Coming out January 2018, The Great Dictionary Caper, written by Judy Sierra, is illustrator Eric Comstock‘s newest picture book. This clever tale tells the story of what happens when all the words escape from the dictionary. They just want a day of fun, but without Noah Webster’s help to reorganize them, the dictionary may be in chaos forever. Kirkus reviewed The Great Dictionary Caper and gave it a starred review! Kirkus praises the high energy wordplay, writing, “Teachers will have field day with this wordplay; this caper is clever, capricious, and cunning.” They have nothing but good to say about Eric’s illustrations. They praise the bright colors and the anthropomorphic word characters. Kirkus writes, “Exuberant and energetic design enlivens the letters as they bounce and frolic across the pages, minimalist compositions adding occasional details to amp up the fun.” Kirkus’s full starred review is available on their site here. The Great Dictionary Caper comes out winter 2018. Pre-order it here.
A Child’s Book of Prayers and Blessings: From Faiths and Cultures Around the World, written by Deloris Jordan and illustrated by Shadra Strickland, is now available for purchase! This beautifully illustrated picture book is filled with multicultural prayers and blessings. Featuring traditional blessings and prayers from a variety of religions, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism, this inclusive book encourages peace in children. A Child’s Book of Prayers and Blessings is available for purchase here.
Art Side of Life is a podcast and Youtube video series that interviews successful artists. The artists share their path to success, inspirations, and tips for other aspiring actors. Recently, picture book author and illustrator Gene Barretta was interviewed by Art Side of Life! Gene is the author of a series of fictional and non-fictional picture books, such as Now and Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin and Dear Deer: A Book of Homophones. In his interview, he shares stories of how he came to be an illustrator, where his inspiration comes from, his favorite projects from the past, and some of his exciting new upcoming projects. Some fun tidbits: his mother knew he would be an artist ever since he drew an elephant on the walls of his childhood bedroom. Gene always dreamed about working with the Jim Henson company, and he and his brother both did. Plus, if you pay close attention, there’s also a shout-out to Painted Words! This fun and enlightening interview is available on Youtube here and can also be viewed below.
Every year since 1950, a select group of books wins the National Book Award. This prestigious award is given to the best books of the year in fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and children’s literature categories. This year’s nominees for the awards have been announced, with five potential winners in each category. In the children’s literature category, Clayton Byrd Goes Underground was one of the nominees. Clayton Byrd was written by Rita Williams-Garcia and the cover was illustrated by Frank Morrison. This bittersweet book for young readers tells the story of a boy’s attempts to cope with the loss of his grandfather through music. Congratulations to Rita and Frank for their nomination! The full list of nominees for the National Book Award can be found here. Clayton Byrd Goes Underground is available for purchase here.
Despite some unseasonable heat, fall has officially come, and with it, a fresh crop of fall and Halloween themed picture books! The New York Times Book Review wrote a review of some of these autumnal new books in a section called “Frightfully Good.” Included in their review was Wee Sister Strange, written by Holly Grant and illustrated by K.G. Campbell – and the Times couldn’t say enough about how much they loved it! Wee Sister Strange is a spooky fairy tale-esque story of a mysterious girl wandering through the woods at night, looking for something. The Times called it a wonderful autumn and Halloween tale, describing the titular character as, “an autumnal creature,” and saying the story, “will merit repeat Halloween readings.” They praise Holly Grant’s evocative verse and imagery. K.G.’s illustrations, they write, “are both gorgeous and mysterious…he saves his best for first: the book’s initial spreads…are masterpieces.” The Times concludes simply, “I love ‘Wee Sister Strange.'” Wow! The full review of Wee Sister Strange is available in the Sunday, October 8th issue of the New York Times Book Review. Wee Sister Strange is available for purchase here.
Released yesterday, A Night Out with Mama is the new picture book from Academy Award nominated actress Quvenzhané Wallis and illustrator Vanessa Brantley Newton. This stylish story tells of the night of the Academy Awards themselves and Wallis’s excitement over dressing up beautifully and going out with her mother. Kirkus recently reviewed this charming new book and gave it a starred review. Kirkus praises the exciting and unique true story. As they observe, few actresses of color, let alone ones under ten, have the chance to experience and tell a story like this! Kirkus also praises Vanessa’s illustrations, writing, “Expressively illustrated with Brantley-Newton’s characteristically upbeat illustrations, the book exudes positivity.” Kirkus’s full starred review is available here. A Night Out with Mama is now available for purchase and can be ordered online here.