Download Gianferrari Press Kit


Maria & Becca Maria on the Bench
For more pictures and high resolution versions, click here. Pictures by Monogram Arts Photo







Maria writes both fiction and nonfiction picture books from her sunny, book-lined study in northern Virginia, with dog, Becca as her muse. Maria’s debut picture book, Penny & Jelly: The School Show, illustrated by Thyra Heder, will be released on July 7th, 2015 (HMH Books for Young Readers). A second Penny & Jelly book titled, Penny & Jelly Slumber Under the Stars, will be released in June 2016. Maria has five additional books forthcoming from Roaring Brook and Boyds Mills Presses as well as Aladdin Books for Young Readers in the coming years. To learn more about Maria, visit her website: and on Facebook.


And you can visit Penny & Jelly at their website:, and on Instagram:




Maria can’t juggle, ride a unicycle or yodel, but she’s pretty good at pancake flipping and cookie baking. She’s especially good at making cookies disappear. Maria lives in northern Virginia with her best friend/husband, Niko, her artist daughter, Anya, her beloved dog, Becca, and two pets rats, Lucia and Nera. This is her first book. To learn more about Maria, visit her website, and on Facebook.




Maria Gianferrari hasn’t slumbered under the stars recently, but she has two favorite stars: the dog star, Sirius, like Penny and Jelly, and Betelgeuse—just because it’s so fun to say! Maria stargazes from her backyard in Virginia with her husband, Niko, an amateur astrophotographer, her artist-daughter, Anya, the dog star of her household, Becca, and lone rat, Lucia. This is her second book for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. For more information about Maria, please visit her website,
(June 2016)




Maria Gianferrari was inspired to write Coyote Moon after her first coywolf sighting on a moonlit night in her own Massachusetts backyard. Maria now lives in Northern Virginia with her scientist husband, artist daughter, and rescue pets, Becca the dog and Lucia the rat. This is her first book for Roaring Brook Press. Visit her at or on Facebook.
(July 2016)




Hot diggity dog! Maria Gianferrari’s a lucky dog—she gets to write stories about cats and dogs, and when she’s dog-tired, she can catnap in her office. Maria lives in Northern Virginia with her cat’s meow of a family: her scientist husband, artist daughter, top dog, Becca and lone rat, Lucia. To learn more about Maria, visit her website,
(October 2016)





Terrific Tongues was a winner of PEN New England’s Susan Bloom Discovery Award.


Coyote Moon was the recipient of a Letter of Commendation from SCBWI for the Barbara Karlin grant in 2010.


Penny & Jelly: The School Show:


From Kirkus Reviews:

Penny and Jelly are sure to warm the hearts of both future talent-show contestants and readers who have similarly close canine friends.
(Picture book. 4-8)


From Booklist:

As Penny's list of potential talents gets longer (and each entry is crossed off as she fails to successfully pull off the routines), Heder's warm, comforting illustrations charmingly and vibrantly depict each disastrous attempt. Penny tries out exotic skills like magic, tuba playing, and dog fashion, all with Jelly's help. Though Penny's dogged determination and playful spirit could have easily led to a Pollyannaish conclusion, Gianferrari resists that impulse, and she realistically includes moments when Penny feels frustration and fear, something that will resonate with many kiddos trying something new. Little ones anxious about finding a talent will be reassured by this heartening tale with a cozy conclusion: sometimes the best talent is friendship.
(Picture book. 4-8)


Penny & Jelly Slumber Under the Stars:


From Brightly:

Penny gets invited to a slumber party, but her dog Jelly can't come, so she tries to find a substitute to take instead. After several tries and a little creativity, Penny comes up with the perfect solution.
(Picture book. 4-8)





Penny & Jelly: The School Show

Release Date: July 7, 2015

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Illustrator: Thyra Heder

ISBN-10: 0544230140

ISBN-13: 978-0544230149

Format: Hardcover

Synopsis: This young and funny picture book showcases the soon-to-be star of her school talent show: Penny. With a little help from her dog Jelly, Penny realizes that she and Jelly have a unique talent to share--unlike any other in the show. Readers of Pinkalicious and Ladybug Girl will swoon over Penny & Jelly.



Penny & Jelly Slumber Under the Stars

Release Date: June 14, 2016

Illustrator: Thyra Heder

Publisher HMH Books for Young Readers

ISBN-10: 0544280059

ISBN-13: 978-0544280052

Format: Hardcover

Synopsis: Synopsis: In this picture-book companion to Penny & Jelly: The School Show, Penny is invited to a slumber-under-the-stars sleepover! But there's one small detail that derails the dynamic kid-dog duo: no pets allowed. Penny and Jelly have to think quick—if the real Jelly can't go, then maybe a pretend Jelly can! A paper Jelly? Too rough. A yarn Jelly? Too soft. Jelly after Jelly just doesn’t work. But with a little creativity and a lot of heart, Penny figures out how to go to the sleepover—and bring Jelly along with her. Learn more about these best friends at



Coyote Moon

Release Date: July 19, 2016

Illustrator: Bagram Ibatoulline

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

ISBN-10: 162672041X

ISBN-13: 978-1626720411

Format: Hardcover




Officer Katz & Houndini: A Tale of Two Tails

Release Date: October 2016

Illustrator: Danny Chatzikonstantinou

Publisher: Aladdin Books for Young Readers



Format: Hardcover




Hello Goodbye Dog

Forthcoming from Roaring Brook Press in winter 2017

Illustrator: Patrice Barton



Format: Hardcover




Highway Hawks

Forthcoming from Roaring Brook Press in summer 2017

Illustrator: Brian Floca



Format: Hardcover




Terrific Tongues

Forthcoming from Boyds Mills Press (release date to be determined)

Illustrator (to be determined)



Format: Hardcover






Emu’s Debuts:

Maria Gianferrari’s Calls (October 2014)


The Art of Writing & Being the River (January 2015)


Zen & Pen: Are You Ready To Be A Student Again? (April 2015)


Top 10 Book Launch Dos, A Few Don’ts & The Power of Roberta (July 2015)


Cover Reveal: Coyote Moon (August 2015)


Flying the Emu’s Nest (September 2015)



Mia Wenjen/Pragmatic Mom:

Nature Is All Around Us: Nonfiction Picture Books For Kids (July 2013)



Tara Lazar/Writing for Kids While Raising Them:

Maria Gianferrari’s Success Story: Agent And Two-Book Debut Deal! (March 2013)


PiBoIdMo Day 24:Maria Gianferrari Embraces Failure (November 2013)


Penny & Jelly: The School Show Summer Blog Tour (June-July 2015):










  • HMH Picture Book Parade:
    • Part I: Behind the Scenes with Thyra Heder, Illustrator of Penny & Jelly
    • Part II: Q&A with Illustrator Thyra Heder
    • Part III: Q&A with Author Maria Gianferrari



Additional interviews:


  • Monday, July 20st: Emu’s Debuts: Top 10 Book Launch Dos, Plus a Few Don’ts & The Power of Roberta








Maria Gianferrari


Penny & Jelly website:

Instagram: @pennyandjelly

Facebook: Maria Gianferrari, Author


Publicist for Penny & Jelly books:


Elora Sullivan, Publicity Assistant

HMH Books for Young Readers

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

222 Berkeley Street

Boston, MA 02116

Phone: 617-351-3422



Publicist for Coyote Moon, Hello Goodbye Dog and Highway Hawks:


Brittany Pearlman, Associate Publicist

Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group

175 Fifth Avenue

New York, NY 10010

Phone: 646-307-5282



Represented by:


Ammi-Joan Paquette, Literary Agent

Erin Murphy Literary Agency, Inc.

2700 Woodlands Village #300-458

Flagstaff, AZ 86001-7127