Posted by: Kathy Temean | March 30, 2021

Book Giveaway: A FLOOD OF KINDNESS by Blythe Russo

Ellen Leventhal has written a new picture book, A FLOOD OF KINDNESS illustrated by Blythe Russo and published by WorthyKids. It is available in bookstores on april 13th and available now for pre-order. Ellen has agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner living in the United States.

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 Ellen and Blythe.

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!


Perfect for all children experiencing loss or grief, A Flood of Kindness gracefully confronts difficult feelings and celebrates the healing power of kindness.

“The night the river jumped its banks, everything changed.”

So begins A Flood of Kindness, a poignant picture book that addresses grief and loss and demonstrates how kindness can bring hope. Written in spare prose and told from an intimate first-person point of view, the story follows Charlotte, a young girl who watches floodwaters rise in her home and is forced to evacuate to a shelter with her parents. Kind people she doesn’t know give her food, socks and shoes to keep her feet warm, and a place to sleep. As Charlotte adjusts to the shelter–a strange, crowded place that is not home–she grapples with feelings of anger and sadness. But as the days go by, Charlotte starts to realize how grateful she is for the things that she does have–her parents, a cot to sleep on, food to eat–and starts looking for ways to help others in the shelter.

All children deal with sadness and loss in some way, whether it stems from a natural disaster, the death of a pet, or moving to a new place. A Flood of Kindness acknowledges those difficult feelings and helps readers process them in a healthy way. Children will be encouraged to be kind to those who need a friend and to help others in whatever way they can, no matter how small.


Thank you so much for featuring me and my book, A FLOOD OF KINDNESS. I’m happy to be here. This book, although fiction, is somewhat based on my own experience. Between Memorial Day 2015 and August 2017, I experienced three major floods. By the end, I lost everything, including my home. After the first flood, I did what Mr. Rogers suggested and “looked for the helpers.” I just had to open my eyes, and they were there. The amount of kindness people demonstrated was beyond anything I could have imagined. And that kindness was multiplied by three after Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

It was difficult for me to accept help at first. I felt foolish when others were even worse off. However, I soon realized that accepting someone’s offer of support is a kind gesture in of itself.  As we worked together as a community to restore what we could, I noticed that my feeling of helplessness was fading. Giving back was doing as much for me as for the people I was helping. Working with children at that time, I saw firsthand how helpless and sad they felt. My goal was to instill in them a sense of  hope and empowerment while acknowledging and validating their feelings. Together we discovered that accepting kindness as well as offering it, often leads to the beginning of healing. That’s when this story of kindness, hope, and empowerment began to form in my head.

Of course, the story went through many revisions. The point of view, tense, and arc changed a few times. By 2019 I thought I had a submission-ready story. Scrolling through Facebook that year, I came across a contest called Picture Book Party. I hadn’t heard of it before, and it looked interesting, but I didn’t think I would ever have the nerve to enter, so I kept scrolling. But something pulled me back to this contest. I had a few stories that I thought were ready, but did I have the nerve to enter the first fifty words of my “heart story”? Was it good enough? I squashed my fears, took a breath, and hit “send.” Fast forward a few weeks, and  on April 11, 2019 (my birthday!), I signed a contract with Mary Cummings of Betsy Amster Literary for this manuscript. I was thrilled and kind of in shock!

Mary suggested some tweaks, and of course, I was more than happy to do them. I continued to tweak as we got comments from different editors, and in January 2020, I signed with WorthyKids/Hachette Book Group. When I saw the rough sketches, I was in awe of  the illustrator, Blythe Russo. But they were nothing compared to the final. I am delighted with how it turned out. The book releases on April 13 of this year. I am  grateful to Mary and editor, Peggy Schaefer for shepherding this book to publication. And of course, to Michelle Hauck and Mindy Alyse Weiss for hosting Picture Book Party that year.


Ellen grew up in New Jersey and thought everyone in Texas rode a horse. She was kind of disappointed when she moved to Houston in 1983 and realized she needed a car. She raised two boys in Texas and now is a Nana to the most adorable little native Texans ever! Pops and her both agree on that.

She has been in education for more years than she’d like to say, but still loves working with kids and school author visits!

One of her great pleasures is wandering the aisles in book stores. I used to stop in book stores and say to myself “I could do that!” And then…her friend Ellen Rothberg and her put the pedal to the metal and entered a contest for picture book writers and they won! Don’t Eat the Bluebonnets was their first book, followed by HayfestA Holiday Quest, and then Bully in the Barnyard.

In 2018 Ellen’s picture book, Lola Can’t Leap, came out, and now her next book, A Flood of Kindness, will hit bookshelves on April 13th 2021.

Ellen has been writing for as long as she can remember. When she was supposed to be doing math in school, she was writing poems about how much she hated math. As a kid, she wrote stories and poems for almost every occasion. Some were decent, but most were pretty bad. That didn’t deter her. She still wrote poems for family and friends.
Ellen also writes short stories for both kids and adults.


Blythe Russo is an author/illustrator living and working just outside of Cincinnati, Ohio. When she isn’t busy making books, she spends her time sewing, building puppets, baking in the kitchen on a never-ending quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe, and undertaking all sorts of other creative projects. She holds an MFA in Illustration and doesn’t have a dog. Yet.

Blythe holds a masters in illustration from the Savannah College of Art and Designand is an active member of SCBWI. You can finder at: or on Instagram and Twitter @blythe_russo<

Ellen thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. I love how you took the disasters that happened in your life and wrote a story that shares the fear children experience. I am sure this will help kids and adults get through the dark times and look to the kindness of others in the community. Good luck with the book!

Talk tomorrow,



  1. What a beautiful story with amazing word flow. Good luck!


  2. Even the title, with the word ‘kindness’ makes me hopeful. Not enough people are sharing it, feeling it, receiving it… and certainly not writing about it. Thank YOU for doing that!


  3. I’m very excited about this book and the launch on April 24th. When I registered, they asked for my child’s name. My fur baby, Charlie and I will be at the virtual launch.
    I’ll be sharing this post on Twitter. Great interview.


  4. Congratulations, Ellen! Thank you so much for writing this gorgeous book. Cannot wait for my copy to arrive!!!!


  5. Reblogged this on and commented:
    Congratulations to my good friend, Ellen Leventhal, on the release of her latest book.


  6. Loving this book! Thank you for a change. Twitter! 🥰📚🤗


  7. Congrats to all! Can’t wait for this book!! Shared on Twitter!


  8. What a wonderful book — kindness matters. Thanks for writing it, Ellen! Wishing you all the best.


  9. Thank you so much, Kathy and everyone who commented here. I truly appreciate it.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. A super story from a stellar author and friend.


  11. Congrats, Ellen and Blythe! Sounds like a great book. I RTed and I’m signed up for the emails.


  12. What a moving story, Ellen. I look forward to reading it.


  13. I’m so sorry you’ve endured so many floods & hurricanes, Ellen, including Harvey (our adult daughter rode it out solo in Houston, losing a car in the process, but staying safe otherwise). This is such an important book for all of the kids who have or are facing similar traumas. Can’t wait to read it.


  14. What a wonderful story of how this book came to be, Ellen. I’m so sorry about all your floods! Congratulations on creating something beautiful from the losses. Can’t wait to read this! (I also subscribe to Kathy’s email.)


  15. What a moving story, Ellen! And such an important book. Also, something I never thought about before, that accepting a kindness is a kindness in itself. Thank you for that insight!


  16. This book is going to help so many people, especially after the devastation this pandemic has rained upon the world. Thank you for sharing your publishing journey with us. I am an email subscriber and shared on pinterest, tumblr, twitter, and Facebook:


  17. I remember this from Picture Book Party. It looks like a beautiful and powerful book. Congratulations. (Kathy, I subscribe to your blog.)


  18. What a wonderful first line! This is a beautiful book that I can’t wait to read cover to cover. Congratulations!
    (blog follower)


  19. This sounds like a very special book with heart. Congratulations to Ellen and Blythe! ( I get your blog, Kathy )


  20. Congrats to Ellen & Blythe! A beautiful story, and I’m honored to have read those very first early drafts. xo


    • Shared on twitter.


  21. What a terrific story! Thanks for telling me about it. I receive your blog by email every day.


  22. I think you know I follow your blog. Ellen, this book turned out so perfect. I am honored to have been a part of your journey. I am so proud of you! Congratulations! Congratulations to Blythe as well. Your art is amazing, and the mood you created is outstanding! Kathy, I also shared on FB and Twitter.


  23. We need more books like this one 🙂


  24. This sounds and looks like an amazing, upbeat book–congrats! I’ll have to buy copies for my cousin, who was flooded in Houston, and my best friend, who lost her house and everything in it (except her two dogs) in Nashville. Of course I follow your blog, Kathy.


  25. Love the title & 1st line too! Congrats!


  26. You know that I cannot wait to read this book, Ellen!


  27. I shared on FB, twitter, and Pinterest. Looks like a beautiful book. thanks for sharing the publication journey too.


  28. I am so excited for you, Ellen, and I can’t wait to hold your book in my hands and share it with my grandchildren. Congratulations to you and your wonderful illustrator, Blythe Russo!


  29. Oh, what a meaningful book that will help so many children! Thank you for sharing it here. I am so happy to follow this blog!


  30. There is a need for this book! Thank you and congratulations!

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


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