Interview and GIVEAWAY with Ammi-Joan Paquette about picture book, ALL FROM A WALNUT, by Ammi-Joan Paquette, illustrated by Felicita Sala

Hi Math is Everywhere Readers,

I hope you’ve all been doing well. Thank you for your patience in waiting for this next blog post, which I think you are all going to love (especially the prize giveaway! It’s a BIG one!). I do want to share that this will be one of my last postings for a while (a few more will be coming this month, so keep your eyes peeled) as I will be taking a blog hiatus soon to help with life balance, but more on that soon. Right now, I’m beyond delighted to share about a this beautiful picture book by award-winning author and phenomenal literary agent, Ammi-Joan Paquette, ALL FROM A WALNUT, illustrated by Felicita Sala, which just hit shelves this March!

Description of book from the publisher: 

A moving, multigenerational story about love, family roots, and the cycle of life

When Emilia finds a walnut one morning, Grandpa tells her the story behind it: of his journey across the ocean to a new home, with only one small bag and a nut in his pocket.

“I planted my little tree in good brown soil, so it would grow strong here forever.”

“In this house? In this yard?”

“Shall we go see?”

Step by step, Grandpa teaches Emilia how to cultivate her own seed. But as her little nut grows, Grandpa begins to slow down—until one sad day, Emilia has to say goodbye. Emilia’s sapling looks as droopy as she feels . . . but she knows just what to do.

From acclaimed author and illustrator Ammi-Joan Paquette and Felicita Sala, this tender story is a poignant reminder that the best things grow with time—and that even when they are no longer here, the ones we love are always a part of us.



“Captures the personal-feeling family story with a poignant immediacy that also enshrines respect for the family’s legacy.”Publishers Weekly


Kaitlyn: Hi, Ammi-Joan, it’s so nice to have you here today! I believe I read that you like to be called Joan, so if it’s alright with you, can I call you Joan?

Joan: Yes, absolutely!

Kaitlyn: Wonderful and now, let’s dive in! Can you start by talking a bit about what it’s like marketing your own books? As an agent, we often have so much fun sharing about our client’s books, but I imagine marketing your own book is a whole different experience.

Joan: This is so very true - marketing one’s own book may come naturally to some people, but alas, I am not one of them! So I’m far from a role model on this front. That said, here’s my advice along this line: Find those things that you enjoy doing, that feel true and authentic to who you are and to your skill set, and focus there. Is that doing book events? Or being active on social media? Or blog tours? Everyone has their areas of strength and expertise, so identify those and start there. Of course, pushing out of our comfort zone a little is never a bad thing. But in general, being bound too much by things we feel we must or should or have to do is going to look to others as effortful as it feels to us. Be true to who you are, have fun, and readers will take notice! 

Kaitlyn: Such great advice. If you’re enjoying what you’re doing, others will connect, too. I can feel how connected you seem to be to this delightful story. Can you share how this book came to be?

Joan: This is very much a fictional story, but it does draw from true events: my past family’s emigration from Como, Italy; my particular love of large and leafy trees; and my own nostalgia at never having known my grandparents - I only met my maternal grandparents once as a young child, and never met my paternal ones at all. Somehow these elements came together in what ended up as a very personal story, albeit one that is entirely fictional in storyline.

Kaitlyn: I love that! I feel like whenever people are writing from the heart – even if they don’t realize it at first, the story always impacts me more. Can you share why books like this are so important to share with our little ones?

Joan: The first few times I read this book aloud to children, I worried that it would be too sad for them, that they would be upset by it. Interestingly, not a single child reacted that way. After the reading, when I asked if any of the children had experiences from their lives they might write about, many responded with some version of “when my grandma passed away,” “when my uncle moved to another country,” or “when my dog died.” Children are no strangers to loss, or sadness, or grief. Giving them an outlet to express this safely is a precious and much-needed gift.

Kaitlyn: That is the absolute best. It just shows how powerful these books can be at helping kids relate their experiences to the world, especially with beautiful art created by Felicita Sala to bring it to life. The art Felicita created for this story matches the tone so well. Can you share the process for finding Felicita and what you thought when you saw the art?

Joan: I am obsessed with Felicita Sala’s artwork, and could not be luckier that she was chosen to illustrate this text! I honestly could not imagine having done this with anybody but her - she absolutely makes the book ❤ 

Kaitlyn: That’s the absolute best! Now, if you had to pick, what is your favorite scene of this book?

Joan: This is nearly impossible, as I genuinely love the entire book! But I will say that the three-page spread where Grandpa is sitting in his chair on the left, and Emilia watches her growing plant on the right, is especially moving. The place setting of those three pages is identical. What changes are the light and page coloring; the slow growth of Emilia’s young tree; and Grandpa’s slow decline. It is such a moving sequence that captures so much in such a subtle way, and leads beautifully into the sadder moments that follow. 
One of the three spreads, words by Ammi-Joan Paquette, illustrations by Felicita Sala

Kaitlyn: I love how the actions match the words so well, and can see why you adore Felicita’s work so much! Can you share who your editor for this book was and why you enjoyed working with this editor?

Joan: My editor for this book was Emma Ledbetter at Abrams - she is an absolute genius, and worked her careful magic all across the span of this story. It was a wonderful experience working together!

Kaitlyn: It sounds magical, and the pages of this book attest to the beauty you all created together! Can you share some advice you like to share with authors?

Joan: My best advice: Keep reading, keep writing, and keep trying new things! It’s nothing new or special, really–but it works. In every way, practice makes perfect. 

Kaitlyn: Agreed! Keep at it, wonderful readers, and we’ll be reading your books very soon. Finally, if you could meet your favorite author, illustrator, historical figure, or author-illustrator, would you chat by a fireside or go on an adventure?

Joan: Definitely go on an adventure! (Anyway, you can always chat as you go :))

Kaitlyn: Ha! Yes, you definitely could! Thank you so much for stopping by today and for all you do to help bring beautiful books into the world.

Book Links

Author Bio and links

Ammi-Joan Paquette writes a bit of everything, grew up a bit of everywhere, and believes that every day is a brand new adventure. She has published 16 books for young readers—including the picture books Ghost in the House and The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Fairies, the magical middle-grade adventure The Train of Lost Things, and the award-winning non-fiction series Two Truths and a Lie, co-written with Laurie Ann Thompson—and many more on the way. Her books have been recognized with starred reviews, Junior Library Guild selections, and a wide range of Best of the Year and State Reading Lists. In her non-writing life, she is a senior literary agent with Erin Murphy Literary Agency. She lives in the Boston area with her family and zero pets (unless you count the towering book piles!). (Always count the towering book piles!)

Twitter at @joanpaq

Instagram at @ammi.joan.paquette

Kaitlyn’s Review the book

This beautiful story will be a new way for kids to experience, explore, and discuss our interconnectedness with our families, homes, and cultures. The words and art work together in an almost poetic way to help readers and listeners feel the power of this story. Definitely one to cuddle up with!

Giveaway- Query pass! EMLA is closed to unsolicited submissions, but you could be chosen for a query pass for Ammi-Joan

To enter the random drawing, do any/all of the following options, then come back and write all of the things you did in ONE blog comment. (If you forget something, feel free to reply to your first comment ;))

  1. Share that you added All from a Walnut to your Goodreads “Want to Read” list and/or your Amazon Wishlist 
  2. Share that you ordered a copy of All from a Walnut 
  3. Share that you did a purchase request for All from a Walnut at your library
  4. Share that you left a review on Amazon or Barnes and Noble
  5. Share that you retweeted or quote retweeted my tweet about this blog post on Twitter and tagged some friends.

Thank you all for always supporting wonderful creators, and I’m excited to share the next few blog posts before my hiatus. I’ll miss you all while on my break, but so glad to have such wonderful, supportive, and understanding followers.


Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez

74 thoughts on “Interview and GIVEAWAY with Ammi-Joan Paquette about picture book, ALL FROM A WALNUT, by Ammi-Joan Paquette, illustrated by Felicita Sala

  1. I love hearing other writers’ journeys! I did a purchase request for All from a Walnut at my library and retweeted your tweet about this blog post on Twitter and tagged some friends.


  2. Thank you sharing about your book’s journey. Your book sounds beautiful! Congratulations!
    Quote tweeted and tagged friends!


  3. Thanks Kaitlyn for sharing this story! I will absolutely place this on my wishlist and then purchase it.
    I’ll also recommend our library purchase it as well. Retweeting❣️


  4. Congratulations on a beautiful book- I enjoyed the interview! I love that the story isn’t exactly true but is inspired by real feelings (two truths and a lie?). Ordered from library, quote tweeted and tagged friends! Thanks for the opportunity, and I look forward to reading!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I already read this wonderful book from the public library, but have added it to my Amazon wishlist. I also quote retweeted and tagged friends. Thank you for sharing the backstory and for offering this opportunity!


  6. This book sounds so sweet. I requested that my library buy it, I RT it and tagged friends, and I ordered it from Amazon! Can’t wait to read it!


  7. Congratulations! Loved this interview! This book really resonates with me because I have my own grandparent/walnut tree story (but with a peach tree!). I’ve retweeted, tagged, and added to my Goodreads list!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Congratulations on this special book! I enjoyed the interview and loved the anecdote about the reading and the children’s reactions. Kids always surprise us with their wisdom! I added to my goodreads list; retweeted; and ordered a copy of the book from Amazon.


  9. What a great interview about a lovely story! Thanks to both of you ladies for sharing!

    I did 4 things, my 5th (a review) pending the book’s arrival! I can’t wait to read!

    Thank you!!


  10. I have added to Goodreads as a want to read item; I have shared on my Amazon wish list; requested a copy from my local library; retweeted on Twitter. Looks like a lovely book and I cannot wait to read.


  11. Thanks for this beautiful interview – I’m so excited to read this book! I have added it to my goodreads list, retweeted, and am purchasing from Amazon! My daughter was very impacted by the experience of losing her grandfather. She was only 2(!!!) but still talks about it at 6. I love that you’ve written this book and can’t wait to read with my kids!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. What a great post! Retweeted! Can’t wait to read this – I added to my amazon wishlist and requested from the library.


  13. I have a similar story in my Italian family. I can’t wait to read this book. And the opportunity to submit to you is something I have been hoping for! 🤞
    I retweeted, tagged friends, added to goodreads, tried to add to library purchase list but they already have it! So I put it on hold to take out. Thank you!


  14. What a great interview, thank you Kaitlyn and Joan! We checked out “All From A Walnut” from the library yesterday and my 3yo has already had us read it to her three times, so I was quite excited to see it being featured!! Congratulations on this wonderful new book!🎉

    I shared and tagged friends on Twitter, reviewed on Amazon, and added it to my “want to read” on Goodreads (and reviewed it there, as well, haha).

    Thank you!!


  15. I grew up in a multigenerational home so this kind of story hits my heart in a special way. Thank you for the thoughtful interview and special opportunity Kaitlyn and Joan. I ordered the book from my library, RT and tagged a friend.


  16. Absolutely love the old world feel and sweet relationship between Emilia and Grandpa! I retweeted and tagged a few friends.


  17. This sounds like a beautiful story–looking forward to reading it. 🙂

    In the meantime, I added to my Goodreads “Want to Read” list, added it to my Amazon Wishlist, could not make a purchase request at the library because they already had it but did put a hold on a copy, and quote tweeted/tagged on Twitter.

    Thank you so much for the interesting interview and generous giveaway! 🙂


  18. Love this story idea! I added to my Goodreads and Amazon, requested from my library, and quote tweeted/tagged friends. Thank you so much!


  19. What a beautiful story, both in the book and about the book. I love that it’s totally fictional but totally personal too. I get that. Sometimes we have just as strong feelings about things we never had, but might have had or might have wished for, as those we experienced. Well done, Joan, and thank you for a great interview, Kaitlyn.


  20. Thanks for this offer! I love multi-generational stories and ordered the book. Will leave an Amazon review when I read it. I have requested from the local library and retweeted.


  21. Thanks for sharing. I love that this book has multiple layers of complexity and meaning. It’s a beautiful way to show someone’s passing.
    I requested from my library and added to goodreads.


  22. Congratulations to both Joan and Felicita on this beautiful and tender story. I never knew my grandparents either, and really connected to that sense of longing. Great interview, Kaitlyn! I’m sorry to hear you’re taking a blog hiatus, but completely understand about life balance. Take care!

    I’ve retweeted and tagged friends, added to my Goodreads and did a purchase request from my library.


  23. This is a great interview. I cannot wait to read this book! I added it to my to read list on goodreads and retweeted it on Twitter.


  24. What a beautiful story! i love how the illustrations heighten the emotions. Can’t wait until it arrives in my mailbox.

    1. I added it to my Amazon Wishlist.
    2. I ordered a copy of All from a Walnut from Amazon.
    3. Checked my library catalog to request, but it’s already in their inventory.
    4. I quote retweeted Kaitlyn’s tweet about this blog post on Twitter and tagged four friends.


  25. Great interview, Kaitlyn!

    I’m so excited to read this book!

    I RT’d and tagged a friend on the tweet. 🥰


  26. Great tip: “Find those things that you enjoy doing, that feel true and authentic to who you are and to your skill set, and focus there.” I know my library already has this because I recently checked it out. Now I purchased it and it will soon my in my home library. Thank you!


  27. Awesome interview! Thanks so much for posting! This looks like a beautiful story. Congratulations! I just put it on hold at the library and can’t wait to read it! Quote tweeted and tagged a friend. 🙂


  28. This book looks amazing. Thank you for the query opportunity. I retweeted the blog post so others can enjoy this interview as well. ☺️


  29. I love stories with heart! I ordered a copy of this book from Amazon, and can’t wait to add it my bookshelf! I also did a purchase request at my library, retweeted on Twitter, and tagged some friends. Thank you for the opportunity!


  30. I actually read this recently from the “new” book shelf at one of my local libraries and it caught my eye because of one of my own intergenerational stories. I love the sense of hope that bubbles beneath grandpa’s condition as the main character’s walnut seed thrives and how a little nut goes on to thread the generations and story elements together. My eyes also lingered on one of the illustrations where grandpa’s face was hidden in the big tree.

    I’ve added it to my books on Goodreads, requested a copy for 5 other library systems (I have a lot of library cards from different towns/states X-)), left a review on Amazon (currently pending), and retweeted on twitter.

    Thank you for sharing and more than happy to boost!


  31. Congratulations, your book looks beautiful! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and for offering new writers this incredible opportunity. I’ve requested my local library in Mumbai, India to carry your book, added it to my Goodreads and quote-retweeted your post, tagging other writers. I love what you said about children being far more resilient and thoughtful than we often think. Wishing you, Emilia and Grandpa the very best.


  32. Thanks for this great interview and wonderful opportunity. I can’t wait to read this book!
    I’ve added it to my Goodreads and Amazon lists and quote tweeted and tagged some friends.


  33. Thanks for the opportunity, Kaitlyn! What a beautiful book. I enjoyed the interview! I retweeted, tagged friends, added to my Goodreads wishlist, and made a purchase request at my library.


  34. I love inter-generational stories. I made a purchase request for All from a Walnut at my library, retweeted about this blog post, and tagged some friends. Thank you!


  35. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity! I can’t wait to read this beautiful book!

    Kaitlyn, thank you for everything you do for all of us in the writing community! Have a restful hiatus!

    I have completed #1, 2, and 5 and will do #4 as soon as my copy arrives!


  36. Was pumped to find my library already had 3 copies! I retweeted, tagged some friends, added to my wishlist, and left a review. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story!


  37. Thanks for the wonderful interview! This story looks heart wrenchingly lovely.

    I have added it to my goodreads To Reads, and done all the Twitter things (RT, comment, tag, like). Thanks for the opportunity!


  38. What a lovely sounding book. Can’t wait to read it! I liked and quote-retweeted, tagged friends and added to my Amazon wishlist. I hope you get to take a breath during your hiatus from the blog, Kaitlyn!

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Thanks so much for this opportunity! This book looks incredibly sweet, I can’t wait to read it. I requested from my library, tagged, and retweeted!


  40. Great post! Thank you for sharing about this beautiful book. I added to my Good Reads list and re-tweeted on Twitter. Thanks for the query giveaway. I met Joan at the regional New England SCBWI conference several years ago and look forward to reading her new book.


  41. “Be true to who you are, have fun, and readers will take notice!” Joan, this is such thoughtful advice. Thank you for sharing your story’s journey. Congratulations to you and Felicita for this heartfelt book. I look forward to reading it.


  42. Oh I would love this opportunity!

    – I quote RT’d your tweet and tagged friends
    – I added this to my Good Reads list!


  43. What a fun interview! Love the advice to “Be true to who you are, have fun …” Reminds me of what I notice when I think about working on my PB WIP: I catch myself smiling! Can’t beat that feeling!

    And what a precious story. I was smitten when I read the line, “Together we crossed the great, wide ocean…” This lovely tale makes me want to be sure I leave a ‘walnut’ of my own for my own family. Inspiring.

    Many thanks for this generous opportunity! I’d be thrilled to be considered.
    I reviewed “All from a Walnut” on Amazon, reviewed it on Goodreads, requested my library purchase a copy (it’s available from others in my region, but not my own, yet!), put it on my Amazon wishlist, and retweeted this post! I tried to tag my critique buddies but didn’t figure that out, yet 😉


    1. Oooh, meant to mention that Grandpa’s boyhood decision to carry a walnut in his pocket is reminiscent of the ‘acorn-in-your-pocket-will-bring-you-luck-and-prosperity’ thing… Love that!


  44. Thanks for this inspiring interview from a writer who also understands the agenting world. I loved hearing about how this story idea came together for you, Joan!

    I’ve ordered a copy of All from a Walnut. Thanks, Kaitlin and Joan!


  45. Happy to add this heartfelt story to my classroom library! I have retweeted, and am purchasing from Amazon!


  46. Congratulations! Great interview! I look forward to reading ALL FROM A WALNUT I checked and my library already has this wonderful book (digital and PB!), so I put it on hold. I also marked it as want-to-read on Goodreads and retweeted the blog post. Thanks so much for this opportunity!


  47. Walnut trees grew in the front yard of my childhood home, so I’m already intrigued by this book. What a great giveaway, too! I’ve retweeted this post and shared it with friends.


  48. This is such a moving book, I absolutely agree we need relatable stories about grief and staying connected to those we’ve lost ❤️
    I’ve added your book to my Amazon wish list and left a review on Barnes and Noble (it’s already in stock at my library so couldn’t do a purchase request!).


  49. Maybe too late for the contest, but I enjoyed this interview and requested my library get the book. Thank you!


  50. What a heart-warming story! And I’d be on Cloud 9 if I could query Ammi-Joan Paquette. I added the book to my Amazon wishlist and retweeted your tweet. Hope it’s not too late!


  51. Hello! I’m not sure if I’m too late to enter the drawing, but I did all five things, and I’m so grateful to have this book in my library:) Thank you for always providing fantastic opportunities!!


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