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1. A Boy And A Jaguar – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: A Boy And A Jaguar Written by: Alan Rabinowitz Illustrated by: Catia Chien Published by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014 Themes/Topics: jaguars, conservation, stuttering, big cats Suitable for ages: 3-7 Awards: Schneider Family Book Award for Children (2015) Autobiographical Opening: I’m standing in … Continue reading

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2. Seeds of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, Alabama by Hester Bass, illustrated by E. B. Lewis

Seeds of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, Alabama is the newest book by Hester Bass, illustrated by E.B. Lewis. Seeds of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, Alabama is a superb addition to the genre of narrative non-fiction, and a welcome addition to books about the Civil Rights Movement. Beginning in January of 1962, Bass sets the scene, telling readers that

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3. What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week,Featuring Luc Melanson,Christopher Silas Neal, and Stephanie Yue


“… I said we should have a funeral. Rosario just smiled.
He didn’t seem very sad, but I know he loved that tree.”
– From Charis Wahl’s
Rosario’s Fig Tree,
illustrated by Luc Melanson (Groundwood, March 2015)


 


S n a p! Someone else is faster!
Down in the dirt, a smooth, shining garter snake crunches on supper.”
– From Kate Messner’s
Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt,
illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
(Chronicle, March 2015)

(Click to enlarge spread)


 


“Every morning in summer, one … two … three! He pops out of his hole.
Such a little mouse. Off he goes into the wide world.”
– From Alice Schertle’s
Such a Little Mouse,
illustrated by Stephanie Yue (Orchard Books, March 2015)
(Click to enlarge spread)


 

This morning over at Kirkus, I write about two new picture books I really like, one out on shelves in mid-March and one, not till the Fall, though it was released overseas many years ago. That link will be here soon.

* * *

Last week, I wrote here about the three picture books above. I have art (and covers) from each book below.

Enjoy.


 

Art from Such a Little Mouse:


 


“He tunnels under piles of leaves. Rustle, rustle, rustle, go the leaves.
He feels the autumn wind tickle his whiskers.
‘Winter is coming,’ whispers the wind.”

(Click to enlarge)


 


“He makes a loaf of acorn bread. He makes seed-and-watercress soup.”
(Click to enlarge)


 



 

Art from Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt:


 


“Up in the garden, I stand and plan—
my hands full of seeds and my head full of dreams.”

(Click to enlarge)


 


“Up in the garden, we pick cukes and zucchini, harvesting into the dark. Bats swoop through the sunflowers, and I pluck June bugs from the basil until it’s time for bed.”
(Click to enlarge)


 


“Down in the dirt, skunks work the night shift.
They snuffle and dig, and gobble cutworms while I sleep.”

(Click to enlarge)


 



 

Art from Rosario’s Fig Tree:


 


“Rosario lives next door. He’s a magician. He doesn’t pull rabbits out of hats or find pennies behind your ears. He’s a garden magician. Here’s how I know.”
(Click to enlarge)


 


“Last spring he did a strange thing. One day he brought a big pot out of the house.
It had a tree in it as tall as he is. ‘It’s a fig tree,’ he said. ‘At home
we have fig trees everywhere. Here it’s too cold for figs. But we’ll see.’
He took the tree out of the pot and planted it in a hole.”

(Click to enlarge)


 


“‘Now we bury it,’ he said, and bent the tree over, lower and lower, until it lay in the hole. ‘Good-bye, tree.’ He put leaves all around it and plastic over the top. Then he shoveled in soil until you couldn’t see that there had ever been a tree there. …”


 


“All winter I thought about the tree. It had snow all over it,
and the cold wind swooshed around the garden.
Did dead things feel lonely?”

(Click to enlarge)


 


“Then he started digging where the grave was. What was he doing? Did he forget about the tree? I tried to stop him, but his friends just patted me on the head. ‘Don’t worry, little one,m’ they said. ‘It’s okay.’ Off came the soil and the plastic and the dead leaves. But the tree lay still and dead.”
(Click to enlarge)


 



 



 

* * * * * * *

ROSARIO’S FIG TREE. Text copyright © 2015 by Charis Wahl. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Luc Melanson. Published in Canada and the USA in 2015 by Groundwood Books. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher.

SUCH A LITTLE MOUSE. Text copyright © 2015 by Alice Schertle. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Stephanie Yue. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Orchard Books, an imprint of Scholastic, Inc., New York.

UP IN THE GARDEN AND DOWN IN THE DIRT. Text copyright © 2015 by Kate Messner. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Christopher Silas Neal. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco.

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4. A Moment with Emily Gravett’s Art — and Sketchbook

Last week, I talked over at Kirkus with poet and author A. F. Harrold about his children’s novel, The Imaginary, released overseas last year but coming to American shelves in early March from Bloomsbury. That conversation is here. Today, I’m following up with some of Emily Gravett’s art from the book, as well as some peeks into her sketchbook for this one. (That’s an early sketch pictured above.)

I thank her for sharing. Enjoy the art.



 

Some of Emily’s Early Sketches:


 



(Click above image to see sketchbook page in full)


 


(Click to enlarge)


 


(Click to enlarge)


 

Some Final Art from the Book:


 


“A flash of lightning hit the study and, through the wooden legs of the chair, she saw, illuminated in the split-second snap of the light,
a pair of thin, pale human legs in the middle of the room.”

(Click to enlarge)



 


“In the middle of the library, where the bookcases gave way to tables and chairs, ‘people’ were gathered. Rudger used the word ‘people’ loosely as he looked at them, and left the word ‘real’ out of his thoughts entirely.”
(Click to enlarge)


 


“In the the mirror she met John’s eye, and she winked.”
(Click to enlarge)


 


“Rudger stood at the foot of her bed and looked at her. She looked peaceful.”
(Click to enlarge)


 



 

* * * * * * *

THE IMAGINARY. Text copyright © 2014 by A. F. Harrold. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Emily Gravett. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Bloomsbury, New York. Sketches reproduced by permission of Emily Gravett and Bloomsbury.

6 Comments on A Moment with Emily Gravett’s Art — and Sketchbook, last added: 2/28/2015
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5. Jackie Robinson Led By Example

I Am Jackie Robinson

By Brad Meltzer; illustrations by Christopher Eliopoulos

 

We are coming to the end of something this month, and the beginning of something else. It’s almost the end of February which is traditionally referred to as African American History month and we are on the cusp of the beginning of Spring Training for the All American sport of baseball.

Brad Meltzer’s picture book from the series entitled, “Ordinary People Change the World” is a “hit out of the park” on both counts!

Chronicling the amazing journey of an incredibly talented and courageous African American baseball player named Jackie Robinson, this picture book enables a new crop of picture book readers a window into a world with a very different baseball roster than the one they see now.

Incredibly, at one time, there were NO African American players in Major League baseball!

C C Sabathia, Jason Heyward, Dominic Brown, Ryan Howard and B.J. Upton are but five players today that stand metaphorically on the shoulders of Jackie Robinson. And, I think many of them know this. In fact, there is a link at the bottom of this post to interviews with some of these players, as regards to Jackie Robinson.

Today, there are many players of race that stand on the shoulders of the courage, conviction and calm of Jackie Robinson as he broke the so-called “color line” in Major League Baseball.

I have always believed that “Example is the strongest teacher.” In the end, it is not so much what we say, but the values we hold, and how those values define our lives, that our character is formed. Never was that more true than today. Never was it more important for young readers to have picture books like this one in their hands.

And that is why a book like “I Am Jackie Robinson” is a great picture book read this month OR any other. It arranges the arc of Jackie’s life, and the experiences, example and ethos that drove it.

Perseverance, courage, determination, fearlessness and an incredible talent that could not be denied, are but a small semblance of the values and attitudes that formed Jackie Robinson.

Brad Meltzer’s picture book allows your reader a very vital and vibrant glimpse into a far different world than the one they are growing up in. Some injustices never change fast enough. They are part of the fabric of a nation for a very long time.

For Jackie it was a long road to change – but one he travelled alone, and with a quiet strength. He let his talent do the talking. And it commanded respect – eventually.

In baseball, it took the impetus provided by a manager named Branch Rickey, President of the then Brooklyn Dodgers to hire an all but unknown player named Jackie Robinson.

Athletic abilities, at that time, unlike today, had little to do with being hired by a Major League Baseball team – if you were a man of color.

Jackie, born the youngest of five children was named after the “Rough Rider” hero and President, Theodore Roosevelt. He was named Jackie Theodore Robinson. Quite a name to live up to – and he did!

Bravery was something that did not come immediately to Jackie. But, at the age of eight, he found his voice when a young girl called him a name – AND the girl’s father got into the fray. A fight began – yet that is never a solution; at least not a rock fight!

Told in the first person, sports and winning were what fueled Jackie’s passion for achievement. And it was here, at least initially, where the color of his skin did not wholly define him.

But it’s a huge leap from the sandlot to the floodlights of a Major League Baseball field.

Living in a mixed neighborhood, his mother gave Jackie a phrase that would carry him through many an angry confrontation on the field – “When you do something good, it brings out the good in others.”

At UCLA he was the first student EVER to win letter in four sports – football, baseball, basketball and track.

Then the call came – from Branch Rickey.

Jackie had guts and what we used to call “gumption”, as he embarked on being a historic first in the world of professional baseball. He did it with grace, style and a first home run of 340 feet! Scoring and stealing home became his trademarks with a professionalism that stood the test of racial epithets.

It’s hard to go first in any field against opposition, but it IS essential to lead by example. Jackie Robinson did both.

So as Spring Training starts, and African American History Month closes out for 2015, it’s batter up for this great picture book called, “I Am Jackie Robinson.” It’s both a “hit out of the park” for Jackie, and for your young reader.

Jackie Robinson defined what is possible if one has the talent, timing, technique and tenacity to reach a goal. It can be done!  

 

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2029246-mlbs-african-american-superstars-discuss-jackie-robinsons-impact    

 

 

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6. Blue Whales



Billy Twitters and his Blue Whale Problem
by Mac Barnett
illustrated by Adam Rex
Hyperion Books, 2009
review copy from my classroom library

I love the sly way this book weaves facts about blue whales into the story of a boy who doesn't clean his room.

"Billy Twitters, clean up your room, or we're buying you a blue whale, " his mother threatens. Billy doesn't take her seriously because he knows "a thing or two about blue whales."

But one day, a whale shows up outside his door and it's his responsibility...

The reader learns plenty of facts about blue whales in the text and the illustrations absolutely communicate the scale of a blue whale in a classroom, on a playground, and next to a school bus.

Billy comes up with a clever solution to both the problem of owning a blue whale AND the problem of cleaning his bedroom!

(Mac Barnett will be at Cover to Cover Bookstore on March 7 from 10:30-12:00!)






The Blue Whale
by Jenni Desmond
Enchanted Lion Books, 2015
review copy provided by the publisher

This book works the same way. "Once upon a time, a child took a book from a shelf and started to read."

You guessed it. It was a book about blue whales.

The words we read are the words the boy is reading in his book about blue whales. But the pictures tell the story of what the boy imagines, how he conceptualizes sizes and distances and amounts, and sometimes what he does between page turns.

These will be two fun books to share with students to learn about blue whales and to invite conversations that compare and contrast the two books.





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7. My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay -- by Cari Best and Vanessa Brantley-Newton (ages 5-9)

With our 3rd graders, we're spending a lot of time looking at how we understand characters' feelings through what authors write and illustrators draw. This helps students understand the layers of a story and connect to characters, but it also helps them develop empathy. Our kids loved reading a new book, My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay, and really connected to the story. It's truly a special book about perseverance, friendship and blindness.
My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay
by Cari Best
illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
Farrar, Straus and Giroux / Macmillan, 2015
Your local library
Amazon
ages 5-9
Adults might first notice the cane that Zulay is holding, but kids first noticed the braille alphabet on the back of the book. After they all felt the back cover, we talked about why Zulay might need to use this alphabet, so everyone started with a little background knowledge. Zulay has a huge smile on her face as she comes to school, arm in arm with her three best friends.
"We link our arms and skip our legs and sing like the stereo till Ms. Perkins, the hall lady, tells us to stop. 'You have a new perfume!' I say, and she says back, 'Zulay doesn't miss a thing.'"
Zulay loves her teacher, writing on her Brailler and helping her friend figure out a math problem. But when Ms. Turner, an aide, comes to help her practice using her "fold-ing hold-ing cold-ing" white cane, Zulay is reluctant. She doesn't want to be left behind or different from everyone else.

We talked about what it means, not wanting to "stick out", and why she might feel like this. I shared how hard it was for me to have to get extra help with my multiplication facts in 3rd grade. Kids talked about the illustration below, and how Zulay was feeling as she struggled learning to use her cane outside. We looked at Zulay's expression and thought about how it would feel.
"Then we practice together in the big outside with no walls or desks or friends." 
Zulay's spirit shines as she decides that she wants to run in the Field Day race around the track. She practices and works hard, and--just like Zulay's friends--my students cheered when she ran the final race.
"'Run, Zulay, run!' my friends all shout, like I shouted for them."
My students could definitely relate to how hard Zulay worked, how worried and uncertain she felt when things were difficult, and how excited she was at the end. The only detail they were a little unclear about is whether Zulay ran with Ms. Turner, as you see above, or by herself as it shows her when she crosses the finish line.

There are very few picture books about showing contemporary kids who are blind, so it is especially refreshing to see one with such a positive character and inclusive message.

This week, kids will look at a big array of picture books finding examples of characters' expressions. We are excited to have a visit by Lisa Brown, picture book illustrator and author, who will talk with 3rd and 4th graders about the Art of the Picture Book. Lisa's characters are full of a wide range of expressions -- just take a look at her Tumblr, where she posts daily sketches.

The review copy was kindly sent by the publisher, Macmillan, and we have already purchased an additional copy for our school. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2015 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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8. Stanley the Farmer by Wiliam Bee

I don't know how I missed this new series from one of my new favorite author/illustrators, William Bee, but Stanley, the machine-loving, job-exploring hamster made his debut last year in these brilliant, bright, big format books from Peachtree Publishers. Stanley the Builder and Stanley's Garage were the first two books in the series and now Stanley the Farmer joins the series with

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9. Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Ethan Long

Author-illustrator Ethan Long likes a good breakfast, such as Belgian waffles with strawberries and whipped cream and lots of bacon. But overall, he tells me, “these days, since I am a 46 year old man and I can get chubby pretty easily, I make it a point to consume a bowl of oatmeal with walnuts and raisins and a glass of orange juice every morning.”

I’m going to say we splurge this morning during our breakfast interview and have some of those Belgian waffles. One must always splurge.

Plus coffee. Gotta have coffee.

As you can see, if you scroll down to the bibliography at the very end of this post, Ethan is a prolific children’s book author and illustrator. He received the 2013 Geisel Award for Up, Tall and High, released by Putnam. This is an interview I intended to post at the end of last year, but things got busy. Better late than never. At least now, we can hear about which new books are on the horizon for Ethan in 2015.

Without further ado …

* * * * * * *

Jules: Are you an illustrator or author/illustrator?

Ethan: I am an Author/Illustrator, trained as an illustrator and self-taught as an author. That answer seems too short, but my goal is always to stay as succinct as possible with my writing.



Illustration from Up, Tall and High (Putnam, 2012)

Jules: Can you list your books-to-date? (If there are too many books to list here, please list your five most recent illustrated titles or the ones that are most prominent in your mind, for whatever reason.)

Ethan: [See Ethan’s complete bibliography at bottom of post.]


One of Ethan’s mixed-media sculptures

Jules: What is your usual medium?

Ethan: Everything I do ends up digital in the end, but I try to stay flexible on how I want the story/art to look in print. I may have vintage postcards on my mind, or classic cartoons, or wet ink splatters.

Jules: If you have illustrated for various age ranges (such as, both picture books and early reader books OR, say, picture books and chapter books), can you briefly discuss the differences, if any, in illustrating for one age group to another?

Ethan: The difference? The difference is in the amount of sarcasm and anger I show. Chapter books can show characters being angry with each other, or annoyed, or jealous, but for board books, happiness and safety is key.


Illustration from Me and My Big Mouse (Two Lions, 2014)

Jules: Where are your stompin’ grounds?

Ethan My wife, Heather, and I live in Orlando, Florida. We’ve got three kids and do a lot of stompin’ the grounds. Orlando is the home of the Valencia orange, a beautiful downtown area (which is close to where we live), and some red-shorted mouse character who Must-Not-Be-Named.



The family — and the cat

Jules: Can you briefly tell me about your road to publication?

Ethan: I snail-mailed illustration promo cards for nine years until I got my first book in the year 2000. Was that brief enough?


A Chamelia illustration
(Click to enlarge)


Jules: Can you please point readers to your web site and/or blog?

Ethan: http://www.ethanlong.com. It’s the only website you will ever need to visit.

Jules: If you do school visits, tell me what they’re like.

Ethan: They are wonderful, and inspiring, and exhausting. The kids are usually great. The adults are amazing and supportive. The traveling takes me away from the family and the studio, but I spend too much time at home anyway, so it’s a good thing, always.

Jules: If you teach illustration, by chance, tell me how that influences your work as an illustrator.

Ethan: I teach here and there, and it never fails: When I’m helping a student work something out, it dawns on me that I should be taking that advice myself. Also, it’s nice when you’re lucky enough to get a student whose eyes light up at something you’ve said or done. There’s usually one of them in every class.

Jules: Any new titles/projects you might be working on now that you can tell me about?

Ethan: I have a few books coming out by the end of the summer: HI!, a board book published with Abrams/Appleseed; In, Over and On the Farm, the follow-up to the Theodor Seuss Geisel-winning Up, Tall and High; and a Halloween book with Bloomsbury called Fright Club. I am also developing some animated projects, based on my books, with productions companies. We recently pitched some original properties, and my partner will be taking them to Kidscreen at the end of February. Always something going on.

Mmm. Coffee.Okay, we’ve got more coffee, and it’s time to get a bit more detailed with seven questions over breakfast. I thank Ethan for visiting 7-Imp.

1. Jules: What exactly is your process when you are illustrating a book? You can start wherever you’d like when answering: getting initial ideas, starting to illustrate, or even what it’s like under deadline, etc. Do you outline a great deal of the book before you illustrate or just let your muse lead you on and see where you end up?

Ethan

: For the writing, the ideas come in all shapes and sizes, but overall, for it to be a good idea my wife has to say “that’s cute.” I try to just go with the flow. The harder I try to make something work, the worse it gets. When I just sit down and spit something out and put on some music and just sit and play with it and see where it takes me, those are the best things.



Sketches and a final illustration from a Clara and Clem book

But for the craft of writing and illustrating, there is the rough draft or sketches, the revised draft or sketches, and the final draft or sketches. Then the real work comes of making things fit into dimensions and layouts. Consistency is key with illustration. If a character is wearing a green shirt on one page, he should be wearing that same shirt on the next page. And his finger count should match throughout. Always.


A Max and Milo sketch

2. Jules: Describe your studio or usual work space.

Ethan

: I work in a very small space and try to keep everything contained. Despite my ability to juggle enormous amounts of projects, I actually work on one thing at a time. I work until it looks good, then send it out for review, then while I am waiting for that to come back, I pick up and work on something else. It all happens on my small desk on my laptop. I have tried many set-ups over the years, but the smaller the better for me. Less to maintain and clean.


3. Jules: As a book-lover, it interests me: What books or authors and/or illustrators influenced you as an early reader?

Ethan

: I was heavily influenced by TV and comics as a kid. Books were still apart of my life, but more when I was really young. Curious George, Harold and the Purple Crayon, anything by Dr. Seuss — except Yertle the Turtle. Not a fan of Yertle.

4. Jules: If you could have three (living) authors or illustrators—whom you have not yet met—over for coffee or a glass of rich, red wine, whom would you choose? (Some people cheat and list deceased authors/illustrators. I won’t tell.)

Ethan: I would love to chat with Mo Willems about the craft of writing and how he handles his big-time, off-the-charts fame, but his agent keeps me away from him.

If I weren’t married, I’d go for beers with Gary Baseman, then head out to pick up chicks.

As for the red wine, I’d pick Eric Carle, because he seems to have led a full life, and I would want to hear his stories.


Illustration from Soup for One (Running Press Kids, 2012)

5. Jules: What is currently in rotation on your iPod or loaded in your CD player? Do you listen to music while you create books?

Ethan: I listen to everything. But I do have a playlist called “Ethan’s Bumpin’ Grinds,” which has all my favorite rap and hip-hop, including Destiny’s Child, Dr. Dre, Snoop, Beastie Boys, and a song by Blackstreet, called “No Diggity.”

Yes, I listen to music all the time. I have a playlist called “Rock out Jams,” “Jazzy Beats,” and “Calmer Favorites,” depending on my mood. I also listen to a lot of alternative, because there’s always something new. My three new favorite bands are Arctic Monkeys, Vampire Weekend, and Milky Chance.






Stick Dog illustrations

6. Jules: What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?

Ethan: I used to write a column called “College Nark” for my local paper, The College Park Community Paper. We live in College Park, Orlando, and my column tattled on people who ran stop signs, left dog poo in people’s yards, and drove too fast, as well as many, many other things.

7. Jules: Is there something you wish interviewers would ask you — but never do? Feel free to ask and respond here.

Ethan: I wish more interviewers would ask to arm wrestle. Especially the females, because then I could win easier. BOOM! Yeah, I said it, females.

 



 

* * * The Pivot Questionnaire * * *

Jules: What is your favorite word?

Ethan: It’s a swear word that starts with the letter “f.” Sorry, kids.

Jules: What is your least favorite word?

Ethan: Sucks, as in that “sucks.” Especially when my kids say it.

Jules: What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Ethan: A day off, but I take too few of them.

My wife’s smile.

Jules: What turns you off?

Ethan: Law-breakers.

Jules: What is your favorite curse word? (optional)

Ethan: Same as my favorite word. But I’ll throw around the “c” word now and again, believe it or not.

Jules: What sound or noise do you love?

Ethan: A cat’s purr.

Jules: What sound or noise do you hate?

Ethan: A dog licking itself.

Jules: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Ethan: Disc jockey.

Jules: What profession would you not like to do?

Ethan: Daycare manager.

Jules: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Ethan: “You did good.”

 

Ethan’s bibliography:

As author/illustrator:

PICTURE BOOKS:

  • Me and My Big Mouse, 2014, Amazon/2 Lions
  • Clara and Clem Under the Sea, 2014, Penguin
  • Scribbles and Ink: Out of the Box, 2014, Blue Apple
  • The Wing Wing Bros. Geometry Palooza, 2014, Holiday House
  • Max and Milo The Mixed-Up Message!, 2013, Simon & Schuster
  • Scribbles and Ink: The Contest, 2013, Blue Apple
  • Clara and Clem In Outer Space, 2013, Penguin
  • The Wing Wing Bros. Carnival De Math, 2013, Holiday House
  • Chamelia & the New Kid in Class, 2013, Little Brown
  • Scribbles and Ink: Doodles for Two!, 2012, Blue Apple
  • Max and Milo Go To Sleep!, 2013, Simon & Schuster
  • The Wing Wing Bros. Math Spectacular, 2013, Holiday House
  • Scribbles and Ink, 2012, Blue Apple
  • Clara and Clem Take a Ride, 2012, Penguin
  • Pig Has a Plan, 2013, Holiday House
  • Soup For One, 2012, Running Press
  • It’s Pooltime!, 2012, Blue Apple
  • Up, Tall and High, 2012, G.P. Putnam
  • Chamelia, 2011, Little Brown
  • The Book That Zack Wrote, 2011, Blue Apple
  • The Croakey Pokey, 2011, Holiday House
  • My Dad, My Hero, 2011, Sourcebooks
  • Rick & Rack and the Great Outdoors, 2010, Blue Apple
  • One Drowsy Dragon, 2010, Scholastic/Orchard
  • Bird and Birdie in: One Fine Day, 2010, Tenspeed Press

NOVELTY BOOKS:

  • Tickle the Duck!, 2005, Little Brown
  • Stop Kissing Me!, 2007, Little Brown
  • Duck’s Not Afraid of the Dark!, 2009, Little Brown
  • Too Many Kisses!, 2009, Little Brown
  • Have You Been Naughty or Nice?, 2009, Little Brown

As illustrator:

PICTURE BOOKS:

  • You & Me: We’re Opposites (illustration only), 2009, Blue Apple Books
  • Muddy as a Duck Puddle (illustration only), 2011, Holiday House
  • Fritz Danced the Fandango (illustration only), 2009, Scholastic
  • One Little Chicken (illustration only), 2007, Holiday House
  • Greedy Apostrophe: A Cautionary Tale (illustration only), 2009, Holiday House
  • Tortuga in Trouble (illustration only), 2009, Holiday House
  • Trollerella (illustration only), 2006, Holiday House
  • The Zombie Nite Café (illustration only), 2007, Holiday House
  • Count on Culebra (illustration only), 2010, Holiday House
  • Halloween Skyride (illustration only), 2006, Holiday House
  • Fiesta Fiasco (illustration only), 2010, Holiday House
  • Oh Yeah! (illustration only), 2003, Holiday House
  • Stinky Smelly Feet (illustration only), 2004, Dutton Children’s Books
  • Mañana Iguana (illustration only), 2003, Holiday House
  • The Day My Runny Nose Ran Away (illustration only), 2002, Dutton Children’s Books

PAPERBACKS:

  • The Luckiest St. Patrick’s Day Ever! (illustration only), 2008, Scholastic Book Clubs
  • The Best Thanksgiving Ever! (illustration only), 2007, Scholastic Book Clubs
  • The Spookiest Halloween Ever! (illustration only), 2009, Scholastic Book Clubs
  • Bunny Race! (illustration only), 2010, Scholastic Book Clubs

CHAPTER BOOKS:

  • The Confe$$ion$ & $ecret$ of Howard J. Fingerhut (illustration only), 2002, Holiday House
  • Snarf Attack, Underfoodle and the Secret of Life: The Riot Brothers Tell All (illustration only), 2007, Holiday House
  • Drooling and Dangerous: The Riot Brothers Return (illustration only), 2008, Holiday House
  • Stinky and Successful: The Riot Brothers Never Stop (illustration only), 2009, Holiday House
  • Take the Mummy and Run! The Riot Brothers Are on a Roll! (illustration only), 2010, Holiday House
  • Super Schnoz (illustration only), 2013, Albert Whitman
  • Stick Dog (illustration only), 2012, Harper Collins
  • Stick Dog Wants a Hot Dog (illustration only), 2013, Harper Collins
  • Stick Dog Chases a Pizza (illustration only), 2014, Harper Collins

GRAPHIC NOVELS:

    Wuv Bunnies From Outers Pace
(illustration only), 2008, Holiday House

POETRY BOOKS:

  • Countdown to Summer (illustration only), 2009, Little Brown
  • My Hippo Has the Hiccups (illustration only), 2009, Sourcebooks
  • The Tighty Whitey Spider (illustration only), 2010, Sourcebooks

JOKE BOOKS:

  • Galaxy’s Greatest Giggles (illustration only), 2008, Sterling
  • Nuttiest Knock Knocks Ever (illustration only), 2008, Sterling
  • No Boredom Allowed! Paper Games and Puzzles (illustration only), 2009, Sterling
  • No Boredom Allowed! Nutty Challenges and Zany Dares (illustration only), 2008, Sterling
  • Funny Mummy (illustration only), 2010, Sterling
  • The Summer Camp Survival Guide (illustration only), 2010, Sterling


 

All images are used by permission of Ethan Long.

The spiffy and slightly sinister gentleman introducing the Pivot Questionnaire is Alfred, copyright © 2009 Matt Phelan.

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10. The Baseball Player and the Walrus by Ben Loory, illustrated by Alex Latimer

The Walrus and the Baseball Player by Ben Loory and illustrated by Alex Latimer is such a perfect book! Perfectly paced, perfectly mirrored and perfectly kind of weird - in the best way possible that kids are sure to love. At its most basic, The Walrus and the Baseball Player is a story about the responsibilities that come with having a pet. But it's also about discovering what you love,

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11. Review of Smick!

cronin_smickSmick!
by Doreen Cronin; illus. by Juana Medina
Preschool, Primary   Viking   32 pp.
2/15   978-0-670-78578-0   $16.99   g

With minimal text, a clever use of sight words and word families, and a bounty of playfulness, Cronin introduces preschoolers (and early readers) to their new best friend: good-natured, tail-wagging, droopy-eared dog Smick. A game of fetch between dog and offstage narrator (“Stick?”) gives way to the discovery of a new friend when Smick is distracted by a “Cluck!” in the distance. Smick, stick, and the newly introduced chick, who is now comfortably situated on Smick’s head, attempt to resume the game, with mixed results (“Slow, Smick, slow!”). All ends in joyful doggy friendship: “Sidekick… / Sidechick. / Side lick! ick.” Digitally rendered art incorporates photo images of a flower petal (transformed into the chick by the addition of a few added black lines for wings, legs, eyes, and beak) and a wooden stick. However, it mostly consists of simple black lines, stark against the expansive white space, that communicate Smick’s constant motion and boundless energy with economy, verve, and apt detail (i.e., one ear lifted in the direction of a new sound). The handful of words per page play with meaning via order and context à la Gravett’s Apple Pear Orange Bear (rev. 7/07), allowing readers to flesh out the story themselves and encouraging independent reading. “Go, Smick, go!” cheers the narrator, in homage to the classic Eastman easy reader. Readers will cheer along.

From the January/February 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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12. Picture Book Monday with a review of Jenny and Lorenzo


Most people are afraid of things that they are not familiar with, and they are willing to believe the frightening stories that they hear about those things. All too often the fears that we have can be confronted, if only we have the courage to do so. In today's picture book you will meet a little mouse girl who is afraid of a cat. but who still wants to see what it is like.

Jenny and Lorenzo
Jenny and LorenzoTony Steiner
Illustrated by Eve Tharlet
Translated by Kathryn Bishop
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Minedition, 2013, 978-988-8240-76-0
High up in the clouds, “close to nowhere in particular,” is the land of Howodo. In this land, behind a big duck pond and in a small house, lives a curious and very sweet little girl mouse called Jenny. Jenny constantly asks her parents’ questions, and she delights them with her funny ways.
   Jenny’s mother tells Jenny all about Lorenzo, the cat who likes to eat “mouse on toast.” Not surprisingly, Jenny decides that she simply must go and see this cat for herself. Jenny is scared, but “since she always faced her fears and followed her curiosity,” Jenny sets off to find Lorenzo.
   As she walks through the countryside Jenny encounters some ducks and three piglets. They all warn her about Lorenzo and tell her to go back home before it is too late, but Jenny will not give up and on she goes, until she comes face to face with Lorenzo himself.
   The author of this delightful book builds up the suspense in a masterful way, making us worry on Jenny’s behalf, and making us think that perhaps Jenny should follow the pigs’ advice and go home. It turns out that Jenny has a secret weapon that, in the end, brings her adventure to a surprising close.
   Throughout the book the text is written in both prose and in verse. It is accompanied by Eve Tharlet’s deliciously lovely illustrations, which capture the emotions of the characters perfectly and give the tale a whimsical feel.


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13. Last Stop on Market Street – Diversity Reading Challenge 2015

 Today’s Diversity Read/Review falls into categories #1 and #2. The author Matt de la Peña  is half Mexican/half white and the illustrator Christian Robinson is African-American. Title: Last Stop Market Street Written by: Matt de la Peña Illustrated by: Christian Robinson Published by: G. … Continue reading

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14. Last Stop on Market Street, by Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson (ages 4-8)

Spending time together. A grandmother and her grandson. That love and friendship is what life's all about.


I love how picture books can capture a small moment--and help us hold onto the small moments in our own lives. Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson's wonderful picture book Last Stop on Market Street makes me smile every single time I read it--it's so filled with love, friendship and an appreciation for life, in such a real way.
Last Stop on Market Street
by Matt de la Peña
illustrated by Christian Robinson
G.P.Putnam's Sons / Penguin, 2015
Your local library
Amazon
ages 4-8
*best new book*
When CJ and his grandmother finish church, they head to the bus stop together. CJ doesn't want to wait for the bus, stand in the rain, or go places after church. "Nana, how come we don't got a car?" Nana gently chides him, really just planting seeds for how she sees the world. "Boy, what do we need a car for? We got a bus that breathes fire and old Mr. Dennis, who always has a trick for you."
"Boy, what do we need a car for? We got a bus that breathes fire and old Mr. Dennis, who always has a trick for you."
You see, it's really how you look at the world, the magic you can see there, and the people you meet along the way. When CJ asks why a man on the bus can't see, Nana tells him, "Boy, what do you know about seeing? Some people watch the world with their ears."
"Some people watch the world with their ears."
CJ's grandmother helps him see beauty in his surroundings, whether it's the bus or the soup kitchen they head to every Sunday afternoon. As Nana said,
"Sometimes when you're surrounded by dirt, C.J., you're a better witness for what's beautiful."
Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson celebrate the relationship between CJ and his grandmother, and they help all of us see beauty in the small moments, where we never even thought to look. This is a book I look forward to sharing with a wide range of children. Young ones will feel the love between grandmother and grandson; older ones will see the messages that the authors are sharing.

I know my students will especially love the illustrations, with such a wonderful range of people that look so much like the people we see every day walking in our city. The rich, full colors infuse the landscape and city scenes with warmth, community and happiness.

Want to learn more? Check out:
I'm so happy to hear that this special book is now on the New York Times Bestseller list. Hooray! I've already purchased five copies to share with friends. Illustrations from LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET written by Matt de la Peña. Illustrations © 2015 by Christian Robinson. Used with permission from G.P. Putnam's Sons / Penguin. The review copy was kindly sent by the publisher. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2015 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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15. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #420: Featuring Zachariah OHora

I’ve got a review over at BookPage of Ame Dyckman’s Wolfie the Bunny, illustrated by Zachariah OHora and released this month by Little, Brown. That review is here, and today—with thanks to OHora—I’ve got some dummy samples, alternate covers and endpages, character studies, and final art to share with you.

Let’s get right to it …


 

First Character Studies









 

Dummy samples
(click each one to enlarge)






 

Alternate Covers and Endpages


(Click to enlarge)


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Endpaper ideas


 

Some Final Spreads


Endpapers
(Click to enlarge)


“The Bunny family came home to find a bundle outside their door.”
(Click to enlarge)


“They peeked. They gasped. It was a baby wolf! …”
(Click to enlarge)


“Wolfie slept through the night. Dot did not.”
(Click to enlarge)


“Wolfie and Dot went to the Carrot Patch.”
(Click to enlarge)


“… ‘I’M A HUNGRY BUNNY,’ said Dot. …”
(Click to enlarge)



 



 

WOLFIE THE BUNNY. Text copyright © 2015 by Ame Dyckman. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Zachariah OHora. Published by Little, Brown and Company, New York. All images here reproduced by permission of Zachariah OHora.

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

1) My girls had the entire week off because of ice, and so we got to read a lot more than normal.

2) I love this:

3) Ice quakes aren’t fun, but the kick is that at least I know what that sound is now. Oof.

4) When my friend sees my book on the new nonfiction shelf at her library and snaps a pic for me:

5) Bill Murray’s “Jaws” theme song on SNL 40 last week.

6) My daughters’ friends make me laugh.

7) Not long now till House of Cards, season three.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

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16. Seuss on Saturday #8

If I Ran the Zoo. Dr. Seuss. 1950. Random House. 64 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence:
"It's a pretty good zoo,"
Said young Gerald McGrew,
"And the fellow who runs it
Seems proud of it, too."
"But if I ran the zoo,"
Said young Gerald McGrew,
"I'd make a few changes.
That's just what I'd do..."
Premise/Plot: Gerald dreams of all the changes he'd make if he ran the zoo. He wouldn't dream of having ordinary animals that you could see at any zoo. No, he wants fantastic animals that have never been seen or heard of. His animals have strange names and come from faraway places. His animals still need to be discovered, hunted, captured. The zoo he dreams up will be something.

My thoughts: This one is silly enough. It is ALL about the rhyme. Making up ridiculous-yet-fun sounding names for animals and countries. For better or worse, sometimes the text and/or the illustrations don't quite hold up so well.
I'll hunt in the mountains of Zomba-ma-Tant
With helpers who all wear their eyes at a slant,
And capture a fine fluffy bird called the Bustard
Who only eats custard with sauce made of mustard.
and
I'll go to the African island of Yerka
And bring back a tizzle-topped Tufted Mazurka,
A kind of canary with quite a tall throat.
His neck is so long, if he swallows an oat
For breakfast the first day of April, they say
It has to go down such a very long way
That it gets to his stomach the fifteenth of May. 
In the last example, it isn't so much what is said as to how it is illustrated. 

Have you read If I Ran the Zoo? Did you like it? love it? hate it? I'd love to hear what you thought of it.

If you'd like to join me in reading or rereading Dr. Seuss' picture books (chronologically) I'd love to have you join me! The next book I'll be reviewing is Scrambled Eggs Super!

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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17. Such A Little Mouse (2015)

Such A Little Mouse. Alice Schertle. Illustrated by Stephanie Yue. 2015. [March 2015] Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Way out in the wide world there is a meadow. In the middle of the meadow, under a clump of dandelions, there is a hole. And way down deep in the hole lives a mouse. Such a little mouse, with his smart gray coat with his ears pink as petals, with three twitchety whiskers on each side of his nose.

Such a Little Mouse is a concept book about seasons. It stars a little gray mouse. Readers learn what the little mouse does each day in spring, each day in summer, each day in autumn to prepare for each day in the winter. It is a simple nature-focused book. It is very descriptive, which is a good thing. I liked some of the details and descriptions. It provides a certain perspective of the world. The mouse is aware of his surroundings, and enjoys exploring and working.

I thought the illustrations were very well done. Especially of the mouse. I definitely enjoyed this one.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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18. I know a Bear – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: I Know a Bear Written and illustrated by: Mariana Ruiz Johnson Published by: Schwarz & Wade Books, 2014 (originally published in France as J’ai un Ours by Editions Gallimard Jeunesse, Paris, 2011) Themes/Topics: zoo animals, bears, listening Suitable for ages: 3-7 Opening: I know a bear … Continue reading

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19. KidLit Author Events Feb. 18-23

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Sorry I forgot to post this yesterday! It was a busy critique day :)

Here’s what’s going on this week for readers and writers:

February 21, Saturday, 10:00 AM THE EIGHTH DAY by Dianne Salerni
Writespace
Writers’ Workshop, Diane Salerni
Cost: FREE

Houston YA/MG Writers presents a free workshop with YA Author Dianne Salerni: Crafting A Series for Teens And Tweens

February 21, Saturday, 1:00-4:00 PM
Writespace
Writers’ Workshop with Cassandra Rose Clarke
Cost: $30.00 – $45.00

Writespace presents Crafting Effective Prose. All stories require fascinating characters and a compelling plot to be successful. But how do we reveal those characters and stories? Movies get images, music, and sound. Comic books get art and writing. Prose fiction, though, just gets words.

In this workshop, we’ll examine these powerful building blocks of fiction by focusing on the importance of effective prose. How can the prose of a story highlight and enhance classic story elements like character, structure, and plot arcs? How many metaphors are too many?  Should we all just be trying to write like Hemingway? Through a combination of writing exercises and discussion of classic examples of effective prose, we’ll answer these questions and more.

February 21, Saturday, 9:00 AM.-4:00 PM Rhyme Schemer by K.A. HoltTHE XYZsOF BEING WICKED by Lara Chapman
Lone Star College – Montgomery, Conroe, TX
Montgomery County Book Festival

The Montgomery County Book Festival is an annual free event for all ages. YA author Ellen Hopkins will give the keynote address. There will be three author discussion panels featuring Texas children’s/YA Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood, by Varsha BajajBALANCE KEPERS: Lindsey Cummingsauthors Dianna H. Aston, Kari Anne Holt, Lara Chapman, Lindsay Cummings, Emily McKay, Michelle Madow, Meg Gardiner, Kim O’Brien, Joy Preble, A.G. Howard, Victoria Scott, Beth Fehlbaum, Jennifer Mathieu, Julie Murphy, Varsha Bajaj, Lindsey Lane, C.C. Hunter, Kristin Rae, Rachel Harris and Mari Mancusi. For a full list of participating authors, please see the festival’s website. Topics being discussed include romance,UNHINGED: A.G.HowardBIG FAT DISASTER: Beth Fehlbaum mysteries, writing children’s literature, graphic novels and censorship. There will also be two workshops for writers/illustrators: Creating Comics: Words Pictures Comics! and How to Engage Readers with the Teams Writing Strategy. Murder By the Book will be on hand to sell the authors’ books.


WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN: Kristin RaeTHE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE: Jennifer MAthieuThe A-Word by Joy PrebleEVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN: Lindsey LaneTHE SECRET DIAMOND SISTERS: Michelle Madow

February 21, Saturday, 10:00 AMThe Neptune Project: Polly Holyoke
Blue Willow Bookshop
Polly Holyoke , MG Author

Polly Holyoke will discuss and sign her novel THE NEPTUNE PROJECT. Nere has never understood why she feels so much more comfortable and confident in water than on land, but everything falls into place when Nere learns that she is one of a group of kids who, unbeknownst to themselves, have been genetically altered to survive in the ocean. These products of “The Neptune Project” will be able to build a better future under the sea, safe from the barren country’s famine, wars, and harsh laws.

But there are some very big problems: no one asked Nere if she wanted to be a science experiment, the other Neptune kids aren’t exactly the friendliest bunch, and in order to reach the safe haven of the Neptune colony, Nere and her fellow mutates must swim through hundreds of miles of dangerous waters, relying only on their wits, dolphins, and each other to evade terrifying undersea creatures and a government that will stop at nothing to capture the Neptune kids…dead or alive.

Fierce battles and daring escapes abound as Nere and her friends race to safety in this action-packed aquatic adventure.

February 22, Sunday, 1:00 PM The Orphan Sky, by Ella Leya
Barnes & Noble, River Oaks Shopping Center
Ella Leya, YA Author

Join us young adult author Ella Leya for a reading and signing of her new novel. Set at the crossroads of Turkish, Persian and Russian cultures under the red flag of Communism in the late 1970s,  THE ORPHAN SKY reveals one young woman’s struggle to reconcile her ideals with the corrupt world around her, and to decide whether to betray her country or her heart.

Leila is a young classical pianist who dreams of winning international competitions and bringing awards to her beloved country Azerbaijan. She is also a proud daughter of the Communist Party. When she receives an assignment from her communist mentor to spy on a music shop suspected of traitorous Western influences, she does it eagerly, determined to prove her worth to the Party.

But Leila didn’t anticipate the complications of meeting Tahir, the rebellious painter who owns the music shop. His jazz recordings, abstract art, and subversive political opinions crack open the veneer of the world she’s been living in. Just when she begins to fall in love with both the West and Tahir, her comrades force her to make an impossible choice.

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20. New Dr. Seuss Picture Book Manuscript Found

Random House Dr SeussA long-lost Dr. Seuss book has been discovered. Random House Children’s Books will release What Pet Should I Get? on July 28th.

According to USA Today, the story stars a brother and sister who are looking to bring in a new addition to their family. The same sibling duo appears in the Seuss classic, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, which came out in 1960. For that reason, the editorial executives estimate that the soon-to-be published picture book was written sometime between 1958 to 1962.

The New York Times reports that “the manuscript had been in a box that was discovered in the home of Dr. Seuss (otherwise known as Theodore Geisel) in the La Jolla section of San Diego, shortly after his death in 1991, and set aside. In 2013, Mr. Geisel’s widow, Audrey, and longtime secretary and friend, Claudia Prescott, went through the box and found the nearly complete manuscript, along with other unpublished work.” The same team plans to use other uncovered documents and materials for two more picture book projects.

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21. The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage, by Selina Alko & Sean Qualls (ages 4-9)

There are so many different ways into sharing The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage. The story centers around Richard and Mildred Loving, the interracial couple who challenged Virginia's laws forbidding interracial marriages and took their case all the way to the Supreme Court.

You might approach it as a story of two people who stand up and fight for what they think is right--a book about courage, civil rights and fighting for change. Or you might see it as a way to start talking about race with young children, and the struggles one family went through not so long ago. Whichever you choose, this picture book makes a wonderful jumping off point for talking with kids about things that really matter.
The Case for Loving:
The Fight for Interracial Marriage
by Selina Alko
illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko
Arthur A. Levine / Scholastic, 2015
Your local library
Amazon
ages 4-9
*best new book*
Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter fell in love in 1958, but it was against the law for them to get married in the state of Virginia--simply because they were different races. Although they were married legally in Washington, D.C., the local police arrested and jailed them when they returned to Virginia, charged with "unlawful cohabitation". In order to live together legally and safely, they had to leave their families and move to Washington, D.C.

By 1966, the Lovings decided that "the times were a-changing" and they wanted to return home to Virginia. They hired lawyers to fight for them, taking their case all of the way to the Supreme Court.
The lawyers read a message from Richard: "Tell the court I love my wife, and it is just unfair that I can't live with her in Virginia,"
The Supreme Court unanimously agreed that it was unconstitutional to make marriage a crime because of race, and the Lovings moved back to Virginia to live "happily (and legally!) ever after."

Selina Alko tells this story in a calm, straightforward way, helping children understand how different and difficult things were for interracial couples just 60 years ago. The illustrations show Richard and Mildred's love and strength, but the gentle tones and collaged hearts keep the spirit warm and positive. Alko and Qualls explain the special importance of this story: their journey as an interracial couple echoes the Lovings'. Their endnote adds weight and perspective.

I especially appreciate how this picture book lends a way into opening up an important topic with young children. It helps talk about something that has now changed--but we still wrestle and notice so  many of these issues around us. Here's an excerpt about the importance of opening up dialog about race with children aged 5-8 from The Leadership Council, a civil and human rights coalition:
Five-to eight-year-olds begin to place value judgements on similarities and differences. They often rank the things in their world from "best" to "worst." They like to win and hate to lose. They choose best friends. They get left out of games and clubs, and they exclude others-sometimes because of race, ethnicity, and religion.

When children begin school, their horizons expand and their understanding of the world deepens. We can no longer shelter them quite as effectively. Even for graduates of preschool or day care, attending elementary school means more independence in a less controlled environment. Children are exposed to a wider range of people and ideas. They also experience more bigotry!

Between five and eight, children are old enough to begin to think about social issues and young enough to remain flexible in their beliefs. By the fourth grade, children's racial attitudes start to grow more rigid. Our guidance is especially crucial during this impressionable, turbulent time.
Interesting food for thought, hmmm? To me, this underscores the importance of entering into these discussions with kids, asking what they notice, what they think -- prompting them to think about why and how they can keep their minds open.

For more excellent nonfiction picture books, check out the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge over at Kid Lit Frenzy. Today, Aly has a great selection of mini-reviews and links to other terrific blogs.

Illustrations from THE CASE FOR LOVING Written by Selina Alko. Illustrations © 2015 by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko. Used with permission from Arthur A. Levine Books / Scholastic. The review copy was kindly sent by the publisher Scholastic. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2015 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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22. Using wordless books in the classroom

It is easy to underestimate wordless (or nearly wordless) picture books. At first glance, they can seem simplistic and their educational value can seem limited since so much focus is placed on reading in the classroom, but if used in the right way they can contribute to a number of learning objectives across a wide range of grade levels. The books below illustrate some of the types of wordless books that are available and offer some suggestions for how to make them part of your lesson plans.

arrivalThe Arrival by Shaun Tan
This book tells a universal tale of immigration through pictures of a man travelling to an alien world in search of work and a better life. The retro-futuristic setting, sepia-toned images, and alien language will make this book relatable to any reader. Geared towards middle school or older readers, this book could be used in a social studies or history class while reading about the immigrant experience in the U.S. and could just as easily be used in a literature class to teach students how to “read” images.

Robot DreamsRobot Dreams by Sara Varon
It might seem surprising to say that a wordless book about a robot and a dog who are friends packs an emotional punch, but that is certainly the case here. Varon successfully uses images to pull readers into the story and vividly convey emotions without the need for dialogue. The bright colors of the drawings will make this book appealing and accessible to readers in third and fourth grade, where it can be used to prompt discussions around friendship and how art can prompt an emotional reaction.

harris burdickThe Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg
Though not completely wordless, this book from famed writer and illustrator Chris Van Allsburg is definitely not a typical picture book. It consists of a series of drawings, each of which has a title and a caption and no further words associated with it. While the drawings all share an odd, off-kilter quality that makes them mysterious and not quite of our world, they are not explicitly connected to one another. As such, they make ideal short story prompts for virtually any age. This book could be used as inspiration for creative writings projects from grade school through high school. If you don’t believe me, you need look no further than the new version of the book published in 2011 under the name The Chronicles of Harris Burdick, which included a story written by a best-selling author to accompany each of the pictures.

mirrorMirror by Jeannie Baker
Here the wordless format is combined with a unique physical format that has readers unfolding each side of the book to reveal side-by-side images of two families, one living in Sydney, Australia and the other living in a small town in Morocco. This layout juxtaposes life in these two locations, showing readers the differences but also the important similarities between the two families. This is an ideal book for younger readers from preschool through early grade school, who will delight in pointing out the similarities and differences between the images. It would work well for teaching vocabulary related to the images as well as for larger discussions about cultural differences around the world.

I hope these ideas will encourage some readers to reconsider the place of wordless books in their classes, but beyond this, I would also love to hear how readers have already been using them. I hope you’ll consider sharing your favorite wordless books and how you use them in your curriculum in the comments!

 

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23. Review – The Great Race: The Story of the Chinese Zodiac, by Dawn Case and Anne Wilson

The Great Race: The Story of the Chinese Zodiac - written by Dawn Casey, illustrated by Anne Wilson (Barefoot Books, 2006)

The Great Race: The Story of the Chinese Zodiac
written by Dawn Casey, illustrated by Anne Wilson
(Barefoot Books, … Continue reading ...

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24. What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week,Featuring Intelaq Mohammed Ali,Emma Chichester Clark, Omer Hoffmann,Briony Stewart, and Duncan Tonatiuh


“‘That’s that,’ said Mama. ‘We’ll just have to cure Sadie ourselves. But how?'”
– From Orna Landau’s
Leopardpox!,
illustrated by Omer Hoffmann

(Click to enlarge spread)

 


“I was a very studious person who accepted challenges and explored subjects deeply. … In Gorgan, near the Caspian Sea, I met a friend
who opened a school where I taught logic and astronomy. …”
– From Fatima Sharafeddine’s
The Amazing Discoveries of Ibn Sina,
illustrated by Intelaq Mohammed Ali
(Click to enlarge spread and see full text)

 


“I go outside and find you …”
– From Briony Stewart’s
Here in the Garden

(Click to enlarge spread)

 


“Ahí los esperan las cebollas / y los ajos. / The onion / and garlic are waiting …”
– From Jorge Argueta’s
Salsa: Un Poema Para Cocinar / A Cooking Poem, illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh

(Click to enlarge spread and read poem)

 


From Emma Chichester Clark’s Bears Don’t Read!


 

That’s a very long post title, but I have a lot of art today.

Last week, I wrote here at Kirkus about some new picture book imports, so I’m following up today here at 7-Imp with some art from each book (some art above and some more below).

* * *

Today over at Kirkus, I have three new picture books that are oh-so lovely, and that link will be here soon.

Enjoy the rest of the art below.


 

Art from Emma Chichester Clark’s
Bears Don’t Read! (Kane Miller, March 2015)


 


(Click to see spread in its entirety)


 


“But when he arrived everyone was running! Some were even screaming!
‘WAIT!’ cried George. …”
(Click to enlarge and read full text)


 


“George moved into the summerhouse at the end of Clementine’s garden and each day, after school, Clementine showed him everything she’d learned. It wasn’t long before George knew all the letters of the alphabet.”
(Click to enlarge)


 



 

Art from Orna Landau’s Leopardpox!,
illustrated by Omer Hoffmann
(Clarion, February 2015)


 


“‘A LEOPARD!’ cried Mama. Sadie had LEOPARDPOX! The little leopard cub jumped off the bed and scampered around the room.”
(Click to enlarge)


 


“… The other parents complained.
‘Who brings a leopard to a pediatrician?’ they shouted.
Mama was insulted. ‘This isn’t a leopard! It’s my girl.’ …”
(Click to enlarge and see full text)


 



 

Art from Fatima Sharafeddine’s
The Amazing Discoveries of Ibn Sina,
illustrated by Intelaq Mohammed Ali
(Groundwood, March 2015)


 


“They call be Ibn Sina, or sometimes Avicenna, but my full name is Abou Ali al-Hussein ibn Abdullah ibn al-Hassan ibn Ali ibn Sina.
I was born in 980, over a thousand years ago …”
(Click to enlarge and see full text)


 


“Today they say that I was one of the most brilliant thinkers and eloquent writers of my time. … In the science of nature, for instance, I discovered that
light travels faster than sound. …”
(Click to enlarge and see full text)


 



 

Art from Briony Stewart’s Here in the Garden
(Kane Miller, March 2015)


 


“We’d slip under the shade of a tree with cold drinks and popsicles
as the sky burned every shade of blue. “
(Click to enlarge)


 



 

Art from Jorge Argueta’s Salsa:
Un Poema Para Cocinar / A Cooking Poem
,
illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh
(Groundwood, March 2015)


 


“Me dice mi mamá / que el molcajete / era como la licuadora / para nuestros antepasados. / My mother tells me / molcajetes were / our ancestors’ / blenders. …”
(Click to enlarge and see full text)


 


“Ya tengo listos cuatro tomatoes.
I am ready with four tomatoes. …”
(Click to enlarge and see full text)


 


“Mi mamá viene a calentar las tortillas, / y viene bailando salsa.
My mother warms up tortillas, / and she’s dancing salsa. …”
(Click to enlarge and see full text)


 



 

* * * * * * *

THE AMAZING DISCOVERIES OF IBN SINA. Text copyright © 2013 by Fatima Sharafeddine. Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Intelaq Mohammed Ali. First published in English in Canada and the USA in 2015 by Groundwood Books. Illustrations reproduced by their permission.

BEARS DON’T READ! Text and illustrations copyright © Emma Chichester Clark 2014. First American Edition 2015 Kane Miller. Illustrations reproduced by their permission.

HERE IN THE GARDEN. Copyright © 2014 Briony Stewart. First American Edition 2015 Kane Miller. Illustrations reproduced by their permission.

LEOPARDPOX! Text copyright © 2012 by Orna Landau. Illustrations copyright © 2012 by Omer Hoffmann. Translated from the Hebrew by Annette Appel. Published in English in the United States by Clarion Books, 2014. Illustrations reproduced by their permission.

SALSA: UN POEMA PARA COCINAR / A COOKING POEM. Text copyright © 2015 by Jorge Argueta. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Duncan Tonatiuh. English translation copyright © 2015 by Elisa Amado. Published in the Canada and the USA in 2015 by Groundwood Books. Illustrations reproduced by their permission.

1 Comments on What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week,Featuring Intelaq Mohammed Ali,Emma Chichester Clark, Omer Hoffmann,Briony Stewart, and Duncan Tonatiuh, last added: 2/21/2015
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25. The Adventures of Bella & Harry: Let’s Visit Rome!

Bella and Harry, two friendly Chihuahuas, visit countries around the world with their family of people. In this edition, Bella and Harry visit Rome, Italy.

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