Play With Me Virtual Book Tour, Author Interview, and Giveaway

Wednesday, April 17, 2024


Play with Me 
Written by Kat Chen 
Illustrated by Lorraine Nam 
Ages 1+ | 24 Pages 
Publisher: Rise x Penguin Workshop | ISBN-13: 9780593659717 

Publisher’s Book Summary: This board book series invites young readers to take part in a playdate activity of their choice, thereby empowering them with autonomy and validation. The picnic playdate models balanced and shared play, creating a positive experience that will provide readers with a reference for what caring and considered friendship looks like. Many toddlers and preschoolers consistently ask for someone to play with them, and this book provides just that for the quieter moments of the day. Simple language and gentle questions will help children develop their social skills by practicing conversations, all while engaging them in fun and familiar topics. 

Available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and


Kat Chen is the author of several bestselling contemporary and historical romance books. She also serves on the advisory board for Books for Newborns.

After becoming a grandmother and spending most of her free time helping with “the fun stuff”—conversations, crayons, and crawling—she was inspired to delve into children’s books and help kids master the art of simple conversation through shared play.

Learn more about Kat and her work on her website, Facebook, Instagram.


Lorraine Nam is an illustrator based in Brooklyn, New York. She was born in Philadelphia and spent her childhood drawing pictures and folding origami to pass the time at her parents’ jewelry store. She now spends her days combining those two loves to create her illustrations.

She is the illustrator of the picture book biography on Neil deGrasse Tyson, Look Up With Me, and the upcoming Wei Skates On, by Olympic Gold Medalist Nathan Chen.

Learn more about Lorraine and her work on her website, Instagram, and Twitter


Life Is What It's Called - What inspired this story?  

Kat Chen - Do you want the official answer or the truth? Official answer: I saw a TED talk about how kids learn to talk with questions. Someone asks, what’s your name? They answer. Someone asks, What color do you like? They think about it and answer. It’s how most conversations begin—a question and an answer. So that’s what I wrote. (That’s all true, it’s just not the full truth. For that…see below.) 

 The secret, unofficial answer is that I watched a relative reading to my granddaughter and was surprised that he just read the words. There was no pausing, no interacting, no questions with the child. That’s when I realized many people don’t know how to read with a toddler. They need help learning how to engage the child with the book. So, I wrote the questions and the interactions to help the adults engage with their child and the book together. 

Life Is What It's Called - What do you hope readers will learn from reading Play with Me

Kat Chen - I hope the adults learn how to read books interactively with their child. Reading should be fun play for everyone, not passive entertainment. This series helps people see how to interact with the child in a way everyone enjoys. 

Life Is What It's Called - Why do you think small learnings and tender moments are important for a child? 

Kat Chen - I think they’re important for everyone! The journey of a thousand miles begins and continues with one step. It’s the only way to make consistent progress. And if you can make those small steps fun, nurturing, and tender, then the world opens up for you. Not just for children, but for adults too. I don’t know if my three-year-old remembers how we read books together, but I certainly do. And I cherish those moments because every single one adds to a lifetime of joy. 

Life Is What It's Called - What do you think children will like most about this story? 

Kat Chen - That the adult reading to them asks them questions. The child gets to choose what they want, what they like, and at times, even what they see. (There’s a couple pages that look up at clouds and ask what the child sees.)  I hope they think it’s fun, fun, fun. 

Life Is What It's Called - What do you like most about the story? 

Kat Chen - I love the art. I’m a wordsmith, so I can see the skill in the words. But the art blows my mind. Lorraine Nam gave perfect color and shape to my words in ways I couldn’t even imagine. Every time I see it, I’m absolutely floored by her art. 

Life Is What It's Called - Can you share your writing journey? 

Kat Chen - I started writing after college. Fantasy and romance, mostly. None of it very good. Then I decided to become the great American screenwriter and got an MFA (Master of Fine Arts) at USC (University of Southern California). Then, before I could really get going in Hollywood, we followed my husband’s job back to Illinois. Not much film work going on in central Illinois, so I turned to novels. And babies. I had my children, broke into adult romance novels, and many years later, I revisited my love of picture books. 

 I got some excellent training from my literary agent in exactly how to write these delightful short form works. And then—years later—I finally sold to RISE. I cannot tell you how much joy these books bring me. I’ve published almost 80 novels, am a USA TODAY and AMAZON bestseller, and nothing beats sitting down with my grandbabies and reading the Play With Me books.  

Life Is What It's Called - What writing projects are you working on now?

Kat Chen - I’ve got several pictures books in submission, so I’m pausing writing more until those flow through the pipeline. (Although, when inspiration strikes, I’m always ready to grab a pen!) Right now, I’m working on an adult romance under the name Jade Lee. Sometimes you have to create the loving family that will support the child. That’s what my adult books do in several hot and sexy ways!


Enter the giveaway for a chance to win a signed copy of Play with Me and a $25 Amazon gift card! 

This post is sponsored by Kat Chen. The review and opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal view.

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