Posted by: Kathy Temean | May 17, 2020

Book Giveaway: OUR WORLD IS WHOLE by Gail Bush

Gail Bush has a new picture book, OUR WORLD IS WHOLE, illustrated by Jennie Poh and published by Sleeping Bear Press. They have agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner. 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 Gail and Jennie, 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!


One little girl knows that our world is whole because the connections between us all makes it so–from the family cat to the chatty neighbor to Mom and Dad and cousin Jerry. Our World is Whole is a lyrical meditation on mindfulness that celebrates interconnectedness and the ways we support one another and keep our world whole and spinning.

Book Journey:

I started writing Our World is Whole in the mid-1990s, long before anyone could anticipate the change in normalcy at the dawn of our new millennium. And here we are now struggling with fundamental issues of human decency and just how to raise the next generation with the a sense of safety and security that every child deserves.

I remember thinking after 9/11 just how relevant this message was, and now, in the time of the pandemic, it feels just that relevant once again. Perhaps that is the real lesson, that we must be of service to our young audience to provide them with the tools necessary to grow and thrive with the understanding that inevitably there will be rough patches to be navigated. Their life-long well-being might be best influenced by developing resiliency skillsets that will serve them come what may. Basically here is the message, as long as we are true to ourselves, and continue to belong to each other, our world will be whole.

“A writer is someone on whom nothing is lost.” Henry James…
Completely based on true events that occurred in the exact order followed in the book, it all started with the late birthday card from Providence. When I received the birthday card from my brother Harry weeks late, my young child asked me why it was so late. The image on the card was of a turtle so I readily explained that was the reason for the tardiness – that the card rode on the turtle’s back – that reasoning was accepted by the skeptical audience and life went on… So really, OWIW is a non-fiction book, every vignette is based on a real life incident and characters.

Back to the last millennium; after I wrote the first draft, in pencil on a yellow steno pad, I put it in a drawer for a year. For some reason, that is my pattern with my writing. It is such a vulnerable experience to write from deep within that I feel that even I need space from my own self. Also, I like the idea of looking at my writing fresh after a year or so, just to see if it resonates. After that year, I set out to seek publishers with my ‘unsolicited manuscript’. And that part of this journey takes us through the next many years. There are so many considerate rejections, really, I started to just be glad that the manuscript was being read by thoughtful editors.

I do understand the acquisitions editors perspective, even if they appreciated the manuscript, it had to fit their list at their publishing house at that time. That said, sometimes I would revise following their comments and sometimes I would not. For example, I was told that it was a quiet book. I am a quiet person so where another writer might have a different response to that comment, I found it appropriate. Of course, it was too quiet for their list. Oh well. I will add that my revisions were based mostly on rhythm and lyricism rather than content.

I believe in books that demonstrate how to keep living in these times, the power of personal identity, and the importance of personal beliefs. We honor the everyday habits that make us who we are, we stay true to ourselves, we belong to each other and together we are we. I also believe that this message will translate well as it is a universal message that would benefit children and their adults worldwide.

Please understand that throughout all those years, aside from being in the throes of my career and raising a family, I was publishing numerous professional books, articles, essays, chapters and interviews. I also spent years working on a poetry anthology with a friend that was published in 2013 (Indivisible: Poems for Social Justice, Norwood House Press).

About the title, it has gone through some transformations. After capturing the final title I did a little research and found that it is unique. However, a lovely happenstance is that Wendell Berry, a favorite living American poet, has a line in a poem published (most recently in 2012) that reads “The world is whole beyond human knowing.” I felt that could be an interesting springboard for adult contemplation. My sense is that this message will not be lost on those who are reading to our young audiences.

And finally the beginning of this book journey came from Sarah Rockett, my editor at Sleeping Bear Press. My patience with the publishing process was rewarded with finding this happy home for my manuscript. Again, while I understand the somewhat limited role of the author as the book progressed through the publishing landscape, I always felt heard. The match of Jennie Poh’s thoughtful and lyrical illustrations continues to touch my heart.


Gail Bush, Ph.D., is professor emeritus of education, National Louis University in Chicago. Gail’s academic background includes a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, master’s degree in library science, and doctorate in educational psychology. 

In 2002, Gail followed her tenure as an academic, corporate, and high school library practitioner by moving into academia as director of the Dominican University Graduate School of Library and Information Science School Library Media Program. She then developed the School Library Program and founded, along with Dr. Junko Yokota, the Center for Teaching Through Children’s Books, in the Department of Reading and Literacy at National Louis University. Gail’s research includes educator collaboration and the development of professional dispositions; her areas of intellectual engagement are social justice, creativity, poetry, and serving youth through literature. 

After a career in libraries that included the National School Library Media Program of the Year award, Gail was recognized as the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana Graduate School of Library and Information Science Distinguished Alumnae of 2008. In 2010, she was elected the president of the Illinois Library Association while serving as an Evanston Public Library trustee. Gail completed her term as the United States delegate to the School Libraries Committee of the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) in 2014. She served as a trustee of the Poetry Foundation from 2010 – 2015 and was inducted as an Illinois Library Luminary Honoree in July 2015. In 2019, Gail was elected member of the Oakton Community College District 535 board of trustees.


Jennie was born in London and spent her formative years in Malaysia, returning to the UK at the age of nine. She fell in love with the Norfolk countryside and feels a deep connection with nature and conservation, which heavily influences her work.

Jennie studied Fine Art at The Surrey Institute of Art & Design, alongside illustration courses at Central St Martins.

She mainly works digitally but enjoys making her own paintbrushes and textures, using any natural materials such as leaves, bark, flowers, and anything else she may find while out walking. She has a love of watercolour and indian inks which make wonderful splatters and splodges!

Jennie’s clients include Bloomsbury, Little Tiger Press, Harrods, Magination Press, Baker Publishing, Capstone Publishing, Sleeping Bear Press, Lantana Press and Eden Cooper.

Jennie lives in Surrey with her two daughters and a mischievous marmalade cat. She is represented by Arabella Stein at the Bright Agency.

Thank you Gail for sharing your book and journey with us. I have a copy of the book it is a beautiful book. Reminded me of how my family and friends felt when my son was born. Then I realized how universal this feeling of enjoy a child can bring into your life when it is born, even to the people around you. The illustrations Jennie created for the book is the icing on the cake for this heartfelt book. Definitely, a great book to buy for a new born child and the parents.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. what a beautiful book in every way, exactly what we need right now


  2. I love really big concept books and this looks like a special addition. Congratulations and kudos for your perseverance!


  3. Love this book’s uplifting message. Congrats!


  4. What a beautiful book with a beautiful message!


  5. This looks amazing! And how needed now.


  6. I really appreciate the comforting message your book shares with readers. And the illustrations blend perfectly! I Tweeted.


  7. This book looks amazing! We need a book like this right now.


  8. A beautiful story and book that will comfort kids and adults and encourage them to stay “in the moment.”. Jenny Poh’s illustrations complement the text in a wholly wonderful way!
    I love reading about the writing process of other authors. I marvel at the diversity of how we go about creating stories. Gail has given me something to think about – I cannot imagine putting a story away for a year after the initial draft! But I found myself nodding at her thoughtful explanation. Her approach surely works for her, since this is truly a beautiful, heartfelt story.
    Thanks, Kathy, for sharing OUR WORLD IS WHOLE with your readers.


  9. Thanks for sharing this beautiful book! I love hearing of your journey of how book evolved. I follow Kathy’s blog.


  10. This is so adorable! I can’t wait to read the entire book! Congratulations!

    I will tweet this and I follow by email. 🙂


  11. This looks like a very soothing book. Thanks for sharing the story behind it. (Kathy, I subscribe to your blog.)


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