You Are My Pumpkin

Author/Illustrator: Joyce Wan

Publisher: Scholastic

If you’re in the market for sweet Halloween books, look no further. This seriously could not be any cuter. There is basically zero scare factor here. Check out some of the inside spreads. And oh, that closing. ❤️

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The Monsters’ Monster

Author/Illustrator: Patrick McDonnell

Publisher: Little Brown and Company

Man oh man I love Patrick McDonnell’s work. His illustrations are so distinctive and his voice so endearing. If you’re looking for a sweet Halloween read, look no further.

We meet three monsters, who are quite awful (and only slightly remind me of my kids 😂).

They decide to create the biggest, baddest monster of all…

Only to find out that their creation is…super thankful to be alive! Ha! This was such a sweet, unexpected surprise from a book about monsters. I can’t recommend this one enough. We see so much spooky and scary at this time of year – it’s wonderful to see truly sweet as well.

And just wait until you see the last few pages…but you’ll have to go check it out for yourself! I can’t spoil it, it’s too good. ❤️📚

I Am A Story

Author/Illustrator: Dan Yaccarino

Publisher: HarperCollins

What’s more important than stories? They are the ties that bind, the lens through which we see the world, the way we communicate. I love the idea of this book – to simply talk about stories:

The ways in which stories have been told:

And the ways in which we have done stories wrong:

And how it closes is just perfect: stories live forever.

I’d recommend this for a slightly older child, one who can understand the concepts laid out above.

Strictly No Elephants

Author: Lisa Mantchev

Illustrator: Taeeun Yoo

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Inclusion is such an important topic for kids to grasp. This book does a wonderful job on this, without being overly saccharine. We start with a boy who feels alone. And it is hard for any child to feel different and/or left out:

I love how the book repeats the refrain of “that’s what friends do” throughout – so kids can see several examples of kindness in action.

And they find out that they’re not truly alone – because even when you feel different, someone else probably shares that difference.

We end with the kids forming their own group – one *anyone* can join. Isn’t that the best?

A fantastic book for kids who might be encountering/noticing differences and exclusions or bullying for the first time.

Why Instagram is Great for Writers

There are numerous articles about social media and writers and how much time you should invest in any given platform. I’m going to talk specifically about Instagram and why I think it is an amazing tool for writers. Note: my experience relates to writing picture books but I think many of the points would carry over for writers of other genres, within #kidlit and otherwise.

So, here are my Top 3 Reasons Instagram is Great for (Published/Unpublished) Writers:

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Pirasaurs!

Author: Josh Funk

Illustrator: Michael Slack

Publisher: Scholastic

A hilarious rhyming gem from Josh Funk – perfect for kids whose attention span isn’t quite up to the amazing LADY PANCAKE AND SIR FRENCH TOAST books.

Loved the bright and bold illustrations by Michael Slack. The colors are fun and there are great details for those who take a little more time with the book. And check out the end papers, amazing, right?!

On A Magical Do Nothing Day

Author/Illustrator: Beatrice Alemagna

Publisher: Harper

“Here we are again. Me and Mom in the same cabin. The same forest. The same rain. Dad back in the city.”

So begins our journey of discovery. When the child’s video game falls into deep water, he is forced to view his surrounds with new eyes.

I love the orange raincoat that is a burst of color as he explores the muted world around him. This is a beautiful book about that most common of things: a rainy day spent exploring. Just gorgeous.

I was sent this book courtesy of Harper Collins.

I’m Still Here…

Full title: I’m Still Here…I’m Just On Instagram! I’ve updated the site to include my Instagram posts and I hope you’ll follow along over there.

I love the book community on Instagram – it’s so supportive and there is sincere excitement about kidlit. I think I’ll do a post about the benefits of Instagram (from a writer’s perspective) – keep an eye out for that one soon!

Austin SCBWI Meeting – Applying the Golden Rule to Critique Partnerships

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Critique unto others as you would have them critique unto you.

Today was the monthly SCBWI -Austin meeting and it focused on critiques – a timely topic given my last post. The speaker was Bradley Wilson, of Yellow Bird Editors.

After the jump you’ll find my notes from the session. I hope they prove useful to you – I think there were some great tips!

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Is the PB Writing Community TOO Positive?

Hear me out here.

As anyone familiar with the writing community knows, its generally a very positive community. Everyone cheers everyone else to victory. We celebrate them signing with agents, shout out book birthdays and generally love to see others succeed. And I think that is wonderful. Truly. It’s almost surreal to see such a positive community of people all centered around creating something special for children.

But.

You knew there was a but, right?

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