Posted by: Kathy Temean | March 1, 2016

Book Giveaway – A Friend for Mole by Nancy Armo

Congratulations! Leila Nabih is the winner of

Nancy Armo’s new picture book A FRIEND FOR MOLE.

Nancy Armo has a new picture book A FRIEND FOR MOLE, that just hit the book shelves. She has agreed to do a book giveaway and include a signed print with the book (Take a look at the bottom of the page). Also, Nancy has include pictures of how she developed her characters. I think you will really love reading this post.

All you have to do is leave a comment to get in the running. Reblog, or tweet, or talk about it on facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you did to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Please make sure you check back. I will announce the winner on March 15.

bookgiveaway Nancy ArmoAFriendforMole_cover


A Friend for Mole features an adorable Mole and his experience after he decides to leave his dark and cozy burrow.

Struggling with his overwhelming fear of the unknown, Mole stumbles across a friendly Wolf who is trying to conquer fears of his own. As they keep each other company and learn from one another, the two discover that friendship can be one of the strongest shields against fear.

Through Mole and Wolf’s experiences, young readers learn that differences aren’t necessarily weaknesses, and strengths are most powerful when used to help a friend. With simple but humorous text, and soft, bright illustrations to guide the way, this picture book is a gentle, fun journey through fear to friendship.


Don’t you wish there was a GPS app when writing or illustrating a picture book? A few directions to help you find the right turns on the long wandering journey would be nice. Often you travel down a road that ultimately doesn’t work and end up going in the opposite direction. This was what I experienced with A FRIEND FOR MOLE (published by Peachtree Publishers March 2016).

Many times I develop drawings of characters before there is a complete story. Unfortunately you can fall in love with a character and build a story around them before realizing you are in the wrong lane. The original title of my book was A FRIEND FOR WOLF. I was charmed his “bad boy wolf” image that hurt his ability to make friends. His solution was to hide who he was by wearing costumes. But everyone he met saw through his disguises, except for a mole who had bad eyesight. The story went through many rounds of revisions and critique group vetting until the manuscript/dummy seemed ready for submission.

bookgiveaway Nancy armo mole_characterdevelopment

Rejection emails came back. Many commented that there were already too many misunderstood wolf stories out there, so my story was bringing nothing new to the party. One kind editor took the time to ask if I would consider flipping the storyline. That is, make mole the center of the story.

It was harder than I expected to retool my characters. What was the new arc to the story? Then I remembered something my son had told me: “Everyone is scared of something. Sometimes it helps if you have a friend when you are scared.” I explored the idea of mole venturing outside his burrow and suddenly becoming  scared of the light because he had spent all his life in dark tunnels. Wolf on the other hand would be scared of the dark. The two could accidently meet and find that their strengths combined would help them overcome their fears. After many drafts, it was still not right. It didn’t make sense that a big wolf would be scared of the dark and have a friend like mole. Wouldn’t he rather eat him? I realized that Wolf needed to be much younger. This is where research helped. Wolf pups start taking short trips outside their den when they’re 3 weeks old, but don’t start eating meat until 2 months. Back to the drawing board to create a young wolf who might need the help of an unexpected friend like mole.

bookgiveaway nancy armowolf_characterdevelopment

The road to publication for A FRIEND FOR MOLE has had many twists and turns. There is unfortunately no magic GPS to help guide you in your writing, but if you stick with it, you’ll get it right.


BIO: Nancy Armo is a former art director at Hewlett-Packard. She recently moved to Long Island, NY with her family where there are lots of moles happily digging in her garden. Nancy was featured on Illustrator Saturday. Here is the link.

You can find Nancy at, and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

book giveaway Nancy armo book_printimage

Congratulation, Nancy! Love the book. Wishing you lots of luck with it.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Great post. And I loved reading the post about her process as an illustrator. May this be the beginning of s fruitful career in children’s books!

    • Leila,

      Congratulations! You won Nancy’s book. Please send your address to me, so I can receive your book.


  2. Mole is adorable! Thank you for the chance to win a signed copy! I am collecting books for my first grandchild (due this fall!!) so he or she has a fabulous library. A Friend for Mole is going on my list and an autographed copy would be extra special!!!

  3. LOVE Mole— Thank for this post and for your beautiful art!

  4. Congratulations, Nancy! Can’t wait to read your adorable book.

  5. Great post. Love how Nancy shows the evolution of her characters which effected her story process and vice versa.

  6. I really appreciated hearing about the process and I loved looking at her illustrations. They are adorable as well as the story. Bravo!

  7. Looks like a great book for my grandkids. Please enter me! Hooray for perseverance!!

  8. Love the pictures and how wonderful to read the path to its publication! So helpful for us writer/illustrators.

  9. Ah! At long last, here comes dear Mole. Love seeing the sketch progressions. Congratulations, Nancy!

  10. […] Source: Book Giveaway – A Friend for Mole by Nancy Armo […]

  11. Thank you for showing the progression of your illustrations. And congratulations!

  12. Can’t wait for your local launch and to get my hands on this awesome book!

  13. I was happy to WordPress, tweet, Pin, and share on 2 facebook group pages!

  14. what a wonderful post – and Nancy, thanks for sharing your journey. It’s brave to turn a story inside out and stick with it. Yay for Mole!

  15. Thank you so much for sharing your story’s twisty journey. Much appreciated seeing your sketches! Congratulations on your new book! Thanks to Kathy for the awesome post!

  16. I love Mole with his weed-decorated dirt cap! Look forward to reading the story and eyeing Nancy Armo’s illustrations!

  17. Great post! I really enjoyed reading about the process, very interesting! Thank you for sharing and good luck with a very lovable mole and his friend.

  18. The illustrations alone would draw me to this book. I would not be able to resist picking it up to follow mole and wolf to the end.

  19. Great post and ideas. Thank you.

  20. Hi, I’ve just tweeted about this lovely story about how the picturebook narrative developed over time. Well done Nancy Armo, you stuck with the idea, took advice and allowed the story to grow. I look forward to seeing the book sometime – perhaps at London Book Fair?

  21. Mole is so adorable! Loved seeing how it evolved, and looking forward to reading it!

  22. I can’t wait to read this story. The illustrations are just beautiful. I appreciate hearing about how you turned your story around. Every author’s path is different and it’s really helpful to us aspiring authors to see those paths.

  23. This looks so cute and I can’t wait to read it. Thanks for sharing the journey of how Mole came to be. Fascinating! I can relate.

  24. I love that you shared your path to your story. We have one very busy mole in our yard whom we love for all reasons except for its landscaping skills. I am pleased that you are teaching children that these creatures have value. Most adults I k now don’t appreciate that.

  25. Interesting story of how one editor’s comment made a good idea into a great publishable one! Thanks for sharing. I tweeted and Facebooked (is that a verb?) the post.

  26. Love your mole! Thanks to your talent, he is MUCH cuter than the one who – due to our recent strange warm spell – has already begun tearing up our yard. The book looks very appealing. Good luck!

  27. Looks like a fun story. Can’t wait to read it. Thanks for all your comments on the struggle to get the story ‘straight’, and changing the main characters must have been a huge amount of work. Great job in seeing it through.

  28. Thank you for sharing your journey with Mole. I can’t wait to read it.

  29. That mole is too cute! – Dow

  30. Love the telnet you have.

  31. Love seeing the progression of the animals!

  32. Smart editor to suggest to flip the storyline.

  33. Mole is so cute, and I like the story line!

  34. I love this mole it is so cute that he si starting to get a little sunburned on his nose and cheeks after sticking his head out in the sunshine. Excellent technique with the pain and splatter.

  35. What a gorgeous cover! Congrats!
    – Amanda Sincavage

  36. Phenomenal Illustration of Mr. Mole. I bet the rest of the book rocks!

  37. Simply put, squeeeeee

  38. I loved hearing how the story progressed from the original idea to what it is now. Cute art, too! I’m tweeting this article from @suhligford.

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