New picture book, La La La, written by Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by Jaime Kim, isn’t coming out until September, half a year away, but it’s already getting buzz, including an interview and cover reveal with Entertainment Weekly! La La La is a unique new project, telling the story of a young girl singing to the moon. The story is told almost entirely wordlessly. EW interviewed Kate DiCamillo on how she came up with this idea, the nearly ten year attempt to create it and find the perfect illustrator, and the joy that she felt when Jaime returned the manuscript, which DiCamillo describes as “gorgeous.” In turn, Jaime describes her inspirations for the illustrations and characters, including her sister and her own childhood. Jaime told EW, “As I worked on La La La, I felt healed by the story itself, in addition to the joy of drawing. It was she who gave me a most wonderful gift.” EW also first revealed the cover (right) to La La La. You can read the full interview here. If you can’t wait for this exciting new story, you can pre-order La La La here.
Coming out this May, And Then Comes Summer, written by Tom Brenner and illustrated by Jaime Kim, is a joyful ode to that most wonderful of times, summer. Kirkus recently wrote a review for And Then Comes Summer, awarding it a starred review. They praise the “lush” descriptions and exuberant atmosphere. They had even more praise for Jaime’s illustrations, writing, “In gleeful acrylic illustrations, [the characters’] eyes crinkle and pop with joy, their arms fly skyward, their legs extend midstride…Looking at these fantastic freeze-frames of fun, young readers see their desire to halt time during summer months fulfilled.” Kirkus’s full review can be found here. And Then Comes Summer can be pre-ordered here.
March is Women’s History Month, and Liz Zunon is celebrating in style with two events this weekend in which she will read her picture book, The Legendary Miss Lena Horne, written by Carole Boston Weatherford, which tells the story of a powerful woman: actress, singer, and civil rights activist Lena Horne. On Saturday, Liz will be signing copies of Lena Horne in The Open Door Bookstore in Schenectady, New York from 1 to 2:30 pm. Copies of her picture book Poems in the Attic, written by Nikki Grimes, which also celebrates girls and their creative efforts, will also be available. You can find out more information about the event here. Sunday, Liz will participate in a Story time and Art Making event at the Albany Institute of History and Art. A reading of The Legendary Miss Lena Horne will be followed by a special art activity. Afterward, she will sign copies of her book in the museum gift shop. More information about this event can be found here. The Legendary Miss Lena Horne can be purchased here.
Please Please the Bees, coming out in April of this year, is illustrator Gerald Kelley‘s debut as an author too! The humorous picture book tells the story of a bear who loves honey, but finds himself in a sticky situation when the honeybees that live in his yard go on strike. How can he please the bees? Kirkus wrote a review of Please Please the Bees and had plenty of praise. They enjoyed the amusing illustrations, which they called, “A hoot.” They had great things to say about the text of the book, writing, “In his authorial debut, illustrator Kelley shows a knack for a wry turn of phrase, an effective economy with character development, and a good sense of textual pacing.” You can read Kirkus’s full review here. Please Please the Bees can be pre-ordered online here.
Publishers Weekly wrote a starred review for Noah Webster’s Fighting Words, an upcoming picture book written by Tracy Nelson Maurer and illustrated by Mircea Catusanu. Noah Webster tells the life story of the creator of the first American English dictionary. Publishers Weekly praises its humorous tone, calling it, “a boisterous account of a singular contributor to America’s linguistic legacy.” They also praise Mircea’s illustrations, writing, “Catusanu…creates lively, patchwork scenes that incorporate samples from prints, newspapers, books, and Webster’s own letters.” Noah Webster’s Fighting Words will be released April 1st. You can pre-order it online here.
Il Sung Na‘s Bird, Balloon, Bear and Lucía the Luchadora, written by Cynthia Leonor Garza and illustrated by Alyssa Bermudez, were chosen by Amazon for their Best Books of the Month for Ages 3-5! Bird, Balloon, Bear tells the story of a shy bird’s attempts to make friends with a bear who is more interested in a mysterious red balloon. Bird, Balloon, Bear will be released March 14th. You can pre-order it online here. Lucía the Luchadora is the story of a plucky young girl who finds the bravery to stand up for herself and others when her grandmother reveals her family’s secret history of luchadoras, the female members of the lucha libre tradition. Lucía comes out tomorrow! If you can’t wait till then, you can pre-order it here. The full list of books selected for Amazon’s Best Books of the Month can be found here.