You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Picture books’ category.

Betsy Bird is conducting a big ol’ picture book poll, and you should participate, too.


The Let’s Just Get This Out of the Way Category:   Where the Wild Things Are

written & illustrated by Maurice Sendak

This is going to be on A LOT of lists.  A LOT.  I was going to leave it off of my list, because I knew it would be covered, but I can’t.  Is there another book more cited as inspiration for authors and illustrators?  Not that I’ve heard.  In his talk on Saturday, Brian Selznick pointed out subtle choices Mr. Sendak made to make it all the more wonderful, and I have a new appreciation.


The Favorite Book from my Childhood Category:   Tell Me a Mitzi

writtten by Lore Segal & illustrated by Harriet Pincus

This was my go to book as a child.  I was a little kid in Wyoming enchanted by the city scenes, the autonomous kids, unique format, and the subtle details in the art.  One of the great underappreciated books, in my opinion.


Change of Perspective Category (tie):   The Night Worker

written by Kate Banks & illustrated by Georg Hallensleben

More people living in the city!  And working at night!  Kids like to think that the world turns off when they go to sleep, and this books shows them it’s not true.  Mindblowing.  Bonus points for non-white characters.

arabooliesThe Araboolies of Liberty Street

written by Sam Swope & illustrated by Barry Root

Extreme neighbors, colorful art, and a challenge to conformity and fascism.  Name another picture book like that.


The Diabolical Zoo category (tie):   Pssst!

written & illustrated by Adam Rex

Simple, yet sharp, and very, very funny.  Great attention to detail.



Slow Loris

by Alexis Deacon

Never make assumptions about speed-challenged primates.


The Wish We Were There Category (tie):   Night of the Moonjellies

written & illustrated by Mark Shasha

This book sparks envy in my kid every time we read it.  First, he wants to get a gig in a food stand.  Then he wants to take a boat out after dark to find a herd of glowing jellyfish.  I do, too.


The Adventures of Polo

by Regis Faller

Polo travels from the depths of the ocean, to outer space, to a monkey party, and beyond.  And then, home to read.  Wordlessly.


The Pulling a Kid into The Story Category:   The Monster at the End of the Book

written by Jon Stone & illustrated by Mike Smollin

What a page tuner.  I’ve never met a kid who wasn’t entirely delighted to antagonize lovable, furry old Grover.


The Bedtime Category:   The Night Eater

written & illustrated by Ana Juan

I love Ana Juan, and this one is my favorite.  Great atmosphere.

alaska-035-tiltshiftI’m in a very bring-on-the-weekend mood.

I am digging away at my manuscript.  I took a little break last night and the ideas kept coming.  I think I might have worked through my block!  Now, I just have to stick to the two hours per day.  This month, it’s a challenge.

Maybe the end is near, and two hours of revisions per day isn’t enough.  Maybe I should start typing faster.


Parade Magazine’s “What People Earn” Grimms’ Fairy Tale Edition, ala McSweeney’s

Do you ever see an artist’s work and bet they could make a pretty gorgeous picture book? You’ll see what I mean

Ramona-the movie!  Thanks to Confessions of a Bibliovore for the info.

I have a whole lotta muppet love.  I was sad at Christmas because we no longer have a VCR to play my worn out Emmett Otter’s Jugband Christmas tape.  Then I unwrapped the new dvd version (with bloopers!) of Emmet that my sweet sister sent, and Christmas was saved.  So, I think it’s pretty amazing that Betsy Bird got to do this.  

Not at all related to kid lit, but share-worthy none the less.  2008 in pictures, via the Boston Globe’s Big Picture blog.  Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Cory Doctorow gives advice on writing in the age of distraction.

That came from Boing Boing, as did the thing that is currently distracting me from writing!  The TiltShift maker!  Here are a ton of fabulous examples to inspire you.


Excuse me, I need to go miniaturize my kids.  May your weekend strike the perfect balance of play and productivity.


I received my wonderful pressies from the book blogger swap and actually waited until Christmas to open them.  My Secret Santa was the Bassett Knitter,and she should win some type of award for giving gifts to strangers. In my little “about me” email I mentioned that I wrote middle grade and suggested that a my person could send a copy of their favorite book from 5th grade.  She sent a copy of A Wrinkle in Time (which I haven’t read for years), a lovely tote, a hand knit ornament, a pioneer craft book, some candy, and a handmade box of writing prompts!  It was a sweet and lovely package.  Thank you, Paula!

Xmas pressies






Xmas pressies 2













A ping pong door.  Genius!


peaAmy Krause Rosenthal writes fine picture books, like Little Pea and Little Hoot.  That should keep her busy enough, but she also has a social experiment to illicit more loveliness from the world.  








She’s starting a new phase of her experiment, a conglomerative documentary of loveliness.  Want to be a part of it?  The deadline is in a couple of weeks, and the info is here.

Writing.  Ugh!  I’m sick of my manuscript.  I feel like I’m treading water and it will never ever be finished.  I thought I would feel better once I finished my draft and sorted out a few things, but the more I dig into it…the more problems I find.  The before the X, and after the X feel like two different stories.  The pacing, the action.  I just feel a really long way from making it work.  I don’t know if I can be objective anymore.  It probably needs a new set of eyes, but it’s too muddled to show anyone.  Ugh.

There aren’t enough blogs devoted to middle grade writing.  YA and picture books kind of dominate the kidlitosphere.  Every time I find a new one, like Welcome to my Tweendom, it makes me happy.

Way #3795 to avoid writing:  A blog devoted entirely to animal babies born in zoos.  Cuteness abounds.

I’m uploading a few shed pictures this very instant, so those will be up shortly.  I promise to post them by the end of the year.

I’d been looking forward to Jim Lynch‘s workshop on pulling novels from nature for a long time.  Jim wrote The Highest Tide, so he knows a bit about working nature into a novel.  If you haven’t read it, you should.  There’s a YA version with a different cover (a boy in a boat).

One of the things that really struck me about his workshop was his emphasis on setting.  Jim believes that writers (and those that teach writers) don’t put enough emphasis on setting. Just as where we come from sets up who we basically are, he believes that if you start a novel with a rich setting the story and characters will spring from that.  



And now, to honor a new WordPress feature… a poll!

When you boil it down, what does your story start with?  If it varies, how about your last story?

Do the kids know?  The Scholastic News election goes to Obama.  The election is usually a good predictor.  Fingers crossed (link from Read Roger).

Next Wednesday Deb Lund and Kathryn Galbraith are having a Monster Mash & Bunny Ball at Ballard Library.  Bring the kids!

Tonight I am going to a book launch for my friend Martha Brockenbrough‘s Things that Make Us Sic, illustrated by Jaime Temairik (she of zombies and Twilight sock puppet video fame). Question- if you put a zombie sock puppet on your hand, say “Brains, brains!” in a muppet voice, and 702 people watch it on Youtube, can you get a SAG card?  Just wondering.

Here is the great word of the day:


It means a mixture of all seeds, and it generally refers to the theory that microorganisms from space bring life to planets with good atmospheres.

Speaking of strange science, do you need a calendar and hold an appreciation of carnivorous plants?  Then I have a free download for you.

Adam Rex is having a haiku contest!  Some lucky kid will win a truly awesome grand prize, but you adults can give it a shot, too.

Speaking of winning,  I won a couple of prizes yesterday at Inside Story.  I scored a copy of Things that Make us (Sic), written by the lovely and talented Martha Brockenbrough (with illustrations by Jaime Temairik).  I can’t tell you what it says inside, because it’s not released yet.  I can tell you that she has a blurb from Tom Robbins.  Tom Robbins! Is there a cooler guy to get a blurb from?  Maybe not.





THEN, I won a copy of The Two Bobbies by Kirby Larson and Mary Nethery.  Kirby was kind enough to inscribe it for my kid, a.k.a. the animal lover.




I mentioned Moonrat’s raffle for manuscript critiques to help a sick friend the other day.  Since then, Tracy Marchini of Curtis Brown has agreed to raffle off a picture book critique, and a first chapter of a YA/MG book.  Go enter!





A couple more links:

I missed mentioning the September Carnival of Children’s Literature.  

Through the Tollbooth looks at character arcs.

My blogroll seems to have disappeared.  Archives, too. Hmmm.  I have a few blogs to add, so I’m going to have to get to the bottom of this.

It’s time to nominate books for the Cybils!  There are categories galore!  Give your favorite new books a couple of shout outs, and then get lost in the blogs of the awesome panelists and judges. I nominated A Visitor for Bear by Bonny Becker in picture books and  Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix in fantasy.  I read Found last week and I had to stay up late to finish it.  Check out the book trailer.



Also on the bookshelf…

I just finished reading Bunnicula by James Howe to my kid.  He’s been reading the new early reader versions to himself, which I thought might ruin it for him.  It just enhanced the story, and got him through the bits that might be over his head.  I picked up the book Sunday at Powell’s in Portland, and we devoured it.  He identifies with Chester, which isn’t surprising since we had to address him as ‘Cat’ for a year or so when he was three.  Yesterday we started Howliday Inn.  It always amazes me how much wordier books from my childhood are from books that are published today.  I reread Bunnicula, The Westing Game, Ramona– and the pace is so different.  There is so much more narrative, with less emphasis on action and dialogue.  The language isn’t dumbed down either.  There are big words!  I’m sure there were bits I didn’t understand as a kid, but it didn’t stop me from enjoying the book.  I had to buy a new copy of Bunnicula at Powell’s because my old one fell apart.  I think it might have been my all time favorite book from childhood.

What was yours?

The Fall 2008 Horn Book Guide arrived yesterday.  Yippee! 

Public service announcements!

SInce I’m having sidebar difficulties, I won’t paste the badge for YA for Obama, but I’ll tell you about it.  

YA for Obama

YA for Obama 

YA for Obama

If you’re not registered to vote, you probably only have a couple of days left before the deadline.  It’s not too late.  Go now.  I don’t even care if you’re voting for them.  I prefer if you don’t, but I also prefer democracy to apathy.

Are you swayed by celebrities?  Watch this.  FYI, there are a few f-bombs.

One last thing about Kidlitosphere.  I mentioned after SCBWI LA how things were a wee bit chaotic back home while I was away (Runaway dogs, floods, Sharpied babies….  I hadn’t been out of town without the family since, and I was a tiny bit nervous.  If anything happened this time I didn’t hear about it.  I came home and the baby was ink-free and the HOUSE WAS CLEAN.  Ahhhh.  Bliss.  Thanks, SB!😉

I have been reading a few picture books lately that remind me how important it is to be in touch with what is truly happening with your reader at that age.  My son started kindergarten this month and has been gobbling up the new fall releases about starting school.  If you’re writing a book with this type of setting you should know what many writers do not:  Preschoolers and kindergartners are not typically snarky, sarcastic, or cruel.  There is a common theme of mockery, namecalling, and belittling, that is becoming popular.  It is false.  I’ve spent my share of hours in classrooms as a co-op parent and a teacher, and the early classrooms are not that hostile.  Really.  Middle grades?  That’s another ball of wax- and another age.  

Just had to get that off my chest.

Alright, moving on.  

The Cybils have a new category, and have announced the new panelists for it.

Ask Daphne liveblogs her reactions to a whole lotta queries.  Take notes!  Part one, and Part two.

Writers are not the only ones that get neurotic when the rush of new love with a manuscript wears off.  Editorial Ass outlines the editorial cycle.

Loose your page?  How about Orange has origami bookmarks that are easy peasy.

Shed update:  The carpenter took the weekend off, so there was no progress on the shack this weekend.  I’ll post some more progress pictures in a couple of days.  I hear sawing and hammering as I type. Yippee!  I did get some flooring and researched installing an extensive (lower maintenance) green roof.  We’d probably have to change the pitch a little bit and reinforce it a tad, but it sounds doable.  I found this picture on ecogeek, and now I can’t stop daydreaming about a herd of tiny goats troptroptropping over the roof of my tiny studio.  Like chihuahuas, only more likable and with bah bahs instead of yap yaps.

I write stories for kids while volunteering as the Assistant Regional Advisor and Conference Coordinator for the western Washington chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).

I live in Seattle with my family and a small zoo of animals. I drink copious amounts of coffee and assign complicated life stories to passing strangers. I'm currently working on a middle grade novel.

There's a wee bit more on my website. You can also follow me on twitter.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.