Latinxs in Kids Lit, a blog that explores the presence of Latinx writers and illustrators in children’s and YA features, has been running a series of interviews featuring Latina illustrators. The most recent edition includes Alyssa Bermudez, illustrator of the recent picture book Lucía the Luchadora. They asked Alyssa questions focusing on her inspiration, her artistic process, and what picture books mean to her. Alyssa highlighted the importance of picture books and diversity in her answer, “Picture books are important because it allows children to visualize and understand their own stories as they grow up.” The complete interview can be found here.
It’s Canada’s 150th anniversary and in honor of this exciting event, Scholastic Canada released a new book entitled I Am Canada. Featuring the poem of the same title by Heather Patterson, this beautiful picture book is illustrated by some of Canada’s top artsts, including Painted Word’s own Ashley Spires. Happy anniversary, Canada! More information is available about I Am Canada here.
Kirkus recently shared “Getting Down to Earth,” a list of three recommended children’s books with strong environmental themes. Included on this list is Gerald Kelley‘s recently published Please Please the Bees. His authorial debut, Please Please the Bees is the story of a bear who loves honey…until the bees that make his honey go on strike! Kirkus called Please “a delightful surprise,” and praised the book for combining pro-union messages with environmental themes. Kirkus recommends it to any teachers wanting to educate children on labor strikes or on the dangers currently facing honeybees. But Please Please the Bees should be an enjoyable picture book even to those not interested in those vital topics, because as Kirkus writes, “It’s funny and thought-provoking, and Kelley’s expressive paintings are sunny and warm.” Kirkus’s “Getting Down to Earth” article is available here, and some awesome spreads from Please are linked here. You can purchase Please Please the Bees here.
The 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards have been released! In the “Children’s Picture Book (6 Years & Up)” category, Over in the Grasslands: On an African Savanna, written by Marianne Berkes and illustrated by Jill Dubin tied for first place. Set to the rhyme of “Over in the Meadow,” Over in the Grasslands teaches children about the African savanna and the animals that live there. Congratulations, Marianne and Jill! The full list of Indie Book Award winners is available here. Over in the Grasslands can be purchased here.
Summer is here, which means plenty of time for reading! Scholastic recently released a list of 50 Brilliant Books for Summer for children to read. Noah Webster’s Fighting Words, written by Tracy Nelson Maurer and illustrated by Mircea Catusanu, was included in this list under the non-fiction category. Noah is the true story of a little known founding father who compiled the first American English dictionary. Scholastic describes Noah as an “eye-catchingly illustrated biography.” Scholastic full list of recommendations can be found here. Noah Webster’s Fighting Words can be purchased online here.
The larger publishing houses are well known, but don’t forget smaller publishers or indie presses! In order to help spread awareness of these small presses, the SLJ recently put out an article entitled “Celebrating Small Publishers: An Array of Remarkable 2017 Titles From the Smallest Houses.” Included on this list were two picture books by artists/authors represented by Painted Words! Lucía the Luchadora, written by Cynthia Leonor Garza and illustrated by Alyssa Bermudez, tells the story of a young girl who finds the bravery to stand up to bullies when her grandmother shares a secret about their family history. As the SLJ wrote, “What’s not to love?” Purchase Lucía the Luchadora online here. Please Please the Bees, Gerald Kelley‘s debut as an author, is the story of what happens when a group of bees stand up to the bear making huge demands on their honey production. The SLJ praised the bravery of the liberal, pro-union message of the story. You can purchase Please Please the Bees here. The SLJ’s full list of recommended presses and titles can be found here.