Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 18, 2020

Book Giveaway: NOLA’S SCRIBBLES SAVE THE DAY by Cristina Lalli

Cristina Lalli has written and illustrated a new picture book, NOLA’S SCRIBBLES SAVE THE DAY. It’s published by Page Street Kids and hits bookstores on June 23rd. Page Street Kids has 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 Cristina, 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!


Nola loves her scribbles. They go with her wherever she goes. But she can’t seem to share her scribbles with others―no one seems to understand the imaginative world she’s created for herself. Frustrated and uninspired, Nola draws a blank. A big, boring blank.

But when Nola falls deep into a creative slump, she discovers she’s not alone. If she can find the courage to share her scribbled ideas again, she may just inspire others to think outside the box and give their ideas a try too.

With playful illustrations, this imaginative tale shows readers of all ages the power in persevering to create and embrace unique expression.


Nola’s Scribbles… began as some of my own scribbles and a vague idea about a young girl and her difficulties with the creative process. I had wanted to focus on the idea of scribbling to portray the uninhibited way that children draw before they’re taught anything about the symbols we use to visually communicate, or the idea of perspective, or any kind of drawing instruction, and the immediate aftermath or crushing of the spirit once taught that something doesn’t look “right.” I think it’s relatable to anyone who has struggled with what they want to make and how to communicate it. In addition, whenever I get stressed out and don’t know what to draw or write, I make these almost meditative scribbles and doodles- so it lent itself perfectly to Nola’s character.

The initial concept began about 5 years ago, while I was living and working in the UK and completing the Masters of Children’s Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art. It was an amazing program, but I felt inadequate compared to my peers, as it had been several years since I had been able to focus on honing my drawing skills. That struggle to find a balance between what I wanted to express, and how I was going to approach it, was my own parallel narrative.

I had shown an early dummy of the book at the Bologna Book Fair in Italy, and received lots of positive feedback from editors, but ultimately no publishing contract. From there, I was approached by a literary agent based in the U.S., and we signed a contract for one year. She had floated my dummy around a bit, but again a bit of interest but no promising future home for this story. I decided not to renew the contract with the agent and became much more proactive in marketing my own work. I joined SCBWI, attended a few conferences participating in portfolio and dummy reviews, and began to research publishers who would accept unsolicited manuscripts. I feel really grateful to have been able to send out my work to publishers and agents who were taking open and unagented submissions- this is how I found Page Street Kids. I remember the thrilling feeling when I knew they were serious about taking a chance on me, and they patiently worked with me to get my first book to where it is now. The concept, text, and illustrations all went through an incredible amount of restructuring but it was all a working lesson for me.

It is both an amazing and terrifying feeling now that my work is finally getting into the hands of children! I am worried that they won’t like it, or that it won’t be understood– but that is exactly the lesson Nola is giving in the book. I’m just going to continue making what I feel I connected with as a child, or I observe other children connecting with, and hopefully there will be a  lot of children out there who can relate.

There will be a virtual storytime on the Page Street Kids Instagram page on the release date, June 23rd– please check it out! Thank you!


Cristina Lalli has always believed that books have a special power. She received a Masters of Children’s Book Illustration from Cambridge School of Art and has worked in Chicago, New York, and London as a designer, illustrator, and educator. Now settled in Portland, Oregon, she is an active member of SCBWI.

She received a Portfolio Honor Award at SCBWI LA 2018, and was the recipient of the SCBWI 2018 Don Freeman Grant for a pre-published work. This is her debut picture book.

Cristina, thank you for sharing your book and its journey with us. I have a copy and the story of your art not be understood and the feeling of falling into a blank page and not being able to pull yourself out is something creative people can identify with. Besides it being a fun story, the illustrations are perfectly fun, too. Good luck with this very creative book!

Talk tomorrow,



  1. I so love this premise! which is definitely thinking outside the box! Congrats!


  2. I love this book, and I know my pre-k children would love it, as we talk about scribbles a lot and how they help us to create. I also love that the character is African-american, not always easy to find in children’s literature.


  3. Congrats, Cristina! This looks adorable.


  4. Congratulations for finding your publishing home.


  5. I love this book and would love to share it with my students when school starts. And I follow your blog!


  6. I can totally relate to this story. I doodle/scribble constantly !


  7. What a clever and unique concept. Thanks for telling me about it.


  8. This looks fabulous, Christina! Good work & congrats!!


  9. Sounds lovely. I’m a blog follower too.


  10. This sounds like it could be paired with The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken for a thought-provoking story time. I look forward to reading Nola’s Scribbles Save the Day. (Kathy, I subscribe to your blog.)


  11. Fun! Loved the story of how this book came into being. Congratulations!

    Will tweet and I follow the blog by email. 🙂


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