Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 4, 2020

Book Giveaway: THE NINJA CLUB SLEEPOVER by Laura Gehl

Author Laura Gehl has a new picture book titled,THE NINJA CLUB SLEEPOVER, illustrated by MacKenzie Haley and published by Page Street Kids and coming out on August 4th. PSK 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 Laura and MacKenzie !

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

We are ninjas and ninjas are brave!

Willa and her best friends love ninjas. They have matching ninja backpacks and ninja t-shirts, and at school they even form a ninja club. But Willa has a secret: she’s a werewolf! Worried that no one will understand, she hides the truth from her friends. Until Val has a sleepover for her birthday…and it’s on the night of the full moon.

Willa is overcome with nerves. When an accident reveals that her friends were hiding secrets too, she realizes maybe it’s not so important to be a normal ninja. After all, a paranormal ninja can do so many cool things!

Join three remarkable friends as they discover that ALL of us are weird in our own special ways. Lovable and lively illustrations accompany this charming story that explores facing your fears and fitting in, encouraging readers to celebrate their true selves.

 

BOOK JOURNEY:

When I started writing The Ninja Club Sleepover (it was called Willa’s Sleepover at the time), my goal was to craft a story about friendship and acceptance. Even though this is my 16th picture book, it is the first one that really focuses on friendship. As my daughter has progressed through preschool to elementary school, I’ve been acutely aware of how much girls worry about acceptance, and about how their friends will perceive them. So in some ways, my own little girl inspired this story.

In my first draft, I wrote the story of Willa, whose best friends and fellow ninja-club members have no idea that she is actually a werewolf.  Willa is sure that if her friends find out her secret they won’t like her anymore. After all, who wants to be friends with a werewolf? Like any story, this one went through many iterations, but one piece of feedback from a critique partner still stands out vividly in my mind. He suggested that perhaps Willa’s friends should also have secrets. I took that great idea and ran with it. I won’t give away the secrets of Willa’s friends, but I will tell you that the cover of the book gives hints about what Val and Fiona are hiding!

As this manuscript evolved, it continued to be a story about friendship and acceptance, but it also developed another strong theme: the idea that ALL of us are weird in our own ways. An additional theme, bravery, began to emerge as well, especially as I added in the ninja club’s chant, which pops up repeatedly in the book: “We are ninjas, and ninjas are brave!”

Once I sold the story to Page Street Kids, my editor, Courtney Burke, asked me to draw out Willa’s emotions more with my words. As a picture book author, I’m always trying to use words as sparingly as possible, in order to let the illustrations tell a lot of the story. But in this case, Courtney was absolutely right. The additional words help the reader empathize with Willa’s worries and better understand her internal conflict as she tries to decide whether or not to reveal her secret.

I love the way this story turned out, and I know you will love MacKenzie Haley’s adorable illustrations. I hope that parents, caregivers, and teachers will use The Ninja Club Sleepover to start conversations with kids (there is a free teacher’s guide available on my website, or on the Page Street Kids site). I hope that kids will love seeing how Willa decides to share her own secret, and that they will be shocked when the friends’ secrets are revealed. Most of all, I hope the messages of the book will resonate with readers of all ages.

LAURA’S BIO:

Laura Gehl is the author of more than twenty picture books, board books, and early readers, including One Big Pair of Underwear, the Peep and Egg series, My Pillow Keeps Moving, I Got a Chicken for My Birthday, and the Baby Scientist series. The Ninja Club Sleepover shares a book birthday with Laura’s early reader Cat Has a Plan, about a cat and a dog with rival plans to snag a coveted toy. Her other 2020 releases include May Saves The Day, Judge Juliette, and Happy Lllamakkah. Visit Laura online at www.lauragehl.com, or connect with her on Twitter or Instagram @AuthorLauraGehl.

MACKENZIE’S BIO:

MacKenzie Haley is an illustrator, runner, and cat whisperer who currently resides in Louisville, KY. She has her BFA in illustration from the University of Dayton, and is represented by Advocate Art. Her clients include Harper Collins, Cottage Door Press, Page Street Publishing, Albert Whitman & Co, Highlights Magazine, Magination Press, Oxford University Press, Apples & Honey Press, The National Center for Youth Issues, Worthy Publishing, and Storytime Magazine. She’s completed three full marathons (slowly), fostered about twelve cats (not at the same time), and has two codependent cats named Booger and Abby. She has drawn her whole life, and flunked a math test in the third grade because she turned the test over and used the entire time to draw characters and faces out of numbers.  She loves including small, interesting details in her work, and uses bold colors, patterns, and textures.

MacKenzie Haley is an illustrator, runner, and cat whisperer who currently resides in Louisville, KY. She has her BFA in illustration from the University of Dayton, and is represented by Advocate Art. Her clients include Harper Collins, Cottage Door Press, Page Street Publishing, Albert Whitman & Co, Highlights Magazine, Magination Press, Oxford University Press, Apples & Honey Press, The National Center for Youth Issues, Worthy Publishing, and Storytime Magazine. She’s completed three full marathons (slowly), fostered about twelve cats (not at the same time), and has two codependent cats named Booger and Abby. She has drawn her whole life, and flunked a math test in the third grade because she turned the test over and used the entire time to draw characters and faces out of numbers.  She loves including small, interesting details in her work, and uses bold colors, patterns, and textures. You can contact MacKenzie directly at kenzehaley@gmail.com, or Advocate Art (www.advocate-art.com/mackenzie-haley) for all inquiries about illustration work, or if you know any good jokes. She has currently reached the maximum amount of cat shirts a grown woman is allowed to have, and is banned from buying any more (but can accept them as gifts).

Thank you Laura for sharing your book and journey with us. I love MacKenzie’s illustrations and the three little girls who all have secrets and by the end find out they are a werewolf, vampire, and fairy. I have the book and it is so much fun. I know children wil love it as much as I do. God luck with the book!

Talk tomorow,

Kathy


Responses

  1. Laura, this is adorable. I like the idea that everyone is weird in their own way. I can’t wait to get a real close look at the text and those adorable illustrations. Congrats!

    Like

  2. Congratulations! We’ve read many of your books and we’ve enjoyed them all. You tell fun, unique stories children love. This book looks like another one we will enjoy. Shared on Twitter and receive your daily blog.

    Like

  3. This looks fabulous! Love the evolution of the layers. Shared on FB and Twitter.

    Like

  4. Congratulations, Laura and MacKenzie! Looking forward to reading your latest book.

    Like

    • Congratulations, Laura! Looking forward to reading this and finding out the third secret. I love the “we are all weird in some way” aspect.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. this is such a cute book –

    Like

  6. Such a cute and fun book with a big message! Congrats!

    Like

  7. This looks adorable, as are so many others of Laura’s. And I love the illustrations. Congrats to both Laura and MacKenzie! Sharing!

    Like

  8. Congrats, Laure and Mackenzie! This looks adorable.

    Like

  9. So much fun! Can’t wait to read this one. Congratulations!

    Will tweet this post. 🙂

    Like

  10. What a wonderful zany idea. I am happy for you. Can’t wait to read to a class.

    Like

  11. Laura and Mackenzie- What a wonderful springboard to talking with kids about what makes us different makes us special! Kathy, I love receiving your awesome blog…

    Like

  12. My daughter would love this! What a fab idea!

    Like

  13. What a wonderful idea for a book! I think kids will really relate to the fact that all of the main characters have their own ‘weirdness’. Everybody has something that makes them unique.

    Like

  14. What a great idea for a book! Thanks for sharing your process. I’m a subscriber to Kathy’s blog.

    Like

  15. Wow, this sounds so good. I’m checking it out tomorrow. Thank you for writing about this.

    Like

  16. I love the heart & theme in this story! Great work! Looks wonderful.

    Like

  17. I love the fact that your critique partner made a suggestion that really excited you. How wonderful to be part of a strong critique group! (Kathy, I subscribe to your blog.)

    Like


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