Interview with Mom’s Choice Award-Winner Tina Huggins

Tina Huggins MCA-Interview-Series-Featured Image

Mom’s Choice Awards is excited to announce another post in our interview series where we chat with the inventors, designers, publishers, and others behind some of our favorite family-friendly products.

Hello, Mom’s Choice readers! Welcome back for another interview with one of our excellent Mom’s Choice Award-Winning Authors. Today’s installment is with Tina Huggins, who, apart from being an author, is also passionate about teaching, technology, and entrepreneurism. Tina is the author of the Mom’s Choice Award-winning book, The Nodders: What! You Don’t Want to Nap?. The Nodders: What! You Don’t Want to Nap? is a whimsical story that introduces “Nodders” who are magical creatures that leave special treats for nappers while they snooze! This rhyming nap time book encourages children to look forward to snuggling in their bed, knowing they just might wake up to a surprise. Keep reading to find out more about Tina’s book The Nodders: What! You Don’t Want to Nap? and what inspired her to write.

MCA: Hi Tina! We appreciate you taking the time to sit and talk with us today about your award-winning book, The Nodders: What! You Don’t Want to Nap?! I have to say, I love the idea of the Nodders. When I was a child, my parents too created a magical creature, a fairy, that would leave presents for me and my siblings if we went to bed on time. This story brought me right back to my childhood! I’d first like to find out a little about the author behind such an enchanting book. Tell us about yourself!

Award-winning author Tina Huggins reading "The Nodders: What! You Don't Want to Nap?"

Award-winning author Tina Huggins reading “The Nodders: What! You Don’t Want to Nap?”

Tina: I am passionate about teaching, technology, and creativity. I began as an elementary educator and found a love in technology education. Apple Computer selected me as one of the first sixteen national trainers which later led me to complete an MA in Educational Technology from Pepperdine. I have had wonderful opportunities such contribute to the successful launch of LeapFrog, School Division. As an entrepreneur, I designed a piece of furniture for classroom teachers which was sold across the country and had a successful cookie business, SwapThoughts. I have three adult children and my husband and I love to travel, play golf together as well as participate in Bible Studies and local outreach programs in our community. I have a love for photography, cooking, and baking which come in handy during the holidays! My blog, brings together these interests as I write about my life, cooking, and technology.

MCA: You certainly are a woman who wears many hats, with some amazing accomplishments under your belt as well! Was it your blog that inspired you to eventually write children’s books?

Tina: I never thought I would write until I was on the road every week working for Apple, Inc. I had so many interesting, frustrating, or terribly funny things happen that I decided to write about them. I think people began to subscribe to my blog because of my humor. For years, I had wanted to write a napping story, but never had the time until being in quarantine with the Covid-19 scare…and I had plenty of time on my hands. A friend called and asked if I had written the story as I hung up the phone, I thought if not now…when?

MCA: There is no time like the present! What was your inspiration behind you wanting to write a story about napping?

Tina: I am one of four children. We are very close in age and our mother told us that if we napped the nap fairy would leave us a treat. My children were twenty months apart and I thought I would go nuts when they didn’t want to nap, so I decided to try my mother’s process and it worked great. My daughter and I later used it with her son who napped until he was 7! I decide the idea had worked well for three generations and would make a fun book. I came up with different characters to tell the story in a different way.

MCA: What are some of the key lessons found in The Nodders: What! You Don’t Want to Nap??


  1. Routines are important – I believe that resting or napping is an important part of the daily routine for young children. I have written about the importance of having a structure to the day with toddlers which will help prepare them for pre-school. It can be difficult for them to adjust if they have not had a structure in their daily routine as they grow.
  2. Rest is necessary – Parents, grandparents, or nannies all need a breather or a break during the day. Research shows that toddlers that don’t nap, often have more meltdowns later in the day or maybe so tired that they have difficulty going to sleep at night.

For parents, there is a great deal of information about the importance of toddlers napping. If we can make it fun for them and they know that they have something to look forward to when they wake, it is often easier to get them down for a nap.

MCA: How do the illustrations within The Nodders: What! You Don’t Want to Nap? help to promote early learning?

Tina: As a first-grade teacher out of college, I knew the importance of early learning for toddlers. As I worked with the illustrator, Brian Schmidt, it was important to me that each page be enhanced by early learning strategies within the beautiful illustrations. The book is designed to be read over and over to help little ones learn colors, objects, shapes, animals as well as rhyming words. One of my favorite pages is “In Beddy Bye Woods, they sleep while you play. Until you take a nap, they can’t start their short day!” This is a wonderful way to teach children about night and day around the world!

MCA: Tell us about the NapPouch that can be found within The Nodders: What! You Don’t Want to Nap?, and what its purpose is!

Author Tina Huggins reads aloud her award-winning book, "The Nodders: What! You Don't Want to Nap?"

Author Tina Huggins reads aloud her award-winning book, “The Nodders: What! You Don’t Want to Nap?”

Tina: The NapPouch hangs on the outside doorknob of the child’s bedroom door. The Nodders leave a small treat when a little one sleeps. I wanted to be sure anyone with the book could create a NapPouch immediately. It is an origami design that can be folded by following the directions on the inside of the Dust Jacket. Two NapPouches can be made from the book’s Dust Jacket. I also have a step-by-step video on my YouTube Channel. For those who don’t want to make a NapPouch, a cloth NapPouch can be purchased from our website Parents can put a trinket or 2 pieces of candy or snack inside the NapPouch. I used everything from cheerios, tiny marshmallows, to skittles. Not many, just a little happiness when they wake up!

MCA: That is such a cute idea! I’m sure there are a lot of parents and children that are big fans of your book. Speaking of your fans, what kind of response from readers have you received?

Tina: The reviews have been excellent on Amazon.

Here is one:

I liked this book so much after hearing the author, Tina Huggins read it aloud that I immediately bought 5 copies for my grandchildren. The rhyming is so much fun and the illustrations are delightful. The little Nodders are all different, the landscapes are colorful and fascinating, especially the tree where the Nodders live. The Nodders could one day join the ranks of the tooth fairy in the minds and hearts of children.

I am very proud of the review from Booklife Publishers Weekly:

In the magical land of Beddy Bye Woods, you’ll find sparkling ponds, cheerful turtles, and most important of all, the magical creatures known as Nodders. These fuzzy, big-eared creations love to frolic and play— but they can only start their fun once kids take a nap. It’s a clever and engaging conceit: While kids nap, Nodders romp. Written in story-time rhymes crafted to be read aloud, and boasting Brian Schmidt’s stunning and lively digital illustrations of its imaginative subjects, The Nodders is a picture book sure to be requested again and again—and one that might offer relief to tired caregivers and children alike.

Though a handful of rhymes feel forced, the verse overall creates that rare hypnotic fairy tale effect, the kind of story that lulls little ones to sleep. That might not happen with the first reading, as the Nodders, as rendered by Schmidt, are so visually interesting that the pages demand to be pored over in detail. With hints of pigs and bats in their face and body, curlicues in their ears, cute pajamas, and slippers that help them fly, the Nodders exhibit whimsy and fun on every page. Those pages are carefully considered and laid out, especially a masterful double spread of the sun setting on one page and rising on the next, blended together to show that they’re one event.

There are no shortage of “go to sleep” books for kids (and adults), and The Nodders succeeds in differentiating itself with its highly original concept —and by focusing on naps. Even so, it could easily be read as a good night book as well. These charming beings will likely work their way into kids’ hearts, and will certainly be welcome in a caregiver’s arsenal when it comes to nudging children toward sleep.

Takeaway: A picture book alive with whimsy and enchantment, The Nodders is crafted to charm little ones into napping.

Great for fans of: Il Sung Na’s A Book of Sleep, Anna Dewdney’s Llama Llama Red Pajama, Divya Srinivasan’s Little Owl’s Night.

Production Grade – A

Which includes:
• Cover
• Design and typography • Illustrations
• Editing
• Marketing copy

MCA: That is a great review indeed, and Mom’s Choice wholeheartedly agrees! Thank you again for sitting down with us today and please keep us posted on what’s next for you in your writing career. We are sure we will be seeing a lot more award-winning stories from you soon! 

You can learn more about Tina Huggins and her award-winning book, The Nodders: What! You Don’t Want to Nap?, by visiting her MCA Shop pages.

Interview With Tina Huggins

One Comment on “Interview with Mom’s Choice Award-Winner Tina Huggins”

  1. What a nice idea to have the origami nap pouch for little ones. A nice little surprise after a nap. My Grandson is 3 and we didn’t have this for him but my daughter has a new baby on the way and will be perfect for both.

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