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Much More Than a Halloween Story

A revisit of our very first blogpost: Shy Mama's Halloween!

This sweet, beautifully written story has such a special place in our hearts. In 1999 I was given the contract to illustrate "Shy Mama's Halloween", a beautifully written manuscript about a Russian immigrant family celebrating Halloween for the first time. It takes place in the 30's, and centers around Mama, who is very frightened of America in general & Halloween specifically, and who defers to Papa to take the children trick-or-treating. Alas, Papa comes home sick...and Mama faces her fears and heads out into the night with her astonished but thrilled children. I felt a deep kinship to Mama as I worked on the illustrations, experiencing many sleepless nights and terrified moments of "what was I THINKING!?!" during the process, but am SO glad that I faced my own fears and did it. This is the painting I made for the back cover of the book, showing Mama peacefully blowing out the jack-o-lantern's candle. My dear friend Sue was the model, and I love this painting and what it represents. It is hanging in my little studio. ❤

I am also reminded of the most moving memory I have while presenting this book. I was at the Bangor Children's Museum in October 2001, just one month after the 9/11 attacks. When I read the lines of the story quoted below, most of the adults in the audience had tears streaming down their cheeks. I think of it every time I read these words aloud. This line was said by the oldest daughter, Anya: "Here, in the darkness, surrounded by what seemed like hundreds of other children, we, too, were American. No one cared that our 'Thank you' was said with an accent. No one cared that our Mama, in her babushka, could speak only a few words of English. Halloween was our holiday, as much as anyone else's." 

Thank you, Anne Broyles, for writing such a beautiful story.  

Books Halloween Printables Shy Mama's Halloween

Shy Mama's Halloween- Mama Blows Out the Candle


Halloween is almost here- one of our favorite times of the year!

If you are looking for a sweet Halloween story, check out Shy Mama's Halloween. It is written by Anne Broyles and illustrated by our own Leane Morin. :) It has won several awards, including the 2002 Teacher's Choice award by Learning Magazine. Here is an except from the School Library Journal review:

"This gentle look at how immigrants feel about living in a new country also offers the message that communication and warmth among people can transcend language barriers. Morin's realistic illustrations perfectly combine elements of Russian culture with the mysterious moods of Halloween."

    ~Bina Williams, School Library Journal

You can pick up your own copy of Shy Mama's Halloween at


We have a free coloring page of Mama blowing out the candle for you to download! Click here or on the picture below to begin the download:

 Free Shy Mama's Halloween download



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