Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 7, 2021

Book Giveaway: STOMPIN’ AT THE SAVOY by Moira Rose Donohue

Moira Rose Donohue has written a new picture book, STOMPIN’ AT THE SAVOY, illustrated by Laura Freeman and published by Sleeping Bear Press. It is available for pre-order and is coming out on January 15th. 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 Moira and Laura.

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!


Though a disability stunted his growth and left him with a hunched back, William Henry “Chick” Webb did not let that get in the way of his musical pursuits. Even as a young child, Chick saw the world as one big drum, pounding out rhythms on everything from stair railings to pots and pans. His love of percussion brought him to the big time as an influential big band leader. This picture-book biography details the life of black American jazz drummer Chick Webb, who in the 1930s led one of the big bands of the swing era, earning him the nickname the “King of the Savoy.”


A few years ago, I was watching a re-airing of the Ken Burns documentary on jazz music. I was especially interested in the evolutionof swing because, although it was before my time, I have always loved big band music. I recognized the bands that were discussed with the sole exception of Chick Webb’s band. It irked me that I had never heard of him, so I did a little research. When I saw his life-loving grin and learned that he had to face the challenges of an affliction that left him no taller than an average eight-year-old boy, I was hooked. I wanted to know more.

Researching Chick was not easy. Not a lot has been written about him, and what has been written generally relates to his discovery of the great Ella Fitzgerald. But with the help of some librarians, my superheroes, I found some videos of his nephew and of Lindy Hop dancers who knew him and I gleaned some precious bits from watching those.

I felt a real connection with this man. Chick was from Baltimore—my son is a long-time Baltimorean. Chick was a drummer—I raised a percussionist daughter and learned a lot about drums!

But there was something else that really spoke to me. Chick was competitive. Very competitive. And he didn’t let his size stop him from taking on the best in the big band world. And me? Well, I love nothing more than a good contest! I knew I had to write about him—it was one of those things that I couldn’t help.

Stompin’ at the Savoy is not a chronicle of Chick’s life. Instead, I wrote about his resilient and competitive spirit because that’s what struck a deep chord with me. And that’s why the climax of the book is his legendary band battle with 6-foot-tall Benny Goodman, the King of Swing—a contest so exciting that almost 10,000 people showed up, inside the Savoy and outside on Lenox Avenue. You’ll have to read the book to find out who won!

I am so grateful that my agent, Jennifer Unter, saw the inspiration in Chick’s story and agreed to take on the book and that Barb McNally, my editor at Sleeping Bear Press, worked so hard to make the book really tight and taut and so much better than what I gave her. And best of all, Laura Freeman captured the world of swing bands and the Savoy with her sparking, exciting, magical art. It turns out that she had a special connection to the Savoy–her father danced there!


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 most recent release is Lions & Cheetahs & Rhinos, OH MY! with co-author John Platt, published by Sleeping Bear Press. Other titles include Tree Frogs: Life in the Leaves (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. 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 later in 2021, National Geographic will release her book Little Kids First Big Book about Rocks, Minerals and Shells.

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


Laura Freeman received a BFA from the School of Visual Arts and began her career working for various editorial clients. She has illustrated over thirty children’s books, including Hidden Figures written by Margot Lee Shetterly, the Nikki & Deja series by Karen English and Fancy Party Gowns by Deborah Blumenthal.

In addition to illustrating books and editorial content, my art can be found on a wide range of products, from dishes and textiles to greeting cards. Originally from New York City, she now lives in Atlanta with her husband and their two children.

Thank you Moira for sharing your book and journey with us. I love the whole thing. It is a gorgeous book with a wonderful success story. The movement and color of Laura’s illustrations make you feel the music on every page. I expect this book to win many awards. I’m so glad I have a copy. Good luck with the book. 

Talk tomorrow,




  1. Kathy – I subscribe to your blog and shared this on FB & Twitter.
    Moira – I can’t wait to read this book! A tad competitive myself and a fan of little known nonfiction stories, I am fascinated. And those magical, musical illustrations have me hooked! Congratulations.


  2. Thank you for sharing!


  3. I’m hooked!


  4. Thanks for sharing this book. I’ll ask my contact at SPB to send me a review copy so no need to enter my name. It looks great and I loved Lions & Cheetahs and Rhinos!


  5. This is a wonderful book! Just tweeted it out to the world and I wish you many successes! ❤


  6. What a cool story.


  7. Sounds like a fabulous book! Love the author’s decision on how to approach her subject.


  8. This looks like a wonderful story! Congrats!


  9. Love this story!


  10. So exciting! This story and the illustrations make me want to get up and dance. Congrats and best wishes.


  11. Wow! Very awesome! Love the backstory to the story you wrote. Thanks for sharing with us. Congrats and best wishes!

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


  12. What an inspiring story. Kids need books like this. Thanks for the post. Very interesting.


  13. I love jazz music and it’s really great to see an author introducing it to kids. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.
    I’ve tweeted a link to this post:, and shared an image on Pinterest as well:
    I also follow your blog daily by email: crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com.
    Thanks again, safe and happy y’all.


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