Posted by: Kathy Temean | April 6, 2021

Book Giveaway: THE COLOR COLLECTOR by Nicholas Solis

Nicolas Solis has written a new picture book, THE COLOR COLLECTOR illustrated by Renia Metallinou and published by Sleeping Bear Press  It is available in bookstores onn April 15th and available now for pre-orderedSBP 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 Nicolas and Renia.

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!


The Color Collector is a poignant story about newness, friendship, and common ground. When a boy notices the new girl picking up all manner of debris and litter on their walks home from school he wants to know why. So she shows him the huge mural she’s created in her room that reminds her of the home she left behind. He learns all about where she’s come from and they both find how wonderful it is to make a new friend.


Thank you so much for featuring my book, THE COLOR COLLECTOR, here today Kathy! This is my second book to be released, but it is actually the first picture book I ever wrote with the intention of trying to get it published. I’ve been writing books all my life, but when you are younger you really don’t have an idea of what to do with your stories once they are written. I mean how many 8 year olds do you know with a publishing deal. It wasn’t until I started taking writing classes at the Writing Barn, did I truly understand the process. And the first story I ever worked on at the Barn was The Color Collector.

I remember the exact day that I had the idea for the book. I was walking around The Austin Art Garage, aptly named because they have art, are located in Austin, and the structure resembles a garage. It is one of my favorite places to go, sadly I’ve had to stop because I have no more wall space or money. But I used to frequent the gallery quite a bit. I loved all of their artists, but Graham Franciose’s stuff always stood out to me. His paintings seemed to tell half of a story, and they longed for the viewer to complete it. One of his paintings had a little girl, wearing black and white and gray. She had an open knapsack on her back and she stood alone, reaching and collecting falling leaves. What stood out to me the most were her eyes. They were the saddest eyes I had ever seen, and I found myself wondering why she was so sad and what she was doing with all those leaves.

I worked on the story for weeks, but nothing ever felt quite right. The story felt too long winded and without the emotional resonation I was looking for. But then one night I woke up at 2 in the morning with the entire story laid out before me. I swear I was half asleep, but I found myself typing faster than I had ever typed before. Within 20 minutes, I was done. The story was hacked down to only the essentials. To me it read more like a poem than a picture book, the words matching the girl’s loneliness.

Now I would like to say that it was a masterpiece right then and there. That I had been touched by the great beyond and that all that was left was perfection, but that was far from the case. Over the next few years I workshopped the story within different classes and critique groups. I removed even more words, and also learned that what sounds perfect when you read it, might come out choppy when others do. (Note: Always have fresh readers read your story aloud.) But I persisted and with the help of some very talented writers and agents, the story grew stronger with each pass.

In 2018, I came across the Sleeping Bear Press booth at the International Library Association Conference. My school had sent a bunch of teachers to attend some really interesting lectures, but what we soon discovered was that they had sent us to heaven. Giant halls were filled with booths upon booths of books. But what put us over the edge was that most of them…were…FREE! I’m not sure if you know this about teachers, but we will climb Mount Everest if there is something free at the top of it that we can use in our classrooms. Every day I would walk out of there with bags and bags of books. I met talented authors and got them to sign my books. It was Shangri la!


Nicholas Solis has been writing all of his life, starting with knock off Encyclopedia Brown mysteries and oddly deep poetry for an 8-year-old. Since then, he’s continued to write picture books, travel blogs, teaching blogs, middle grade novels, and poetry about farts (decidedly less deep). In 2018, he was the recipient of the Walter Dean Myers Grant from We Need Diverse Books, and in 2020 he was nominated for the 2020 Austin SCBWI Cynthia Leitich Smith Writing Mentor Award and was the winner of the Austin SCBWI’s 2020 Creators of Diverse Worlds Scholarship.

His debut author/illustrated book THE STARING CONTEST (Peter Pauper Press) releases September 2020. BORDERTOWN (Nancy Paulsen Books) and THE COLOR COLLECTOR (Sleeping Bear Press) are scheduled for 2021.

Nick is also an award winning elementary teacher with a Master of Arts degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Texas and a Master of Arts degree in Educational Administration from Concordia University. He has traveled the world and taught students in Tanzania, India, and Morocco. From all of his travels he has learned one important lesson: No matter the circumstances, kids are kids. When he’s not traveling, he enjoys spending time with his wife, their dog, and his brand new baby boy in Austin, Texas.

He is an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and of 12X12. He is also a writing fellow at The Writing Barn.


Renia is an illustrator from Greece. She studied graphic design in the Athenian Design College (AKTO) and a few years later, she studied fashion design, after winning a two-year scholarship. Renia has been working since 2014 as as a full time illustrator, creating books for publishers in Greece and abroad. She mostly works with pencils, ink and digital media but she also enjoys using gouache, watercolours and collage.

Renia Metallinou is an illustrator from Greece. She studied graphic design in the Athenian Design College (AKTO) and a few years later, after winning a two-year scholarship she studied fashion design. Since 2014 she started working as a full time illustrator, creating books for publishers in Greece and abroad. In 2017 she was shortlisted for the World Illustration Awards in the children’s book category. She is a member of the Greek IBBY (INTERNATIONAL BOARD ON BOOKS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE).

I mostly work with pencils, ink and digital media but I also enjoy using gouache, watercolours and collage.

ReniaI lives a few miles away from Athens, in a small house by the sea, with her husband, two children, and lots of pets. Her favorite food is chocolate!


2020 Moonbeam Awards Gold Medal for Picture Book, All Ages (For Willa’s House, PlumLeaf Press)
2019 Public book Awards / Books for Teens-Won (For Everything started the day they brought Zachary home! by Phychogios editions GR)
2018 Cypru’s National Literature Award for Young Children with special mention on illustration (For White Uniform by Teleia Editions).
2018 Little Hakka International Picture Book Award. Shortlisted for the professional group.
2017 World Illustration Awards 2017. Shortlisted for children’s books category

She is represented by the Bright Agency worldwide (ex. Greece and Cyprus).
Please contact Anne Moore Armstrong ( commissions or inquiries.

NICHOLAS, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us.


  1. this looks gorgeous and what a concept!


  2. Thank you for sharing your book journey Nicholas. What a lovely story. And the illustrations are wonderful.


  3. Congratulations, Nick! Can’t wait for my book to arrive!


  4. Love it! The illustrations are wonderful!


  5. I love the story of this book! It’s amazing how each one has a different journey. I look forward to reading this one…


  6. What an intriguing concept! I love the title. (Kathy, I subscribe to your blog.)


  7. Big congrats, Nick! I recognize that photo from the Writing Barn. I RTed, and I’m signed up for the daily emails.


  8. I love the story behind this book. Thanks, Nicholas!


  9. Love the story behind the book, Nick! So much like ekphrastic poetry, where the poet writes about a work of art, using poetry. And it’s so lovely to see how artful the illustrations are. Quite the perfect pairing of art with concept. So Looking forward to reading this book!


  10. Also, tweeting this and am a subscriber.


  11. This book looks lovely. Congratulations, Nick. Kathy – I am subscribed to your blog.


  12. This book looks perfectly charming. I can’t wait to read it. I follow your blog by email.


  13. Thank you for sharing this wonderful book! I discover so many wonderful books by following this blog!


  14. Thank you for the interview and sharing how your beautiful book came to life. I love the idea of the art garage your mentioned and how it inspired this book. I am an email subscriber and shared this post of pinterest, tumblr, twitter, and facebook:


  15. This speaks to my heart already without reading it. Beautiful illustrations too. (I too am a blog follower).


  16. This looks like a wonderful book! Congrats, Nick and Renia! I’ll share on Twitter. And I receive your wonderful daily posts, Kathy. Thank you!


  17. This looks Iike a cute one! Happy to give a shout futon Twitter and Facebook!


  18. This sounds like a wonderful book. Thank you for sharing your story with us and congratulations!


  19. Sounds like a terrific story, very imaginative. Thanks for the chance to win a copy!
    I’ve tweeted a link:, and shared an image on Pinterest:
    I also follow daily by email: crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com.
    Thanks again, have a great day!


  20. Oh my gosh, this book looks amazing! Both the story and the art are so full of heart. Congratulations, Nick and Renia. I subscribe to the blog, and I retweeted. And I hope to win a copy! 🙂


  21. I’ve “seen” Nick through Writing Barn events and I’m so excited for these books! Congrats, Nicholas! Wonderful art, Renia!


  22. I love learning the story behind the story. So glad that you persevered!


  23. this book looks delightful. NO need to enter my name; I can obtain it from sBP.


  24. Congratulations to both of you for a wonderful collaboration! I can’t wait to read
    The Color Collector!


  25. I can’t wait for this book! It gives me all the 😍


  26. This looks like an absolutely beautiful friendship book. The title is intriguing and it is such a wonderful blend of text and art.
    (blog follower)


  27. This sounds like such a fun book! I’ve retweeted, posted on my blog, shared to Facebook and I get the newsletter everyday. Thanks!


  28. Wonderful! I can’t wait to read this! Congratulations!

    I follow by email, Kathy. And posted on Twitter.


  29. This looks like a wonderful book to add to my library.


  30. What a terrific story!


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