On this Mother’s Day weekend, we wanted to take a moment to express our deepest love and appreciation to all the moms and important women in our family and in yours. You are the family heroes, sounding boards, shoulders to cry on and pillars of strength. You give selflessly and unconditionally, and we are all better because of your influence in our lives. For families, like Scoochie’s, we are also deeply grateful for birth moms who provide the gift of family for others. And for those who are no longer with us, they are certainly not forgotten - their impact and legacy remain a dominant force that is visible in large and small ways every day.
For those with small children, remember that the Scoochie & Skiddles website provides a Coloring Pages section. These coloring pages are FREE to download and may be the perfect activity to distract your littles just long enough for a few moments of quiet solitude. 😊❤
Whatever you weekend holds in store, we hope you are uplifted in knowing that you are deeply loved.
I am pleased to share I have officially launched the "Friends' Favorites" page of our website. This page is dedicated to showcasing the wonderful work of various children's authors. The goal of the page is to create a community of authors who collectively promote the page to bring greater exposure to all our work. I had one author express deep gratitude for this effort, sharing, "My challenge is marketing! Writing is easy compared to that." With a collective effort and maybe a little bit of luck, we'll all get some extra eyes on our work that we are so very proud of. It's an honor to be part of this creative and dedicated community.
Given that April is Autism Awareness month, I wanted to bring special attention to Kayla Monville. She is the author of Rock with Me, Autism Inspired I Love You Book. As a mother of two children with autism, this book is deeply personal to her. I get that feeling - Scoochie's Adoption Story has that same deep personal connection for me. According to Kayla, "Rock with Me, Autism Inspired I Love You Book is the first board book that embraces Autism, promotes acceptance and understanding, as well as can be used as an educational tool to explain Autism characteristic to young children." If you have someone in your life who has been touched by Autism, please consider checking out her book.
As you know, Scoochie's Adoption Story has recently earned the Readers' Favorite Five Stars recognition and has been additionally entered into the Readers' Favorite larger book competition. It was an honor to receive the Five Stars recognition and it is equally humbling to be in the competition along with so many talented authors. While I never set out to win awards, I will admit that the prospect of having one's book competing is exhilarating.
This weekend, I took inventory of all the award competitions and book lists to which Scoochie's Adoption Story has been submitted. The list is substantial for a book that has only been published for two months. With the exception of the Firebird Book Awards, the results of most of these competitions won't be known until the end 2022 or even into 2023.
I am excited to have Scoochie's Adoption Story be part of the Firebird Book Awards because of this award organization's support of the non-profit organization Enchanted Makeovers. Since 2007, Enchanted Makeovers has been creating environments and educational programs within shelters for women and children that are supportive of creativity, self-expression and worth. Through unique projects and programs, a place is created that is inspirational and empowering for the most vulnerable members of our society while re-building their lives. Knowing that participation in the Firebird Book Awards is also helping to support this worthy cause makes it feels as if I've already won! The Firebird Book Awards are run quarterly, so the official competition results for the first quarter of 2022 competition are expected by mid-April.
I'll be sure to announce and share any positive competition results. Please check back often and, until then, here's to wishful thinking. :)
So, we spent time researching what others do, but more importantly, we spent time exploring what felt right for us and our family. We knew we wanted to always remember March 22 as the day our family was legalized by the courts - we wanted to celebrate the anniversary of that momentous occasion. At that point, it was just a matter of word play and Adoptiversary just organically emerged. Of course, the internet revealed that we weren't brilliant - this had long be thought of by others, but we didn't need to be original. What we needed was something that fit our family and Adoptiversary did just that - it fit.
Of course, as happy of a day as this is for us and other adoptive families, we can never forget that to get here, it takes the sacrifice, courage, and selflessness of a birth family. We can never know the depth of loss felt by a birth family and, in particular, a birth mom who brought a life into the world and then made a decision to entrust another family to love and provide for that life in a way that she, for whatever reason, felt unable to do. I hope that Scoochie's Adoption Story honors the bond that will always be shared between birth parents and adoptive parents. We are forever grateful for the birth moms that brought us our two girls and we love our girls' birth moms as an extension of our own family. Afterall, our ability to have an Adoptiversary celebration is first because of them!
Today marks the beginning of Scoochie's Adoption Story's one-week promotional run (ending March 18) on Reedsy Discovery. Reedsy is a UK-based organization with a global reach that helps put new book releases in front of thousands of readers and reviewers. In January 2022, Fun at Gramma's earned #1 top voted ranking on Reedsy with over 100 upvotes during the week it ran. I'm hoping that Scoochie's Adoption Story can have the same level of success. You can help by taking 30 seconds to give Scoochie's Adoption Story an "upvote" on our Reedsy page.
At the same time, we had a wonderful review published by book blogger, Gina Rae Mitchell. Her review also included an author interview that was pretty fun to do. Gina has been an amazing supporter of the Scoochie & Skiddles series and her reviews warm our hearts. You can check out her review and the author interview by clicking here.
Through the donation of both our books, we are also proudly supporting a new program at West Branch Elementary in Morrisdale, PA. This new program, called Page Turning Warriors, is designed to get elementary aged children excited about reading. Ashley White, an educator at the school and innovator of this program, has created an opportunity for the children to provide reviews of all donated books and then the school will feature the books and reviews in their lending library. It is a privilege to support such important causes. Go Page Turning Warriors!!!
We also have some upcoming features that will be published by Gay Parent Magazine and All About Love Adoptions, both of whom conducted recent interviews of author, Tom Tracy. Of course, we'll be sure to share those as they are available.
Lastly, we are very proud to have earned a Readers' Favorite 5-Star Award for Scoochie's Adoption Story. Readers' Favorite is a well-known, reputable book reviewing service and book competition. Many celebrity authors have been recognized through Readers' Favorite. Scoochie's Adoption Story has been entered into their annual competition, but we won't know the outcome of that submission until much later in 2022. Needless to say, we are excited to have just received a 5-star review and to be competitor.
It's been a busy and exciting couple of weeks. We'll make sure to keep you updated. As always, thank you for your support. It means the world.
We have a mid-March Reedsy Discovery promotion planned for Scoochie’s Adoption Story and we’ll be asking for your help in “upvoting”, so please stay tuned for an update about that. Until then, happy reading!
When you write a book, you gets a lot of opportunities for feedback. Some come in the traditional form of reader reviews left on sites such as Amazon whereas others, such as book reviewers, are by invitation. Regardless of how a review comes to you, it is a precious gift. Whether good or "bad", reviews provide insight to how others are receiving your work. As a children's author, when I have the privilege to actually hear what children think of my books, it is incredibly special. Today, I am sharing some feedback related to Scoochie's Adoption Story.
I am so happy to have found Bentley's Book Club. As if the Bentley book series wasn't already doing enough good promoting kindness, diversity and acceptance, the author also runs an amazing program called Elite Books 4 Kids. This is a six person panel of children ranging in age from 5-8 who provide reviews for children's books. Both my books have had the honor to be reviewed and the kids comments melt my heart and inspire me to keep writing.
Amazon has had some equally impactful reviews as well. Damian, who is an adoptive parent, shared that his daughter now wants to bring Scoochie's Adoption Story to school to help explain her adoption to her class. And Nicholas, who is also an adoptive parent of a four year old daughter, shared that Scoochie's Adoption Story is perfect book to engage his own daughter in a conversation about her adoption.
There is no greater reward than hearing these beautiful reactions, comments and stories about a book I have written. It is the most uplifting experience to hear that my book can have such an impact. Thank you all for your support and keep those stories coming ... they mean the world. 💕❤️🥰 Email me your story here.
Writing Scoochie's Adoption Story was a deeply meaningful experience for me. First, I wanted to tell our family's story in a way that normalized adoption as one way in which a family can be formed. Our oldest daughter, who is the inspiration behind the main character Scoochie, has always known about her adoption. We are proud of it and want her to have that same sense of pride. Because our two daughters' adoptions are open adoptions, we also have a relationship with their birth families. Collectively, we are all our daughters' family.
Because we are two dads who have adopted daughters of different races, our family doesn't look like what most families in children's literature look like. As I thought about the book, I knew that I also wanted it bring greater diversity into children's literature. For families like mine, we desperately search for that representation. So, as I began to construct the varying components and the associated imagery that would help advance the story, I paid particular attention to the characters that would appear throughout the pages. This was a painstaking process, at times. Just ask my illustrator. He'll tell you that I kept pushing for more families, more diversity, more representation. The more that children (and adults, for that matter) can see themselves and families like theirs reflected back to them in media, in print, in the arts, etc. the stronger our messages are that they and their families are valued and are important.
So, when Scoochie's Adoption Story achieved #27 ranking on Amazon in the "Children's Books on LGBTQ+ Families" category and #36 ranking in the "Children's Multiculturism & Tolerance" section just 5 days after its release, I was nearly brought to tears. With little to no promotion or marketing, the book started climbing the ranks on its own. People are searching every single day for representation and this book, in its small way, is helping to meet that need. Scoochie's Adoption Story is as much a story about our family as it is about uplifting diverse families everywhere!
To our daughters - you and your family are worthy of being seen and people want to know your story. Keep telling it!
To adoptive families - your family story is an amazing love story. Please share it (hint, email us your story)
To diverse families everywhere - your family is valued and important and you deserve to be represented. Keep fighting to be seen.
To my amazing readers - your purchase supports the continued story telling about and representation of diverse families. Thank you and keep buying ;)
With 100 votes from friends, family and fans of Scoochie & Skiddles, Fun at Gramma’s rose to the #1 top voted book on Reedsy Discovery this week! That resulted in being featured in their weekly roundup email, where Scoochie & Skiddles in Fun at Gramma’s was one of just four books their editorial team recommended this week. In their summary, they indicated that Fun at Gramma’s was, “A sweet and encouraging story to read with young children.” I agree. 😊
The #1 ranking also give us the right to claim this status in perpetuity. So, I’ve worked with the Scoochie & Skiddles illustrator to create this badge that will appear on the next book, Scoochie’s Adoption Story.
Your voting and the subsequent exposure the book received also resulted in spikes in the book’s Amazon ranking throughout the week. At one point, we achieved #340 in Children’s Multigenerational category and #83,000 in all books in all categories. Not bad for a little story about two girls having a play date at Gramma’s house.
So, this message is a heartfelt thank you to each of you who showed some love for Scoochie & Skiddles this week and upvoted. Because of you, we have expanded our reach and brought the love these two girls share into the homes of hundreds of new readers. Thank you.
Finally, I couldn’t end without sharing this amazing picture that was sent to me by the parent of one of our readers. When purchasing the book, you are inviting my family into your family and it is sweet moments like this that mean the world to me. Thank you, Julia, for sharing your daughters’ delight of Scoochie & Skiddles with all of us. I invite everyone to send their pictures and stories to email@example.com. Maybe next time, your children will be featured on this blog. 😊