Sunday, June 17, 2012


- Win a copy of NIKOLAS & CO. by Kevin McGill (End 7/6)
- Win a copy of LIES BENEATH by Anne Brown (Ends 6/25)
- Summer Reading Program: THE GREAT SCAVENGER HUNT

Welcome to Marvelous Middle Grade Monday (MMGM), a weekly event hosted by author Shannon Messenger. For a list of other MMGM posts, click HERE.

Tina Nichols Coury
Dial Books for Young Readers
40pp. (Picture Book)

Tina Nichols Coury is known as "The Rushmore Kid," She promotes an understanding and appreciation of the essential qualities that make America great in her popular school presentations, "Why I Love America.” 

In her debut picture book, true-blue American author Tina Nichols Coury brings to life the story of Lincoln Borglum, the boy who helped build Mt. Rushmore. It

Tina's popular kidlit blog, Tales from theRushmore Kid has interviews from some of the giants in children’s literature including Neil Gaiman, Sherman Alexie, Joan Bauer, John Green, Kathleen Duey just to name a few.

Tina stops by today to tell us a little about her book and her road to publication. Afterwards, find out how you can WIN a copy of her book. So sit back and get ready for quick trip into history.

1.  Tell us about your book in one sentence.
Hanging Off Jefferson's Nose is the story of a boy who helped create America’s greatest monument, Mount Rushmore.

2.  What inspired you to write this story?
It was an amazing story that I had not heard about.  I needed a homework project for a children’s literature class I was taking in 1994.  When I was at a funeral at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, I noticed a relief of Mount Rushmore under the great stained glass “Last Supper” window.  That was the place where sculptor Gutzon Borglum and his wife Mary were interred. When I researched the project, their son Lincoln kept coming up. The more I researched the more information came out about him. I kept thinking how remarkable it was that a kid was involved in Mount Rushmore's creation.

3.  What books did you enjoy reading as a kid?
I am the youngest of four kids raised by a single saint of a Mom.  She took us to the library weekly.  For two years when I was seven the TV was broken, but every night was a reading night and we discussed books. I loved the “Little House on the Prairie” series and anything by Mark Twain. I did a colored chalk mural of the Prince and the Pauper for my book report in eighth grade. The nuns loved it.

4.  What books do you enjoy reading now?
All children’s literature.  I read the National Book Awards nominees and the Newbery’s.  My editor will also suggest books.  I now read them and then listen to the audio version.  I just finished the new John Green book The Fault in Our Stars, a fabulous YA with a new twist on cancer kids.  I just started Gracelings, a trilogy by Kristin Cashore. I discovered it through my sales rep that  raved about the final book in the series released this year.

5.  Tell us a little about your road to publication.
Mine is a tale of patience and persistence.  I was a working artist/illustrator back in 1994.  I had done album covers and was doing gallery work at the time.  I thought I’d write and illustrate a book, have it  printed in six months and then go on to something else. Little did I know that I had to learn the skill to write. I knew nothing of the business, types of books, writing or even illustrating a book. I managed to get a kind agent to look at my dreadful  manuscript, The Adventures of Priscilla the Kitty Fairy, which had good illustrations but horrible rhythm.  She steered me to the SCBWI and I knew that I had found a home for wacky me. For ten years I work shopped, critiqued, dummied up and learned the skill to write.  In 2005, Dutton Editor Mark McVeigh acquired just the manuscript for Hanging Off Jefferson’s Nose at an SCBWI Writer’s Day; he passed on the art.  He did me a huge favor.  Sally Wern Comport did a fabulous job and I was given the freedom to explore myself as a writer and a blogger--at the time, a new kind of media. I didn’t know it, but I was building myself a platform for the book to come.

6.  What can we expect from you in the future?
I am fascinated with monuments.  Who they are, why they exist and what it took to construct them. My agent is shopping my picture book on the story of the Lincoln Memorial, told by the ghost of Abraham Lincoln.  I also am fascinated with the Piccirilli brothers, who carved many of the monuments.  My editor would like to hear a story that didn’t involve granite, but I think with the new school standards approved by 46 states gearing up, more and more houses will be publishing non-fiction.


Thank you so much, Tina! For those of you interested in contacting Tina, her email address is She is available for school visits and writer’s workshops.


Tina is giving a copy of her book to one (1) lucky winner! 
To be eligible for the giveaway, just fill out the rafflecopter form below. 
This giveaway will end on July 2nd.


  1. What a great interview! I love when authors take the time out to do these and give us info about their book. This is how we find new authors to read and this book is definitely going on my to-read list!
    Thanks for the giveaway!


  2. Kids, parents and teachers will absolutely love this book, for so many reasons. It's adventurous and interesting, family oriented and manages to sneak in a little history as well. Well done, thanks.

  3. Sounds like you really put in your time and effort to learn your craft. I imagine your book proves that. I'm excited to read it and make sure my grandaughter gets it!

  4. I am always looking for great books for my son to read. I am excited for both of us to read it.

  5. This sounds GREAT! I love books that take something well-known and show a different side of it.

  6. Terrific interview. This looks like a fun book.

  7. Great interview Laurisa and Tina. I loved hearing about Tina's road to publication.

  8. My husband would love this book.
    thanks for the giveaway

  9. Thanks for all the great comments. It has been a long road but so worth the wait.