Author Larissa Juliano has agreed to Giveaway a copy of book Grace Lou. 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. Starting today, everyone who follows this blog will get an extra chance to win. Just let me know the other things you did to share the good news and if you are a follower, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Check back to discover the winner.
Laurissa says, “Gracie Lou is my first book in print and is a thoughtful, heart-warming story about a little girl who dreams big (or is it a dream?). Inspired by The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery, Gracie Lou embarks on an adventure that emulates all our inner child desires- cupcakes and treats, music and play, dinosaurs and sweet smells. In the hopes of furthering discussion with kids, and also because I am such an avid fan of mentor texts, I’ve sprinkled in some poignant quotes from other works of literature. There is also the inclusion of onomatopoeia words (a personal fave) repetitive chanting phrases (“Shooting star, shooting star, where are you? This has been fun but I’m ready for something new!”), and all five senses being ignited as Gracie Lou enters each whimsical new land (“I smell something lovely! I see something enormous!) One of the beauties of self-publishing is having the creative control over the illustrations…I asked my illustrator to include lots of sneaky details in the pictures that show clues and mementos indicative of Gracie Lou’s land and adventures.
I never knew how my writing was going to be shared with the world…but I knew I had to express myself somehow. From a very young age, I was obsessed with putting pencil to paper. Letters. Words. Phrases. Doodles. Poems. Diaries. I actually kept a diary! And it was therapeutic and wonderful! But then life happened….school, sports, friendships, relationships, college, and problems. So much of my writing became required writing. Assignments, syllabi and deadlines turned my focus into academic writing…which was fine…but made me forget what USED to spark that passion inside me. Until I began my teaching career and became a mom.
Being an elementary library and reading teacher truly provides me with such a priceless opportunity…helping children embark on a positive and life changing journey with literacy, all the while fostering friendships amongst each other, learning new curriculum assessments galore, discovering what kindness really means, and navigating the elementary social scene. Now that I’m a parent of three little ones (first one in kindergarten this year) I have an even more intense recognition and compassion for all the curveballs, changes and other ‘life stuff’ that occupy a little one’s mind.
On top of being with these precious people, I also have colleagues and resources at my fingertips to keep their learning journey, well… awesome. So, let’s talk about the books.
Whether it’s lively language, repetitive phrases, intangible objects coming to life, wacky and quirky scenarios, silly yet heartfelt characters that we can all relate to and root for, and endings with a ‘twist’; these writing elements are always a surefire delight with my students… Seeing their eyes sparkle as they imagine themselves on Corduroy’s adventure, or going on a field trip with a boa constrictor, having their plastic purse taken away after show and tell, or inventing the next ingenious wind machine- THIS is what I wanted to give to them in my writing as well.
Teaching in a rural school district, there are many children that do not have opportunities to leave their own backyards…and that’s ok!! I wanted to write a story that reassures us it IS ok to be at home, and being home is even better when we use parts of our world to inspire and transport us on a magical adventure. I have vivid images of my students feeling lonely, sad, and bored on the weekend. These are the children that do not want school to end…waving sadly as the bus takes its final loop around the parking lot in June. These are the children I wrote Gracie Lou for. And the more manuscripts come into fruition, the more I want to give children a voice, a person, a theme that connects with them and reminds them they are not alone- and my words can be their words.
This is the essence of what I try to thread into my stories. My restlessness to write and share and create for students (and my three babies at home) gave my writing a bigger purpose. And as I took out my half a dozen notebooks and put pen to paper (and fingertips to keyboards) I eventually took these ideas and began the daunting and vulnerable process of querying. After awhile, (and with encouragement from a very supportive husband, family and writing team) I decided to explore the idea of self-publishing…just to get my writing out there, for now. The excitement and pride in seeing the shiny hardcover of your book, the spine imprinted with your name, ready for gentle fingers to turn the pages. A bedtime story on the laps of our parents never goes out of style. My self publishing team understood my vision and made me realize that it was obtainable. Their support and reassurance created such a bond between us, for which I will forever be grateful.
Larissa Juliano is an elementary and library teacher in upstate New York. She lives in her hometown with her husband and three young children. Besides teaching, her passion in life is writing books in hopes of inspiring children to use their imagination, especially through literature.
Larissa has just published her first book, Gracie Lou with Archway Publishing at Simon and Schuster.
She would love to send out copies (plus book goodies!) to other literature lovers and indie author supporters and hear your thoughts!
Larissa has two more books for release in 2017. You can check out and contact Larissa on her website at www.larissajuliano.com or follow her on Twitter @larissaSjuliano
Thank you Larissa for sharing your book’s journey and offering a copy of Grace Lou to one lucky winner. Don’t miss this book. Here’s the link to Amazon.