Mona Voelkel

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Perfect Picture Book Friday

#PPBF: Imagine That!

Book Title: Imagine That!

Author: Renee Bolla

Illustrations: Ellie I. Beykzadeh

Publisher & Year: Renee Bolla, 2022

Intended Age: 2-5 years 

Topic/Themes: Sleep, Imagination, Problem Solving

Opening Lines:       “Meet Emma.

                                   Fearless by day…

                                   Climb the tallest tree?

                                   She’s all over it.”

Synopsis: Emma is fearless during the day but nightime is a different story. How could anyone go to sleep when there’s so many scary sounds and shadows? Emma knows her imagination is making everything worse. Join Emma as she goes on a journey of self-discovery and figures out what she can do when the lights go out.

What I love about this book: Being afraid of the dark is a common fear for young children and the topic is handled here with great sensitivity. Young children will see themselves in Emma, fearless during the day but fearful at night, with colorful illustrations that perfectly complement the story.

There is a sass and engaging humor to this story, along with an important message about the power of our thoughts. Enjoy the book trailer created by Ellie I. Beykzadeh and the Imagine That! Teacher’s/Reader’s Guide.

Play Video

  Meet Author Renee Bolla! 

Mona: Renee, can you share what inspired you to write, Imagine That!?

Renee: Imagine That! was inspired by my first daughter who has always been brave and adventurous from the day she was born. But nighttime evokes different feelings for her. She has always struggled with a fear of the dark. Her vivid imagination works against her when it comes to bedtime so I would tell her stories to help ease her anxiety and fear. The stories would be about her using her imagination to turn regular objects into fun quirky things like dancing spiders that made her laugh. This became part of our bedtime routine every night and my hope is that this story can be shared with other children who struggle with the same fear.

Mona: I am sure it will be! What else can you share with our readers about your writing journey?

Renee: I am a mom, wife, brand consultant and most recently a self-published children’s picture book author. I have always been a curious human with a passion for learning new things and making each day count. I didn’t grow up dreaming of becoming a writer. I dreamt of working in the fashion industry. And I did just that. I quickly climbed the corporate ladder working for some of the largest retailers in the country. I led merchandising and brand teams for 20 years before trading in my fashion career to follow my new dream of becoming an author. Before resigning from the corporate world, writing was a hobby that filled my creative soul. And while it started as a hobby, it has evolved in to much more. I am a self-taught writer who is inspired by motherhood. It is the beginning of my writing journey and I am looking forward to sharing my stories with the world. I a member of the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Picture Book Challenge. My debut book, Finding Bunny, was self-published in February of this year while my second book, Imagine That, just launched in September. 

Mona: Thanks, Renee! I enjoyed Imagine That! and Finding Bunny very much! Readers, learn more about Renee by visiting her on Instagram @reneebollaauthor or at her website at

About the Illustrator:

Ellie I. Beykzadeh is an academically trained visual artist and holds two graduate degrees in art. Her debut children’s picture book as both writer and illustrator, Namaki and the Giant, was published in 2018. Ellie is passionate about illustration, photography and traveling. She draws inspiration from cultures and people. Follow Ellie’s artistic journey on Instagram @elliecolorss. Visit her website at

This review is part of PPBF (Perfect Picture Book Friday) where bloggers share great picture books. Organized and curated by author Susanna Leonard Hill, she keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. 

I purchased this book as part of the  Kidlit At Heart initiative, where authors come together to support literacy and other authors. Learn more here.

Thanks for stopping by! Is there a picture book about overcoming fears you recommend? Let me know in the comments.

7 Responses

  1. So many kids have a fear of the dark. I’m sure they’ll identify with this story! Congrats, Renee, on making it through all the work/steps for self-publishing. It’s a challenge!

    As far as another recommendation for modeling taking risks (the flip side of overcoming fear), I’d say that a book I just featured on PPBF, ACORN WAS A LITTLE WILD, hits that mark.

    1. Thank you Jilanne for the support, it is a challenge! I am so happy did it and my book is out there for little readers to enjoy. Thanks for sharing another book recommendation. I will definitely check it out for my own kiddos.

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