Counting to Bananas Book Birthday!

It’s finally here!
I’m so excited that Counting to Bananas is out in the world today! I think Banana here is pretty delighted, too.
Since picture books don’t often have space for an acknowledgements section, I want to take a moment to acknowledge the MANY people who have helped usher this book into being.
First of all, for Estrela Lourenço for her amazing art bringing banana to life.
For my agent, Tracy Marchini, for believing in this story.
For my editor, Cheryl Eissing, for seeing the potential in this manuscript when it was just text on a page.
For art director, Ellice Lee, and all the design team for making this such a beautiful book.
For publicist Lizzie Goodell, and marketing marvel Leah Schiano, for all the behind the scenes work on letting people know about this book.
For the entire Flamingo Books/Penguin Young Readers team, of whom I’m sure there are many I don’t even know about.
For my MANY critique partners over the years.
For Carter Higgins and the 12×12 Picture Book Challenge, for Carter’s critique Ninja Visit a few years ago, that really helped me take this manuscript to the next level.
For my parents-in-law, for watching my son on many Saturday mornings so I could go to critique group meetings.
For my sisters, (aka Plan and Plelly), for our years of goofiness together.
For my parents, for always encouraging me and believing in me.
For my husband, Jason, for supporting me through some of my most bananas ideas, and encouraging me every step of the way.
For my son’s swim instructor, Lisa, for actually counting to bananas in swim class.
For my son, Evan, for his infectious laughter, and always being my first audience.
And for all the future readers, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Be Brave, Be Bold!

Early this morning, at 6:25am to be precise, I presented at a conference as an author for the first time. Was I nervous? Yes. Was I scared? Yes. Did I feel a little bit like and imposter. Also, yes. But, you know what? Despite my reservations, I had FUN! When my friend and critique partner Hannah Holt asked me if I wanted to develop a presentation with her about funny informational picture books for this conference, at first I hesitated. Who would want to listen to me? I’m just a debut author. Could I overcome my fear of public speaking? I had before as a biostatistician, so why not know as an author?

Even though I was worried about how I might actually pull all this off, it went swimmingly. We had engaged participants, we pulled a lot of puns, and most of all we had fun. I learned that it is entirely easy for me to speak about a topic I’m passionate about, even when I might be scared to take that leap. I’m glad I did. What are you doing to be brave and bold today?Authors Hannah Holt and Carrie Tillotson presenting at New Jersey Association of School Librarians virtual Mini-Conference

Counting to Bananas in Parents magazine

Look whose book is in the April 2022 print issue of Parents magazine!
The full review from Parents:
“An endearing yet opinionated banana makes learning numbers hilarious. The story starts as kids might expect: one plum, two figs, three oranges. But when four pigs show up, the banana interjects that pigs aren’t a fruit. The counting by ones continues up to 20 with occasional punny commentary (“I’m starting to feel bruised,” the overlooked banana chimes in, after plantains are picked for number ten.) When the narrator skip counts from 20 to 100, things get even wilder. Mo Willems fans will give this book one, two, three, four, five stars! Ages 4 to 8.”
I found this copy at the library last night, but if anyone local sees a copy at a store, let me know where – I’m on the hunt for a print copy!
COUNTING TO BANANAS: A MOSTLY RHYMING FRUIT BOOK, illustrated by Estrela Lourenço, published by Flamingo Books, releases April 12, 2022 and is available for signed pre-orders from Powell’s and Annie Bloom’s Books.Author Carrie Tillotson with Parents magazine. The Book Nook page of April 2022 issue of Parents magazine. Review of Counting to Bananas in Parents magazine.

First Trade Review

The first trade review is in from Kirkus Reviews for Counting to Bananas, and it’s a good one! Read the full review from Kirkus. Get your signed preordered copy from Powell’s!

Blog Tour Begins!

I was so excited to kick off my debut year with three guest blog posts this January! On January 8, I enjoyed talking about recipes for success with my fellow KIDLIT CARAVAN-ers Paula Cohen and Harshita Jerath on Vivian Kirkfield’s blog Will Write for Cookies. That same day, Kaitlynn Leann Sanchez interviewed my editor, Cheryl Eissing, and me on her blog Math is Everywhere. And on January 19th, I shared the inspiration behind COUNTING TO BANANAS and writing in weird places on Tara Lazar’s Storystorm. Thanks to these great bloggers for all they do in the Kidlit industry!Collage of Storystorm blog post

New Book Deal!

I’m so excited to finally share that Banana from my debut picture book COUNTING TO BANANAS is getting a sibling book: B IS FOR BANANAS, coming in Spring 2023! I’m delighted to continue working with the great team at Flamingo Books, my editor Cheryl Eissing, illustrator Estrela Lourenço, and my agent Tracy Marchini!Publishers Marketplace book announcement with sketches of Banana.

Shout Out to Kidlit Caravan!

Earlier this year, I joined a group of fellow debut picture book creatives. We are Kidlit Caravan, a group of authors and illustrators who are supporting each other in navigating the waters of having our debut books come out in 2022. I’m so happy to be on this journey with them, and wanted to give a shout out to my new creative buds:

Margaret Aitken, Donna Cangelosi, Melissa Coffey, Paula Cohen, Angela H. Dale, Rebecca Gardyn Levington, Lisa Gerin, Harshita Jerath, Tim Kleyn, Robyn McGrath, Suma Subramaniam, Kimberly Wilson, and Debbie Zapata

Thanks to all these wonderful creators! I invite you to check out their websites and upcoming debut picture books!Gnu reading a book with the words "Kidlit Caravan New in '22"


Many thanks to Kidlit411 for hosting the cover reveal of COUNTING TO BANANAS: A MOSTLY RHYMING FRUIT BOOK and a picture book/dummy critique GIVEAWAY on their blog today!

Estrela Lourenço and I are excited to share the book with readers, available for pre-order now, out April 12, 2022!

Sound on for trailer! 🌟🍌🌟🍌🌟


The news of the day is that I have a new website. Many thanks to Websy Daisy for their design services and Estrela Lourenço for the fabulous banana art. Bananart? Either way, I’m glad you’re here! Stay tuned for more book-related news.