Debut Review Challenge with Bea Birdsong

I’m so excited to welcome Bea Birdsong to the blog today. Read on to learn about Bea’s debut picture book I WILL BE FIERCE!, her writing routine, and her forthcoming book SAM’S FIRST WORD.

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

Debut By-the-Numbers: I WILL BE FIERCE!

Number of years writing: This question is more difficult to answer than you might think! I’ve written off and on for years. These are the dates I know for sure: I have been writing for the education market since 2010, and I wrote my first picture book in 2016.

Number of years from contract to published book: 1.5

Date your book was released: April 23, 2019

Number of pages: 40

Number of launch events: I had one launch party in my hometown, and I also went on a book tour that included school visits, bookstore signings, and a literary festival the week my book released.

Number of days per week that writing takes a backseat to marketing & publicity: Right now, I would say one, and that day is mostly spent answering reader emails and letters. (Does that count as marketing and publicity?) When my book first released, the time dedicated to marketing and publicity was a lot more!

Number of critique partners: 5

Number of books you hope to publish over the next ten years: I’m going to dream big and say ten!

Number of times you’ve pinched yourself that you really have a book out: Too many to count!

Current number of reviews: Amazon – 73; Good Reads – 121.


Why do you write for children? The books we read as children are the most important books we will ever read. They are the books that help us feel seen and heard. They help us know we matter—that we have a place and a purpose in the world—and they help us grow into the best versions of ourselves. That’s why I write for kids. 

What does your work space look like? Tell us about a typical work session.  In addition to being a picture-book author, I also write for educational publishers, so writing is my full-time job. My best writing always happens in the morning. This is when my energy levels are high and my brain is functioning at an acceptable rate. I’m in awe of people who can write late in the day or even at night because I definitely can’t. I also cannot write in public places, like a coffee shop, as so many writers seem to do. I write in my home office with my dog, Bilbo, keeping a close eye on me and making sure I take breaks by demanding to be taken outside at regular intervals.

When you need to take a creative break, do you have another activity or hobby that recharges you? Reading always recharges and inspires me! I also love to travel. Exploring a new place, meeting new people, trying new activities or foods—these are all things that help me come back to work with renewed creative energy.

What can you tell us about your next book? Sam’s First Word, illustrated by Holly Hatam, is about a newish baby whose every accomplishment has been met with great fanfare by the big people in her life. Now, the big people are waiting for Sam to say her first word. Sam knows exactly what she (urgently) needs to say, but first she must endure her family’s humorous attempts to make each of their names her first word. This book will be published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on February 16, 2021.


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): A troublemaking goat

Setting: A parade

Theme: Letting go of rigid expectations can allow you to experience unexpected joy

Problem: Making new friends

Pitch: A troublemaking goat causes a smash-up in the animal parade. Can he get the parade back on track and make a new friend in the process?   

(Do I get bonus points for using the word SMASH in the pitch?)

Ha ha ha! Absolutely!

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. Bea has generously donated a picture book manuscript critique. Thank you, Bea!


  • 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 favorite reads on social media and tag the author/illustrator.
  • And, of course, WRITE REVIEWS!!!

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

About Bea and her Book

Bio: Bea Birdsong is the author of I Will Be Fierce, illustrated by Nidhi Chanani and published by Roaring Brook Press, and the forthcoming picture book Sam’s First Word, illustrated by Holly Hatam, which will release from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. She is also a writer for the education market and a former teacher who believes in the awesome power of books to educate, entertain, and empower. Bea is represented by Melissa Edwards of Stonesong Literary Agency. She invites you to follow her on Twitter, @BeaBirdsong, and visit her online at

Book Title: I Will Be Fierce!

Author/Illustrator: Written by: Bea Birdsong / Illustrated by: Nidhi Chanani

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (Macmillan)

Year: 2019

Synopsis: It’s a brand-new day, and a young girl decides to take on the world like a brave explorer heading off on an epic fairytale quest. From home to school and back again, our hero conquers the Mountain of Knowledge (the library), forges new bridges (friendships), and leads the victorious charge home on her steed (the school bus). This story is a powerful declaration about courage, confidence, kindness, and finding the extraordinary in the everyday moments.

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