Never Miss a Beat

Bringing The Secret Garden to Life

{Guest post from Audrey Press CEO, Valarie Budayr}

It was almost five years ago in 2014 when I had the great pleasure of teaming up with Marilyn Scott-Waters from The Toymaker to create our award-winning chapter book A Year in the Secret Garden.

One of our favorite childhood books is The Secret Garden and together Marilyn and I wanted to bring that classic children\’s book to life for a new generation of readers. After months of exchanging ideas via email, pouring over graphics, activities, and recipes and spending countless hours revisiting every aspect of the Frances Burnett Hodgeson\’s Secret Garden story, the end result was a robust, month-by-month guide that brought the original classic tale to life.

In 2014, Marilyn and I launched A Year in The Secret Garden and the glow of pride has yet to dim.


Bring the children’s classic book, Secret Garden, to life with these activities, recipes and details that unlock the mysteries of the original book’s characters!\

Inside are original crafts with step-by-step instructions, easy-to-make recipes, gardening activities, beautiful and fully illustrated paper toys to download, and historical information. We\’ve even added a Yorkshire dialect guide. It\’s our wish that you have many magical moments inside the Secret Garden.\”This is my favorite book in the whole world and has been since I first heard it read back in grammar school. When I saw this new book out, I just had to get it; and I wasn\’t disappointed. All the magic of the original story came back to me. I love the craft ideas presented, and the short write-ups about the characters. I highly recommend this to anyone who is A SECRET GARDEN book fan, and what a wonderful gift to present to a child for the holidays! The magic of this timeless story will never end!\” Gail D.

A Year in the Secret Garden

As parents, we want/need quality books with extension activities to help our young ones unplug and create memories. Pulling books from shelves, and stories from pages is also an important act that will the habit of being life-long readers. Quality books with companion book extension activities are not only working to create special family time, but it also allows kids to solve the world’s problems without major consequences. A Year in the Secret Garden is just such a book.

This delightful children’s book is co-written by Marilyn Scott-Waters and Valarie Budyar and it offers original month-by-month activities that allow readers to delve deeper into the classic children’s tale, The Secret Garden.

A Year in the Secret Garden\

Within the 120 pages (with 150 original color illustrations and 48 activities)families will find many activities inspired by The Secret Garden that encourage them to step away from technology and enjoy getting hands and feet into the black earth of a family garden. This book will make a great gift and be the catalyst of many hours of family growth, learning, and FUN!


Grab your copy ASAP and “meet me in the garden!” More details HERE!

Time for Some Extra Fun

Today let\’s go exploring into the month of July within the pages of A Year in the Secret Garden. The garden is in full bloom, the bees are buzzing and there is always a gentle breeze found under blue skies. The Secret Garden is fully awake in summer and beckoning one and all to enter its walls. July holds many wonderful adventures to be added as well as many wonderful things to eat.

Today I\’d like to share some fun eating with a real Secret Meal, our tin foil breakfast. Mary, Dickon, and Colin enjoyed eating breakfast by the campfire. It\’s one of my favorite things to do as well.



Tin Foil Breakfast

Makes enough for 1 person per foil package.


  • Hash brown potatoes
  • 1-2 eggs
  • 1 sausage link (optional)
  • Feel free to add ham, cheese, or bell peppers as well
  • Salt and pepper
  • Aluminum foil
  • Cooking Spray


  • Tear off a piece of aluminum foil large enough to hold your eggs and potatoes.
  • Spray the non-shiny surface of your foil with cooking spray.
  • Break the eggs into a bowl and beat them until well mixed.
  • Place potatoes, beaten eggs ( uncooked), sausage, and salt and pepper to fast in the aluminum foil.
  • Wrap securely
  • Place on hot white coals of your campfire or grill for approximately 15 minutes.
  • Turn and rotate as needed.

Wishing you many happy adventures inside the Secret Garden.



Drawing on 20+ years of experience as a children’s book author, book publisher, and public speaker, Valarie is available to be featured in articles, podcasts, etc. regarding the topic of literacy, diverse kidlit, and children’s book publishing. To date, she has successfully published four award-winning children’s books. Her most recent book, Dragons Are Real was named a Kirkus Review Best Books of 2016.