Posted by: Kathy Temean | May 7, 2020

Book Giveaway – THIS IS THE DAY by Amy Parker

Amy Parker has a new picture book, THIS IS THE DAY, illustrated by Leeza Hernandez and published by Little Shepherd. Amy and Leeza have agreed to share a copy, so that means there will be two lucky winners. All you have to do to get in the running is 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 Amy and Leeza, especially at this stressful time when authors and illustrators need to promote their books completely online.

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!


This Is the Day!

Right now is the moment.

It’s yours! Don’t delay!

Step into the sunshine.



Every day is a day to celebrate and find hope in this colorful, creative storybook inspired by Psalm 118:24. With joyous rhymes and colorful illustrations of all kinds of children, find the beauty and wonder of every moment of the day — and learn that you can make the world even more glorious, too!

A jubilant, inspirational reminder to seize the opportunities of the day that God has made just for us by bestselling author Amy Parker and illustrator Leeza Hernandez.

One day when I came across Psalm 118:24, it struck me that this was an idea that needed to be expounded upon, a verse that we all needed to hear, to see illustrated, to hold in our hands. So I sat down and dug in to write the words of This Is the Day! It was originally titled This Is YOUR Day! to remind kids that this day was created just for them, to make the most of it. But we finally decided on This Is the Day! to align more closely with the Scripture verse. Still, the sentiment remains: This Is the Day! reminds children—and adults alike—that God created each and every day just for them. And each and every day, with all of its gifts and setbacks, is to be celebrated, rejoiced in, and used as an opportunity to spread that joy to someone else.

Once Celia Lee, our editor, helped to finalize the words, creating a stronger arc and momentum, she pulled in Leeza Hernandez to really bring it to life. I immediately loved Leeza’s simple, bold, whimsical style. The first sketch I received was the spread with the kids under the tree blowing bubbles, and I immediately knew that Leeza would bring an even greater joy and exuberance to the story. Her development of diverse kids (she gave them all names and backstories!) just went to show how much depth and intentionality she was bringing to the book.

The proof stage was the most exciting, seeing the text and illustrations come together to form one unified story. The publisher also made it available in both English and bilingual (Spanish/English) options! The result, of course, is a gorgeous, whimsical celebration of each and every day that the Lord has made!


Amy Parker has written more than sixty books for children, teens, and adults, including the best-selling A Night Night Prayer, Thank You, God, for Mommy, and Thank You, God, for Daddy. She has collaborated with authors ranging from New York Times bestsellers to her very own son. Two of these collaborations–Firebird and Courageous Teens–are recipients of Christian Retailing’s Best Awards. But Amy’s greatest reward is being a wife to Daniel and a mom to their amazing sons, Michael and Ethan.


Leeza Hernandez was born in the south of England. She’s lived in the USA since 1999 and currently works as an illustrator-author as well as art director at a local parenting magazine. Printmaking, textiles, sketching are some of her favorite ways to be creative alongside spending time with her husband, daughter and cheeky tabby cat Jaspurr-purr.

Her books include: Did You Burp? How to Ask Questions (Or Not!) written by April pulley Sayre (Charlesbridge); The Mia Mayhem series written by Kara West (S&S); This Is the Day! written by Amy Parker (Scholastic); Never Play Music Right Next to the Zoo (S&S) written by John Lithgow; Dog Gone! and Cat Napped! (G. P. Putnam’s Sons) and the Eat Your Homework series — Math, Science and U.S. History (Charlesbridge) written by Ann McCallum.


A few years ago, I’d created a series of kid characters with the intention of building up new work for my portfolio, but also with the goal of simplifying the line art in my work and instead, focusing more on shape, color and texture. I took the series to a meeting at Scholastic and as a result was asked to look at a manuscript titled This Is Your Day! (I think the title changed about half way into the process of the book).

What I loved about the story was its uplifting tone and sweet message—it’s such a happy book. The challenge for me to illustrate it was that this wasn’t a typical picture book where you follow along a character’s journey nor were there any names or art notes. I struggled with initial sketches because honestly, I didn’t know what I was sketching.

In hindsight it’s obvious, but back then it took me a while to realize I needed my own characters. So, creating a cast of friends who lived in the same town became my starting point. I made a map of the town, gave each character a name as well as hobbies, likes, dislikes and personality traits. When I went back to the text it was immediately apparent as to which cast member to assign to each page, and develop a visual story from there.

I presented two dummies to the editor and art director consisting of 32- and 40-pages because I couldn’t decide which worked best. We went with 32 pages and I think it took approximately 12-18 months sketches to final. That’s the beauty of collaborating on a picture book and being part of a team—you can bounce ideas around until you’re left with a direction that feels just right for the book. The before and after daisy-chain illustration shown here, was the result of a quick brainstorm with the designer and editor. Adjusting colors and adding a bajillion more daisies strengthened the piece so much that it’s now one of my favorites from the book.

A lot of the original sketches in the dummy stayed in, though the gardening scene went through a few iterations. This is the original sketch before it went through several rounds of development.

When the book was done, I connected with Amy (who’s an absolute sweetheart)—we stay in touch to this day.

Leeza with Amy

I’m so grateful and happy that I got to work on this book. Thanks for having me, Kathy!

Amy and Leeza, thank you for sharing your book and Journey with us. The story and the illustrations are wonderful. I think both children and adults can rejoice with the uplifting message and sunny illustrations, especially in these dark times. I know it brought a smile to my face. Good luck with the book.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Congrats, Amy! (I’m signed up for daily emails.)


  2. This looks like a wonderful book! Good job Amy & Leeza! Thanks for sharing. I am grateful for your blog Kathy Temean!


  3. Amy, what a delightful book! I love what a positive and Godly message it has. We need that so much. I cannot wait to read it. Congrats!


  4. Congratulations, Amy and Leeza! These words and illustrations make my heart leap. This book has my granddaughter’s name all over it. Her plucky two-year=old countenance will take delight in it, as do I. (I just signed up for daily e-mails, Kathy – so glad I found you!


  5. This is so cute! I love it when authors build picture books from verses.


  6. So adorable! I love the modern take on the Psalms! Congratulations! Will share on Twitter and I follow this blog by email. 🙂


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