Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 17, 2017

Book Giveaway – Ruby and Me

Author Shannon Hitchcock has agreed to Giveaway a copy of her new book RUBY AND ME. She sent me a copy and I can’t wait to read it. I’ll tell you about it when I announce the winner.

All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, 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. Check back to discover the winner.



Everything’s changing for Sarah Beth Willis. After Robin’s tragic accident, everyone seems different somehow. Days on the farm aren’t the same, and the simple fun of riding a bike or playing outside can be scary. And there’s talk in town about the new sixth-grade teacher at Shady Creek. Word is spreading quickly–Mrs. Smyre is like no other teacher anyone has ever seen around these parts. She’s the first African American teacher. It’s 1969, and while black folks and white folks are cordial, having a black teacher at an all-white school is a strange new happening. For Sarah Beth, there are so many unanswered questions. What is all this talk about Freedom Riders and school integration? Why can’t she and Ruby become best friends? And who says school isn’t for anybody who wants to learn–or teach? In a world filled with uncertainty, one very special teacher shows her young students and the adults in their lives that change invites unexpected possibilities.

30 May 1961, Times Square, Manhattan, New York, New York, USA --- Freedom Group Hangs Signs on Bus. New York: Members of a group called "The Washington Freedom Riders Committee" hang signs on the side of bus parked near the crossroads cafe at Times Square here May 30th, before leaving for Washington, D.C. The group plan to picket the white House in Washington. A spokesman for the group said it is demanding resolute federal action to protect the lives and civil rights of the Negroes in the south. The unidentified spokesman said they would request to see a representative of President Kennedy to present its demands. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

30 May 1961, Times Square, Manhattan, New York, New York, USA — Freedom Group Hangs Signs on Bus. New York: Members of a group called “The Washington Freedom Riders Committee” hang signs on the side of bus parked near the crossroads cafe at Times Square here May 30th, before leaving for Washington, D.C. to picket the white House in Washington. Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS Research picture used by Shannon to help write the book.


I first connected with my editor, Andrea Pinkney in 2012 at the Orlando SCBWI conference. I had written a picture book about school integration and specifically attended the conference hoping to meet Andrea. I signed up to have CORN SILK critiqued, but was not assigned to work with Andrea. Not to be deterred, I attended every workshop Andrea taught that weekend. At one point she asked if anyone would like to read their first page out loud to her. I did so, and afterward Andrea gave me her business card and asked to see the manuscript as a formal submission. My agent, Deborah Warren, subbed it to her.

About six months later, Andrea rejected the PB, but said she would like to see a MG novel from me that had the same themes as the PB. The thing was I had a MG novel that featured a friendship between an African-American girl and a white girl. I started wondering if I could combine the two ideas. I drew up a new outline and basically started from scratch. I took a completed draft to a namelos Whole Novel Workshop and worked with the amazing Carolyn Coman. When I felt the draft was strong enough, Deborah subbed it to Andrea. That same day, Andrea asked if I would consider rewriting the manuscript from third person to first person. I agreed to do so. Then Andrea and I spoke on the phone and she shared her vision for the manuscript. I took copious notes and continued to revise. Finally it was ready to send back to Andrea.

Deborah Warren shared that Andrea liked the revision, but then nothing happened for a while. Several months later, Deborah called to say it was too close to the holidays and a bad time for Andrea to take the manuscript to acquisitions. We agreed to wait. Deborah, Andrea, and I had a private meeting at the Miami SCBWI Conference in 2014. Andrea shared that she would be taking the manuscript to acquisitions and we would have an answer by the end of February. On February 27th, 2014, nearly two years after the Orlando Conference, I got the call. My novel, Ruby Lee & Me was published by Scholastic on January 5, 2016.

Nothing happens easily for me in this business. It’s like that Mary Chapin Carpenter song, “Everything I got, I got it the hard way.”



My love of stories began with my mother’s voice.  In her slow Southern drawl, she read the fairytales, “Hansel and Gretel,” and “Jack and the Beanstalk.”  I shivered when the mean ol’ giant chased Jack.  I clapped with delight when Jack chopped down the beanstalk.

Though I loved stories, I had trouble learning to read.  Our first grade teacher divided the class into three reading circles.  The Blue Birds were the best readers; the Red Birds were the second best readers, and the Yellow Birds were last.  I was a Yellow Bird and ashamed of myself.

But that changed with the help of two wonderful teachers. Mrs. Pauline Porter patiently taught me to read. With her help, I moved from a Yellow Bird, to a Red Bird, and finally to the coveted Blue Bird reading circle.My second grade teacher was Mrs. Barbara Hutchens. She sponsored a contest to see which student could read the most books during the school year. I won the contest, and Mrs. Hutchens changed my life. She introduced me to the biographies of Annie Oakley, Betsy Ross, and Nancy Todd Lincoln. I became a lifelong reader.

My teachers turned me into a reader, but it was my sister who turned me into a storyteller. Snuggled under the covers, Robin said, “Tell me a bedtime story.”

So I began, “Once upon a time, there was a boy named Billy who rode a beautiful horse named Blaze.” Robin loved the Billy and Blaze books by C. W. Anderson.

But, one night she said, “Not those stories. Make up stories about us.”

The “us” was Robin and her pony Surelick, our cousin Penny and her pony, Tennessee, and of course there was me – Shannon and my pony, Spot.

That’s how I became a storyteller. Whispering stories about “The Carolina Cowgirls” to my sister late at night.

It would be many years before I captured these stories on paper. I grew up and worked as an accountant, a human resources manager, and an office manager. Later, I became a mother. I read a library full of books to my son and dreamed of publishing stories of my own.

In 1999, my sister Robin died in a car crash. She was 34 years old. I decided that life was too short for unfulfilled dreams and started to write. THE BALLAD OF JESSIE PEARL is my debut novel.

The ALAN Review hailed Shannon Hitchcock as, “A New Voice in Historical Fiction.” She’s the author of the Crystal Kite award-winning novel, The Ballad of Jessie Pearl, and a second novel, Ruby Lee & Me, a nominee for the 2017-2018 Nebraska Chapter Book Golden Sower Award. Shannon’s writing has also been published in numerous magazines, including, Highlights for Children, Cricket, and Children’s Writer. She currently divides her time between Tampa, Florida and Hendersonville, North Carolina.

Look for Shannon’s next book, One True Way, forthcoming from Scholastic in 2018. 

Thank you Shannon for sharing your book’s journey and offering a copy of RUBY AND ME to one lucky winner.  Here’s the link to Amazon.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. two more names…Ruby…..Robin…Read this post. The story sounds wonderful. How Shannon Hitchcock started reading is lovely…and how she started her storytelling is even better….and better yet is how she started writing. 

    I know I hear a lot…if you want to write, you need to read a lot of what’s out there!


  2. What a great story. Can’t wait to read the book, even if I don’t win. 🙂


  3. What a wonderful book. I can’t wait to hear their story!


  4. This sounds like a must read book. I love the cover – it tells a story of friendship before you open it! Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy, I’ve tweeted about this post here:


  5. BLESSINGS! Love the cover.


  6. This sounds like a wonderful book. Can’t wait to read it!


  7. Looks terrific. Congratulations!


  8. Oooh…I am positive that my fourth grade students would LOVE it! 🙂


  9. This is a book I can’t wait to read! I would LOVE a copy! I tweeted, and posted on FB. Good luck with the book, Shannon.


  10. Loved hearing about her journey. I’m tweeting this post.


  11. Shannon – this seems like such an important book for our times. I’ve tweeted about the giveaway. Thanks for sharing your story; tragedies sometimes push us to chase down our dreams.


  12. Tweeted and FB’d. But if you want to let someone else win, I understand!


  13. Thank you for sharing the roundabout journey of your latest book. Looking forward to reading it!


  14. Thank you for sharing your writing journey. Your book sounds wonderful.


  15. Love the cover, and can’t wait to read your book. Thank you!


  16. I can’t wait to read it. My mother’s name was Ruby Lee.


  17. Thanks for the interview and giveaway I posted to Twitter and pinned to my “Best Middle Grade Books” on Pinterest


  18. I meet Shannon at the namelos workshop. So happy to hear the book’s journey since then. I’m looking forward to reading Ruby Lee and Me.


    • Bette Anne,

      Did you see that you won Shannon’s book? I need your address, so I can send it out.




  19. Shannon, this was very inspirational hearing about how this publishing experience came to be. The story sounds so wonderful! (If you haven’t read WAITING FOR AUGUSTA yet, you’ll probably like it 🙂 ) And though I know it was a long time ago, I’m sorry about your sister, Robin 😦

    P.S. Of course, I tweeted, Kathy 🙂


  20. Reblogged this on ARHtistic License and commented:
    Thanks to Kathy Temean for this article telling how Shannon Hitchcock became a storyteller, and how her book, Ruby and Me, came to be published.


  21. Love this article, especially how Shannon’s sister encouraged her storytelling, and her path to publication. Thanks! Reblogged on, shared on FB and Twitter, saved to my Pinterest writing board.


  22. I love the cover and it seems different from everything i’ve read so far . I hope I do win ❤


  23. What a wonderful interview! This looks like an absolutely fantastic project–I’m fascinated by that time in history and it’s so valuable to have a kid’s book about it. I’m really pleased to see the industry seems to be finally starting to value diversity in the way it deserves. I also loved hearing about the author’s journey from struggling with reading to storytelling! This made me laugh because I was reminded of when my brother would run into my room scared at night and I’d offer to tell him stories…and he’d run back out. Lol, not one of my early fans.


  24. I need to read this book and in hope i tweet pin and face booked


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: