Perfect Picture Book Friday – How You Came To Be

So… I’m a little behind today… Let’s just pretend it’s Friday morning, shall we? 😊

Welcome to Perfect Picture Book Friday (where it is not 8:33 PM 😊)!

First off, I am thrilled and excited to announce the winner of the Starry Forest giveaway last week!

Congratulations to Andi Chitty! You get to have a 20 minute Zoom meeting with Robert Agis, the president of the publishing company, to ask anything you want about publishing and even have a chance to share some of your own pitches! Thank you so much to Starry Forest Books, Robert Agis, and Amy Dixon for visiting us last week and offering such a wonderful opportunity!

And now, I have such a beautiful book to show you!

Title: How You Came To Be

Written By: Carole Gerber

Illustrated By: Sawsan Chalabi

Publisher: Rise x Penguin Workshop, an imprint of Penguin Random House, nonfiction

Suitable For Ages: 2-4 years

Themes/Topics: prenatal development, nonfiction

Opening: “Before you were born,
a wiggly little cell from another
joined with a little round cell from me.
That’s how you came to be.

Together, these two tiny cells formed
one brand-new cell
that would become YOU.”

Brief Synopsis: From the publisher: “A mother lovingly describes the sizes and stages of her baby’s month-by-month development inside the womb, and the amazement of experiencing it from the outside.”

text copyright Carole Gerber, 2022, illustration copyright Sawsan Chalabi, 2022, Rise x Penguin Workshop

Links To Resources: there is some very nice back matter in the book with “Helpful Words To Know”, “What Unborn Babies Do”, and “How Babies Are Born”, as well as a Selected Bibliography. The book itself is a wonderful resource.

text copyright Carole Gerber, 2022, illustration copyright Sawsan Chalabi, 2022, Rise x Penguin Workshop

Why I Like This Book: I love this book. It is so beautifully and lovingly written, in a way that is so perfectly accessible to young readers. Instead of focusing on any of the mechanics of conception, which I think would be pretty hard to make appropriate for very young readers, it shows children, in concrete images they can easily envision, how big they were at 1 month, 2 months, etc. By personalizing growth and development, almost in the form of a love letter to the child, it feels immediate and relatable.
Every day you doubled in size.
Soon, you were as big as a pea.
Your heart began to develop
and to beat very quickly.

Children will be captivated by imagining themselves that small, and if they have a sibling on the way, it may help them to feel their soon-to-be-brother-or-sister is more real. If you’re looking for a book that will answer questions about babies without going into the kinds of details you’d like to hold off on until your children are a little older, or if you just want a lovely book that explains a lot about babies in simple, highly appropriate, easy-to-understand words and pictures, this is the perfect choice!

text copyright Carole Gerber, 2022, illustration copyright Sawsan Chalabi, 2022, Rise x Penguin Workshop

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 😊

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific blog links (and any other info you feel like filling out 😊) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 😊

Perfect Picture Book Friday Special! – Starry Forest Books – A Perfect Picture Book Publisher PLUS A Fantastic Opportunity Giveaway!!!

Break out the fancy coffee mugs and some celebratory chocolate cake for breakfast, my friends! We have a very special edition of Perfect Picture Books today!

In lieu of a book, I have an interview with a publisher who is actively looking to acquire picture books. This is a unique opportunity to get an inside look at a publisher you might not have known about, along with insight into what they’re looking for. In addition, one lucky winner will get to have a 20-minute Zoom call with Robert Agis, President of Starry Forest Books, where you can talk to him about anything in publishing! This is an amazing opportunity to get some insider info on all the things you’ve been wondering about in the publishing world. And don’t forget to practice your pitches, because he’ll definitely ask to hear about what you write and what you’re working on! This giveaway starts today and runs through Wednesday, June 15th! (Details and entry info at the bottom of this post!)

(Also, the Perfect Picture Book List for this week will be down at the bottom as usual, too. I may not be sharing an actual book today, but everyone else is!)

I want to thank Amy Dixon, Editor at Starry Forest books, for taking the time to join us today and give us this wonderful glimpse into an up-and-coming publisher! Thank you, Amy! In addition, she was able to get some responses from the other two acquiring editors, so you get to hear from all three!

First, some general info about Starry Forest Books!

Tell us a little bit about Starry Forest Books and how it came to be.

In 2016, Robert Agis, then an editor at Union Square & Co., collaborated with Barnes & Noble buyers to develop new series and title ideas. Starry Forest Books was a boutique publisher commissioned with actualizing these ideas for Sterling and Barnes & Noble. With creative direction from Robert Agis, Starry Forest developed several series including Baby’s Big World and Classic Stories which immediately proved successful. 

Inspired by Starry Forest’s potential, and with the vision to create distinctive children’s books and media, Robert took over Starry Forest in 2019. He negotiated worldwide distribution through Ingram, started a foreign rights business that includes growing sales in China, Russia, Spain, and elsewhere, and expanded the Starry Forest creative team and support roles to a team of ten. From three modest series sold through one retailer in 2019, the company has expanded to worldwide sales with more than 120 titles published or in development. 

Looking at your website, we can see you’ve done a lot of board book series and classics in the past. What does the trajectory of Starry Forest look like moving forward?

Our vision statement is “Make Something Beautiful” and we plan to continue pursuing that vision with the 20-30 titles we’ll publish each year. This includes the development and growth of our existing brands, like our Baby’s Classics and Gamer Baby series, as well as stand-alone picture books. We will also be expanding into categories such as chapter books and eventually, middle grade fiction! We’re thrilled that our first two stand-alone picture books will be entering the world in August, and we’ll be sharing more about them below!

For the next few questions, we asked the Starry Forest Editorial Team to chime in and give some inside scoop! They are Allison Hunter Hill, Anna Lazowski, and Amy Dixon—ALL both published authors and acquiring editors at Starry Forest Books.

You are here on Perfect Picture Book Friday! We’d love to hear what you look for when evaluating a picture book manuscript.

Anna Lazowski:

A fresh concept, or unique take on something familiar will always make a manuscript stand out. So many manuscripts start out strong but falter partway through. I love it when I get pulled in by the opening lines and the author is able to hold me there as the narrative unfolds. I also look for authors who know how to use emotion to connect with the reader, and understand that half of their story will, ultimately, be told by illustrations. 

Can you tell us about a Perfect Picture Book on your list? What drew you to this story?

Allison Hunter-Hill:

Being an editor is a little like being a parent– I can’t pick a favorite book-child! But I can tell you what I look for in picture books and what drew me to this one. Perfect Picture Books have a “spark” in them that sets them apart. It could be dialogue that makes you giggle and begs to be read out loud like “Not A Book About Bunnies” by Amanda Henke (coming in 2023!). Or a clever text that turns your world upside-down like “The End” by John Bray. Or maybe it’s an old tale that suddenly feels new again, like Valerie Tripp’s lushly re-imagined Greek myths, “Goddesses and Gardens.”

What drew me to Judy Roth’s “Cadence and Kittenfish” was the character of Cadence, herself– a bright, spunky little mermaid who does dance class with dolphins, Tai Chi with the lighthouse keeper, and wants a kitten SO BADLY that she can’t see what’s right under her adorable nose. Judy writes with such a unique, lyrical understanding. Her words are always fresh, surprising, and just begging to be read out loud! As a former librarian, I’m always on the lookout for a great storytime pick!

Illustrations play such a big role in creating a Perfect Picture Book, and there is so much talent to choose from! What did you love about this illustrator, and what made her right for this project?

Allison Hunter-Hill:

Jaclyn Sinquett is such a dream! I had three big requirements in mind when I started looking through illustrator portfolios: enchanting underwater scenes (no flat blues, please!), charming, lifelike girl characters, and the most absolutely irresistible kittens.

I knew Jaclyn was perfect for Cadence when I saw her art for “Sincerely, Emerson” by Emerson Webber. I could just tell that Jaclyn remembered what it was like to be an 8 or 9-year-old little girl– wistful, optimistic, and real. Top that off with her warm, painterly style and delicate detail work, and I was confident she would knock it out of the park. And she did!

The word that comes to mind when I think of Jaclyn is “generous.” Whatever you give her, she multiplies and gives back in abundance. I asked for a rough idea on a color scheme and she pitched a palette based on seaside blown glass and salt-water taffy. I sent her a boring copyright page and she draped it in delicate doodles of sea fronds. I mentioned it would be neat to see Cadence’s room, and what came back was something out of an enchanted mermaid dream: driftwood and coral bunkbeds with sea sponge pillows, a found-anchor nightstand, a delicate seashell tea set, and a literal Saltwater Guitar. 

Follow Jaclyn Sinquett @jsinquett on Instagram for close-ups, art process videos and more!

To me, a Perfect Picture Book illustrator is one who loves the story just as much as you do. Remember being a kid and finding a friend who would 1000% commit to pretending that the floor was molten lava? Or that your lego castle was under seige by giant Barbies? Or that you were both majestic horses with elaborate names like “Moonfire” or “Chestnut Lighting” or “Princess Starhorn”? (Someone please say yes. I’m begging you.) Finding a perfect illustrator is like finding that friend. They aren’t just willing to immerse themselves in a new world with you… they really want to play, too!

What kind of experience can an author or illustrator expect to have with Starry Forest Books?

Amy Dixon:

As a creator myself, I can say that I’ve been quite impressed by the sincere desire that the Starry Forest Team has to connect authentically with creators. Often, when there is interest in a manuscript, we have a Zoom call with creators, agents, editors, and our president, to meet and chat about the story. These have been some of the most enjoyable conversations, because they are about so much more than just a sale. We get to learn about the creators; where they are from, and what inspired them to write this story. We get to hear about what other projects they are working on. We become invested in the creator’s journey and get to explore the potential for us to be part of their growth, both with the existing project, and their overall craft.  And we get to see if there’s chemistry—we have a positive culture at Starry Forest and want that positivity to extend to the creators, and then pour out from our books to the consumer too. The hope is that everyone who crosses paths with Starry Forest Books is better for it. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that a creator that chooses to work with Starry Forest will feel seen, heard, and valued. The passion that our company has to “Make Something Beautiful” is not just about producing a gorgeous book, but also about creating a beautiful experience for the writers and artists we work with.  

Do you have a wish list you can share with us? What types of stories are you looking to publish next? 

Amy Dixon: 

Right now, I am EAGERLY reading submissions! Hint, hint, it’s a great time to submit to me! My team will tell you that I am really loving creative non-fiction right now—teach me something without making me feel like you’re teaching me something! I adore stories about real events that inspire me to be a better human, especially ones featuring kick-ass women. I also would love to see more manuscripts that make me laugh, and where the illustrations tell a whole part of the story that isn’t in the text.  You can see more about the things I love and our submission guidelines on my manuscript wish list.

Anna Lazowski:

I absolutely love reading submissions, because when you find a gem in your inbox, it’s a truly incredible feeling. I’m always looking for a diversity of voices and experiences, and stories that help us understand each other. I love things that are a bit quirky, am a big fan of a well-placed surprise, and have a soft spot for creative use of language. You can find out more about what I’m looking for and check out our submission guidelines on my manuscript wish list

Where can we find you online? 

Website: www.starryforestbooks.com

Twitter: @starryforestbks

Instagram: @starryforestbks

Giveaway! 

We are giving away a 20-minute Zoom call with Robert Agis, President of Starry Forest Books, where you can talk to him about anything in publishing! This is an amazing opportunity to get some insider info on all the things you’ve been wondering about in the publishing world. And don’t forget to practice your pitches, because he’ll definitely ask to hear about what you write and what you’re working on! This giveaway starts today and runs through Wednesday, June 15th!

Enter the Starry Forest Books Giveaway Here!
Use the link to follow @starryforestbks on Twitter and Instagram, retweet the “Giveaway Time” tweet, and tag a fellow Picture Book Enthusiast by commenting on the “Giveaway Time” Instagram post. (You can find links to these posts at linktr.ee/starryforestbks)

Thank you again, Amy, for all this wonderful information and for taking the time to visit with us today! We all so appreciate it!

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming. . . 😊

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific blog links (and any other info you feel like filling out 😊) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 😊

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Butterfly Inn

Welcome to today’s edition of Perfect Picture Book Friday!

I have the most gorgeous book to share!

I love butterflies, and although I’m not nearly as informed and well-organized as the wildlife biologist author of this book or the people in it, I do plant several of the flowers butterflies like, and I am careful never to cut down milkweed!

This book is wonderful both for its showcasing of beautiful butterflies and flowers and for its modeling of what kids can do to encourage butterflies to frequent their yards or windowsills and take care of butterflies so they’ll be around for future generations.

(And I apologize in advance for the picture quality of the interior shots – they look better in real life!😊)

Title: Butterfly Inn

Written & Illustrated By: Nancy Derey Riley

Publisher: Rolling Prairie Publishing, LLC, May 25, 2022

Suitable For Ages: 4-8, though there is a lot of informational back matter that older children will find interesting!

Themes/Topics: butterflies, nature, species protection

Opening: “We hop off the bus, then
we file through the door,
and enter the world
that we’ve come to explore.”

text and illustration copyright Nancy Derey Riley, 2022

Brief Synopsis: From the publisher: “When the class discovers that butterflies need help, they build a butterfly garden at their school. As the butterflies come to the BUTTERFLY INN, the children watch the life cycle of the butterfly from hungry caterpillars through metamorphosis into adults.”

Links To Resources: the book itself is a tremendous resource. The back matter includes a glossary, the sheet music for a song made up of all the text in the book, “Butterfly Basics”, “Butterfly or Moth?”, “Caterpillar Chow”, “Nectar Needs”, “What Makes A Home”, “Do I Stay Or Do I Go?”, “Threats”, “What Can You Do?”, and a selected bibliography and additional resources. If sheet music isn’t your strong suit and you’d like to learn the tune to the song, Nancy has a clip of the first verse on her website HERE!

text and illustration copyright Nancy Derey Riley, 2022

Why I Like This Book: A class field trip to a butterfly pavilion is the impetus behind the class planning and planting their own butterfly garden to help the sustain the butterflies in their part of the world. Extensive back matter gives a wealth of further information for kids who are interested in learning and doing more. The story does a lovely job of introducing young readers to many kinds of butterflies and the plants they need to flourish, the life cycle of the butterfly, and ways to help these beautiful, important creatures who are threatened by pesticides and habitat loss. Written in enjoyable rhyme which is fun to read aloud (and sing to the supplied music!), the text is both informational and entertaining. Much of it is also lovely, for example: “A shimmer of gold/and a glimmer of blue,/a splatter of spots/in a silvery hue.” The art is friendly and beautiful, and the class is nicely diverse. A great choice for home, classroom, and library!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 😊

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific blog links (and any other info you feel like filling out 😊) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 😊

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Spellbound

Welcome to Perfect Picture Book Friday!

I know I should probably have a Memorial Day book to share today in recognition of this weekend, but as many of you know, I am living in New Baby Land, so I have a magical new sibling story instead 😊

Title: Spellbound

Written By: Jess Townes

Illustrated By: Jennifer Harney

Publisher: Union Square Kids, June 21, 2022, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-5

Themes/Topics: new sibling

text copyright Jess Townes 2022, illustration copyright Jennifer Harney 2022, Union Square Kids

Opening: “Willow loved magic.
And in her home, magic was all around.
It resided in the roots. It lingered in the leaves.
It blossomed on the branches.
And when it was ready, the magic wandered
on warm breezes in search of an apprentice.
Because magic, after all, is meant to be shared.”

Brief Synopsis: (From the publisher): “Willow’s world is perfectly magical, until Rowan is born. When her new baby brother seems to enchant everyone he meets, Willow becomes convinced he is an actual, real-life wizard. Can Willow put a stop to his hocus pocus, or is Rowan’s magic too powerful to resist?”

text copyright Jess Townes 2022, illustration copyright Jennifer Harney 2022, Union Square Kids

Links To Resources: Peek-a-boo, finger play rhymes like Itsy Bitsy Spider and Patty Cake, playing with rattles or musical instruments, singing songs, making funny faces or using silly voices to get baby to laugh – these are all things that children can do with new siblings to engage with them and help build a bond, making the older sibling feel valued, important, and included.

text copyright Jess Townes 2022, illustration copyright Jennifer Harney 2022, Union Square Kids

Why I Like This Book: Willow’s world is full of magic and she is the center of it. She mesmerizes her mom, dazzles her dad, and charms her bunny. But along comes Rowan and suddenly everyone is mesmerized, dazzled, and charmed by him! What kind of magic is this?! Every child who has gotten a new sibling knows the worry of being displaced, the jealousy when parents pay attention to the baby, the fear that maybe now that the newcomer is here, they don’t matter any more. Willow is determined that even if everyone else falls under Rowan’s spell, she won’t! But though she casts a spell on her ears so she won’t hear his laughter, and a charm over her eyes so she won’t see how cute he is, even she can’t resist him when he calls his big sister by her name. A lovely, lively, magical twist on a new sibling story with beautiful art that feels magical, too. A great choice for new big brothers and sisters, and a fun story for anyone 😊

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 😊

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific blog links (and any other info you feel like filling out 😊) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Happy Memorial Day, with gratitude to all who serve and have served! Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 😊

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Some Daddies

I’m not quite sure how this week flew by so fast (oh, wait… maybe it was partly because I posted so late last week 😊) but here we are at Perfect Picture Book Friday again!

With Father’s Day just a month away, I have a wonderful, brand new book about Dads of every kind to share with you this week! I think it’s a great book for anytime, but it’s especially appropriate at this time of year.

Title: Some Daddies

Written By: Carol Gordon Ekster

Illustrated By: Javiera Maclean Alvarez

Publisher: Beaming Books, May 17, 2022

Suitable For Ages: 4-7

Themes/Topics: fathers/families

Opening: “Every daddy is different.
Some daddies wake up whistling.
Others need time before they talk.
Some joke around and tell stories.
Others like to listen.”

text copyright Carol Gordon Ekster 2022, illustration copyright Javiera Maclean Alvarez 2022, Beaming Books

Brief Synopsis: a celebration of the incredible diversity of modern fathers with an inclusive cast of characters and a wide array of fathers that will allow readers to catch glimpses of, and feel new appreciation for, their own fathers and father-figures and how they shine in their own unique ways.

Links To Resources: Father’s Day Activities For Kids; Father’s Day Crafts, Activities, Games and Printables

text copyright Carol Gordon Ekster 2022, illustration copyright Javiera Maclean Alvarez 2022, Beaming Books

Why I Like This Book: I love that such a broad view of fatherhood is taken in this book. Fathers of many races, cultures, occupations, and interests, as well as a two-dad family, a single dad, and a stay-at-home dad are pictured so that every child will likely find some representation of their own father or father-figure. I think it’s wonderful for young readers to be introduced to the many kinds of things fathers can do, be like, and participate in so they can understand that not everyone’s father/father-figure is exactly like their own, and get a sense of the possibilities that exist for them someday. This is a lovely book to read around Father’s Day, or any time 😊

text copyright Carol Gordon Ekster 2022, illustration copyright Javiera Maclean Alvarez 2022, Beaming Books

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 😊

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific blog links (and any other info you feel like filling out 😊) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 😊

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Pigeon & Cat

Welcome to Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

I have such a beautiful book about friendship, community, and learning to open your heart and trust the world around you. It was written and illustrated by Edward Hemingway, youngest grandson of Ernest, (and is a far cry from my 9th grade reading of A Farewell To Arms 😊) It is due out on June 21 and I think it’s a book classrooms and libraries can benefit from as well as home libraries. Have a look!

Title: Pigeon & Cat

Written & Illustrated By: Edward Hemingway

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano Books/Little Brown & Co, June 21, 2022

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: friendship, community, creativity, personal growth

Opening: “In an abandoned city lot there sits a cardboard box. Inside the box lives Cat.”

text & illustration copyright Edward Hemingway 2022, Christy Ottaviano Books

Brief Synopsis: from the publisher: “In an abandoned city lot, Cat lives alone in a cardboard box. He leaves only to find food. One day, Cat discovers an unbroken egg too beautiful to eat. Soon, out pecks Pigeon, and they become fast friends. Cat is happy to share his box with Pigeon. But when Pigeon flies far away from where they live, Cat must brave the city in order to rescue his friend. This journey will forever transform his understanding of home.

This heartwarming story explores unlikely friendships, the creative spark within us, and how to give comfort and kindness in small, impactful gestures. It is also a celebration of urban community.”

text & illustration copyright Edward Hemingway 2022, Christy Ottaviano Books

Links To Resources: as a parent or teacher, encourage your kids to be part of their communities – family, school, neighborhood. Look at family photos so kids learn who family members are and how important they are to you. Make a family storybook using photos, including birthdays and addresses and relationships so kids gain a solid understanding of their family community. Participate in school activities beyond the classroom – book fairs, sports events, school plays. Get out in the local community with your kids. Are there opportunities for helping with recycling, planting trees or flowers, making cards for seniors at holidays? If not, maybe you can start one 😊

text & illustration copyright Edward Hemingway 2022, Christy Ottaviano Books

Why I Like This Book: It can be easy for anyone who has faced hardship, hurt, or disappointment to wall themselves off from the world as a measure of self protection. So Cat lives his life, staying where he feels safe, never venturing forth, and threatening all he encounters with hisses, teeth, and claws because the world is frightening to him. But along comes Pigeon who has never known anything but love – Cat’s love for her and hers for him – and over the course of the story Cat opens his heart and his mind and comes to realize that the world can be a good and beautiful place to which he has a lot to offer, and maybe, just maybe, it has something to offer him. This book is a sweet and lovely celebration of friendship and community, taking something rough and making it better for everyone. The art is engaging, full of details. I love the places where Cat and Pigeon talk, because Pigeon has her own way of communicating, all in pictures 😊 I can’t imagine anyone not loving this book!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 😊

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific blog links (and any other info you feel like filling out 😊) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 😊

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Brand New ❤️

My perfect picture book for this week is the most special kind of story of all. A brand new one that is just beginning, surrounded by love, and with wonder, hope, light, and every kind of beautiful possibility shining from it.

Welcome, Charlotte Susanna! We’re so very glad you’re here ❤️❤️❤️

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific blog links (and any other info you feel like filling out 😊) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 😊

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Gardens Are For Growing PLUS A Giveaway!!!

Welcome to today’s edition of Perfect Picture Book Friday!

I have a lovely book to share – perfect for spring time! It makes me want to get out and garden (and I have a black thumb, so that’s saying something! 😊) I’m sure it will have the same affect on you and any young readers you share it with.

As an added bonus, we have a little Q&A with the author, Chelsea Tornetto, who is also offering winner’s choice of a picture book manuscript critique or a copy of her beautiful book to one lucky commenter! So please leave a comment on this post by Wednesday April 20 at 9PM Eastern and you could be the randomly selected lucky winner! Check out Chelsea’s critique service HERE so you can see what she offers!

Now, let’s have a look at the book!

Title: Gardens Are For Growing

Written By: Chelsea Tornetto

Illustrated By: Hsulynn Pang

Publisher: Familius Publishing

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: gardens/nature, growth, family, cycle of life

text copyright Chelsea Tornetto 2022, illustration coptright Hsulynn Pang 2022, Familius

Opening: “Shovels are for turning soil,
and clumps are meant for breaking.”

text copyright Chelsea Tornetto 2022, illustration coptright Hsulynn Pang 2022, Familius

Brief Synopsis: A father shows his daughter how to take a patch of earth and till and plant and tend until it grows into a beautiful garden. As the garden grows more lush with every passing year, the little girl grows up.

text copyright Chelsea Tornetto 2022, illustration coptright Hsulynn Pang 2022, Familius

Links To Resources: First, a treat! A little Q&A with author Chelsea Tornetto!

SUSANNA: How did you come up with the idea for Gardens Are For Growing?

CHELSEA: My husband puts in a backyard garden every year.  When our daughter, Tessa, was small, my favorite thing about spring and summer was watching her hanging out in the garden with her dad.  As she grew older the tasks she could/would help with changed, but the memories they made were always precious.  It struck me how she was growing up just like the garden did each year.  And Gardens Are For Growing was born!

SUSANNA: What do you hope kids will take away from it?

CHELSEA: I hope families are inspired to take time to get outside together!  I also hope it helps them realize that the best, most powerful memories are usually made in the small moments.  You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on a big fancy vacation to make lasting memories.  

SUSANNA: What is your favorite part of being an author?

CHELSEA: I love the creativity of it.  I love the challenge of finding just the right word to complete a rhyme or create a certain feeling.  And I love giving my words to a talented illustrator and seeing their vision come to life!

SUSANNA: Thank you so much for sharing that with us, Chelsea! It’s so wonderful to know a little about the background of the books we love!

Next, some wonderful activity pages!

Why I Like This Book: This lovely story, told in rhyme, shows young readers the many things involved with growing a garden, from breaking up the earth, to sowing seeds and watering, to seeing earthworms, to watching things grow. With each turn of the page, the garden grows, going from a patch of earth, to neat garden with thin, young plants, until eventually it is a lush, mature garden. As the garden grows, a young girl grows alongside it, until the garden, the seasons, and the girl and her father together demonstrate the cycle of life. The art is bright and full of details, a wonderful complement to the text. Young gardeners (whether in the country with a true patch of earth, or in the city with a pot on a windowsill) will especially love this chance to learn about gardening, but it is a beautiful story anyone will enjoy.

text copyright Chelsea Tornetto 2022, illustration coptright Hsulynn Pang 2022, Familius

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 😊

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific blog links (and any other info you feel like filling out 😊) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! Happy Passover and Happy Easter to everyone who celebrates! 😊

Don’t forget to leave a comment for your chance to be randomly selected to win your choice of a copy of this book or a picture book manuscript critique from Chelsea!

Perfect Picture Book Friday – This Could Be You

It’s Friday!

Thank goodness!

I’m sure none of us could have waited another minute for this week’s list of Perfect Picture Books!

I have a lovely one to share today. I’m pretty sure it’s been reviewed by a couple of other members of this group already, but I wanted to share it, too. It’s a wonderful book, and it was written by a graduate of Making Picture Book Magic, so I get to give you a recommendation and celebrate her accomplishment at the same time! 😊

Title: This Could Be You

Written By: Cindy Williams Schrauben

Illustrated By: Julia Seal

Publisher: Cardinal Rule Press, April 1, 2022

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: being yourself, believing in yourself

Opening: “Who pursues their top dreams,
their never-ever stop dreams,
persist-until-they-drop dreams?
Believe. It could be you!”

text copyright Cindy Williams Schrauben 2022, illustration copyright Julia Seal 2022, Cardinal Rule Press

Brief Synopsis: This book is an invitation to children of all backgrounds, interests, and abilities to follow their dreams and believe in themselves.

text copyright Cindy Williams Schrauben 2022, illustration copyright Julia Seal 2022, Cardinal Rule Press

Links To Resources: the back of the book includes a guide to encouraging a growth mindset; what do YOU want to be? try a recipe (chef), plant a seed (gardener), do an experiment (scientist). . . or whatever interests YOU!; Growth Mindset Activity Sheet, Growth Mindset Bingo, and other activities from author’s website

text copyright Cindy Williams Schrauben 2022, illustration copyright Julia Seal 2022, Cardinal Rule Press

Why I Like This Book: Every child can benefit from encouragement to be themselves, pursue their dreams, believe they can be or do anything they want, and this book celebrates exactly that. It is an invitation to young readers to imagine themselves in all kinds of ways they may not have considered. Every child will be able to see her or himself as at least one of the many kinds of people shown – creative, supportive, persistent, adventurous, inquisitive, observant, protective. . . And for many kids the options will be eye-opening, showing them things they could be or do that they might not have known about yet. The illustrations are warm, colorful, and appealing with plenty of details to catch kids’ attention and interest. The children pictured are a nicely diverse group. Kids will enjoy exploring all the possibilities open to them while absorbing the important message that they can be whoever they want to be, and that they are valued and should value themselves. A lovely read!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 😊

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific blog links (and any other info you feel like filling out 😊) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 😊

Perfect Picture Book Friday – A Family Is. . .

Hello, my friends!

Welcome to another installment of Perfect Picture Book Friday! (And that’s no April Fool 😊)

To start the day’s festivities, I’m happy to announce that the winner of last week’s book giveaway, JACKIE AND THE MONA LISA, is Stephanie M! Congratulations, Stephanie! I think you will love it! Please email me with your address (you can use the contact button in the menu bar above), and I will have the publisher mail out your copy!

Now! Let’s get to today’s book! Such a perfect little gem!

This book is actually a companion to A FRIEND IS. . .(reviewed HERE on PPBF in January 2021), and if you haven’t had a chance to check that one out, I recommend reading it too! For those of you who might live in the Mid-Hudson Valley area, you can meet today’s author/illustrator and get a signed copy of both these books at the Poughkeepsie Book Festival tomorrow! I will also be there, as will Iza Trapani, Karen Kaufman Orloff, Della Ferreri, Tania Guarino, Michael Garland, Nancy Furstinger, Marie-Therese Miller, Raven Howell, and lots of others!

But now, the book!

Title: A Family Is. . .

Written & Illustrated By: Lisa Thiesing

Publisher: Aladdin, March 8, 2022

Suitable For Ages: 4-8 (but I think younger children would really enjoy it too!)

Themes/Topics: family

Opening: “A family is. . . for “Good morning!”
A family is. . .for having breakfast and for getting dressed.”

text and illustration copyright Lisa Thiesing 2022 Aladdin

Brief Synopsis: (from the publisher) “Whether big or small, a family is for reading, for laughing, for holding you tight. And, perhaps most importantly, loving you for who you are.”

text and illustration copyright Lisa Thiesing 2022 Aladdin

Links To Resources: make your own A Family Is. . . book by writing and/or drawing something family means to you on each page; make playdough families with different sized cookie cutters in the shape of people, or bears or other animals; draw a picture of your whole family; make a family tree; Family Themed Finger Plays and Action Songs

text and illustration copyright Lisa Thiesing 2022 Aladdin

Why I Like This Book: This sweet book gives young readers a lovely and very accessible description of what family means. Each page highlights ways families spend time together, from having breakfast and getting dressed to walking in the park and biking, to parties and games. But the book also reminds kids that, on a deeper level, families are about being together and belonging. As always for me, Lisa’s art takes a charming text and makes it even better. Her color palette is soft and appealing, her characters are delightful, and her depiction of family makes you want to climb right into the book and join the fun and the love. A perfect story for bed time or any time, and especially for when someone needs a little extra reminder of how much they are treasured in their own family.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 😊

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific blog links (and any other info you feel like filling out 😊) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 😊