Books Talk: Little Blue Truck & When a Dragon Moves In…Again

I grew up in a house full of books, music, and imagination. But as someone who struggled with reading in early elementary school, picking up a new book wasn’t always as thrilling as it is now. It’s because of my parents encouragement and support that my love affair with books did not fade away.

Today is Dr. Seuss’s birthday and Read Across America day; what a perfect day to introduce a new Albuquerque Moms Blog series: Books Talk! Where I will be interviewing the people behind the books you and your children love! (and maybe introducing you to a new favorite 🙂 )

Book Talks from Albuquerque Moms Blog

“Education” Image courtesy of africa at

In this post and tomorrow’s I’ll start this series out with a bang, by featuring four books, each with a different target age group. But wait, there’s more! (Cue infomercial voice) Because I also have a signed copy from each of these amazing people to giveaway!!!

 So here we go! Today I have two picture books: one for toddlers and one for grade schoolers. Enjoy!

Little Blue Truck, written by Alice Schertle, Illustrated by Jill McElmurry

Celebrate with Books with illustrator Jill McElmurry from Albuquerque Moms Blog

Illustrator Jill McElmurry

Jill McElmurry lives right here in New Mexico! And when she’s not working on illustrating one of her many children’s books, she loves painting New Mexico landscapes. Visit to learn more!

Tell me about your book.Celebrate with Books with illustrator Jill McElmurry from Albuquerque Moms Blog

Little Blue Truck, written by Alice Schertle, is the story of a small friendly blue truck who helps, along with his
friends, a big unfriendly dump truck out of a jam. The hardcover version came out in 2008 and the board book came out in 2009. The board book really took off and continues to sell well.

What is your target age group?

I think it’s 2 – 4. Something like that.

What character or scene did you have the most fun creating?

The blue truck itself was fun to come up with. He started out as a 1940 Ford and ended up most resembling a 1935 Chevy pick-up.

What is something you think people would be surprised about in the illustrating process? And what is your favorite part of being an illustrator?

The question I get most often is, “I wrote a story, would you be interested in illustrating it?” I explain that all – ALL – of the manuscripts I illustrate are offered to me (through my agent) by the editors at publishing houses. I reject many that are offered because they aren’t a good fit or don’t speak to me. Little Blue Truck and it’s sequel, Little Blue Truck Leads the Way, spoke to me. I also suggest to people that, if they’re serious about writing for kids, they should join SCBWI.
My favorite thing about illustrating is, in the very beginning, daydreaming and imagining all the possible ways I might illustrate a story. The dreamy part before the reality of committing to an approach has set in, is the most fun. I also like painting the final illustrations once all the sketching and revising is over.

Do you have a favorite story from a book reading or school visit? And do you have any upcoming events our readers should know about?

I rarely do readings or events. They just aren’t my thing. I prefer to be in my studio painting or illustrating. When the book first came out, I presented my process for illustrating Little Blue Truck at The Anderson Center in Redwing, Minnesota. We used to live in St. Paul and The Anderson Center has an annual Fall Celebration of Minnesota Children’s Book Authors and Illustrators. I like thinking back on that because, at the time,  I had no idea how popular that book would become.

When a Dragon Moves In, by Jodi Moore

Celebrate with Books with Jodi Moore from Albuquerque Moms Blog

Author Jodi Moore

Jodi Moore lives in central Pennsylvania and believes “Children’s books are hardbound hugs!” She loves writing, reading, and eating chocolate. Visit to learn more!

Tell me about your book.Dragon Hi Res Cover

WHEN A DRAGON MOVES IN is based on the premise that if you build a perfect sandcastle, a dragon will move in. And that’s exactly what happens to one lucky boy on the beach. Everything is wonderful, until the boy realizes his family doesn’t believe him. That’s when the mischief begins. Heh-heh-heh. Is the dragon real or just a figment of the boy’s imagination? It’s up to the reader to decide!

In the sequel WHEN A DRAGON MOVES IN AGAIN, the duo enjoy a different kind of castle, until they find out it’s a crib for the new baby. Heh-heh-huh? As soon as they get used to the news, the boy and his dragon are back in roaring form, entertaining the infant with marching music, aerial acrobatics and baby-bottle bowling. But merriment turns to mischief. And mischief has consequences. Can a dragon friend –real or not – help smooth the transition to big brotherhood?

What is your target age group?Celebrate with Books with Jodi Moore from Albuquerque Moms Blog

Both books are targeted for ages 4 to 8.

What theme/character/situation do you think helps draw this age group to your story?

Children have important things to say and they need their voices to be heard. Everyone wants to be acknowledged, appreciated and believed. And who wouldn’t want a dragon to move in and help with a frustrating situation?

What is one of the things you like most about being an author?

When you’re a children’s author, you never have to grow up. 🙂 I love creating stories; I love sharing them with others even more, hoping to ignite their own imaginations and passions for reading and writing.

Do you have a favorite story from a book reading or school visit?

Celebrate with Books with Jodi Moore from Albuquerque Moms BlogWriting books is a dream come true for me, and I always try to encourage children to pursue their own, despite any challenges or opposition they may face. I received this letter from a fourth grader after one of my school visits. Need I say more? *heart squish*

THIS is why I do what I do.

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Thanks to these wonderful ladies for participating. Please check out their work on their websites by clicking their names below, and don’t forget to register to win a signed copy of their books!

Jill McElmurry – Little Blue Truck                                  Jodi Moore – When a Dragon Moves In…Again




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