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Vanessa Brantley Newton and Frank Morrison Nominated for NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Literary Works

by Claire Easton in Represents Comments: 0

The 49th NAACP Image Awards are coming soon. The NAACP Image Award is an awards ceremony to honor the work of artists of color in genres spanning cinema, music, and literature, held each year on MLK’s birthday. This year, two books illustrated by Painted Words’s artists have been nominated!

In the “Outstanding Literary Work – Children” category is The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, A Young Civil Rights Activist, written by Cynthia Levinson and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton. In the “Outstanding Literary Work – Youth/Teens” is Clayton Byrd Goes Underground written by Rita Williams-Garcia and illustrated by Frank Morrison. Congratulations!

The full list of nominees for the NAACP Image Award is available hereThe Youngest Marcher can be purchased here and Clayton Byrd Goes Underground is available for purchase here.

The NYPL’s List of Best Books for Kids 2017 Includes Five Books From Our Artists/Authors

by Claire Easton in Represents Comments: 0

The New York Public Library recently released a selection of their favorite kids books of the year. They call every book on this list “outstanding.” Five of the books included on their extensive list were written or illustrated by one of Painted Words’s authors or artists!

Congratulations to all our talented artists! Check out the full list of the NYPL’s recommended books here.


Publishers Weekly Starred Review for March Forward, Girl, Illus. by Frank Morrison

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Publishers Weekly shared a starred review of upcoming memoir March Forward, Girl: From Young Warrior to Little Rock Nine. Written by Melba Pattillo Beals and illustrated by Frank Morrison, March Forward is Beals’s powerful memoir of her childhood and her experiences being one of the Little Rock Nine who integrated Arkansas schools in the Civil Rights Era. Publishers Weekly praised the “visceral and vital” writing and unflinching depiction of traumatic, racial violence that Beals witnessed and experienced. They call it, “A no-holds-barred reflection of the physical and psychological toll that prejudice, discrimination, and hate take on a young life.”

Publishers Weekly’s full starred review is available hereMarch Forward, Girl is coming out January 2018 and can be pre-ordered here.

The New York Times Reviews La La La, Illus. by Jaime Kim, in a Round-Up of Moon Themed Picture Books

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The moon, the constant companion of the night sky, is full of wonder for children and adults alike. The New York Times recently shared a review of several newly released children’s books with the theme of the mysterious moon. Included on this list was La La La: A Story of Hope, written by Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by Jaime Kim.

The Times immediately remarked on the “endearing” protagonist of the picture book and her “elastic expressions.” They also praised the unique, almost wordless narration, filled with the song of the protagonist to the moon. They had high praise for Jaime’s illustrations, writing, “Kim…has created sumptuous images, especially several pages awash in deep, rich purples, that suggest an expansive dreamscape where anything is possible. At the same time, DiCamillo’s barely-there text gives the art space to breathe, leaving room for children to fill in the silences with their own boundless imaginations.”

The New York Times’s full review is available hereLa La La: A Story of Hope can be purchased online here.

Shout Out for Gene Barretta’s Neo Leo in Booklist Article on Expository Nonfiction

by Claire Easton in Represents Comments: 0

Booklist recently shared an article interviewing author and editor Melissa Stewart on the importance of expository nonfiction. Stewart discussed what she felt made a good work of expository literature, how it differs from fiction or from narrative nonfiction, and why this underappreciated genre is so valuable for children. She also shared some children’s literature that she thinks are great examples of expository literature – including Neo Leo: The Ageless Ideas of Leonardo da Vinci, written and illustrated by Gene Barretta.

Neo Leo was included as a great example of the compare and contrast format. Booklist wrote, “Colorful cartoon watercolors, clear and concise text, and an ingenious format that reinforces the compare-and-contrast text structure highlight how the ideas recorded in da Vinci’s notebooks foreshadowed…modern inventions.”

The full article from Booklist is available on their website hereNeo Leo is available for purchase here.

Two Strong New Reviews for Let the Children March, Illus. by Frank Morrison

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Coming out January 2018, Let the Children March is already bringing in positive reviews. Written by Monica Clark-Robinson and illustrated by Frank Morrison, this inspiring picture book tells the story of the Children’s Crusades. In 1960s Birmingham, hundreds of children and adolescents marched in protest of segregation. Many were harassed, water hosed, and even arrested. The Horn Book Magazine and the School Library Journal (SLJ) both positively reviewed Let the Children March, and the SLJ awarded it a starred review!

The Horn Book Magazine praised “the strong, poetic text” and the unflinching depiction of the brutality the young protesters faced. They also praised Frank’s illustrations, writing that Frank’s “remarkable oil paintings…[are] a vibrant representation of the determination and courage of the civil rights movement.” The Horn Book Magazine’s full review is available in their November/December issue.

The School Library Journal wrote a starred review of Let the Children March. The SLJ appreciated the text’s ability to provoke important conversations in the modern day about racism and civil rights. They also had nothing but good to say about Frank’s art, writing, “The experiences of segregation are sensitively depicted by Morrison…The defiance, determination, and passion comes through clearly on the faces of the figures.” In conclusion, they wrote that Let the Children March is, “A highly readable historical account which deserves a place on picture book and nonfiction shelves alike.” The full review from the SLJ is available in their November issue.

Let the Children March can be pre-ordered online here. It’s coming out January 2018.

Vanessa Brantley Newton Interviewed on StoryMakers

by Claire Easton in Represents Comments: 0

Vanessa Brantley Newton was recently interviewed by KidLit TV’s StoryMakers! Hosted by Rocco Staino, StoryMakers is a talk-show style series that interviews bestselling children’s authors and illustrators.

Vanessa and Rocco discussed some of Vanessa’s recent picture books, such as Mary Had a Little Glam. Vanessa is pretty stylish herself, something she learned from her mother! Vanessa has also done remarkable work in historical fiction with books such as The Youngest Marcher and Sewing Stories. They discussed her variety of styles, including her fondness for the unique style of collage. We also got a sneak peek at her upcoming work, Grandma’s Purse, which she both wrote and illustrated, plus some discussion of the trademark diversity of all her works.

To check out this fascinating interview, follow the link here or watch the video below. Grandma’s Purse will be coming out January 2018 and can be pre-ordered here.


Publishers Weekly Writes Starred Review of The Great Dictionary Caper, Illus. by Eric Comstock

by Claire Easton in Represents Comments: 0

Coming out January 2018, The Great Dictionary Caper is already receiving tons of advance praise! With a starred review from Kirkus already under its belt, The Great Dictionary Caper has now received a starred review from Publishers Weekly! Written by Judy Sierra and illustrated by Eric Comstock, this high-energy picture books tells the story of what happens when the dictionary words get bored and escape for the day.

Publishers Weekly writes that The Great Dictionary Caper, “introduce linguistics terminology in just about the most playful way possible.” They praise Eric’s illustrations, writing, “Working in a limited palette of orange, olive, and pale blue, Comstock brings the words to vivid anthropomorphic life while visually underscoring each concept.” In all, they conclude that this picture book is, “the very definition of wordplay.”

Publishers Weekly’s full review is available hereThe Great Dictionary Caper will be coming out this winter and is available for pre-order here.

Trucks Galore by Peter Stein Now Available for Purchase

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Trucks Galore, written by Peter Stein and illustrated by Bob Staake, was released today! A humorous collection of all things truck related, Trucks Galore is the newest volume in Peter and Staake’s Galore series.

Kirkus praised Trucks Galore as “imaginative” and “highly original” in their review of the picture book.

Trucks Galore is now available for purchase! Order your copy here.

Book or Bell?, Illus. by Ashley Spires, Released Today!

by Claire Easton in Represents Comments: 0

It’s here at last! Today is the release day for Book or Bell?, the new picture book written by Chris Barton and illustrated by Ashley Spires. Henry is hooked on a brand new book, but when the school bell rings, he has to put it down for the day…or does he? When one boy chooses a book over the school bell, hilarious chaos results.

Book or Bell? is now available for purchase online here.