Interview by Laurie Knowlton with the author Mayhem 2020

By Laurie Knowlton

Well, Mayhem, you have had an astonishing year and you are still rolling. Can you tell us a little about 2020?

Oh yes, 2020 has been some of my finest work. I’ve changed the whole world’s outlook on, well just about everything. I’ve been in the news daily. There are hundreds of blogs, magazine articles, tabloids, tweets, snap chats, Facebook articles and even old fashioned newspapers that haven’t been able to go a day without mentioning Little-ole-Me, Mayhem 2020!

Yes, that is the undeniable truth. Mayhem I'd like to ask you specifically about the publishing world. How have you, Mayhem 2020, changed the world of publishing?
A better question is, what haven’t I done to the 2020 publishing world?

First of all, everything gets a little catawampus during an election year. And boy did I enjoy stirring the pot on this year's election, but that is a different story.

Then of course when I unleashed COVID-19, you got to see me, Mayhem 2020, in action! Publishing houses sent their people home to shelter in place, making contacting editors even more difficult. And the books that were in the pipe-line for contracts got put on hold because, well who knows  what else I have up my sleeve. WINK! WINK!   

And if that wasn’t enough books that were ready to be released were either postponed or dropped, just like that! It was a thing of beauty! If I do say so myself.

Then, just to tighten the noose around publishing's throat I closed all the book outlets! No libraries, no book stores, no national book conventions... books...

True, but you didn't stop the libraries, book stores, or conventions. They found a way through online orders from the libraries, online sales, and conferences.

Yeah, well... I still had them running around like chickens being chased by a fox! You should have seen the feathers fly trying to find a way around me! Ha!

Mayhem, I can’t help but notice you're laughing at that! What about all the people who worked so hard on writing, editing, and publishing all those beautiful stories? What about all the book sellers and our kind neighborhood librarians?

Don’t be a marshmallow! It’s me, Mayhem 2020!

Those people need to get a  real job! Something in the demolition field.   


What about dreams? Goals? Seeing God-given creativity come to life on the paper pages of a real book! Don’t people need books?   

Books-smooks! You’re behind the times. Who reads books anymore? I’ve done the world a favor!

Well, Mayhem, I need books. I love the smell of a freshly printed book. I love the feel of the pages on my fingers. I love the comfort of wrapping up in a blanket, and sitting in my reading chair. I love getting lost in the lives and events of a new character.   

And what about all the children? How are they going to fall asleep at night without curling up in their Mama or Papa's lap to hear a story?
Get out the violins... It’s me, Mayhem 2020, do you really think you can go back to all that after what I’ve accomplished? Things are NEVER going to be the same! I am Mayhem 2020!

Mayhem 2020, I think you've forgotten something.

Me? Impossible.

Yes, you. You have forgotten that humans have a certain je ne sais quoi, an unbreakable spirit. You might be able to destroy everything around them, but you cannot break their spirit. Writer's need to write. Illustrators need to create. And people need to connect.

The one and only place a person can connect with another person's imagination firsthand is in a book. You may not be able to travel outside your doors because of a pandemic, but you can go anywhere past, present, and future in a book. You can live a life very unlike your own, experience a different culture, live a different reality, all by reading a book.     

Mayhem, you may think that books are dead, but I think you are wrong. We are weathering a great storm of chaos right now, but it can't last forever. Remember after every storm there is a new day.   

The publishing world may look like it is dead, but it is only taking cover. When the sky clears people are going to be hungry for new books, and publishers are going to provide them.    

Wow! Who do you think you are, Pollyanna? You just wait and see!

That is exactly what I am going to do. In the meantime I have a book calling my name. You'll find me in my chair reading until Mayhem 2020 is over... by the way it's December and the days are tick-tocking away to a new year and new possibilities!


Children's Books to Give for the Holidays


     'Tis the look for great gift books for kids. Check out our short list of kid's books that make great holiday gifts!

     Brand new as of December 1st: Plants Fight Back by Lisa Amstutz.

     Botany for kids! Beautiful illustrations by Rebecca Evans in this nature book provide information on the clever adaptations that help plants survive.

      How do you survive when danger is near and you are rooted in the ground? Plants use their defenses and fight back!

      As readers turn the pages of this beautifully illustrated book, they will find fun and poetic language describing various situation where different plants find themselves under attack. This is followed by informative, science-based lessons about these plants and their survival methods. Back matter includes a glossary and a STEM challenge activity to use at home or in the classroom.

Back matter Includes:
  • Explore More for Kids: photos and information about the plants in this book.
  • Explore More for Teachers & Parents: Literacy and Science connections!
A perfect book for:
  • parents and teachers in search of homeschool supplies for kindergarten (or any grade!)
  • anyone looking for children's books to help instill an appreciation of our planet!

     A boy and his mom continue the family tradition of participating in the annual Christmas Bird Count. Since Gramps went South for the winter, the boy hopes to spot Gramps's favorite bird for him―a dove! But with so many different birds in the nature preserve, will he be able to spot one? This heart-warming family story about nature celebrates a holiday census that was first started in 1900 and takes place every year.
Illustrated by Maria Luisa Di Gravio

     Ah-Choo! by Lana Wayne Koehler and Gloria G. Adams
uses rhythm, rhyme and repetition to tell the story of a boy who
searches for just the right pet that won't make his sister sneeze.
Illustrated by Ken Min.

     Also from Gloria: Check out her series, Boost My Reading Skills, filled with beautiful photos, rhyming text, and ideas for parents for boosting pre-reading and reading skills in young children.


        A Hat for Mrs. Goldman by Michelle Edwards and G. Brian Karas, 
  a book about doing good for others.

       Don't miss award-winning book, Each Kindness 
                                                     by Jacqueline Woodson and E.B. Lewis              

      A wintery scene captures the fun of maple sugar time in

 Maple Syrup from the Sugarhouse by Laurie Lazarro Knowlton and Kathryn Mitter.

We wish you all a safe and happy holiday season