July 31, 2016

#kidlitpicks July Round-Up: 20 Repeat Read Picture Books

You might recall that I co-founded a book club on Instagram called kidlitpicks, and I'm excited to share with you a compilation of the books we featured for our July theme "Repeat Reads"!

Read a book once—you get to know the story, the facts about it and its characters. Read it twice—you become involved with it emotionally. Read it over and over again—it becomes a part of you. Importantly for children in the early stages of learning and those at school, reading the same book multiple times is beneficial. Choose the right one—worthy qualities and character traits inspire their sweet little souls. Understanding and retention of the wonderful words and language exposed to them will be greater. And repeat reads are a comfort, a pleasure, just like a lullaby.

Here’s the round-up of books shared and quotes from individual reviews, and a special thanks to Summer from Reading Is Our Thing for our inaugural theme!

July 27, 2016


If there was ever a book to give you all the feels, it's A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Wintson. This book is about you and me and book lovers everywhere who have gained wisdom and inspiration and hope from the books in their lives. It's best to go into the book without knowing too much, so I'm going to try not to be overly descriptive here when I gush.

July 26, 2016

Let's Talk Illustrators #1: Ged Adamson

Happy Tuesday everyone! Today is a very special day for me because I am introducing Let's Talk Illustrators, a new series here on Let's Talk Picture Books featuring interviews with illustrators about their design styles, illustration processes, and formations of visual narratives.

My hope is that the series will shed light onto the skillfully conscious (and wonderfully accidental) details that make picture books beautiful, unique, and full of story.

I couldn't be prouder to announce that my first feature is Ged Adamson! You might know Ged from Elsie Clarke And The Vampire Hairdresser and Meet The McKaws, but his latest picture book Douglas, You Need Glasses! is hands-down his best yet. The visual continuity is beyond impressive, and it's been so enlightening to learn how Ged's process changed over the course of making the book.


July 24, 2016


I'm digging into my archives a wee bit because I always find myself coming back to this book in some way, and I've never talked about it here. The Mermaid's Shoes by Sanne te Loo is the story of a girl named Mia and her search for belonging. One day Mia finds a pair of flippers at the beach that she believes are mermaid shoes. She wears them everywhere she goes, even when she sleeps, and more than anything new she just wants to get back to the water. But the ocean is much to far for her to get to on her bike, so Mia sets out to find herself the nearest body of water to inhabit.

July 21, 2016


I feel like have been waiting for Kyo Maclear's and Júlia Sardà's The Liszts my whole life. It might sound dramatic, but, hey, the Liszts are a dramatic people. A family of seven (including the cat), the Liszts make lists like they're going out of style.​ There are lists on the walls, the floors, the piano... everywhere. And if you're not on a list then​ you're dismissed pretty quickly. Until one day a stranger shows up and​ teaches the family how to open their minds.

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 López.

July 17, 2016


Things get adorable pretty quickly in Fiona Woodcock's author/illustrator debut Hiding Heidi. In my household, this book definitely qualifies for #kidlitpicks' July theme of #repeatreads: I've read it half a dozen times in the few days I've had it! Heidi is a master of blending into her surroundings, taking pride in how well she can fade into the background. But when she spends her whole birthday party playing hide-and-seek (and never being found), she realizes her friends might need a change of pace in games.

July 14, 2016


Can Britta Teckentrup do anything wrong? It seems super unlikely given that she's coming out with books every other week and still manages to maintain quality in story and diversity in illustration. Don't Wake Up the Tiger is yet another perfect example. Readers follow along as Frog, Fox, Tortoise, Mouse, and Stork try to get past Tiger, who's sleeping in the middle of their path. Luckily they all have balloons so they can float over Tiger. Unluckily, they all come super close to falling on Tiger. And then a balloon pops...

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 10, 2016


I was so excited to receive Kenard Pak's upcoming picture book Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn in the mail a few weeks ago. It was evident from the cover that it would be a gorgeous book, and the text is engaging, but it's the visual story that truly shines as we follow a child who travels to a local town and home again.

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)!

HIFAB's goal is to encourage literacy programs for people with disabilities. Allison just wrapped up an amazing initiative at the end of June called Next Chapter Book Club: Memphis Branch, a weekly book club for adults with disabilities at the Central library in Texas.

Listening to yourself talk might be one of the weirdest feelings ever, but Allison made it so much fun. Thank you, Allison, for welcoming me onto my first-ever podcast!!

July 6, 2016


Ben Clanton's The Day It Came in the Mail was such a delightful book to get in the mail, and I'm so excited to showcase it as my July #kidlitpicks choice! This month's theme is #repeatreads, and this book is a perfect example. There are so many fun details in the illustrations, and Clanton uses the "mail" theme perfectly, making the book a unique read every time. Liam loves getting mail more than anything in the world, but there's just one problem: he never actually gets mail! So one day he comes up with the idea to write his mailbox a letter, opening the floodgates to a whole new, magical world full of dragons, flying pigs, and funny bones.

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.

July 4, 2016


In the two short days that I've had Ingrid Chabbert's and Guridi's The Day I Became a Bird I've read it four times: once before bed, once to my cat, and twice to myself. It is the first day of school, and a boy falls in love for the first time. The only problem is that the girl of his dreams, Sylvia, only has eyes for birds. The boy takes the natural next step and constructs a giant bird costume, but will it be enough to catch Sylvia's attention?