Posted by: Kathy Temean | April 13, 2021


Joyce Lapin has written a new picture book, IF YOU HAD YOUR BIRTHDAY PARTY ON THE MOON illustrated by Simona Ceccarelli and published by Sterling Childrens Books  It is available in bookstores nowSterling 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 Joyce  and Simona.

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!


If you had your birthday party on the moon, what would it be like? Blast off to an extraterrestrial celebration and find out! This cool picture book combines fun and facts to help kids learn all about outer space. 

Have your birthday party on the moon and everyone will come! After all, who wouldn’t want to ride in a rocket and celebrate for a day that lasts as long as a month on Earth? Then, young partygoers could romp in a low-gravity playground; watch candles and balloons behave weirdly in the Moon’s atmosphere; and see why the “moon angels” they make in the thick carpet of lunar dust will last for thousands of years. With each discovery, kids learn the science behind the surprise, explained in terms they’ll understand. Complete with sidebars and a glossary, this entertaining adventure is perfect for sharing at home and at school.


It’s so interesting how If You Had Your Birthday Party on the Moon came to be!

I’d written a previous space-based manuscript, though it hadn’t yet found a home. (I still hope it will!) I love writing this type of nonfiction because I’m fascinated by the topic.

I was with an agent, but there was no energy flowing from him. After I’d given him every opportunity, I researched new agents and prepared a new query letter. As soon as I sent the email cutting ties with the first agent, I hit “Send” on my
new queries. This time, I queried for If You Had Your Birthday Party on the Moon.

John Rudolph from Dystel, Goderich & Bourret stepped up immediately, which made me feel terrific. And he was the perfect agent for this book. In addition to being a consummate professional, John is a very hands-on dad who knows everything about kids’ birthday parties. This was extremely helpful since I’m
not a mom. 😊

For example, John told me there should be pizza at this birthday party. I remember his words—he said, “It’s always pizza!” This actually led to a terrific addition to the book. I can’t remember how my research turned this up, but I found that Pizza Hut once actually delivered pizza to the International Space Station. “So,” my book reasoned, “maybe they’ll also deliver to the Moon!” This is an anecdote that wouldn’t have existed without John’s input.

I felt a science consultant was essential, so I called the Astronomy Department
at the University of Massachusetts. The department chair answered the phone and I asked him for a referral—but to my delight, he offered to help me himself. And this astronomer, Prof. Stephen E. Schneider, has been a dream to work with. He’s meticulous and creative, and has helped me keep my science watertight.

I was thrilled when Meredith Mundy at Sterling Children’s Books made an offer on the book. Before we could begin editing, though, Meredith was offered a new opportunity in the industry, and the wonderful Christina Pulles stepped in.

I think what I most appreciated about Meredith and Christina (and the Sterling editors who worked on my second book, The Little Spacecraft That Could), is the deference they showed to my creative instincts. Sterling had faith in my visions,

and that means so much! Not just because the books became what they were meant to be, but because the mutual respect feels really good.

Perhaps the greatest gift to this book was the illustrator, Simona Ceccarelli. Simona was one of four illustrators whose work Meredith had sent me, and I loved Simona’s work right away! I thought her style was perfect for If You Had Your Birthday Party on the Moon. And you know what? The first thing people say to me about the book is how much they love the illustrations! And I’m right there with them! Simona really made this book come alive.

Also, my critique group—the Shoreline (Connecticut) Group, led by Kay Kudlinski—was incredibly helpful and supportive. There’s so much success and positive energy in that group. What a thrill it was to have Kay and the others pop a champagne cork for me!

Oh, I forgot to talk about how I came up with the idea for a birthday party on the Moon! I’d already decided to write about the Moon, because: 1) We know more about it than any other celestial body; and 2) Kids love the Moon! My concern was that there were already lots of kids’ books on the subject. I needed to view the Moon through a brand-new lens.

I began thinking about a party on the Moon, but something was still lacking. When I made the party a birthday party, the book suddenly had legs. So there you have it! I hope that everyone who picks up If You Had Your Birthday Party on the Moon has as much fun with it as I still do!


Joyce has enjoyed reading and learning about other worlds since childhood. A former advertising copywriter, she’s happy to have found a kinder, gentler life writing books.

Joyce is originally from Glen Cove (Long Island, NY) and now lives in Simsbury, Connecticut. Her favorite nonfiction readings include biographies and survival stories. For fiction, she loves anything by John Grisham and Elin Hilderbrand.

Joyce’s happy place is the beach. The light of her life are her 10 great-nieces and great-nephews. She is represented by John Rudloph at Dystal Goderich and Bourret.


Simona CeccarelliI grew up in Italy, with a passion for both art and science, a large library – which has been expanding out of control ever since – and the urge to open all doors and follow every path. Her first journey was to study science and work as a medical research scientist for over 10 years.

Art eventually lured her back to follow “the road not taken.” She studied illustration and visual development at San Francisco’s Academy of Art University. After a brief detour into scientific communication, corporate marketing and even art direction, she found her happy place in children’s illustration. Her main path now is from the coffee machine to her studio, where she has all the adventure, excitement, laughter and emotion she could ever dream – and more.

When Simona is not drawing she is laughing with her kids, plant flowers, ride horses and read books (not all at the same time).

She loves colors, characters, stories, and making children smile. She gets that chance through her books and more with Sterling Children’s Books, Amicus Publishing, Scholastic Education, Thienemann-Esslinger, Dressler, Carlsen Verlag, Harper-Collins, PI Kids, Rizzoli/Mondadori, Cricket Media, Parallel Games, Haba and many others.

Simona currently lives in Switzerland with one husband two kids, three nationalities, four languages…and a cat. Simona is represented by Andrea Cascardi. Don’t miss learning more about Simona and seeing more of her wonderful art. Here is a link to: Simona on Illustrator Saturday.

Thank you joyce for sharing your book and Journey with us. Kids will love the idea of birthday party on the moon. I love how the text discusses why the sky is black rather than blue and noting that earthshine is 40 times brighter than moonglow—having expeditions to check out craters and a scavenger hunt to track down artifacts left by the Apollo astronauts (two golf balls, 12 pairs of space boots, a rumored ‘rude drawing’), and chowing down on ‘a Space Station favorite,’ chocolate-pudding cake squeezed from a foil pouch. It is so much fun and Simona’s illustrations are out-of-this- world. Can’t wait until next week to show of the sequel to this book, where you and Simona pair up again.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. fun and educational. both –


  2. Such a fun idea for a book — having fun and learning some science 🙂


  3. This seems like a terrific combination of fun and facts. A great way to enjoy reading *and* learning about the moon. The illos seem just right, too. Love it.


  4. What a great book idea! Congratulations, Joyce and Simona!


  5. This is so cute! I love the pizza addition. Because almost everyone I know has pizza at parties. Congratulations!

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


  6. This book looks out of this world! Congrats!


  7. That would be some party! Congrats on the book!


  8. I really want to know what that pizza tasted like once it arrived at the ISS, LOL! Congrats on finding a new, enthused agent and on finding this book a home!


  9. Fun, facts, and pizza! I love it 🙂 Congratulations!


  10. Such a fun way to teach kids some basics of physics while having a great time. I’d love to have a copy. Thanks.
    Daily follow by email: crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com
    Thanks again, have a great day!


  11. Your book sounds wonderful, Joyce! (And love you added the pizza to the party!) Congratulations to both you and Simona!


  12. Such a fun idea for a book! And we share the same agent:-) Congrats–can’t wait to read it…over pizza, of course! I follow by email, Kathy.


  13. Joyce, what a fun concept! And thanks for sharing your book’s origin story. I, too, have had the pleasure of working with Christina Pulles. Can’t wait to see your book. (Kathy, I subscribe to your blog/email!)


  14. Congratulations! Great idea!


  15. Total fun! Looking forward to diving into it!


  16. I love everything space and this book idea is so clever and will be a hit with kids–pizza and birthdays–and they will learn facts while having fun. I am an email subscriber and shared on pinterest, tumblr, twitter, and facebook:


  17. AWESOME IDEA! I know someone who loves everything about outer space. This will definitely be a great book for him. Also posting on FaceBook. Good Luck to everyone.


  18. This looks like a blast! Congratulations!


  19. What a great idea for a book. Loved the back story.


  20. Can’t wait to give this to my grandson!!!


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