Debut Review Challenge with Deb Gonzales

Welcome to the Debut Review Challenge, Deb! I can’t wait to hear about Girls with Guts: The Road to Breaking Barriers and Bashing Records.


Number of years writing:


Number of years from contract to published book:


Date your book was released:

May 14, 2019

Number of pages:


Number of launch events:


Number of days per week that writing takes a backseat to marketing & publicity:


Number of critique partners:


Number of books you hope to publish over the next ten years:


Number of times you’ve pinched yourself that you really have a book out: 


Current number of reviews:

On Amazon: 8; On Goodreads: 16

A Few Questions

  • Why do you write for children?

I admire the curiosity of a child. I love how the world is fresh in their eyes, how they’re making sense of this crazy world we’ve created for them. I’m blessed to live in a neighborhood where kids are fairly free to roam about, a place where kids can ride their bikes a few blocks from their homes unsupervised. Lucky for me, I am privileged to live in a place where kids stop by to share books with me. It’s great fun to discuss the books together. To answer your question in a nutshell, I write for kids because I really enjoy their company. They’re great people.     

  • Who/what are your greatest inspirations?

My greatest inspiration of my life is my mother. She wasn’t the handholding, coddling type of mom, let me tell you. Along with being an incredible support for my writing, she always encouraged me to be self-reliant and independent. While she wasn’t a big reader, my mother was brilliant. She was beautiful, brave, and self-assured. I miss her terribly.  

  • When you need to take a creative break, do you have another activity or hobby that recharges you?

Walking my dog, Missy, gives me so much pleasure. She and I make a three to four mile trek every day. Missy’s always ready to hit the road, any time of day or night. I love that about dogs, don’t you? How they’re always ready to love. No matter what has been happening, they’re on point and eager to be the perfect companion. 

Time to Play: STORY SMASH!

Think about all the stories you’ve written that have hit a dead end or are hidden away in a drawer somewhere. For each of the items below, lift an element from a different story to create a weird, unexpected mash-up. Who knows? It may even inspire a new manuscript!

Character(s): Allie

Setting: A space ship lands in a kid’s backyard in the middle of the night

Theme: Friendship

Problem: Allie is a hitter, the best one on her baseball team. Few games go by when she hasn’t scored at least one home run for her team. Her favorite uncle gifted her a baseball that he used as a boy. During a little pitch and play session in her backyard, Allie powdered the ball high over the trees. The cherished ball was never to be found again. Allie was devastated. 

Pitch: Allie wants her baseball back, but she hit it so hard and high in the sky, it would be impossible to find it. Hope was restored when an alien from outer space dropped by to return it. 

I’d love to read that! So imaginative.

It’s time to write some reviews! Leave an honest review on Amazon, Goodreads, or other online site. For every five reviews you write for debut Kidlit creators, you can fill out this ENTRY FORM for a chance to win prizes. Deb has generously donated a signed book and a free 15-minute Skype visit. Thank you, Deb!

TIPS: Support debut authors by suggesting their book titles to your local library! Purchase them as gifts for children in your life, a teacher, or a local school. Share book titles or reviews on social media and tag the author/illustrator!

For BONUS ENTRIES, complete this Rafflecopter giveaway!

#DebutReviewChallenge #ReadReviewRepeat

Read More About Deb and Her Book

BIO: Debbie Gonzales is a career educator, curriculum consultant, former school administrator and adjunct professor, a podcaster (The Debcast), and past SCBWI RA for the Austin Chapter. Deb currently devotes her time to writing middle grade novels, crafting teacher guides and various other freelance projects. She’s the author of six transitional readers for New Zealand publisher, Giltedge, and the non-fiction picture book Girls with Guts: The Road to Breaking Barriers and Bashing Records (Charlesbridge, 2019). Deb serves as a member of the Michigan Reading Association board and earned her MFA in writing for children and young adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Learn more about Deb and her many projects by accessing her websites at and


Author/Illustrator: Debbie Gonzales and Rebecca Gibbon

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Year: 2019

Synopsis: No chasing! No stretching or straining! And never, ever sweat. These were the rules girls were forced to play by until Title IX passed in 1972. And it was a game-changer.

A celebration of the strength, endurance, and athleticism of women and girls throughout the ages, Girls With Guts! keeps score with examples of women athletes from the late 1800s up through the 1970s, sharing how women refused to take no for an answer, and how finally, they pushed for a law to protect their right to play, compete, and be athletes.

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