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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8 Qs + a Happy Nonfiction Book Birthday party = Angie Bullaro’s BREAKING THE ICE

October 20, 2020

Happy Book Birthday TODAY to debut author Angie Bullaro and


The True Story of the First Woman to Play in the National Hockey League.

(Simon & Schuster / Paula Wiseman Books / Illus. C.F.Payne)


(Link to the Vroman’s event here and

in Q 1. below.)

in Children’s Hockey Books

“An eminently enjoyable biography, not just for hockey fans, but for all who love stories of pioneering women.”

-Kirkus Review

BREAKING THE ICE is the inspiring true story of Manon Rhéaume, the first and only woman to play a game in the National Hockey League, featuring an afterward from Manon herself.

Today we’re celebrating BREAKING THE ICE—about never giving up, #GirlPower, and hockey—with 8 Questions for author Angie Bullaro! 

Q 1. Congratulations Angie! How are you planning to celebrate the book launch of BREAKING THE ICE during these COVID times? Is there a virtual party in the works?

Angie Bullaro: Yes! We’re doing a free virtual launch TODAY:  Tuesday, Oct. 20th at 7pm ET/ 4pm PT. Manon Rhéaume, whom the book is about, will be joining me for a fun, family-friendly event! You can register here. 

Q 2. What Hockey term / slang best describes your writing journey for this book:

  • Barnburner
  • Breakaway
  • Coast to coast
  • Silky Mitts
  • Tic-tac-Toe

Angie Bullaro: First, great question!!! I would say barn burner all the way! Getting to know Manon and tell her story has been one exciting ride!

Barn Burner: (def.) An event, typically a hockey game that is very exciting or intense all the way to the end.

Q 3. What surprises did illustrator C.F.Payne bring to the book?

Angie Bullaro: The scope of it all. He was able to capture the intensity and hugeness of Manon’s experience at the professional training camp, while still highlighting her unique place within it. He really makes you feel what it would be like to have been the only female, and a small female, amongst all these giant male players.

Interior art by C. F. Payne BREAKING THE ICE, S&S Paula Wiseman Books 2020


Q 4. Creating a children’s book takes a team. What does it mean to you to have teamed up with Manon Rhéaume for this project? Who else is on your team?

Angie Bullaro: I’m really into the team aspect of this, because it truly does take a team and I’ve been so lucky to have a great one behind this book.

Manon has been an integral part of the team from day one. It’s her story and I always wanted to make sure that it was accurate but also that she was happy with it. I also wanted the small details, the forgotten memories, the things that don’t get mentioned in the interviews because that’s where the story really comes alive. I feel very luck to be able to talk with her or ask questions whenever they arise. And through that we have become very good friends, which was a happy bonus.

My husband, Mike Musco is for sure the co-captain of this team. Not only has he been my moral support, he has also handled the publicity of the book and manages everything with Manon and my schedules and events. He’s the face behind the curtain making it all happen.

And of course, my fabulous team at Simon and Schuster. Sarah Jane Abbott, Paula Wiseman, and our Canadian publicist Mackenzie Croft have been champions of the book from day one. Their support, encouragement, advice, and knowledge are second to none!

Q 5. In addition to your friendship with Manon, what was one of the most surprising discoveries you made in creating this book?

Angie Bullaro: That I could write a nonfiction book! Ha! I’m a fiction writer and so when I first decided to writer her story it was a daunting task. I felt like I was starting all over again from the beginning as a writer because I didn’t know what I was doing. Eventually I got there, though, with the help from my SCBWI critique group (additional members of the team for sure! It takes a village!!!).

Click this image below to view:

Q 6. I read that your film, Between the Pipes, was actually the inspiration for this book. What, then, was the inspiration for Between the Pipes?

Angie Bullarro: Mike and I own a production company and were working on our next film concept and we wanted it to be a sports film that I would star in. I had remembered hearing about a woman playing in the NHL in the 90s and had assumed a lot of women had done so. I thought we should find the first woman who made it and tell her story. After a lot of research we discovered that there weren’t a lot of women who played in the NHL, there was only one – Manon. That made what she did even more incredible and I knew I had to tell her story.

Nonfiction Tips

Q 7. How did you first reach out to Manon?

Angie Bullaro: Oh my gosh, I tried every way possible to reach out to her short of sending a pigeon. I sent her messages through her website, reached out to random people I was connected to on LinkedIn who somehow had a connection to someone else who had a connection to Manon. I called up everyone I knew in MI to see if anyone could get me to her. I was getting desperate and throwing hail Marys, but eventually she responded to a message I sent on her website. Thankfully!

Q 8. Do you have any tips for authors who are writing nonfiction about a person who is still alive?

Angie Bullaro: If it’s possible try to work with the person to tell their story. It seems obvious but it’s not. Throughout these past few years several people have written sports books about women trailblazers that have included Manon’s story. Apparently they didn’t need Manon’s approval and so we learned about them after the fact. Those stories were always a little off. The authors were getting information they read on the web, which isn’t always accurate. If you’re going to tell someone’s story you want to make sure you have the full story because people’s lives are so much more robust and nuanced than facts you pull from online.

Also, even though it’s someone else’s story you’re writing about, you have to find a way to make the telling your own. That’s where the magic happens! Because no one can tell the story the way you do.

Interior art by C. F. Payne BREAKING THE ICE, S&S Paula Wiseman Books 2020

Q 9. How is being a goalie like writing a book? How is it different?

Angie Bullaro answers this question and MORE in the second part of her interview, which will post next month! Until then…

*Don’t forget to go to her book launch TODAY! 

Thanks so much for joining the blog today, Angie, and HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY!

May it be the first of many.

To learn more about Angie Bullaro and BREAKING THE ICE check out AngieBullaro.com and follow her on Twitter @AngieBullaro and Instagram @angiebullaro.

Next time, we’ll be celebrating #Halloween and talking #kidlit with author Susan Eaddy and her adorably clever book, EENIE MEENIE HALLOWEENIE (Harper Collins / Illus. Lucy Fleming.)

 Stay safe, friends.

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