Posted by: Kathy Temean | May 12, 2022

Book Giveaway: HATTIE HATES HUGS by Sarah Hovorka

Sarah Hovorka has a new picture book, HATTIE HATES HUGS, illustrated by Heather Brockman Lee and published by Beaming Books. They have agreed to send a copy to the one lucky winner in the US.

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 Sarah and Heather.

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. If you want to make sure you don’t miss seeing that you won, please click “Notify Me of Follow-Up Comments By Email” box. I will leave a comment in reply if you win the book. Thanks!


Hattie loves her family, but she hates hugs!

While at a family reunion, Hattie wants to play horseshoes with Uncle Jake and Aunt Celia, but her boisterous relatives keep hugging her. Hattie’s stomach squirms uncomfortably when she’s hugged, but dodging and hiding from the open arms isn’t working. Great-Grandma is the only relative who understands how Hattie feels. With Great-Grandma’s help, Hattie learns to use simple but clear body language with verbal reinforcement to set boundaries around her personal space and to assert her right to consent to physical touch. And she even wins a game of horseshoes!

This picture book will teach huggers and non-huggers alike the importance of respecting people’s personal boundaries and provides an example of how to advocate for yourself with confidence.


The idea for Hattie Hates Hugs first came into being as a title. It popped into my head as I was brushing my kid’s teeth. Right before starting our nighttime ritual, I had wanted to give him a hug, but he shied away from it, which wasn’t unusual for him. It’s not unusual for me to shy away from hugs, either.

All that day I had been revising old picture book manuscripts. Picture books were on my mind. I had also recently seen a friend whose name is Hatti. So, while my hands went through the daily tooth brushing ritual, my mind came up with a title.

I immediately began to draft the story, filling in small background ideas that materialized from things going on in my life. The idea for Hattie wanting to throw horseshoes probably came from my mother telling me about her horseshoe competition that weekend. The idea for Hattie to be at a family reunion may have come from memories of my own childhood where I dreaded having to hug people I didn’t see that often.

After the basic bones of the story were fleshed out, I thought about what I wanted to actually say. When you’re a child, it’s easy to feel like you have no power, that the adults around you make the rules. As an adult, you can even feel that way in relation to the older generation, especially among family. So, in Hattie Hates Hugs, I decided to show someone from the older generation standing up for Hattie and being onboard with changing societal norms.

This story was written from a personal place based on my own experiences as a non-hugging person and worries that the cycle will repeat for my children. It wasn’t until my editor at Beaming Books provided feedback did I realize the potential impact of this topic. I didn’t set out to write about hot topics like “consent,” “advocating for yourself,” or “personal boundaries.” I was just writing from the heart.

I barely even queried agents with this manuscript. I think I sent out two, but I had sent out a lot of queries for other manuscripts. Luckily, Hattie Hates Hugs was noticed in a Twitter pitch contest by the perfect editor for this story.

I think the manuscript found a wonderful publishing home and I’m so happy that now the story can be in the homes of all the kids and adults who have ever felt like Hattie or who have met a Hattie.


Sarah Hovorka writes lots of stuff from big-hearted picture books to horror-ridden novels. Unlike Goldilocks, every genre she tries feels just right. While children’s literature is her primary focus, she can’t resist writing speculative fiction and occasionally memoir for adults. Her three sons provide her plenty of fodder for her children’s books while her reading list influences the rest.

Beyond reading and writing, Sarah loves to play games, bike ride, eat chocolate, and enjoy trees…when she’s not too busy homeschooling. You can find out more about her, her books, and follow her blog at


Heather is an illustrator specializing in children’s illustration and images for licensing.

You can find my work in issues of Ladybug and Babybug Magazines, and in my upcoming debut picture books “A Poem Grows Inside You” with The Innovation Press, written by Katey Howes, and “Hattie Hates Hugs” with Beaming Books, written by Sarah Hovorka.

I am a winner of the Grand Prize Portfolio Showcase, 2021 SCBWI Big Five-Oh! as well as the 2020 Letters and Lines, at the Rocky Mountain chapter of SCBWI. I also volunteer as an assistant to the Illustrator Coordinator for my local SCBWI chapter, and am a mentor through the Michelle Begley Mentor Program.

When I’m not in my studio painting, I’m in my garden, hanging out with bees, whistling at birds, hiking or climbing trees. My dog can read my mind. I live with my husband and two kids in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, where I am slowly making the inside of our house resemble a library. Yoga, meditation and running or biking keep my brain happy. I love drawing people, nature, animals, and finding the magic in everyday moments.

Sarah, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. I love that you Grandma helps Hattie learn skills that will help her set boundries with people to let them know to respect her personal space. Heather did a great job illustrating your book. Love her illustrations. Stop back later and get to know Heather better on Illustration Saturday.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. I know some kids like this. 🙂


  2. Love that we are seeing more books about consent!! Great post!


  3. I ❤ it! I can think of quite a bunch of people who will too. High fives all around… 😉


  4. OOOOhh, I love this. My grand-niece is averse to hugs and I get it! Can’t wait to read!


  5. Awesome picture book! Very much needed. Congratulations!

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


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