Reviews and Awards

The Runaway Shirt

“Castaño’s vivacious yet soothingly earth-toned illustrations with bold graphic patterns bring out the humor in MacMillan’s text…A sweet depiction of how even a mundane task can turn into a fun game given some imagination, patience, and love.” School Library Journal 

“Many a young reader will giggle in recognition of similarly enacted pretend games of their own.” – Kirkus

“In a creative blend of housework and pretend play, The Runaway Shirt welcomes you to witness the world through a child’s eyes: where the simple folding of laundry is the launchpad for a world of runaway clothing and disappearing shirts. This charming read portrays the loving bond between parent and child, and the joy of nurturing your child’s imagination…Don’t be surprised if your own littles beg for laundry day after this one!” – Maya Espiritu- MaiStoryBookLibrary

Nita’s Day: More Signs for Babies and Parents

Featured in BookRiot’s 6 of the Best Baby Sign Language Books for Parents

“Kathy MacMillan has again created another engaging ASL board book for families that is sure to both entertain and educate. In Nita’s Day, Nita goes through typical routines of babyhood. She wakes up, has a diaper change, eats, goes to the potty, gets dressed, plays in the park, bathes, hears a bedtime story, and goes to sleep. Cheerful illustrations accompany each of these activities along with sturdy pull-out peek-a-boo panels. Exposed inside each panel is an illustration of Nita making the sign for the activity along with a verbal description of that ASL sign. Sturdy tabs allow readers searching for a specific sign to find it easily. Sara Brezzi’s colorful depictions of Nita’s loving parents as they help and accompany her throughout the day increase the joyfulness of this book. A must for every collection!” – Dr. Betsy Diamant-Cohen, Executive Director, Mother Goose on the Loose, LLC

“Tabbed pages make flipping to the correct sign easy for sleep-deprived parents using the book as a reference. Short, simple, descriptive sentences put the signs in context. Brezzi’s stylized cartoons are clear and accessible, employing a wide range of patterns and unusual colors…Deaf culture, ASL, and early-childhood content were vetted by experts, making it suitable for Deaf children or families who want to incorporate sign into their daily routine. A handy resource for hearing and Deaf families alike.”Kirkus



She Spoke: 14 Women Who Raised Their Voices and Changed the World

Selected for Rise: A Feminist Book Project 2020 Booklist

Bookstagram Choice Award Winner – Best 2019 Anthology of Women for Young Readers: “She Spoke is a unique anthology of trailblazing women that pairs their stories with their voices. (Remember those books with buttons on the side that play nursery rhymes or farm animal sounds? Like that, but WAY better.) To be precise, the book includes buttons that play actual clips of an inspiring speech by each woman in her own voice! She Spoke features 14 women who raised their voices to make change in the world, and it’s a perfect mix – well-known women like Malala or Jane Goodall, but also lesser-known but equally important women like Dr. Joanne Liu, Suzan Shown Harjo, and Leymah Gbowee. The concept is brilliant and like nothing I’ve ever seen – to hear these incredible women’s voices saying their iconic words is truly magical. Young readers will be begging to read (and listen to!) this one again and again.”

“The words are all inspirational, and so are the stories. Better still, as examples for budding activists, along with the predictable recitations of jobs, honors, and successes, the overviews often acknowledge failures, cannily characterizing them as first steps or as means to some greater end. A chorus of voices for justice and change, diverse alike of identity and cause.” -Kirkus Reviews

“When we first laid our eyes on this book, , Illustrated by Kathrin Honesta, there were several audible gasps, posts to social media, and several copies set aside for our own budding young feminists. We’ve stocked up on this amazing collection of outspoken women biographies, which, literally has the audio of their famous words available at a push of a button. When your two year old is parroting Abby Wambach and Malala Yousafzai you know you’ve made a smart decision in purchasing this book. ” – “What we’re reading: Reviews from the staff at Bartleby’s”, Manchester Journal, August 30, 2019

“Having access to these women’s voices, to literally hear them saying their iconic and critical words creates a magical connection between readers and these women, and I’ve never seen (well, heard) anything else like it.” – Ciarra Chavarria, @girlsreadtheworld (See full review here.)

“A wonderful nonfiction book for kids that features Dr. Jane Goodall, Susan Shown Harjo, Hilary Rodham Clinton, Dr. Temple Grandin, Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Malala Yousafzai and more! It’s a wonderful book for Women’s History Month that actually lets us HEAR from these women with a push of a button….giving us excerpts of speeches they gave as they worked to change the world in positive ways. ” – See the full video review at She Spoke video storytime at KidTime StoryTime

“[A] a beautifully illustrated, absolutely moving and totally unique audio + picture book that packs a serious punch.” – Chloe Lukasiak, feature on Chloe’s Book Club at Girls’ Life

“I was so excited to read She Spoke because of the push buttons on the side, but when I got the book, it was neat that there were so many women I had never heard of before.” – Read the full review from 8-year-old Avery at Kids’ Book Buzz

“The creators offer an appealing package with the book’s puffy cover, interactive features, and Honesta’s vibrant portraiture…The selected women represent only a tiny fraction of outspoken women from history, but the authors’ selections are sound and serve as an invitation to readers to discover more.” –Publishers Weekly

“I love this creative use of sound. I love how this brings to life these moments in history. I love that you can hear the woman’s voice. On top of all that, the book is interesting, the illustrations are lovely drawn portraits, and the whole things feels inspiring. This is such a cool book.” – Erin Buhr of My Storytime Corner, feature in Ultimate List of Children’s Books about Amazing Women 


Nita’s First Signs

Nita's First Signs final cover

Nita’s First Signs is a wonderful introduction to the world of American Sign Language for children. The book is not only entertaining and creative with its depiction of signs, it encourages the reader to go to a video source as a means to reinforce the signs learned through real-time instruction. In the end, Nita’s First Signs demonstrates the value and fun of learning sign language for ALL infants, toddlers children AND adults, regardless of whether they are Deaf or hearing or hard of hearing.” – Marlee Matlin, award-winning Deaf actress, author, and activist

“This unique and fabulous book teaches ten popular ASL signs to enable basic communication between babies who are not yet talking and their parents. Ten commonly used words (such as more, thank you, all done, please, eat, and hungry) are highlighted. Slide-out panels contain simple instructions along with pictures that name and illustrate each sign. Color-coded tabs will help parents easily find the signs they are looking for. In addition to being beautifully illustrated, the construction of this book is amazing. This book will appeal to children and adults of ALL ages for the simple story, the lovely illustrations, and the access to American Sign Language that it provides.” – Betsy Diamant-Cohen, creator of the award-winning Mother Goose on the Loose early literacy program

“Choosing to teach your baby sign language can open the door to meaningful communication earlier than expected and help defray frustration in the future. Nita’s First Signs is a wonderful way to start that journey with your child.” – Alison H. Scott, MD, FAAP, founder/CEO of Baby Doc Box

More Reviews: Kiss the Book ~ Making Life a Bliss Complete ~ Babies to Bookworms


Dagger and Coin

“Rich in politics, intrigue, and betrayal, Dagger and Coin is a complex feminist fantasy featuring a tough and prickly ex-princess that I couldn’t help but adore.” – Heidi Heilig, author of The Girl from Everywhere

Kirkus Review calls Dagger and Coin a “riveting fantasy sequel…Soraya’s compelling narration makes the minutiae of management as thrilling as the betrayals, murders, and desperate gambits propelling the plot…A fine balance of political intrigue, relationship drama, and thoughtful characterization.” Read the full review.

Booklist says: “MacMillan builds tension slowly, and soon readers will be locked into the wrangling for power and influence that goes into forging a new foundation.” Read the full review.

School Library Journal says“MacMillan has created a complex, nuanced world. Strong female characters taking the lead in a fast-paced plot will appeal to fans of fantasy, mythology, and works by Kristin Cashore…Those who haven’t read the first title in the series will not be disappointed or confused. A good choice for fantasy shelves.”

Sword and Verse


Finalist, 2017 Compton Crook Award

“I was completely enthralled by the fascinating and unique world that Kathy MacMillan has created.  The depth and skill she demonstrates with her ability to build an original mythology based on words and the power of language are highly unusual for a first-time novelist and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.” – National Book Award finalist Franny Billingsley

“A tense, romantic fantasy epic about prejudice, political struggle, and the power of words, SWORD AND VERSE kept me guessing at every turn. Kathy MacMillan is a writer to watch.” — R.J. Anderson, Andre Norton Award-nominated author of ULTRAVIOLET

“…overall this is a highly satisfying novel with an exciting conclusion. Filled with romance, political intrigue, and rebellion, this stand-alone page-turner will be in high demand by fantasy lovers.” — Voice of Youth Advocates

“Fans of Megan Whalen Turner will enjoy MacMillan’s debut novel…MacMillan explains the complicated political twists and turns clearly, and her characterizations are layered and believable.” — Publishers Weekly

“Literacy becomes the key to liberation in a thoughtful debut fantasy.” — Kirkus Reviews

“MacMillan’s love of learning, knowledge, and literacy shapes both plot and character development, while raising ethical questions with no easy answers. Beneath what appears to be a romantic fantasy, discerning readers will find complex, broader issues among the predictable comforts of the genre.” — Booklist

“MacMillan has created a believable world, complete with its own mythology.” — School Library Journal

Sword and Verse is a slow burn, a thoroughly crafted novel in every sense of the word.”–RT Book Reviews

Soul Fidget - Sword and Verse
Sword and Verse – Soul Fidget by Andy Rowlyk