Posted by: Kathy Temean | July 26, 2020

Book Giveaway: Lloyd Finds His Whalesong by Lloyd Skylaar Amann

Author/illustrator Skylaar Amann’s debut picture book titled, Lloyd Finds His Whalesong, published by Page Street Kids is available in bookstores. Page Street Kids has agreed to share a book with one lucky winner. All you have to do to get in the running is to 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 Skylaar!


Lloyd can’t sing. The rhythm of the whalesong guides the whales through danger and connects them to each other. But Lloyd is too quiet to join in. If he can’t sing, how can he be a part of the pod?

Then one day he finds a magical, mysterious object with supersonic seaweed strings! This could be his chance to be part of the song. He practices and practices, nervously preparing to show the other whales. But before he can perform for them, a disruptive, noisy boat approaches and scatters the pod. Lloyd’s powerful new instrument may be the only thing that can reunite them―if he can find the courage to share his unique song.

This inspiring and whimsical tale about celebrating your differences and finding your voice is complemented by bright and endearing illustrations that sparkle with quiet magic.


I was inspired to write Lloyd Finds His Whalesong in part because I grew up on the Oregon Coast. The ocean has always been a huge part of my life, including watching humpback whales like Lloyd migrate offshore.

With that marine influence, I have always written stories about and drawn pictures of the ocean, whales, and tide pool creatures. In fact, I was doodling whales for years before one of them became Lloyd!

About ten years ago, I started to learn how to play the ukulele, which I discovered I enjoyed immensely. Between my lifelong love of the ocean and my newfound love of the ukulele, the story of Lloyd was born.

I started working on Lloyd several years ago, maybe around 2012. At that point I was very much learning the ropes of the publishing industry, picture book styles and structures, and the querying process.

I was also transitioning away from making handbound artist books and zines (which I had been doing since college) to pursuing more commercial stories and formats. It was a learning process that included being willing to sometimes set aside the handmade feel of bindings and specialized papers, paint textures, and so forth. It was also a time of improving my illustration skills from a technical perspective.

As I was working on early rough drafts of Lloyd, I realized I wasn’t happy with my illustration ability. What had served me before in zines, comics, and other fine art projects wasn’t working for me anymore. So I started taking classes to study composition, color and light, character design, and environment design—the fundamentals of illustration. While I had studied drawing, painting, and more in college, these new classes pushed me much further.

So I was moving slow in my Lloyd journey, but I was learning a lot, and I kept chipping away at my idea for the story. I even did many painting in acrylic for an older draft so I could see the whole story. The idea for Lloyd went through more iterations than I can count, for both text and image, before I ever sent it out into the world.

A few years later, I started looking into how to market my illustration work commercially. I developed my portfolio and researched art directors and other creative buyers in publishing and other industries. I sent out direct mailers (like illustrated postcards) to get my art into the hands of industry people. After sending several of those out, I got an exciting email from Kristen Nobles, who had recently founded Page Street Kids. Kristen connected with the marine themes in my portfolio and asked me if I had a dummy she could consider. I had recently revised my old Lloyd draft, so I sent it to her.

Kristen and her team were kind enough to offer me lots of actionable, editorial feedback over the course of a year. I revised and resent the story many times. Eventually, editor Courtney Burke contacted me to she wanted to acquire my story!

That was hugely exciting to me because I didn’t even have an agent, had never sold a book, and was just dipping my toes into the world of querying and other submissions. I accepted Courtney’s offer, and we got to work.

Lloyd Finds His Whalesong came out in June, so my journey includes not only navigating the new and unfamiliar debut book process, but doing it all during an unprecedented pandemic! I’m lucky to have a great promotional/marketing partner, Lizzy Mason, over at Page Street Kids, who has nimbly adapted to our changing world and been super helpful to me as a newbie! I’m also very grateful for my debut picture book group, Perfect2020PBs, who have a great resource and support system throughout the year. If you want to learn more about me or Lloyd, please check out my website at or find me on social media with the handle @skylaara!


Skylaar Amann is the author/illustrator of LLOYD FINDS HIS WHALESONG, her debut picture book (Page Street Kids 2020). She is a member of SCBWI and Women Who Draw, as well as an affiliated artist with Climate Science Alliance. In 2012, Skylaar was shortlisted for the Poetry Foundation’s Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship. Previously, she received a Kidd Creative Writing Fellowship through the University of Oregon, where she studied creative writing and book arts. Skylaar grew up on the Oregon Coast with the incredible biodiversity of the Pacific Ocean in her backyard. She now lives in Portland, Oregon, where she works as an illustrator, editor, and instructor.

Skylaar, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. I have a copy of the book and it really is beautiful. I love how you captured the rhythm and magic of what happens beneath the water, while sharing a much needed message. Good luck with the book!

Talk tomorrow,



  1. What a fabulous book. Wishing Skylaar and Lloyd the best of success and songs!


  2. Congrats, Skylaar! This looks gorgeous.


  3. I shared on PInterest, Facebook, and Twitter. It sounds like fun!


  4. This book looks delightful! Thanks for sharing your book journey with us. So inspiring!


  5. Thanks for sharing your publishing journey. Aren’t Kristen and Page Street Kids people just wonderful?


  6. Congrats–so colorful and imaginative! It pays to push:-)Kathy, I subscribe to your newsletters.


  7. I would love to win a copy! I have a granddaughter who would be delighted many times over with this book. Love the concept and the illustrations.


  8. What an inspirational story of Skylaar’s publishing journey and such a gorgeous book! It appeals to the Pac NW gal in me. Wishing her the best in her career.


  9. This is a book I’ve been greatly looking forward to reading! Yay!


  10. Wonderful book! Looking forward to reading it all.


  11. Such a beautiful story! Congrats!


  12. It looks a beautiful book! Well done for putting all the effort into making this happen. 🙂 🙂


  13. Lloyd finds his whale song is so beautiful! Congratulations – I know this book will be read and enjoyed by many children.


  14. This looks delightful.


  15. I love whales and I can’t wait to read this book. Thanks for sharing your journey. Congratulations!


  16. Tweeted!


  17. What an amazing journey, Skylaar. The cover is so beautiful and colorful. Great idea. Thanks for sharing this. Posting on FB.


  18. This is such a beautiful book! I can’t wait to read it!



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