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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Happy #BookBirthday #PurpleUp + 4 Qs with author Sarah Scheerger

March 12, 2024

It’s a pleasure to have my friend (and East West Lit agency sister) Sarah Scheerger on the blog today to continue the celebration of her important new picture book,

PURPLE UP! We Salute Our Friends

Illus. Leah Giles (Albert Whitman). 

“A solid explanation of a growing movement to recognize military kids.”

Kirkus Reviews

About the Author:

Sarah Scheerger (pronounced “sugar” with an extra R = surgar.) is a busy mom, prolific author, and clinical social worker in southern California, providing mental health services within the public school system. She writes in many genres and under a variety of names (Sarah Lynn, Sarah Lynn Scheerger, and Sarah Scheerger). We are so happy to chat with her today!

And we have Questions:

Q 1. What was the inspiration for this important book? When did you first become aware of Purple Up Day celebrations?

Sarah Scheerger: Erin, thank you for interviewing me, and giving back to the writing community. I first participated in Purple Up Day at my children’s school. It was magical to watch a school celebrate other children—magical both for those being honored and for those kids who were honoring their peers. I fell in love with the event and the concept.

Supporting KIDS from military families

I love the idea of celebrating the contribution of kids from military families. Since my community is near a naval base, my children have made friendships with kids from navy families and I’ve made friendships with their moms. I was so grateful to be a part of the Purple Up celebration, and I could see the impact on the children. I firmly believe that every child should be able to see their experiences reflected in the pages of a book.

Doing the research!

I wondered if there was a picture book about Purple Up Day, and when I initially searched, I didn’t find one. I originally wrote this story in 2018. Now, in 2024, when I search for Purple Up Day, I do see some books and products about this topic, which shows me that awareness is growing.  (YAY!)

I think this story is important both for children of military families (who are well aware of their day-to-day contributions and deserve to see them celebrated) and for readers who are not from military families (to help broaden their perspective and understanding).

Q 2. What’s your favorite spread?

Sarah Scheerger: Do I have to pick only one? Too hard! Leah Giles did such an amazing job. I love the larger spreads with lots of characters and action. Here is an image of the kids beginning to parade. I love the energy here. I love her use of colors and movement.

Interior art by Leah Giles from PURPLE UP! We Salute Our Friends
written by Sarah Scheerger (Albert Whitman). 

Let’s celebrate!

Q 3. How might teachers and librarians use your book to celebrate PURPLE UP DAY on April 15th?

Sarah Scheerger: Oh, I’m so glad you asked this question! I created both a classroom guide and some practical tips in a supplemental article to guide teachers, librarians and parents in ways to use this text to spark discussions and activities.

My hope is that schools will celebrate Purple Up day with a reading of this book and corresponding activities with students. I hope teachers and librarians will give children from military families an opportunity to share and educate others about their experiences.

Interior art by Leah Giles from PURPLE UP! We Salute Our Friends
written by Sarah Scheerger (Albert Whitman). 

BONUS Classroom Guides and Links +SEL concepts:

Sarah Scheerger: My classroom guide/practical tips are full of ideas for both activities and discussions. Since my day job is as a school-based counselor, there are lots of social emotional learning (SEL) concepts interwoven in both of these documents. I had fun creating them and I’m hoping teachers, librarians and parents will have fun using them.

Classroom guide link: https://www.sarahlynnbooks.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/teacher-guide-for-purple-up.pdf

Practical Tips and Supplemental Article link: https://www.sarahlynnbooks.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/supporting-and-celebrating-children-from-military-families-supplement.pdf

Interior art by Leah Giles from PURPLE UP! We Salute Our Friends
written by Sarah Scheerger (Albert Whitman). 

Q 4. I know you to be a very shy and sweetly humble creative person. How do you navigate the marketing/social media/school visit/appearances part of your #kidlit path? Any tips for introverts of all ages?

Sarah Scheerger: Oh, Erin, you know me so well! I was actually SO shy that I started out my career writing under my first and middle name. I thought was going to keep my writing totally private, not even tell friends/family about it. However, I quickly realized that promotion is such an important part of an author’s life, so I transitioned into using my full name.

Tips for Taking (some of) the anxiety out of Marketing

I really don’t love the marketing part—I find it hard to self-promote. I do, however, LOVE the creativity of the illustrators with whom I’ve worked, so it helps when I think that I’m promoting them too.

I also love supporting other authors because I appreciate their work and their effort as well. It’s nice to be a part of a kidlit community. I believe in children’s books and their impact on children and on our future, and that helps me continue to push.

Virtual and In-person Presentations

I love that we can now do virtual visits and reach all parts of the world. I find this method of presenting less anxiety producing. They expand my reach and I believe them to be very impactful. I’ve done virtual visits all across the country, and I’ve also done virtual presentations in Canada, Hong Kong and India.

Sarah at an author presentation with her mg novel, OPERATION FROG EFFECT.

Over time, I’ve gotten much more comfortable with in-person presentations as well. That’s just practice, I think. The more you do something, the easier it often gets. I warm up pretty quick once I get up there, especially when I see the audience engaged, excited, or inspired.  

These days, I try to look at experiences as “rejuvenating” vs. “depleting.” Honestly, while presentations require quite a bit of energy, they are also rejuvenating. I leave more pumped up and energized.

Sarah’s Tips for other Introverts:

Deep breaths.

The more you do something, the easier it gets.

Promote other authors as a way to keep sharing. (Erin, I think you are the master at this!)

Huge thanks to Sarah for visiting the blog today and congrats on PURPLE UP!

I love this book and all that it represents!

To learn more about Sarah Scheerger’s books

go to SarahLynnBooks.com and follow her on

Twitter @SarahScheerger 

& Facebook SarahLynnScheergerBooks.


It’s a pre-BookBirthday celebration with Leslie Barnard Booth,

whose lyrical nonfiction pb ONE DAY THIS TREE WILL FALL

(Illus. Stephanie Fizer Coleman / Margaret K. McElderry Books)

releases March 26th!