February 28, 2017

Let's Talk Illustrators #15: William Bee

It's a particular honor that I got the chance to sit down with William Bee and pick his brain about his latest installment in the Stanley series, Stanley's Store. I've been a fan of William's work for years, and the chance to actually chat with him about his process was like a dream come true. I hope you enjoy reading the interview as much as I enjoyed putting it together!

February 23, 2017

MY BEAUTIFUL BIRDS

My Beautiful Birds, written and illustrated by Suzanne Del Rizzo, sheds a light on the ongoing Syrian Refugee crisis and its effects on its children. The narrative follows a boy named Sami who is uprooted from home, leaving behind all of the birds he'd grown to love and care for. My Beautiful Birds shows the reality of refugee camps and ultimately provides hope for people in search of a new place in life.


February 21, 2017

It Runs in the Family

There are some pretty quirky picture book families out there. But the family that quirks together, stays together, right? 



February 20, 2017

All the Wonders of LITTLE RED

All the Wonders is celebrating All the Wonders of LITTLE RED this month!


Author-illustrator Bethan Woollvin's debut picture book Little Red is a fresh take on the age-old fairy tale "Little Red Riding Hood." But in this version, Little Red is significantly more capable than she seems...

Visit All the Wonders for a look at fractured fairy tales, how author-illustrator Bethan Woollvin weaves picture book theory into her illustrations, and a school visit in Bethan’s own words.

February 19, 2017

LOVE IS

Love Is by Diane Adams and Claire Keane is a solidly, beautiful book. The illustrations are bright and colorful, and the rhyming text -- which I usually steer clear of but love in this book -- carries readers right through the story at an energetic pace.


February 15, 2017

2016 Cybils Winners

This year I had the honor of being a judge in the 2016 Cybils Awards! And it was awesome!



TRIANGLE

Award-winning duo Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen have teamed up again, and this time it's for the long haul. Publishing March 14, Barnett and Klassen bring us the first in a trilogy of board books that will keep you guessing until the end. The first in the series, Triangle, tells a story of trickery and sweet(ish) revenge as Triangle sets out to play a sneaky trick on his friend Square and finds himself in a precarious situation.



February 14, 2017

Let's Talk Illustrators #14: Anna Walker

I was lucky enough to get a chance to chat with famed Australian author-illustrator Anna Walker about her illustration and story processes for her 2015 picture book Mr. Huff, as well as her upcoming book Florette. Anna's prolific body of work speaks for itself, but in case you're unfamiliar here in the States, Anna's children's books are full of beauty and subtlety, and they always radiate emotion. 

Be sure to scroll to the bottom for a look at the official Florette book trailer! 


February 12, 2017

THE SECRET PROJECT

It's much too pun-ny to say that mother-son team Jeanette and Jonah Winter's latest picture book The Secret Project blew me away, but there's just no other way to put it -- the book is incredible.


February 8, 2017

SOLDIER SONG: A TRUE STORY OF THE CIVIL WAR

Debbie Levy and Gilbert Ford's Soldier Song: A True Story of the Civil War tells the true story of the songs soldiers used to sing during the day. Both Union and Confederate soldiers relied on the songs they sang to lift their spirits and remind them what they were fighting for. There came a point after the battle at Fredericksburg when songs were actually hurled as insults back and forth between the two competitors. And, eventually, there also came a point when their songs merged, longing for the same thing.



February 7, 2017

What's in a Name?

It goes without saying that cats are the kind of creatures who know what they want. And more importantly, what they DON'T want. They want food served to them in a bowl, not on the floor, and they only like the corner of the sofa better than the super expensive scratching post you bought them. They know what they want and what they don't want, and it matters little to them what anyone else thinks. Which is why they make such a great subject for examining issues of self identity.


February 5, 2017

NOT QUITE NARWHAL

Jessie Sima's Not Quite Narwhal tells the story of a character who is, well, not quite narwhal! Kelp was born in the ocean and lives with narwhals, but he's always felt like he's different--he doesn't look like the other narwhals, he doesn't like the food, he's not a great swimmer (which an underwater creature should be!). So when Kelp accidentally gets swept away by a current and ends up near land, he decides it's finally time to figure out where he comes from.



February 2, 2017

#kidlitpicks January Round-Up: 13 Books to Find Yourself in

Being able to relate to the characters in a book is such a vital piece of enjoying it. It is through these characters that we find the courage and strength to be who we truly are. Trials and tribulations are at the heart of every story, and the way that characters triumph over them can be the essence of what readers are searching for in their own lives. It's no coincidence then that so many characters can feel lost, alone, and full of doubt. The uncertainty that haunts the beginning of a book, though, can be washed away by the end, leaving behind a sense of hope and fortitude that we, as readers, need from time to time. It is this self-confidence that we hope to instill in the young readers who glance into unknown pages and hopefully are able to see themselves reflected back.

During January, @kidlitpicks shared books we could see ourselves and others in, and we're excited to share our round-up for the month. A special shout-out to Wendy from Homegrown Reader for the theme!



February 1, 2017

ARE YOU AN ECHO?

Full disclosure, Are You an Echo? The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko is a tough book. It's a beautiful story with touching moments, but it's rife with horrible moments, too, like infidelity, abuse, and, eventually, suicide. It's a book that will stick with readers forever, reminding them of the impact of words and how transformative they can be.