December 28, 2016

LUCKY LAZLO

Steve Light's Lucky Lazlo is about a young boy whose beloved is due to star in a play later that day. Lazlo is lucky to find the last red rose at the flower shop, and he's lucky to have a seat in the front row. But that's where his luck runs out. A cat runs up and steals his rose, causing poor, unlucky Lazlo to have to chase it through the entire theater, from the orchestra pit to backstage.



December 22, 2016

All the Wonders: Best of 2016

Speaking of Best of the Year posts, All the Wonders has posted lists of our favorite picture books, nonfiction picture books, comics, and chapter and YA books! We all worked hard to curate these lists to reflect the books that most influenced us this year, and I'm super proud to share them with you.

Click on the images below to view our favorite books of 2016!





December 21, 2016

WHEN AN ELEPHANT FALLS IN LOVE

You know that feeling when you first fall in love, and all you seem to do around your crush is act foolish? When an elephant falls in love, it's just like that: he hides from the one he loves, he tries to eat healthy but ends up finishing cheesecake, he stares at the clouds for hours and hours... Davide Cali and Alice Lotti bring readers a glimpse into the silliness of first loves with their beautiful picture book When an Elephant Falls in Love.



December 20, 2016

Best Picture Books of 2016

The picture books we saw in 2016 were beautiful, honest, and often heartbreaking. Narrowing down a list of hundreds of books is never easy, but, for me, the beauty is in the details. Below are the top 15 most beautifully illustrated books of 2016, each of which stood out for their visual stories, illustration techniques, and attention to detail. These books represent the strongest illustrative narratives, and they stand apart as works of art that will stand the test of time.

I hope you enjoy, and cheers to 2017!


December 14, 2016

MY TWO BLANKETS

As you may or may not know, I host an international picture book exchange on Instagram, and I recently received my book in the mail! And I couldn't have asked for a better gift from Rossa from @curiouslittlepeople!!

Irena Kobald and Freya Blackwood's My Two Blankets tells the story of a young refugee girl named Cartwheel and the difficulties she experiences with assimilating into her new culture.



December 13, 2016

Let's Talk Illustrators #10: AN Kang

Papillon, Book 1: The Very Fluffy Kitty, Papillon is one heck of an adorable book. AN Kang creates a touching tale of friendship with adorable characters, relatable emotions, and a touch of levity that comes together to give readers a glimpse into the life of the fluffiest cat in the land and his journey toward friendship.


December 12, 2016

All the Wonders of SAMSON IN THE SNOW

This month at All the Wonders we're exploring All the Wonders of SAMSON IN THE SNOW.


This quiet, beautiful book follows a woolly mammoth on a journey of bravery and friendship. Stop by All the Wonders to listen for a Discovery Jar craft, a podcast interview with author-illustrator Philip C. Stead, and more!

December 11, 2016

LEAVE ME ALONE!

Leave me Alone! by Vera Brosgol is funny, clever, and wildly unpredictable.


December 8, 2016

CAT KNIT

Have you read Jacob Grant's Cat Knit?? It's one of the cutest books I've read all year! Basically there's a girl named Girl who gets her cat named Cat a new friend named Yarn. Things are going really well until Girl takes Yarn away one day and Yarn returns a little...different.


December 6, 2016

Paper Engineering

Paper engineering in picture books comes in all shapes and sizes. There are pop-ups, pull-tabs, flaps, cut-outs, and more, all of which are strategically weaved into the illustrations to enhance the visual narrative.

I thought I'd take a moment to share some of the most thoughtfully-crafted picture books of 2016. This is by no means a comprehensive list (I can think of so many books I'm missing already!), but the books listed are stand-outs in their categories, and hopefully this list will be a guide to help navigate the intricate world of paper engineering!


December 4, 2016

ONE CHEETAH, ONE CHERRY

It's International Cheetah Day! I don't think it comes as a shock to anyone anywhere that I'm a huge cat person. Love love love cats. But as far as big cats go, cheetahs have always held a special place in my heart. In honor of the coolest cats around, I'm so excited to show you One Cheetah, One Cherry: A Book of Beautiful Numbers by Jackie Morris.


December 1, 2016

#kidlitpicks November Round-Up: 18 Beloved Bedtime Stories

As evening approaches the sky bursts into colors then slowly darkens, the hues of the world are muted, peaceful nighttime sounds such as crickets chirping emerge and the pace of the world slows down. However, sometimes inside our homes the tranquility of nighttime isn’t always as keenly felt as it is outdoors because dinner dishes need washing, children may still be “wound-up”, bedtime routines can be stressful, and life is just messy sometimes.

That is why bedtime stories can be so magical and so essential. Some stories seem perfectly suited for bedtime and invite that calmness into your home. They can be comforting and lull your child in preparation for sleep. Such stories may be about the topic of bedtime itself, others have a serene color palate or a relaxing, swaying rhythm. Whatever the characteristics they possess, they can help a child transition to laying down for sleep.

Throughout November we honored #belovedbedtimestories that soothe and calm. A special thank you to Clarissa from Book Nerd Mommy for the theme!



November 30, 2016

THE POLAR BEAR

It's pretty obvious why Jenni Desmond's The Polar Bear is one of 2016's New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books. It's impeccably illustrated, and as someone who admittedly reads very little nonfiction, I was totally and completely riveted from start to finish.


November 29, 2016

Let's Talk Illustrators #9: Francesca Sanna

If you're an avid picture book reader, there's little chance at this point that you haven't come into contact with Francesca Sanna's The Journey. In the few short months that the book been out, it has been translated into several different languages, it has won the gold medal of the Society of Illustrators (US) and the Premi Llibreter (Spain), and the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has written Francesca a personalized letter thanking her for her attention to such a difficult subject.

And there's a very good reason for all of it.

The story we read about in The Journey is universal and timely, and it was an absolute honor to sit down with Francesca to pick her brain about one of this year's most important picture books.




November 27, 2016

WHO BUILT THAT?: BRIDGES

Who Built That?: Bridges is the latest in Didier Cornille's Who Built That? series, published by Princeton Architectural Press. If you haven't had a chance to check out the series, I highly recommend it--they combine engineering and architectural information--bridges, skyscrapers, houses--with impeccable design work to create a cohesive encyclopedia on these great architectural feats.


November 23, 2016

THE BUILDING BOY

The Building Boy by Ross Montgomery and David Litchfield is the story of a boy. The boy lives with his grandma, who's a famous, retired architect, and for as long as he can remember, the garden has been filled the brim with old building materials. When the boy's grandma passes away, he decides to use what she left behind to build a giant sculpture of her. What he didn't expect, though, was for the sculpture to come to life and carry him on a journey of mourning, recovery, and hope.


November 22, 2016

Winter Booklist 2016

Winter is only a month away (we're already feeling it here in Boston), and that means it's time for the 10 best winter books of the year!


November 20, 2016

TEACUP

Rebecca Young and Matt Ottley's Teacup is the story of a boy who is forced to leave home one day and sail to a safer place. The only things the boy is able to take with him are a book, a bottle, a blanket, and "a teacup with some earth from where he used to play." He doesn't leave with family, and he doesn't have a destination in mind, all he has is hope during his seemingly endless journey to keep him company.


November 19, 2016

Larger Than Life

Everyone has feelings that follow them around, but sometimes those feelings become larger than life, casting shadows on the day and preventing us from living our lives. It's through these interactions with our emotions that we come to accept them as a part of ourselves, controlling them and learning to harness their powers. This is a list of books with characters who wrestle with powerful, larger-than-life emotions and teach themselves how to deal with these emotions by giving into them and acknowledging them as a part of life.

Here, we explore anger, depression, impulses, loss, and anxiety.


November 16, 2016

LIFT YOUR LIGHT A LITTLE HIGHER

Lift Your Light a Little Higher: The Story of Stephen Bishop: Slave-Explorer, written by Heather Henson and illustrated by award-winning illustrator Bryan Collier, tells the real life story of Stephen Bishop, a slave who guided people through the deepest cave in the United States during the ​late 1830s ​to the late 1850s.

A video posted by Mel Schuit (@spiky_penelope) on


November 15, 2016

Let's Talk Illustrators #8: Katie Harnett

Archie Snufflekins Oliver Valentine Cupcake Tiberius Cat has a special place in my heart. And not just because it centers on a cat! Okay, a really cute cat. Like puts-Grumpy-Cat-to-shame cute. Author-illustrator Katie Harnett brings to life the story of a cat with seven names and an ability to find the best in people, even when others can't see it yet.


November 14, 2016

All the Wonders of THE STORYTELLER

I am so pleased to present to you All the Wonders of THE STORYTELLER, Evan Turk's exploration of the power that storytelling has to capture the imagination and inspire a new generation of young readers.


Check out allthewonders.com for more on this beautiful tale, including an post from Evan himself about how he began his storytelling journey, a survey of programs around the world working to preserve the traditions of storytelling, and a craft that will help you tell your own stories for years to come.

November 13, 2016

PANCAKES!: AN INTERACTIVE RECIPE BOOK

Pancakes!: An Interactive Recipe Book by Lotta Nieminen is the first in a new series of interactive recipe books, and it is one of the very, very few books this year that has made me giggle out loud with delight (and then rush off to show everyone else).


November 8, 2016

NORMAL NORMAN

In Tara Lazar and S Britt's Normal Norman we see the girl project her insecurities about normalcy onto a purple and yellow gorilla. Normal Norman tells the story of a girl of a young scientist who is narrating her first book in order to scientifically determine the definition of "normal." And she does so with her trusty "normal" gorilla Norman.



November 6, 2016

MIDNIGHT CREATURES

Midnight Creatures: A Pop-Up Shadow Search by Helen Friel is a seek-and-find book, a pop-up book, and a non-fiction reference book. So it already has a ton going for it in terms of quality material. But it has one thing almost no other book has: you're supposed to read it in the dark with a flashlight!



November 2, 2016

THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN OF BOOKS IN THE WORLD

The Highest Mountain of Books in the World by Rocio Bonilla is a book for book-lovers. It teaches us to persevere and remember that our imaginations have no limits, especially when it comes to living out our dreams.


November 1, 2016

#kidlitpicks October Round-Up: 19 Picture Books to Unlock Imagination

During the month of October, kidlitpicks explored picture books that unlock imagination. Magic happens when tiny fingers turn the pages of a beloved book. Stories provide avenues of amusement, entryways to intrigue, and doors through which discovery abounds. The simplest of sentences can launch us to the stars and back again, helping us land safely in our haven of blankets and pillows after completing an expedition to save the earth. Stories can help us learn to fly, travel the globe in mere moments, and go on enchanting adventures with talking animals and magic carpets.

Through story, we can help our children navigate oceans of emotions and experiences. We can provide them a safe place to grapple with difficult topics and challenging feelings. We can give them laughter and comfort, and we can teach empathy and inclusiveness and kindness. Most importantly, we can use books to unlock their collective imaginations.

As Kwame Alexander recently said in a New York Times article, "The mind of an adult begins in the imagination of a child." Lets give our children a safe space to run free and roam the universe by offering them books that encourage wild, fanciful and meaningful experiences. These imaginative stories may plant the seeds for their big ideas -- big ideas that will one day change our world for the better.

A special thank you to Lauren from Happily Ever Elephants for the theme!



October 31, 2016

Let's Talk Illustrators #7: Deborah Freedman

I've made no secret about how much I love Deborah Freedman's latest picture book Shy. In fact, I might be a little TOO excited about it: I've talked about it here on Let's Talk Picture Books, as well as on Instagram, Twitter, and everywhere else people will let me stand on a soap box and rave about it. 

And now I get to share her process with you!!

October 30, 2016

LOVE IS A TRUCK

Love Is a Truck is the second book in Amy Novesky and Sara Gillingham's "Love Is" series, and it's a true delight to experience it. This is a book for children who love ice cream trucks and fire trucks and flatbed trucks, and children who love riding, organizing, and parading trucks around. But it's also a love story about love itself.


October 26, 2016

NOW

Antoinette Portis' Now is the perfect reminder to live in the moment. Every page flip hits readers with a wall of color, focused in on a specific moment in time that causes the girl to pause and take notice of her surroundings. It's an unusual message for a children's book, begging readers to slow down and take in every single spread, as well as draw parallels between the things they see in the books and their own favorite things.

October 24, 2016

Black and White and Read All Over

I recently talked about complementary colors, so it only seems fitting that I talk about the opposite end of the color spectrum: black and white. Generally speaking, black and white are each used to emphasize negative space and spacial relationships. So what happens when black or white occupies the negative and positive space in their respective illustrations? How do we tell where things exist and what their relationships are to each other?

October 23, 2016

STRIPES THE TIGER

Stripes is a tiger. NOT a cat. So stop trying to get him to purr and chase mice. Tigers don't do that kind of thing. Tigers roar and hunt large prey like dogs. And then one day Stripes comes up with a brilliant idea to switch places with an actual tiger...


October 22, 2016

#kidlitpicks September Round-Up: 20 Picture Books About Change

A lot changes in September. I mean, as the ancient Greeks will tell you, change is the only constant…but there’s something about September that sparks a bit of reflection—on the tilt of the Earth, the passing of the year, the meanderings of the path of life.

In September, the cadence of family time shifts as a new school year settles in around us. The dinnertime light is altered as we approach the autumnal equinox, and we trade swimsuits for sweaters or vice versa. We might even find that the foods we crave adapt to the harvest. Pumpkin latte, anyone? September calls our attention to traditions and homecomings and gives us reason to both revisit the past and plan for the seasons ahead.

There are no better guides for us in this transitional month than books, of course. After all, change is at the heart of every compelling story. Throughout September, the kidlitpicks book club explored the idea of change. Thanks to Megan from Chickadee Lit for the theme!




October 19, 2016

BEN

If there was ever a book to make you cry, it's Ben, written and illustrated by Miba and Josh Prigge. Of course, I wouldn't be talking about it here if it wasn't worth the cry. Ben is a picture book/graphic novel crossover that tells the story of an elderly man who finds a wounded bee and decides to nurse it back to health.

October 18, 2016

Let's Talk Illustrators #6: Carson Ellis

You guys! My favorite new picture book publishes today! Du iz Tak? by Carson Ellis is one of the most fascinating picture books I've had the pleasure of reading (and translating!) in a long time. I was so excited to sit down and chat with Carson about how this miraculous little book went from a seed of an idea to a full-grown picture book. And now I'm excited to share it with all of you!

October 16, 2016

FUZZY DOODLE

A few weeks ago my friend Summer from Reading Is Our Thing posted about Fuzzy Doodle by Melinda Syzmanik and Donovan Bixley and casually suggested I check it out. And when Summer recommends something, you can be sure it's a good pick. So I went online and searched EVERYWHERE. As it turns out, The Fuzzy Doodle is only available in New Zealand and Australia, and since I'm in the US, I ended up buying it from a shop halfway around the world.

It was so, so worth it.


October 12, 2016

THE JOURNEY

Francesca Sanna's The Journey is one of the most important books I've read in a long time. It speaks harsh truths about the struggles of refugees and the strength it takes one person to save a family.

October 11, 2016

Let's Talk Illustrators #5: Júlia Sardà

I did an Instagram post a little while ago when I first got a copy of Kyo Maclear and Júlia Sardà's The Liszts and said that I felt like I had been waiting for this book my whole life. That sentiment hasn't changed one bit in the months that I've had it: the more I read the book the more I grow to love it. It's so beautiful and so quirky that you can't NOT find something to connect with. There's something for everyone in this book.

Júlia Sardà stopped by to talk about her process for creating the illustrations and font for this incredible story, and I'm excited to share her insight with you today!

October 10, 2016

WHAT CAN I BE?

What Can I Be? by Ann Rand and Ingrid Fiksdahl King explores the power of imagination and the room for potential. It acts like a concept book, providing examples of common concepts--red, square, line--but places the story in exploring how the two "concepts" interact when combined. The "concepts" presented get more abstract as the book progresses, opening up the discussion to much more than what we see on the page.

All the Wonders of DORY FANTASMAGORY

I am particularly proud to present to you All the Wonders of DORY FANTASMAGORY


This is the first chapter book we've featured on the site, and we have so much to share! Stop by All the Wonders to listen to an interview with author-illustrator Abby Hanlon, learn how Abby weaves text and illustration together, and see how Dory has touched hearts all around the world!