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Dee Romito

26 Days of Facing the Chicken Exit: DAYS 11-14


19, 2022 |

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Today, we continue the countdown to the release of my upcoming picture book, BRAVER THAN BRAVE, illustrated by Eunji Jungand published by Capstone Editions, a Capstone Imprint. I present Days 11-14 of 26 Days of Facing the Chicken Exit!

DAY 11: Sharon Giltrow, author of BEDTIME, DADDY! 

“I thought ‘The Little Mermaid’ roller coaster at Disneyland Tokyo would be doable. I lined up with my then 9-year old daughter and I inched to the front of the line. I said to myself “I am a 43 year old woman, I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do.” So I bravely turned left and took the chicken exit.”

A white woman with dark hair in a dark, flower-print shirt sits in a doorway with a rollercoaster in the background. Above the doorway is a sign that says "Chicken Exit."
DAY 12: PB Character
Chicken Frank in CHICKEN FRANK, DINOSAUR had to push past the doubters and naysayers in order to finally win understanding and support from his friends for the theory of evolution and his connections to dinosaurs. Along the way he also learned something new himself.
~by S.K. Wenger & art by Jojo Ensslin

An illustrated chicken stands in front of a real life doorway with a rollercoaster in the background. Over the door is a sign that says "Chicken Exit"


DAY 13: Wendy MacKnight, author of THE FRAME-UP 

“I was 9 years old, the last kid on my street to ride a bike because I was scared of falling. “Enough,” I said finally, staring down the slight incline at the top of my street. It took five tries, a few falls, but I did it – total bike boss, chicken no more!”

A white woman with red hair in a green coat and black dress stands in a doorway with a rollercoaster in the background. Above the doorway is a sign that says "Chicken Exit."


DAY 14: Fort Builders, Inc. Team

The Fort Builders team faced their chicken exit when all their hard work was destroyed and they had to decide whether to give up or find a way to make it work!

~by Dee Romito, art by Marta Kissi

.four illustrated children stand in front of a real doorway. In the background is a rollercoaster. Above the door is a sign that says "Chicken Exit."

In celebration of the upcoming release of BRAVER THAN BRAVE, I’ve got two giveaways going on right now. One on Twitter, which you can enter HERE. And one on Instagram, which you can enter HERE. They both open through July 23rd, and they are both open to wherever Book Depository delivers. Good luck!

Check out other days of Facing the Chicken Exit:

DAY 1: The Legend of the Chicken Exit

DAYS 2-4

DAYS 5-7

DAYS 8-10

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26 Days of Facing the Chicken Exit: DAYS 5 – 7


12, 2022 |

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Today, we continue the countdown to the release of my upcoming picture book, BRAVER THAN BRAVE, illustrated by Eunji Jungand published by Capstone Editions, a Capstone Imprint. I present Days 5-7 of 26 Days of Facing the Chicken Exit!

DAY 5: Patricia Bailey, author of The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan 

My husband wanted to learn to paraglide and wanted me to learn with him. So, despite being AFRAID of HEIGHTS  and easily MOTION SICK, I agreed.

I kited on the training hill. (FUN!)

I took a tandem paragliding ride off of the top launch of the mountain. (SCARY and MOTION SICK MAKING! NOT FUN!)

But despite being scared and sick, I decided to pluck up my courage and keep trying.

So, I learned how to handle the wing (FUN!) and how wind works (INTERESTING!) until I was able to I fly by myself off the training hill (SO MUCH FUN!)

Then it was time to put all that training to work and fly for real off the middle launch of the very big mountain.

One by one my training partners launched off the mountain. One by one they soared over the trees, navigated the power lines, and landed in the field below.

Then it was my turn. I looked the treetops below and the power lines in the distance. I thought about what I’d learned, and I thought about all the things I needed to remember in order to fly down safely and land. And I knew that the minute my feet left the ground it was all me. I knew if I was too scared I would crash.

And I knew I was too scared.

So I took the Chicken Exit. I stayed on the ground and cheered the others on while they soared through the air again and again. (FUN!)

I’m still not sure what kind of bird I’ll be in the future – if someday I’ll fly off the mountain or if I’ll stay close to the ground forever. I’ll just keep picking my brave day to day and we’ll see.

Trish, a white woman with light brown hair wearing a blue dress, stands in an open doorway with a rollercoaster in the background. Above the door is a yellow sign that says "Chicken Exit"

DAY 6: PB Character 

Big Sister and Little Sister in WATER MAKES MUD: A STORY OF REFUGEE CHILDREN faced down their chicken exit when escaping war with nothing by creating their own toys and keeping hope alive. ~by Janie Reinart and illustrated by Morgan Taylor

A cartoon of two young girls with dark skin. One wearing a purple dress, the other a yellow dress, sit in a photograph of a non-cartoon doorway with a rollercoaster in the background. Above the doorway is a sign that says "Chicken Exit."

DAY 7: Dee Romito, author of FORT BUILDERS, INC.

“When I was teaching, we went on a field trip to Rock City. We had to take the “swinging” bridge, walking on creaky wooden slats across the empty space below. My students thought it was funny that I was so scared and made sure that bridge shook. When I got across, a bunch of the kids were already there. “How did you get across?” I asked. They pointed and said, “We took the stone bridge.” If I had known I had the option, I would have totally chickened out!”

A white woman with dark hair in a pink skirt and navy shorts stands in a doorway with a rollercoaster in the background. Above the doorway is a sign that says "Chicken Exit."


Voila! Days 5-7. In celebration of the upcoming release of BRAVER THAN BRAVE, I’ve got two giveaways going on right now. One on Twitter, which you can enter HERE. And one on Instagram, which you can enter HERE. They both open through July 23rd, and they are both open to wherever Book Depository delivers. Good luck!

Check out other days of Facing the Chicken Exit:

DAY 1: The Legend of the Chicken Exit

DAYS 2-4

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Author Interview: Dee Romito


07, 2022 |

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Sometimes, hosting an author interview is a great way to meet some fantastic authors. And sometimes, hosting an author interview is a way to spend time with a great friend! But it is always a way to share some amazing books with you, my readers. Today, I’m super excited to have children’s author, Dee Romito, here on my blog!

A white woman with dark brown curly hair, Dee Romito, sits in grass, and smiles at the camera while holding a bookWe met almost ten years ago through Pitch Madness (which was a contest that allowed you to get your work in front of agents). Since then, we have debuted our middle grade books together, taken picture book classes together, attended writing conferences and book festivals together, chatted for countless hours via text, phone, and zoom, and most recently, I even convinced her to do a Reel on Instagram with me! (Seriously, you should follow that link . . . just not until you’ve finished reading here. 😁)

From when I first read her work, before either of us were published, I loved it! Dee writes super-relatable, hard-to-put-down, intriguing-plot stories. So it was no surprise when she sold her chapter book series, Fort Builders, Inc. in a 4-book deal! The fourth book just came out, and I’m thrilled to have her here to talk about it. So let’s get started! (As always, I’m in green.)

Dee, will you tell us about your new chapter book series, FORT BUILDERS, INC.?

Fort Builders Inc. is about a group of friends who decide to start their own fort building business. They use teamwork, creativity, and their individual skills to navigate each challenge.

I love this premise so much! It’s brilliant! What inspired you with idea? Because honestly, what kid hasn’t wished they could build forts as a job? 

And kids are so good at it! I was trying to think of an idea for a chapter book series and asked myself, “What do kids like to do these days?” Right in front of me was a box fort my kids had made. I had my answer!

Kids bring so much inspiration to our writing lives. Love it! So I happen to know that you built a fort or two as research for your books. Can you tell us about that? Did you build any specific forts from your books? What was the hardest part?

I did! For the first book, I had to make a drawbridge, and then I had to give my family the instructions I’d written to see if the steps made sense. Watching them helped me fine tune what went in the book.

We also built a pet fort for a litter of kittens we were fostering. The kittens loved it, and they posed for some book promo photos too!

And those kittens were adorable! If you were part of Fort Builder’s, Inc., what would your job be in the fort-building team?

I’d probably end up being the organizer like Caleb. I like to figure out what everyone is good at and then delegate tasks. I also like to encourage everyone and be a sounding board if there’s a problem to solve.

Oh yeah. I can totally see that. I think I’d be like Kiara, doing the planning. 😂

Okay, I’d love for our readers to learn more about you, so what is one thing about you that might surprise us? 

I live in Buffalo, NY, which is very close to Niagara Falls and Canada. Around here it’s not a big deal to say you’re going to Canada, but when I talk to kids in other parts of the country and say I can go there for the day, they often look surprised, like I have a secret passage to far away land.

Oh, but you do. Canada is definitely a secret faraway land to those of us not by the border. 

What did you do before you were an author, and why did you decided to become one?

Before I was an author, I was a teacher. And I love that I still get to go into schools and classrooms and talk to students; it’s just in a different role now.

I had always wanted to write a book someday and see it on the shelf at a bookstore with my name on the cover. But it wasn’t until I was home with my kids and my son asked me a question that sparked an idea for a story. From there, I decided to learn how to write a book and get it published. After a lot of hard work, I did get to see my book on the shelf at a bookstore. 😊

Way more than one, now! Because with the release of FORT BUILDERS, INC. you have published in 3 genres: Middle Grade, Picture Books, and Chapter Books. Clearly, you are amazing, as each is so different. 

Did you have to make any adjustments to your writing process while working on FORT BUILDERS, INC.? 

Ha ha. I would first argue that YOU are amazing, but back to the question … Yes, I had to learn a whole new way to write a story. It seems like it would be much easier to write a shorter book, but I had to learn how to fit a story into 4,000 words instead of 40,000! My editor kept telling me to make things happen sooner. You don’t have as much lead in when the story is chapter book length and the plot points are closer together.

Aww, thank you! 😊 But for real. Telling a whole story with chapters in 4000 words??! Seriously impressed over here. Do you have a favorite category to write in?

I really like variety and have a lot of different interests, which is why I write in different categories. Each one is so different, and it’s fun to explore them.

SO different. And being in two categories myself, I have to agree. 


Okay, time to pick up the pace for the speed round!

Favorite candy? Anything chocolate!

Favorite color? Yellow

Cake vs. Cookies? Cookies for sure

Winnie-the-pooh character? Winnie the Pooh

Patriot’s game w/front row seats vs. Trip to London? Ha! Easily London.

Considering I’m a huge Buffalo Bills fan and London in my favorite city in the world, I feel like that last one is a trick question.

Haha! You know me too well. Just curious if I could pull one over on you in the quickness of it all. 😉 How about Buffalo Bills front row seats vs. Trip to London?

Still London. But you know I love my Bills!!!

Without question! Buffalo Bills, all the way!

Okay, final question. License Plates. I always have to ask. What would the Fort Builders, Inc. crew choose for personalized license plate if they were old enough to drive? You have 8 letters, and GO!

What a great question! I’d have to go with:


It’s perfect! Love it! Dee, thanks so much for hanging out with us today. So fun!


Dee Romito is an author of books for young readers and a former elementary school teacher. Her middle grade books include The BFF Bucket ListNo Place Like HomePostcards from Venice, and co-authored Best.Night.Ever (Aladdin/S&S). Her debut picture book, Pies from Nowhere: How Georgia Gilmore Sustained the Montgomery Bus Boycott (Little Bee Books) received a starred review from Booklist and a Crystal Kite Award. Her latest release is a chapter book series titled Fort Builders, Inc. (Aladdin/S&S). Dee blogs about writing at WriteforApples.com and is Co-Founder of Buffalo-Niagara Children’s Writers and Illustrators. While she does her best to be a grown-up most of the time, giggling with her BFFs is still one of her all-time favorite things. You can visit her website at deeromito.com. 

You can learn more about Dee and her books on her website, and she’s also on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and Goodreads.

You can order all of Dee’s books through Monkey See, Monkey Do Bookshop, and everywhere books are sold!

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Book News and Bits and Bobs


01, 2022 |

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Braver than Brave,Musings

Hello! Now that it is 2022, I feel like I’m speeding towards the release date of BRAVER THAN BRAVE! There is so much going on. And I have news for you!

Upcoming Posts:

Next Monday (3/7), I will have the fabulous children’s author Dee Romito here on the blog, talking about her chapter book series, FORT BUILDER’S INC. Trust me, you don’t want to miss that!

On March 21st, I will have picture book author Cindy Williams Schrauben here to talk about her debut book THIS COULD BE YOU. And no worries, I promise to remind you as it gets closer.

Where to find me:

Today, even though I am here telling you about all these fun upcoming posts, I am actually over on the brand new blog of children’s author Mary Boone! She has a fun new series called “Six Questions.” So you can read all about my writing process, what I was like as a kid, and get some insider information on BRAVER THAN BRAVE which releases on August 1st of this year. I hope you check it out (link is above)!


Finally, in case you missed it and are extra curious about my upcoming book, I was also recently on Tara Lazar’s blog Writing for Kids (While Raising Them) for a cover reveal. On that post, I share the genesis for the story idea for BRAVER THAN BRAVE.

Connect with me:

And okay, one last thing. I’ve discovered a love of making humorous Reels on Instagram about family life and being an author. If you want to see what I’m up to, come find me! I’d love to connect over there. My username is @janetsumnerjohnson. 🙂

And that’s it for the news! Though I’ll definitely be talking about my upcoming book here on my blog over the next several months, I also plan to tell you about other great books releasing into the world, and their amazing authors. Thanks for hanging around, and if there’s anything particular you’d love for me to post about, let me know!

P.S. If you missed the author interview with Zeena Pliska, check it out HERE.

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Author Adventures


20, 2016 |

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This last week has been a whirlwind of book events! On October 13th, I flew into the beautiful city of Cincinnati, OH for the Books by the Bank Regional Book Festival.


I had never been there before, and I was amazed at all the beautiful houses, the river views and of course the wonderful and friendly people.

On Friday, I participated in an author panel, along with Dee janetjohnson-booktableRomito (The BFF Bucket List) and Jenn Bishop (The Distance to Home) for a local school. Blue Marble Books arranged this visit, and if you are in the area, and haven’t been to their store, you should go!

On Saturday, I attended the Books by the Bank Regional Book Festival, along with so many of my fellow 2016 debut authors. I saw many friends, and made a few new ones.  Just to give you an idea:

And then I got to meet some other wonderful authors:

Laura was my table mate, and her super awesome book about dinosaurs being brought back to earth was a huge hit! (Alas, this blurry piture is the only one we got of the two of us). She sold out before the event was even over. You should look her up!



She was kind enough to take some paparazzi pictures of me signing books for some of the kids who came by. I loved meeting all the amazing kids who came through the festival. The grins on their faces because they were in a place with so many books, and so many authors. So proud of their reading abilities, and so proud to be talking to an author. They would ask, “Did you write that book?” And when I said “Yes,” their eyes would get so big. Working with kids is honestly the best part of being an author.


One of my favorite current books is “Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library.” So when Chris Grabenstein casually strolled up and started chatting with us before the whole event began, I was fangirling like crazy. He humored me (and quite a few others) by letting me take a selfie with him. Not only are his books amazing, but he is, too.


Of course, the local PBS tv station was at the event, so I couldn’t resist taking a picture with the famous Mr. Carson. He is as stiff in person as he is on Downton Abbey (hahaha!). 😉


And when Little Critter came by my table, I had to ask for a picture, because Little Critters by Mercer Mayer are a staple at my house. Even my older kids run over when we’re reading a Little Critters book.

little-critter-with-pbjI had such a great time at my first ever book festival (at least as an author). I hope to do this again soon! Have you ever attended a local book festival? What did you think?


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