The Great Grace Escape


“Grace is the boss of her underwater home! Grace decides what to do, how to do it and when! But as time passes, and as Grace hears voices and sounds that peak her interest, she begins to wonder is there is an even better place?

With humor, imagination and tenderness, author Pam Saxelby, and illustrator Anne Saxelby, explore a baby’s arrival, and the delight found in arriving at just the right place.

Pam Saxelby’s books reflect her ability to tap into children's emotional world: their questions, worries and joys. After 25 years in the classroom as an early childhood educator, Pam pursued her life-long love of children’s literature and began writing her own books. The Great Grace Escapeis the third in a series of books inspired by Pam’s grandchildren. Other titles include Max and Bearand Josie the Great. Pam and her husband Bill split time between Chicago, the Florida Keys and Brooklyn, New York.

The Great Grace Escape was illustrated by Pam’s daughter Anne Saxelby, founder of Saxelby Cheesemongers in New York City. In addition to being a national leader in the artisan food movement, Anne is an artist who graduated from NYU’s studio art program. Anne illustrated Josie the Great (which was inspired by her children) and created the illustrations for The Great Grace Escape based on her young niece. Anne and her family live in Brooklyn.


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Josie the Great!

A Mother-Daughter Collaboration

A distinguished mother and daughter collaborate as author and illustrator of Josie the Great, an irresistible story that helps readers ages 4 to 8 prepare for the arrival of a new sibling.

"What a gift it has been to be able to collaborate on Josie the Great with my daughter Anne. The opportunity to work with your own child as an adult, is truly special."

- Pam Saxelby

Author Pam Saxelby is an expert in early childhood education after more than twenty five years in the classroom. Both books written by Pam Saxelby, Max and Bear and Josie the Great, reflect her years working with, and listening to, very young children, as a pre-K teacher, as a mother and as a grandmother. Anne is the first of Pam’s 3 children. Pam lives in Chicago and Islamorada, Florida

The Illustrator, Anne Saxelby, studied art at NYU and is a national figure in the artisan food movement, as owner of Saxelby Cheesemongers. Her two young children were Pam’s inspiration for both books, so Anne drew from life.  Josie the Great is Anne’s debut as a book illustrator. Anne and her family live in Brooklyn, NY.

So many things are changing for Max and Bear. They've moved into a new house in a new neighborhood, and now ... a new baby? Max's parents keep talking about someone named Josie, but who is that? With his trusty friend Bear by his side, Max navigates the changes in his life and wonders what it all means.

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Josie the Great is adorable and genuine. My little one loved it and asked if this means we are expecting a baby. We are not, but I would say this is a great book to read to a kid who is about to become a big sibling. The art has the style of a child's artwork. It works well enough for this book but I would recommend it for many.

Martina D'Angelo, Posted on Goodreads


In addition to being a great children's book author, [Pam] is animated in her storytelling, energetic, and engages well with children of all ages.  Her creativity shows through in her well written books, relateable books and in the follow-up craft, themed to her book Max and Bear. 

Rachel Kirby-Utz, The Red Balloon Co.
Bucktown, Chicago, IL 60647


Not only is the book fabulous, and the kids engaged, I was absolutely delighted watching [Pam] in action with the kids; [she is] so great with them, directing and redirecting their energy in such fun and positive ways. I learned a lot!  Yes, we'd love to have [her] back. 

Franny Billingsley, Children’s Events Manager,
57th Street Books, Chicago, IL


We were thrilled with [Pam's] ability to connect with each and every one of our students. Our students were never distracted and all eyes were on her as she enveloped us in her story. Her books were enjoyed by all.  Her love of her family, life, and reading was evidence by her ability to establish relationships with the students and engage her listeners.  The event was enjoyed by our students, parents and staff. I am hopeful that she will return and visit our program again.

Kelly Mangel, Principal, Treasure Village Montessori
Charter School, Islamorada, FL

Pam talks about Max & Bear