December 19, 2017

Favorite Undies of 2017

As it turns out, Instagram supports 60 seconds of video per post. And since that's about 15 case cover reveals, I thought it'd be fun to put together a Best of the Year video list of my favorite undie reveals for 2017. As a reminder, you can see my casewrap reveals all year round by clicking in the menu above (or here).

Next up will be graphic novels tomorrow!

December 18, 2017

Let's Talk Illustrators #53: Kelsey Oseid

Kelsey Oseid's author debut What We See in the Stars: An Illustrated Tour of the Night Sky is an exquisitely styled encyclopedia of the night sky, with everything from information about constellations and their myths to a light exploration of scientific principles that make up the universe. It's elegantly designed, with its foil-accented cover (shiny like the stars!), ethereal art-style, and nearly monochromatic illustrations, and it was such a treat to pick Kelsey's brain about how this sleek compendium came to be. Meet Kelsey, everyone!

December 14, 2017


This Is NOT a Valentine, written by Carter Higgins and illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins, is maybe the sweetest, least saccharine, most touching book about love that ever existed. And much of that beauty lies in the message of the story.

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


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 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


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.

November 30, 2017


Lions and tigers and cheetahs, oh my! In this companion book to Wild Animals of the North, Dieter Braun's Wild Animals of the South offers a brief encyclopedia of animals from the southern hemisphere.

November 28, 2017

Let's Talk Illustrators #50: Joshua David Stein and Julia Rothman

Last year I missed the chance to interview food critic Joshua David Stein and illustrator Julia Rothman about their book Can I Eat That?. So when I heard about their newest book What's Cooking?, I was determined not to let the chance pass me by again! Stein and Rothman's books are humorous, thoughtful, colorful, and –– most importantly –– make food fun. Bon appĂ©tit! 

November 21, 2017


Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos by Monica Brown and John Parr is like a breath of fresh air. In a sea of books on Frida, it was so nice to see a divergence in focus in this story. And, of course, it's about her animals! Can't go wrong with that.

November 19, 2017


Rarely have I laughed so hard as I did when I read Jean Gourounas' Something's Fishy. The essential premise is that a penguin is found fishing in the ice, but as more and more animals gather around the stoic penguin, confusion grows over why they're all there in the first place.

November 16, 2017


Once again Elisabeth Helland Larsen and Marine Schneider strike gold with their newest book I Am Life.

November 14, 2017

Let's Talk Illustrators #49: Kathryn Otoshi

For as long as I can remember, I've been infatuated with Kathryn Otoshi's books. Her book One was probably one of the first books I ever studied for its illustrative merit, and all of Kathryn's books have a gentle simplicity about them that makes them relatable, timeless, and, of course, absolutely beautiful. I was so excited to chat with her about her new book Draw the Line for so many reasons (It's wordless! Look at those complementary colors! The underlying message!), and I'm thrilled to share our conversation with you today!  

November 12, 2017


I'm so excited to talk about My First Book of Patterns by Bobby George,‎ June George,‎ and Boyoun Kim. I genuinely cannot believe I haven't seen a book like this before. It's colorful, easy to understand, and SO much fun to take with you on the go.

November 9, 2017


Windows by Julia Denos and EB Goodale is such a beautiful book from end to end — the case cover, the dust jacket, the endpapers all come together perfectly to create a  window into the lives of the people in this neighborhood, and that's 100% due to the perfect balance between text and illustration.

November 7, 2017

Let's Talk Illustrators # 48: Natalia O'Hara and Lauren O'Hara

About a year ago, my friend Heather asked me if I's heard of Natalia and Lauren O'Hara, two British sisters who were creating a book called Hortense and the Shadow. I was so excited to follow along on Instagram and see sneak peaks of their book, and I fell in love when I finally received my copy. This interview was both a pleasure to put together and a long time coming, so I hope you enjoy!

November 5, 2017


If you haven't already seen How to Be an Elephant: Growing Up in the African Wild by Katherine Roy, then prepare to be filled with awe.

November 3, 2017

First Friday 5: Brave Girls

This month's theme came together so perfectly that it'd be easy to pretend I was planning it all along. The books I've read over the past few weeks were filled with leading ladies who are strong, brave, and unabashedly persistent when it comes to solving their own problems. In addition to the physical challenges they encounter, it's how they work to overcome their inner challenges that makes each of their stories shine. Observing the journeys in these books is an absolute honor, and I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did.

November 2, 2017


Hooray for over-sized opposites books where you can lift flaps, peek through giant holes, and play with pop-ups! I'm talking, of course, about Julie Safirstein's Night and Day, which is one of the most fun and interactive opposites books I've seen yet!

October 31, 2017

Let's Talk Illustrators #47: Shawn Harris

Recently I got the chance to chat with debut picture book illustrator Shawn Harris about Her Right Foot, written by Dave Eggers. There's so much that's incredible about this book –– the subject matter, the message, the delivery –– but before I even knew the story, it was the illustration style and design of the book that captured my heart. Shawn might just be starting his career in children's book illustration, but it's clear that this is where he was meant to be all along, and it is my sincere pleasure to share our conversation with you.

October 29, 2017


While there are many, many books in this world about what lies in the depths of the ocean, Kate Baker and Eleanor Taylor's Secrets of the Sea might take the cake in terms of beauty.

October 28, 2017

#kidlitpicks October Round-Up: 15 Books about Halloween

Broomsticks, jack-o’-lanterns, haunted houses, tricks and treats, ghostly games, neighbourhood parties, skeletons, Frankenstein, candy corn… the list goes on. All things fun and fearsome come out at Halloween. There are children who countdown the days until that frightfully fantastic night when they get to dress up as anything imaginable, hang out with family and friends, and eat bucketloads of candy. The build-up adds to the excitement—carving pumpkins, decorating your home with scary spiders, tombstones and fake zombie arms, picking out your costume, baking apple pies, watching spooky movies and reading Halloween stories.

Throughout October, @kidlitpicks shared standout Halloween-themed books for your children to enjoy. These are sure to delight kids eager for the festivities to start and ease the fears of others that may be a little anxious about the hair-raising holiday. Books are good like that. We hope that you too will dust the cobwebs off your favourite Halloween stories, those scary and those not so scary, and join us! Thanks to Arielle from @childrensbooksgalore for our spooky scary theme!

October 26, 2017


I was over the moon when I learned that the second book in An Adventure with Little Kunoichi the Ninja Girl was coming out. And it doesn't disappoint! Chibi Samurai Wants a Pet by Sanae Ishida is a wonderful addition to the series.

October 24, 2017

Let's Talk Illustrators #46: Julie Kim

In my mind Julie Kim's debut book Where's Halmoni? represents the most perfect picture book-graphic novel hybrid I've ever seen. Julie is careful to build a well-rounded world in which the story is accessible, the dialogue is easy to follow, and there's plenty to look at in every single panel. What more could you want? As far as introductory graphic novels go, this one has been on my Best Grade School Graphic Novels list for a couple of months now because of its inherent ability to guide young readers through the process of learning to read panels and understand visual narratives. Truly a gem of a book that defies categorization, and I urge you to seek it out immediately if you haven't had the  pleasure of experiencing it. For now, though, I'll let our conversation do the talking. Enjoy! 

October 22, 2017


I think it's safe to say at this point that it's fairly universally accepted that Duncan Tonatiuh can do no wrong. His latest book Danza!: Amalia Hernández and El Ballet FolklĂłrico de MĂ©xico (which is both authored and illustrated by him) serves to drive that point home.

October 19, 2017


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


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: 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 Illustrators #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 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 comics 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 comics show readers that anyone can accomplish anything.

October 5, 2017

Favorite Rapunzel Picture Books

click on a book cover to see more

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


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


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 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


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.