Posted by: Kathy Temean | April 30, 2023

Book Giveaway: THE LITTLEST AIRPLANE by Brooke Hartman

Brooke Hartman has a new picture book, THE LITTLEST AIRPLANE, illustrated by John Joseph and published by Alaska Northwest Books. Brooke 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 Brooke and John.

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 rhyming picture book about how sometimes it’s not the biggest, strongest, or the fastest, but the littlest who can get the job done!

At a landing strip in the far north, a little bush plane watches quietly as bigger, stronger, faster planes take off for adventure. But when a storm hits and hikers are stranded on the mountain, who will come to the rescue?

Told in rhyming verse with bright illustrations, The Littlest Airplane soars high with heart and excitement.


Sometimes you hear stories about books that seem to happen as if by magic. The author comes up with the perfect idea, they jot it down in a single immaculate draft, send it out to their dream big-four publisher, and POOF! instant bestseller.

If you thought this was going to be that kind of story, I have bad news for you. But it’s about as close to a fantasy book deal as I might ever get.

To put some backstory on this story, my family and I live in Alaska. There are lots of cliché’s out there about Alaskan life. Do we live in igloos? Only when we want to. Do we drive around in dogsleds? Also only when we want to. But one stereotype that rings true is that many of us fly around in our own small planes. Because much of Alaska remains unreachable by road (um, because it’s roadless), getting from one end of the state to the other often requires some form of aviation. My family’s plane of choice is a Cessna 185 (not important except to note that it’s like a mid-sized SUV that can fly). We use it every time we head to our cabin in southwest Alaska or on our many other adventures across the state. Unfortunately, unlike much bigger jets, bush planes aren’t very fast. Many an hour is spent passing through cell service dead zones staring out the window at about four thousand feet in the air. There’s something to be said about boredom, though, and many a book has been dreamed up during these long hours in the air—and now that I think about it, is probably why so many of my books have to do with flying (Dream Flights on Arctic Nights and Pega Sisters Go to Camp, for example).

The seeds for this book started out much the same way—staring out the window of our plane during a two-hour flight as we headed home from a week at our cabin. And suddenly I realized I wasn’t just sitting on an idea for a new book, I was sitting in it: a book about a bush plane. A little airplane—the littlest airplane. Sure, a bush plane might not be big or speedy, but it has the ultimate superpower of being able to land in all the wilderness nooks and crannies other planes can’t.

The concept seemed so simple. Too simple; a mashup of The Little Engine that Could with an aviation theme. By that point, I’d been writing for many years and drummed up dozens of book ideas, with only a small fraction ever landing publishing deals. So the likelihood of no one having thought of writing a book about a bush plane before I did (and getting it published before I did) seemed infinitesimally small. But right at that moment, still sitting in a bush plane at four thousand feet in the air with no cell reception, I couldn’t look it up to find out. I’d just have to wait until I got home.

I did not wait until I got home. The moment my cell phone showed one measly half-bar of reception outside Anchorage airspace, you can bet I was stabbing my finger at the screen to Google “bush plane book,” holding my breath as my screen loaded the results at the speed of a very tired snail. And the results were… nothing. I couldn’t believe it. Sure, there were plenty of plane books out there, and some real gems too (Brianna Caplan-Sayres Where Do Jet Planes Sleep at Night and Deborah Underwood’s Bearplane, to name a couple) but nothing that specifically highlighted the history and talents of bush planes.

Needless to say, I snatched the next spare writing moment like grabbing the last donut in the office breakroom. I’d never pumped out a manuscript so fast. I felt like time was running out to get this idea down and out the door before someone else thought of it, because surely someone was right that second. I passed the manuscript to my critique group, we gave it a few editorial turns, and about a month later it was ready to go out the door. I emailed it directly to my West Margin Press editor at the time, Jen Newens, who was looking for both regional Alaskan material for the tourist market as well as national titles, and I thought something like The Littlest Airplane could fit both.

Then I waited.

And waited.

This is the part of publishing no one seems to talk about. The long, dark pit of despair when you know an agent or editor has your book in their inbox and could be reading it at any moment… you just have no idea which minute that might be.

Then, months (and months) later, I got the email I’d been waiting for. My editor loved the manuscript and made an offer. The Littlest Airplane was going to be a book! Though the text was rhyming, which usually puts an extra kink in the editorial process, this book was my second-easiest editorial process to date with only a few minor text adjustments and the addition of a couple extra stanzas.

In the meantime, the publisher was on the hunt for potential illustrators. I’d made a suggestion not long after the book’s acquisition that I envisioned the illustrations as a cross between Loren Long’s The Little Engine That Could and Little Blue Truck, knowing full well that editors often pay no attention whatsoever to the type of illustrations an author wants. So when my editor emailed me that one of their top illustrator choices was John Joseph, an illustrator for recent titles in the Little Blue Truck series, I might’ve screamed out loud. Actually I did scream out loud. Then I texted my agent in all caps, and then I called my husband and shouted over the phone, “My book is going to be illustrated by the guy who illustrates the Little Blue Truck series!” I think my husband might’ve said, “Uhhh… who?” But I’d already hung up on him to call the next person.

As you can imagine, the illustrations turned out more perfect than I could’ve dreamed. John truly brought the little bush plane and his airplane companions roaring to life. My editor even extended the invitation for me to work directly with John knowing how important it was to get the aviation and Alaska setting details just right. My husband is a commercial pilot and has flown every plane in the book—well, this book, anyway—so eventually I ended up stepping aside while John sent sketches that my husband reviewed, who then replied with suggestions. Usually my husband is only moderately enthusiastic about whatever kids’ project I’m working on, but write a book about airplanes and suddenly he’s all ears!

The result was a little book that was everything I ever hoped it could be—a simple story about a bush plane who shows he can be just as important as bigger, faster planes, with adorable characters and a pilot-approved back matter, bush plane diagram, and glossary to boot.

The Littlest Airplane soared onto bookshelves April of last year. Did it hit number one on the Indie bestsellers? Unfortunately no, but I’ve gotten loads of fan emails from parents and grandparents alike for this little airplane book that could, and I couldn’t be happier.

So be bored. Stare out the window. And don’t be afraid to give the little ideas a chance to fly, because sometimes those little ideas can take you on a big adventure.


Brooke Hartman is an Alaskan mom and award-winning author of books for children. She serves as a member of the board of directors for the Alaska Writers Guild, a volunteer for the SCBWI Alaska Chapter, and an occasional instructor of writing for Alaska Pacific University.

She writes silly, serious, and sometimes strange stories for children and young adults. Her writing has garnered national awards, including honors from Writer’s Digest, Pacific Northwest Writers Association, and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Her debut picture book, DREAM FLIGHTS ON ARCTIC NIGHTS, released in 2019 from West Margin Press and received a starred review from Kirkus. Her picture book biography, LOTTE’S MAGICAL PAPER PUPPETS, the Woman Behind the First Animated Feature Film, released in 2020 from Page Street Kids. Her second book, THE LITTLEST AIRPLANE with West Margin Press started 2022, folowed by PEGA SISTERS with Page Street Kids in May.

WATCH OUT FOR THE LION! (Page Street Kids) hit bookstores on February 7th, 2023 (KLYDE THE KRAKEN WANTS A FRIEND on April 25th 2023, Hazy Dell Press), LITTLE NARWHAL LOST (2023, West Margin Press), and ALL ABOARD THE ALASKA TRAIN (2023, West Margin Press).

When Brooke isn’t writing, you can find her flying, fishing, and having fun with her family, enjoying all the magic life has to offer in her home state of Alaska.

Follow her Alaskan writing adventures on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram at @BrookesBooksAK


John Joseph is the illustrator of multiple #1 New York Times Bestselling books. When he is not illustrating books for children (and grown ups), John is teaching Visual Arts at a local elementary school.

John Joseph is the illustrator of multiple #1 New York Times Bestselling books. When he is not illustrating books for children (and grown ups), John is teaching Visual Arts at a local elementary school. Illustrator and teacher, making a difference, one crayon at a time. John lives along the front range of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. He enjoys playing with his two young boys, making music, and trying new foods with his wife. He has worked with many wonderful people from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Harper Collins, Sourcebooks, Highlights and many other publishers.

See more great work on his website or Instagram @john_joseph_art

Represented by Nicole Tugeau

Brooke, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. Kids are sure to love this book, since they will see themselves in the little bush plane smaller than all the other planes that wants to be important, too. He feels inferior because he can’t do what the big planes can. But when a snow storm hits, people get stuck on the mountain and call for help. The larger planes are too big to land to rescue them, but the mighty little bush plane can reach them to save the day and rescue them.

On top of this, I love your use of rhyme to tell the story and how you introduce different types of planes to children. John’s illustrations are so much fun and a perfect fit for your story. He really captured the wilderness of Alaska. Good Luck with the book!

Talk tomorrow,



  1. What an amazing backstory! So fun to read how you dreamed up The Littlest Airplane. I can’t wait to read it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This little plane warms my heart, both the author and the illustrator have returned me to the days when my father flew a single engine plane and rescued me in a whole different way. I cannot wait for this!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love this! Would be great to win a copy. Email subscriber plus tweeted.


  4. Thank you for sharing this book’s flight into publication with us. I’ve visited Alaska three times and the scenery and wildlife always steal my breath. I can’t wait to read about this brave bush plane. I’m an email subscriber and shared on Twitter, tumblr, Pinterest, and Facebook.


  5. What a lovely concept & beautiful looking book! Thanks for sharing your journey with us. Congrats!!


  6. What a fun backstory! Congrats, Brooke! My boys would have LOVED this book when they were young. I shared on Twitter and receive your emails daily, Kathy.


  7. I love how expressive the plane is. Great story!


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