Flying the Emu’s Nest

Many of you may know I love birds—I’m a very proud bird nerd indeed! I’m obsessed with birds, and of course with nests.

Nests conjure up images and feelings of coziness, warmth and safety—a place to rest.

This is my all-time favorite, a hummingbird’s nest found when we were living in San Diego:




So, it has been apt on many levels to have been a part of the wonderful community of writers and illustrators nesting together at Emu’s Debuts, and helping to launch so many phenomenal books into the world:

Who doesn’t love a bunny, especially Kevan Atteberry’s Bunnies!!!! (+ a few more !!!!!), and Declan too! I loved interviewing Kevan, and being able to witness the evolution of Declan.




I joined the Emus post Changemaker, but was fortunate to have been able to help spotlight Laurie Thompson’s Emmanuel’s Dream, the inspirational story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah,



as well as her sweet and funny, My Dog is the Best, though I have to quibble with Laurie—my dog, Becca, is actually the best ;).


My Dog Is the Best cover

Right, Becca?  BD-dog2


Another highlight was re-visiting my favorite detectives and compiling the post for Susan Vaught’s touching middle grade novel, Footer Davis Probably Is Crazy. Columbo, anyone?


Y'all, this book is gooder'n grits!


Megan Morrison’s Grounded had me hankering after ubiquitous acorns, and book two in the Tyme series, focusing on a post of our favorite fractured fairy tales. Go team Rapunzjack!




Christine Hayes’s Mothman’s Curse was a deliciously creepy page turner, and I especially loved reminiscing about my favorite scary movies (REDRUM),  and fun family games.




An homage to mothers everywhere, Rebecca Van Slyke’s Mom School gave us even more reasons to celebrate our mothers. Every day should be Mother’s Day :).



I had a blast writing Pin the Quotes on the Emus to show which games we’d like to see come to life for Jennifer Chambliss Bertmann’s Book Scavenger. Jenn’s books are hiding all over the U.S.—have you found one yet?


Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 11.51.40 PM


What a treat it was to interview Christopher Silas Neal, illustrator for Tamara Ellis Smith’s Another Kind of Hurricane, and see some of his early sketches for this beautiful and heartfelt book.




I celebrated Penny Parker Klostermann’s There Was An Old Dragon Who Swallowed A Knight launch by interviewing agent extraordinaire, Tricia Lawrence, and her dogs, Rue & Toledo. Woof :).


There Was an Old Dragon cover


Teachers are so under-appreciated, and I loved extolling the virtues of our own favorites as well as Mr. Robert Looney, fictional and real-life hero in Luke Reynolds’s The Looney Experiment. I mentioned my all-time favorite 5th grade teacher, Miss Mellion, and I just recently found her address and wrote to her. I hope I’ll hear back!




And just last week, we paid tribute to Norse mythology, hero-squirrel Ratatosk, and MC Pru for Adam Shaughnessy’s The Entirely True Story of the Unbelievable FIB! I cannot tell a lie—I cannot wait to read this book!



We’ve been busy here at Emu’s Debuts :)!

During my time here, I was lucky to have interviewed agents and artists.  And one of the best perks of being an Emu was having the privilege to read ARCs and F&Gs and see the finished products before they were revealed to the rest of the world. Lucky, right?

But, without a doubt, the very best part of being an Emu was getting to know, and becoming friends with so many of you. I look forward to the day when we’ll get to meet in person, perhaps at one of the famous EMLA retreats!


Today I am fledging, leaving the Emu’s nest. It is bittersweet, but I’ll be waiting in the so-called wings to cheer on the upcoming titles of my fellow Emus: Janet Fox, Donna Jannell Bowman, Calista Brill, Carole Gerber, Mylisa Larsen and Elaine Vickers!

Some Emus have hatched, nested, and fledged, and the latest clutch of Emus is incubating. In the next month or two we will be welcoming new Emu’s to the nest with introductory posts from Elly Swartz, Debbi Michiko Florence, Hayley Barrett, Darcey Rosenblatt, Sarvinder Naberhaus, Jason Gallaher and Katie Slivensky. And my good friend and critique partner, Andrea Wang, will be joining too!

And most of all, before I fly the Emu’s nest, thank you to my fellow Emus for your support and all the posts for Penny & Jelly! There were so many fantastic posts on literary dogs, best friends, interviews with illustrator Thyra Heder, and editor Cynthia Platt, and of course, wild and wacky Emu talents.


I wouldn’t have wanted to celebrate my debut anywhere else!




And here’s the cover for the second Penny & Jelly book!



Becca enjoyed her appearances here too!

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset


Taking wing!

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Photo credit: Monogram Arts Photo

Maria writes fiction and nonfiction picture books while dog Becca snores at her feet. This is what they do when they’re not writing (or snoring).  Her debut picture book, Penny & Jelly: The School Show, illustrated by Thyra Heder, was released by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt  on July 7, 2015. A second book, Penny & Jelly Slumber Under the Stars, will follow in June 2016. Maria has both fiction and  nonfiction picture books forthcoming from Roaring Brook Press, Aladdin Books and Boyds Mills Press. She is represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette of Erin Murphy Literary. To learn more, please visit her website:, or visit Maria at Facebook.



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26 responses to “Flying the Emu’s Nest

  1. We’ll miss you. Keep writing great books! Best wishes.

    I appreciated the likes you left on my comments.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mariagianferrari

      Thank you, Linda! I’ll still be hanging around, not far from the nest. And a big thank you to you for always leaving comments–we love that! 🙂


  2. Your posts will be missed! Have a great flight!


  3. mariagianferrari

    Thanks so much, Carrie <3! I'll be looking forward to participating in next year's ReFoReMo too!


  4. tamaraellissmith

    Maria. Thank you for being such a strong sweet smart presence here. I’m so grateful we had some time in the nest together… ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. mariagianferrari

    And so am I , Tam ❤ and of course, it doesn't end here. It was just the beginning :).


  6. We’ll miss you, Maria. Thanks for being here.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. mariagianferrari

    Likewise, Mylisa!


  8. Janet Fox

    Golly, Maria, I wish you didn’t have to go. *sniff* But it’s be so great getting to know you!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It’s authors like you that have made it such fun following Emu’s Debuts, love the way that you encourage each other and your posts are always entertaining and fun! Best wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I have so enjoyed getting to know you, Maria! And I can’t wait for the next Penny & Jelly! Hooray!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. mariagianferrari

    Thanks, Jenn–me too! And I loved Book Scavenger, so I’m sure that your fans are rejoicing everywhere when they find their copies :)!


  12. Congratulations on taking flight, Maria! I know you made your EMU siblings and EMLA very proud!


  13. mariagianferrari

    Thanks, Teresa ❤


  14. I’ll miss your posts, Maria! I’m glad you won’t be far from the nest! I’m looking forward to being an Emu for the same reasons you loved being one. Congrats on fledging, my friend!!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. mariagianferrari

    ❤ Andrea!! I'll be responding to your posts here soon 🙂


  16. What a wonderful post, Maria! I loved reading your inspiring walk down book memory lane–and I so appreciate and marvel at your endless capacity for warmth, generosity, kindness, and wisdom. Thank you for sharing it with all of us!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. mariagianferrari

    That’s so sweet of you to say, Luke–thank you :)! It has been fun to celebrate everyone’s journeys and a privilege to be here.


  18. Maria, you will be missed! I lost track of the times you were there with your generosity and support. I’m very glad our time as EMUs overlapped. Thank you for everything and what an excellent parting post!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. mariagianferrari

    I’m happy that our time overlapped here too! Thanks so much, Adam! Wishing you continued success :)!


  20. Oh, Maria, we’re gonna miss you here. You are kind in spirit and gifted in words. Thank you for bringing us Penny & Jelly, and for bringing us You.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Maria, I’m so happy we were EMUs together. I can’t wait to meet you in person. Thanks for all of your contributions to EMUs and thanks for your contributions to children’s literature.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. mariagianferrari

    So am I Penny! I hope we’ll meet sooner rather than later too! ❤ 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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