Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 27, 2020

Book Giveaway: WAY PAST MAD by Hallee Adelman

Author Hallee Adelman’s picture book, WAY PAST MAD, launches March 1st! Illustrated by Sandra de la Prada. Hallee has agreed to share a giveaway for one lucky winner: a signed copy of the book with some special swag. All you have to do to get in the running is leave a comment. If you Re-blog, Tweet, Post on Instagram, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and the hashtag #waypastmad, 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, Instagram, Reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping to support children’s books and kind authors like Hallee!


Keya is way past mad. Her little brother Nate messed up everything, even breakfast and now Keya is way past mad. She heads to school kicking rocks and sticks. When her best friend Hooper tries to help, Keya spreads her mad like a rash and shouts, “I don’t even like you.” It’s not true, but Hooper storms off, kicking rocks and sticks too. Keya gave him her mad! Now it’s up to Keya to find a different way past mad and to make things right. Will Hooper ever forgive Keya? And will Keya find a good way to get past mad? A relatable story that speaks to kids’ emerging emotional intelligence skills.

Way Past Mad is written for all children who have gotten mad and needed to find their way past it. 


Two trusted professionals read my Way Past Mad manuscript. One said, “This manuscript is really special.” The other said, “This manuscript isn’t even worth revising.” So when my beyond-amazing (My Quiet Ship) editor at Albert Whitman, Wendy McClure, asked if I had any manuscripts that dealt with emotions, I had to make a decision about Way Past Mad: to send or not to send?

Earlier in my career, I most likely wouldn’t have sent it in. Even with one piece of negative feedback, my mind would have filled with questions like: Is my writing terrible? Should I even pursue children’s book writing?  Am I a fraud?

I thought carefully. I loved Keya’s sassiness and Hooper’s big heart. I already had ideas about post-book activities and conversations. And I knew that plenty of kids and adults take their mad out on others. There was still that small voice asking, “Is it good enough?”

But the difference between the beginning of my career and now is that I’m clear about my own taste. I won’t always be right about a manuscript, and I realize that despite the zillion courses, craft books, workshops, critiques and conferences I’ve learned from, I don’t know everything. But as an author, an educator, and a mom who fiercely cares about our future leaders (aka today’s children), I’m willing to take a chance on a manuscript that could positively impact kids, classrooms, and families.

SPOILER ALERT: I sent Way Past Mad to Wendy. I also promised to circle back in a few months with other emotion-related manuscripts. When I hadn’t heard anything back about the manuscript, I assumed it wasn’t for her. Still, like I had promised, I reached back out with the other manuscripts.

I’ll never forget Wendy’s warm reply, which started, “I’m so happy to receive these…” To my surprise, Wendy later explained that they were not only interested in Way Past Mad, but also wanted to option one of the other books I’d sent. Thankfully, super agent at BookEnds Literary, Moe Ferrara, made the process seamless.

And now? I cannot wait to share Way Past Mad with children! I’m excited that kids can explore ways of getting past mad and making things right with close friends.

The bottom line is that kids will read zero percent of the manuscripts that we don’t take a chance on. The takeaway for me is: 1) learn and practice craft, 2) consider feedback, 3) know the reasons you are writing for children, 4) trust your gut, 5) be professional if a manuscript needs more work, 6) stay thick-skinned if a manuscript doesn’t match someone else’s tastes. Most of all, PRESS SEND!!  After all, the email you get back might be way past exciting!!

“If you accept the expectations of others, especially the negative ones, then you will never change the outcome.” Michael Jordan


Hallee writes small books about big feelings. With a PhD in education she has taught elementary through university students. When not writing for children, Hallee works with documentary filmmakers and serves organizations that benefit children, teens, and families. With every project, Hallee strives to spread love, build compassion, and spark conversations. She lives near Philadelphia, PA with her husband, daughters, and dogs. Visit her online at and


Sandra is an illustrator who lives in Barcelona with her family. She loves her job: sitting in the morning at her table, with a freshly brewed tea and the company of her two cats, Chicho and Rudo, and starts drawing. From time to time she takes a break, and escapes to nature, go to the movies, eat around and above all, plays (and paint) with her son.

She graduated in Fine Arts from the University of Barcelona and took several courses related to design and illustration at the Escola Massana, the Escola de la Dona (both in Barcelona) and the Fabbrica delle Favole (Macerata, Italy).

Her illustrations can be found in children and youth books, although she also has designed various posters. Among her clients are the national publishers Estrella Polar , Timun Mas , Santillana , Cruïlla , Ediciones SM , Barcanova , Editorial Planeta , Edicions Salòria , OQO Editor , Paint-Paint Editorial , El Terrat de Produccions ; the international publishers Éditions Milan (France) and Samsung Publishing Co. (South Korea); Barçakids and Puça magazines ; Londji toys; the Escletxa , Bräva Büro and Tucan studies; The Story of Berlin museum, the associations Fassulo and 9Barris Acull and the theater companies Impro Barcelona , Planeta Impro and Trotam Teatre .

For more about Sandra, the illustrator of Way Past Mad, visit:

Hallee, thank you for sharing your new book and its’ journey with us. Children do get mad, so reading Keya’s story should help provide a new way of dealing with those “Way Past Mad” emotions and that is important. Good Luck with the book.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Can’t wait to read this book! I know some littles who would love to read it as well. Congratulations! Sharing on Twitter.


    • Thanks so much, Angie! We are excited to bring it into the world and are grateful that you will be reading and sharing it with kids!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I saw the cover for this book just recently and thought, oh, good. “We” need this. A perfect prequel for the small but rich crop of mindfulness books that have come out for children. Reading Hallee’s open-hearted, honest description of her own feelings is so refreshing! I’ve been there! I ‘am’ there! Thank you for every word. Sandra’s artwork is gorgeous and spot on. Love the simplicity and boldness. Applaure for all who brought this book to life.


    • Wendy! I’m so glad that you posted and that you can connect to the experience/journey. Cheering you on from afar!!!! Excited to share this book, and I’m glad I stuck with it. What the article doesn’t say is that AW has since asked me to write more “Way Past” books. Way Past Worried comes out this fall. Wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t keep going. Go get em, Wendy!! 🙂


  3. “Then he fed Axe my breakfast” — hilarious! We’ve all had days like this. I think your book will resonate with children (and adults!).


    • Thanks, Janet! I sure hope it will make kids, families and classrooms smile. Thanks for posting and reading Kathy’s blog.


  4. Great title and cover! Thanks so much for sharing, Hallee.


    • Jill,
      Thanks for taking the time to post. I’m excited that the book launches this weekend. I’ll tell Sandra that you love her beautiful cover!!!


  5. I had the pleasure of reading an ARC of this book and it is so much fun! Congratulations Hallee. I will share on twitter and reblog, but no need to enter me in the drawing.


    • Thanks for sharing this post, Darlene!! Can’t wait for your upcoming title: Wishes, Dares, and How to Stand Up to a Bully. It’s going to be awesome!!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hallee, LOVE that you’re EVERYwhere! 😀

    (Kathy, no need to enter me for the giveaway…have a copy 🙂 )


    • Thanks to YOU and Kathy!!! So grateful to have giveaways for readers, teachers, families and librarians!!!


  7. The book looks spot on! I’ve been thinking of starting on an emotions picture book and would love to read this one. Thanks on your advice about how to listen to critiques. Recently, an editor made a comment that really threw me for a loop, but I think I’m over that now 🙂


    • It’s really hard when we get feedback that is loop-throwing. I try to give myself a day or so to sift through it clearly. Sometimes what I think I heard in the moment, isn’t even what was said. Either way, a thick skin is important in creative work. Not everyone delivers feedback with care. It’s great that you are pushing forward to bring important work for children into the world! Go get em!!


  8. This sounds fabulous – congrats Halle! And I love the advice about following your gut 😀


    • Thanks, Heather!! Appreciate your post! ❤️❤️❤️


  9. Sounds like a very important book! Can’t wait to read it. Sharing on twitter as well. Congrats!


    • Rebecca, Thanks for sharing and posting. I’m excited about this title. I love that kids can see someone else find her way past mad.


  10. This sounds like such a great book. Love that cover. Can’t wait to read it. Thanks for the post and the chance.


    • Yes! I love Sandra’s cover too! It grabbed me right away. Sandra is so talented. Thanks for your warm words. Excited for you to read the book!!


  11. Perfect timing for this book. My oldest is getting bothered by his little brother ruining his things. “He’s little” is said many times in our house. And thanks for sharing about how to take feedback. It can be hard to know who is right about the direction of your stories. I think having an agent that gets your writing style and sees you vision is helpful. Congratulations!


    • Ashley— so glad the timing is perfect for your family!! Hope your kids love the book. I totally agree that it’s important to surround ourselves with people who understand us and our work. I love working with Moe because I can talk to her so easily. Also, we trust each other and respect one another’s talents and decision-making. Thanks for bringing that up. Good luck to your oldest son! Hope he finds his way past mad and feels understood. ❤️❤️❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  12. This book sounds wonderful. Kudos for tackling such an important topic and helping kids everywhere. The cover is a grabber.


    • Thank you MD! I am so glad kids will be able read the book and hopefully feel understood! I love sandra’s cover too!! She’s a rock star. Thank you for posting!!


  13. Reblogged this on Darlene Beck-Jacobson.


    • Thanks for reblogging Darlene. Grateful for you. ❤️❤️❤️


  14. I love this book! So grateful to have had a chance to read before release. So many of my students find themselves with emotions that have gotten away from them. Stepping back from anger and de-escalating is especially difficult skill, and that anger affects those around us as Keya finds out the hard way. I love the double meaning of the title. We do sometimes get way past where we think our emotions will go, but (and this is the best part) Adelman’s book opens the conversation about how to get past that feeling and how to make amends when we inadvertently hurt others. All children need to be part of the conversations this book can evoke. Way past glad you are sharing this book so other children get to experience it.


  15. How exciting–glad you persevered! Love the honest feelings and the colorful artwork (there must be quite an artistic community in Barcelona, where the artist for my latest picture book also resides…with cats)…can’t wait to read it:-)


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