Snuggle up with Snuggle Mountain

When I first saw Melissa Iwai’s sketches of Emma, the main character in Snuggle Mountain, I fell in love with her, from slipper to nose. It is my pleasure to share these coloring pages with you so you can fall in love with Emma too and ‘color her up’ any way you want with these free coloring pages for your little one.

I hope you and your little artist have as much fun with Emma as I did creating her story of climbing Snuggle Mountain.

Snuggle Mountain Coloring Sheets



2020 Books by Austinites

Take a look at all these wonderfully talented Austin authors and illustrators with books coming out this year!

Picture Books

RAD!, by Anne Bustard, ill. by Daniel Wiseman (Abrams, May 2020).

PERKIN’S PERFECT PURPLE, by Debbie Dunn, ill. by Tami Brown (Disney Hyperion/Little Brown Young Readers, Oct. 2020).

PORCUPINE CUPID, by Jason June, ill. by Lori Richmond (McElderry/Simon & Schuster, Dec. 2020).

BEARS MAKE THE BEST SCIENCE BUDDIES, by Carmen Oliver, ill. Jean Claude (Capstone, Aug. 2020).

Middle Grade

TWINS, by Varian Johnson (Scholastic/Graphix, Oct. 2020).

DRAGON OPS, by Mari Mancusi (Little Brown Young Readers, May 2020).

THE CAMPAIGN, by Leila Sales (Abrams, Aug. 2020).

Young Adult

FAULT LINES IN THE CONSTITUTION: THE GRAPHIC NOVEL, by Cynthia Levinson (Macmillan/First Second, Sept. 2020).

FROZEN 2: DANGEROUS SECRETS: THE STORY OF IDUNA AND AGNARR, by Mari Mancusi (Disney Press, Nov. 2020).

ALL THESE MONSTERS, by Amy Tintera (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, July 2020).

THE INSOMNIACS, by Marit Weisenberg (Flatiron Books/Macmillan, Sept. 2020).


LISTEN TO THE TREES, by Sean Petrie (Documentary Media, July 2020).

Gail Shepherd

Gail Shepherd

I met her at a Writing Barn retreat. She was one of the quiet writers. We connected off to the side, preferring the one on one conversation to the group gab. At the end of the weekend, she asked if she could get a ride into town. She was meeting her wife at a B&B for a week of fun. Happily, I put her suitcase in the back of my car, stopped for tacos and shared our love of books, the ocean and the quirky writing life. When her novel The True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins came out in 2019 to great acclaim, I sent her a congratulatory note and again we talked about oceans and visits and please contact me when…or if…you are nearby.

It never happened. And now she is gone. Way. Too. Soon.

Publishers Weekly posted this beautiful notice about her.

We clomp around like life will go on and on and on, but it is so fragile


Going Behind The Fence – Year Four

It’s my fourth year volunteering with Truth Be Told and my third year facilitating Pay It Forward, the monthly ongoing class at the Lane Murray Unit. Every time I go up, I ask myself: Does it still matter? Do I still feel energized? Do I love it? The answer is Yes. Yes. Yes.

This month, we talked about where we would like to travel and played hilarious games that made us laugh and laugh. Some women are in the parole review process; some women have been denied parole again; Some women won’t see parole for another twenty years. I know that in the scheme of things, this class is pretty insignificant but the persistence of going, of connecting, of loving and serving these women matters the world to me. (March)

Last night our leader asked, “Who are you listening to?” Many of the women said, “God. Because God asks me to look forward and Satan tells me to look back at my mistakes.” Then one woman said, “I try to listen to God but I can’t find God after I hang up the phone with my grandson or when they’re gone after a visit and I can’t hug them any more. It’s empty. I don’t feel God. I feel empty. I hear my Grandma though. I hear her telling me to fake it til I make it.” (May)

Last night was the last class of Session Five. The warden said yes to our bringing cupcakes and soda for a little graduation celebration. I sprang for the gorgeous cupcakes at Central Market. The ones with strawberries and blueberries and swirls of buttercream. One woman squealed, “Pretty Food.” Another said, “Strawberries. That’s all I’m gonna say: Strawberries.” (June)

Last night, the leader asked all of us this question: what has been your greatest adventure? I heard stories about hitch hiking from Ohio to Montana, entertaining little ones through a blackout, downhill skiing with a fear of heights, ghosts visiting in dreams, a wild canoe trip from San Marcos to Martindale. As I drove home, I was smiling. These women are so much more than their crimes. (November)

Year Four behind the fence ends. Some days, I think, Oh Lindsey, you are a just a do-gooder white woman. What you are doing doesn’t matter. Maybe. Maybe not. And then I think, “I am not here to be friends or to feel good about myself. I go because I believe in the power of human connection and my presence and commitment will make a difference. Some day.”

Going Behind The Fence – Year Three

Every time I go behind the fence, I have a hard time with the guards: their inflexibility, the humorlessness, their lack of joy or creativity. Finally, one of women in the group says to me, “They’re doing time right along with us. Sure, they can go home. But they work for TDCJ, same as us.”

Oh. My heart gets a little bit smarter as Year Two of Pay It Forward begins.

Toward the end of class, one woman leaned forward and said, “I need to tell you all something. I grew up in a family where there was a lot of screaming and hitting and throwing people and stuff against the walls. That’s what I knew. My first husband, he’s the father of my first child…he was so calm and boring. I remember saying to my mother, ‘This guy has got to go.’ It took me a long time to figure out that all he wanted to do was love me and the baby. This class feels calm. This class is church.”  (February)

Tonight we talked about passion. What makes us feel alive? What is worth fighting for? She said freedom. She said the earth, a garden. She said her 80 year old friend who needs to get out of prison and go home. She said her sanity. She said signing for the deaf. She said writing. She said the people who can’t fight for themselves. She said love. (May)

Tonight we talked about leadership. What does leadership mean to you? Here are a few snippets…. “I knew I was a leader when I could tell right from wrong.” “Leaders build you up and help you. They don’t tear you down and tell you that you are a retard.” “Leaders aren’t afraid of the truth.” “Leaders are teachers.” “Leaders see with their hearts not with their judgement.” Since I started volunteering with Truth Be Told in 2016, ten women have received parole and are in various bureaucratic stages of being released into this overwrought world. Fly, my little chicks, fly. You can make it. (July)

Last night, the women shared their answers to this question: If you were released tomorrow, where do you want to be in five years? I added this question: what thought or feeling holds you captive and if you were released from it, what would your life look like in five years? One woman who is seventy-seven said, “All I want to do is sit and look out my front window. And when I’m not looking out my front window, I want to look at the TV. That’s enough. I’ve done enough. All I want to do is sit and look.” Is there anything that would keep you from doing it? “I suppose it’s that same old thought that I have to do something in order to matter.” (August)

Tonight, our leader asked us to think about what we are deeply grateful for. Not one thing. Five things with reasons. We went deep. We danced. We cried. And oh yeah, we laughed. At the end, the leader sighed, “This is freedom. My spirit feels free in this class.” (November)

Every time I arrive at Lane Murray Unit and these women come to class, I am honored. Plain and simple.