Posted by: Kathy Temean | July 3, 2017

Book Giveaway: DADDY DEPOT by Chana Stiefel

Author Chana Stiefel has agreed to donate a copy of her debut book, DADDY DEPOT. If you would like to win a copy, please leave a comment, reblog, tweet, or talk about DADDY DEPOT 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 the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Check back to discover the winner.


“Come to Daddy Depot: The Dad Megastore! From Acrobats to Zookeepers, we have the perfect dad for you! Exchange your old dad for a brand new one…today!”

Lizzie loves her dad, but he tells the same old jokes, gets distracted by football, and snores during snuggle time. When she sees an ad for a store called the Daddy Depot, she decides to check it out—and finds dads of all kinds! Will Lizzie find the perfect dad? Join her on this silly and sweet adventure that celebrates fathers with lots of love.


My debut picture book DADDY DEPOT started out as a bedtime story. My daughter, who was 7 at the time, was mad at her dad for reasons we can’t recall. So we spun a tale about a girl who returns her father to the daddy store. We laughed a lot about shopping in a warehouse filled to the rafters with dads up for grabs. Afterward, I ran downstairs and started writing.

Thrilled by idea of having written my first picture book, I assumed the path to publication would be a snap. (“Haha! Silly me!” she laughs eight years later.) A dear writer friend who read my manuscript gently suggested that I learn the ropes of picture book writing before submitting. Sage advice!

After joining SCBWI (on my friend’s recommendation), I attended a weekend workshop and received some (extremely) honest critiques. My first draft was too long–over 1,000 words–and it rhymed badly. It had too many characters but no character development and no clear conflict. What I basically had was a title and an idea. Into the drawer went DADDY DEPOT.

About six months later, I got a “ding” in my inbox. It was an invite to sign up for a picture book webinar by Mary Kole, author of Writing Irresistible Kid (Writer’s Digest, 2012). I couldn’t resist. I took lots of notes (I still have them!) and began to apply what I learned.

Slowly but surely, DADDY DEPOT began to take shape. (In the meantime, I was also writing non-fiction books for educational publishers as a freelancer.) By 2013, I felt ready to attend my first NJSCBWI conference. I signed up for a one-on-one critique with none-other than Kathy Temean. I still have that critique—and it was spot on!

Here’s some of Kathy’s excellent advice:
1) Change my POV to third person from first. Kathy wrote that “small children have a hard time with the ‘I’ concept.” Third person allowed me to deepen my main character, Lizzie, and make her more relatable.
2) Play up the funny parts. DADDY DEPOT originally had a college professor dad, who I then changed to a scientist dad and finally to Chef Dad! Kids now love saying his lines, “Try zis! It’s pate pescerino bleu!”
3) Cut back on the word count and leave more room for illustration. Check out my Dad Party spread!
4) Build the story arc by having Lizzie get mildly mad, then upset, then furious. Now at readings, I always ask kids: How does Lizzie feel? They can sense her frustration growing on every page!

Kathy also gave me lots of encouragement, which fueled my confidence at the conference. At a Round Table, I met my future critique partner, co-blogger, and wonderful friend Donna Cangelosi. (I still have Donna’s critique too!)

At the same conference, I met my agent John Cusick at a four-minute pitch! He laughed at my premise and loved the image of Lizzie dragging her dad to the Daddy Depot. He said, “Send it to me!” When I left the room, I literally jumped for joy. After a few months of revisions, I signed with John and we sold the manuscript to Feiwel & Friends not long afterward. DADDY DEPOT hit the shelves on May 16, 2017!

Looking back, I’d offer the following advice:

• Always keep your eyes open for ideas. I didn’t know that that bedtime story would end up becoming a published book, but I’m overjoyed that it did!
• Jot down those ideas–or you may forget them (like I sometimes do). You never know which ones will stick and become your next book.
• Learn the ropes, get critiques, and listen to the advice of those in the know. Just as you can’t throw paint on a canvas and hang it in the MOMA (well, maybe you can), there are no short cuts in publishing.
• Attend conferences and meet critiquers, editors, and agents in person. I’m convinced that face time is the way to go. People can feel how excited and passionate you are about your book when they meet you face-to-face.
• Save your drafts! You will learn so much from them and one day they may help you go back in time and recall your journey to publication!


Chana Stiefel is the debut author of DADDY DEPOT illustrated by Andy Snair (Feiwel & Friends, 2017). Her upcoming books include ANIMAL ZOMBIES, a book about creepy critters for National Geographic Kids in 2018 and WAKAWAKALOCH (HMH, 2019), a semi-autobiographical picture book about a cave girl who wants to change her unpronounceable name. Chana has also written more than 20 nonfiction books for kids about science and history. Find out more at and Chana & Donna’s author blog

Thank you Chana for sharing your book and journey with us. It looks like such a funny book.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. I love hearing everything about your journey, Chana! I love that you had such a memorable bedtime episode, too 😀 Oh, the sadness of people who rush the preciousness of sharing stories at bedtime, right?


  2. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy of this delightful book. I love the premise and thank you for sharing what you learned along the journey to publication. I also twitted this post.


  3. How delightful! Thanks for sharing your journey!


  4. What a great story concept! It reminds me of one of my daughter’s high school projects. She had to bring something to class and give a sales pitch as if she were trying to sell it. She brought me!


  5. Thank you for advice points. Congratulations on a super story and publishing journey!


  6. I love the idea of Daddy Depot and what a great story of its road to publication. Tons of good advice, thanks! I’d be thrilled to win a copy, please enter my name in the draw. crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com


  7. Chana I love the premise of your debut book. Kudos to you for having the courage and patience to continue your writer’s journey.Good luck in all of your future endeavors!
    Lynda Dell


  8. Great advice and an inspiring journey yo publication.


  9. What a clever idea! And thank you for sharing your journey from idea to publication. I look for ward to reading the book.


  10. Great to get to know you better, Chana!


  11. Congrats Chana and great tips!


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