Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 20, 2020

Book Giveaway: MAY SAVES THE DAY by Laura Gehl

Laura Gehl has written a new picture book, MAY SAVES THE DAY, illustrated by Serena Lombardo and publish by Capstone. Laura 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 other things you do to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Laura and Serena.

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!


From her trendy suit to her messenger bag, May is the picture of a successful businesswoman. After all, she is founder and sole proprietor of Word Saver, Inc. Carrying her trusty bag of letters, May saves the day again and again, turning angry BEES into playful BEETS and a rampaging BEAR into a silly BEARD. Stu begs to be her sidekick, but May insists that a businesswoman does not need a sidekick. However, May quickly realizes that teamwork may be the word of the day when a tornado threatens the town. Author Laura Gehl brings word play to a new level in this adventurous and humorous picture book, featuring spirited art by Serena Lombardo.


I’ve always loved playing around with words. As a kid, I played Scrabble with my family and Boggle with my friends. As a parent, I played Bananagrams, Upwords, and Quiddler Junior with my own kids.

One day, the idea popped into my head to write a story where the main character changes words into new words by adding or subtracting letters. I instantly fell in love with the concept. But if you are thinking to yourself, “That’s not really a story,” you are absolutely right! I had this nugget of an idea, but I didn’t have a plot, or even a fully-fleshed-out main character.

I keep a digital file of all my picture book ideas. So I emailed myself this changing-words idea and then went back to my daily life. Months went by. Several times over those months, when I wanted to start on a new project, I scrolled through my idea file, considering which one to pursue. Each time, I scrolled right past the “main character changes words” idea…because I still had no clue as far as how to develop this seed into an actual story.

Then one afternoon I was at a coffee shop with a friend. She went to the bathroom, and all of a sudden the next steps for this story started to click in my head. A girl who runs her own business changing words! Yes! People call her to change dangerous words into silly or harmless ones! Yes! Another kid wants to be her sidekick, but she keeps refusing. YES!!! I emailed myself a bunch of notes, now energized and inspired to tackle this project.

A few days later, I wrote the rough draft. At that point, the book was called Word Saver, Inc., which is the name of May’s business. After help from both of my invaluable critique groups, Word Saver, Inc. went off to my wonderful agent, Erzsi Deak. Because of the educational aspect of the book, Erzsi sent it to Christianne Jones at Capstone. Capstone has strong ties to the school market. Sure enough, Christianne said she loved the story right away, due to the word play and the strong female main character.

It was so much fun to see how the illustrator, Serena Lombardo, brought May to life through her art. In a podcast interview, Serena talked about wanting to mix little girl clothes with a businesswoman wardrobe to give May just the right look, and I think she hit the nail on the head perfectly!

The text of the book did not change much during the editing process. However, Christianne and the team at Capstone felt that Word Saver, Inc. was not the strongest title, since nobody would know what it meant. I realized they were right, and we brainstormed other titles. Christianne suggested THE LETTER GO-GETTER as one possible option. In the end, though, MAY SAVES THE DAY won, and now it is impossible to think of the book having a different title!


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.

Laura’s 2020 releases include Baby Paleontologist, May Saves The Day, Judge Juliette, Cat Has a Plan, The Ninja Club Sleepover, and Happy Lllamakkah. Visit Laura online at, or connect with her on Twitter or Instagram @AuthorLauraGehl.


Serena is an illustrator who was born in Naples, Italy and currently lives in Bologna. She graduated at the Naples Fine Arts Academy, and then followed her dream specializing in Illustration and Concept Art at Scuola Italiana di Comix. After that, she expanded her craft by taking courses in Character Design at Geko: The Guru Lab.

Drawing fantastic and adventurous worlds has always been her passion, and making others dream by telling stories through illustrations her mission.

Laura thank you for sharing your book and your journey with us. I love how you brought starting a business, being successful, and saving the day adventures into a fun story for children. The illustrations that Serena did makes the whole book pop. Good luck with the book!

Talk tomorrow,



  1. what a great story and the illustrations are wonderful!


  2. Congrats, Laura and Serena. Can’t wait to read this book. (I’m subscribed to emails and plan to request that my library purchase this book.)


  3. I love Laura’s books! And this looks like another winner. Great artwork too. Can’t wait to read it! Great interview. Posting it on Twitter now.


  4. Great work, Laura and Serena! This book looks so fantastic! Congrats!


  5. What a great idea for a story! I look forward to reading it, Laura.


  6. I LOVE word play too, Laura, and this looks great! 😀


  7. This is such a clever idea kids will love. Congratulations Laura! I always enjoy reading your books. Shared on Twitter.


  8. I love books about words and this looks so clever and creative. I enjoy reading your blog and plan to share this on Twitter.


  9. The perfect package! I love May and her word saving ways. Fun story and great illustrations! Congrats to both Laura and Serena!

    I follow by email and will Tweet this!


  10. What an interesting book. And a great title!


  11. Very cute book & concept!


  12. I’m a big fan of My Pillow Keeps Moving. This book sounds great, too! Wordplay is lots of fun. (Kathy, I subscribe to your blog.)


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