Anne Ylvisaker

The Next Big Thing: A Global Blog Tour


The Next Big Thing: A Global Blog Tour has finally arrived here.  Thank you Anna Levine and Anne Ylvisaker for tagging me.


Now it’s my turn to share my book and tag others.


1) What is the title of your book?

 Room for the Baby

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

That’s a great question.

I have always loved making things. Through the years, I have made pot holders, lanyards, crepe paper flowers, and hand looms. Once I even made an angel from an old paperback book. The craft that stuck was knitting. But that's another story.

The idea for Room for the Baby comes from a lifetime of making and remaking. The mother in the book is like many crafters I know, saving the bits and pieces of what others give them.


3) What genre does your book fall under?

Room for the Baby is a picture book.


4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Don’t you think Julia Roberts would be great as the mother. Plus she’s a knitter.  How about George Clooney for the dad? I do like handsome fathers. Any ideas for the narrator? I'm stumped.


5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

“A little boy frets that the sewing room where his baby sister or brother will sleep will never be emptied of things his mother has collected from neighbors for years, but she uses those things to sew and knit everything from diapers to Hanukkah gifts.”

Aren’t editors brilliant at condensing a picture book story into one sentence?


6) Who is publishing your book?

 Random House


7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Would you believe I wrote the first draft of Room For the Baby more than 25 years ago? It took me maybe a week to write it and a quarter of a century to revise it. Back then it was called Yetta the Scrap Saver.




8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Sims Tabac's telling of the classic tale of repurposing a coat -- Joseph had a Little Overcoat. 


9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The original inspiration for this story came from many places: the Coney Island neighborhood where my grandmother Yetta Skale lived, my childhood memories of celebrating the Jewish holidays, and my love of making and remaking.


10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?

Jana Christy's illustrations. I hope readers will visit her website  and check out her latest work.


Thank you for stopping by.

Let Next Big Thing Blog Tour continue!

Tagging ...

Jeannie Brett

Wild About Bearswritten and illustrated by Jeannie Brett

Take a bear-by-bear journey to learn about the world’s eight bear species in this nonfiction picture book.



Dori Butler


The Buddy Files #6: Case of the school Ghost (which comes out in paperback next month).

When therapy dog, Buddy, attends the fourth grade sleep over in the school's library, he solves the mystery of the school ghost.



Lela Nargi

The Honeybee Man illustrated by Kyrsten Brooker.

A story inspired by a real Brooklyn apiarist and his delicious honey. 



Liza Woodruff



If It's Snowy and You Know Clap Your Hands written by Kim Norm.

A fun filled romp through winter -- to the tune of If You're Happy and You know It. Sterling, Fall 2013



Anne Ylvisaker


Button Down 

Ned, of the comically unlucky Button family, hasn't caught a thing in his life until he faces bully Burton Ward in a challenge to catch their town hero's football.


Fall Excitement


The Hawkeye Healing Shawl , my new essay for Lion Brand, marks a beginning. Now I understand a little more about the black and gold, the Hawkeye team colors. Last week, I discussed this with my neighbor and friend Ed ( Ed’s Hat). He told me how he became a Hawkeye fan. And then, he invited me to be his guest at a game in the fall. I'm looking forward to that. I hope I can bring my knitting.

I am also waiting with eagerness and excitement for this fall to read my pal, Anne Ylvisaker’s newest book, Button Down. The second of three books about Iowa's Button family.  Button Down, will be out just in time for football fever. Button Down follows Ned Button, a character inspired by Grant Wood's Plaid Sweater (above), in his quest to see the 1929 Hawkeyes play the opening game in their new football stadium.

Stay tuned. There will be more about news about Button Down. And even a contest.  You’ll have a chance to win a autographed copy. In the meantime, check out the book that started the Button series, Luck of The Buttons.

Happy reading.




A few weeks ago my friend, middle-grade novelist Anne Ylvisaker, posed a question on her blog--Why Iowa? She invited me and other Iowans to answer.

This week traveling on country roads to Northwestern Iowa with my pal,  puppeteer Monica Leo, I found even more to hearten me. Like in Charles City, Iowa, where their mighty library houses an enviable gallery of spectacular prints including Hiroshige, Durer, Chagall, Rembrandt, Whistler, Picasso, Pissaro as well as printmaking giants, Piranesi and Meryon.

More, too, in that the heartbeat of even the smallest Iowa towns, is their library. And in library meeting rooms in Charles City, Hartley and Sac City, I watched in wonder as Monica performed her In the Mirror: Three Tales from Asia  to terrific and attentive audiences.


If you happen to be in the neighborhood of  West Bend, Iowa, you must visit The Grotto of the Redemption-- a testament to faith, perseverance and geology.

And if you are hungry and want pie for breakfast, or eggs and has browns with toasts and coffee, stop in Early--made famous by this Greg Brown song.

I am thinking about starting a newsletter with stories, pictures, pattern and recipe links. If you'd like to be on my mailing list, send me an email from the contact page.

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You can read my latest Lion Brand Essay--A Knitter's Ode to the Sweatshirt by clicking on the image at the top of the blog or clicking here.