October 19, 2017

CRAZY ABOUT CATS

Everyone stop what you're doing. I found a book that is basically my life, and I must share it with you. I've actually been called crazy about cats more times than I can count, so Owen Davey's Crazy About Cats is basically halfway to a memoir for me.


October 17, 2017

Let's Talk Illustrators #45: LeUyen Pham

If you've ever seen anything by LeUyen Pham –– and let's face it, you definitely have because she's illustrated almost 100 books so far –– then you know just how versatile she is. Each project LeUyen tackles shows us that she is not afraid to take risks as an illustrator and believes every world she illustrates is unique, in style, tone, color, technique, and more. Her new picture book Fallingwater: The Building of Frank Lloyd Wright's Masterpiece, written by Marc Harshman and Anna Egan Smucker, is no exception, and I knew from the cover that I wanted to talk to LeUyen about this book and how she created her illustrations. I'm so excited to share our conversation with you today. Enjoy the brilliance and tirelessness that is LeUyen Pham!


October 15, 2017

MAURICE THE UNBEASTLY

This month at kidlitpicks we're talking about Halloween! And Halloween means scary beasts, ghoulish hijinks, and . . . strange eating habits? At least, that's what you get in Amy Dixon and Karl James Mountford's Maurice the Unbeastly!


October 12, 2017

YO SOY MUSLIM

Yo Soy Muslim: A Father's Letter to His Daughter by Mark Gonzales and Mehrdokht Amini is a touching and lyrical picture book about a father encouraging his child to find joy and pride in all aspects of their multicultural identities.


October 10, 2017

Let's Talk Illustrator's #44: Antje Damm

Author-illustrator Antje Damm has created over twenty-five books in German, and though she ventured into English books about fifteen years ago with Ask Me, I'm excited to say that her latest English book Waiting for Goliath marks the beginning of a much stronger and prolific foray into the English market. She was such a thoughtful person to interview, and I hope you enjoy our conversation.


October 8, 2017

LETTERS TO A PRISONER

Letters to a Prisoner by Jacques Goldstyn is a read. The wordless book tells the story of a man unjustly imprisoned and the letter writing campaigns that help him maintain his faith and eventually earn his freedom.



October 6, 2017

First Friday 5: Call to Adventure

Many graphic novels feature a "call to adventure," something that sets our young heroes' journeys in motion and ignites the impetus for the story. These calls to adventure mean doing whatever it takes to protect loved ones, like joining forces with unlikely groups of people and encouraging (but sometimes forcing) our protagonists to go up against their greatest fears to save the world. No one knows what he or she will do when put up against these forces, but the protagonists in these five graphic novels show readers that anyone can accomplish anything.


October 5, 2017

Best Rapunzel Picture Books

I've always had a special place in my heart for the story of "Rapunzel" Having written a thesis on the tale for school a few years ago, I ended up acquiring many, many versions of the story. I poured over all the illustrations for hours, so it's hardly a surprise that a few stood out to me. And I'm thrilled that I've seen even more come out since my paper. Keep in mind that I'm liming the list to those books published within the last 10 years, so adaptations like those by Paul O ZelinskyBarbara Rogasky and Trina Schart Hyman, and Jutta Ash won't be on here, but they are, of course, highly influential to the more recent interpretations on this list.


October 4, 2017

#kidlitpicks September Round-Up: 22 Books about Books

Throughout September, we're shining the spotlight on the best Books About Books. Introducing children to the magic of books and therein instilling a love of reading and literacy is one of the greatest gifts we can impart. The greatest writers are also prolific readers. It's no surprise that many authors consider reading a crucial dimension of living and have taken to their pages to honour all things books.

We here at @kidlitpicks love everything about books too, so what could be more fun than sharing our favourite bookish books with you? Children love to see parts of themselves reflected in what they're reading. Let's find our budding bookworms characters who love to immerse themselves in books and reading, or who celebrate libraries, book clubs, bookstores and anything that explores what we all know -–– that books rule!

Throughout September, we shone the spotlight on the best Books About Books. This thoughtful and creative theme was chosen by Fee from Fee Loves!



October 3, 2017

Let's Talk Illustrators #43: Bethan Woollvin

I've talked about Bethan Woollvin's debut Little Red many, many times. I included it in my list of Best Picture Books of 2016, I analyzed it over at All the Wonders, and, of course, it's listed on my Best Little Red Riding Hood Picture Books round-up. Needless to say, I've been tapping my foot waiting for Bethan's next project, and I'm excited to share her process with you for creating my new favorite fractured fairy tale Rapunzel!  


October 1, 2017

ABC POP-UP

Courtney Watson McCarthy's ABC Pop-Up breaks the barrier of being "just" a pop-up book or "just" a concept book." It incorporates beautiful imagery with a seek-and-find element that makes reading it not only fun, but also a bit of a challenge.

September 28, 2017

MUDDY: THE STORY OF BLUES LEGEND MUDDY WATERS

It's hard to know where to start when it comes to Michael Mahin and Evan Turk's collaboration Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters. Every part of the book was created with precision, from the musical flow of the text to the bluesy feel of the illustrations.


September 26, 2017

Let's Talk Illustrators #42: Ryan T Higgins

If there was ever a grump we couldn't wait to see again, it's Bruce, the curmudgeonly bear. So naturally I had a million and a half questions for author-illustrator Ryan T. Higgins about what he has in store for Bruce in his latest book Bruce's Big Move. Suffice it to say, this won't be the book where Bruce finds the peace and quiet he's looking for . . .


September 24, 2017

NIMOSHOM AND HIS BUS

"Nimoshom drove a school bus. Sometimes he spoke in Cree." These are the first two lines of Penny M Thomas and Karen Hibbard's Nimoshom and His Bus, and I have to say, they sum up the story pretty well.


September 21, 2017

AFTER THE FALL: HOW HUMPTY DUMPTY GOT BACK UP AGAIN

Everyone knows that Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall and Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. But what happened after his fall? Dan Santat's brilliant new picture book After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again reveals the events that followed Humpty Dumpty's fall to the ground and how he gets back his confidence.


September 19, 2017

Let's Talk Illustrators #41: Tim Miller

It took months, but we did it! Author-illustrator Tim Miller and I finally had a chance to talk about his books, which are not only growing in number, but growing in acclaim, too! Today we're mainly talking about Moo Moo in a Tutu, but since one of my favorite books right now is Margarash, we're talking about that, too! Check out Tim's process for creating beloved characters like Snappsy and Moo Moo (I can't say Margarash is beloved, but he sure is memorable!).


September 17, 2017

FEATHER

Before I could get my hands on it, I'd heard non-stop buzz about Rémi Courgeon's Feather. Not really into sports (and less into boxing), I didn't really pay the buzz any attention until the one fateful afternoon I caught sight of the cover. I was hooked after that.



September 14, 2017

FRANKLIN'S FLYING BOOKSHOP

As if I needed yet ANOTHER reason to adore illustrator Katie Harnett, we now have Franklin's Flying Bookshop, written by Jen Campbell. And the illustrations don't disappoint!


September 13, 2017

Let's Talk Illustrators #40: Christian Robinson

By this point, Christian Robinson hardly needs an introduction. He has won a Caldecott Honor, Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honors (plural!), a Sibert Informational Book Award Honor, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Nonfiction Honor . . . the list goes on. So, without (much) further ado, I'm proud to showcase my interview with Christian about his latest picture book When's My Birthday?, written by Julie Fogliano, which captures the spirit and energy of the age old question, "When is my birthday?"


September 10, 2017

FULL OF FALL

April Pulley Sayre's latest book Full of Fall might just be the most beautiful one yet (though I could just be saying that because she explores autumn, and autumn is my favorite season — just the colors alone!)


September 7, 2017

THE SCARIEST BOOK EVER

In the style of the classic The Monster at the End of This Book comes Bob Shea's hilarious new book The Scariest Book Ever about a character who's afraid of what he'll find at the end of his own book.


September 5, 2017

Let's Talk Illustrators #39: Molly Idle

A little while back I was putting together a post on complementary colors (which you all know is my jam), and I sent out a tweet about purple-and-yellow picture books. And thus my conversation with Molly Idle about her new board book Flora and the Ostrich: An Opposites Book was born! Molly is a Caldecott Honor winner for her first book in the Flora series Flora and the Flamingo, and I cannot believe my timing that I was able to interview Molly about this book in particular because it's my favorite one in the series so far (yes, yes, because of those yellows and purples). Enjoy the awesomeness that is Molly Idle!


September 3, 2017

#kidlitpicks August Round-Up: 15 Fairytales & Traditional Stories

Whether they are called fairytales, legends, tall tales, fables, folklore, origin stories, or mythology, each of these stories carries pieces of history and cultural connections that draw lines of similarities between those separated by distance and time. They give us insight into the morals, principals, and beliefs of those who came before us, creating history lessons through drama and cultural lessons with plot. These stories provide a testament not only to who we are but how we've grown and what we've achieved throughout the years. They are ways to teach our children patience, perseverance, hope, love, kindness, bravery, and the importance of wit.

So, no matter if your tales are of a Grimm version, told through song, or related by a coyote or a spider, we look forward to hearing them. They are a celebration of heritage and history from around the world, showcasing that which we hold important and dear. Our world is a fast moving place, in which we constantly see shifting changes, especially in literature. But these tales, these have withstood the test of time.

During the month of August the @kidlitpicks book club explored fairytale books, new and old. Thanks to Wendy from Homegrown Reader for the exceptional theme!


September 1, 2017

First Friday 5: Making Friends

Graphic novels exist in the same sphere as picture books: they both use text and illustration to create a cohesive story, and they both require a certain understanding of how visual narratives flow across the page. With the added length in pages, though, graphic novels stand apart as a unique way to show and tell longer, more complex stories to an audience that appreciates visual storytelling as much as textual (ie picture books for adults!).

Because of these overlaps in concept and form (and because I can't stop thinking about them), I'm starting First Friday 5: five themed graphic novels on the first Friday of each month. I'll include a spread from each book so you can sneak a peek at their illustration styles and their storytelling techniques, and I hope you'll join me as I explore them more closely.

The first theme is a timeless one: making friends. Whether it's starting a new school, getting a new neighbor, or having a new crush, we've all experienced the universal trial of making friends in unfamiliar circumstances. Here are five graphic novels that show us the ins and outs of making new friends, one awkward moment at a time.


August 31, 2017

WHEN A WOLF IS HUNGRY

When a Wolf Is Hungry by Christine Naumann-Villemin and Kris Di Giacomo is a laugh out loud folktale that reminds everyone to not take things too seriously and consider all potential outcomes of our actions -- you might be surprised by what happens!



August 29, 2017

Let's Talk Illustrators #38: Rebecca Green

Sometimes you come across an illustrator and you just know in your gut that this person is going to be around for a while, illustrating your future favorite picture books. That's how I feel about Rebecca Green. Her body of work is impressive, and her illustrations in her debut picture book How to Make Friends With a Ghost are full of humor, surprises, and, of course, ghosts! I was lucky enough to get a chance to chat with Becca (as she likes to be called!) about her process, and I'm excited to share our conversation with you!


August 27, 2017

LUCIA THE LUCHADORA

Cynthia Leonor Garza and Alyssa Bermudez's Lucía the Luchadora is one of the sweetest stories I've read in a long time. It's full of courage, feminism, cultural legacy, and kindness, and it's not a book to be missed.


August 24, 2017

AND SO IT GOES

And So It Goes by Paloma Valdivia is an open and honest meditation on the passage of days and the cycle of life. It gives readers an opportunity to reflect on those who have passed, those who have yet to arrive, and the people around us now.


August 22, 2017

Let's Talk Illustrators #37: Katey Howes and Rebecca Hahn

I am quite the lucky girl today. Today is the day I get to brag about the amazing people I work with! Author Katey Howes and I work together over at All the Wonders, so it was a no-brainer that I was dying to see her debut picture book Grandmother Thorn. What I didn't know at the time, though, was that it would quickly become one of my favorite books of the year (I mean, the story? Those illustrations? Yet another no-brainer for me). So I immediately called up Katey and asked if she would be willing to do a joint interview with Grandmother Thorn illustrator Rebecca Hahn. Just wait until you see these gorgeous process images — they're going to blow you away!


August 20, 2017

THE BAD SEED

I just found the BEST read-aloud book of the year. The Bad Seed by Jory John and Pete Oswald. Seriously. I had someone read this to me when I experienced it for the first time, and it was one of the funniest storytimes I've ever attended. 


August 17, 2017

THE WOLF WHO FELL OUT OF A BOOK

This month's #kidlitpicks theme is Traditional Stories and Fairytales, and I'm so excited to share Thierry Robberecht and Grégoire Mabire's The Wolf Who Fell Out of a Book


August 15, 2017

Let's Talk Illustrators #36: Jonathan Bentley

In my email to famed Australian illustrator and part-time author Jonathan Bentley, I told him that I got three pages into his new book Blue Sky Yellow Kite, written by Janet A Holmes, before I set it down and hunted for his email address. Really, I didn't even need three spreads to know that I wanted to interview him, but it was hard to look away. And then once I'd sent him a request, I sat down and studied the book for an hour. Jonathan's illustrations are incredibly moving, and I know you'll find yourself equally swept up in them. Have a read about Jonathan's process below. 


August 13, 2017

THE GIRL WHO RAN

The Girl Who Ran, written by Frances Poletti and Kristina Yee and illustrated by Susanna Chapman, is the true story of the first female runner in the Boston Marathon. When Bobbi Gibb was a girl she loved to run, but female runners were frowned upon. When she saw a call for the Boston Marathon, though, Bobbi set her mind to entering and being an equal competitor. Even when that meant disguising her gender. 


August 10, 2017

ANIMALS HIDE AND SNEAK

Remember when I did all those posts recently about books showcasing complementary colors and I lamented the fact that there aren't more books with yellows and purples? I can lament no more!


August 8, 2017

Let's Talk Illustrators #35: Suzy Lee

Suzy Lee, illustrator most recently of This Beautiful Day, has won the Gold Medal for Original Art by the Society of Illustrators, the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award for Excellence in Children’s Literature (Picture Book Honor Winner), and her books have been featured as New York Times Best Illustrated Books and Best Illustrated Children’s Books. So it's easy for me to say that Suzy's an incredibly gifted picture book creator. But what's the fun in saying when I can just show you? Join me in chatting with Suzy about This Beautiful Day and what she has in store for us next!


August 6, 2017

LIFE

Cynthia Rylant and Brendan Wenzel's recent collaboration Life is a moving meditation on finding inner strength in the face of ongoing adversity.


August 3, 2017

COLETTE'S LOST PET

Have you ever found yourself falling deeper and deeper into a hole of your own making? It's safe to say that Colette has when she bites off more than she can chew in Isabelle Arsenault's Colette's Lost Pet.


August 2, 2017

#kidlitpicks July Round-Up: 17 Books about Little Kids with Big Emotions

Did you know that reading with your kiddos supports the development of emotional intelligence? Well it does! By enhancing vocabulary, creating an openness to experience, and providing safe space for empathic imagination, books open our children to the world of emotions in pretty powerful ways. This month, the #kidlitpicks theme is Little Kids, Big Emotions and we are excited to share some great picture books that address your children's big and budding feelings! Some books will aim directly at helping kiddos understand and express themselves (a major tantrum-busting skill) by featuring an array of emotions, illustrations, and feeling words. Other books will feature stories that give children the opportunity to imagine themselves in interesting narratives about sadness, hope, joy, fear, angry, and all the rest.

This month’s @kidlitpicks theme was chosen and introduced by @afriendlyaffair, with a special message: As a clinical psychologist, I feel strongly about the importance of giving your kids a plethora of ways to express themselves. Hopefully your feed will be full this month of books that help us all along the way of building a good base of knowledge, play, and imaginative experiences so that our kids can understand the world around them and be resilient.



August 1, 2017

Let's Talk Illustrators #34: Mariachiara di Giorgio

Recently I read a book that I know will stick with me forever. I'm both ashamed and delighted to admit that when I picked up this book and read it (read the illustrations, that is -- it's a wordless book) I had no idea what was going to happen at the end. I was totally and completely swept up in the illustrations and the day-to-day activities of the protagonist's life that even the title of the book, Professional Crocodile, didn't tip me off about what I'd find at the end. And that's one-hundred percent because of the immaculately detailed world-building author Giovanna Zoboli and illustrator Mariachiara di Giorgio did for this book. Readers can't help but get swept up in this fantastic world, and it was such a pleasure to talk to Mariachiara about how Professional Crocodile came to be.


July 30, 2017

MARIGOLD BAKES A CAKE

Marigold Bakes a Cake by Mike Malbrough is yet another smart, hilarious, and wonderfully illustrated picture book for cat lovers to add to their shelves. 


July 27, 2017

WHEN YOUR...

There has seldom been as adorable and hilarious a board book duo as Susanna Leonard Hill and Daniel Wiseman's When Your Elephant Has the Sniffles and When Your Lion Needs a Bath


July 25, 2017

Let's Talk Illustrators #33: Thi Bui

As someone who has a soft spot for graphic novels (and a hankering to explore them in new ways for my readers...), interviewing graphic novelist and now picture book illustrator Thi Bui was a dream come true. Thi Bui recently illustrated the highly revered A Different Pond, and rather than creating a large preamble, I'd like to just dive into the interview. Enjoy.


July 23, 2017

WHAT DOES BABY WANT?

As far as impeccably designed and beautifully illustrated board books for babies go, Tupera Tupera's What Does Baby Want? pretty much takes the cake.


July 20, 2017

BLUE ETHEL

"Ethel was old, she was fat, she was black, and she was white. And she was very set in her ways." That is the opening line to Jennifer Black Reinhardt's Blue Ethel, and is the perfect introduction to the cat we get to know and love in this book. Every descriptor acts as a solid plot point!


July 19, 2017

Emergency Social Safety Net Programme

I'm breaking my normal routine today to talk about an initiative called ESSN (Emergency Social Safety Net) Programme, which provides refugees with debit cards to buy whatever they need most for their families: food, fuel, rent, medicine and bills.

Turkey has the largest refugee population in the world, with a total of over 3 million registered refugees, and though they are safe from war, many families live in challenging conditions and struggle to build stable, normal lives. Even the most "mundane" items like toothbrushes, books, and shoes are in short supply.

Recently the European Union (EU) and United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) asked twelve children’s book illustrators across Europe to help the more fortunate understand the impact of these "mundane" items through a child’s eyes. The series of illustrations aims to promote the work of the ESSN.

Have a look at the twelve featured illustrators below (in no particular order), and learn more about the ESSN initiative here.

1: HANNEKE SUPPLY
Belgian illustrator Hanneke Supply highlights the importance of a nightly routine for a child. This image depicts the simplicity of a bedtime story, allowing important quality time with the family.


July 18, 2017

"Best" of Lists

Did you know I do "Best of" lists (there's a whole section of them at the top of this site!) for some of my favorite fairytale retellings? Today I added this beauty to the "Best Little Red Picture Books" list, so make sure you click to take a look at what else I have on there. The books I add to these lists represent the best of the best in terms of illustration, visual narrative, and design, and each list features at least three to four spreads from my favorite retellings . . . Can't say no to that!

Click here for the Best Little Red Picture Books and here for the Best Alice in Wonderland Picture Books. A list for Rapunzel is coming soon!


Let's Talk Illustrators #32: Ingrid Chabbert and Guridi

In my mind, there is no finer author-illustrator partnership than Ingrid Chabbert and Raúl Nieto Guridi (who pens his picture books with just his surname). The pair has created a handful of books now, including one of my favorite books of all time, The Day I Became a Bird, and their newest collaboration to be published in English, The Last Tree, further solidifies them as one of the most creative picture book teams. Truthfully, interviewing one without the other felt silly to me, so I reached out and managed to get both Ingrid and Raúl in one interview! I hope you enjoy -- this was a blast to put together!


July 16, 2017

FIREFIGHTER DUCKIES!

Wee-ooo-wee-ooo-wee-oooooooooooo!!


July 13, 2017

THE HAPPY PRINCE

The cover of a book can tell a reader a lot, especially when it's an illustrated adaptation of an age-old tale. The story of Oscar Wilde's "The Happy Prince" has been illustrated in many media over the years by many different illustrators, but Maisie Paradise Shearring's new adaptation adds a softness and visual yearning to the story that is yet unprecedented.