Posted by: Kathy Temean | November 21, 2021

Book Giveaway: We Want Snow: A Wintery Chant by Jamie A. Swenson

Jamie A. Swenson has written a new picture book, WE WANT SNOW: A WINTRY CHANT, Illustrated by Emilie Boon published by Sleeping Bear Press. SBP 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 Jamie and Emilie.

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!


In this raucous, rhyming plea for snow, a group of youngsters imagines the cold-weather delights they’ll enjoy once winter arrives. From sledding down hills and skating on ponds to building snow forts and snowmen to sharing crackling fires and mugs of hot cocoa, they want snow and plenty of it! The snow can’t arrive soon enough. But once the flakes start to fall, are the youngsters in for more than they bargained for? Readers young and old will enjoy this celebration of winter’s snowy activities, recalling past pleasures and imagining future ones.


When I was a child growing up in North Dakota and Wisconsin winter meant fun: sledding, skating, snow people, cocoa, cozy fires, warm blankets – joy. Even now, I always wait with expectation for the first delicate flakes to float down & cover the brown grass.

One winter day about ten years ago, I walked out of a snow-themed storytime at the library where I work – and looked out across a snowless brown field. I had just read a few of my favorite snowy books, but the kiddos had not experienced snow yet for the season. I promised the kids that they would very soon get to play in snow (which was met with mixed reactions from the adults – mostly groaning!). But as looked across that snowless world, I thought, “Not a flake. Not a flake. Not a flip-flop flake! We’ve been waiting all year for goodness’ sake!” And I knew in that moment I had the opening to a picture book. “SNOW! SNOW! We want snow!” my brain chanted.

I went to my computer and wrote a rough draft. Of course, that first draft was not a full book. My first drafts are usually an intense feeling poured onto the page – in this case – a mixture of my own childhood memories and a plea for a bit of wintry fun for my library kiddos. I had the refrain, but I needed to structure it and create a book, not just a jumble of my feelings. My early drafts went in many different directions – from waxing poetic about spring, summer, and fall – before the snow – to trying to create a version of “Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes” – a version I struggled with for months before deciding the story simply wasn’t working and putting it away.

Fast forward about seven years (give or take), I went to a conference as sat in on a session about reviving dead manuscripts. I jotted down a list of books that I had started, but never quite completed. WE WANT SNOW was one of those – that first line had never left my head. Each November as I waited for snow it would pop back in – SNOW! SNOW! We want snow! Up to our ankles, up to our shins, up to our knees, up to our chins! – and this time, when I read the manuscript, I saw the issue. It was a cluttered mess. I realized that the book was meant to be simply about the joy of playing in the snow – and that magical expectation that children (and some adults) feel as we hope for those flip-flop flakes to float down from the sky!

Once I revised the book with that in mind, I knew it was working. My agent, Sean McCarthy, agreed and sent it off to Sleeping Bear Press, which is located in a snow-appreciating area – Michigan! Sleeping Bear Press did a fantastic job matching my text with an illustrator, Emilie Boon, who captured the joyfulness of the snowy season. Emilie’s art is simply delightful and adds just the right tone and energy.

And that is how this book came to be – because I love, love, love the excitement of that first snow. I love seeing families out playing in the snow together. I love my memories of chasing my brothers around in the snow, of sitting in front of a fire defrosting my toes, and of pulling my children on a sled across a field so white it all but blinds you! Each year, I marvel at the way snow transforms the world. But, come February, I am ready for SPRING!


Jamie A. Swenson received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University in MN in 2009. She has worked as an early literacy storyteller/librarian for over twenty years at a busy public library. When not at her keyboard, Jamie can be found reading and recommending great books for kids and their families. Jamie’s work has been recognized by Junior Library Guild, the Zolotow Committee, various parents’ choice awards, and her titles appear on many best book lists.

Jamie enjoys teaching writing craft to children, teens, and adults. Look for her books: BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! (FSG/Macmillan); BIG RIG(Disney-Hyperion); and IF YOU WERE A DOG (FSG/Macmillan); MEET WOOF & QUACK and WOOF & QUACK IN THE SNOW (HMH); and the forthcoming A FALL BALL FOR ALL (Millbrook Sept. 2018). For more information visit


Born in the Netherlands, I spent most of my childhood in California and Mexico. It was during the ten years living in Mexico that I discovered my artistic eye and love of color. I graduated from high school in Mexico City, and returned to Holland to study at the Royal Academy of Art at The Hague. Here I developed my signature crayon and watercolor technique.

After graduating with a degree in graphic design, I moved to London, where I had the opportunity to work with wonderful editors and wrote and illustrated my first two children’s books. I’ve worked both as an illustrator and author/illustrator and published over 20 books. My books have been translated into Japanese, French, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Dutch and Spanish.

Each year I visit many elementary schools teaching young children about the process of writing and illustrating picture books. I also teach workshops and conduct picture book making classes for children.  Besides teaching young children, I’ve taught at RISD (CE) and am inspired by my students work no matter what age! I make my home in the Boston area and have a studio in an old mill filled with fabulous artists and designers.

Jamie, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. I love how this book captures the excitement of waiting and wishing for snow, and how children can’t wait to do all the fun activities snow provides. It brings back memories of sledding down hills, skating on ponds, building snow forts and snowmen, then coming inside to warm up with a mug of hot cocoa. It has me checking the weather and looking at the sky chanting “Snow! Snow! I Want Snow!” I’m sure kids will want to join in the chant, when they read this story, just like the children in this book. Emilie has created a winter wonderland with her gorgeous illustrations. I will be featuring her this coming Saturday, so check back to see more of her work. Good luck with the book!

Talk tomorrow,



  1. What a snow and fun filled book. And love the Netherlands connection. [Newsletter Subscriber].


  2. This book sounds like so much fun! Living in a place where it very rarely snows, I always felt my kids and now grandkids miss out on a lot. Will share this. Congrats to Jamie and Emilie, and thanks for sharing, Kathy. (Newsletter subscriber)


  3. We Want Snow is a book I know my grandchildren will love. The illustrations are adorable, and the chant is a lot of fun! Thank you for sharing this book with us!


  4. Congrats, Jamie & Emilie! This looks adorable.


  5. This sounds like such a fun book, and I loved reading the book’s journey! Jamie, I hope it snows in your neck of the woods soon!


  6. This book looks delightful! I shared on twitter and FB and reblogged.


  7. What a cheerful and happy book! The illustrations are darling and now I’m wanting snow Thanks for sharing your book journey.


  8. This book is adorable. A perfect one to read to my students. Joan Ramirez


  9. Such a joyful book celebrating SNOW! Congratulations, Jamie and Emilie!!


  10. Living in Colorado we get plenty of snow! But it’s still magical when it happens. Except maybe not in May.


  11. My yard is already covered in snow. It will probably still be covered in snow five months from now. This sounds like a great book for Alaskans! (Kathy, I subscribe to your blog.)


  12. As an old Minnesota gal, I am in love with this book already. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. Thanks for the post. I subscribe to your blog by email. I tweeted about the giveaway.


  13. What a wonderful story! My family and I love snow and playing in it. Congrats on publication


  14. Oh, snow!!! I need to read this book because I start chanting about snow in October! LOVE the snow. This will be a perfect book for all the youngsters I know! Congratulations! And I would LOVE to go to a conference about reviving dead manuscripts. 🙂

    I tweeted this and I follow by email, Kathy. 🙂


  15. I want snow too!! This book sounds wonderful. Congratulations!


  16. Congratulations, Jamie and Emilie! Thanks for sharing how you finally revived this dead manuscript and I’m glad you did. Kids love snow! I even do the first snow, but by March I’m tired of it! I shared this on Twitter and follow your daily posts, Kathy.


  17. Beautiful book!


  18. OOh, this looks perfect for storytime with the grandkids. Congratulations on a beautiful book! (And I subscribe to the blog.)


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