and books that kids will want to read, but writing for children has restored my child-like wonder about the world because it helps me see the world through childrens’ eyes. 

Do you believe it is harder to write books for a younger audience? Absolutely. Some people think it’s easy to write for children, but it’s much more difficult than writing for adults is. Every word and idea must be age-appropriate for children. The word counts for childrens’ books and magazine articles are typically much more stringent than for adults, and this is also challenging. It is incredibly difficult to present a story or nonfiction piece in 100 to 500 words, which is a typical length for young children. 

What is your favorite part of writing for young people? I really like knowing that something I wrote has the potential to get kids excited about reading or that it can motivate them to become better people or do something good in the world. 

Can you tell us what your latest book is all about? Helping Herbie Hedgehog is an interactive picture book/early chapter book about a clueless hedgehog who needs help figuring out how to get places and go about doing other things in his day like chores, shopping, exercising, and other activities. Amusing rhymes invite kids to help Herbie make decisions such as whether to ride his bicycle or take a sailing ship across the ocean, or whether he should buy a hat or a shoe to wear on his head. As the book blurb states, “Herbie has places to go and things to do. But he needs some help ‘cause he hasn’t a clue! If you’ll help Herbie decide what’s right and wrong, he’ll be busy and happy the whole day long!”  Recommended for children ages 2 to 7, Helping Herbie Hedgehog helps kids learn about everyday things while having fun.

What inspired you to write it? : Most of the books, poems, and magazine articles I write are educational in some way. I’m always looking for ways to make learning about concepts or other ideas fun for kids.  Many years ago, knowing how much small children enjoy being right, I got the idea to write a series of funny poems about animal characters that need to figure out how to get places and do other things. I decided to engage young readers in helping the characters decide what to do, given some silly choices. I ended up incorporating all the poems into a book that featured a single character, Herbie Hedgehog. 

Where can readers purchase a copy? It’s available at Amazon www.amazon.com/Helping-Herbie-Hedgehog-Melissa-Abramovitz/

and at the Guardian Angel Publishing website: www.guardianangelpublishing.com/herbie-hedgehog.htm 

What is up next for you? I’m always working on new educational books, and plan to continue to do that. I’ve also completed several more picture books and hope to find publishers for these books. I’ve been thinking that the best way to go about this may be to hire an agent, even though I’ve never used an agent before.  So many publishers have closed their doors to unagented submissions these days. So I need to invest some serious time in finding the right agent. And of course I’m looking forward to doing more promotions for Helping Herbie Hedgehog!

Do you have anything else to add? Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share information about Herbie Hedgehog and myself. I’ve been thrilled by the positive reviews and feedback I’ve received about Helping Herbie Hedgehog since it was released, and hope this book continues to be a source of laughter and fun for those who read it.

Thank you for spending time with us today, Melissa. We wish you much success.


Book Review: ‘Cinderella’s Secret Slipper’ by Alinka Rutkowska‏

Does your child love Cinderella and fairy tales? What happened to Cinderella after she got married with the price and started a family? What is her regular day like? What does she do with her time?
This delightful children’s picture book follows the Cinderella story after she’s married the prince and they have a little son.
The tale begins with the announcement of their son’s fourth birthday and their plans for a celebration ball. Cinderella is excited and goes into her closet to select what she’ll wear. She finds the perfect golden dress, but lo and behold, there’s only one glass slipper! Where’s the other one? To her shock, her little darling son is smashing it against the wall, trying to kill a mosquito.
Thus embarks Cinderella on a little quest to repair her slipper in time for the ball. Unfortunately, she’s not having much success. Then, something surprising happens when she enters the enchanted forest and meets her fairy godmother.
This is a charming little fairytale that not only children but adults will enjoy. It is humorous and kept me smiling throughout. I also loved the modern, childlike illustrations, which add to the humor. Children will love this upbeat tale at storytime or before going to sleep. Delightful!
Reviewed by Mayra Calvani
Find out more on Amazon.
Find out about the author, Alinka Rutkowska.