Archive for October, 2020

All Because You Matter

h1 Friday, October 9th, 2020

“Did you know that you are sun rays,
calm, like ocean waves,
tough, like montañas,
magic, like stars in space?”

(Click spread to enlarge)

Over at BookPage, I’ve a review of Tami Charles’s All Because You Matter, illustrated by Bryan Collier.

That review is here, and below are a couple more spreads from the book.

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Reading Picture Books in 2020

h1 Wednesday, October 7th, 2020

Head on over to the Horn Book’s Calling Caldecott today, if you’re so inclined, for a post about what it’s been like to read picture books during a pandemic—specifically, what it’s been like to read so many picture books on screens this year. (Oh, page turns, we miss you!) We also want to know what your year of reading and sharing picture books has been like. Have you seen less picture books this year because of social distancing? If you’re a teacher or librarian, how has the pandemic affected your reading this year? Are you a reviewer who has seen more picture books on PDFs this year? Come and join the conversation! We would love to hear from you.

That post is here. Hope to see you over there!

If You Come to Earth:
A Conversation with Sophie Blackall

h1 Monday, October 5th, 2020


(Click image to enlarge)

Author-illustrator Sophie Blackall and I have been chatting back and forth via email about her new picture book, If You Come to Earth (Chronicle), which arrived on shelves last month. It’s an ambitious picture book that asks big questions about life, and it’s funny and poignant and thought-provoking all at once. Our narrator, Quinn, writes a letter via scroll to any aliens who are perhaps considering visiting Earth. What is Earth like anyway? That’s the question Quinn poses. Not a small task, but over the course of 80 pages, they manage to cover a lot of ground.

I asked Sophie about the book’s genesis, and she also talks to me about the challenges of creating a book with such a wide scope—and why the tiny details in such a story matter and matter a lot. A transcription of our chat is below. There’s also lots of the book’s dynamic, exquisite art in our chat, and I thank her for sharing. Let’s get to it! Read the rest of this entry �

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #711: Featuring Kenneth Kraegel

h1 Sunday, October 4th, 2020

I love the newest book from author-illustrator Kenneth Kraegel. It’s a board book called This Is a Book of Shapes (Candlewick, September 2020), and it is suprising and fun and subversive.

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Reading Recommendations Before Breakfast

h1 Thursday, October 1st, 2020


I love to be a part every July of the Center for Children’s and Young Adult Literature’s (CCYAL) “Best of the Best” conference at the University of Tennessee, in which I gather with other librarians and book critics to discuss the most outstanding books we’ve seen in that year. Because of the pandemic, we didn’t gather this year. But after asking each of us presenters to name a few favorite books of the year, the CCYAL still created a list. If you’d like to see everyone’s recommendations (books published, generally speaking, in the latter part of 2019 and first half of 2020), the list is here. You can also click on the image above to be taken to the list.

Happy reading!