Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 4, 2018

Book Giveaway: Norbert’s Big Dream by Lori Degman

Lori Degman has agreed to give away a copy of her picture book NORBERT’S BIG DREAM to one lucky 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.


Norbert is a pig with a dream. It doesn’t matter if the other farm animals snicker behind his back, Norbert has always dreamed of swimming the English Channel. He’s been preparing and training and finally he’s ready for the big swim! But where exactly is the English Channel?! Will Norbert have to give up on his dreams or will his friends come to the rescue after all? A sweet, funny story about dreaming big.


In February, 2013, at the SCBWI Winter conference in New York, I was listening to Mo Wilems’ keynote presentation.  One of his main points was – if we are making our dreams come true, then we’re probably not shooting high enough.  This immediately made me think of a Pig who dreamed of swimming the English Channel.  I scribbled the idea in my notebook.  The next day, on the flight home to Chicago, I was looking through my notes and saw my scribble.  I loved the idea and decided that a pig like this could only be named Norbert.  The name Norbert made me love it even more, so I started writing and I had a pretty solid first draft by the time I landed at O’Hare.

I worked on Norbert’s Big Dream for the next eight months and it went through several iterations.  I knew from the start that I wanted Norbert to dream of swimming the English Channel, without having any idea where in the world it was.  But, I wasn’t sure how Norbert would find the channel and how would he cross it?  One version had him taking several forms of transportation to get there – only to realize it was too difficult to cross.  Another had him crossing the channel in the QE2.  And another had him elicit the help of his friends to cross it.  I went with the idea of Norbert getting help from his friends, but I decided he wouldn’t find the English Channel after all.  Then how does Norbert achieve his dream, you ask?  You’ll have to read the book to find out!

After more editing and tweaking, I finally felt Norbert was submission-ready.  Around that time, we had our annual SCBWI conference and I went to a session with Sylvie Frank, from Paula Wiseman Books.  The session was on making picture book dummies and I decided to use my Norbert manuscript.  I’d never made a book dummy before and I was amazed at how much it helped tighten the manuscript – I highly recommend it!  Now, Norbert was truly submission-ready!

In December 2013, I sent the story to my then-agent, Karen Grencik, and she submitted it to multiple editors.  In September 2014, we got an offer from Sarah Rockett at Sleeping Bear Press!  Sarah was wonderful to work with!  The art director chose Marco Bucci to do the illustrations and I couldn’t have been happier!  Marco is an amazing artist and Norbert is the most adorable pig I have ever seen!  Funny aside: Marco went to art school in Canada with Colin Jack, the illustrator of my first book, 1 Zany Zoo.  Small kidlit world – isn’t it?

After writing this out, I realized it’s a huge plug for SCBWI conferences!  I got the idea for the book while attending the NY SCBWI conference; I polished it up during a session at our local SCBWI conference; my agent (whom I met at the LA SCBWI conference) submitted it to Sleeping Bear Press because I’d met an editor from Sleeping Bear at an SCBWI conference!  Looks like I owe a huge thanks to SCBWI!!


Lori Degman writes in rhyme, most of the time – but not always.  She is the award-winning author of 1 Zany Zoo, illustrated by Colin Jack; Cock-a-Doodle Oops, illustrated by Deborah Zemke; Norbert’s Big Dream, illustrated by Marco Bucci; and the forthcoming Just Read, illustrated by Victoria Krylov.

Here are some links in case you want to use them:

Mo Willem’s post about his keynote




Lori, thank you for sharing your book and its’ Journey with all of us. Love your little pig. I am sure the winner will love him, too.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Lori, this book looks ABsolutely aDORable! The illustrations are stunning, Norbert is precious (not a dragon, I see!) and the book trailer is SO good! Congrats on ALL of it 😀 I’m hoping for a copy, for sure, and sharing :D…


  2. Adorable illustrations!


  3. Thanks, Lori! Norbert’s adorable and I love his dream big attitude.


  4. Love the name Norbert. And the illustrations are pigfect! Look forward to reading this. Thanks for sharing your journey.


  5. I’d love to read! Thanks for sharing your story.


  6. Norbert is one of my favorite characters. Dream big! I really enjoyed this book.


  7. Can’t wait to read this. What a great story idea!


  8. Love the story of your latest book and I think I’ll love Norbert, too.


  9. Reblogged this on Darlene Beck-Jacobson.


  10. Love to hear the stories behind books!


  11. Such a fun book! Thanks for sharing its journey!


  12. Great journey story!


  13. I love Norbert! What a great story.


  14. That snout! I so want to read this. Thanks for sharing the back story, Lori. May you continue to dream big!


  15. Lori, you are truly a SCBWI success story. I Tweeted.


  16. SCBWI is the reason I found this website! Thank you, Lori and Kathy for sharing great posts.


  17. I pinned, tweeted and posted on Facebook. Love the voice on the trailer!
    Norbert is a winner.


  18. Looks like a fun story! Love stories where characters are different but no what they want and set out to get it, no matter what others say!!


  19. Norbert can succeed! I just know he can!


  20. I love you blog! Another beautiful picture book.


  21. Norbert looks adorable! Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy. 🙂


  22. Thank you for sharing ❤️


  23. Fantastic Lori,
    I just love love love, the illustrations, and the Narrator is priceless, congratulations, love to have a copy


  24. Not sure of your deadline, but I just tweeted and FB’d this. Looks adorable!


  25. Lori I loved yours and Norbert’s stories thanks for posting them! I’ve posted on FB and Twitter. Wishing you much success.


  26. This book looks adorable, cute trailer, too. Congratulations!


  27. Would LOVE a copy! Tweeting this also @NancyViau1 !


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