When Mama Grows with Me by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler: Blog Tour & Giveaway

Monday, September 25, 2023


I'm so excited to have author Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler back with us again for another blog tour. Her last tour with us was for her amazing book Whispering Through Water. And I'm so happy to have her touring her newest book When Mama Grows With Me. It's perfect for families who want to foster a love for nature and exercise and kids who love bugs and dirt!
Celebrate with us as we interview the author and giveaway a copy of the book to one lucky reader.

But first, here's more information about the book:

In When Mama Grows with Me, a mama and her son create their own garden, starting with just a few small seeds and ending with a beautiful display of flowers. They observe how pollinators help the earth stay healthy, learn how to care for plants, and meet other critters that live in their garden, all while playfully shaping their bodies into yoga poses inspired by nature. Not only do Mama and her son learn valuable lessons about their garden, but along the way, they also learn to practice patience. 

By pairing lessons with movement, Rebecca Wheeler helps young readers make connections between the natural world and their own emotional experiences. Learn the value of patience and practice some fun yoga poses in this beautifully illustrated children’s book.
Includes a step-by-step guide to each yoga pose!

Publisher: Belle Isle Books
ISBN-10: 195875465X
ISBN-13: 978-1958754658
Print length: 32 pages

Purchase a copy on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Thrift Books, or Bookshop.org. Make sure you add it to your GoodReads reading list.

About the Author, Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler

Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler was raised in West Point, a small town in the Tidewater region of Virginia. From the moment she submitted her first short story to a young author’s contest in second grade, Rebecca knew she wanted to be a writer. Her love of writing led her to earn a BA in English and an MEd in English education. She spent several years as a high school teacher, during which she also developed a passion for mental health advocacy. Rebecca completed an MA in professional counseling and now works in school-based mental health and as a college adjunct psychology instructor.
Rebecca also teaches yoga for the young and the young at heart, and she likes to infuse yoga and breathwork in her counseling practice wherever she can. She believes the most valuable use of her time is teaching youth how to love and care for each other and the world around them. Her stories share this focus on positive relationships and a love of nature. Rebecca now lives in Durham, North Carolina, with her husband, two children, and two spoiled Siamese cats.

When Mama Grows with Me is Rebecca’s third book. Her first picture book in the yoga series, When Daddy Shows Me the Sky released November 2021, and her first YA novel, Whispering Through Water, released January 2023. 
You can follow her on Instagram @rebeccawwheeler_author, her website: www.rebeccawwheeler.com

--- Interview by Nicole Pyles

WOW: First off, congratulations on your book! I'm so glad to have you with us again. This is such a charming read. I love how it blends a love of nature with yoga with spending time together. What inspired this book?

Rebecca: Thank you! As far back as I can remember, I helped my mom and grandma in the garden. Now my son also loves to help me! Gardening is cyclic and involves patience (much like a yoga practice). 

I've taught children’s yoga for many years (preschool yoga in particular), and I incorporate books into my classes, especially those that integrate themes of science and nature. I find that many children’s yoga books lack fluidity and use lofty, abstract language that is inaccessible to young readers. Many books offer one pose per page but do not transition well to the following page. I wanted a children’s book to feel like the practice: connected, fluid, and complete, so I wrote the books I was looking for. 

WOW: That's amazing how that love of gardening has moved down generations. What a beautiful family tradition. The artwork is absolutely charming. Tell me about the illustrator. Did you happen to work with her on developing the artwork?

Rebecca's frogs
 Thank you! The illustrator is Katherine Jordan, and When Mama Grows with Me is the second book we've worked on together. The first book When Daddy Shows Me the Sky was released in November 2021, also from Belle Isle Books, an imprint of Brandylane Publishers. As we were prepping for the first book, my editor asked a couple of illustrators to draw a page from the book. I picked the illustrator from the samples that were returned. 

While I have never spoken to Katherine personally, we communicated through my editor, Ceci. I created a spreadsheet of yoga poses and descriptions so Katherine would have a framework for the pose illustrations. Fun fact: The frogs in the book are illustrations of the actual frogs that live in my water pitcher! 

When Mama Grows with Me by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler

WOW: I love how you both worked together! What do you hope children and their parents/guardians discover when reading your book?

Rebecca: I love this question! Unfortunately, social media gives parents some impossible standards as comparison points. Quality time with children doesn't need to involve elaborate outings or activities. Something as simple as hanging out in the yard and observing nature has a big impact. I hope my book inspires parents to share everyday activities they love with their children.

WOW: Absolutely! I have so many wonderful memories of just being with my mom growing up that mean so much. What joy do you hope children discover through gardening?

Rebecca: I hope children discover awe in their own backyards. I chose zinnias, because of their amazing blooms. I love my 4-year-old son's commentary as he looks at a bloom. He describes all the colors and tries to count the petals. He's learned not to be afraid when a bee, moth, or butterfly, but instead shrieks with delight when the insect visits our yard. 

WOW: If only I had that same reaction of glee about bugs! I love a child's perspective. What changed about this book during the revision stages?

Rebecca: The structure stayed the same during the revision process and the "science" of the garden elements. Upon my editor's suggestions, I played up the waiting aspect of the story. I do want the reader to discover joy in waiting, and that it's in those times of waiting that growth occurs (both in humans and plants!). From the first draft to the final, there are more references to waiting and patience. 

WOW: So true about growth in waiting! What advice do you have for authors who would like to write books for children?

Rebecca: Read a lot of picture books. Notice what is special about the picture books that attract you. Personally, I enjoy picture books with a lyrical quality, strong verbs, and clever descriptions, that are also fun to read aloud. 

Remember there's beauty in simplicity. You have 32 pages and less than 1000 words. Choose a theme that's manageable to satisfy in that brief space. 

WOW: Great advice! What are you working on that you can tell us about?

Rebecca: I always intended to write a series of three kids' yoga books. I do have a draft of a third book, which involves a grandma and backyard animals. 

WOW: I love that! I can't wait to see what you come out with next. Thank you for joining us again!

When Mama Grows with Me by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler Blog Tour

---- Blog Tour Calendar

September 25th @ The Muffin
Join us as we celebrate the launch of When Mama Grows With Me by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler. Read an interview with the author and win a copy of the book.

September 25th @ Rockin' Book Reviews
Join Lu Ann for her review of When Mama Grows With Me.

September 27th @ What Is That Book About?
Visit Michelle's blog to find out more about When Mama Grows With Me.

September 27th @ Lisa Haselton's Reviews and Interviews
Join Lisa as she interviews Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler about her writing journey and her book When Mama Grows With Me.

September 28th @ Knotty Needle
Visit Judy's blog for her insights into When Mama Grows With Me.

September 29th @ The Mommies Review
Visit Glenda's blog for a guest post by author Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler about why her book is dedicated to Grandma Helen.

October 1st @ The Mommies Review
Join Glenda for her review of When Mama Grows With Me.

October 2nd @ One Writer's Journey
Visit Sue's blog for a guest post by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler about using picture books to teach SEL (social emotional learning).

October 4th @ The Faerie Review
Join Lily as she reviews When Mama Grows With Me by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler.

October 7th @ School Librarian in Action
Visit Zarah's blog for her review of When Mama Grows With Me.

October 9th @ One Writer's Journey
Join Sue for her review of When Mama Grows With Me.

October 11th @ My Beauty, My Books
Nichole reviews When Mama Grows With Me by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler.

October 15th @ Shoe's Seeds and Stories
Join Linda for her review of When Mama Grows With Me by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler.

October 17th @ A Storybook World
Deirdra shares a spotlight of When Mama Grows With Me.

October 20th @ Chapter Break
Julie shares a guest post by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler about finding inspiration in the everyday.

October 21st @ Of History and Kings
Visit Helen's blog for a guest by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler about making the most of waiting.

October 22nd @ Shoe's Seeds and Stories
Visit Linda's blog again for a guest post by author Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler about what to do with your garden in the fall and winter.

October 25th @ World of My Imagination
Join Nicole as she reviews When Mama Grows With Me.

October 27th @ Fancy That!
Visit Nicole's blog for a guest post by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler about teaching kids a healthy respect for bugs.

October 29th @ Jill Sheets' blog
Visit Jill's blog for her interview with author Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler.

***** BOOK GIVEAWAY *****

Enter to win a copy of When Mama Grows with Me by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler! Fill out the Rafflecopter form by October 8th at 11:59 pm CT for a chance to win. We will randomly choose a winner the next day and announce in the Rafflecopter widget and follow up by email. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Heather Swanson said...

Lots of fun for all ages

Kirsten Lyon said...

Sounds like a good book for my niece! Interested in the yoga poses!

kywave said...

What a delightful way to introduce gardening

Julie said...

Great to share with the grandkids

Wanda B said...

Kids would love this!

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