Twelve Dinging Doorbells by Tameka Fryer Brown (+ GIVEAWAY!)

Hello, wonderful Picture Book Builders people.

I have a treat for you that is as delicious as sweet potato pie! Tameka Fryer Brown, author of Twelve Dinging Doorbells, dropped by to give us 12 facts about this warm and wonderful book that was illustrated by Ebony Glenn.

Get comfortable so we can dig in!

12 Facts about Twelve Dinging Doorbells (according to Tameka):

1. Twelve Dinging Doorbells is a humorous, cumulative tale about Black family gatherings.

2. It’s patterned after a well-known holiday carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”

3. I wrote the first draft of this book in 2017, just a few days before Christmas.

4. While the structure was influenced by the upcoming holiday, it was #ThanksgivingwithBlackfamilies that inspired the substance of it. But it’s not a book about Christmas. Or Thanksgiving. Or any one holiday in particular. It’s about every holiday, celebration, and family get-together!

5. When I was growing up, almost all our extended family gatherings were held at my granny’s house.

6. Granny was a phenomenal cook. She didn’t know how to make anything that wasn’t delicious…but she was especially known for her sweet potato pies. 

7. I was extremely close with my granny. Twelve Dinging Doorbells is dedicated to her.

8. There were many aspects of our family gatherings that I wanted to include in Twelve Dinging Doorbells, but I didn’t have room for them. Mentions of barbecue ribs, deviled eggs, and elders teaching all got the literary axe.

9. When Ebony Glenn—one of my dream illustrators—signed on to do the book, I knew it was going to be gorgeous.

10. Ebony used cut paper collage to create the scenes in the book. Which blows my mind, considering the increasing intricacy of each spread. I believe this is the first picture book she has illustrated using this technique. I feel so blessed to have created something so special with her.

11. Publishing with Kokila has been a uniquely collaborative experience. Shout-out to Team 12DD–especially Joanna Cárdenas, Jasmin Rubero, and Lathea Mondesir—for respecting and valuing my voice. Special shout out to my agent extraordinaire, Marietta B. Zacker. Whatever and whenever, she always comes through.

12. Twelve Dinging Doorbells is my first book to have earned three starred reviews, thanks to Kirkus, School, Library Journal, and Publisher’s Weekly! It has also been designated an Amazon Editor’s Pick. I hope children and their families receive as much joy from reading as I had in writing it.

Many thanks to Tameka for giving us some insider information on this joy of a book!


Tameka Fryer Brown is the author of Around Our Way on Neighbor’s Day, My Cold Plum Lemon Pie Bluesy Mood, Brown Baby Lullaby, and Not Done Yet: Shirley Chisholm’s Fight for Change. She is also a contributor to The Brown Bookshelf, an award-winning website dedicated to highlighting Black children’s authors and illustrators. Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, Tameka is extremely finicky about her sweet potato pie and, admittedly, underbids in Spades. Learn more about her work at


Would you like YOUR doorbell to ring with the announcement that your very own copy of Twelve Dinging Doorbells has arrived? Simply leave a comment and/or share this post on Twitter for a chance to win this book. Please tag me at @SauerTammi and Tameka at @teebrownkidlit.


Congratulations to Linda Hume! She won a signed copy of The Underpants written by yours truly and illustrated by Joren Cull.

Tammi Sauer

Tammi Sauer, a former teacher and library media specialist, is a full-time children's book author who presents at schools and conferences across the country. She has more than 30 published picture books and has many others on the way. Her books have received awards, earned starred reviews, made lists, been made into musicals, and been translated into many different languages. Most importantly, kids really like her books! To learn more about Tammi and her books, please visit and follow her on Twitter at @SauerTammi.


  1. The book sounds like a clever idea and a fun read aloud. Looking forward to reading it. I put in a purchase request at my library. Congratulations!

  2. I love holiday books! I’m excited to read it!

  3. I would love to win a copy of this book for a gift for a child.

  4. Awesome! Hope to win a book for my other grandniece!

  5. I would love to win a copy for my three nieces. They love reading books. It will brighten they heart!

  6. I would like to win a copy of for a child

  7. Michael Strong-Mason

    Would love to win to gift my great nieces!

  8. Dr. Martha Johnson-Rutledge

    Yes, I would love to win a copy to share with a child to help encourage them to read.

  9. Jacquelle E. Sconiers

    Awesome. Perfect gift. The gift of reading.

  10. Yes!! This is the BEST gift!!! Riley LOVES your books & thinks she is FAMOUS because she has a note/autograph from you!! Continue to BLESS the children!!!💕💚

  11. This book sounds great. It would be perfect for my great niece and great nephew. They love to read and act out the pages. If I win a copy it would go to them.

  12. Would love to win this for my niece as a Christmas gift.

  13. I wish this book had been in my library before I retired as an elementary school library media specialist. I would still love to share it with children in a storytime setting.

  14. Oh my! This book is lovely. I would love to win this book and gift to some of the neighborhood kids just in time for the holiday!

    • Antoinette McBurney

      This sounds like a wonderful book to start a conversation about holiday celebrations. I would love to win a copy for my daughter.

  15. What a wonderful book to share with my great nieces and nephew for the holiday season. It would be amazing to win a copy to gift to them.

  16. This is a book any child would enjoy! Would love to give as a gift!

  17. Ms. Brown is an inspired and inspiring writer of Children’s books. Her creative style is likely to be an influence on young readers for many, many years. Children read eagerly and enthusiastically when the books connect with their lives. Thank you Ms. Brown for staying the course of your dream! All the Best on the introduction of your latest work!!

  18. Awesome! A great gift and read for my boys!❤️

  19. What a wonderful interview with Tameka about her fabulous book! CONGRATS on all the starred reviews!

  20. Such a great interview with Tameika. She is such a talent writer. I hope to win a copy to give to my goddaughter.

  21. Thanks, wonderful book great writer and I hope to win for my grandson

  22. I would love have copies of this book for my granddaughter, nieces and younger cousins. This is wonderful.

  23. I would love a copy of the book for my grandson who is in the 1st grade.

  24. Such a fun story and I love this new art style from Ebony Glenn!

  25. I would love to win a copy of this book to share with all the students in my Title I elementary school in St. Petersburg, Florida.

  26. How exciting! I cannot wait to get my copy! The storyline sounds yummy and the colors chosen by the illustrator warms my heart like sweet potato pie!

  27. Love, love, love this fun, lively story! So happy it’s getting the recognition it deserves!

  28. Veronica D Rahming

    This would be a wonderful book for my grand niece!

  29. Late to the party but what a joyous book, Tameka. Loved getting an inside peek into your beautiful book. Congratulations!

  30. Congrats, Tameka! I’d love to win a copy of this book.

  31. Lisa Stringfellow

    What a wonderful book! Would love a copy for my Little Free Library!

  32. Thanks for sharing about this book! My school’s PreK and Head Start readers would love it.

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