A Year in the Secret Garden blog tour, Valarie Budary, Marilyn Scott Waters

A Year in The Secret Garden Interview

I am so excited that my partner-in-crime, Valarie Budayr of Jump into a Book, for Multicultural Children’s Book Day is also an author and owner of publishing company, Audrey Press. She has a new book out, A Year in The Secret Garden, that celebrates an iconic classic with activities to do with kids all year!

A Year in The Secret Garden by Valarie Budayr and Marilyn Scott-Waters

A Year in The Secret Garden

I’m not surprised. Her blog, Jump into a Book, has a tagline: Making Books Come Alive. And her wonderful blog posts always include an activity based on the featured book.

A Year in The Secret Garden

Today, I’m interviewing her partner-in-crime, Marilyn Scott-Waters, the wonderful illustrator for Year in The Secret Garden.

a year in the secret garden

1) How did the Year in the Secret Garden project come about?

Valarie Budayr and I met at The Creative Connection, a convention for crafters a few years ago. She’s wicked smart and just a delightful person to hang out with so we became Skype buddies, swapping information about children’s book publishing. After her book, The Ultimate Guide to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory became a bestseller, we started talking about collaborating on another Jump Into A Book title. It was so hard to pick because there are so many wonderful children’s classics that we loved. When Valerie suggested The Secret Garden it flew to the top of the list. The Secret Garden has everything, memorable characters, gardening, flowers, animals, delicious descriptions of food and a great message about the restorative power of play and nature.
The Ultimate Guide to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

2) It must be daunting to illustrate a book based on an iconic classic. How did you approach that?

After reading through the book several times, we brainstormed pages of ideas, looking for ways to bring the book to life. The themes in the book, of friendship, exercise and positive thoughts, are as relevant for modern families as they were one hundred years ago. Kids today need more contact with nature, to make and do, not just consume. Children today spend most of their waking hours sitting at desks doing paperwork. Once we focused on helping grownups and kids get out into the “Big Blue Room” to experience the world, everything else took off like a kite.

3) What kind of research did you do to prepare?

I try to be as accurate as possible with historical details in my illustrations so I created comprehensive reference files of Edwardian clothing, utensils and furnishings. I also went through the book and collected every physical description of each character. Some of the characters had surprisingly little physical descriptions, yet I was impressed how Frances Hodgson Burnett made each word count to make the characters seem real.

4) What was the most challenging aspect of this book for you?

The most challenging part of creating A Year In the Secret Garden was the sheer number of illustrations. We kinda went a little crazy, with full color art and photos on every page. Also, the drawings cover a wide range of subjects, everything from jump rope rhymes, British coins, to every kind of flower that you can imagine. One good thing about such variety was that I never was bored.

5) What’s next?

Right now we are focusing all our energy into telling folks about A Year In The Secret Garden and getting it into the hands of people who will enjoy it. Valarie and I are already talking about other children’s classics that would be fun to explore. Adventure awaits!


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About the Book

Title: A Year in the Life of the Secret Garden | Author: Valarie Budayr | Illustrator: Marilyn Scott-Waters | Publication Date: November, 2014 | Publisher: Audrey Press | Pages: 144 | Recommended Ages: 5 to 99

Book Description: Award-winning authors Valarie Budayr and Marilyn Scott-Waters have co-created A Year in the Secret Garden to introduce the beloved children’s classic, The Secret Garden to a new generation of families. This guide uses over two hundred full color illustrations and photos to bring the magical story to life, with fascinating historical information, monthly gardening activities, easy-to-make recipes, and step-by-step crafts, designed to enchant readers of all ages. Each month your family will unlock the mysteries of a Secret Garden character, as well as have fun together creating the original crafts and activities based on the book.Over 140 pages, with 200 original color illustrations and 48 activities for your family and friends to enjoy, learn, discover and play with together. A Year In the Secret Garden is our opportunity to introduce new generations of families to the magic of this classic tale in a modern and innovative way that creates special learning and play times outside in nature. This book encourages families to step away from technology and into the kitchen, garden, reading nook and craft room.

Amazon * Audrey Press * Goodreads




About the Author: Valarie Budayr

Valarie Budayr loves reading and bringing books alive. Her popular website, www.jumpintoabook.com, inspires children and adults alike to experience their books through play, discovery, and adventure.

She is founder of Audrey Press, an independent publishing house, as well as an Amazon and iTunes best-selling author. She has written The Fox Diaries: The Year the Foxes Came to our Garden and The Ultimate Guide to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Valarie is passionate about making kid’s books come alive and encouraging families and schools to pull books off the shelves and stories off the pages.


Book Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Pinterest | Google+ | Goodreads


About the Illustrator: Marilyn Scott-Waters

Marilyn Scott-Waters loves making things out of paper. Her popular website, www.thetoymaker.com, receives 2,000 to 7,000 visitors each day, who have downloaded more than six million of her easy-to-make paper toys. Her goal is to help parents and children spend time together making things.

She is the creator of a paper toy craft book series The Toymakers Christmas: Paper Toys You Can Make Yourself (Sterling), and The Toymakers Workshop: Paper Toys You Can Make Yourself (Sterling). She is also the co-creator with J. H. Everett of the middle grade nonfiction series, Haunted Histories, (Christy Ottaviano Books / Henry Holt Books for Young Readers). Ms. Scott-Waters illustrated The Search For Vile Things (Scholastic), and created paper engineering for Pop & Sniff Fruit (Piggy Toes Press).

Website | Facebook | Google+


A Year in the Secret Garden Blog Tour Schedule (2014)


November 1

Mother Daughter Book Reviews (Launch)

Coffee Books & Art (Guest Post)

WS Momma Readers Nook (Book Review)

November 2

Cherry Mischievous (Excerpt)

Hope to Read (Excerpt)

November 3

Eloquent Articulation (Book Review)

Enter Here Canada (Excerpt)


November 4

BeachBoundBooks (Excerpt)

Books, Babies and Bows (Book Review)

November 5

Monique’s Musings (Book Review)

November 6

SOS-Supply (Book Review)


November 7

Randomly Reading (Book Review)

November 8

Adalinc to Life (Book Review)


November 9

100 Pages a Day (Book Review)

November 10

Edventures With Kids (Book Review)


November 11

Icefairy’s Treasure Chest (Book Review)

November 12

Girl of 1000 Wonders (Book Review)


November 13

Seraphina Reads (Guest Post)

November 14

Juggling Act Mama (Book Review)


November 15

Pragmatic Mom (Author/Illustrator Interview)

Purple Monster Coupons (Excerpt)

November 16

Stacking Books (Book Review)


November 17

Oh My Bookness (Book Review)

November 18

Crystal’s Tiny Treasures (Book Review)


November 19

The Blended Blog (Book Review)

November 20

All Done Monkey (Book Review)

November 21

Geo Librarian (Book Review)

Grandbooking (Author/Illustrator Interview)


November 22

My Tangled Skeins Book Reviews (Book Review)

November 23

Christy’s Cozy Corners (Book Review)

My Life, Loves and Passions (Book Review)

November 24

Bookaholic Chick (Excerpt)

Hide-N-(Sensory)-Seeking (Book Review)


November 25

Ninja Librarian (Guest Post)

November 26

Jane Ritz (Book Review)

Rockin’ Book Reviews (Book Review)

November 27

I’d Rather Be Reading At The Beach (Book Review)


November 28

Deal Sharing Aunt (Book Review)

November 29

Mommynificent (Book Review)

November 30

This Kid Reviews Books (Book Review)

Java John Z’s (Author/Illustrator Interview)


* $100 Blog Tour Giveaway *

Prize: $100 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice)

Contest ends: December 7, 11:59 pm, 2014

Open: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the authors Valarie Budayr and Marilyn Scott-Waters and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.
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A Year in the Secret Garden blog tour, Valarie Budary, Marilyn Scott Waters

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By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. Renee C.

    Thanks for hosting Marilyn on your blog for the tour, Mia! There are an incredible number of illustrations in the book and they are so gorgeous. I found it interesting what Marilyn said about how the issues of today are the same ones the people struggle with 100 years ago. Some themes are definitely universal and transcend time and geography. Great interview!

    • Hi Renee,
      Thank YOU for the opportunity to interview Marilyn! It was my great pleasure in learning more about A Year in The Secret Garden! I set up book clubs for my kids and it’s a joy to have activities planned out for you around a book! That’s usually the hardest part of planning a book club for kids!
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Do Good, Share Traditions and Win PrizesMy Profile

  2. The cover of the book is beautiful and it is such an original idea for a book. This would make a lovely Christmas present for Secret Garden lovers.
    Catherine recently posted…Imani’s Moon by JaNay Brown-Wood & Hazel Mitchell (plus giveaway)My Profile

  3. Thanks so much for letting me know about this great book, Mia!
    Lisa Nelson recently posted…The Homeschool Link-Up (#homeschoollinkup) – Week 57My Profile

  4. Bekki@abetterway2homeschool

    I love beautifully illustrated books, but the thought of trying to create one gives me heart palpitations! I am so glad that gifts, talents, and abilities are distributed amount a wide variety of people! This “Year in the Secret Garden” sounds incredible.
    Bekki recently posted…Thanksgiving WeekMy Profile

  5. Thanks Mia for a wonderful interview with Marilyn Scott-Waters. It’s so fun to see her insights into our process.
    Valarie recently posted…Are You Thankful for Book Friends ?My Profile

  6. Ann

    Wow, this book sounds so great, I can’t wait to check it out! Also too bad I missed the giveaway, lol!
    Ann recently posted…Minimalist Snowman OrnamentMy Profile

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