Author Archive

Windy Night silkscreen poster




George Bates, illustrator of On a Windy Night, has silkscreened a shivery skeleton image to celebrate the book’s third season. Perfect Halloween decor for your home, bookstore, library, what have you. You can purchase on his etsy site.

Nancy Raines Day with On a Windy Night

On a Windy Night time is coming....

I’m looking forward to these fall events!

Tues., Oct. 9

Speaking and signing On a Windy Night and A is for Alliguitar with Savannah children’s author Phyllis Tildes for Literary Guild of St. Simons at St. Simons Public Library, 530 Beachview Drive, Room 108, at 10:30 a.m.

Thurs., Oct. 25–Reading and signing On a Windy Night with illustrator George Bates at The Strand Book Store,  828 Broadway at 12th Street in Manhattan at 3:30 p.m.  Event details here. Or pre-order a signed copy.

Sat., Oct. 27–Reading and signing On a Windy Night while illustrator George Bates sings his original Skeleton song and spearheads an art project. At Greenlight Bookstore, 686 Fulton Street (at South Portland) in Brooklyn, 11 a.m.

Sat., Nov. 10–Signing all my books at Georgia Literary Festival,  at the brand new Jekyll Conference Center, Jekyll Island, GA 9 a.m.–6 p.m.

Sat., Dec. 1–Signing all books at Holiday Market at Lord of Life Lutheran Church, 2801 Frederica Road, St. Simons Island, GA 9 a.m.–4 p.m.

A is for Alliguitar Final PageRead my newest interview on middle-grade author Kami Kinard’s blog here.

Also, here are Joan Broerman’s fun activities to try when reading A is for Alliguitar with a child, perfect for summertime.

Robyn Hood Black posted a characteristically fun interview here for Poetry Friday.

Alliguitar and Banjaguar

The first two musical alphabeasts


Many early readers of A is for A is for Alliguitar commented that the illustrator did a great job. So I asked Herb Leonhard to share his process.

First I gather visual research materials to help me create the various elements, in this case the animals, instruments and places that will need to be represented. Then I can begin to develop the characters themselves through more detailed pencil sketches. This is where the personalities of the animals are born! I do the entire book as pencil drawings and present that to the other people involved for suggestions and feedback. Then I redo the drawings as acrylic paintings.

Once it gets to the painting part, it becomes more “play” than “work”. Next I scan each painting into the computer and add additional painting, effects and corrections digitally with Photoshop. Sometimes I also paint several of the elements in a scene separately and bring them together digitally, so my work is very much a marriage of traditional and digital techniques.

Click on the “Fun Stuff for Kids” page to print a coloring page of alliguitar and banjaguar that Herb has prepared.  Many thanks to the illustrator!

A is for Alliguitar: Musical Alphabeasts should be available everywhere now. If you’d like a book label signed to someone special (including yourself!), contact me at

You can also get your copy hot off the press from the publisher here. Enjoy!

Outside the Waldwick Library with daughter Meghan Day, children's librarian extraordinaire

A great story time was had by all!


On a Windy Night book trailer is here. Play it if you dare!
(Click on the lower right corner for the full effect.)

Many thanks to the very talented Neal Jonas for putting this all together!

If Rocks Could Sing CoverSometimes  I come across a picture book that delights me–one where pictures and words have been put together with such mastery that I feel inspired. 

If Rocks Could Sing is such a book. Author Leslie McGuirk combed a Florida beach for years until she found rocks that resembled each alphabet letter–which required admirable patience–and a word that starts with each letter–which required admirable inventiveness. Her arrangement and photographs of these rocks are artful wonders as well. For example, “J is for Joy” shows a big fish-shaped rock nose-to-nose with a little one, both smiling, causing big and little readers to smile with joy, too.  Tricycle Press was the publisher, and its quirky, offbeat selections will be missed.

This is the kickoff of a blog series I will add to as I come across more such picture books–especially titles that may have escaped mainstream notice. Fellow children’s writers, librarians, and teachers, I hope you enjoy a look at these worthy new entries in the picture book genre! Stay tuned.

Use them or lose them! Find a southern independent bookstore here.

Use them or lose them! Click to find a southern independent bookseller.

BookstoreWindowOn a Windy Night has been included in the CCBC Choices 2011 booklet, the annual best-of-the-year list of the Cooperative Children’s Book Center! The CCBC is a resource library at the University of Wisconsin in Madison for librarians, teachers, students, and anyone else interested in children’s literature. Read the complete list here.