Thursday, June 24, 2021

Author chat & Giveaway: Natalie Rompella, author of Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners

Natalie Rompella is the author of over 60 books and materials for children. She's a member of SCBWI and enjoys visiting schools and libraries. (There's more about that on her website, links below.) Plus, she's giving away a copy of Cookie Cutters and Sled Runners to a lucky winner.

Please help me welcome Natalie. (And be sure to tell your friends about the giveaway!)

What research did you do before writing this book?

I traveled to Alaska! I had won a grant and used it to attend the start of the Iditarod. It was wonderful. I had the opportunity to ask mushers questions, observe racing dogs, and even ride in a sled.

My main character also bakes, so I had to try making the recipes I made up, including dog treats. My family (including my dog) didn’t complain.

What is your favorite genre and why?

I recently became interested in science fiction. I’ve always loved Ray Bradbury’s short stories (favorite: “A Sound of Thunder”) and just discovered Robert A. Heinlein (author of Stranger in a Strange Land). The Door Into Summer was written in 1957 and takes place in 1970. The protagonist pays to be put into a cryogenic sleep and wakes up in 2000. It is amazing what these sci fi authors predict accurately.

What do you do when you’re not writing? 

I have become obsessed with playing pickle ball. I find that I do need to do something active to start my day and get into the right (or write) head space to begin my day. Walking, running, or playing pickle ball have been my go-to’s.

Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners
Author: Natalie Rompella
Genre: middle grade


Ana Morgan is excited to begin middle school. She and her best friend Lily plan to create a cookbook for the school’s Explorations Fair, but when Ana is assigned a new partner, things quickly go sour. As Ana’s life gets out of control, so does her anxiety. Germs bother her and make her wash her hands. A lot. And then she begins her Explorations project with the new girl…on sled dog racing—something she’s never even heard of. But when life gives her lemons, can she make lavender lemonade?

Read it today!

About the author:

It all began with a cover of a National Geographic magazine in 1998 that got Natalie interested in insects and resulted in her attempting her first picture book. She has been writing ever since. And she’s gotten to do all sorts of fun stuff for research: test out cookie recipes, talk to cantaloupe farmers, interview an astronaut, go on insect hunts, and even travel to Alaska to see the start of the Iditarod.

Natalie Rompella is the author of more than sixty books and resources for children, including an insect picture book: The World Never Sleeps (Tilbury House) (a 2019 IL Reads selection); a #OwnVoices middle grade novel: Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners (Sky Pony Press); and her newest—a writing workbook: Secrets of Storytelling (Rockridge Press). She is a former elementary and middle school teacher, as well as a former museum educator and curriculum coordinator for the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago.

Natalie lives in the Chicago suburbs with her two kids, husband, and dog where she enjoys playing pickle ball, baking, and taking Zumba classes.

Find out more at

Keep in touch with Natalie

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