Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 5, 2018

Book Giveaway – Khalida and the Most Beautiful Song

If you are looking for Andrea Morrison’s First Page Results check back tomorrow. Sorry for the delay.

Author Amanda Moeckel has a new picture book titled KHALIDA AND THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SONG coming out on September 18th. She has agreed to share a book with 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 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 Amanda!


When a song whispers in Khalida’s ear late one night, she is determined to catch it. But the next day, no matter how hard she tries, bad timing and a busy schedule get in the way of her creative pursuit. Khalida longs for time to sit at the piano and make her own music and refuses to give up on her quest. When she finally succeeds, we discover the power of a captivating melody. Readers will relate to Khalida’s overscheduling frustrations as well as her joy as inspiration becomes art. Lush watercolor art showcases how one girl’s determined pursuit of an idea rewards us all with the enduring magic of a beautiful song.

This image has been cropped to provide more detail.


In early 2016, I set out to find a new book idea. I trust my subconscious more than my waking mind when it comes to art, so for about three weeks, I went to bed with a prayer… that I would discover a good story that was purely mine to tell. Finally, one morning as I was somewhere between fast asleep and barely awake, this book came to me. In the same way the song comes to Khalida, it was fully formed. I saw the major spreads, the design of the song, the pivotal moments, and I sensed the central theme. The experience gave me goosebumps.

This image has been cropped to provide more detail.

I took the initial sketches to a children’s book class at Pratt w/Barbara Lalicki and Steve Henry, where I created the dummy. That summer, I showed it around the New Jersey SCBWI conference and got some great feedback from people in the industry. At one point I had an opportunity for Elizabeth Bicknell at Candlewick to look at it, and was thinking “here’s my dream publisher, this HAS to happen!” But she wasn’t interested.


In a sweet twist of fate, though, I soon met long-time Art Director of Candlewick, Kristen Nobles, at the 2017 SCBWI Winter Conference.  She had just left Candlewick to head a new children’s book division of Page Street Publishing and was looking for “artist-led picture books.” I gave her my card and she soon contacted me to see if I had any stories to go with some images on my website. The image of Khalida being sent back to bed was one of those images (although the character was a boy named Kevin at that time).

It was hard to hold back my excitement when she responded joyously to my book dummy. It just goes to show, two people from the same house can have drastically different responses to the same story. We went back and forth for a week or so on the text and made some changes to the main character. Two weeks after her first email, I signed my first book deal!

Then two weeks after I signed the contract, I found out I was pregnant! So 2018 was a year of creation for me in a BIG way, working on on my first book and my first baby at the same time. The timing was perfect, because the book with its tight deadline of six months kept me distracted most of my pregnancy. I had no time to worry about either the book or the baby. I just had to make both happen. I’m VERY happy that my final deadline was a couple months before my son came because there’s no way I could have worked on the book on the minuscule amount of sleep in those first few months of his life.


I’m happy with how Khalida turned out. Designing the song and weaving it through the book was my favorite part. Making sure Khalida looked like the same character on all the pages was the most grueling part. Now I understand why people simplify their style— it would be much easier to make her look the same on each spread if she was a circle head on a rectangle body with stick legs. But hopefully people will appreciate the time I spent on her design. I feel good about the fact that I haven’t seen a story quite like this one, and I hope Khalida will find her audience. I believe that our highest calling as humans is to create, and I hope this book will inspire young creators of everything from music to art to inventions to ways to solve problems. I hope it will encourage parents to allow their kids lots of unstructured time to dream and imagine, so kids can discover their most beautiful creations.


Amanda Moeckel is a New York City based author-illustrator, originally from rural Massachusetts. Her debut book is Khalida and the Most Beautiful Song (Page Street Kids, 2018). She holds an MFA in Illustration from School of Visual Arts, and has illustrated for such clients as Henri Bendel, Paul Stuart, Gap Kids and Playboy Magazine. She shares a home with three tiny dogs, her husband and their most beautiful new son.

Thank you Amanda for sharing your book and journey with us. You sent me the F&G’s and it looks like a gorgous book. Wishing you the best success.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. This is absolutely delightful! Congratulations on your debut! I would like to enter and will share the word!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This looks like an amazing book. The concept is much needed and the illustrations compliment the text beautifully. I will be posting this on Facebook.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you, Kathy! I love the way you organized the images here. Thank you so much for this opportunity. You are a real gift to our community.


  4. You’re so talented! What a beautiful book!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love what you’ve shown us here. This looks like a book filled with the frustrations and joys of creation!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love the idea of bringing to life the concept of trying to capture ideas/thoughts/images that we have as we sleep or are in the semi-conscious state. I’ll look forward to seeing it on the shelves and reading it!


  7. What a beautiful book! Lovely illustrations and inventive page design. Good luck with it!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. looks beautiful. Share on FB and twitter.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Looks like a book I feel… love music, movement and making art. Visuals that help others see what it feels like. What you wrote about the process, I also feel. It is good to know someone else has the same experience about characters – and caring they are specific and not merely bobbleheads. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks for sharing! I love the way you weaved story, art and music together in KHALIDA AND THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SONG.


  11. I can’t wait to read this book and be inspired by the beautiful illustrations! I’m hoping to get a copy for my classroom as well. Congratulations!
    Sandra 💕


  12. Congratulations – on your debut & your new son!


  13. I’m always looking for children’s books featuring the piano. This one looks wonderful!


  14. This books amazing, and I was drawn to everything including the lovely cover! I tweeted about this give-away and also posted to FB 🙂


  15. This book looks amazing! I can’t wait to read it with my boys. Congratulations, Amanda!!


  16. Love the illustrations so much. The author seems absolutely talented. The story sounds amazing and I’m glad that the protagonist looks ethnic. I hardly see that these days and I want to expose my students to people that look like them and me! I’d love to try and win this book. *crosses fingers*


  17. This looks like a great book


  18. It is a beautiful story, and you have a great story to tell as well, I am working on my first story and just learning the ropes


  19. Congrats! It looks beautiful.


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