Debut Review Challenge with Janet Sumner Johnson

It is my great pleasure to welcome Janet Sumner Johnson to the Debut Review Challenge blog! Her debut picture book, Help Wanted, Must Love Books, released on March 1st. Welcome, Janet, and congratulations!

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


Number of years writing: 


Number of years from contract to published book: 


Date your book was released: 

March 1, 2020

Number of pages: 


Number of launch events: 

3 (so far)

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: 

1.2 Gajillion

A Few Questions

  • Who are your greatest inspirations?

There are so many authors who have inspired me. Tara Lazar is so encouraging of others. Her Storystorm posts from so many amazing authors never fail to inspire me. They help me look at the world and my writing in new ways. Author friends Dee Romito and Patricia Bailey make me believe in myself and keep me moving forward. But more than anything, my children and their lives and actions inspire me to find the joy, humor, struggles, and frustrations in life. Especially in a kid’s life.

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

While I love writing, sometimes I need a break. Playing the piano and singing at the top of my lungs is one of my favorite distractions. I also have a great respect for the power of exercise. Running and tennis can tire me out, but they are recharging at the same time. And lately, I’m discovering that I really enjoy doodling. I’m not going to be illustrating my own books anytime soon, but it’s so easy to get lost in doodles, and it’s very soothing. Plus it gives me so much respect for the work of illustrators!

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: Bertie, an eccentric page in a court with a flair for fashion, and the secret son of the evil queen.

Setting: Top of the Monkey Bars at recess

Theme: Friendship 

Problem: He has created a mesmerizing clothing combination that has turned all the other kids into his minions, and he doesn’t know how to turn them back.

Pitch: When Bertie stumbles on the perfect clothing combination to finally make all the other kids like him, he is horrified to discover it turns them all into his minions. Now, if he can’t fix it before the last bell rings, his mother will throw them all into her dungeons. And drat-it-all, but that canNOT happen again. 

Hahaha!!! That is a book I’d LOVE to read. Thanks for playing!

Thanks so much, Laura! That was fun. 😊

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. Janet has generously donated a signed book, swag, and a classroom Skype visit. Thank you, Janet!


  • 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 Janet and her Book

Bio: JANET SUMNER JOHNSON LIVES IN NORTHERN UTAH WITH HER HUSBAND AND THREE CHILDREN. She sings in the shower, attends dance parties in her kitchen, and ruthlessly beats her kids at card games. She is the author of the picture book, Help Wanted, Must Love Books (Capstone, 2020), and the middle grade novel The Last Great Adventure of the PB&J Society (Capstone, 2016). You can visit her website at


Author/Illustrator: Janet Sumner Johnson/Courtney Dawson

Publisher: Capstone Editions

Year: 2020

Synopsis: Shailey loves bedtime, especially reading with her dad. But her dad starts a new job, and it gets in the way of their bedtime routine. So Shailey takes action! She fires her dad, posts a Help Wanted sign, and starts interviews immediately. She is thrilled when her favorite characters from fairytales line up to apply. But Sleeping Beauty can’t stay awake, the Gingerbread Man steals her book, and Snow White brings along her whole team. Shailey is running out of options. Is bedtime ruined forever?

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