Author Chat with Margi Preus (Lily Leads the Way), Plus Giveaway! ~US Only

Today we are chatting with Marg Preus, author of Lily Leads the Way

Read on for more about her, her book, and a giveaway!



Meet Margi Preus

Margi Preus, a New York Times best-selling author, wrote the Newbery Honor Book Heart of a Samurai and other novels, including the Enchantment Lake mystery series, The Littlest Voyageur, and Village of Scoundrels. Her picture books include Storm’s Coming!, illustrated by David Geister; Celebritrees: Historic and Famous Trees of the World, illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon; and The Legend of the Lady Slipper, cowritten with Lise Lunge-Larsen and illustrated by Andrea Arroyo. Margi Preus lives near Lake Superior in Minnesota, not far from the bridge that inspired Lily Leads the Way.

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About the Book: Lily Leads the Way

A little sailboat has a big burst of determination when a fleet of tall ships needs assistance.

Lily the sailboat is small but sturdy, in a harbor full of enormous cargo ships, speedy fishing vessels, and bossy tugboats that all have somewhere to go. And something to say—mostly, “Out of my way, Lily!” But Lily has somewhere to go, too. Out on the lake, the tall ships are coming! To pass from the harbor to the lake, Lily must blow her horn and ask the lift bridge to rise—“Meee-me?”—but the big vessels’ blasts are so much louder as they crowd her out and rock her with waves. Finally, Lily slips under just before the bridge goes down, her sails fluttering with excitement as she spies the majestic barquentine, schooner, and other grand old ships heading toward the now-lowered bridge. Silently! How will the bridge know to rise? Can Lily save the day? This tale of plucky persistence, illustrated with the splash and sparkle of a summer day on the water, is sure to empower any child to take charge when the time is right. A note from the author, a Newbery Honoree, offers more facts about bridges and boats for curious readers.


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~Author Chat~

YABC:  What gave you the inspiration to write this book?

I live in Duluth, MN, near Lake Superior. My husband and I used to have a small sailboat (small for Lake Superior, that is). To get to the lake from the harbor we had to pass under a bridge—a bridge that has to lift to let you under—and we had to signal the bridge to open by tooting a horn. Our horn made a pathetic little toot, but it did the job—eventually.  Still, once the bridge opened things could get scary—with big ocean-going vessels and 1000 foot ore boats taking up the ship canal. How’s a little boat supposed to get through? In recent years a fleet of tall ships has been visiting our waterfront, and watching them come under the bridge (very majestically, I must say) gave me the idea for this story.

YABC: Which came first, the title or the story?

Definitely the story. In fact, Lily’s name wasn’t exactly Lily to begin with, so first I had to decide on her name and once I’d done that the title came quite easily.


YABC: What is the main message or lesson you would like your reader to remember from this book?

Mainly I hope readers will have a very fun time making the sounds of the different boats and cheering Lily on, but I hope that the littlest readers will feel empowered and learn that, no matter what size—large or small—they can use their voices to help others.


YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?

I love the spunky Lily! And the delicious colors that make you feel as if you’re right there at the waterfront—on the best day of the summer.

YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?

Leave room for serendipity.

YABC: What’s up next for you?

I have a novel coming out in September entitled Windswept, a middle grade fantasy. In this story children under the age of 15 must stay indoors or risk being windswept—disappearing in the swirling snow. Nevertheless, a ragtag group of “Youngers” risks it by setting off to find their windswept siblings, armed only with a forbidden book of fairytales, a possibly magic ribbon, and an unwillingness to accept “that’s impossible.”

YABC: What’s a book you’ve recently read and loved?

I recently read and loved The Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy by Anne Ursu and am currently reading—and loving—Jacqueline West’s Long Lost, both middle grade fantasies.

YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the issue of clean water and keeping the Lake Superior watershed free of toxic waste from threatened copper nickel mining is one issue in which I’m involved.


YABC: What would you say is your superpower?

Throwing impromptu parties.


YABC: Is there anything that you would like to add?

Thanks for the opportunity to have this little chat!



Book’s Title: Lily Leads the Way

Author: Margi Preus

Illustrator: Matt Myers

Release Date: May 17, 2022

Publisher: Candlewick Press

ISBN-10: 1536214035

ISBN-13: 9781536214031

Genre: Picture Book

Age Range: 4-8





Three winners will receive a hardcover copy of Lily Leads The Way (Margi Preus) plus activity sheet,~ US Only


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3 thoughts on “Author Chat with Margi Preus (Lily Leads the Way), Plus Giveaway! ~US Only”

  1. ltecler says:

    Love the vivid colors on the cover–young readers will want to dive right in to this one!

  2. The cover is adorable and I am excited to read this one out loud.

  3. Morgan Jones says:

    My daughter is obsessed with cars and boats, great subject for toddlers!

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