Saturday, April 30, 2016

Read, Write, Celebrate

Follow the link to participating stores

Support your local bookseller. Go book shopping today!
And advertise your preference with swag featuring the Indie Bookstore Day 2016 logo

No need to sign up, just have to show up.
Follow @paulayoo  for updates
Join me and other Kidlit authors during NaPiBoWriWee, May 1-7, 2016.
Founder Paula Yoo encourages with informational posts as we nail down seven picture book drafts in seven days. Isn't your writing life worth the effort?
Be warned, NaPi has a new location on the web. If you're new to the event, you may want to scour the archives from previous years for inspiration.

Follow @CBCBook
'Hope you voted for your favorite reads because May 2-8 is Children's Book Week. Turn out to see which books made the cut, how to promote literacy in your community, and be sure to pick up plenty of swag.

Friday, April 29, 2016

PPBF: Float

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick

Wordless masterpiece Float, by David Miyares
Written and illustrated by Daniel Miyares
Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, 2015
Ages 4-8, 48 pages

wordless, outdoor, exploration

This book is wordless, but the story opens with a dad making a newspaper boat for his son on a rainy day.

From the Amazon description:
"A little boy takes a boat made of newspaper out for a rainy-day adventure. The boy and his boat dance in the downpour and play in the puddles, but when the boy sends his boat floating down a gutter stream, it quickly gets away from him...the little boy goes on the hunt for his beloved boat—and when the rain lets up, he finds himself on a new adventure altogether."

What I Love:
It's difficult to put into words the power of pictures. Simon & Schuster has posted a selection of spreads from the book which convey some of the magic of Float.

The graphic style and use of the bright yellow raincoat to define the character are an homage to Snowy Day, and yet so much more.

Plus-endpapers! Daniel uses his brilliantly, as an invitation to participate in the story, instructions for your own newspaper boat and...well, that would be giving the ending away.


1. Origami Instructions gives step-by-step photos as well as a video for folding your own paper boat or look on OrigamiPie for a printable chart.
2. You'll find an in depth interview with the author/illustrator on Seven Impossible Things, a radio interview on KCUR, and a podcast on All The Wonders.
3. Reading Rockets features a great post on how to share a wordless picture book with children.
4. Why stay inside? Try splatter painting with raindrops from LittlePageTurner or an outdoor mud pie kitchen from WilderChild.
5. Prefer indoor board games? Mr.Printables invented a Chutes and Ladders spin-off called Rain and Rainbows.
6. This is the perfect time to introduce kids to Gene Kelly: Watch Singin' In The Rain, or at least show them this clip of the famous musical number. While you're at it, why not memorize the steps and act it out during your next downpour?
7. Study the weather with a homemade rain gage from Imagination Tree.
8. Check out these and more Perfect Picture Books at your local library.


Reviewed by Clarike

Reviewed by Beth

Reviewed by Kerry

Reviewed by Joanne

Reviewed by Sue
Reviewed by Mary

Link to NPR
Link to Goodreads

Have you reviewed a Perfect Picture Book along this theme? Please leave the link in the comments below. Thanks!

Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday
for Friday, April 29, 2016 available on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


I have so many books, I've started using cats as bookends.

Excerpt from "Catalog" by Rosalie Moore

Cats sleep fat and walk thin.
Cats, when they sleep, slump;
When they wake, pull in—
And where the plump's been
There's skin.
Cats walk thin.


A cat condenses.
He pulls in his tail to go under bridges,
And himself to go under fences.
Cats fit
In any size box or kit;
And if a large pumpkin grew under one,
He could arch over it.

from Cat Poems, selected by Myra Cohn Livingston

Cat Poems,
by Myra Cohn Livingston and Trina Schart Hyman
Celebrate National Poetry Month!

Friday, April 22, 2016

PPBF: A Tree For Me

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick

A Tree For Me, a rhyming concept book
by Nancy Von Laan and Sheila White Samton
A Tree For Me

Written by  Nancy Van Laan
IIllustrated by Sheila White Samton
Alfred A. Knopf, 2000
Grades Kindergarten-3, Lexile 250L

Concept,  Counting, Poetry, Nature

"All around the hill where the brook runs free, I look, look, look for a tree for me. Big one, small one, skinny one, tall one, old one, fat one, I chose that one!"

A child rambles through the woods looking for the perfect tree to climb. He stumbles across wildlife, counting from one to five. It seems every place he wants to perch is already occupied. When he finally finds the perfect tree, the last verse of the story brings a satisfying circular ending with all the creatures he has encountered.

What I Love:
The concept may seem too simple, but the author pulls it off beautifully. Her rhymes are fun to read aloud and move the story, rather than bogging it down. The text captures a child's exuberance and wonder at the outdoors. Need more examples?
"Up I go to the tippy tip top. Uh-oh! Oh, no! Wait a minute. STOP! I'm mistaken. This one's taken."

Lots of white space surround the bright mixed media style. The illustrations are perfect for little fingers to point and squeal. They energize the already bouncy language and keep the reader turning pages. Perfect for National Poetry Month, Earth Day, or any day.


Pretzel and grape tree snack courtesy TheSeasonedMom
1. Teaching Books has teacher resources for A Tree For Me and other books by the author and illustrator.

2. Art imitates life! Art teacher Candace Ashment has a beautiful example of a collage project using the tracings of the students' hands. The Missing Piece uses quilts in the same way. Use her idea as a springboard kids can use to create woodland landscapes of their own.
3. Climb a tree. Take a nap. Trace the leaves. Start an acorn or pinecone collection.
4. HowtToNestForLess offers fun scavenger hunt printables to find outdoors or try the nature treasure hunt from TwinRocksOutdoorSchool.
5. HomeSchoolGiveawaysandFreebies offers a counting worksheet and other free resources focused on birds and their nests.
6. Check out these and more Perfect Picture Books at your local library.

Reviewed by Joanna
Reviewed by Susanna

Reviewed by Laura
Reviewed by GradeOnderful
Reviewed by Julie
Reviewed by Joanne

Join Mei Mei and Gong Gong
in their new book!
And please don't miss my review of Sylvia Liu's debut picture book,
A Morning With Grandpa. It's worth the look!

Have you reviewed a Perfect Picture Book along this theme? Please leave the link in the comments below. Thanks!

Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday
for Friday, April 22, 2016 available on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Pickety Fence

Courtesy Things I Like

"The Pickety Fence" by David McCord*

The pickety fence
The pickety fence
Give it a lick it's
The picket fence
Give it a lick it's
A clickety fence
Give it a lick it's
A lickety fence
Give it a lick
Give it a lick
Give it a lick
With a rickety stick

*Reprinted in A New Treasury of Children's Poetry, selected and introduced by Joanna Cole, Doubleday 1984
Celebrate National Poetry Month!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Friday, April 15, 2016

PPBF: A Morning With Grandpa

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick

A Morning With Grandpa, by Sylvia Liu and Christina Forshay
A Morning With Grandpa
Written by Sylvia Liu
Illustrated by Christina Forshay
Lee & Low,  Release date May 1, 2016
Ages 5-8
Disclaimer: I requested an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. I have not received any compensation.

Grandparents, multicultural, health

Mei Mei watched Grandpa dance slowly among the flowers in the garden. He moved like a giant bird stalking through a marsh. His arms swayed like reeds in the wind.

(From the publisher's catalog)
Mei Mei's grandpa is practicing tai chi in the garden, and Mei Mei is eager to join in. As Gong Gong tries to teach her the slow, graceful movements, Mei Mei enthusiastically does them with her own flair. Then Mei Mei takes a turn trying to teach Gong Gong the yoga she learned in school.  Will Gong Gong be able to master the stretchy, bendy poses? Winner of the Lee & Low's New Voices Award, A Morning With Grandpa celebrates, with lively spirit, and humor, the special bond between grandparent and grandchild and the joy of learning new things together. Extensive backmatter includes instruction in Tai Chi and yoga moves and positions.

What I Love:
If you are a part of any online kidlit groups, you know Sylvia Liu is generous to the community and dedicated to learning her craft, so I was excited to review her first book and add it to the Perfect Picture Book Friday library. I love the way this story is put together and the layered elements of the relationship, humor, and educational value. The author weaves beautiful word pictures relating to elements of nature, just as Tai Chi and Yoga do. Her liberal use of onomatopoeia makes this book fun to read aloud.
Christina Forshay's light-filled illustrations add the perfect touch to this story, by turns serene and silly. Her color palette is harmonious, but filled with bright color choices. I especially liked the recurring red Japanese Maple leaf to tie the spreads together.
I will say, I hope the rather generic title doesn't allow this sweet book to get lost on the shelves.


This and other images available at FitnessgymYoga
1. Sylvia and her cohorts have created KidLit411. Their informational site replaces the corkboard and calendar in my studio, keeping track of all the events happening in the community. Plus, they're just really nice.
2. Although they are taking a hiatus, Christina and her fellow illustrators provide oodles of useful tips for children's books on their group blog, SimplyMessingAbout.
3. Look for a local Tai Chi class  or grab an instructional dvd from Netflix. World Tai Chi and Ideafit offer some tips specifically for kids.
4. Gong Gong is Chinese for grandpa. Want to learn more names for grandfathers around the world? In different Languages  has charts for 8 different sub-continents.
5. Make simple pipe cleaner stick men in various yoga poses or try crafting the more complicated ones from Raising Creative Hearts.
6. is a great resource for connecting with the older generations in your kids' lives.
7. Check out these and more Perfect Picture Books at your local library.

Reviewed by Patricia
Reviewed by Stacy

Reviewed by Joanna
Reviewed by Joanne

Have you reviewed a Perfect Picture Book along this theme? Please leave the link in the comments below. Thanks!

Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday
available on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Spring Morning

color version of E. H. Shepard illustration for "Spring Morning"

"Spring Morning" by A. A. Milne*

Where am I going? I don't quite know.
Down to the stream where the king-cups grow—
Up on the hill where the pine-trees blow —
Anywhere, anywhere. I don't know.

Where am I going? The clouds sail by,
Little ones, baby ones, over the sky.
Where am I going? The shadows pass,
Little ones, baby ones, over the grass.

If you were a cloud, and sailed up there,
You'd sail on water as blue as air.
And you'd see me here in the fields and say:
"Doesn't the sky look green today?"

Where am I going? The high rooks call:
"It's awful fun to be born at all."
Where am I going? The ring-doves coo:
"We do have beautiful things to do."

If you were a bird, and lived on high,
You'd lean on the wind when the wind came by,
You'd say to the wind when it took you away:
"That's where I wanted to go today!"

Where am I going? I don't quite know,
What does it matter where people go?
Down to the wood where the blue-bells grow—
Anywhere, anywhere. I don't know.

When We Were Very Young review

*from When We Were Very Young, Puffin Books, reissue 1992

Celebrate National Poetry Month!

Monday, April 11, 2016

National Libraries Week: Preserving Liberty

“Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right. . . and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, and indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean of the characters and conduct of their rulers.”
—John Adams*

Butterfly bookplate by Cavallini & Co. via TwoHandsPaperie

*from A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law (1765). Quoted in The Oxford Dictionary of Political Quotations,edited by Antony Jay (Oxford University Press: New York, 1996) via ALA

Sunday, April 10, 2016

National Library Week 2016: Libraries Transform

Tweet it, or find other sizes of this image at ALA

 National Library Week 2016

Join Honorary Chairman Gene Luen Yang, award-winning graphic novelist and the 2016-2017 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, in supporting and promoting your public, school, or academic library during National Library Week.

Find ways to celebrate at
Find out what it's all about and how you can spread the word at 
2016 NLD theme: Libraries Transform

Need more ideas?

  • Post to Twitter, Instagram, or on the I Love Libraries Facebook page during National Library Week for a chance to win. Entries can be a picture or text.  Creativity is encouraged. Just be sure to include the word "Because" and the hashtag #LibrariesTransform for a chance to win. Entries can also be submitted directly to the Libraries Transform website.

NLWD is Tuesday, April 12
NBD is Wednesday, April 13

Friday, April 8, 2016

PPBF: Have You Seen My Dragon?

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick

Gorgeous concept book, Have You Seen My Dragon? by Steve Light

Have You Seen My Dragon? Written and illustrated
by Steve Light
Candlewick, 2014
Ages 3-6, 48 pp.

Concept, Counting, Colors

Have you seen my dragon?
No? I will look for him.

A boy asks the doorman of his apartment building where to find his lost dragon. The boy then searches all of New York City for his missing dragon, though readers will find the dragon on every spread. As the boy searches, he notices other aspects of the city, and so the book additionally becomes both counting book and color primer. At last the boy finds his dragon in a most fitting location.

What I Love:
Every inch of the every page is covered with black and white ink drawings of the minutiae of city life. This is the kind of book I loved to pore over as a kid. The dragon is not hidden as in Where's Waldo, but that doesn't make this book any less of a game. The boy counts from one to twenty as he travels to each new location: 2 hot dogs, 3 buses, 4 sailboats, etc. The artist highlights those objects with color — the only color in the book. A simple yet lovely new take on traditional concept books.

Okay, nobody's going to make
 this crazy-complicated dragon snack
 from  ArtOfNutrition, but it sure is awesome!
1. You'll find great interviews from Damon Young, Matthew Winner, Joanna Marple, and Jules Danielson.
2. Check out Steve's newest book, Swap! It uses a similar style: black-and-white with limited color, but in a fascinating new way. You can read about it at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast.
3. Here's a photo of a much less complicated dragon made of cupcakes.
4. CassArt has gorgeous and kid-friendly ideas for starting a sketchbook like author/illustrator Steve's.
5. I highly recommend Ed Emberley's drawing books and his website for fun and easy drawing lessons (for dragons and everything else) for ALL ages.
6. Mommy Poppins lists 40 fun activities for kids for your next staycation to New York City.
7. Check out these and more Perfect Picture Books at your local library.

Reviewed by Barbara
Reviewed by Erik

Reviewed by Laura
Reviewed by Julie

Reviewed by Susanna

Reviewed by Joanne

Have you reviewed a Perfect Picture Book along this theme? Please leave the link in the comments below. Thanks!

Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday
for Friday, April 8, 2016 available on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

IF: Sparkle

Art by Joanne Roberts for Illustration Friday theme, "sparkle"

I couldn't get the sparkly nail polish to show up in the scan or the photo. So much for my foray into mixed media.

Click here to see other submissions to Illustration Friday.