NITA’S FIRST SIGNS is a 2018 INDIES Silver winner!

Nita’s First Signs has been named a winner in the 21st annual Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards.

Foreword Reviews, a book review journal focusing on independently published books, announced the winners of its INDIES Book of the Year Awards earlier this month. The INDIES recognize the best books published in 2018 from small, indie, and university presses, as well as self-published authors. You can view all of the winners here.

“Being surrounded by the year’s best books from independent writers and publishers is a humbling and invigorating experience that we take seriously at every step of the judging process,” says Managing Editor Michelle Anne Schingler. “As the INDIES progress, our editors, and our librarian and bookseller judges, have the honor and the privilege of discovering and rediscovering independent titles that give us hope about the future of publishing and that, at their best, make us consider the world around us anew.”

Nita’s First Signs, written by Kathy MacMillan, illustrated by Sara Brezzi, published by Familius Press is the 2018 Silver Winner in the category Picture Books, Early Reader.

Over 2,000 entries were submitted in 56 categories, with Foreword’s editors choosing approximately 10 finalists per genre. Those finalists were then mailed to individual librarians and booksellers charged with picking the Gold, Silver, and Bronze winners.


Founded in 1998, Foreword Magazine, Inc. is the publisher of the only review journal completely devoted to independent publishing: Foreword Reviews, a Folio: award-winning bimonthly print review journal. Foreword exclusively covers university and independent (non “Big 5”) publishers, the books they publish, and their authors. Foreword is based in Traverse City, Michigan, with staff based worldwide.

NITA’S DAY available for pre-order!

Nita and her family are back in an all-new adventure that teaches 10 basic American Sign Language signs for babies and their grownups to use throughout the day: wake up, change, clothes, eat, potty, go, play, bath, book, and bed. A simple story about Nita and her parents teaches each sign in context, and repetition throughout each story makes them easy to practice. Even better, each page slides open to reveal accurate instructions on how to make each sign, plus tabs on the side of each page make it simple to locate every sign for later reference. No signing book collection is complete without Nita!

Nita’s Day: More Signs for Babies and Parents

by Kathy MacMillan; illustrated by Sara Brezzi. Familius Press, 2020

Pre-order now:

Learn more about the Little Hands Signing series here!

Nita's First Signs final cover

NITA’S FIRST SIGNS and more now available in the DCI Online Bookstore!

If you have followed me for any length of time, you are probably aware of how proud I am to be affiliated with an amazing organization called Deaf Camps, Inc., a volunteer-run non-profit organization dedicated to providing fun, safe, communication-rich camps that promote the physical, spiritual, and social development of Deaf/hard of hearing children and children learning American Sign Language. You may recall that my launch party for my debut novel, Sword and Verse, was a gala fundraiser that raised scholarship money for Deaf Camps, Inc. I have been volunteering with this organization since 2001, and have been on the board since 2003. I have volunteered at camp every year and served in various capacities on the board. Currently I am DCI’s treasurer and director of the Interpreter Internship Program.

So I am pleased to announce that from now on, autographed copies of all my books – along with some terrific bundle deals! – will be available in Deaf Camps, Inc.’s Online Bookstore, with all proceeds going directly to Deaf Camps, Inc.’s scholarship program. To have a book personalized, simply note name(s) in the comments section on the order form.

And remember, signed books make excellent holiday gifts! Order now!

DCI Bookstore


After several months of limited availability due to the quick sellout of the first print run, copies of Nita’s First Signs are again available!

Order now at


Upcoming Event

Saturday, November 10, 11AM-1PM: Read Local Kick-Off Party at Winchester Book Gallery (Winchester, VA)


Come help us kick off the Maryland/Virginia/Delaware/Washington D.C. Read Local Challenge! Join us for an all-ages storytime at 11 am, featuring American Sign Language stories and songs, followed by games and crafts featuring the 42 books in the Read Local Challenge and a book signing for both Nita’s First Signs and Dagger and Coin. You can win great prizes just by participating! Find out more about the Read Local Challenge here.

Check out the complete calendar of upcoming appearances for more information!




Teacher/Librarian Guide for NITA’S FIRST SIGNS now available!

I’m so excited to share with you this printable guide to using Nita’s First Signs in the classroom or storytime! Check it out for tips and tricks for sharing signs during the story, and following up with other fun ASL activities.  Click here or on the picture below to download and print your own copy.

Check out the Nita’s First Signs homepage for a video demonstration of the signs in the story and even more links to ASL storytime and classroom activities to share!

Hands Up for Back to School!

If you’re looking for resources to share American Sign Language with your students or storytime attendees, check out the Little Hands Signing Storytime & Craft Ideas board on Pinterest! It’s where I pin my favorite ideas from around the internet for sharing ASL with kids, and gather links to my own videos showcasing signing rhymes and songs.  Check it out!

ASL Poetry and a #Giveaway of NITA’S FIRST SIGNS!

I’m so excited to share a guest post at Laura Shovan’s Poetry Friday blog post! Laura is a poet and the author of Takedown and The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary, and she matches books with great poems when she posts about them on her blog. (Check out the post she did about my young adult novel, Sword and Verse, here.)

For Nita’s First Signs, I was thrilled to introduce readers to a classic of American Sign Language poetry: “Dandelion” by Clayton S. Valli. ASL poetry is composed in ASL and created to be understood in a visual medium, with meter, alliteration, and rhyme expressed in an entirely visual way.  Learn more about the poem and enter to win a signed copy of Nita’s First Signs at Laura’s blog.

FREE Signing Storytime Programs in MD Libraries This Summer

I’m looking forward to sharing stories, songs, and signs with kids and families this summer at Maryland libraries! Join me for these FREE programs!

Saturday, July 7, 10 AM at the Eldersburg Library (Eldersburg, MD)Little Hands Signing: Summer Signs (for ages birth to 8 with caregiver)

Sunday, July 8, 2 PM at the Rosedale Library (Rosedale, MD): The SIGN-a-long Sing-a-long (for all ages)

Wednesday, July 11, 1:30 PM at the White Marsh Library (White Marsh, MD): The SIGN-a-long Sing-a-long (for all ages)

Thursday, July 12, 11 AM at the Central Library (Denton, MD): The SIGN-a-long Sing-a-long (for all ages)

Sunday, July 15, 2 PM at the Hereford Library (Hereford, MD): The SIGN-a-long Sing-a-long (for all ages)

Friday, July 20, 3 PM at the Towson Library (Towson, MD): The SIGN-a-long Sing-a-long (for all ages)

Monday, July 30, 10:30 AM at the Hyatttsville Library (Hyattsville, MD)Little Hands Signing: Summer Signs (for ages birth to 8 with caregiver)

Saturday, August 11, 10 AM at the Eldersburg Library (Eldersburg, MD)Little Hands Signing: Transportation Signs (for ages birth to 8 with caregiver)


Signed copies of Nita’s First Signs will be available for $15. I’ll also be offering book bundles featuring Nita’s First Signs and Little Hands and Big Hands: Children and Adults Signing Together, along with an adorable rubber ducky signing I-LOVE-YOU, for just $28. Makes a great baby shower or new baby gift!

Nita's First Signs final cover   Little Hands and Big Hands cover   





NITA’S FIRST SIGNS Launch Event This Sunday at The Ivy Bookshop!

Sunday, July 1, 2018 at 10 AM

The Ivy Bookshop, 6080 Falls Rd, Baltimore, Maryland 21209

To preorder your copies (or order signed copies if you can’t attend the event), call (410) 377-2966

Nita's First Signs final cover


I’m looking forward to celebrating the launch of Nita’s First Signs with stories, songs, crafts, snacks, and more! This event will be appropriate for all ages and accessible in American Sign Language and spoken English.

RSVP here.