Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 11, 2022

Book Giveaway: BATTLE OF THE BOOKS by Melanie Ellsworth

Melanie Ellsworth has a new picture book, BATTLE OF THE BOOKS, illustrated by James Rey Sanchez and published by Little Bee Books on August 23rd. Melanie has 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 Melanie and James.

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!


“A humorous approach to the dilemma of choosing just one bedtime story.”–Kirkus Reviews

In this competition to be chosen as bedtime story, may the best book win!

In Josh’s bedroom, tension mounts as each of his books battle over who will be chosen for story time. It’s every book for itself-until Pirate Book needs rescuing, and the books must use their unique talents to save him. But when story time arrives, the battle resumes.

This energetic picture book celebrates the magic of stories and the joy of choosing your favorite books.


BATTLE OF THE BOOKS features book characters of various genres, from poetry to pirates to pop-ups. It’s my love letter to picture books and an ode to the wonder of getting lost in a great read-aloud. It’s also a story about cooperation and forgiveness, as the books put their battle on the back burner when one of them is in trouble.

I first conceived of BATTLE OF THE BOOKS in 2013 after participating in Tara Lazar’s Picture Book Idea Month (now called Story Storm). I was thinking about my daughter’s ritual of selecting picture books for bedtime, and what that would look like from the books’ point of view. The first placeholder title was “Bedtime Story Selection Competition.” Yikes!

I went through over a dozen title ideas with help from my critique partners, like “The Choosing Game” and “Read ME!” before finally settling on BATTLE OF THE BOOKS. The title needed to be active and energetic to reflect the energy of the book characters, who are all vying to be the book that Josh picks for story time that night!

I wrote several drafts of the story in 2014, and then went on to work on other books, returning occasionally to this story. Because it was a rhyming manuscript, it took longer to get every stanza working well. In 2017, I submitted the manuscript to Tara Luebbe and Becky Cattie’s “Writing with the Stars” competition and was thrilled when author Beth Ferry selected me for a 3-month mentorship. Beth steered me towards prose for this book, and that resulted in some happy changes in arc and plot, faster pacing, and more humor as I was less constrained by the rhyme.

My agent submitted BATTLE OF THE BOOKS, and we got an offer from Little Bee Books in February 2021. The first editor for the book took another publishing job overseas, so BATTLE OF THE BOOKS had two dedicated editors during the revision and illustration process. The Little Bee team suggested James Rey Sanchez to illustrate the book – hooray!! I had admired his art in IRVING BERLIN: THE IMMIGRANT BOY WHO MADE AMERICA SING and also in THIS MAGICAL, MUSICAL NIGHT. Now I can’t even imagine the characters looking any other way than how James depicted them. Pirate Book is especially endearing!

This is one of those books that had a long journey from conception (2013) to publication (2022). I hope that serves as a reminder to other writers and illustrators to hold onto those older stories that you love. Give them time to grow!

And now – run to the library and pick out a picture book. Watch very carefully – they are likely battling for your attention. Which one will YOU choose?


Melanie Ellsworth writes in an old barn in Maine, surrounded by books. Her picture book titles include Hip, Hip…Beret!, Clarinet and Trumpet, and the upcoming Battle of the Books.

With an M.Ed in Language and Literacy, Melanie has also worked as an ESOL teacher and a literacy specialist and is currently a member of the Equity & Inclusion Committee for the New England Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Melanie loves creating books that make children laugh while they learn! Visit Melanie at


James Rey Sanchez grew up in a humble home in Santa Maria, California, where his love for art came from countless hours of reading comics and 90’s Saturday morning cartoons. He has traveled all throughout America snagging inspiration from every forest camped in, bodies of water swam in, and cities roamed. Most recently he has been absorbing every influence he can from his Mexican culture in order to bring more of his heritage into the literary world.

James graduated from the Academy of Art University with a BFA in Visual Development, studies in Children’s book Illustration, and top honors with award winning pieces of art at the annual Spring Show. He has Illustrated award winning children’s books and is looking forward to writing his own to bring the vibrancy of his Mexican-American culture front and center.

Melanie, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. Such a cute idea for a picture having the book compete for who is chosen to be read at bedtime. It sounds so real life when it’s every book for itself-until Pirate Book needs rescuing, and the books must use their unique talents to save him. But when story time arrives, the battle resumes. I’m sure kids will love this book and have a few belly laughs reading it with an adult. I love that James’ illustrations add to the fun of the book. Good luck with the book. Check back on August 27th to see more of James’ artwork on Illustrator Saturday.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. I do NEED this book!! It looks super-duper fun!! Congratulations!!
    I tweeted this post and I receive your blog posts daily.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations Melanie! Another great book coming into the world! Can’t wait to see this ine.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I just love everything about this book, AND I can see it being read at school “Battle of the Books” across America and the world!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, fun! It surely is a battle to choose just the right book! Congratulations!

    I follow by email and I tweeted this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hooray Melanie and James! Can’t wait to get my copy!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. So clever and I 😍 the illustrations too. Wishing you a treasure chest of sales ☠️

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow, almost 10 years. What a book journey. It sounds like a clever concept many children can relate to. Congratulations! Shared on Twitter and I received the email blog posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. YAY! I have been waiting for this book! Can’t wait to read it. Lynne Marie

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This looks sooo fun! I can’t wait to read it, Melanie and James! Congratulations!!

    Liked by 1 person

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