July 19, 2016

Ars longa, vita brevis

Some of the most beautiful books on the market right now are about the transformative powers of art and how art can unite a community. These books have the richest illustrations I've ever seen, which perfectly reflects the richness of the stories they accompany. All of these books are based on true stories and instill such a beautiful sense of hope in the difference one person can make.

First on today's list is Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood (Houghton Mifflin, 2016), written by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell and illustrated by Rafael L√≥pez.

July 12, 2016

Sweet Dreams Are Made of These

Dreams are fascinating: they can be reflections of the days we've just had or manifestations of our hopes and fears. People have dedicated their lives to interpreting them, but ultimately their meanings are personal and unique to the dreamer. The ideas explored in dreams are rarely tethered to reality, so the opportunity to think outside the box and use different media--like picture books--is vast. Today's examples include picture books with strong and beautiful visuals that convey a deeper story behind the dream. Let's begin!

Britta Teckentrup's Before I Wake Up...(Prestel, 2016) is the story of a girl who travels through a dreamworld with her stuffed lion.

July 8, 2016

Mel on How I Feel About Books

This week I had the awesome privilege of stopping by the insightful podcast How I Feel About Books to discuss the future of Let's Talk Picture Books, the LTPB Exchange, and my new Let's Talk Illustrator series. I even got to ask founder Allison Renner some fun questions in return! You can listen to the interview on iTunes (part 1 & part 2or PodBean (part 1 & part 2)!

July 5, 2016

There's No Place Like Home

Make yourself at home. Home is where the heart is. Home, sweet home.

There are dozens of idioms about what makes a house a home (see what I did there?), but ultimately "home" can only be defined on an individual basis. Everyone sees "home" as something different and unique to them, and that's what makes the books I'm talking about today so special: they don't just encapsulate one idea of home, but many. They're diverse, inclusive, and go beyond the simple pleasures (a roof, a bed, a bathroom), exploring the meaning of "home" in beautiful and creative ways.

I suppose the most prominent example of exploring "home" in recent years is Carson Ellis' Home.

June 28, 2016

Board Books as Concept Books

It stands to reason that a lot of board books are what we call concept books: they serve the purpose of teaching a concept like colors, numbers, letters, etc. Needless to say, they can get a bit redundant sometimes, but there are a few out there that are absolutely fantastic. And they're tiny for tiny hands!

The board book that opened my eyes to the creativity of the genre is definitely Hippopposites by Janik Coat.

June 27, 2016

All the Wonders Big Book Block Party!

What a long few months it's been, right? Well today I am (finally) celebrating summer with the All the Wonders Big Book Block Party!

Summer is all about traditions and special occasions, and spending time with family and friends. Of course, for our All the Wonders team, summer is also all about reading. So, we thought: why not combine time with friends and books into one big celebration of summer? And thus, the All the Wonders Big Book Block Party was born!

Each member of our team will be bringing something different to the table. The buffet table, that is. We hope you’ll pull up a chair and dig in right along with us as we explore the many flavors of the stories we’ve brought to share. We hope you find some new favorites … and share your own in the comments!

In a small change of pace, I'm actually talking about my favorite graphic novels because, hey, they're just long-form picture books, right? Get to know me, my favorite graphic novels, and how I ended up at All the Wonders, and if you're still craving more picture books (because who isn't), stop here for a bonus list of my favorite picture books from 2015!

June 21, 2016

What Does the Fox Say?

Foxes are sneaky, loner animals by nature, so it only makes sense that they make great subjects for discussing wider social issues. Foxes in picture books seem to fall into one of two categories: lonely and sensitive, or ruthless and cunning. Between these two extremes lie most of the foxes we encounter in picture books, and today we're starting with the sensitive foxes. I've already talked ad nauseam about The Fox and the Star, so I won't be including that today, but stop by my post on All the Wonders to read more about it (the fox is quite sensitive)!