Posted by: Kathy Temean | November 8, 2020

Book Giveaway: LIONS & CHEETAHS & RHINOS by Moira Rose Donohue

John Platt and Moria Rose Donohue have written a new picture book, LIONS & CHEETAHS & RHINOS OH MY! It’s published by Sleeping Bear Press. 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 John and Moria Rose.

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!


Did you know that the stripes on a zebra run vertically on the main part of its body, while the stripes on its rump run sideways? Or that an elephant can drink 50 gallons of water a day? Ten African animals, including lions, zebras, giraffes, and elephants, are brought to life in colorful artwork, accompanied by fun nature facts. Written by John Platt and Moira Rose Donohue, each animal portrait is painted by a student from the How to Draw a Lion program. Established in 2018 by New York artist John Platt, How to Draw a Lion is a nonprofit art education program that provides art classes for children in sub-Saharan Africa.


This idea for this book began in 2017 when I was visiting my daughter when she was working at the Rift Valley Children’s Village in Tanzania, Africa. John Platt was teaching there. I was so amazed by John—a New York-based artist who volunteered his time every year to teach drawing and painting to children in east Africa who would not otherwise be exposed to his art lessons. I sat in on one of John’s classes and was so impressed with what he was sharing with the children.

As we began to talk about our work, we found we shared a creative vision and appreciated each other’s processes. And we shared some unusual interests as well. I discovered that John had a playlist with big band music that I could use to teach the children how to tap dance!

We didn’t know what we might create together, but before we said goodbye, we promised to give some thought to a joint project. We wanted that project to highlight the artwork of his students. We started seriously bouncing ideas back and forth, and the framework started to form. Even though I don’t usually write in second person, it seemed like the right approach for this book—I hope readers agree!

But the book really came to life when John identified the art he wanted to use. I was stunned by the beauty of the children’s work. It fills your eyes with vibrant color and depicts such gorgeous creatures. And it reminds us all that art has no geographic boundaries.

My agent thought it was a book that needed to be published, so she took it on. Luckily, Sleeping Bear agreed, even though a children’s book illustrated by children is generally unheard of. John and I decided to donate all of our proceeds to his nonprofit organization, How to Draw A Lion, to keep his work going.


Moira Rose Donohue is the author of over 35 books for children, mostly nonfiction. She began writing for children after her defection from the practice of banking law.

Her 2019 releases include: Tree Frogs (starred review from Booklist and a Junior Library Guild selection); The U.S. Constitution: Why it Matters to You, and two books about Gettysburg National Military Park, all with Scholastic Children’s Press and Making Smart Money Choices with ABDO. She has published several books with National Geographic, including Little Kids First Big Book of the Rain Forest and Dog on a Bike. Two of her books, The Invasion of Normandy (North Star Editions 2017) and Great White Sharks (Scholastic Children’s Press, 2018) are Junior Library Guild Selections. Coming in 2021: Stompin’ at the Savoy, illustrated by Laura Freeman and Little Kids First Big Book about Rocks, Minerals and Shells with National Geographic.

Moira is the co-Regional Adviser of the Florida SCBWI. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida with her dog, Petunia.  Learn more at:


Brooklyn artist, John Platt grew up in New York City and was submerged in the world of art and culture. He attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston in 2007.

His beautiful abstract paintings are in numerous collections throughout the US and abroad.

Platt is also the creator of “How to Draw A Lion, an art education program initiated to bring hope and raise funds for at risk children in sub-Saharan Africa.  Each year, he travels to the region and spends months teaching art for schools in Tanzania, Kenya and Malawi.


Thank you Moira for sharing your book and journey with us. The children’s art work is very impressive. Besides the fact that children are always interested in seeing and learning about animals, I am sure the kids who read this book will be fascinated with the artwork, especially after they realize children like themselves created the art. I bet many will be inspired to take up brush and paint. Good luck with the book!

Talk tomorrow,



  1. The story behind this book is amazing and the using the children’s own artwork is heartwarming. Another great book edited by Sleeping Bear Press.
    Congrats to both John and Maria.


  2. What a wonderful and important project for these very talented young artists. Terrific concept and congratulations to all! I am a subscriber, and I’m tweeting.


    • Pinned this too.


  3. The artwork is amazing! Congratulations to all the young artists. Thanks for sharing the story behind the story.


  4. Wow! This is fabulous! I love that this book has children for illustrators! I really love the image of all of them holding their work. Wonderful! Great book. Congrats to all!

    I will Tweet this and I follow by email, Kathy. 🙂


  5. Wow! This book looks truly incredible! I’d love to add this to my virtual classroom.. animals fascinate my Kinders! Thanks so much for the chance!


  6. Thank so much for this post–John and I really appreciate that you are spreading the word about his work with these amazing young artists!


  7. What a beautiful book! My students love reading about animals. I love tha5 the illustrations are done by children!


  8. This book sounds + looks amazing and I’m intrigued by the backstory (and also to discover other writers who give back)! I’m looking forward to getting a copy. Kathy, I receive your blog.


  9. Congrats, John and Moira! (I’m sure someone has already made a Schitt’s Creek reference, so I won’t.) I’m subscribed to the emails and I RTed this blog post.


  10. Congratulations on the beautiful art work! I would love to win this beautiful children’s picture book to give to my young nieces at Christmas!


  11. What a beautiful book!


  12. This looks like such an incredible book! I attended a SCBWI conference last year in Miami and enjoyed Moira’s workshop on Writing for Hire. She is an inspiration. And illustrator John Platt’s idea to use the children’s artwork is just brilliant! What an amazing collaboration – congrats to all. (I subscribe to the blog and I’m going to post a link on Twitter).


  13. What a wonderful book and cause! Your dedication to these children and their future is inspiring! I am already planning to purchase multiple copies for holiday gifts that will truly keep on giving! Thank you so much for doing this good work in the world.


  14. What a fascinating book journey. And those illustrations – oh my!


  15. What a wonderful book journey! Congrats to Moira, John, and the students!


  16. I posted on Facebook and link to the sales page for this book. I am also one of your email, e-news subscriber. What an inspirational partnership doing good for others while also educating masterfully and beautifully the animal kingdom! Would love to win this prize and use it as a fundraiser for the number of animal rescue fundraisers I support. Thank you for this opportunity! Thank you Moira and artists!


  17. How cool the kids did the beautiful art!


  18. Wow. Those illustrations are amazing. Thank you for using your skills to teach others. (Kathy, I subscribe to your blog.)


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