I’m so excited to be one of the authors on the newest project from Little Lamb Books, ALL GOD’S CREATURES! 60 DAYS OF DEVOTIONS FOR ANIMAL-LOVING KIDS! Little Lamb Books has put together an amazing Kickstarter program to help fund the printing of the companion journal for this beautiful book. If you do your pre-orders through Kickstarter, you’ll be eligible for some amazing prizes. Click here for more information:
I’m excited to welcome fellow Little Lamb Books author, Amberly Kristen Clowe to Sensibility and Sense today! We’re celebrating the release of the newest book in her Teeny Sweeney chapter book series, TEENY SWEENEY AND THE COUSIN CALAMITY! Amberly Kristen Clowe, is a veteran elementary school teacher and writes from her home in Kingwood, Texas. She and her husband have two children, and two dogs, Roxie and Bella. Amberly loves cycling and coffee and spends her days crafting stories that share faith in a fun way with young readers. TEENY SWEENEY AND THE COUSIN CALAMITY is the second chapter book in the Teeny Sweeney series. Welcome to Sensibility and Sense, Amberly! Now, let’s talk about your new book:
TEENY SWEENEY AND THE COUSIN CALAMITY
PR: Since this is the first post about your new children’s book Teeny Sweeney and the Cousin Calamity, tell us about it.
AKC: Glad to. So, very early in the book, readers find out that Teeny’s cousin, Winston Waddlesworth, will be visiting the Sweeney household. Readers also find out that Teeny doesn’t really dig her cousin. This book was so much fun to write because there are many pieces at play. Not only is Teeny struggling to get along with her cousin, but there’s someone or something terrorizing the neighborhood. There’s a lot going on in this story, and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE how the setting changes throughout. Kids will visit an indoor waterpark, a food truck festival, one of my absolute favorite places—the library, the zoo, and more. How fun is that!
PR: Will we see some familiar faces, like Amanda Mayweather? Will we be introduced to any new ones?
AKC: Readers will get to hang out with Amanda for a little while in this book and meet one of her family members. There are new characters galore! I’m also really excited that we learn even more about Teeny.
Writing the Second TEENY SWEENEY Book!
PR: How did the experience of writing the second book in the series compare to the first?
AKC: You know, it was really fun to dive more into this made-up place, to learn more about the characters we knew, while introducing the many new ones. I did find myself referring to my character documents and making sure to not contradict what we had already established about the characters. That was super interesting. I have the best editor, so it was awesome to work with her on another project. My publisher is also so lovely. This year we started Zoom-ing, as opposed to phone calls, so I (like a zillion others) did set up a space to do that. Haha. It was such a treat to see the illustrator, Janet Samuel, put color to Winston and especially Mustard Steve the Mustard Seed, the hero from a graphic comic strip in the story. The first time I saw his little character in his little cape I definitely cried. Not gonna lie.
PR: What message do you want readers to take away from this book?
AKC: Honestly, I think the message, though packaged a bit differently with different scripture, remains the same. My goal for this series is to help young readers look to scripture to guide them in their everyday situations. I don’t want church to be on Sunday and life to be Monday through Saturday. It took me a long time to even understand that I was compartmentalizing. I would love for it to take readers much less time to not do that. We need God’s guidance every day of the week. Teeny isn’t telling anyone to do that, but instead, she’s showing them how. She tries really hard to always think about what does and doesn’t please God.
More TEENY SWEENEY Books?
PR: I hear that there are more Teeny Sweeney books in the works. Can you tell us what to expect next?
AKC: Hmmm … I can’t say too much, but I can say that I would LOVE to have some holiday Teeny Sweeney books and some short stories.
PR: At the end of every blog post, I like to leave a little sensibility and sense for the journey. Could you share some of your wisdom with our readers?
Sensibility- Remember to have fun. That can be easier said than done, when we have these constant ambitions.
Sense-Think about what you’re currently passionate about. Our passions can be super fluid. Dig into the things that excite you. Maybe it’s reading and writing in an entirely new genre. When I’m working on projects that pique my interest, I’m having fun!
One of my favorite things about writing for children is welcoming other amazing authors to my blog to celebrate book releases. Today I’m happy to host my friend and fellow author, Janet L. Christensen and her new book, CAIRO’s CHRISTMAS JOURNEY (Little Lamb Books, October 2020)! Janet is an award-winning writer, speaker and encourager that loves to captivate audiences with inspiring stories. She is a pastor’s wife, a children’s and women’s ministry leader, and the proud mother of two teenage sons and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Sully.
Welcome, Janet and Cairo!
Janet: Patti, thanks so much for letting me join you today to tell you a little bit more about my new Christian children’s book, Cairo’s Christmas Journey. I hope you don’t mind, but I have brought the main character of the story along to help tell you about his story. Everybody, I would like to introduce you to my friend, Cairo the Cricket.
Cairo: Why, hello everybody!
Janet: So, Cairo, your story is about the night that Jesus was born. Can you tell us about it?
Cairo: Oh, my. I will never forget it. You see, my job is to play soothing music to calm down the sheep at night. Have you ever been around sheep?
Janet: You know, I can’t say as I have.
Cairo: Well, sometimes they just don’t like to go to sleep at night.
Janet: Oh, well, I do know a bit about that. When my boys were little, sometimes they didn’t like to go to sleep.
Cairo: So, you know all about it. That is where I come in. The shepherds say that my lullabies are the best they have heard. I can put the sheep to sleep in no time. Anyway, on that night, we got quite the surprise.
Janet: You did?
Cairo: Yes. I had just finished the sheep’s favorite lullaby and they were all settled down for the night. All of a sudden, we were visited by a bunch of angels. They told the shepherds all about the Messiah being born. And then one of the angels came to talk to me.
Janet: And what did the angel say to you?
Cairo: The angel told me that God wanted me to go to Bethlehem to play my sweet lullabies for the newborn King. I was shocked.
Janet: I can imagine. That sounds like a big job.
Cairo: It was a very important job. But it seemed impossible. You see, I am just a regular cricket with regular sized cricket legs. I didn’t think I would ever make all the way to Bethlehem that night.
Janet: Oh, wow. So what did you do?
Cairo: The angel told me that God would help me on my journey, so I only had one thing I could do. I got to hoppin’.
Janet: Well, that sounds pretty easy.
Cairo: Oh, no! It was anything but easy. You wouldn’t believe the tight spots I ended up in. It was quite the wild night.
Janet: How did you ever make it?
Cairo: Well, Janet. The angel was right. God sent me the help I needed right when I needed it. And I got to meet some excellent helpers along the way.
Janet: So, you finally made it to Bethlehem. How did the Messiah like your songs?
Cairo: Well, it is hard to tell. He fell asleep before I was done.
Janet: It sounds like he liked your music very well. Good job of listening to God, even when things got hard.
Cairo: I will never forget that night. I learned a very important lesson.
Janet: And what was that?
Cairo: That God is there to help us on our toughest journeys. I have remembered that ever since that night.
Janet: That is indeed an important lesson. Thank you, Cairo, for sharing your story with everyone and I bet everyone is excited to read your story when it releases on October 27 from Little Lamb Books. You can find Cairo’s Christmas Journey at many of your favorite booksellers. You can check out all of the latest on this book on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/janetlchristensen or at janetlchristensen.com.
Thanks for joining me today, Janet! CAIRO’S CHRISTMAS JOURNEY releases tomorrow (Oct. 27) and is available through Little Lamb Books or anywhere books are sold.
Sensibility- Seeing well-loved stories in new ways helps keep those stories fresh for future generations.
Sense- Think about an old story you love. As an exercise, reimagine the story from the perspective of a different character or object and write a short scene from your new point of view.
Good afternoon to all my Sensibility and Sense followers! It’s been several weeks since I’ve posted an update; I’ve been hesitating because of these uncertain days and times we find ourselves in. But because I firmly believe that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind,” I know that any happy news when everything pulls us in other ways can be a balm to the soul. So today I wanted to share with you. . .
I have a book deal!
After years of waiting, working, hoping and praying, Little Lamb Books has connected with 2 of my picture books and offered me a contract. If things go as planned, you’ll be holding MRS. NOAH and MILLIE’S CHRISTMAS MIRACLE in your hands in the fall of 2021 and 2022, respectively. You can read about how it all happened here:
I want to thank each and every one of you that has commented here throughout the years, followed me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and anywhere else I hang out, offered encouragement and a shoulder and listening ear when I was discouraged. You have no idea how much each thing means to a writer with a dream and a passion for creating uplifting content for young readers.
And so now, as we all continue to hunker down, stay at home, wash our hands, reach out to those in need and generally take care of each other, please know that all of you are in my thoughts and prayers. May God’s peace and hope fill your homes and your hearts as we all wait this out together.