Rock, Scissors, Paperbag blog tour!!

$9.99 on Amazon! Click to purchase! 

Rock, Scissors, Paperbag by Elizabeth Godley 

Rock, Scissors, and Paperbag are the bestest of friends! Paperbag is afraid of everything, Rock is a talented musician, and Scissors is an excellent Orange Ball player. After the school bullies, The Bucket Kids, steal Scissors’ fake orange-ball, the kids decide to get back at the bullies. What if they could get a real orange-ball from The Great Orange Tree? That would show The Bucket Kids!

Recalling the local legend, they embark on a fantastic adventure to find The Great Orange Tree. However, while solving the riddle within the ancient map, they encounter a cave monster, a tornado of rapping cooties, and the horrid Land of Smells. How will they face each challenge? Will they end up back home with a
 orange-ball? And if they do, will they share it?

Throughout their adventure, Rock gains confidence, Paperbag conquers his fears, and Scissors makes peace with being imperfect. Best Buds!

Winner of the 2023 International Firebird Book Award, 
Rock, Scissors, Paperbag is a spellbinding tale of friendship, fantasy, and adventure. A perfect book to be shared and treasured.

Y'all this is seriously the cutest story! I love how creative Elizabeth was in her storytelling. The character growth is something that kids everywhere will be able to relate to and honestly probably feel more comfortable discussing as a group considering it is inanimate objects having these feelings/experiences. The perfect chapter book to cross off from early readers into middle grade! You won't want to miss this. 

   Elizabeth Godley is an award-winning children’s writer, originally from Louisiana. She writes to bring joy to children's lives, ensuring they feel connected and supported. She has traveled all over the world and loves learning about other cultures. Her favorite places are Phnom Penh, Cambodia and Florence, Italy. She has toured Italy as a clown, portraying her self-created character Nimrod, who is a lot like Charlie Chaplin's The Tramp. Previously, she worked as Starbelle, a face-painting fairy-friend to children. Currently, she resides in Los Angeles, CA, where she teaches elementary math, works as a voice over artist, and writes. She dreams of touring internationally, reading to children all over the world. Find out more about her books at




Elly Swartz Interview - Hidden Truths


Praise for Hidden Truths

 "A warm testament to the healing power of mutual respect—and doughnuts."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

 "Swartz’s latest is realistic fiction at its best."—SLJ, starred review

Great things happen when you preorder HIDDEN TRUTHS!

You can win a free virtual visit with me! All you have to do is: 

♥ Pre-order a copy (oh, please pre-order a copy : )  

♥ Send proof to  

Easy Peasy. Once you do that, you’ll be entered to win the free virtual visit with me. 

If you want a personalized, signed copy, order from either of my amazing, local independent bookstores:  

♥ Eight Cousins  

♥ Wellesley Books  

Q: Welcome to TWR! We are so excited to share about your upcoming release, Hidden Truths, with kids everywhere! Can you start by telling us a little background about yourself?

A: Hi, my friends. And huge thanks for having on TWR! I love your blog. 

So, a bit about me. I grew up in Yardley, a small town in Pennsylvania. At the time, there were many cornfields and cows. Boredom was a popular sport. I lived in a red, brick house on Queens Drive with my mom, dad, two older brothers who picked on her regularly as a kid (less so as a grown-up) and dogs (first Missy and later Sam). My childhood was a happy one with many laughs, family dinners and crooked birthday cakes.

I love writing for children but didn’t take a direct path to this career. I studied psychology at Boston University and got my law degree at Georgetown University School of Law. I was a ride operator at Sesame Place, spent time working in a furniture store, was a messenger, law library assistant, legal author, litigator, legal research and writing professor and college essay adviser.

Bazooka Joe

Not long after I began writing, I got the first sign that, indeed, this was the right path for me. I opened a piece of Bazooka Joe gum and wrapped around the sugary, pink delight was a fortune that read, “You have the ability to become outstanding in literature.”

I keep this fortune tacked to the bulletin board next to my desk. It reminds me of luck, hope, perseverance, and joy—the feeling I get every time I hear from a reader.

Q: Tell us about your upcoming book.

A: Hidden Truths is about Danielle (Dani) and Eric who are neighbors and best friends navigating the challenges of middle school, mean girls, social media fame, bullying, and crushes. Not to mention, a rift in their own friendship. Written in dual points of view, the reader gets to hear from both Dani and Eric as they each tell their side.

Dani is strong, empowered and knows exactly what she wants—to be the first girl on the all-boys’ baseball team. She’s tired of hearing, “Blah, blah, blah, you’re good for a girl.”

Eric is loyal and goofy, loves crossword puzzles and Iron Man, and has ADHD. Unlike Dani, he has no idea what he wants, but is totally okay doing lots of different things.

They share a love of donuts and hotdogs and superheroes.

Until an accident happens on their annual camping trip. Dani’s injured and her dream is sidelined. Eric fears it’s all his fault. 

Lies are told, secrets are kept, promises are made.

Dani drifts away from Eric, and in the end, learns it isn’t what you do that matters, but who you are. 

Eric, defying expectations, takes on a big company to keep his promise to Dani and fight for what he thinks is right. He learns what others see as a weakness in him, is really his superpower. 

Both stories come together to breakdown stereotypes and explore issues of guilt and the healing power of forgiveness.

So, the real question is are you #TeamEric or #TeamDani?

Q: Did any of your own life experiences become a muse for Hidden Truths? 

A: There were several aspects of my life that informed this story. The first is the bullying that Eric experienced. This stemmed, in part, from a personal bullying experience I had in 7th grade. There were mean things written on a bathroom stall, threats, shoulder bumps in the hallway, and mean looks. Truth is that even today when I think about those moments, I’m back to being 12 and feeling scared. I think there are times in life that stick to you and for me, that was one of them. I often wonder about this person and what was going on in her life that made her behave that way. Like with Leo in Hidden Truths, there is always something we don’t see. 

This is me at 12.

A child with long hair smiling

Description automatically generated

The second aspect was Eric’s ADHD. There is someone in my life that I love who has ADHD. While I saw them struggle in the traditional school setting, I also saw them shine in ways that I found truly amazing. They viewed the world in a beautifully curious manner, did the deep dive into things they loved, and solved problems in the most creative ways. Just like Eric. I wanted this person to see what I saw – that this was their superpower. 

There are many moments in the story that I relate to. But another aspect I connect with is the idea of having forever people in your life – loving them, fighting for them, and forgiving them.

Q; What makes this book a perfect fit for middle grade classrooms? 

A: Everything! I love this question because I truly feel Hidden Truths addresses so many aspects of a middle schooler’s life: changing friendships, social media fame, peer pressure, first crushes, bullying, identity, honesty, forgiveness, and making a difference in the world. And because this story is written from dual points of view, I feel there is something or someone for every reader to connect with.

Q; What are some challenges you faced during your writing process? 

A: Ha! This book took me 22 years to write! I would say that was the biggest challenge. But some stories you can never walk away from. And this was one of them.

I’m so proud of this story. And that I stayed with it for all those years. Recently, I was honored to learn that Hidden Truths has received 2 starred reviews! A first for me. When I learned about the stars, there were many happy tears! And a full heart!!

 "A warm testament to the healing power of mutual respect—and doughnuts."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

 "Swartz’s latest is realistic fiction at its best."—SLJ, starred review

Q; Was there anything different about writing Hidden Truths versus your other titles

A: This was the first story I wrote with dual points of view. And I loved sharing both Eric and Dani’s stories, their hearts, and experiences. I think kids—or maybe people of all ages—often believe their experience is the only way to process a particular event. What they don’t realize is that there are many ways to experience something. There is never just one way. 

Each person brings their own life moments and emotions to a particular event. That changes how that event impacts them. My hope is that Dani and Eric’s journeys will help readers see this. Understand that no one’s experience is THE experience or THE right way. It is just theirs. And I hope that readers can honor that. Respect the differences. See past their own way of processing something to understand, empathize, and connect with another.

Q; What is the biggest takeaway you want kids to get from your story.

A: From Hidden Truths, I want readers to know that they are more than the way the world defines them. They are not one thing. Dani’s not just baseball and Eric’s not just forgetful. They are each a blend of the wonderfully imperfect traits that make them unique and special. 

I want them to know the power of forgiveness. It is harder to stay mad than it is to forgive.

I want them to know they are not alone. 

I want them to know their voice matters. They can make a real difference in the world.

I want them to know that I see them. I respect them. And I honor them. 

Q: What’s the best thing about being a writer?

A: Getting lost in the world you’re creating and meeting readers. Those are my favorite aspects about being a writer.

Q: What else would you like us to know? WIPs?

A: I’m so excited to share my next next book with you. Stand By Me, is about a take-charge sixth grader Bess Stein who brings together friends, a crush, and a group of rockstar librarians called the Book Warriors to fight a book ban happening at her middle school. This book will fly into the world in 2025.  I love this book and can’t wait for you to meet Bess!


Elly Swartz is the acclaimed author of six middle grade novels: Finding Perfect, Smart Cookie, Give and Take, Dear Student, Hidden Truths, and Stand By Me (coming 2025). Swartz’s books reflect her commitment to raising awareness about mental health and neurodiversity. Her debut novel, Finding Perfect, was named one of the Best Children’s Books About Mental Health by the Child Mind Institute, Dear Student was recommended by Parents Magazine, and her upcoming book Hidden Truths has received 2 starred reviews–one from Kirkus and one from School Library Journal. 

Swartz studied psychology at Boston University and received her JD at Georgetown University School of Law. She travels the country meeting with thousands of students each year to empower their own personal narrative. Swartz resides in Massachusetts. Connect with Elly at, on Twitter @ellyswartz, on Instagram or Threads @ellyswartzbooks. 

HIDDEN TRUTHS (Delacorte/ Random House Children's Books - coming Halloween 2023)
STAND BY ME (Delactore/ Random House Children's Books - coming spring 2025)
DEAR STUDENT (Delacorte/ Random House Children's Books) 
SMART COOKIE (Scholastic)


No One Leaves the Castle - Review and Recommendation


*Click to Purchase - AFF LINK


Agatha Christie meets the Brothers Grimm in an unexpected, hilarious, and wholly original new fantasy-mystery from the beloved author of The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom.

The Lilac. The bard songs say that she’s the world’s most fearsome bounty hunter. That there’s no criminal she can’t catch, no mystery she can’t solve.

None of that is true. Yet.

In reality, the Lilac is just a kid, and the bard who wrote all that is her best friend, Dulcinetta. But when a priceless artifact goes missing from the home of famed monster hunter Baron Angbar, the Lilac and Netta see their chance to apprehend the thief and make a name for themselves.

When they get to Castle Angbar, however, and meet the Angbar family and their servants and guests—an unsavory group of nobles, mages, and assorted creatures, each more shady than the last—the Lilac begins to wonder if the reward is worth the trouble.

And that’s before the dead body is discovered.

Now everyone is magically sealed inside the castle—and there is a murderer among then. If the Lilac wants to make it out with her reputation intact, it’s going to be up to her to figure out who the killer is. But everyone in the castle—even the Lilac herself—has secrets to hide, and as the walls literally start to close in around them, the Lilac worries that her first job as a bounty hunter may be her last….


Christopher Healy is the author of the New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom and its sequels, as well as the Perilous Journey of Danger and Mayhem series. Before becoming a writer, Chris worked as an actor, an ad copywriter, a toy-store display designer, a fact-checker, a dishwasher, a journalist, a costume shop clothing stitcher, a children’s entertainment reviewer, and a haunted house zombie. He lives with his family in New Jersey. You can visit him online at

Publication date: August 15, 2023




August 2-18, 2023


August 2 Nerdy Book Club (@nerdybookclub)

August 7 Bluestocking Thinking (@bluesockgirl)

August 8 Teachers Who Read (@teachers_read)

August 12 Maria’s Mélange (@mariaselke)

August 15 A Foodie Bibliophile in Wanderlust (@bethshaum)

August 18 Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers (@grgenius)


The Witch of Woodland by Laurel Snyder Book Blog Tour!


Cassie's Review

Laurel has always been a must-buy author since I first read Orphan Island. The Witch of Woodland definitely held its own as well. 

Zippy is definitely a character that students (boy and girl alike) will relate to in so many ways. I specifically enjoyed the journey of Zippy to understand her spiritual self and how Laurel provided tiffs with her parents and realizing who she is and what she stands for on her own. I remember being Zippy's age and my parents giving me the opportunity to find my place and I felt that really helped me figure out where I stood on what I believed for myself. Zippy's experiences are relatable for students, but parents and teachers alike will be able to learn more of the mindset of 11-12 year olds as well. 

Another connection my younger self was similar to Zippy is the self-isolation. I loved my bed room, I loved my space, and as an adult I found that carried over. It doesn't mean that she is angry all the time, or depressed, it just is that place to decompress. Friendships can be overwhelming, and Laurel did a great job of depicting this need for a young pre-teen. 

This will be such a relatable book for students where they find themselves in the pages and don't even realize with the magic sprinkled throughout. I hope students walk away thinking about themselves, their families, and their friendships and what work goes into those relationships. 

This would be a great read aloud/book club story and you can access the educators guide here: 


About the Book

Laurel Snyder, author of Orphan Island, returns with a story of one girl’s quest

to answer the seemingly unanswerable questions about what makes us who we are.


Hi, whoever is reading this. I’m Zipporah Chava McConnell, but everyone calls me Zippy.

    Things used to be simple—until a few weeks ago. Now my best friend, Bea, is acting funny; everyone at school thinks I’m weird; and my mom is making me start preparing for my bat mitzvah, even though we barely ever go to synagogue.

In fact, the only thing that still seems to make sense is magic.

    See, the thing is, I’m a witch. I’ve been casting spells since I was little. And even if no one else wants to believe in magic anymore, it’s always made sense to me, always felt true. But I was

still shocked the day I found a strange red book at the library and somehow...I conjured something. A girl, actually. A beautiful girl with no memory,

and wings like an angel. You probably don’t believe me, but I swear it’s the truth.

    Miriam is like no one else I’ve ever met. She’s proof that magic is real. And, it’s hard to explain this part, but I just know that we’re connected. That means it’s up to me to help Miriam figure out what she is and where she came from. If I can do that, maybe everything else in my life will start to make sense too.

    Anyway, it’s worth a try.


About the Author

Laurel Snyder is the beloved author of many picture books and novels for children, including the National Book Award nominee Orphan Island and the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award winner Charlie & Mouse. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she teaches in Hamline University’s MFA in writing for children and young adults program. Laurel lives in Atlanta with her family and can be found online at


Blog Tour:

May 16

Nerdy Book Club


May 16

Unleashing Readers


May 17

Teachers Who Read


May 18

Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers


May 22



May 23



May 26

A Library Mama


May 30

A Foodie Bibliophile in Wanderlust