Joan Ho-Ho-Holub, Author of the Month (and giveaway)

Santa’s here standing outside our castle drawbridge! He says he brought gifts. Let him in? What?

The three little knights in The Knights Before Christmasthink it might be smarter to guard their castle against this would-be invader instead. Not to be thwarted, the jolly red-and-white Santa and his reindeers (or are they dragons?) catapult gifts over the castle walls. Long siege short, this back-and-forth battle of wits and determination ends with both knights and Santa believing they’ve triumphed. A satisfying ending for both sides.

The idea for my new Christmas picture book, illustrated by Scott Magoon, sprang from my confusion over something that didn’t make sense to me as a kid: My parents locked our doors. They set the alarm. They protected our home from interlopers 364 days a year. Yet on Christmas Eve, we all went to bed hoping that Santa would “invade” our house while we slept.


This was a hard concept for me as a thinking kid. On one hand, I could hardly wait for Santa to deliver his bounty. (What kid doesn’t want presents?) On the other hand, was it really a good idea to let this mysterious, magical guy into our house in the middle of the night?

Now that I’m grown-up, I’m glad my kid-self questioned this whole “Santa situation” because it’s one of those niggling childhood confusions that motivated me to write. November was Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo), and I posted on Tara Lazar’s blog about three ways I get book ideas. Here’s a fourth way: I think up schemes to deal with things in the world that confused me when I was a kid. If I can use a comedic eye to re-work those confusing moments into situations that make me laugh, I have the kernel of a story.

I figure kids nowadays have the same questions and about things in their world — including some aspects of Christmas. I hope they’ll take comfort in knowing that they are not alone in their confusion — that there are three little knights out there in a castle somewhere, who questioned that whole Santa situation, and were catapulted into action to make sense out of it all!

As you and your kids welcome friends and family into your heart and castle this holiday season, I hope you all find time to laugh together. Happy holidays, everyone!


I’m giving away one autographed copy of The Knights Before Christmas. Comment to enter for a chance to win. One winner chosen December 7.
Buy links:


Joan Holub is the author of a stack of children’s books for children that is as tall as she is, including the acclaimed picture books Little Red Writing, The Knights Before Christmas, and Mighty Dads, a New York Timesbestseller. Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams co-author three series: Goddess Girls(ages 8-12, Greek mythology with a middle school twist), Grimmtastic Girls (for ages 8-12, fairy tale adventure with a middle school twist), and Heroes in Training(ages 6-11, Greek mythology adventure chapter books). Joan’s 2016 books include the board book, This Little President, and the chapter book, What Was Woodstock?



Author: Laurie Ann Thompson

I write books for curious young minds and open hearts, no matter what their age. BE A CHANGEMAKER: HOW TO START SOMETHING THAT MATTERS, a teen guide to saving the world, will be published by Beyond Words/Simon Pulse in September of 2014. EMMANUEL'S DREAM: THE TRUE STORY OF EMMANUEL OFOSU YEBOAH, a picture-book biography, will be published by Schwartz & Wade/Penguin Random House in January of 2015. And MY DOG IS THE BEST, a heartwarming fictional picture book, will be published by Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers/Macmillan in May of 2015.

5 thoughts on “Joan Ho-Ho-Holub, Author of the Month (and giveaway)”

  1. I have many readers who would love to read this story. My grandchildren range in age from 24 all the way down to 3, and I have a new great granddaughter. Thank you for the opportunity to win!


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