Debut Review Challenge with Elisa Boxer

A new round of the Debut Review Challenge has just begun and I am pleased to have Elisa Boxer on the blog today! In just 9 days, her debut picture book will release from Sleeping Bear Press. Congratulations, Elisa, and welcome!

New this month: a chance to win during every author interview. Click here to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway!


Number of years writing: 

This book? 6 months. Writing in general? 45 years 🙂

Number of years from contract to published book: 


Date your book was released: 

March 15, 2020

Number of pages: 


Number of launch events: 

1, at my local bookstore, but will have more over the course of the year!

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: 0 (book has not yet released); On Goodreads: 12

A Few Questions…

  • Why do you write for children?

I want children to know how much their voices matter. That’s a theme in pretty much everything I’ve written so far. I want children to feel inspired by the unsung heroes in my stories, who dared to speak their truth even when it went against what society expected of them. Heck, I want grown-ups to know how much their voices matter too!

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

My WIP is a middle-grade, historical fiction novel that takes place during a particular time in history that has always called out to my soul. It’s the first time that the characters are presenting themselves to me, rather than me having to dig for information about them. It’s so interesting, I’ll be doing something like cooking, or laundry, and the characters will actually talk to me. Of course, then I have to drop everything and grab my pen and paper or phone to write down what they say before I forget it! This has happened more than once in the checkout line at the grocery store. This is the first novel I’ve written, and where I find myself stuck is in carving out enough longer blocks of time to really focus on it and make progress. With picture books, I’ve written so many that somehow it feels easier to write those in spare moments, making progress little by little, without setting aside bigger chunks of time.

  • What does your work space look like?

It’s a mess. But it’s a controlled mess. Controlled chaos, do they call it? I always avoid those posts where authors show their workspaces because, well, mess. I try to clean it and organize it and it goes right back. But it totally works for me! Plus, there are crystals. And Himalayan salt lamps. So the good energy from those counters the clutter. 

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(s): two penguins

Setting: a dark night, with the North Star prominent

Theme: women breaking barriers, defying stereotypes

Problem: little boy’s friend moves away

Pitch: When two penguins get lost in the woods, they look to the North Star to lead them home… But when they stop to comfort a little boy whose friend has just moved away, everyone learns the true meaning of strong women defying stereotypes. 

This sounds sweet and poignant. You may have another MG novel on your hands!

Okay, Challenge Participants! It’s Time to Write Some Reviews!

Leave an honest review on Amazon, Goodreads, or other online site. Every time you write five reviews for debut Kidlit creators between March 1-April 30, 2020, you can fill out this ENTRY FORM for a chance to win prizes. Elisa has generously donated a signed book, swag, a classroom Skype visit, and a picture book manuscript critique. Thank you, Elisa!


  • 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.

New this month: a chance to win during every author interview. Click here to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway!

About Elisa and her Book

Bio: Elisa Boxer is an Emmy-winning journalist whose work has appeared in publications including The New York TimesFast Company, and Inc. She’s worked for newspapers, magazines, and television stations and is thrilled to bring her reporting and storytelling skills to the world of children’s literature. She is especially drawn to unsung heroes like the ones in her first book, The Voice That Won the Vote: How One Woman’s Words Made History.

Book Title: THE VOICE THAT WON THE VOTE: How One Woman’s Words Made History

Author/Illustrator: Elisa Boxer/Vivien Mildenberger

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Year: 2020 (March 15)

Synopsis: 2020 marks the women’s suffrage centennial. One hundred years ago, after decades of perseverance, women were finally given the right to vote. But it almost didn’t happen. This book tells the little-known story of a mother, her son, and the handwritten note that led to one of the nation’s biggest wins for women’s rights.

1 thought on “Debut Review Challenge with Elisa Boxer”

  1. Congratulations on your debut picture book. And what a very important topic to be writing about :-).

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