Category Archives: Children’s Books in the News


I saw this on the Mental Floss channel on YouTube and just had to share. Some amazing stuff in here. Which fact blew you away the most?

Naturally, I feel quite strongly about this particular subject. There have been some wonderful recent blog posts by different authors with their take on picture books and the role they play in our lives. I want to give a big thank you to the Picture Book Month blog for gathering all of these great articles by immensely talented authors and illustrators. Here are just a few of my favorite posts. Just click on the name of book cover to read each one. Oh, and you may want to pick up a few of their books for the holidays.


Wendy Silvano



Jerry Pinkney


Lee HarperLee-Harper-book-cover

I found this on Publisher’s Weekly. Click here to read the full Q&A.

One of the best things you can do as a writer is follow the journey, pitfalls and successes of other writers. It  helps you to build a roadmap to your own success. Michael is most certainly a success story.

In her first outing, Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake (2011), the precocious preschooler wants to eat nothing but chocolate cake, and in the subsequent Betty Bunny Wants Everything (2012), she has her heart set on buying everything in the toy store. Michael B. Kaplan’s heroine returns this month in Betty Bunny Didn’t Do It, which has the crafty rabbit blaming the Tooth Fairy for a broken lamp. This Dial picture book features illustrations by Stéphane Jorisch, as did the series’ earlier installments. Kaplan, who is also a playwright and has worked as a television writer and producer on 12 prime-time shows (including Frasier, for which he received an Emmy for best comedy series as a member of the producing staff), talked to Bookshelf about stepping into his new role as children’s book author.

Betty Bunny obviously came to be well after you’d established yourself as a writer in other media. How did you first find your calling as a writer?

I started writing plays in high school, and continued writing plays and musical revue material for the Triangle Club when I was at Princeton. When I graduated, I moved to New York to try to become involved in theater. My playwriting there led to my coming to the attention of a TV agent. I was always interested in TV and film, but had no idea how to access them. This was my opportunity, so I moved to L.A. to write for TV, which I’ve been doing for more than 20 years. And now I’ve added children’s books to my list of writing activities.

Betty Bunny

Click here to read the rest.

I wanted to share this with you all, from my publisher Schwartz & Wade:

Our wonderful friend R.J. Palacio just wrote her first middle grade novel and it’s stellar. WONDER has received 4 starred reviews and is the book everyone is talking about. Here is the trailer. Go Raquel!


Congratulations go out to author/illustrator Chris Raschka for winning the 2012 Caldecott Medal for his wonderful book, A Ball for Daisy. That’s another huge feather in his cap, as well as his publisher’s (and mine), Schwartz & Wade, a division of Random House. I highly recommend A Ball for Daisy for anyone with children 3 and under. It has the same magic that sprinkled the pages of The Snowy Daywhen I was a child.

I’m so happy for Chris and honored to be part of the Schwartz & Wade family!

Click here to read more about the award and the book.

I just had to post this because one of the books is through my publisher, Schwartz & Wade (a division of Random House). The holidays are coming faster than you think, and any of these books would be a wonderful gift for a young reader. Thanks to Publisher’s Weekly for putting this list together.

Mouse & Lion
Rand Burkert, Nancy Eckholm Burkert (Scholastic/di Capua)
Retellings of the classic Aesop’s fable of good deeds rewarded are legion, but few are as elegantly and richly conceived as this mother-son collaboration. To say that the naturalistic and astonishingly detailed illustrations bring the African savannah to life hardly does them justice—paired with the story’s spare prose, each spread forms an intimate, perfectly framed vignette, charged with emotion.
Everything I Need to Know Before I’m Five
Valorie Fisher (Random/Schwartz & Wade)
Everything? Believe it. Fisher introduces readers to a wealth of concepts—numbers, letters, colors, shapes, weather, and more—and does so using cleverly composed photographic tableaus made up of vintage toys, knickknacks, thrift-store finds, and other odds and ends. Thorough, fun, and as one-of-a-kind as the objects that fill its pages.

I Want My Hat Back
Jon Klassen (Candlewick)
With deadpan humor and a hint of wickedness, illustrator Klassen makes his debut as an author with the deceptively simple story of a bear who just wants to find his missing hat. Don’t let the pared-down art and narration fool you: a wealth of emotion and personality hides behind the deadened eyes of Klassen’s woodland creatures, from anxiety to rage, stupefaction to satisfaction.

Tom Lichtenheld and Ezra Fields-Meyer (Chronicle)
So often it’s the simplest ideas that are the best—and the funniest. In this alphabetically audacious romp, the letter E has an accident, and while it is recovering, the letter O takes its place (with comodic rosults). The pages are jam-packed with so many linguistic puns, acronyms, and jokes that readers may not realize how much they’re learning about language along the way. Throo choors!
Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans
Kadir Nelson (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray)
Nelson raises the bar with every new book, and this ambitious account of the African-American experience, from slavery to the present day, may be his best yet. Pairing luminous, electric paintings with a grandmotherly narrative voice, it’s as unflinching, personal, and dignified an account as one could imagine, as Nelson confidently handles the triumphs and tragedies of African-American history.

Sea of Dreams
Dennis Nolan (Roaring Brook/Porter)
Wordless stories have a magic all their own, and that’s especially true of Nolan’s maritime fantasy, in which a child’s sand castle is besieged by the tide, setting in motion a dramatic escape for the miniature family that lives within. Nolan’s lush spreads provide abundant ammunition for readers’ imaginations, giving them an enchanting world in which to lose themselves.

John Rocco (Disney-Hyperion)
Second perhaps only to snow days, blackouts are one of the best unplanned sources of life-disrupting fun, especially from a child’s point of view. Rocco’s joyfully illustrated story of an urban family drawn together by a power outage tingles with the magic of a night lit only by candles and stars, while reminding readers that the technologies that connect us can sometimes keep us apart, too.
Where’s Walrus?
Stephen Savage (Scholastic Press)
A triumph of design, Savage’s wordless game of cat-and-mouse (or rather walrus-and-zookeeper) demonstrates how much one can do with a few simple forms, some repetition, and an effortlessly charming tusked hero. The delight comes not from finding Walrus (that’s easy), but in seeing the ways in which his swoopy gray curves mimic the mannequins, firemen, and can-can dancers he tries to blend in with.
Grandpa Green
Lane Smith (Roaring Brook)
This may be Smith at his most earnest—a boy wanders through his great-grandfather’s topiary garden, the sculpted hedges reflecting the elder’s story, from a rural childhood to war and finding love. Grandpa Green isn’t dead, but he is in decline, and Lane’s young narrator serves as a poignant reminder that the things we create—stories, memories, art (in whatever form it might take)—endure long after we do.
Press Here
Hervé Tullet (Chronicle/Handprint)
If Lane Smith’s It’s a Book was last year’s rallying cry in defense of the printed book, 2011 belongs to Tullet’s elementally simple and playfully interactive offering, which invites readers to press, shake, and turn it—and see the results on the next page. Let the apps proliferate: books like this prove that there will always be a place for smart, well-executed, and proudly low-tech picture books.

Those Star Bellied Sneetches will be so jealous…

Dr. Seuss fans are in for a treat this fall: Random House Children’s Books has announced that it will publish seven Seuss stories that appeared in magazines in the 1950s but that have yet to appear in book form.

The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories by Dr. Seuss, who died in 1991, will be available September 27. It includes “The Bear, the Rabbit, and the Zinniga-Zanniga,” about a rabbit who is saved from a bear with a single eyelash; “Gustav the Goldfish,” an early, rhymed version of the book A Fish Out of Water; “Tadd and Todd,” a tale passed down via photocopy to generations of twins; “Steak for Supper,” about creatures who follow a boy home in anticipation of a steak dinner; “The Bippolo Seed,” in which a scheming feline leads an innocent duck to make a bad decision; “The Strange Shirt Spot,” which was the inspiration for the bathtub-ring scene in The Cat in the Hat Comes Back; and “The Great Henry McBride,” about a boy whose far-flung career fantasies are only bested by those of the real Dr. Seuss. The stories were published in magazines in 1950 and 1951. Random is publishing the book as a $15 hardcover. 

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