Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 30, 2022

Book Giveaway: BRAINSTORM by Rebecca Gardyn Levington

Rebecca Gardyn Levington has a new picture book, BRAINSTORM, illustrated by Kate Kroneif and published by Sleeping Bear Kids. They have agreed to send a copy to the one lucky winner in the US.

Just leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Let me know other things you did 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 Rebecca and Kate.

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!


When it’s time to write in class, one child feels like she has absolutely nothing to say. But suddenly–ker-plink–one drop, one tiny thought, hits her. And before long she’s caught in a shower of funny phrases, a whirlwind of adjectives and verbs, a downpour of huge ideas. Boom, CRASH! A regular brainstorm of creativity for her to soak up and play in! With writing prompts and a glossary in the back matter, this is a story to inspire imagination and ingenuity in all readers.

BRAINSTORM! is a rhyming concept picture book that begins with a little girl sitting in a classroom, frustrated because she can’t think of anything to write about. As she stares at the storm brewing outside – kerplink! – a tiny thought falls from the sky! The girl gradually finds herself engulfed in a whirlwind of words, pictures, and ideas swirling all around her, eventually becoming caught up in a happy downpour of her own creativity.


Kathy, I’ve been a long-time fan of your blog! Thank you so much for inviting me to share the journey of my debut picture book, BRAINSTORM! with your readers.

It all began one rainy late October day in 2019 when, much like the little girl in my story, I had a terrible case of writer’s block. I was doing my best to keep my B.I.C. (“Butt In Chair”), but my brain felt like the weather — cloudy, gloomy and gray. Instead of staring at the blank page, I found myself staring at the rain outside my window when I felt the drop of an idea…

What if…IDEAS poured down from the sky?… Like a… …rain storm?…

No! Wait!

Like a…. BRAINstorm!

I immediately began writing what I originally thought would remain a short little poem.

That poem sat on my computer for a couple of months, but it kept calling to me. I wondered: what if it wasn’t just IDEAS that fell from the sky, but WORDS… VERBS and NOUNS, and ADJECTIVES….and maybe even PHRASES and SENTENCES and CHARACTERS and PLOTS…. Suddenly, I found myself enveloped in this amazing world where images and stories drizzled down and swirled all around us. I kept tinkering and tinkering until I felt like I had a publishable version.

To explain BRAINSTORM!’s road to publication, I have to back up a little. So, in the summer 2019, the incredible rhyme writer Lori Degman chose me as one of her three #PBChat Mentees. Lori is an all-around amazing person (now good friend) and at the end of the 3-month-long mentorship, she very generously offered to ask a few of the editors with whom she’d worked if they’d be willing to look at a submission from me. One of those editors was Sarah Rockett at Sleeping Bear Press.

(But if you think it was “just that easy!” read on….)

In December, with Lori’s blessing and encouragement, I sent Sarah my favorite manuscript at the time (not BRAINSTORM!). Sarah passed on that one, but said she liked my rhythm and rhyme and asked to see more. I immediately sent her two more manuscripts (again, not BRAINSTORM!) and heard only crickets — for months.

Meanwhile, during those months, I had polished up BRAINSTORM! and felt it was pretty strong. I debated whether I should send Sarah a third manuscript while she was still considering the other two, but I wasn’t agented at the time and my opportunities to submit were few and far between. I knew Sarah liked my writing, so I said “what the heck?!” And sent it off.

That was March 2020 (about a week before we all went into quarantine!) and so, naturally, I didn’t hear anything for a long time. Finally, in May, I followed up. Sarah kindly apologized for the delay and told me that while they were passing on the two previous manuscripts I’d sent (Whomp. Whomp.), she loved BRAINSTORM! and wanted to bring it to their next acquisitions meeting. (WHOOHOO!) Thanks to pandemic delays that acquisitions meeting didn’t happen until August. And then, at the very end of the summer, I FINALLY got the email that Sleeping Bear wanted to acquire it for their 2022 list!

(As they say, this business is a marathon, NOT a sprint!)

Kate Kronreif did an incredible job illustrating what I realize now was an extremely difficult manuscript to illustrate. I mean, how does someone illustrate a line like: “An easy breeze becomes a blast/of funny phrases flying past?” Thank goodness both Sarah and Kate had an incredible vision for the book and really took it to the next level!

Thank you again, Kathy, for letting me share BRAINSTORM!’s journey. I hope this book inspires all writers to embrace their creative storms and have fun playing in ALL their puddles of possibility!


Rebecca Gardyn Levington is a children’s book author, poet, and journalist with a particular penchant for penning both playful and poignant picture books and poems – primarily in rhyme.

Her debut picture book Brainstorm! (Sleeping Bear Press, 2022) hits bookshelves this summer. She has four more rhyming picture books being published in the next two years, including the inspirational I Will Always Be… (HarperCollins, 2024).

Rebecca’s poems have been or are scheduled to be published in Spider Magazine, Highlights High Five, The Caterpillar, Honeycake: The Jewish Magazine for Creative Kids, as well as Countdown, Blast Off and Launchpad (publications of The School Magazine). Her poems have also appeared in the anthologies Hop To It: Poems To Get You Moving, Imperfect II: Poems About Perspective–An Anthology for Middle Schoolers, and Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Magic of Cats. Her poem, “Lemons!” originally published in Countdown, won the 2021 SCBWI Magazine Merit Award for poetry from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

She lives in the suburban jungles of New Jersey with her husband and two boisterous boys and is represented by Kaitlyn Sanchez at Context Literary.

To read Rebecca’s latest poems, learn more about her writing journey, and sign up for her newsletter, visit her website at and follow her on Twitter at @WriterRebeccaGL.


Kate is a British illustrator living in Vienna, Austria with her husband and two children.

She studied Fine Art before going on to work as a graphic designer and then making the move into illustration. Kate works mostly with pencil, paper and Procreate and is inspired by all that is lovely and things that make her laugh.

Rebecca, thank you for sharing your book and journey. I love how you thought of a way to help children learn how to shape and sharpen their idea-generation and storytelling skills. The back matter is fun, too, with writing prompts like, “Cloudy With A Chance of Ideas.” Even the glossary has a fun title, “A Tornado of Terminology.” Kate did a fabulous job creating the illustrations. Kids, parents and educators will will make a big splash with their kids by showing them how playing with their ideas can be fun.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. I have been a fan for a long time!


  2. Congrats, Rebecca! Can’t wait to read your many books. (I’m signed up for the emails, too.)


  3. What a fun and clever idea — looking forward to reading this book!


  4. Cute! I love the idea of the Brainstorm filling her head with ideas. The illustrations are very cool too. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.
    I’ve shared:, and tweeted:
    I also follow daily by email: crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com
    Thanks again, Happy 4th everyone!!


  5. This looks like a clever book. I will check it out. I’ll pass on the giveaway since I just won a book here. Thanks for the post.


  6. I love the concept of this book! Congratulations to Rebecca and Kate.
    I am an email subscriber; I tweeted this out, and posted it on ARHtistic License’s Facebook page; a link will also appear in tomorrow’s Creative Juice on


  7. Rebecca, thank you for sharing your book journey of BRAINSTORM! Writers of all ages can relate to writers block. I look forward to reading your book. Kudos to the illustrator, Kate. The cover and illustrations look wonderful.


  8. Coolest concept ever! Congratulations on a best seller for sure, Rebecca and Kate! (I’m a blog follower)


  9. Congratulations, Rebecca! I can’t wait to read all your upcoming books. I’ve always loved picture books in rhyme. This book sounds like a must have for classrooms or homeschoolers like myself. I shared on Twitter and I receive your daily posts through email.


    • I just put in a request at the library.


  10. What a great idea for a picture book! Congrats Rebecca and Kate! (Kathy – I’m a blog follower – excellent interview, as always!)


  11. Ooo, I LOVE this concept of a BRAINstorm, perfect for writing class! Congrats!


  12. What a wonderful idea for a picture book! I love it! Can’t wait to read it, perhaps when I need a brain storm! Congrats, Rebecca and Kate!

    I follow by email and I tweeted this post.


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