Debut Review Challenge with Nanette Heffernan

It is my pleasure to feature Nanette Heffernan, whose debut picture book EARTH HOUR releases tomorrow! Welcome, Nanette!

For a BONUS ENTRY, please leave a comment on this blog post! (This will apply if you also complete at least one official ENTRY FORM.


Number of years writing:


Number of years from contract to published book:


Date your book was released:

January 21, 2020

Number of pages:


Number of launch events:

Five events plus one big-ish party!

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:

As many as there are children who are touched by them.

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

Zero. I didn’t have time. I got the contract and started promoting EARTH HOUR.

A Few Questions

  • Without giving anything away, tell us about your work-in-progress. What do you love about it so far? Where are you stuck?

I’m working on a magical realism MG. I absolutely love the “world,” it’s so much fun to live in, but sometimes I forget the rules of this world. I rely on my critique partners to keep me in line.

  • What does your work space look like? Tell us about a typical work session. 

I write a lot on the trail. I love being out in nature where I can walk and chatter with my characters, and nobody can hear me; except for my characters, of course, who respond with verve. I will literally head out for hours with pen and paper and come back with rough drafts of entire scenes. Oh, and blue ink, not black. 

  • What part of the publication process did you dislike?

Being on submission. Books are art, which means they’re subjective. Authors need tough skin to be in the publishing business. 

Time to Play: STORY SMASH!

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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: Spider

Setting: Garden

Theme: Acceptance

Problem: Traditional roles

Pitch: After a spider befriends a group of ladybugs by helping them ready the garden for spring, will she be able to fulfill her destiny in the ecosystem?

That’s quite a conflict! I’d love to see how Spider solves that problem!

Okay, Challenge Participants! 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 between January 1-February 29, 2020, you can fill out this ENTRY FORM for a chance to win prizes. Nanette has generously donated a signed book, 15-minute classroom Skype visit, and a manuscript critique. Thank you, Nanette!


  • 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.

About Nanette and her Book

Bio: Nanette Heffernan is a children’s book author, sustainability consultant, and author marketing coach. Her lifelong goal is to make Earth a better home for children whether by making them laugh or addressing environmental issues that affect their generation. Nanette is the picture book author of EARTH HOUR – a lights-out event for our planet.

Book Title: EARTH HOUR – a lights-out event for our planet

Author/Illustrator: Nanette Heffernan / Bao Luu

Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing

Year: 2020

Synopsis: Earth Hour is a worldwide movement in support of energy conservation and sustainability. The annual event is sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) on a Saturday night near the equinox in March. During Earth Hour, individuals, communities, businesses, and monuments in more than 7,000 cities turn off nonessential electric lights for one hour as a pledge to support our planet all year long. Across each continent—from the Eiffel Tower to the Great Wall of China to the Statue of Liberty—one small act reminds all of us of our enormous impact on Earth. The book is an around-the-world exploration, highlighting the many uses of energy in our daily lives from lights to cooking to bubble baths. A STEM filled back-matter section discusses the long-term impact of energy use, opportunities for conservation, and sources of renewable energy.

#DebutReviewChallenge #ReadReviewRepeat

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