Posted by: Kathy Temean | May 23, 2023

Book Giveaway: TANGLE-KNOT by Loretta Ellsworth

Author Loretta Ellsworth debut picture book, TANGLE-KNOT, illustrated by Annabel Tempest, and published by Page Street Kids is hitting book shelves  on June 6th. PSK’s 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 Loretta and Annabel.


Tangle-knot is not a word, but it is Fia’s hair.

And Fia thinks it’s perfect, which is why she refuses to brush it, even though her mom always complains it’s a mess. In fact, it’s more than a mess―it’s a nest for a mother bird and her three colorful eggs!

Fia takes excellent care of her birds and shows off her tangle-knot everywhere she goes, attracting lots of attention. As the spectacle grows, so does Mom’s disapproval. But Fia’s commitment to being herself just might be powerful enough to change her mother’s mind.

This whimsical story shines with lighthearted relatability, reminding us that even when our parents just don’t get it, they always want us to be happy.


The journey of my first picture book was inspired by my ten grandchildren and written during Covid, when I could only visit my grandkids via FaceTime or by phone. I read them picture books via FaceTime during Covid, and decided that I really wanted to write a story for them, too.

I already had four YA novels published (The Shrouding Woman, In Search of Mockingbird, In a Heartbeat, and Unforgettable) as well as an adult historical novel (Stars Over Clear Lake).  I have always loved picture books, and took a semester-long course on writing them, but hadn’t been successful in selling one.  Until I wrote Tangle-Knot.

I’ve never been good at styling my kids’ hair, or my grandkids, and they all have gone (or are currently going through) the stage where they don’t like their hair brushed. Haven’t we all at some point in our lives?

Fia’s story was inspired by that idea, and it started out as a whimsical over-the-top kind of book, like Imogene’s Antlers, which I love.  It was meant to be fun and funny, and to entertain my grandkids.  But it evolved as I revised it, and it became more of an acceptance-kind-of-story, of having the commitment to be ourselves, no matter how outlandish we might be.  And it’s also a mother-daughter story, of encouraging and supporting our children, even if they have a nest in their hair!

My illustrator Annabel Tempest knew just how to create this independent and spirited girl, and my editor at Page Street Kids was Kayla Tostevin, who helped me find the balance between whimsy and relatable, and urged me to find a way to add more nuance to the mother-daughter relationship as well as more emotion to the story.

By the way, my agent Mary Cummings at Great River Literary, loved the story and sent it out to numerous editors who all turned it down.  We were left with one editor, so I didn’t have a lot of hope for it.  But she turned out to be the right one.  Hang in there when you get a lot of rejections, because it only takes one ‘yes’!

I’ll be appearing at independent bookstores and libraries beginning in June to read and promote Tangle-Knot, along with a nest-making activity, and I’ll be at ALA in Chicago on June 25.  I know that Annabel Tempest, who lives in England, will be promoting the book there as well.

I’m working on other picture book ideas, and I have a new adult historical novel that will be coming out in a year or two.  Although working in many different genres and writing for different age groups can be challenging, it’s never boring, and I love that I’m able to do this work and that I get to interact with so many different people.


Loretta Ellsworth is a author and former Spanish teacher. She earned a master’s degree in Writing for Children from Hamline University. She’s has published four young adult novels: THE SHROUDING WOMAN, a Rebecca Caudill nominee; IN SEARCH OF MOCKINGBIRD, which won the Midwest Bookseller’s Choice Honor Award, was a Teen’s Top Ten finalist, an IRA Notable, and was named to the New York Library’s List of Books for the Teen Age; IN A HEARTBEAT, which was named a spring Midwest Connection’s Pick and an ALA Notable; and UNFORGETTABLE, which was a Kirkus Pick of the Month. Her debut adult novel STARS OVER CLEAR LAKE, was published by St. Martin’s Press in 2017. Her next adult novel, The French Winemaker’s Daughter will coming out this year. Her debut picture book, Tangle-Knot, will be published by Page Street Kids on June 6th 2023.

Her books have been awarded many accolades, including Teen’s Top Ten Finalist, ALA and IRA Notables, New York Library List of Books for the Teen Age, Midwest Bookseller’s Choice Honor Award, Midwest Connection’s Pick, BBCB Choice, NEMBA (North Eastern Minnesota Book Award) finalist, Rebecca Caudill Nominee, and Charlotte Award Nominee.

Loretta lives with her husband and children in Lakeville, Minnesota. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s usually playing tennis.

Visit her website at: and follow her on twitter @lellsworth.


Annabel Tempest, an illustrator living in deepest Somerset in England. I’m bursting with ideas and love colour, pattern, characters and a bit of sparkle. I get really excited about working on new projects and nothing makes me happier than drawing, cutting and sticking!

I did a fashion/textiles degree in Bristol back in the 90s and have since worked as a freelance illustrator. Illustrating everything from Children’s books and greetings cards to maps and packaging so I have lots of experience of working to both brief and deadline.

When I’m not illustrating I take my inspiration from my house full of boys, big, small and canine which is lots of noisy, muddy fun! Having thought I didn’t collect things it turns out I collect everything! Like a magpie I find anything shiny almost irresistable. I don’t like second class stamps or brushing my hair, but I love a list and a second hand book shop.

Loretta, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. You are so lucky to have seven granddaughters. What a great writing inspiration. This book is jam packed with smiles. I love this book. It’s so heartwarming and cute. Many kids have wild hair that gets knotted and doesn’t want to have it brushed. I remember saying, “If you don’t let me brush your hair birds will nest in it.” I laughed that you took that idea and have written a book where a bird really nests in Fia’s hair… and she loves it. I laughed out loud when Fia gets off the school bus outside her house and the media is waiting. Fia twirls around and shows off her Tangle-Knot to the Press.

Kudos to Mom. She is pretty patient putting up with a bird living in her daughter’s hair, especially when the bird lays eggs and they hatch. Love that it’s Fia that decides she needs to cut her hair after the baby birds leave the nest. And the ending of her looking out the window and watching her birds building a nest in the tree outside, so she can watch them grow was great! 

I also, love Annabel’s illustrations. She did a wonderful job depicting Fia’s chaotic hair and Mom trying to deal with the situation. The addition of the little cat watching all this happen throughout the book is adorable. I can see how besides making the readers laugh, this book could help parents be more patient and children to understand the need to brush their hair. Good luck with the book!

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Love the story and the resolution. Can be enjoyed by kids and parents.


  2. Such a fun book.

    I subscribe.


  3. Mom really is patient here. I think this sounds like a fun book with the heart I’ve been seeking for my own manuscript. I’m an email subscriber and shared on Twitter, tumblr, Pinterest, and Facebook.


  4. This looks fantastic! Fun to read the backstory. Congratulations.


  5. 7 granddaughters! How lucky. Those illustrations are spectacular. Thanks for a fun post. I subscribe to your blog.


  6. Love this story and its illustrations! I have a son who’s hair resembles Fia’s, LOL, and he’s a lot older than she is.


  7. What a wonderful book–definitely a fun and funny story with fantastic illustrations!


  8. What a fun picture book! I’d love to read this to a child.


  9. This brings back soooooo many memories! What a wonderful book idea and it looks like you’ve done a fabulous job with the execution of it!


  10. I bet some of this book’s fans will dress up like Fia for Halloween!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: