Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 9, 2022

Book Giveaway: MISTER ROGERS GIFT OF MUSIC by Donna Cangelosi

Donna Cangelosi’s debut picture book, MISTER ROGERS GIFT OF MUSIC, illustrated by Amanda Calatzis and published by Page Street Kids is hitting book stores on August 23rd. 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 Donn and Amanda.

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!


Growing up with asthma, young Fred Rogers was often stuck inside while other kids played outdoors. He discovered that playing the piano was a great way to express loneliness and other emotions. Soft sinking sobs, loud rippling roars, and trickles of teardrops flowed through his fingertips. As an adult, Fred shared his gift of music with the world on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, inspiring and lifting countless young lives. MISTER ROGERS GIFT OF MUSIC shows how Fred’s honest lyrics and charming tunes helped children deal with emotions, reassured them that they were special and loved, and created a neighborhood of kindness throughout the country, for generations.


Hi Kathy! Thank you so much for having me on your blog. I’ve always loved the word serendipity. It’s a great way to describe when fantastic, unexpected things happen as if by fate. It’s also the perfect word to describe my writing journey.

Chapter One: The idea

The heart of MISTER ROGERS’ GIFT OF MUSIC grew from my work as a child psychologist and my frustration hearing story after story about kids being bullied. In early 2016, I decided to write a picture book biography about someone who helped children. After brainstorming, I had an aha moment!  I’ll write about Mister Rogers! Then, I read every article I could find.

Growing up, Fred Rogers was sick, lonely, and bullied. He learned to play the piano and discovered that it was a great way to express his feelings. Later in life, Fred trained with the child psychologists I had studied and admired for years. As everyone knows, he dedicated his life to helping children deal with difficult emotions. I felt like I was meant to write a picture book about Fred Rogers. Then, after years of research, writing, and revising, Charlotte Wenger, who was an editor at Page Street Kids bought my story, FRED’S BEAUTIFUL NEIGHBORHOOD.

Chapter Two: Changes

Several months later, Charlotte left Page Street Kids. My new editor asked me to find a fresh angle to tell the story. I came up with ideas about Mister Rogers’ sweaters, his puppets, and an array of other concepts. Then I dug deeper to what was central to Fred Rogers: music. I read more articles and books, watched interviews and episode after episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and visited Fred’s alma mater, Rollins College. I reimagined and rewrote the story several times. Many months and revisions later, MISTER ROGERS’ GIFT OF MUSIC was finally on its way to being published.

Chapter Three: Serendipity!

During my winding road to publication, Charlotte Wenger became my agent. And of all the amazing kidlit illustrators, Page Street asked Amanda Calatzis, my Prospect sib and one of my favorite artists, to illustrate the story.

Booklist recently gave MISTER ROGERS’ GIFT OF MUSIC a starred review saying, “Young fans will be tickled by the familiar lyrics and swirling colors, and their grownups will delight in gentle nostalgia. An affectionate tribute to both the remarkable man and his musical legacy.”

Reading this review, I realized that the book turned out the way it was supposed to be. Although each obstacle along the way to publication was challenging, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve learned to dig deeper when writing, reach out to my kidlit friends when I need help, and enjoy the fantastic, unexpected things that happen along the way.


Donna Cangelosi enjoys writing stories that entertain, enlighten, and inspire young readers. Her debut picture book, MISTER ROGERS’ GIFT OF MUSIC, illustrated by Amanda Calatzis will be published by Page Street Kids, August 23, 2022.

Donna considers herself lucky to have the opportunity to work with children in her psychology practice and to write books for them. Like Mister Rogers, she helps kids deal with feelings using play, art, music, and of course, picture books!

You can visit her at Twitter @DonnaCangelosi2 and Instagram @donnacangelosi2


Amanda (Moeckel) Calatzis holds an MFA in Illustration from the School of Visual Arts. She is the illustrator of Mister Rogers’ Gift of Music (Page Street Kids, 2022), and author-illustrator of Khalida and the Most Beautiful Song (Page Street Kids, 2018).

Her first word was “light,” and her art shows her enduring obsession with it. Her stories for children are uplifting and soulful, with touches of magic. Her work has been featured on The Children’s Book PodcastSeven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, and other popular kidlit blogs.

Amanda grew up near an old theme park in Massachusetts, then spent a couple decades as a city-dweller in DC, San Francisco and NYC. Now she calls NY’s Hudson Valley home, along with her husband, two children, and three senior dogs.

She is represented by Charlotte Wenger of Prospect Agency.

Donna, Thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. It’s been so much fun seeing you grow as a writer and become successful. It is a beautiful book. It really captured the feel of Mister Rogers. Thank you for keeping him alive in our hearts and minds. Amanda did a fabulous job creating the art for this book. She was featured on Illustrator Saturday before she got married and added Calatzis to her name. Click here to view. Good luck with the book.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. I love that Mr. Rogers reached out in love to all he met. No judging, no labeling, just love. I would love this book.


  2. I love Mr. Rogers! He did so much for children. Calm, peaceful. That’s how I remember him. And the characters and music and changing of sweaters! Lovely. Can’t wait to read this book! Congrats, Donna and Amanda!

    I follow by email and I tweeted this post.


  3. I can’t wait to read this book! Living in Pittsburgh for a few years, I literally lived in Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood and would sometimes see him around town. He was as wonderful in real life as he was on the TV. This book looks absolutely lovely! Congrats to Donna and Amanda! I follow this blog and shared on Facebook and twitter.


  4. So thrilled for this beautiful picture book to be shared with the world soon! Congratulations to my Prospect agency sibs, Donna and Amanda!


  5. What a beautiful book this is!


  6. There couldn’t be a better topic for a children’s book! I’ll always love Mister Rogers:)


  7. Gorgeous! Looking forward to reading this book. (I’m signed up for the emails, too.)


  8. How do I get my address to you?


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