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Ava Cuvay: Fortunate F***-Ups (and Giveaway)
Monday, July 26th, 2021

UPDATE: The winner is…Mary McCoy!

The start of school in my district looms in the very near future, and I’m trying to transition from Summer mentality to Subbing mode. Amazingly enough, this year will be my fourth year as a Substitute Teacher…an anniversary shared with my career as an author/illustrator of children’s picture books.

In truth, the latter exists solely because of the former.

Before I became a Substitute Teacher, I’d already been a published author of Sci-fi Romance with two novels under my belt. I was working diligently to establish my brand and promote my books. I carried business cards with me everywhere, but I also special-ordered a phone case with my first book cover on it. What better way to begin a conversation about my romance books than to have someone notice my phone case!

Unfortunately, the only people who noticed my sexy phone case were elementary students I was substitute teaching. Ack! Big-time F****-Up! I depended on my phone’s alarm to keep me mindful of subject transitions, recess, lunchtimes, etc. And thought nothing of the instrument of my timekeeping…until kiddos started to comment.

A few “that man’s neck is really long,” “I can see that man’s chest,” and “Who is Ava Cuvay and why is she on your phone” was all it took. I snatched a little story bobbing around my head and wrote it down, then I drew pictures to go with it. I ended up with Slow Squirrels for Old Dog, a sweet first-grade level book to honor my 14-year-old dog who had passed away. Not the most cheerful idea for a book, but it was a cathartic step in my personal grief, and the death of a beloved pet is something any owner deals with at some point. Loss isn’t something we can or should pretend never happens, and I’ve found young children are, for the most part, resilient and pragmatic on the topic.

So! Children’s book published and new, school-age-appropriate phone cover in place, I thought I could leave it at that and get back to my Romance books. But the interest and enthusiasm from the students kept pulling me back to make more. This last June, I published my third children’s book, Soaposaurus Rex Versus Poop Ninja. A special request for a friend’s 7-year old son, it’s an action-packed, humorous story to encourage handwashing.

When I attend author signings, my three children’s books are as popular as my romance novels. When I substitute teach, they are a great starting point to talk about writing and drawing and encouraging students to pursue their dreams.

Four years later, I’m so grateful I F****’d Up and neglected to consider what was on my phone case that first year of Subbing!


Because we’re talking children’s books, comment with your favorite children’s book for a chance at a $10 Amazon gift card!

About the Author

Ava Cuvay w/a Tippi Hickey: Tippi lives in central Indiana with her hubby, kiddos, kitties, and a love of all pets furry, fuzzy, feathery, and scaly!

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17 comments to “Ava Cuvay: Fortunate F***-Ups (and Giveaway)”

  1. Misty Dawn
    · July 26th, 2021 at 8:40 am · Link

    I had a Mother Goose book growing up that I loved to read. Unfortunately it was lost in a fire when I was a teenager.

  2. Colleen C.
    · July 26th, 2021 at 12:21 pm · Link

    I loved the Winnie The Pooh books growing up.

  3. Debra Guyette
    · July 26th, 2021 at 2:55 pm · Link

    Mine is The little Engine that Could

  4. Mary Preston
    · July 26th, 2021 at 4:45 pm · Link

    POSSUM MAGIC by Mem Fox is just beautiful.

  5. bn100
    · July 26th, 2021 at 5:10 pm · Link

    Dr. Seuss

  6. Ava Cuvay
    · July 26th, 2021 at 9:01 pm · Link

    Misty – So tragic to lose a memorable book!

  7. Ava Cuvay
    · July 26th, 2021 at 9:02 pm · Link

    Colleen – Winnie the Pooh is such a gentle classic!

  8. Ava Cuvay
    · July 26th, 2021 at 9:04 pm · Link

    Debra – And a great moral to live by 🙂

  9. Ava Cuvay
    · July 26th, 2021 at 9:06 pm · Link

    Mary – I’ve never heard of this one! I’ll have to find it to read 🙂

  10. Ava Cuvay
    · July 26th, 2021 at 9:07 pm · Link


  11. Mary McCoy
    · July 31st, 2021 at 12:24 pm · Link

    Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

  12. Jennifer Beyer
    · July 31st, 2021 at 6:39 pm · Link

    My daughter used to make me read That’s Not My Fairy over and over when she was little. We still quote it even though she’s an adult.

  13. flchen1
    · August 1st, 2021 at 12:13 am · Link

    How fun, Ava! I think our favorite board books were a bunch by Sandra Boynton (pretty sure we had The Going to Bed Book completely memorized), several by Leslie Patricelli (I think our youngest called them the bald-head baby books), and the version of Noah’s Ark by Lucy Cousins. Then when they got a little older, the youngest loved the Frog and Toad books by Arnold Lobel and the middle enjoyed having the Frances books read aloud again and again (by Russell Hoban, I think?) So many fun choices 😉

    And YAY on you helping your school district, Ava–bless you!! Teachers are rock stars!

  14. Ava Cuvay
    · August 2nd, 2021 at 8:52 am · Link

    Mary – When my kiddos were little, we created an alphabet tree on a wall so they could sing the song and move the letters around… I adore that book!

  15. Ava Cuvay
    · August 2nd, 2021 at 8:54 am · Link

    Jennifer – I love that you and your daughter have such a lasting connection to a book!

  16. Ava Cuvay
    · August 2nd, 2021 at 8:56 am · Link

    Wow!! What a wealth of favorite books! So thrilled you made sure your kiddos had plenty to choose from! 🙂

  17. Delilah
    · August 4th, 2021 at 6:30 am · Link

    Congratulations go out to Mary McCoy! You’re the winner!

    Thanks to everyone who played and to Ava for being a wonderful guest!

Comments are closed.