Posted by: Kathy Temean | March 16, 2023

Book Giveaway: EVERY LITTLE SEED by Cynthia Schumerth

Cynthia Schumerth has written a new picture book, EVERY LITTLE SEED illustrated by Elisa Paganelli and published by Sleeping Bear Press, which came out on Tuesday March 12th. SBP has agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner living in the United States.

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 Cynthia and Elisa.

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. Thanks!


Grandpa told Mom, and Mom told me: The secret of a plant lives in every little seed. Seeds are truly amazing! Did you know that every seed, no matter how small (microscopic) or large (weighing up to 14 pounds), contains everything it needs to one day grow into a plant? Three generations of a gardening family work together to bring a backyard garden to full bloom. Young readers are taken through each important step, beginning with planting in the spring and ending with harvesting in the fall. And let’s not forget the buzzy and buggy inhabitants, including bees, butterflies, and other insects (friends as well as pests). At the end of the harvest season, the family collects and stores the seeds for next year’s garden. Rhyming text and lush artwork bring the wonders and joys of gardening to life. Back matter includes information about seeds.


A big thank you, Kathy, for giving me the opportunity to share my book journey for Every Little Seed on your blog.

The idea for Every Little Seed started back in 2017. The repeat line of the story, “Grandpa told Mom, and Mom told me, the secret of a plant lives in every little seed” kept spinning around in my head. The hard part was trying to figure out what I was going to do with that phrase. That line got me to start thinking about all the things I’d learned from my parents about gardening, and how they had learned those things from their parents. That was when the idea started to materialize.

My mom grew up in the country on a farm. My sister, brothers, and I spent many summer hours picking strawberries and green beans or shucking peas with Grandma while Grandpa was out tending the crops in the field. My dad was a city boy, but his parents had beautiful flower gardens all around their house. I learned so much about flowers from them. Of course, at home, we always had both vegetable and flower gardens.

It was really a no-brainer that a generational story about gardening was a perfect idea.  Like they say, write what you know and what you love.

I knew a simple story about gardening would be too common. I also knew that however I wrote it, it needed to have a fresh approach.  That’s where introducing the invasive Japanese Beetle came into play. I’m pretty certain the idea was spurred on by the fact that I was going out to my garden every day to pick these pests off my own plants.  It would also give the story an educational edge, and that never hurts these days. So, I sat down to write.

I kept the story in the drawer. I’d pull it out every once in a while to work on revisions until I finally got the manuscript where I wanted it to be. Right around that time my first book Let’s Pop, Pop, Popcorn, was released. I thought Every Little Seed would make a good companion book to Let’s Pop, Pop, Popcorn.  Maybe Sleeping Bear Press would be interested. So, I sent it off—and they said yes!

When I first submitted this story to my editor at Sleeping Bear, it was written in prose. They really liked it but asked if I could write it in rhyme? My initial thought was, ‘Yikes! Rhyme is tough.’, but of course I said, “Sure I can,” then I crossed my fingers hoping that I could. I worked day and night trying to change it—finding just the right words, making sure the rhythm was right, all without losing my story in the mix.  My critique group was priceless during the process; I was bouncing ideas off of them left and right.  The best advice I can give any writer is to find a good critique group—they are invaluable.

I sent the rewrite in and by December of 2021 I had a contract. I had an agent when I sold my first book, but we had since parted ways, and I was on my own with this contract. This was probably the most stressful process for me. But with the help of two of my very good writing friends, both with more experience than me, I learned how to negotiate a contract and can happily say I survived the process.

The editing process went really fast. Luckily for me there were no changes to the manuscript itself, just some grammatical and formatting edits.

The backmatter, however, was a lot more work. Sleeping Bear likes to include educational backmatter to their picture books. It helps parents and teachers who want to take kids a little farther into the science of things. All the facts have to be correct, but still easy enough for young kids to understand. The backmatter took a lot of research and some connecting with experts to verify I had things right. My editor also asked if I could work in some seed related activities into the backmatter. Several changes were requested until we all agreed on the final backmatter. Sleeping Bear added the photos and that really put a polish on the pages. I hope kids will not only learn from the backmatter, but also enjoy it as they learn.

While we were working on the backmatter in the US, Elisa Paganelli was hard at work on the sketches for the book over in the UK. When her art came in I was blown away. Elisa’s vision for illustration were fantastic. Once approved things started moving, and before long I was giving my final okay on the art and the cover. The colored sketches were even more amazing than I could have imagined! How lucky I was having Elisa as the Illustrator for this book! I didn’t hear anything more on the book until February 2023 when the advance copies of Every Little Seed arrived on my door step. I have a dream editor, a publisher (Sleeping Bear Press) that always puts out beautiful books, and such a talented illustrator. What more could I ask for!


Cynthia Schumerth knew she wanted write picture books since her own children were young.  She worked on her craft, writing on and off while raising a family and working full time at a maximum-security prison. Only after she retired did she have the real time she needed to pursue her dream of becoming an author. Besides Every Little Seed, Cynthia is also the author of the multiple award winning Let’s Pop, Pop, Popcorn (2021 Sleeping Bear Press), and the board book I Am Horton (2019 Random House Books for Young Readers). She lives in De Pere, WI with her husband and rescue dog, Chance.  She has two grown children.


I was born in Modena (Italy) in 1985, and since childhood, I cannot resist the smell of paper and pencils.

I attended the Institute of Art and subsequently graduated from the European Institute of Design (IED) in Turin with a degree in illustration.

As a post-grad, I worked as an Art director in a communication and Adv agency, and also ran a successful design concept store/studio for six years, which made me win the Ascom Confcommercio award “The idea becomes Enterprise” and CNA “Emerging Women” award.

I now live and work in the UK as a freelance Illustrator and Creative Designer, accompanied by my beloved pets.

Cynthia, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. There is so much to love about this book. The rhyme is perfect. I can’t pick out my favorite, but here is one I thought I’d share since it’s hard to read on the page I showed:

When days grow short and nights grow cold,
our garden starts to thin.
As summer dances out the door,
fall knocks and marches in.

It not easy to write a story in rhyme, but you make it look so easy. I love the refrain throughout the book. 

Grandpa told Mom and Mom told me: The secret of a plant lives in every little seed.

I’m sure this book will spread it’s seed over its’ young readers and cause sprouts of desire that grow into generation of life long gardeners. And parents will love using the backmatter to help inspire a conversation between themselves and their children to keep the cycle going. Everyone of Elisa’s illustrations will keep parents and children looking for the small details. I was in awe of each gorgeous page. Good luck with the book!

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Congratulations are in order! Soon you’ll be able to stop shoveling snow and start digging in the dirt!


  2. What a beautiful book! Congratulations to you both. I loved reading about your journey in the newsletter/blog. May the seeds of this story blossom into many beautiful moments shared by readers everywhere.


  3. Lovely little book! I know there is a home for it with my creative agriculture group! Beautiful story, beautiful illustrations.


  4. Congratulations, Cynthia and Elisa! This looks beautiful.

    Kathy, I get your blog and I have shared to Facebook. Thanks for all you do!


  5. Hi Cynthia, Thanks for sharing your journey for EVERY LITTLE SEED. Well done taking on the challenge of rewriting prose into rhyme. And I’m curious to read your backmatter. Elisa’s illustrations are inviting and playful. (I shared


  6. This looks so beautiful! Congratulations!


  7. I shared on FB and Twitter. Looks like a great book.


  8. This is a beautiful book! The rhyme makes this a book I must read for mentor text. I’m an email subscriber and shared on Facebook, Pinterest, tumblr, and Twitter.


  9. I love gardening and can’t wait to read this book! Congrats, Cynthia! I shared this on Twitter and subscribe to your blog, Kathy.


  10. What a beautiful book to share!


  11. This is gorgeous! Congrats to Cynthia and Elisa!


  12. Absolutely enchanting! Thanks for telling me about it. I subscribe to your blog by email.


  13. While waiting for spring to arrive and melt the foot of snow covering my gardens (welcome to spring in Wisconsin), I’ll dig through my packets of seeds from last year reciting the refrain from this book! It looks/sounds awesome. Thank you! I also receive the daily blog.


  14. The rhyme is indeed stunning! And what beautiful art. I hope many families get to enjoy this book.


  15. Perfect choice for Earth Day and Arbor Day.


  16. Looks like a lovely story! Shared on facebook, twitter and pinterest. And I follow your blog daily, thank you!


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