Posted by: Kathy Temean | July 23, 2019

Book Giveaway – CROW SPIRIT by Debra Bartsch

Author Debra Bartsch has a new picture book titled, CROW SPIRIT, illustrated by Gael Abary. It is in bookstores now.

Debra 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 Debra and Gael!

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. Thanks!


In this debut book from Debra Bartsch, it’s Cecily Jane’s first day walking home from school. But when she meets friendly Mr. Crow, she discovers all sorts of connections in this unusual book about loss, family and spirit.

Recalling conversations with her Grandma, Cecily Jane misses her Grandparents and begins to wonder, hmmm is there a connection somehow?
Back matter is filled with two pages of fun facts about crows, classrooms will find this a true resource treasure. A surprise recipe is included!

CROW SPIRIT is a heartfelt story about a little girl named Cecily Jane. When she meets friendly Mr. Crow walking home from school, memories of Grandma and Grandpop come back to her and she begins to wonder, hmmm, is there a connection somehow?

It’s a gentle look at love, loss, hope, and healing by keeping a loved ones’ spirit alive through family traditions and the interconnections of us all. Yes, including crows! My grandma’s Snickerdoodle cookie recipe is shared  with you at the end!


Thank you Kathy for inviting me on Writing and Illustrating. I am so thrilled to talk about my debut picture book, CROW SPIRIT and it’s journey. Launched by Clear Fork Publishing/Spork in March 2019!  I am still soaring in that hot air balloon, and sure to touch down soon.

This story is based on true events and was written from the backyard of my youth. I came back home to help care for my aging parents in the same home of love, laughter, stories, and music.  During that time I had been a student of The Children’s Book Academy with Mira Reisberg. It is a truly great online resource for those of you wanting to begin, or continue on in your writing and illustrating children’s book journey.

I was also taking painting courses with Mark Mitchell. At night, writing and illustrating came to me like the wind blowing through the trees furthering my dream to write and illustrate for kids.

After the sadness and loss of my loving parents, a crow actually helped me find my way on a walk and memories of conversations between my Mom and Dad about,” crows being intelligent family birds, looking out for each other”, came flooding back to me. The spiritual connection of this story came in an instant. It was meant to be told.

My brothers, sister in -law, niece, sons, daughter-in-law, grandkids, and friends all continued to cheer me on in writing CROW SPIRIT, laughing and listening over and over to “ CAWW, CAWW and, “make sure to add Gram’s Snickerdoodle cookies!” A special look at love and loss, this book will help heal adults and kids who miss a loved one. Teachers and librarians will find it a comforting resource for all ages. Back matter has fun facts on crows, and our family tradition; Gram’s Snickerdoodle cookie recipe you will love.

First draft; 900 words. The CBA course and revision process had begun!  Several SCBWI critiques and another CBA workshop, now down to 600 words.  Mira is also Editor and Art Director at Clear Fork Publishing/Spork, and brought the script to publisher Callie Metler-Smith. December of 2017,  2 days before Christmas, “THE CALL” came! ……

Christmas gifts come in the best kind of packages! The Christmas bells rang and rang!

A picture book is meant to be told, ….. with pictures! Illustrator Gael Abary who was also in the CBA course,  brought Cecily Jane, Mr. Crow and CROW SPIRIT to life. Her dreamy soft color palette is soothing and fits the spirit of the story so well. Sweetness and childlike play with the interaction of the crows and people are immediately felt, lightening the deep meaning of the story. The tenderness with Mama, Grandma and Grandpop is real, heartfelt and homespun. Gael was the perfect match!

Helping launch authors and illustrators dreams is a loving reality for Mira and Callie.  Now down to 360 words,  March 2019, CROW SPIRIT became my first published children’s picture book!


My journey began years ago as a 5-year-old kid holding a library card in the Hollywood Branch of Multnomah County Library in Portland, Oregon. A lover of picture books for life, knowing someday, I just had to write and draw for kids. Well, guess what! Multnomah County is the first Library to be carrying, CROW SPIRIT!

Talk about full circle.

Thank you: Gael Abary, Illustrator, Callie Metler-Smith, Clear Fork Publishing, and Mira Reisberg, Editor/Art Director.


Deb Bartsch is a children’s author and illustrator who writes from a kids-eye view of the world. CROW SPIRIT is her debut picture book as an author. With daily inspiration from laughing grand kids, life is full of ideas for writing, illustrating, and helping inspire little ones to enjoy the love of books.

She is an SCBWI Oregon member and SMART Site Coordinator and Reader.

Link to Deb’s web page:


Gael Abary is an illustrator and metalsmith living in Philadelphia, PA with her family, and a cat, and a retired racing greyhound.


She worked as an illustrator in the fashion industry while studying metalsmithing at Parsons School of Design and later worked with an NYC based jewelry company before moving to Woodstock, NY where her daughter was born. Over the years of reading to her daughter every night she developed a passion for picture books and is currently illustrating her first one. Gael was featured on Illustrator Saturday.

Thank you Debra and Gael for sharing your book and Journey with us. It looks like a very artistic book that would appeal to children. Gael was featured on Illustrator Saturday. Here is the link.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. A beauty in so many ways.


    • Wendy thank you! So glad you feel this way and it was such a pleasure to get to meet you in person!


  2. This looks lovely! Tweeted, posted on Facebook, and had already signed up to follow your blog. 🙂


  3. What an absolutely fabulous book!!! Thank you for sharing it. I can’t wait to give copies to the schools where I teach. ❤️


    • Thank you Beth! Be sure to check out my web page, I am adding more teacher resources, a hand – motion song, art and craft; recycled paper family nests to go along with the others.


  4. Wow! Sounds like an interesting read!


  5. I love the idea about crows being intelligent family birds that look out for each other. What a wonderful seed for a book! I know I’ll look at crows differently now. Crow Spirit is a book with heart and perfect art. I love Cecily Jane’s yellow dress. Thank you for this beautiful post.

    And Kathy, thank you for your wonderful blog which I subscribe to and always look forward to reading.


    • Thank you claireannette for your kind comments and caring about crows, realizing how smart they truly are.


  6. This looks lovely and atrue resource for those dealing with loss. Congratulations on your debut!


    • Thank you for your kind thoughts ptnozell.I hope this picture book can be of help to children and adults alike.


  7. One of the most common questions I get as a children’s librarian is what books do you have that deal with loss and grief. This is beautiful all the way through. I look forward to seeing this book in person.


    • Thank you Linda Mitchell,
      I am glad to hear that! Crow Spirit is a valuable resource on many levels and can indeed fill the gap libraries need.
      Thank you!


  8. Sounds like a beautiful, heartwarming treasure for kids (and adults) to take comfort in loss. I personally love the ‘yellow’ color – bringing comfort/sunlight to the book (at least that is my interpretation) I am taking Mira’s PB Palooza and she piqued my interest in this book.


    • Thank you Lorraine,
      Don’t you just love Gael’s illustrations!
      She really captured the feel of the story.
      Glad you are enjoying PBPalozza and you will love the CBA!


  9. I was able to attend one of Debra’s book launch events in Portland… I can vouch for the book (and the cookie recipe!)


    • Hi Dawn,
      Enjoyed seeing you at Annie Bloom’s Bookstore in PDX, thank you for the support !


  10. I can’t wait to read this book! 🙂


  11. I can’t wait to read this book!!


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