My Moonbeam Book Award Winner!



I’m happy to announce that Intrigue in Istanbul: An Agnes Kelly Mystery Adventure is a 2016 Moonbeam Book Award winner!

Here is Moonbeams press release!

Books to Inspire Children to “Read Early and Read Often”

(Traverse City, MI – Oct. 13, 2016) The results of the 10th Annual Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards contest have been announced, and this year’s medalists make up an outstanding and diverse reading list. The contest was founded on the notion that childhood literacy and lifelong reading are vital to help children thrive in a rapidly changing world — or to borrow an election season cliché: “Read Early and Read Often!”

The Moonbeam Awards recognize the year’s best children’s books and are chosen by judging panels of book reviewers, librarians, teachers, and students. “This year’s winners are more diverse than ever, with inspiring messages that encourage kids to be kind, courageous, and to live healthy lives,” says Awards Director Jim Barnes.

See the complete results listing here:

The medal-winning books came from authors young and old, such as Little Leaf, by Lily Mae, a 4th grader from California, whose Zen-like exploration of an oak tree’s life cycle won the Best Book by Youth Author gold medal. In contrast, the Best Picture Book Series gold medalist features a new approach to old classics — “early-learning guides” to the likes of Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’sand Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea.

This year’s winners are also a very geographically diverse group: medals went to books from 35 U.S. states, six Canadian provinces, and six countries overseas. Each of the 159 medalists possesses a distinctive quality that motivated the judges to award them amongst fierce competition, 1,500 entries in all.

Picture Book bronze medalist Nothando’s Journeyis by teacher and yoga therapist Jill Apperson Manly, and uses vivid, handmade paper collages by Alyssa Casey, who studied with papermaking masters in Spain, Italy, Brazil and New York. Health Issues category silver medalist Lisa Maxbauer Price took photographs at farm markets and garden centers to illustrate Squash Boom Beet: An Alphabet for Healthy, Adventurous Eaters.

Non-Fiction Picture Book category gold medalist, The Invisible You, by the father/daughter team of NFL Hall of Famer Alan Page and his daughter Kamie Page, portrays multicultural children moving into and adjusting to new neighborhoods. A judge exclaimed, “Every student has the potential to achieve — kudos to the Page Education Foundation for helping all kids succeed.”

Kudos to all of this year’s winners for their dedication to children and literature!

Learn more about the Moonbeam Awards at

For more information about the Moonbeam Awards and the winning books, or to interview their creators, contact Awards Director Jim Barnes at 1-800-644-0133 x 1011 or

Odin’s Promise by Sandy Brehl

Odin's PromiseI picked this up at a book sale event I was part of in West Allis Library earlier this year. I had a lovely talk with the author. It was just the kind of book I was looking for – about Norway, since I’m working on the research for book II of my Agnes Kelly series, which takes place in Norway! Serendipity helping again 🙂

Stats: 237 pages, published in 2014

Blurb: ODIN’S PROMISE is a historical novel for middle-grade readers, a story of the first year of German occupation of Norway in World War II as seen through the eyes of a young girl. Eleven-year-old Mari grew up tucked under the wings of her parents, grandma, and older siblings. After Hitler’s troops invade Norway in Spring 1940, she is forced to grow beyond her “little girl” nickname to deal with harsh new realities. At her side for support and protection is Odin, her faithful elkhound. As the year progresses, Mari, her family, and her neighbors are drawn into the activities of the Norwegian underground resistance. Readers will cheer for Mari as she develops her inner strength – and the courage to help celebrate Norway’s spirit of resistance.” – Kathleen Ernst, author of American Girl’s Caroline Abbott series. “Beautifully written, emotionally taut novel of one girl’s coming of age during war time.” – Gayle Rosengren, What the Moon Said. Sandy Brehl is a teacher and member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. She lives in Muskego, Wisconsin, near Milwaukee.

What I liked: The story does a nice job making the reader feel how it was for the Norwegians in 1940 and shares the history without being boring, which is good since it’s written for a middle grade audience. Having a dog as part of the story also makes it more interesting and real for that age group. Helpful to me (and perhaps teachers too) was a bibliography.

What I didn’t like: I can’t really think of anything I didn’t like 🙂 It’s a nice story for a middle grade reader.

Rating: 4/5