Posted by: Kathy Temean | July 2, 2018


Author Jody Jensen Shaffer has another new picture book titled IT’S YOUR FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL, BUSY BUS! It hits the book shelves tomorrow. Jody has offered to participate in a book giveaway. 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 do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Jody!



It’s the first day of school! But is Busy Bus ready? Find out in this darling picture book that showcases the excitement and worries little ones experience as they prepare for their first day.

Today is the very first day of school! Busy Bus is excited, but he also has some first-day jitters. Will the children like him? Will he be homesick? What if he gets lost?! Luckily, bus driver Ben knows just what to do to make sure that the school year gets off to a great start.


In October of 2010, I began playing with picture book ideas about school buses. I envisioned a book that would reassure reluctant or first-time school bus riders that riding a bus was safe. (As a kid, I was a sometimes-reluctant school bus rider, especially on those icy mornings.) Right away I began researching the pre-trip safety checks bus drivers use before they begin their rounds each day. Early versions of the manuscript included a boy, a lost puppy, and an element of telling time. This version went through several rounds with my critique groups, critique buddies, and my agent, Kathleen Rushall, which resulted in more changes and tweaking, including eliminating the boy and the element of telling time.

Finally in July of 2015, we felt it was ready to submit to editors. Allyn Johnston at Beach Lane, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, loved the story, but she also felt it could be stronger without the puppy. She wanted Busy Bus to experience all the emotions kids feel when they begin school, and she thought the puppy muddied the waters a bit. We took our time, revised and resubmitted, and, happily for us, Allyn made an offer in April of 2016. I was delighted to learn in September of that year that Claire Messer had signed on to illustrate, and she has made an adorable visual world for Busy Bus and for young bus riders.

IT’S YOUR FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL, BUSY BUS! releases July 3, 2018, and I couldn’t be more grateful or excited.


As soon as I read Jody’s manuscript, I instantly fell in love with the character of Busy Bus! I spent some of my childhood in Connecticut, and whilst I unfortunately lived within walking distance ofthe elementary school, I remember being very excited when I went to friend’s houses after schoolbecause I got to ride on the big yellow buses! I was also very shy as a child and along with all the excitement, starting a new school was always a little daunting, so I immediately identified with Busy Bus’s worries. For It’s Your First Day of School, Busy Bus!, my main task was to find a way to anthropomorphise a bus! Eventually, it became clear that his window wipers needed to become his eyebrows and his eyes would take the place of his headlights.

There was also a lot of research needed to find out how the bus worked and where all the parts were, for example, it was quite a challenge finding out how the stop arm is activated. Both the editor and art director had strong childhood memories of a large lever located near the driver’s seat that was pulled to activate the stop arm – sadly, it turns out that is no longer the case and it’s now automatic when you turn on the flashing lights! I created the artwork by drawing onto Lino in reverse and then carving out the areas that were to remain white, before rolling out and applying the ink to the blocks. Then I laid the paper on top of the inked up blocks and applied pressure mostly with a glass baren, but sometimes I used my Victorian nipping press if the print surface was very large. I had so much funillustrating this book and I hope it helps readers with any first day jitters as I know it would’ve helped my younger self.

P.S. The school at the end of this book is based on the elementary school I attended whilst living in the US – a shout out to Veteran’s Park in Ridgefield, CT!


Jody Jensen Shaffer is an award-winning poet and the author of more than 30 books of fiction and nonfiction for children, including PRUDENCE THE PART-TIME COW, Missouri’s pick for the 2017 National Book Festival, A CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK, and IT’S YOUR FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL, BUSY BUS!, with more on the way! Jody’s poetry has been published in great magazines like Highlights, Ladybug, and Clubhouse Jr. Jody lives in Liberty, Missouri, and is a member of SCBWI. When she’s not writing, Jody can be found watching baseball or walking her rescue dog, Sophie. Visit Jody at: or on Twitter @jodywrites4kids.


Claire Messer is the author/illustrator of Grumpy Pants and Lazybones. Claire loves working with relief printing techniques to create her art. She lives near Cambridge, England with her husband and their dog. Visit Claire on the web at:

Thank you Jody for sharing your journey with us and offering one lucky winner a copy of your new book, IT’S YOUR FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL, BUSY BUS!

Talk tomorrow,



  1. This looks great for my kindergarten children!


  2. I love Chip Off the Old Block and Prudence! Can’t wait to read this one too!
    I’ve reposted on Facebook and Twitter.


  3. Can’t wait to read this one – – I too have a back-to-school book featuring a bus ride :). Such a necessary topic for transitioning little ones to school. Lynne Marie


  4. Sounds like a perfect book for beginning the school year!


  5. You capture the bus’s emotions with the eyes and windshield wipers – so cute!


  6. Looking forward to reading this and seeing all the art! Love the glimpse here of the windshield wipers with the headlights/eyes!


  7. Jody and Claire make a winning team and a GREAT book! Perfect for those back-to-school reading lists.


  8. This is sure to be a widely-shared book when the new school year begins. Very clever indeed. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.
    I tweeted: posted an image with a link on Pinterest:
    Thanks again, have a great week!


  9. So much personality in one little bus. Looks wonderful.


  10. What a great way to help reluctant students feel ready for the first day of school. Thanks for sharing your publication journey!


  11. Can’t wait to read it!! Sounds like the perfect first day of school book for my students!!


  12. Can’t wait to read it!! Sounds like the perfect first day of school book for the kids in my library classroom.


  13. Happy book birthday, Jody and Claire! Busy Bus sounds fantastic, and so helpful for those first day jitters! : )


  14. Aww, how sweet! Looks perfect for the beginning of the school year!


  15. Super thrilled about this book! Will be sharing it with as many classes as possible on the first day of school as I pair it with School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex. My son loved it and now wishes he could ride the bus to school! Excited for the chance to win a signed copy…have been tweeting about it and will post it on my Facebook page dedicated to books…Book Picks! Not sure how to share that link once I post. Thanks!!!


  16. This would be a great addition for our school library!


  17. I’ve been hearing about this adorable book and it’s great to now know more about how it came to be!


  18. What a wonderful post! Thanks, Jody, Claire, and Kathy! I will be sure to read this to my preschoolers at storytime! 🙂


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