Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 28, 2022

Book Giveaway: THE LONG RIDE HOME by Stephanie Graegin

Author/illustrator Stephanie Graegin has a new picture book titled, THE LONG RIDE HOME, ipublished by Random House. They has agreed to share a book with one lucky winner. All you have to do to get in the running is to 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 the other things you do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Stephanie!


A tender picture book that celebrates memories and friendship about a young koala and a friend who has moved away.

Little Koala has a long ride home, and every place her mother passes invokes a memory of her best friend: the ice cream shop where they giggled uncontrollably; the hill in the park where they crashed their bikes (that memory also lives on as a little scar on Koala’s knee), the library where they borrowed their favorite book again and again.

Koala’s friendship blooms beautifully on the page, seamlessly interwoven with the ride home, and soon we learn just why these memories are so important: Koala’s friend has moved away. The story ends on a lovely note of hope: Koala and her friend are still close, despite the distance.

The Long Ride Home is a universal and broadly appealing friendship story that explores the power of memory with tenderness, warmth, and heart. Stephanie Graegin expertly balances the bittersweet sensations of cherishing a moment long past with artwork that is rendered in soft, sepia hues in a way that only she can.


The Long Ride Home came about at the height of the pandemic, during a time when we hadn’t left our neighborhood for several months. Like everyone, I was missing family and friends and wanting some return to normalcy.

The idea for the book started from thinking about how places evoke memory. Passing by places you have been to, or have a connection to, can instantly bring you back in time. This also happens with particular songs, or smells, or the feel of a breeze. Memories are like a tangible connection to a previous time and place . A personal collection of all the important people and experiences in our lives.

I worked to convey the power of memories and how they connect us to the people we love. It seemed fitting that the memories should be tied to the best friend of the main character, one who no longer lives in the same city. Koala navigates through her feelings, connecting her memories with her reality. This story is also reflexive of my own experiences. As a child, I myself moved around. An upsetting pattern, to be sure, but I’ve kept a strong connection to my childhood best friend. We still regularly exchange long letters and even longer phone calls.

To me, the book is a letter composed by Koala on this car ride. As she travels, the places that slip by her window bring up thoughts she’d like to share with her friend. I picture her, after the book ends, sitting down and physically writing this letter, much like you see her friend writing (to her) at the end.

For the art, I wanted the color to serve two functions: to mark the passage of time on the car ride, and to create a distinction between memory and reality.  We start with the golden hues of the morning, the sepias of the midday and to the pinks and inky browns of the evening; with memories being the more vivid, cleaner, colors Also, the car, being an implicit character, needed to be traceable throughout the book, which is why it’s this brand of bright blue…it allows the reader to keep tabs on it throughout its journey.


Stephanie Graegin is the author and illustrator of Fern and Otto, A Story About Two Best Friends and Little Fox in the Forest which garnered four starred reviews and appeared on many Best of the Year lists. She is also the illustrator of over a dozen books for children, including You Were the First by Patricia MacLachlan; Super Manny Stands Up! by Kelly Dipucchio; Water in the Park by Emily Jenkins, which received three starred reviews; and Peace Is an Offering by Annette LeBox. Stephanie lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Born during a blizzard on Groundhog’s Day in Chicago, Illinois, Stephanie spent her childhood drawing and collecting fauna in Fort Wayne, Indiana and Houston, Texas. She received her BFA in Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland. She later attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, obtaining a Master of Fine Arts in Printmaking. Stephanie now lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she writes and illustrates children’s books.

Clients include: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Beach Lane Books, Candlewick Press, Carus Publishing, Dial Books for Young Readers, Disney Hyperion, eeBoo, Farrar Straus and Giroux, Google, Little Brown for Young Readers, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, Random House Studio, Roaring Brook Press, Schwartz and Wade, Simon & Schuster and Sterling Publishing.

Visit her at

Thank you, Rebecca for sharing your book and journey with us.


  1. Very lovely work and focus on things that matter most!


  2. This book sounds really sweet. Can’t wait to read it.


  3. Congratulations, Stephanie! This looks like a very cute book! Love your illustration style!


  4. This book sounds so sweet and thoughtful. I’d love to have a copy.
    I’ve shared:, and tweeted:
    Thanks again, have a great day everyone!!


  5. Love how you intertwine a present journey with the journey through memories. Can’t wait to read it!


  6. I love how your story intertwines how memories connect us to a place and with friendship. I look forward to reading THE LONG RIDE HOME. The illustrations look lovely. Congrats!


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