Award-Winning Author Janet Halfmann Signs with KWiL


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Three years from now, when KWiL has more than a dozen books under its belt and I am no longer telling people that we are a start-up, I will look back and think about that moment, and that moment, and that moment—those were the moments that got us here.

The moment when I got an e-mail confirming KWiL’s LLC registration. The moment when another e-mail, this time with our publishing agreement attached, showed up in my inbox. It was time to start signing, which lead to that momentous moment when KWiL signed its first author, Sheri Roloff. And the pivotal moment a few months later when she said “yes” to coming on, at-risk, as KWiL’s Creative Director.


My journey to KWiL would not have been possible without the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. I joined the Wisconsin chapter in 2012. Through SCBWI I was connected to a critique group, of which Sheri was a member. Through my group and SCBWI events, I grew as a writer and connoisseur of children’s literature and the kid lit industry. I also had the opportunity to meet some of my picture book idols. It just so happened that many of my kids’ favorite books were written by authors living right here in Wisconsin.

When I started KWiL, and especially after we realized that one of our primary niches would be scientific fiction, I immediately thought of one Wisconsin-based author in particular. I thought, “Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could sign Janet Halfmann?”

I am honored to announce that a few weeks ago, we did. Her story, Caterpillar’s Surprise, will be published by KWiL in Fall of 2019.

For any of you who don’t know Janet Halfmann, you can learn much more about her, HERE. Janet has published more than 30 award-winning and starred-reviewed books for children with many houses, including Henry Holt, Star Bright Books, Arbordale Publishing, and Lee & Low Books. Janet’s new book, Midnight Teacher, will be released from Lee & Low Books in Spring of 2018.

If you make it to her website, take some time to really look around. You can read about Janet’s love of nature, which began during her early years growing up on a farm in Michigan. Today, Janet is a gardener and keen observer of the natural world, much like the protagonist in her beautiful book Grandma Is a Slowpoke (Star Bright Books, 2016).

One of our favorite books by Janet Halfmann is Little Skink’s Tail (Arbordale Publishing, 2007).  It is easily on the Top Ten Most Read Books List at our house. In fact, just last week I read it out loud to my son’s class during RINGO (Reading Is Now Going On).

On the website you can also learn about Janet’s career in children’s literature, which in addition to being published includes having worked at Little Golden Books, then located in Racine, WI.


There will be more moments. The moment we flip through the pages of our first book (this Spring!). The moment we make our first sale. All of these moments will have defined KWiL, and I am confident that signing with Janet Halfmann will be one of them.

Readers get ready! There is a beautiful book by a beloved Wisconsin author on its way.


Abby reading Little Skink’s Tail to kindergartners. 





Author/Illustrator Amy Frances Ward Signs with KWiL

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We are excited to announce a deal with author/illustrator Amy Frances Ward for the publication of her picture book, Crunchy Not Sweet, slated for a fall 2018 release.

In every book we publish there is a little bit of magic—something that makes the book “read-it-again” worthy. Crunchy Not Sweet doesn’t have a little bit of magic. It has A LOT. One of my least favorite compliments to be paid a picture book is, “Oh, that’s so cute!” While well-intentioned (and likely true!) “cute,” to me, undercuts the hours, days, weeks, months, YEARS it takes to create a picture book. Cute invokes cutesy, which implies pleasing to look at but lacking substance. Ok, I think my bias is clear, so forgive me for now contradicting myself.

Little Tree Dude, the protagonist of Crunchy Not Sweet—is. SO. CUTE. But from now on, please refer to him as ADORABLE.

Adorable carries with it the weight of the work Ward has put into the creation of this pint-sized character with extra-large appeal and a science-lesson to boot, albeit a lesson expertly embedded in a compelling plot crafted around a question all kids love to ask: What does that animal, in this case a tree frog, eat?

Little Tree Dude has been, “…clinging and swinging and thinkin’ bout food.” But, “…his diet is boring. It’s time for exploring. He’s in a hungry, try-anything mood.”

So deep into the rainforest he delves, ready to spice things up. A theme emerges: “He takes a big bite…But something’s not right…” and by the end of his quest the carnivore in him rules the day. Finally, Little Tree Dude finds something, “CRUNCHY, not sweet…the perfect frog treat.”

What is it that satisfies Little True Dude’s hunger? Stay tuned, and we’ll share the answer and so much more—including the cover, sneak peeks at inside art, the logic behind our design decisions, as well as ADORABLE coloring pages and other free, downloadable activities for kids.

Click HERE to learn more about Amy Frances Ward.

Book Announcement: Tamia of the Forest

We are thrilled to announce the second book on our spring 2018 list: Tamia of the Forest, written by Jim Nies.

Tamia of the Forest is a STEM-themed chapter book that celebrates and encourages the imaginations of young naturalists.  Startled from her daydream by a red squirrel, Joanna spends a day keenly observing the creature who has claimed the woods around the family cabin as  her territory. Tamia (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) is also busy getting ready for something…but what? To find out, Joanna slips back into her dream, this time, joining Tamia on an adventure complete with ferocious intruders and secret hideouts. Pencil sketches compliment the vintage-vibe of this book, which will appeal to young readers and educators alike. End pages include space for the reader’s own field notes. Tamia is the first in a three-book series.


Take a peek at the the Hide & Go Seek-A-Saurus Cover!

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, dinosaurs, hide-and-go-seek enthusiasts, and pizza lovers around the world, here is the cover of Sheri Roloff’s debut picture book Hide and Go Seek-A-Saurus:

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Six months and six days from today, the cover you see here will no longer just be an image on a screen. Six months and six days from today, you will be able to run your hand over all 8.5×11 inches of green, semi-gloss glory. Six months and six days from today you will be able to read, count-down and play hide-and-go-seek with, love, and, I’ll keep warning you, possibly accidentally try to eat (the pizza looks that good), Sheri Roloff’s Hide & Go Seek-A-Saurus.

And even if six months and six days from today you aren’t doing all of the above, trust me, we are.

It’s incredible what goes into the creation of a picture book, and as we count down to Hide & Go Seek’s  release, we will be sharing what we have learned and are leaning about publishing with you.

One of KWiL’s goals is to use our social media presence and our headquarters in the Grand Avenue as a literary and social hub, a space/place where young readers and their adults can gather to talk about and interact with books as well as explore the process and power of publishing. We are calling this space/place KWiL Club.

So, you can expect to hear more from us soon about:

  • KWiL Club sponsored events/activities to get readers excited about Hide & Go Seek-A-Saurus and to start developing KWiL’s online and Milwaukee-based presence in the kidlit community. We want readers to get excited about our books and about reading in general. We will be continuing our #findsteveanddaryl Twitter campaign and inviting readers to join us on a scavenger hunt throughout the greater Milwaukee area, complete with a prehistoric passport and giveaways.
  • Insider looks at the publishing process, including running a small, independent press and the creation of Hide & Go Seek-A-Saurus. We’ll be calling these KWiL Tips.
  • Events, including a kid-friendly book release party!

Finally, we will be launching our new website next week, which we believe celebrates the kid-centered, literacy-focused, energetic and empowering spirit of KWiL. When the website goes live you will be able to pre-order your copy of Hide & Go Seek-A-Saurus.

So, for now, go ahead and judge our book by its cover. And then six months and six days from today (but who’s counting!?), read it. What you find inside will have been worth the wait.


Author Illustrator Sheri Roloff Signs with KWiL

We are thrilled to announce that author illustrator Sheri Roloff has signed with KWiL for the publication of her debut picture book, Hide & Go Seek-A-Saurus. By day Sheri is a corporate creative here in Milwaukee. By night, and any spare minute in between, she’s busy creating incredible stories and art for kids. Sheri is an active member of SCBWI-WI.

Hide & Go Seek-A-Saurus is sure to be become an instant favorite, a book that will be read, played with, and we warn you, possibly even licked, the pizza on the last page looks so good.

Curious about the cover? Interested in a sneak peak of the interior pages? Excited to hear about the many Hide & Go Seek-A-Saurus-themed activities and events that KWiL will be hosting at our headquarters in the Grand Avenue Mall? Ready to join in the hunt for Steve and Daryl around Milwaukee and across the country? The fun is just getting started! We hope you’ll check back often and JOIN IN!

But first, a bit more about the book:

After a long and successful run of the Hide & Go Seek-A-Saurus show, Steve and Daryl are retired, relaxed and ready to eat pizza, lots and lots of pizza, until…a kid—the reader—shows up expecting a round of hide-and-go-seek. Reluctant as they may be, this dinomite duo never disappoints; and as soon as they pop the pizza in the oven and go over the rules, the countdown is on.

Alternately talking directly to the reader and arguing with each other over whom the reader found first, Steve and Daryl are a delight, and even more delightful to find, which is what readers are invited to do on three full spreads. Combine dinosaurs, pizza, hilarious countdowns and actual games of hide-and-go- seek, and young readers will be asking to read—or better yet—play with—this book over and over again.

Mark your calendars! This immensely satisfying (right down to that very last, cheesy bite!) book will be released on March 6, 2018!