I’m Erin Dealey, and I write books for kids. I’m a teacher, presenter, rhymer, blogger, and proud Drama Mama.

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GET READY FOR SCHOOL with Janet Nolan’s new PB + 6 Questions + 6 Book Pairings = Happy #BookBirthday!

August 3, 2023

Hooray! Hooray! GET READY FOR SCHOOL by Janet Nolan,

Illus. Maria Neradova / Albert Whitman

releases TODAY!!!!

Kirkus reviews Get Ready for School by Janet Nolan

“Energetic, instructive & endearing…book to spark conversations with kids about their own schools or to simply introduce them to the idea of attending school for the first time.” —KIRKUS

Publishers Weekly reviews Get Ready for School by Janet Nolan

“​A cheery conclusion to this bright-eyed portrait of the individuals who make school happen for students.” —Publishers Week

Also featured in PW’s:

Back-to-School Books for Fall 2023

Get Ready for School by Janet Nolan

Are you READY for some questions?

Q 1. What was the inspiration for this book?

Janet Nolan: I’ve always thought the preparations that take place before something begins are as interesting and exciting as the event itself. I love details, big and small, and it is this interest, in all things planning and preparation that led me to write a book that ends at the beginning. Get Ready for School gives readers a behind-the-scenes peek at what happens inside a school building before the students arrive.

Get Ready for School by Janet Nolan
Interior illustration by Maria Neradova from
by Janet Nolan, / Albert Whitman

The custodian turns on the lights and sweeps the hallways. Is it time for school? Not yet! The cafeteria workers wash tables and stack lunch trays. Is it time for school? Not yet! Teachers unpack supplies and organize their classrooms. Is it time for school? Almost! The students are on their way, on foot, on bicycles, and in cars and buses. Each page brings the reader one-step closer to the principal opening the door. Welcome, everyone!

Writing & Research

Q 2. How was your approach to writing GET READY FOR SCHOOL different/or similar from the more traditional nonfiction picture books you’ve written? 

Janet Nolan: The research process was completely different. In previous books, there was a steeper learning curve. I didn’t know a lot about ship building before writing Seven and a Half Tons of Steel: A Post-9/11 Story of Hope and Transformation. Nor did I know the specifics of planting, harvesting, manufacturing, or transporting peanut butter, jelly, and bread to grocery stores before writing PB&J Hooray! Your Sandwiches Amazing Journey from Farm to Table.

Janet Nolan: While I had a basic idea of what took place before the school bell rang, I relied on interviews to fill in the gaps. I interviewed several teachers who were generous with their time and knowledge about the preparations that take place before school starts.

Q 3. If you worked at an elementary school, which job would you want to have? 

Janet Nolan: Oh, that’s easy. Librarian.

I have such a deep respect for the work librarians do and believe I would have enjoyed a career in children’s literature.

My dream retirement joy would be working in a library, shelving books.


Q 4. What surprises did illustrator Maria Neradova bring to the project?

Janet Nolan: Well, the first surprise was the characters. They’re not humans. It took a second, but not more than a second, to get over that shock. Once I saw her adorable giraffe, lovable tiger, and oh so cute pigs I was all in. My favorites are the elephant principal and the hippopotamus teacher. Maria Neradova’s illustrations have a Richard Scarry feel, there is so much to look at on each page, but with a modern touch.

Get Ready for School by Janet Nolan
Interior illustration by Maria Neradova from
by Janet Nolan, / Albert Whitman

Q 5. Waiting for school to begin makes me think of waiting for your manuscript to become a book. Basing this on your adorable book trailer, how might GET READY FOR YOUR BOOK BIRTHDAY read?

Janet Nolan: I love this challenge! Here’s a GET READY parody for all my #kidlit author friends…

The contract is signed.
The illustrator is chosen.  
Is your book out yet?
Not yet. There is more to do.

The revisions are done.
The cover is revealed.
Is your book out yet?
Not quite. There is still so much to do.

The illustrations are complete.
The book trailer is finished. 
Is your book out yet?
It’s getting close.

Marketing plans
are being written.
It’s back from the printer.
The book is complete.
It’s finally time to say,
“Happy Book Birthday!”

Janet Nolan
Don’t you love this pic of author Janet Nolan –all …READY FOR SCHOOL?

Q 6. What’s next for you?

Janet Nolan: I am happy to share that I have two more Albert Whitman titles coming out in Fall 2024–

A follow up to Get Ready for School and a nonfiction book about bats.

Stay tuned!

Get Ready for School by Janet Nolan
Interior illustration by Maria Neradova from
by Janet Nolan, / Albert Whitman

Happy I-know-it’s-still-SUMMER-but-I-bet-you’re-starting-to-


dear Teacher & Librarian pals!

To learn more about Janet Nolan and her books,

here are her links to social media: 

Twitter: @JanetNolanBooks

Facebook: Janet Nolan

Instagram: janetnolanbooks

Website: janetnolan.com

PS: Pair this book with one of these…

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  1. Eileen Meyer says:

    Congrats on this wonderful book! Great interview – especially love the author GET READY parody . . .