Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 5, 2021

Book Giveaway: FROM HERE TO THERE by Vivian KirkField

Vivian Kirkfield has written a new middle grade non-fiction book, FROM HERE TO THERE, illustrated by Gilbert Food and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers. It is available for pre-order and is coming out on January 19th. 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 Vivian and Gilbert.

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!


Celebrating the invention of vehicles, this collective biography tells the inspiring stories of the visionaries who changed the way we move across air, water, and land. Perfect for fans of Mistakes that Worked and Girls Think of Everything.

In a time when people believed flying was impossible, Joseph and Etienne Montgolfier proved that the sky wasn’t the limit. When most thought horseback was the only way to race, Bertha and Karl Benz fired up their engines. From the invention of the bicycle and the passenger steam locomotive, to the first liquid-fuel propelled rocket and industrial robot, inventors across the world have redefined travel. Filled with informative sidebars and colorful illustrations, this collective biography tells the story of the experiments, failures, and successes of visionaries who changed the way the world moves.


Thank you so much for the opportunity to be on your blog, Kathy. I’m excited to be celebrating the launch of my newest book, a nine-story compilation of nonfiction picture book biographies, illustrated by the brilliant Gilbert Ford and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. And it’s definitely been a journey…FROM HERE TO THERE.


This writing journey for this book checks all the boxes of an adventure of a lifetime. It started in 2016. My sister mentioned that a friend of a friend was the granddaughter of someone famous. My ears perked up because I’m always ready for a story. It turns out that in 1905, a young Swedish immigrant arrived in New York City with only $60 in his pocket. He worked as a logger and then as a miner, and finally he opened a car dealership, but when he couldn’t sell even one car from his showroom, he bought it himself and started a shuttle service. Driving miners from the town to the mine for 15 cents a ride or 25 cents for a round trip was so popular, Eric had to stretch the car by cutting it and adding extra seating…but even that wasn’t enough. So, he built a bus! And then another. And another. And the Greyhound Bus Company was born.

That felt like such a great story to me. I did some research and was able to speak with the granddaughter who was extremely helpful. When the story was ready, my agent sent it out on submission – and in the summer of 2017, the amazing Ann Rider at HMH let us know she loved it. However, she had a concern because Eric Wickman is pretty unknown and she wondered if the bus was a popular enough vehicle to merit a stand-alone picture book. Would I be willing to write a few more narrative nonfiction bios about inventors of other things that go?


And this is where the writing journey merges with the publication journey. When an editor asks if me if I can do something…I almost always say YES! Here’s my original email to her.

And here are some ideas for the other three or four things that go, but I am open to any ideas you have and can research and write on any topic you prefer.

COMPUTER-DESIGNED SUBMARINE: of great interest because it gives the collection some diversity (Raye Montague is an African-American woman, one of the hidden figures, not of NASA as portrayed in the movie, but of the Navy during the 1950’s).

SKATEBOARD: originally created by surfers in California to use when stormy oceans prevented them from riding the waves. They screwed roller skate wheels onto their boards and surfed the city streets. And in 2020, skateboarding will debut as an official sport of the Tokyo Olympics.

HOT AIR BALLOON: has a fabulous aha moment and was invented by two brothers working together as a team – the creative genius with ADHD, and the practical scientist who kept the project on point. (I wrote this as a stand-alone picture book, but can tighten it for the compilation).

CAR: might never have left the workshop of Karl Benz if not for his wife’s secret plan to promote the car by taking the kids on a road trip to grandma’s house. (there is a stand-alone picture book coming out in October from Charlesbridge)

We decided against the skateboard and moved forward with the others. Over the next few months, I researched and wrote. In October, Ann decided that instead of targeting Grades K-2, we were going to gear the stories to Grades 3-6. In addition, she suggested we change the title to THINGS THAT MOVE so that we could include robotics. By December, I had a better idea of what I wanted to do and had already written a few of the stories although I still didn’t know how many stories there would be. I reached out to Ann again with a list that included the train, bike, hot-air balloon, robot, car, and submarine.

At this point, Ann let me know that she really wanted 7-10 stories…and she definitely wanted one about the rocket. I felt we needed more diversity as well – and I suggested doing a story about the folding wheelchair, which opened doors for mobility-challenged individuals. She loved that idea!

The editor wanted all the stories to have the same structure as the BUS story and include:

  1. Engaging opening lines.
  2. Child main character who has a dream/goal.
  3. AH-HA moment.
  4. Fun language/great rhythm/excellent pacing.
  5. Legacy paragraph that shows how the invention impacts us today.
  6. Satisfying ending that echoes the opening lines.

The biggest challenge was finding certain pieces of information…the AH-HA moment and childhood incidents…those took a huge amount of digging. And sometimes I had an inventor chosen, but had to pick a different one because I couldn’t find those pertinent pieces of information. For each visionary, I wrote a rough draft and revised and then gave the manuscript to one of my critique groups. While they read that one, I moved on to the next story. When I received feedback on a previous manuscript, I’d revise that. Working with a short deadline can be stressful…but it can also give you clarity in knowing what needs to be done. And somehow, with the help of my amazing critique partners who were always ready to look at a new draft or a revised one, I did it!

The editor requested the manuscripts be delivered to her inbox by May 1st. After that, she brought on Gilbert Ford as illustrator. Ann had given me the link to his website and I was thrilled – I knew he was the perfect artist to bring these stories to life. While he worked on the project, copyeditors and factcheckers went through each page, each line, each word of the manuscript, even making sure links in the bibliography were correct. It was such a good feeling to know that the HMH team was working together to create the best book possible – a book I hope will spark the curiosity of young readers and perhaps inspire those children to embark on new journeys of their own.


Writer for children—reader forever…that’s Vivian Kirkfield in five words. Her bucket list contains many more than five words – but she’s already checked off skydiving, parasailing, banana-boat riding, and visiting critique buddies all around the world. When she isn’t looking for ways to fall from the sky or sink under the water, she can be found writing picture books in the picturesque town of Bedford, New Hampshire. A retired kindergarten teacher with a masters in Early Childhood Education, Vivian inspires budding writers during classroom visits and shares insights with aspiring authors at conferences and on her blog where she hosts the #50PreciousWords International Writing Contest and the #50PreciousWordsforKids Challenge.

She is the author many picture books including Sweet Dreams, Sarah (Creston Books); Making Their Voices Heard: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe (Little Bee Books); From Here to There: Inventions That Changed the Way the World Moves (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) and the upcoming Pedal, Balance, Steer: Annie Londonderry, First Woman to Bike Around The World (Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills & Kane, Spring 2023).You can connect with her on her websiteFacebookTwitterPinterestInstagramLinkedin, or just about any place people with picture books are found.


Gilbert Ford holds a BFA in illustration from Pratt Institute and an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. He is the author and illustrator of The Marvelous Thing That Came from a Spring, named a Best STEM Book of 2017, and has illustrated many middle grade jackets, as well as the award-winning picture book Mr. Ferris and His Wheel. He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Visit him online at

Vivian, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. This 96 page book is jam packed with interesting fun information that will capture the interest of children, teachers, and adults. Gilberts illustrations add the finishing touch to make this a standout winner. Good luck with the book.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Vivian shared her ideas for this book on StoryStorm and I thought, “Wow! What a wonderful concept!” Seeing it described again here, and seeing Gilbert’s amazing illustrations, there’s no doubt this book will rock the writing community and be heaped with praise.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m such a fan of Vivian’s books (and of Vivian as a person!) and I’m really looking forward to reading this one. Thanks for giving us a peek into what I know will be a fabulous book, Kathy.


  3. Really looking forward to reading this Vivian! So glad you took up this challenge in writing this book.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for taking us along on the journey, Vivian! Wishing you all the best and success! Lynne Marie

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love reading about visionaries and how they changed the world for the better! Congrats, dear Vivian!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This looks like a great book. I can’t wait to read it!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This looks so fun – congrats, Vivian!


  8. Loved Vivian’s storystorm post about From Here to There…and learning more about the book here. Can’t wait to read the collection (and your 6-point list is a keeper for any writer!)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Looks great. Shared on FB, Twitter, and PInterest!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m looking forward to reading this book. It looks so interesting. I posted this on Twitter, too. Congrats again, Vivian!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I love this book! I was lucky enough to see some of the stories in draft form, and I can’t wait to see the whole book that has come together! Congrats to Vivian and thanks for sharing, Kathy! I love reading your posts when they come to my inox!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. What an exciting idea for a book, Vivian–looking forward to reading it! And of course I love Gilbert’s illustrations!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Wow, Vivian! 1, the timeline! 2, what a fabulous book! Can’t wait to read it. My aunt and uncle were long-time employees for Greyhound. They ran Greyhound stations in Washington and Oregon (probably other places too). I actually worked for them (and Greyhound) several summers when school/college was not in session. Can’t wait to read that story! I wonder if they know the background history? Hmmmm. Congratulations, Vivian!

    I follow by email and I will tweet this post, Kathy. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Wonderful idea for a book!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Looks brilliant, I really want to see the section on wheelchairs. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.
    I’ve tweeted a link to this post:, and shared n image on Pinterest with a link as well:
    I also follow your blog daily by email: crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com
    Thanks again, stay safe everyone!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. This interview is so moving.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I loved hearing about how this book came together. Congratulations, Vivian — I’d love to win a copy (I also subscribe to this wonderful blog).

    Liked by 1 person

  18. It’s really an amazing achievement. I cant wait to see the book.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Such a great book. Congratulations, Vivian!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Congrats, Vivien! Can’t wait to read this. (I’m signed up for the emails, too.)

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Go, go Vivian! Looking forward to reading this book!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I read about Vivian’s story in her post on Storystorm and fell in love with it. I also love reading about how it came about.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Vivian, I really enjoyed reading about how this book came about. Good luck with it!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I’m so excited to read this book. Congrats, Vivian!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. This is a highly anticipated book – I am really looking forward to reading it! I’ve been reading many of Vivian’s interviews on social media and this is the first one (I think) that says the page count (96 wow!) – I was wondering how long it is and now (thanks to Kathy) I know! Congrats to Vivian and Gilbert!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Vivian, this is so exciting! You have really put together a wonderful collection that will be of great interest to children of all ages! Talk about inspiring struggling readers to keep trying! This will do so! I’m looking forward to purchasing my own copy, and more for some very special youngsters I know! The information you shared about the writing and research process, the publisher’s specifications, and the page count information are very helpful! Thank you so much!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. This looks like such a fascinating book. I can’t wait to read it. Thanks for the post.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. I can’t wait to read this with my son. Thank you for the process insights.


  29. Such a fantastic tale. Love Vivian and all her amazing stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. From here to there. ❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  31. I’m so excited for this book to release. The illustrations look amazing, too! Thanks for sharing your journey in creating this book, Vivian!

    Kathy, I shared on twitter and I get your blog daily. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  32. This is a really cool concept! I loved reading fun bios of people when I was young, so I’m sure this will be well received!

    Liked by 1 person

  33. I’m so excited to read this book after reading the story behind the story. I love where your “yes” led you, Vivian!

    Liked by 1 person

  34. What an inspiring book and book journey, Vivian!

    Liked by 1 person

  35. What a fascinating book journey! I am really looking forward to reading Vivian’s latest book!

    Liked by 1 person

  36. I am so excited for this book! It looks wonderful! Such good work, Vivian! Wonderful illustrations, Gilbert! Congrats! I bet this was quite the journey for you both as well!!


  37. I saw one of the stories as a draft and can’t wait to read the read.
    So happy for Vivian. She writes great stories that both kids and adults can learn from.


  38. This book looks just fabulous. And Vivian’s journey is inspiring!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: