Member News — June 2020

Member News is a monthly feature on the EasternPennPoints blog. We want to celebrate our members’ good news and help spread the word far and wide. Send us your children’s book–related news—book deals, releases, awards, author or illustrator events (signings, launch parties, appearances), etc. If you’d like your news to be included in next month’s column, please e-mail Laura Parnum at before July 20.

Here’s some exciting news from members in our region this month:


My Heart Sings a Sad Song cover

All of us experience loss and grief. Children are no exception and often lack the life skills needed to process their grief in a healthy way. When someone they love has died they need the space to express their grief and the love of family and friends to care for them! Author-illustrator Gary Alan Shockley’s newest self-published picture book, My Heart Sings a Sad Song, proved itself a much-needed resource when it sold over 500 copies several weeks after release. The main character of the book is a young bunny named JoJo who grieves the death of someone he loves. The other characters of the story walk with JoJo as he expresses his feelings and honest questions leading to the hope and promise that “Someday my heart will sing a new song. A happy song. It is true. A song of remembrance. A song full of love. A song that will celebrate YOU.” The book contains a helpful guide for adults working with children and several activity pages for drawing and writing letters. My Heart Sings a Sad Song is available for purchase at the author’s website, and at all major booksellers. A percentage of each book purchased at Gary’s website is donated to Chameleon’s Journey in South Carolina, which is an annual camp for grieving children and youth.


Pearl Goes to Preschool

Author-illustrator Julie Fortenberry’s new book, Pearl Goes to Preschool (Candlewick, July 2020), will be released on July 21. Pearl loves attending dance classes at her mother’s ballet school. Even though Pearl is the youngest and smallest ballerina, she knows how to count her poses and follow along. When her mom suggests that Pearl try going to preschool, Pearl has a lot of questions: What will she learn? Will there be dancing? A sweet and reassuring story about trying something new that’s perfect for young children with separation anxiety—or who just love to dance! In addition, Julie will be reading on Indie Bookstore Day, Saturday, August 29, at 11:30 a.m.

Main Point Books
116 North Wayne Ave.
Wayne, PA 19087

More information about the event can be found here: And please check out Candlewick for a video ballet lesson!


Body Positivity Book Cover

Author MariaLisa Itzoe has written a research-based children’s book, Tiny or Tall, Mighty or Small—Music for All! (illustrated by Julia Burns), to promote body positivity. The story uses musical instruments to represent different body types. There is also an interactive component to further engage children by allowing them to click instruments to hear sound. MariaLisa is a fourth-year dual degree Medical student/Master of Public Health student, and the book was her capstone project for the MPH portion of her degree at Jefferson University in Philadelphia. Currently, the book is available to be downloaded as a PDF for free at this link: (Please note, in order to be able to play the sound component, readers will need to download the file in Adobe Acrobat Reader, which can be downloaded for free.) In addition, Thomas Jefferson University public relations created a YouTube video recording of MariaLisa reading the book, paired with images of the pages turning. The video can be found here:

If you have good news to share, please send it to to be included in next month’s Member News column.

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