Posted by: Kathy Temean | November 5, 2020

Book Giveaway: BLING BLAINE by Rob Sanders

Yesterday Rob’s book went out by accident before it was done and David Harrison’s book didn’t show up properly. You might want to click the link to see David’s book, the way it was intended. Still trying to understand what happen. Sorry!

Author Rob Sanders has a new picture book BLING BLAINE: THROW GLITTER, NOT SHADE, illustrated by Letizia Rizzo, and published by Sterling Children’s Books. 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 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 Rob and Letizia.

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!


A heartwarming picture book about the power of allies to lift others up . . . and the sparkling magic of glitter!

Blaine’s a boy who loves to shine . . . well actually, he loves to sparkle. Whether it’s his uniform, his book bag, or even his baseball cap, Blaine’s all about the bling. But when his bling rubs some people the wrong way, and the bullying begins, Blaine—along with the entire school—starts to lose his shine. Can Blaine’s friends bring back his glimmer and gleam by glittering up their own wardrobes? This delightful story proves that anyone can love bling, and that happiness comes when allies band together to throw glitter—not shade.


I started my picture book writing journey about 12 years ago. Since then I started working with one of the best agents in the business, published twelve fiction and nonfiction picture books with noted editors and outstanding publishers, and have seen my words brought to life by well-known illustrators. Sounds like an easy journey, right? Wrong. My path, like the path of nearly every author, has been strewn with rejections, projects that almost-were, and ideas and manuscripts that I thought were wonderful, but which never found a home . . . manuscripts that became publishing orphans.

BLING BLAINE: THROW GLITTER, NOT SHADE was one of those orphans. The idea for the story began with one of my fourth-grade students years ago. Mac loved pink. Even though we were a uniform-required school and pink was not one of our school colors, Mac found ways to work the color into his ensemble almost every day. Though most of the kids in the class had known Mac since kindergarten, some still found his attraction to pink unusual. A few took it further, teasing Mac about wearing a “girl color.” Most of the time, Mac shrugged off the comments, but some of his closest friends didn’t. As a matter of fact, a couple of other boys in the class started wearing pink, too. Their choice was not a fashion statement, but a statement of solidarity. Before long, pink was in vogue in our class and was being worn by just about everyone—even some of those who had earlier given Mac a hard time.

My story about a boy named Blaine who likes bling (and everything else that glitters and shines) was one of my earliest manuscripts. Of course, this was several years ago, long before other books about gender non-conforming kids were being published. Mac and his attraction to pink inspired the story, but the manuscript developed a life of its own. The story was among the first my agent saw and after a few tweaks, it was one of the first he started shopping around. It soon became one of the first of my stories to be rejected by several publishers.

Eventually, my agent and I decided to stop shopping BLING BLAINE around and the story was stored away in a filing cabinet (yes, a real filing cabinet) and on my hard drive for two years or so. Then I brought the piece out again, made some revisions that I thought gave the story new life, and we shopped it around again. More rejections.

This process continued off and on over the next few years. Each time my agent would say, “I think we’ve shopped this just about as much as we can.” Then he would send the manuscript off to a new list of carefully chosen editors. BLING BLAINE was a story I couldn’t let go. Fast forward to a different school and a bulletin board inspired by other students who were fond of telling each other, “Throw glitter, not shade.” I knew the words were something Blaine would say, so another revision came as did more rejections. Then, after returning to my home again I met another student. A student who was transitioning. A student who liked glitter and bling. A student who convinced me this story really did need to be in the world.

Finally, two years ago, I thought I would try one more stab at the manuscript. I thought back to Mac and his allies. The story I had written in its various forms followed a traditional plot structure where the main character solved his own problem. I realized that the aspect of Mac’s story that most appealed to me was how his friends stood up for him. Soon a new revision (along with back matter explaining what an ally is how to be an ally to others) was sent off to my agent. In no time, the manuscript found a home with Sterling Publishing. And just like that—14 years after the original inspiration and almost 12 years after the first draft—BLING BLAINE: THROW GLITTER, NOT SHADE was released.

So, what’s the moral of this publishing story? Maybe there are two lessons to learn. First, find (or remember) the heart, the truth, the uniqueness of the story you want to tell. Second . . . throw glitter, not shade at a story you really believe in!


Rob Sanders is a teacher who writes and a writer who teaches. He is known for his funny and fierce fiction and nonfiction picture books and is recognized as one of the pioneers in the arena of LGBTQ+ literary nonfiction picture books. Rob’s 2020 releases included THE FIGHTING INFANTRYMAN: THE STORY OF ALBERT D. J. CASHIER, TRANSGENDER CIVIL WAR SOLIDER (Little Bee Books), MAYOR PETE: THE STORY OF PETE BUTTIGIEG (Henry Holt & Co.) and BLING BLAINE: THROW GLITTER, NOT SHADE (Sterling). Rob is co-regional advisor for SCBWI Florida and a frequent speaker, teacher, and critiquer.

A native of Springfield, Missouri, he has lived in Texas, Alabama, and Tennessee. After earning a B.S. in Elementary Education and a Master’s Degree in Religious Education, Rob worked for fifteen years in children’s religious educational publishing as a writer, educational consultant, trainer, editor, editorial group manager, and product developer.

In 2006, Rob moved to Florida and began working as an elementary school teacher. Soon he was serving as a district writing trainer and resource teacher. These days you’ll find him teaching fourth graders about books and words and reading and writing at Mintz Elementary School in Brandon, Florida.

He is represented by Rubin Pfeffer.


I’m a freelance illustrator based in Italy. After graduating from the comics school Lupiae Comix back in 2011 I’ve taken part in various specialized courses in visual arts and digital coloring techniques. As my craft kept shaping up, I soon discovered my love for children’s book illustration and I’ve been working in the industry ever since.

As of today, my work has been published by Cricket Media, Storytime Magazine, Cottage Door Press, Oxford University Press, Hameray Publishing and Giunti. Let’s not forget : I also happen to be a hopeless tea-addict, an animal hugger, an all-around art appreciator and a period dramas connoisseur!

Rob, thank you for sharing your book and your journey with us. It really is a heartwarming story with a much needed message. Nice to see children pulling together and enjoying everything about Bling. Letizia did a great job with the illustrations.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. I do remember reading this post. Sometimes things happen. Especially techie things. We just have to roll with it. 🙂

    I do love some bling myself! Congrats, Rob!

    Will tweet and I follow by email.


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