August 30, 2016

Let's Talk Illustrators #3: Brendan Wenzel

Happy book birthday to Brendan Wenzel's (can you believe it) author debut They All Saw a Cat! I am so beyond excited to share my interview with Brendan on how this incredible story came about. This is a book that ended up in an eight-publisher auction before the manuscript was even complete, a book that everyone believes is a shoe-in for the Caldecott. And from what I can see, every moment of that attention is well-deserved!

August 28, 2016


How the Crayons Saved the Rainbow by Monica Sweeney and Fernonia Parker Thomas is a colorful book about the Sun and the Clouds, who are best friends who make rainbows together and fill the world around them with color to bring joy to all. One day, though, they two get into a fight and decide to part ways, never appearing in the sky together or creating any rainbows again. Without any rainbows, the world around them quickly begins to lose its color until one day it's free from any color at all. Until a forgotten box of crayons changes everything.

August 24, 2016


I saw Marianna Coppo's Petra online a couple of weeks ago and immediately knew I had to have it. There was just one problem: there are no English copies in print yet! Only Italian. So I ended up purchasing it from Italy, and you know what? It was totally worth it. With a working knowledge of Spanish and lot of internet translating (thank you, Google), I was able to read the book, and it is every bit as special as I thought it would be. Even if the text were not as wonderful as it is, the illustrations alone are worth all the effort

August 22, 2016

Crossing the Line

Today we're discussing a key part of picture book anatomy called the gutter, or the space in the middle of the book where two facing pages meet. Design-wise, it's usually a) worked around so that there's a wide margin of white space, or b) entirely forgotten about to the point where images are lost or warped when the book is printed and bound. Every book has a gutter, though, so it's so fun when illustrators use it to their advantage. Rather than working around the gutter or ignoring it, illustrators use the gutter as an structural element, an irremovable part of the illustrations. In the past couple of months, a few books have come out that emphasize the gutter, and I'm excited to showcase them today!

August 21, 2016


Have you seen The Color Monster yet?? It's one of those books you want to open from the moment you see the cover. Anna Llenas's pop-up book about feelings is so sweet and lovely. As we open the book, a little girl introduces her friend, the color monster, who is feeling all mixed up. The color monster is drawn in colors from the entire spectrum of the rainbow, and the girl offers to help the monster separate each out into individual bottles.

August 15, 2016


Life Without Nico by Andrea Maturana and Francisco Javier Olea is my next choice for #kidlitpicks August theme #UniqueFriendships because it's one of the most stand-out friendship books I've seen. It's an exploration of the grief a young girl feels when her best friend moves away and the later guilt she feels at making new friends. It feels so honest and authentic, and it tackles a common issue in such a fresh and beautiful way

What Is It Good For?

War is a tough, but important topic to talk about, let along write about for children. There are a handful of writers and illustrators who handle the topic exceptionally well, using the text and images to explore the innately cyclical nature of war and the oftentimes pointless battles we fight.

August 9, 2016

Let's Talk Illustrators #2: Esmé Shapiro

A little while ago I did a post on foxes, and I included Esmé Shapiro's picture book debut Ooko . But just TALKING about this book wasn't enough for me. I had to get into Esmé's mind to learn how our adorable little fox friend came to life. The illustrations are dreamy, the story is relatable, and the humor Esmé throws in is just phenomenal.

August 8, 2016

All the Wonders of RETURN

This month at All the Wonders we are celebrating Return, the magical and final picture book in Aaron Becker's wordless Journey trilogy about a girl who creates her own portal to a world of imagination.

Stop by All the Wonders of RETURN for an in-depth look at the book, an interview with creator Aaron Becker, and more!

August 7, 2016


The Opposite Zoo by Il Sung Na is the best kind of opposite book there is: minimally focused on text and highly focused on beautiful illustrations that visually explain the concept of opposites. Na's book tells the story of a monkey traveling through a zoo after it closes. Na's pairings are unique and refreshing, pushing the story past a simple"concept book" and offering a unique spin on traditional opposites.

August 4, 2016


Friend or Foe? by John Sobol and Dasha Tolstikova is a pretty unique book in a lot of ways. The text tells the story of a mouse who gazes up every night at the palace tower and to watch the white cat who lives there. He wonders if the cat is his friend or his foe, and eventually he decides to get himself an answer by crawling into the palace and up to the tower to meet the unsuspecting cat.

August 2, 2016

Words to Live By

Whether they're from stories, letters, or even email, words have the power to transform our lives and connect us in so many ways. Behind every word is a universal truth and experience, and today's books highlight the connections we make--with the stories we read and with each other--when we open ourselves up to the power of words.

A Child of Books (Candlewick, 2016) is the much anticipated collaboration between Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston that serves as an ode to books and the transformative powers of words. So naturally it's a great place to start!

August 1, 2016


I am so, so excited to share Deborah Freedman's SHY today! The timing is just incredible, because today also happens to be the first day of the #kidlitpicks August theme "unique friendships." And the friendship you see in this book is unique, wonderful, and such a lovely surprise