Free Spirit Publishing Presents "This Morning Sam Went to Mars: A book about paying attention" by Minnesota author & illustrator Nancy Carlson

Share Article

This Morning Sam Went to Mars tells the story of eight-year-old Sam who learns to harness his powerful brain and improve focus.

A book about paying attention

This Morning Sam Went to Mars

“Brightly colored, with shiny pages, this picture book provides encouragement as well as sensible suggestions within a fictional frame.”

This Morning Sam Went to Mars tells the story of eight-year-old Sam, who is always daydreaming about exploring space and the deepest seas, which is awesome—except when he’s supposed to be focusing on homework or in class. It seems like all he hears is, “Focus, Sam!” and “Pay attention!” The doctor says Sam is lucky: He has a very powerful brain. But he does need some help to improve focus. She gives Sam and his dad lots of strategies to try, like staying organized, eating better food, and asking for help when he needs it. Sam’s favorite strategy? Make time to exercise his imagination!

This Morning Sam Went to Mars is written and illustrated by Nancy Carlson. Through the character of Sam, the book offers strategies to help all kids who are easily distracted, including those with ADHD.

“I was really excited to write and illustrate this book,” says Carlson. “It was fun to figure out the character of Sam—who he is, what he looks like, what are the problems he faces every day. And then, to bring everyone together—his dad, his teacher, and the doctor—to create a support system that can help Sam move forward and be successful. Space was a really good setting for Sam, because the sky’s the limit for him! Maybe he’ll end up going to Mars one day. He’s an amazing kid.”

This Morning Sam Went to Mars is Nancy Carlson’s sixty-fourth book, and continues Carlson’s philosophy of creating a story that helps children overcome a particular issue and feel good about themselves. Her characters aren’t perfect—they often have fears, anxieties, and disabilities. Through her books, kids learn to cope with different challenges. They can learn that they don’t have to be perfect to be a good person.

This Morning Sam Went to Mars was written to help kids improve their focus in all areas, whether they are one of the nearly 5.4 million children ages 4–17 who have been diagnosed with ADHD, are highly distractible, or could maybe use a little nudge in the focus department. Back matter includes a note to parents and teachers with extra tips for helping kids with attention struggles. This Morning Sam Went to Mars is being released simultaneously in hardcover and paperback.

About the author/illustrator

Nancy Carlson is an accomplished children’s book author and illustrator who has published more than 60 books. A lifelong Minnesotan, Nancy graduated from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design with a major in printmaking. She believes that life should be fun for everyone, but especially for children. This optimistic message permeates her picture books and provides a positive counterpoint to much of what children are influenced by in today’s society. Her characters aren’t always perfect. They often have fears, anxieties, and learning differences. Through her books, kids learn to cope with a range of challenges. They can learn that they don’t have to be perfect to be good people. Her characters convey positive messages without being “preachy.” They gently remind children what is right.

Nancy is also a guest author and illustrator at over 150 school classrooms each year and has touched the lives of thousands of children across the country. She lives in Minneapolis. Nancy can be reached through her website

Praise for This Morning Sam Went to Mars:

“After losing himself in a Mars exploration daydream at breakfast, Sam misses the school bus again. In class, distracted by an imagined deep-sea dive, he runs out of time on a spelling test, misses the last six words, and ends up feeling dumb . . . Without labeling Sam or his problem, the sympathetic story offers useful advice for children who may identify with him.”—Booklist

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Elena Meredith
Visit website