Guest Edition

JaNay Brown-Wood–What Was on Her . . .

JaNay Brown-Wood

Today is the first day of International Clothesline Week. What? You’ve never heard of it?  Well, it’s a full week dedicated to the efficiency and cost savings of hanging out your laundry. But more importantly, it’s a week to celebrate the latest delightful book by JaNay Brown-Wood, which is coming out in ten days. Shhh! The Baby’s Asleep! does, in fact, feature a clothesline. Yet it features much, much more.

Opening with the line, “Now don’t make a peep—the baby’s finally asleep!” Shhh! The Baby’s Asleep tells of the trials and tribulations of keeping a baby slumbering when the house is full of three generations of family, a dog, and a lawn-mowing neighbor. The story is perfectly paired with the dynamic illustrations of Elissambura, making it a modern-day classic. Written in rhyme and loaded with noise-making onomatopoeias, Shhh! The Baby’s Asleep!  is grin-from-ear-to-ear storytelling at its best.

            Shhh! The Baby’s Asleep

Written by JaNay Brown-Wood, Illustrated by Elissambura

Celebrate the silliness that comes with a big family in this playful read aloud about a big brother, a sleeping baby, and a very noisy family. 

Baby is finally asleep. But everyone is much too loud! Can Mom, Daddy, Grammy, Pop Pop, Shae, Dante, Rover the dog, and even the neighbor keep quiet?  Just when they think they can rest—oh no. The baby’s awake. One savvy little narrator knows just the way to make his baby sister fall back asleep: by reading her a good book!
A hilarious cast of characters will keep readers laughing throughout this amusing celebration of early literacy and intergenerational family relationships.

JaNay has been writing since elementary school, when she composed Taylor the Tyrannosaurs Rex and a mystery series starring Detective JaNay. In fact, she showed such promise, her sixth-grade teacher predicted she would one day be a famous author. In 2014 her first book, Imani’s Moon, came out. And just this January, Stephen Colbert gave it a shout-out on A Late Show. So, yes, sixth-grade teachers are always right.

As JaNay continued her studies all the way to a PhD in Education, she never stopped writing. With all that honing of her talent, it will come as no surprise that she has two books coming out this year—Shh! The Baby’s Asleep, which as you know, comes out June 15, and Amara’s Farm, which comes out September 1.

With her very busy schedule, I’m delighted that JaNay had time to stop by. JaNay joins us from Sacramento, California, where she lives with her husband and daughter, to tell us What Was On her…

Clothesline During this Celebratory Week: Invitations, Sandra! Invitations to a virtual birthday party for SHHH! THE BABY’S ASLEEP! adorn my hypothetical clothesline, hanging like decorations to celebrate the publication date—June 15th! Though I will admit, there are also clean, mismatched socks dispersed throughout and hanging up there with the invitations, soaking up the sunshine.Countertop: My new KitchenAid Countertop mixer (named Gloria aka Glo) and fresh apple turnovers that I made from scratch. During the pandemic, I resumed a hobby that I thoroughly enjoyed pre-college: baking. I bought the mixer in December and have been baking ever since. I LOVE it. So far I’ve made several cakes, tarts, tortes, cookies, buns, bread, and pastries. It’s therapeutic for me. And what’s even cooler is that for my WHERE IN THE GARDEN SERIES, which starts with Amara’s Farm (September 2021, Peachtree), each book includes a recipe in the back matter that kids can make with an adult helper. Talk about MIXing passions together (pun totally intended!).

Stephen Colbert Shout-Out: A funny poem written by Colbert and his team to showcase me and three other authors of color. My name was actually mentioned first AND Stephen included a picture of my book Imani’s Moon (not to mention, Misty Copeland was also on this list for her book Firebird). It was amazing! A friend of Facebook was actually the one who messaged me with a link of the clip and my husband and I were blown away. What an experience!

Kid Bookshelf: Lots and lots of diverse books. I love reading children’s literature (which makes sense since I also love writing it) and I enjoy sharing it with my daughter. My favorites right now include Vicky Fang’s Layla and the Bots series, Kelly Starling Lyon’s Ty’s Travels, and books from Charlesbridge’s Storytelling Math Series. Such wonderful books!

Adult Bookshelf: Wait…there are books written for people who aren’t children? In all seriousness, if I am not reading children’s books, I most likely am reading academic literature for my job as a professor or for research I am conducting. Unfortunately, I don’t generally have a lot of time to read for pleasure, so when I do it’s picture books, middle grades, and young adult. Currently, I’m reading Dread Nation by Justina Ireland. Oh, and cookbooks since I love to bake!

Post-Its & Notepads: Long, long, long to-do lists cover my post-its. Since I wear many hats (mother, wife, professor, researcher, author, poet, advocate, etc.) I always have a bazillion tasks to complete. To-do lists help to keep me sane. But, as far as notepads, I have an electronic one on my phone where I jot down story and character ideas to develop later.

Mind: Upcoming book projects. I am SO lucky to have a number of wonderful and exciting projects that I am working on, especially since many of the projects give me an opportunity to expand my craft and venture into new types of writing. My mind is also thinking about the upcoming week-long summer writing workshop I’ll be leading through Fishtrap, some research I’ll be wrapping up in the summer, and MY BOOK LAUNCH FOR SHHH!!! All fun and exciting things. So needless to say, the things on my mind are keeping me enthused and smiling! 😊

Thanks so much, JaNay! Your Fishtrap workshop looks fantastic. I’m so happy for all the lucky folks who will be attending. And last but not least, have a FABULOUS book launch on June 15! Shhh! The Baby’s Asleep is such a wonderful book and I know the launch will be just as wonderful.

You and your families can register for the free, virtual SHHH! THE BABY’S ASLEEP book birthday party (June 15, 4pm PST) HERE!

You can also stay in contact with JaNay Brown-Wood at, on Twitter @janaybrownwood, on Facebook @janay.brown.733 and on Instagram @janaybrownwood.

If you would like to preorder Shhh! The Baby’s Asleep!, click on the book below.

If you would like to preorder Amara’s Farm, the first in a new Where in the Garden? Series released by Peachtree Publishing, click on the book below.

Join us again on June 24 when agent Victoria Wells Arms will be stoping by to tell us What Was On her rug (I hope it’s her dog, Felix), Menu (after all she’s a trained chef), and Wishlist for Submissions (because an agent always has one).

You’ll also want to put July 15 on your calendar, when Lori Steel of Raven Quill Literary Agency will be guest posting. Lori will be talking about how she juggles her three Kid Lit roles of writer, librarian and agent.

If you would like to know more about me and my writing, please visit

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