December 12, 2017

Let's Talk Illustrators #52: Elly MacKay

Elly MacKay might be the most patient illustrator I've ever spoken with. If you aren't already familiar with Elly's work, you should know that she creates light box dioramas, or paper theaters, from scratch and then photographs them. Every character, mountain, and leaf is hand-cut and then placed into a small 3D world she has created. Elly's process is highly unique, and you can read about it more on her site here, but for the purposes of this interview we focused mainly on her new book Waltz of the Snowflakes, which, in addition to being her first wordless book, sets out to explore visual narratives in an entirely new way. Enjoy the read! 


December 10, 2017

THIS BOOK IS A PLANETARIUM

I'm so glad I saw Kelli Anderson's This Book Is a Planetarium: And Other Extraordinary Pop-Up Contraptions when I did! I'm adding it to my list of best books of the year (coming soon!) because it's one of the most creative books I've ever had the pleasuring of reading and experiencing.



December 7, 2017

MARTHA & ME

Martha & Me by It's Raining Elephants is such a quiet, thoughtful book that it actually took me a few reads to appreciate the gravity of what I was experiencing with it. 


December 5, 2017

Let's Talk Illustrators #51: Gordon C James

The inspiration behind the story in Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut is magical in both its simplicity and its complexity. Author Derrick Barnes says he was inspired by a photo of a friend's son who had just received a hair cut. The boy's look reminded him of how he felt as a child sitting in the barber's chair: he felt like royalty. But as a young black man, that was probably the only place he felt royal, so it was extra special. Simple, yet complex. The magnitude with which illustrator Gordon C James brings Derrick's words to life is awe-inspiring: it's intimate and thoughtful, and it places readers in the barbershop chair with the boy. I chatted with Gordon (pictured below with his own little crown halo!) about his work on this book. Enjoy! 


December 3, 2017

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A CHANCE?

Written by Kobi Yamada and illustrated by Mae Besom, each book in the What Do You Do With…? series has examined human behavior through a child who encounters an idea (book one) and a problem (book two). For the final installment in the trilogy, we meet the child again in What Do You Do With Chance?


December 2, 2017

#kidlitpicks November Round-Up: 17 Books About Counting Up and Down

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… We are fast-approaching the season of the countdown. Children are getting more and more excited counting down the days, lighting candles, opening advent calendars of all shapes and sizes—my family will be having a book-a-day for our advent season. Parents are getting more and more frantic to get organised as the days disappear. It’s the time of year that everyone practices counting.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10… A study several years ago by researchers from the Institute of Education in London found that children who receive bedtime stories from their parents as infants perform better in vocabulary and spelling but also in maths. Reading supports numeracy. Books are full of numbers and images for counting.

A special thanks to Kim from BookBairn for our November @kidlitpicks theme!



December 1, 2017

First Friday 5: Animal Instincts

This month's First Friday 5 is all about animal protagonists who follow their intuitions. The tones of these five books are fairly varied from one another, but the one thing they all have in common is that the characters are very self aware and allow their instincts to keep them (and others) safe. More importantly, the characters in these five books follow their instincts even when it's an unpopular decision or the dangerous thing to do.