Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 7, 2019

Mira Reisberg’s Spork Update

What Happened to Last Year’s Acquisitions: An Editor/Art Director Looks Back by Dr. Mira Reisberg

Last year, I wrote a blog post about some books that my publisher Callie Meter-Smith (Clearfork/Spork Children’s Books) and I acquired and why we acquired them.

This year, I want to do a follow up and talk about what happened with four of the books and the process involved.

All of the books that Callie and I acquired came from the Children’s Book Academy’s Craft and Business of Writing Children’s Picture Books course. I’ve gotten flack for hiring my students but for me my students are as close as I get to having kids, plus I fall in love with them and their work in the process of teaching them how to write and sell exceptional picture books.

I’m going to start with the books that are really close to publication and then talk about the ones that aren’t ready yet and why.

The most recently published book is Vanessa Keel and Adriana Hernandez Bergstrom’s Boomer At Your Service. While there was quite a bit of back-and-forth to get it as fantastic as it is, both Vanessa and Adriana were total pros, willing to do whatever it took to make it fabulous. The editing and art directing process is really magical, where it often shows logic flaws that aren’t always obvious in the text alone (this is one reason why making a dummy or mini-dummy is really helpful plus it can also show you where you can cut telling words that can be shown in pictures) and it’s so lovely to see characters evolve as the work takes on a life of its own.

Vanessa also connected with a wonderful service dog training organization who vetted the book and to whom Vanessa will be donating all her pre-order sales money to. Here are some images that will hopefully whet your appetite to pre-order this book, which is off to the printer very soon if not already, and help Merlyn’s Kids as well. Boomer at Your Service includes diversity in a very inclusive and non-didactic way as well as diversity in terms of disability. It also gives kids guidance in how to deal with service dogs that they meet. I love the humor, heart and soul in this book.

When disaster strikes at Boomer’s Service Dog Graduation Day, he sets off to find a family on his own. Catastrophe after calamity leave him feeling hopeless until a furry feline changes his fate forever. Boomer discovers friendship, his happily-ever-after home, and his special purpose in life.

Next up is, If Sun Could Speak, written by Kourtney LaFavre and illustrated by Saki Tanaka. I adore this book because of how incredibly creative it is and how much you get to learn by reading it. It is cheeky and fun, with a fabulous voice in both the text and the art. Sun includes both multicultural mythology from different cultures as well as scientific solar system history discoveries from BC to the present.

The book had stops and starts because of life getting in the way. I did a trip to Australia where I did one of my over the top presentations for my first Keynote ever and then a massive move to Portland Oregon. Kourtney’s exquisite son, Isaac, had some major health challenges but despite all this, we all plugged along to create something that’s kind of genius. Here are just some of my many favorite spreads.

The third book in the series that is inching its way to the printer is Walkout, Written by Tina Shepardson and illustrated by Terry Sirrell, Walkout is about two young friends whose friendship is challenged when one decides to defy the principals orders, by walking out with the upper grades in protest against gun violence, and the other one is too fearful to join her. As one of my favorite students was killed when I was teaching at Northern Illinois University, the story was very resonant for me, and with everything that’s going on in the States, it’s an extremely important story. I paired Tina with illustrator Terry Sirrell to defuse some of the intensity of the subject matter, and Tina also did a really good job of focusing on the friendship to make it age-appropriate. Tina also provides back matter for kids on what to do if there’s violence at their school while providing all sorts of other resources. Like all the books I get to work on whether during class or after acquisition, I feel both honored and proud to be a part of this book’s journey into the world.

The fourth book that I’ve been working on is Mac & Cheese and the Personal Space Case, written by Jolene Gutiérrez and illustrated by Heather Bell. We have all the black and white sketches for this and some of the color spreads, so I’m not sure when that one will be ready. Here are some pictures of this WIP (Work in Progress) about being neuro-diverse and having to navigate different personal space issues, especially when your space and friendship role-models are a pair of classroom guinea pigs.

I can’t wait to tell you about other wonderful books in the works but this will do for now. As you’ve probably gathered, editing and art directing these books is an incredible joy and a lot of work for everyone involved. I hope that you will pre-order them with these links:

Boomer at Your Service:

If Sun Could Talk:


Some of these books are also available on Amazon, but the author, illustrator, and publisher make much less money this way. The one advantage of purchasing via Amazon is that you can then write a review, which is enormously helpful. I hope this has given you some insight into the publishing world and how magical it can be. ~ Mira


Dr. Mira Reisberg has worked in the children’s book field for over 30 years and has worn just about every hat in the industry. Besides editing and art directing at Spork, Mira also runs the Children’s Book Academy where she is preparing to co-teach the Craft and Business of Writing Children’s Picture Books, starting August 26th, with Sterling Editor Rachael Stein. Currently, there’s a $70 discount with the 19PBLove code and twelve exclusive editor/agent submission opportunities along with a lifetime learning experience. Mira’s students have published or contracted over 370 books. She is looking forward to the next milestone of 400 student books.  Find out more about the course here: and more about Mira here

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Spork is producing some amazing books! I can’t wait to get my hands on these beauties and am so honored to have my book included!! ❤ Thank you so much for sharing!!


  2. Can’t wait to buy all these amazing books from my dear friends at CBA and Clear Fork Publishing!!! Xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh my! So many wonderful books!! Can’t wait for them all, that KS fir the sneek peek ladies

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great books! Thanks for sharing with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on Autism Candles.

    Liked by 1 person

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