November 30, 2016


It's pretty obvious why Jenni Desmond's The Polar Bear is one of 2016's New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books. It's impeccably illustrated, and as someone who admittedly reads very little nonfiction, I was totally and completely riveted from start to finish.

November 29, 2016

Let's Talk Illustrators #9: Francesca Sanna

If you're an avid picture book reader, there's little chance at this point that you haven't come into contact with Francesca Sanna's The Journey. In the few short months that the book been out, it has been translated into several different languages, it has won the gold medal of the Society of Illustrators (US) and the Premi Llibreter (Spain), and the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has written Francesca a personalized letter thanking her for her attention to such a difficult subject.

And there's a very good reason for all of it.

The story we read about in The Journey is universal and timely, and it was an absolute honor to sit down with Francesca to pick her brain about one of this year's most important picture books.

November 27, 2016


Who Built That?: Bridges is the latest in Didier Cornille's Who Built That? series, published by Princeton Architectural Press. If you haven't had a chance to check out the series, I highly recommend it--they combine engineering and architectural information--bridges, skyscrapers, houses--with impeccable design work to create a cohesive encyclopedia on these great architectural feats.

November 23, 2016


The Building Boy by Ross Montgomery and David Litchfield is the story of a boy. The boy lives with his grandma, who's a famous, retired architect, and for as long as he can remember, the garden has been filled the brim with old building materials. When the boy's grandma passes away, he decides to use what she left behind to build a giant sculpture of her. What he didn't expect, though, was for the sculpture to come to life and carry him on a journey of mourning, recovery, and hope.

November 22, 2016

Best Winter Books of 2016

Winter is only a month away (we're already feeling it here in Boston), and that means it's time for the 10 best winter books of the year!

November 20, 2016


Rebecca Young and Matt Ottley's Teacup is the story of a boy who is forced to leave home one day and sail to a safer place. The only things the boy is able to take with him are a book, a bottle, a blanket, and "a teacup with some earth from where he used to play." He doesn't leave with family, and he doesn't have a destination in mind, all he has is hope during his seemingly endless journey to keep him company.

November 19, 2016

Larger Than Life

Everyone has feelings that follow them around, but sometimes those feelings become larger than life, casting shadows on the day and preventing us from living our lives. It's through these interactions with our emotions that we come to accept them as a part of ourselves, controlling them and learning to harness their powers. This is a list of books with characters who wrestle with powerful, larger-than-life emotions and teach themselves how to deal with these emotions by giving into them and acknowledging them as a part of life.

Here, we explore anger, depression, impulses, loss, and anxiety.

November 16, 2016


Lift Your Light a Little Higher: The Story of Stephen Bishop: Slave-Explorer, written by Heather Henson and illustrated by award-winning illustrator Bryan Collier, tells the real life story of Stephen Bishop, a slave who guided people through the deepest cave in the United States during the ​late 1830s ​to the late 1850s.

A video posted by Mel Schuit (@spiky_penelope) on

November 15, 2016

Let's Talk Illustrators #8: Katie Harnett

Archie Snufflekins Oliver Valentine Cupcake Tiberius Cat has a special place in my heart. And not just because it centers on a cat! Okay, a really cute cat. Like puts-Grumpy-Cat-to-shame cute. Author-illustrator Katie Harnett brings to life the story of a cat with seven names and an ability to find the best in people, even when others can't see it yet.

November 14, 2016

All the Wonders of THE STORYTELLER

I am so pleased to present to you All the Wonders of THE STORYTELLER, Evan Turk's exploration of the power that storytelling has to capture the imagination and inspire a new generation of young readers.

Check out for more on this beautiful tale, including an post from Evan himself about how he began his storytelling journey, a survey of programs around the world working to preserve the traditions of storytelling, and a craft that will help you tell your own stories for years to come.

November 13, 2016


Pancakes!: An Interactive Recipe Book by Lotta Nieminen is the first in a new series of interactive recipe books, and it is one of the very, very few books this year that has made me giggle out loud with delight (and then rush off to show everyone else).

November 8, 2016


In Tara Lazar and S Britt's Normal Norman we see the girl project her insecurities about normalcy onto a purple and yellow gorilla. Normal Norman tells the story of a girl of a young scientist who is narrating her first book in order to scientifically determine the definition of "normal." And she does so with her trusty "normal" gorilla Norman.

November 6, 2016


Midnight Creatures: A Pop-Up Shadow Search by Helen Friel is a seek-and-find book, a pop-up book, and a non-fiction reference book. So it already has a ton going for it in terms of quality material. But it has one thing almost no other book has: you're supposed to read it in the dark with a flashlight!

November 2, 2016


The Highest Mountain of Books in the World by Rocio Bonilla is a book for book-lovers. It teaches us to persevere and remember that our imaginations have no limits, especially when it comes to living out our dreams.

November 1, 2016

#kidlitpicks October Round-Up: 19 Picture Books to Unlock Imagination

During the month of October, kidlitpicks explored picture books that unlock imagination. Magic happens when tiny fingers turn the pages of a beloved book. Stories provide avenues of amusement, entryways to intrigue, and doors through which discovery abounds. The simplest of sentences can launch us to the stars and back again, helping us land safely in our haven of blankets and pillows after completing an expedition to save the earth. Stories can help us learn to fly, travel the globe in mere moments, and go on enchanting adventures with talking animals and magic carpets.

Through story, we can help our children navigate oceans of emotions and experiences. We can provide them a safe place to grapple with difficult topics and challenging feelings. We can give them laughter and comfort, and we can teach empathy and inclusiveness and kindness. Most importantly, we can use books to unlock their collective imaginations.

As Kwame Alexander recently said in a New York Times article, "The mind of an adult begins in the imagination of a child." Lets give our children a safe space to run free and roam the universe by offering them books that encourage wild, fanciful and meaningful experiences. These imaginative stories may plant the seeds for their big ideas -- big ideas that will one day change our world for the better.

A special thank you to Lauren from Happily Ever Elephants for the theme!