Posted by: Kathy Temean | May 18, 2023

Book Giveaway: SINCE THE BABY CAME by Kathleen Bostrom

Kathleen Bostrom has a new picture book titled, SINCE THE BABY CAME, illustrated by Janet Samuel and was published by WaterBrook on May 2nd. Kathleen has agreed to share a book with one lucky winner. All you have to do to get in the running is to 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 the other things you do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Kathleen and Janet.


This charming, playful story-in-verse introduces children to a variety of different poetic forms while walking them through all the twists and turns of welcoming a new baby into the family.

Mama is having a baby.
Everything’s starting to change.
God, can you tell me what happened?
Life is becoming so strange.

Since the Baby Came offers a unique take on a timeless topic. The heartfelt and humorous drama unfolds completely in verse, addressing the full range of emotions a young child experiences when a new baby joins the family—from surprise and confusion to feelings of neglect and jealousy to wholehearted tenderness and affection. The book also introduces young children to the playfulness and fun of various forms of poetry, from senryu to villanelle.

Look out! It’s a diaper volcano!
Forgive me for being abrupt.
There isn’t much time to explain—OH!
That thing is about to erupt!


Every person has a story, as unique as the individual. The same is true for books.

The story behind my new book, Since the Baby Came: A Sibling’s Learning-to-Love Story in 16 Poems began over ten years ago. Because of the topic, I’m telling my book’s story using pregnancy terminology, just for fun.


The book’s conception began with a conversation I had with my best friend, who worked as an editor for an educational publishing house. We were at a children’s book writing conference at the time. As we stood in the line for our box lunches, I asked, “What do you see as the gaps in children’s schoolbooks for early elementary ages?”

“Poetry,” she answered, as she picked up her box.

By that point in my writing career, I’d published many picture books written in rhyme. I knew I could write poetry, but what might make a book stand out in a competitive market? I pondered this question for a month or two, and then an idea struck. Why not write a single using several different styles of poetry?

The seed was planted, and quickly took root.

First Trimester

I had to tell a complete story, with a beginning, middle, and end, and to include an arc with conflict and resolution. Friendship? Starting school? Moving? How about a child responding to the arrival of a new baby? That was it!

I plotted out the sequence of the story through the older sibling’s eyes. First comes the surprise announcement, quickly followed by feelings of excitement which is replaced by uncertainty from all the changes going on. Anticipation of the friendship the child and baby will have turns to disappointment when the reality of life with a helpless infant sets in. The child feels neglected, all eyes on the baby. As the baby begins to respond, and then smile—at the child!—curiosity and wonder reign, and love between the two blossoms.

My intent was to affirm all the emotions a child might have, to affirm that every one of them is valid, normal, and acceptable.

A year passed.

Second Trimester

I immersed myself in learning poem forms. I knew about haiku, limerick, couplet, sonnet. But there were so many more. Villanelle. Triolet. Roundel. Fascinating! So many options! My next challenge was to narrow my choices down to about sixteen forms, to fit the 32-page format of a picture book as well as the pieces of the story I had begun to lay out.

I wrote poems and then rewrote them. And then rewrote them again.

After another year had passed, the manuscript felt ready to make its way into the world.

Third Trimester

My agent began submitting to many publishers.

Many publishers rejected the manuscript.

“Kindergarten and First Graders are too old for a picture book.”

“Kindergarten and First Graders are too young to understand the use of different poem forms.”

“Doesn’t fit our publishing needs at this time.”

“Good idea, but the story doesn’t grab me.”

“Too many books on the market about a new baby.”

Back to the drawing board, or rather the keyboard. Rewrite some more. Keep submitting.

Rejection, rejection, rejection.

The Third Trimester dragged on and on.

And then …

Interest from an editor!

And then …

But … Could I tweak the story in a few places?

I could, I said. But this was easier said than done. Each poem had been carefully crafted to be true to its form. I couldn’t simply change a word here or a stanza there.

I ended up writing a few new poems, which meant I cut a few already in the book (more painful than the knee replacement I’d just had!).

The Acquisitions Editor loved the story, but that wasn’t enough. The manuscript had to be reviewed by all the various levels in the publishing house, each with veto power. Acquisitions Editor to Acquisitions Team to Marketing to Publicity to Publisher. Each level of approval took time.

I became obsessed with checking my email. I’d had other manuscripts accepted by acquisitions only to fall short further along in the process.

And then …

I was having PT for my new knee when the call from my agent came in. Could it possibly be a final acceptance, six years after conception?


Happy dance (on recovering knee)!


Final labor took two more years.

The book needed more editing, fine-tuning. I didn’t mind. I knew my editor and I both wanted the book to be the best it could be. I love the collaborative process.

The layout of the book had to be decided: One page per poem, or a two-page spread?

Illustrators were reviewed, and one chosen: The fabulous Janet Samuel.

I was invited to join the art director and several other key people in brainstorming how the illustrations might unfold. This was a first for me, after fifty published books. I sometimes got a sneak peek at the illustrator’s work, but never had been asked to be part of the process.

The day before the online meeting, our beloved dog, Ellie died. She’d been with us nearly fifteen years, and she owned a large space in my heart. I was devastated. I emailed the team and told them. “I’m looking forward to our meeting, but I’m not sure I’ll be at my best.”

When we “met” face-to-face for the first time the following morning, these amazing, kind, and talented people said, “Tell us about Ellie.”

I choked out a few stories through my tears.

They paused. “How about we try to put Ellie in the book? Could you send us a few photos of her? We’ll send them to Janet and see what she thinks.”

One week later, Janet’s sketches arrived. She’d perfectly captured Ellie’s sweet spirit, her joy, her gentleness.

And Ellie became part of the story, a perfect companion to a young child adjusting to a major upheaval in her world.

A due date was set (May 2, 2023). I began working with Marketing and Publicity to craft a list of influencers and bloggers, people who would promote and share the book.

We brainstormed Parent Resources, and the team crafted an incredible (and free!) packet of resources.

I wrote articles for magazines and blogs and was interviewed for podcasts.

I worked on my website and posted on social media, the most painful part of labor for me. I am not very adept at memes and links and the rest. Even though I know it is important, I hesitate to push my own work too often, but it’s part of the birthing process. Push, push, push …



My box of author copies arrives, and my eyes fill with tears. Even after fifty books, I am as proud a book-parent as I have ever been.

I want to share my new creation with everyone! I want everyone to love my new “baby” as much as I do. It took ten years, but it was worth every minute.

Birthing a child requires a team effort. So does birthing a book. Thanks, team! I couldn’t have done this without each one of you.

Let’s have another one, shall we?


I’ve been an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) since 1983. My husband, Greg, and I live in Carlsbad, California, where I write full-time in an office looking out over a grove of eucalyptus trees.

I’ve won awards for preaching and am often requested to speak for groups at the national level. I’ve published numerous articles in various journals and newspapers and am the author of over three dozen books, most of them for children. Who is Jesus? was a finalist for the 2000 Gold Medallion Award, which is given to the outstanding books in Christian publishing, and What About Heaven? was nominated for the People’s Choice Award. I’m included in a 2003 edition of “Something About the Author” and “Contemporary Authors,” two of the premiere reference sources for information on children’s authors.

My books (over 50) have sold well over two million copies in the 18 years since my first book was published, and my Little Blessings books are printed in 20 languages, including Chinese, Russian, and Indonesian. The Italian translations can be found in the Vatican bookstore in Rome, Italy. I’m a member of the Presbyterian Writers Guild and held office as its president for two terms. I also belong to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the Authors Guild.

It was a great honor to be named the 2013 Distinguished Alumna of Princeton Theological Seminary, in large part for my ministry of books for children. Then in 2014, I was thrilled to be named as the David Steele Distinguished Writer, the most prestigious award given by the Presbyterian Writers Guild.

I earned a master of arts in Christian education and a master of divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey, and a doctor of ministry in preaching degree from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. Greg and I have three grown children: Christopher, Amy, and David, all three of whom live in Los Angeles pursuing careers in the film business. I enjoy reading, swimming, watching Rafael Nadal play tennis, and snuggling with my little empty-nest dog, Ellie.


Janet is an illustrator living in a small town in the south of Wales with her daughter Alice and scruffy terrier, Tilly.

In the last twelve years she has been fortunate to illustrate books for Macmillan, Usbourne, Little Tiger Press, Scholastic and Lion Hudson amongst a few. She is at her happiest with a pencil or paint brush in hand.

Kathleen, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. You have hit the sweet spot of adding a new baby to your home with SINCE THE BABY CAME. That is the reason this book is so cute and funny. It really is amazing how much a new baby changes a house and this book really captures the essence of the excitement and preparing the first born for the new addition. I love the way the story shows how a small child can feel a little threaten. He can’t play. He can’t talk. He has stinky diapers. No wonder she thinks, “When will this baby go away.”

Janet’s illustrations perfectly show the chaos a baby can create and Kathleen your poems add a nice rhythm to the book.  Great for parents to read to their child before the baby arrives to start a conversation. Good luck!

Talk tomorrow,



  1. I love everything about this book! I also learned several new things. The writing is beautiful, (poetry is my love language) the illustrations are inviting. Love this book!


  2. This book sounds wonderful and unique. I can’t wait to read it


  3. The text is so lyrical and the topic is excellent. I enjoyed the interview and how it was arranged into a “pregnancy” and birth of a book. Clever! I’m an email subscriber and shared on Facebook, Pinterest, tumblr, and Twitter.


  4. Thanks so much for this wonderful blog, Kathy! I appreciate your putting it together (especially since I was late getting the story to you!) and will share on social media.

    I’m wondering who the woman with the gray hair is under Janet Samuel’s bio? I know I didn’t have a photo to send to you but I looked her up on her agency site ( and that photo is very different! Maybe it’s an old one?

    I am grateful for your support, and for all the wonderful blogs you write and post. Kathy


  5. Fun journey. Cute story.

    I subscribe.


  6. What an adorable book. The illustrations are so cute. Thanks for telling me about it. I subscribe to your blog by email.


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