Lilly Belle: A Damsel Not in Distress by Joanna Pastro, Illustrated by Jhon Ortiz
When faced with the danger of giants, ogres, and witches, other damsels might quake with fear . . . but not LillyBelle!
At the School for Damsels, LillyBelle enjoys many damsel-in-training classes, like cake baking and vocal training, but the rule that a damsel must be in distress . . . not so much. When she’s captured by one villain after another, LillyBelle will need to use her charm and her wit to save herself and prove once and for all that damsels don’t have to be in distress–all in time for tea!
Joanna’s Website: http://www.joanapastro.com/
Jhon’s Website: http://www.jhonortizart.com/
Lani: The Girl Without Fear by Dan Cole
In a world controlled by fear, Lani is unique: a teenage girl who feels no fear, and often gets herself into dangerous situations because of it. Lani feels stifled by her overprotective and terrified parents, and after learning about family in a distant city, Lani plans to leave. Her faithful Minotaur bodyguard, Brutus, helps her escape the Great City of Ghal. In the Wilds, Lani learns much about love, herself, and her world. Mostly through a young woman named Kas who shows her what it’s like to live in the wilds and to feel something for another person. Death follows Lani though. Leaving Ghal wasn’t only to find family, but out of necessity after Lani hurt another student at her school. Fear Mongers, or Mongers for short, sent by her parents dog her steps and leave a trail of death searching for her. Lani must learn that although her lack of fear is quite the power in this world, it can be a burden.Especially to those important to her. Marauding robots, dangerous monsters, animal and human amalgamations known as Primals, and learning about her world makes Lani’s journey across the Flatlands a dangerous adventure. Lani also meets a mysterious warrior known as the Wanderer, who teachers her and her friends about the past, and about herself. After suffering great loss, and learning great truths, Lani’s plans have to change, and death creeps ever closer.
Buy the Book: https://www.amazon.com/Lani-Girl-Without-Dan-Cole/dp/B087L6SF5J/
Dan’s Website: https://www.dancoleauthor.com/
Audrey Orr and the Robot Rage by Jenny Moore
When Audrey Orr’s mum wins a luxury cruise to Norway, Audrey thinks she’s won the jackpot — until she realises it’s during term-time. With her no-nonsense headteacher, Mr Stickler, on her case, she has to resort to something a bit unusual: a robot clone! But can she trust Awesome the clone to stay home and pretend to be her or will Awesome turn out to be a bit… Awful?
Jenny’s Website: https://jennifermoore.wordpress.com/
The Girl Who Stole the Stars by Corrina Campbell
Corrina Campbell is the third Little Door Debut to be published by Little Door Books. She is a highly talented new author/ illustrator with a wonderfully quirky style, bringing to life her colourful world. This is a perfect alternative seasonal tale about friendship, love and happiness, and doing the right thing. Everybody loves the stars but have you ever loved them enough to steal them? Not just one or two, but all of them? When a little girl decides she wants a real star of her own she can’t resist taking them all. What she doesn’t realise is that taking the stars will have disastrous consequences for her and millions of other children around the world. But what will it take for her to give them back?
Corrina’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/corrinacampbell
Sunny By Celia Krampien
Most people would say there is nothing good about trudging to school on a rainy day.
Most people would say that being carried away by the wind and dropped into the middle of a tumultuous sea is a very bad sort of situation.
No, most people wouldn’t like that at all.
But Sunny isn’t most people. Sunny likes to look on the bright side. And when things get exceedingly bleak?
Well, isn’t that what friends are for?
Buy the Book: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250316608
Celia’s Website: http://www.celiakrampien.com/
Grama's Hug by Amy Nielander
May and Grama are a team. They do everything together, from inventing creative projects to going birdwatching to preparing for the annual space fair. And they never, ever say goodbye without a hug. May’s love of science takes her far as her inventions win year after year, helped by Grama’s support, effort, and love. She travels to space camp and eventually beyond, earning her spot as the first kid astronaut to journey into space. As May prepares for her mission to explore the cosmos, she seems ready to go without looking back, making Grama worried that she will leave without a hug.
This picture book explores the importance of treasuring even the smallest moments with people you love with heartwarming illustrations, expressive characters, and delightful touches of whimsy.
Buy the Book: https://www.amynielander.com/index#/gramas-hug
Amy’s Website: https://www.amynielander.com/
The Ugly Doodles by Valeria Wicker
After an inspiring visit to the local art museum, Raven Rembrandt is eager to create her own beautiful masterpieces. But the only thing she can seem to draw are ugly doodles—and they won’t go away, no matter how hard she tries to discard them! After a few increasingly inventive attempts to get rid of them, Raven realizes that the only way to learn to love her art is to just create.
Valeria’s Website: http://www.valeriawicker.com/
The Third Sun by Victoria J. Price
After the death of her sister, eighteen-year-old Fia Aldridge knows one thing for certain: she doesn’t belong anywhere. But then she tumbles into the parallel world of Ohinyan—a world where angels and witches walk amongst mankind.
An ancient darkness is taking advantage of the dying sun, and Ohinyan needs Fia’s help. She soon learns that her arrival is not entirely by accident and that Alexander, leader of angels, is not the guardian she thought he was.
Torn between their feelings and their duties, together they must find a way to return Fia to London before the darkness consumes her and she is trapped in Ohinyan forever.
Buy the Book: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B0837XVS7W
Victoria’s Website: https://victoriajprice.com/
The Last Witness by Claire McFall
Heather agrees to go camping with Dougie and his friends because she’s desperate to get closer to him, and a secluded beach sounds like the perfect place. But the trip takes a sinister turn that brings Heather’s plans to a violent end.
One by one, the group begins to vanish.
A year later, Heather knows she’s just lucky to be alive. And now, people are asking for answers, or else she will be the one to take the blame. But the truth about what happened on that trip is far more terrifying than anyone knows…
Buy the Book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Y5NMLCK/
Claire’s Website: http://www.clairemcfall.co.uk/
Broken (The Stolen Series) by Marlena Frank
A land has fallen. An escape was made. It’s a victory, but at what price? Shaleigh has made a terrible mistake, one she may not ever be able to fix. Lost and in a strange land with anger and death all around her, she must navigate her way through treacherous lands on her quest for redemption. Along the way she’ll have to negotiate with the mercurial Queen of the Fae, survive the dangers of the Masked King’s realm, and seek out a terrifying fire dragon.With two powerful beings hot on her trail, Shaleigh has no choice but to keep moving, or else face the dangerous magic of the Madness that has already caused so much pain and heartache. With her sights on helping her friends and her heart longing for home, Shaleigh is determined, but will it be enough?
Marlena’s Website: https://marlenafrank.com/
I am only featuring 3 authors today because 2 of these authors have released so many books this year! Congratulations to all of you plus the illustrators as well!
Such A Library!: A Yiddish Folktale Re-Imagined by Jill Ross Nadler, Illustrated by Esther Van Den Berg
An old Yiddish folktale in a modern-day library… with a magical librarian! Stevie craves quiet until Miss Understood, a magical librarian, wreaks havoc in this modern-day twist on an old Yiddish folktale.
Jill’s Website: https://jillrossnadler.com/
Illustrator’s Portfolio: https://www.plumpuddingillustration.com/work/?page=1&artist=174&name=&cat=1&id=137
Layla and the Bots: Happy Paws by Vicky Fang. Illustrated by Christine Nishiyama
Layla and the Bots are in an awesome rock band! They also use problem-solving and creativity to build cool inventions. When a local amusement park is in danger of shutting down, Layla knows just how to bring in the crowds… build an amusement park for DOGS! But will cool doggie rides like the Rub-a-Dub Mud Slide and the Tummy Rubbing Machine be enough to keep the park open? With full-color artwork on every page and speech bubbles throughout, this early chapter book series brings kid-friendly STEAM topics to young readers!
This series is part of Scholastic’s early chapter book line Branches, aimed at newly independent readers. With easy-to-read text, high-interest content, fast-paced plots, and illustrations on every page, these books will boost reading confidence and stamina. Branches books help readers grow!
Layla and the Bots: Built for Speed by Vicky Fang. Illustrated by Christine Nishiyama
Blossom Valley is hosting a go-kart race! The go-karts are provided for all the kids in town. Layla and the Bots can’t wait for race day! But one racer, Tina, needs their help. She needs a new cart that uses hand-controls and other cool features. Layla and the Bots know just what to do… they will build her a brand-new cart that’s even faster than her wheelchair! But will Tina’s go-kart have enough speed to win the race? With full-color artwork on every page and speech bubbles throughout, this early chapter book series brings kid-friendly STEAM topics to young readers!
Buy The Books: https://vickyfang.com/books/layla/#happy-paws
Vicky’s Website: vickyfang.com/books
Christine’s Website: https://might-could.com/about/
INVENT-A-PET By Vicky Fang, Illustrated by Tidawan Thaipinnarog
Katie is an ordinary girl who longs for an extraordinary pet—something more spectacular than a simple goldfish. Then one day Katie comes home to find a gift from her mother: a mysterious machine designed to help her create that one-of-a-kind creature. Each time she feeds different items into the machine, out comes a marvelously colorful new animal—like a purple monkey, rainbow-spotted horse, and green bunny! But none of them is just right. Through trial and error, Katie figures out the formula for her absolutely perfect SURPRISE pet.
Buy The Book: https://vickyfang.com/books/invent-a-pet/
Tidawan’s Website: No website yet!
I CAN CODE: IF/THEN and
I CAN CODE: AND/OR
Written by Fang, Illustrated by Jade Orlando
Written by an expert, I Can Code: IF/THEN uses simple text, colorful illustrations, and interactive flaps to help little ones discover the building blocks of coding all around them! As they follow along with an adorable story about cause and effect, they’ll explore fundamental concepts like conditions, rules, and logic―and have fun doing it.
Educators are saying every child needs to know the basics of coding―and this book will get them started as early as possible!
Buy the Books: https://vickyfang.com/books/i-can-code/#if-then
Jade’s Website: https://www.jadefrolics.com/childrens
How to Meet a Mermaid by Sue Fliess, illustrated by Simona Sanfilippo
Legend has it that the only way to meet a mermaid is to know where to look and how to craft a beautiful gift that shows her you care. If you’re lucky, she may even take you on an adventure to explore the ocean!
Mermaids are rarely seen, and even more rarely met. But, if you gather some natural craft supplies–seashells, grass, pieces of coral, driftwood, and sea glass–you might just get to befriend one!
If you look closely, you just might discover a mermaid out in the waves at the edge of the shore. And if you do, you’ll need to be ready! By being observant, resourceful, and friendly, you can make a beautiful crown from natural beach materials that will show your new mermaid friend you truly care, and then you’ll be taken on an incredible adventure through the ocean’s depths, past ancient shipwrecks, and across the waves. You just might get to experience what it’s like to be a mermaid yourself, too!
Sue Fliess’s poetic read-aloud text and Simona Sanfilippo’s vibrant, whimsical illustrations will provide much fun for young readers eager to meet their own mermaids! Also included are guides for teachers and parents about how to engage children in building mermaid crowns themselves and how to interest them in the natural world, the history of mermaids, and the many cultures that have believed in them.
Buy the Book: https://www.suefliess.com/how-to-meet-a-mermaid
Sue’s Website: https://www.suefliess.com/
Simona’s Website: http://www.tissi.altervista.org/
How to Find a Unicorn by Sue Fliess, illustrated by Simona Sanfilippo
Legend has it that the only way to find a unicorn is to know where to look and how to craft a beautiful gift that shows her you are a friend. If you’re lucky, she may even take you for a ride!
Unicorns are excellent judges of character. So, gather some natural craft supplies like daisies, sugar cubes, ivy, ferns, apples, grass, and straw, and get ready to find a magical new friend!
If your heart is pure, you just might discover a unicorn out in the mystical forests of the mountains. And if you do, you’ll need to be ready! By being resourceful, careful, and kind, you can make beautiful riding gear from nature that will show your unicorn friend you truly care, and then you’ll be taken on an incredible ride through sunny meadows, over sparkling oceans, and along the brilliant arcs of rainbows!
Sue Fliess’s poetic read-aloud text and Simona Sanfilippo’s vibrant, whimsical illustrations will provide much fun for young readers eager to find their own unicorn friend! Also included are guides for teachers and parents about how to engage children in building unicorn-riding gear themselves and how to interest them in the natural world, the history of unicorns, and the many cultures that believed in them.Buy the Book: https://www.suefliess.com/how-to-find-a-unicorn
Flash and Gleam: Light in Our World by Sue Fliess, illustrated by Khoa Le
The soft glow of a candle, the blink of a firefly, a burst of fireworks―light is everywhere in our world! Rhyming text and luminous illustrations follow four children as they experience many different forms of light.
Khoa’s Website: http://khoale.daportfolio.com/
The Princess and the Petri Dish by Sue Fliess, illustrated by Petros Bouloubasis
Pippa isn’t your usual princess. She prefers petri dishes to perfecting her curtsying. And when she realizes that she doesn’t like peas, she gets a sweet idea that consumes her and almost the whole kingdom.
Buy the Book: https://www.suefliess.com/princess-and-the-petri-dish
Petros’ Website: http://www.petrosbouloubasis.com/
2020 Kidlit Book Releases
I had a minor family emergency yesterday for my 4 year old. He’s fine. Just needs to be on antibiotics for a week. I didn’t get a chance to put these up yesterday, so here they are late today. I’m going to continue to post these on Tuesdays until I get through my list!
No Party Poopers by Gretchen McLellan and illustrated by Lucy Semple
Gretchen’s Website: http://gretchenmclellan.com/
Lucy’s Website: https://www.lucysemple.co.uk/
I've Got A Tail! by Julie Murphy and illustrated by Hannah Tolson
Julie’s Website: https://juliemurphybooks.com/
Hannah’s Website: https://www.hannahtolson.com/
Benny's True Colors by Norene Palson illustrated by Anne Passchier
Norene’s Website: http://www.norenepaulson.com/
Anne’s Website: http://www.annepasschier.com/
WHAT A PRICKLY PEAR by Tina Mowrey, Illustrated by Sarah Williams
Tina’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/tmowtx
I could not find Sarah’s website. If you know Sarah, please send me a link to her website!
Two Dogs on a Trike by Gabi Snyder illustrated by Robin Rosenthal
Gabi’s Website: https://gabisnyder.com/
Robin’s Website: https://www.robinrosenthal.com/
Here is a short list of books I gathered from Twitter that had releases this year. Check them out and pick up a copy if you like!
I’m working through a long list of books suggested to me, so I will not have all of the books in this one post. I will continue to make posts on Tuesdays until I get through the list.
If there is a problem with the information on the page, please contact me. If there is a problem with any of the books I may not display them on my site.
MISADVENTURES OF A MAGICIAN’S SON by Laurie Smollett Kutscera released April 1st (published by Blue Whale Press/Clearfork). Middle Grade.
Buy the Book: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781732893542
Taste Your Words by Bonnie Clark. Illustrated by Todd Bright. Picture Book.
Bonnie Clark https://bonnieclarkbooks.com/
Todd Bright http://www.toddbright.com/
Buy the Book:
Cells by Julia Cowan. Languishing in a mysterious prison, a teenager is torn between exposing his abductors and his desire for a new life.
Website & Buy the Book: https://www.blkdogpublishing.com/cells
Dawn Young is on my blog talking about everything writing and fun. That’s right, Dawn has taken on the spirit of Spring into Writing and is talking about her favorite ways to write. So grab a hot drink (or a cold one, I wont judge) and curl up with this wonderful post by Dawn!
You can read more about Dawn and her work here: https://www.dawnyoungbooks.com/
The sun is shining. Flowers are blooming. Birds are chirping. It’s springtime and here we are in Spring into Writing – a perfect time to take that “leap forward” and have some fun!
So how exactly do you have fun writing, when sometimes it’s hard to even start writing, especially when that blank page of paper sitting in front of you seems to be daring you to even try, staring at you as if to say, “So, whatcha got?” or, “Ha! I knew it! You’re as blank as I am!”?
But there are ways to start and definitely ways to have fun! I’m sure what’s considered fun is different for everyone, but here are some things that work for me to make writing fun and they may work for you too…
Humor. To have fun with writing, I go for humor. I love to write funny, wacky stories. In my books, The Night Baafore Christmas (WorthyKids, December 2019), Counting Elephants (Hachette, March 2020) and the soon to be released, The Night Baafore Easter (WorthyKids, January 2021), my goal was to make kids laugh. Since some of my best memories include reading to my kids while they were plopped in my lap, all giggling at silly, clever picture books, I wanted to create that experience for other children. In these books, I went for craziness and chaos.
Rhyme. I love writing in rhyme. To me, it’s fun to write andread. Some of my favorite books are written in rhyme. I love when the rhyme creates a rhythm that makes the words flow, as if your reading was set on cruise control. The Night Baafore Christmas is written in rhyme because, other that the fact that I think it’s fun to write in rhyme, I thought the rhyme created a rollicking rhythm which complemented the Christmas chaos.
Figurative language and specifically alliteration is fun to write and even more fun to read. Think back to being a kid. Remember how fun it was to try and say “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers” and “She sells seashells by the seashore”? Although I wouldn’t advise that level of alliteration, otherwise you’d find yourself tripping over your own tongue, certainly some is fun. My book vThe Night Baafore Christmas is full of alliteration, like these lines:
“Bo reads them a story, they listen and look, till 10 licks a page and devours the book.
Sheep 9 scared of monsters hides under the rug, while 8 missing mommy, holds Bo in a hug. “
And “Bo races to rescue his mother’s new wreath.” The r sounds make the sentence roll off your tongue.
Wordplay. The Night Baafore Christmashas word play in the title. I used Baafore instead of Before because, as you may have guessed, there are sheep in the story, and many of them. The Baafore was a fun way to introduce the sheep without actually saying there are sheep in this story. Then in the story I have them discover the fridge and bellow “baaffet!” to add more word play.
Internal rhyme. Again, think back to being a kid. Remember how fun it was to say “The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout.”? In The Night Baafore Christmas, I tried to add as much internal rhyme as I could, like “while Bo saves the angel, sheep 1, 2 and 3 nibble non-stop to the top of the tree.”
Unexpected twist. Well, I can’t reveal the twist in The Night Baafore Christmasbecause it would spoil the ending, so you’ll have to read it for yourself…
Write about things you love. Your natural love for the subject will inherently come through, so think of the things you like to do and use that as material for your stories.
Something I think is fun is math. As former mechanical engineer turned writer, I don’t get many opportunities to do math, except of course when I help my kids with their homework, which usually doesn’t go well, since they do not appreciate my math enthusiasm. We all know most kids roll their eyes at the thought of math, so I wanted to get kids to have fun with math. With Counting Elephants, my goal was to make the book fun to read so kids would feel that sense of enjoyment, connect that feeling to math and have a more positive view of math in general.
Shake things up. I’ve read counting book after counting book with my kids, but they were typically the same ̶ a number on the page and some items that add to that number. And that’s great for the really little kids, but I wanted to take counting to the next level. I wanted kids to do more than count. I wanted them to add and subtract. I imagined an addition character, counting items, while a subtraction character made them disappear. I put them together and Voilà! I came up with a Counter who tries to count her ten elephants while her magician friend – POOF! – makes it impossible. Ten, nine, eight… each time we get back to counting, one of the elephants has been changed into something unexpected. In Counting Elephants, kids are adding new things in and subtracting elephants out to come up with a total of 10. And what better way for kids to have fun than to have things go a little crazy.
Unexpected twist. Once again, but this time in Counting Elephants, I can’t reveal the twist or it will spoil the ending, so you’ll have to read for yourself.
Pay attention to what makes you smile, laugh and fill up with joy. Use what you’re passionate about when you write to take that leap and Spring into Writing and have some fun.
Dawn Young bio:
Dawn graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, and later with an MBA. For years, Dawn worked as an engineer and, later, manager at a large aerospace company, until her creative side called her to pursue her dream of writing children’s books. After reading and writing hundreds of corporate documents, none of which were titled The Little Engineer Who Could or Don’t Let the Pigeon Fly the Airbus, Dawn is thrilled to now be reading and writing picture books instead.
Dawn is also a math enthusiast. When she’s not busy writing and reading, she can be found doing math problems, sometimes just because… In high school, Dawn’s dream was to have a math equation named after her, but now, she believes having her name on the cover of books is a million times better! Dawn lives with her husband, three children and golden retriever in sunny Arizona. She is the author of The Night Baafore Christmas (WorthyKids, Oct 2019), Counting Elephants (Hachette, March 2020), and the soon to be released The Night Baafore Easter (WorthyKids, Jan 2021).
Buy Dawn’s Books:
The Night Baafore Christmas: https://www.amazon.com/Night-Baafore-Christmas-Dawn-Young/dp/1546014586/
It’s sadly the last full week of Spring into Writing! Since there is not much left to do after Saturday I’ll be going over the rest of the month through June 1st!
Monday, May 25th: Dawn Young starts off the week talking about fun with writing. Yes, she’s taking on the spirit of our event here and putting it into post format. Lots of fun little tidbits here you wont want to miss. Dawn’s Website: https://www.dawnyoungbooks.com/
Tuesday, May 26th: A list of some books released in 2020 from different authors!
Wednesday, May 13th: Lisa Chen-Wing shares a powerful post about the reasons to start a webcomic. She creates her own autobiographical webcomic called “Whiny Whiny Pancakes”. This comic is hilarious. Check it out and fall in love with Lisa’s comic: http://whinywhinypancakes.com/
Friday, May 15th: The superpowered Cyndi Marko talks about her life as an writer/illustrator. Her book collection just released in April. The fifth book in her Kung Pow Chicken series coming out in September 2020! She’s also got a lot of other books coming out, so you wont want to miss this interview! https://www.cyndimarko.com/
Monday, June 1st: End of Spring into Writing. Lots of crying and one last prize!
Larissa and Keith Marantz are the creators of the Clyde the Hippo series. They have worked together through four wonderful books. I realize now that I didn’t talk enough about Clyde the Hippo in this interview. It started with their child asking for a pet, and Keith saying that they didn’t need a pet, because they had a hippo in their back yard. Years later they worked together and came up a wonderful series with a hippo named Clyde! You can read more about their books here: http://clydethehippo.com
Recently Larissa and Keith launched their book series in a virtual book launch party! It was so much fun. In some ways it was better than a bookstore book launch because I (and many other people including their agent) got to see the launch even though I live so far away.
Dani: How do you both work through ideas?
Larissa & Keith: Since we are a team, and we are married, ideas will happen at any time. Usually, Keith get his idea in the shower, and incidentally does a lot of his “writing” in the shower, too.
He’s more of the “idea guy” and I’m more of the “refiner” of the ideas. Although I have had a few ideas for stories that we’ve worked on. Clyde Lied was based off of my idea that he ended up writing ( and will be released in June, 2020). Basically, we’ll talk about our ideas during our evening walks with the dog, or during the day. If I get a visual idea in my head, I’ll draw a really rough sketch of it in my sketchbook. I’ve got quite a few stories that haven’t been developed yet that are still in rough sketch form in my sketchbooks. When Keith gets an idea, he’ll write it down and spend some time with it. If he thinks it’s promising, he’ll develop it into something to pitch to our agent. She lets us know if it’s worth spending the time to pursue or not.
Dani: What do you do when you aren’t working?
Larissa & Keith: Well, right now in this pandemic, we are doing pretty much the same as we did before. We both work from home, but when we’re not working, we’d usually hang out at the house, taking walks, or go get dessert with our kids. Now, we’re baking desserts at home. Keith is a phenomenal chef so he enjoys making delicious meals every night to keep the feeling of normalcy as much as possible. Except, now his meals have interesting names. The other night he made Hawaiian food and named it Lockdown Luau featuring Kovid Kalua Pork, Quarantine Cabbage and Mac-Corona Salad.
Dani: If there was a movie or song that describes your life, what would it be?
Larissa & Keith: I have no idea how to answer this but when I asked Keith he paused briefly and said “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now” by McFadden and Whitehead, 1979.
(Keith pulled that out of his head, him being a former DJ, knew exactly the song, the band and they year it was released.)
Dani: Any advice for working on projects with your significant other?
Larissa & Keith: Be open to criticism from your loved one and don’t take it personally when your partner makes suggestions for improvement. Remember that the project you’re working on is a team effort and the goal is to make it a success, and sometimes that means dropping your ego and not holding on to things that you want, but letting go and being open to possibilities. Know what your strengths are in the partnership and know what your weaknesses are so that you can each utilize your strengths and help each other out where the other needs help.
Yes, those are the rules we’ve set. But I have to admit that I’m still learning those rules. It’s very challenging at times, but conversely, it’s also extremely rewarding to know that together we are using the best of our abilities to make something we hope will make a mark in the literary world.
Dani: What projects do you have on the way?
Larissa & Keith: We are both working on our first graphic novel, BLAKE LASER, about a 12 year old inventor who must stop aliens from stealing the sun’s energy which would lead to the total destruction of Earth within 48 hours. It’s set in the 24th century and the main character has a fun relationship with her annoying older brother that will make this epic tale really relatable to readers. That, and we are trying to get through life in a pandemic. We’re lucky we have our health, our family, and an exciting challenging project to engage us during this time.
Follow Larissa and Keith:
Buy Clyde the Hippo: BooksaMillion (More options on the webpage below)
Clyde The Hippo’s Website: http://clydethehippo.com
Larissa’s Website: http://larissamarantz.com/
Larissa’s Online Art Classes http://larissamarantz.com/oc-art-studios.html
Clyde the Hippo: https://twitter.com/clydethehippo
Larissa Marantz: https://twitter.com/LarissaMarantz
Keith Marantz: https://twitter.com/keith_marantz
What do you do when you want something so bad, but you don’t get it as a gift? Some kids cry, some complain, and some are happy. Carter made the truck he got as a present into the puppy he always wanted.
“Puppy Truck” is a wonderful story of Carter who has a huge imagination. Brian Pinkney does a wonderful job of a boy who shows love to his truck as both a dog and a truck. Carter and the truck have lots of fun adventures. It’s a wonderfully imaginative book. Though the point isn’t to teach a lesson, the book could be used to teach children to be happy with what they have instead of being upset for what they didn’t recieve.
The story itself is illustrated by lots great sound effects and words. These fun words merge wonderfully with the images. The words help so much to show Carter’s excitement and to carry the reader through the story.
The art in “Puppy Truck” is very whimsical. I love the big, bold, varied line that Brian uses. These were done with India Ink and it looks like he used a brush for his inks. The brush strokes make it feel like there is a lot of movement in the pictures.
The acrylics are just as bold as the lines. Beautifully bold colors are used throughout the image.
Honestly I’ve never tried acrylics or inks on Canson Paper (as Brian did). The movement in these colors mimic those of the ink lines making the images look like they are animated.
Get the Book
Brian Pinkney’s Website: https://www.brianpinkney.net/main.html
More about Puppy Truck: https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Puppy-Truck/Brian-Pinkney/9781534426870
Remember to ask your library to pick up a copy of this book. Also leave a review for this book on Goodreads and Amazon!
How About A Night Out?
Have you ever wondered what cats do when the sun goes down? Sam Williams “How About A Night Out?” gives a glimpse into the life of a city cat. Illustrator Matt Hunt beautifully illuminates the night life of a city cat. The characters are cute and fluffy and I want to take them all home!
The lights go out and the cats go out to prowl. Sam Williams story is both realistic and magical. He takes you through a the journey of cats throughout the night. My favorite page in the book says, “How about a night out? A walk about? A prowl about?” There are a lot of phrases in this book that are just a joy to read out loud.
The story is in rhyme. In most stories this type of rhyme wouldn’t work, but the focus is more on the repetition of the words than the actual rhymes themselves. It’s a very fun story to read out loud. My 3 year old loves this book, but it’s fun enough that I’d read it to myself.
These cats look like they are having a lot of fun throughout this book! Though the story is at night, and Matt Hunt uses a lot of black in the backgrounds, the pictures are bright and cheery. There are no drab pages. Matt uses bold, bright, colors in his art.
Matt uses several angles to tell his story. Most of the story is close up to the cats or an overview of the city rooftops (but always with the cats in view). My favorite image is in the center of the book where silhouettes of cats travel over a bridge. The perspective he uses for the different planes of the top and bottom of the bridge aren’t accurate, but put together they make a strikingly beautiful scene.
Get The Book
Pick up How About A Night Out: https://www.amazon.com/How-About-Night-Out-Williams/dp/1912757141/
Sam Williams’s Website: Sam Williams doesn’t appear to have an official website or use social media at all. Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/36802.Sam_Williams
More about How About A Night Out?: http://ww.boxerbooksltd.co.uk/uk/book/210/how-about-a-night-out
Illustrator Matt Hunt: https://www.matthuntillustration.com/
Remember to ask your library to pick up a copy of this book. Also leave a good review for this book on Goodreads and Amazon!
Queen of Physics
If you are looking for a fun non-fiction book as a Christmas gift look no further than “Queen of Physics”. Even if you think you want a fiction book this is the book for you! Queen of Physics is a realistic story that’s magical in it’s telling of the life of Wu Chien Shiung. The beautiful illustrations will have you going back and revisiting the lovely pages of this book. It’s written by Teresa Robeson and illustrated by Rebecca Huang.
Teresa Robeson is a friend that I’ve been talking to on social media for a while. She has written a ton of stories for magazines. She’s also likes sewing, crafting and baking. I love her posts on things she has baked, and seeing the wonderful food her husband has made. I’m so happy that she has a book that I can share with everyone! She also has a second book coming out soon called “Two Bicycles in Bejing”. You can pick up that book here: https://www.teresarobeson.com/two-bicycles-in-beijing.html
“Queen of Physics: How Wu Chein Shiung Helped Unlock The Secrets of the Atom” starts with Wu Chien Shiung’s childhood. As a child she left her family to study far away from home. Chien Shiung loved all kinds of science, but physics is the one science she adored the most. This book helps us see the journey Chien Shiung went through to become a great scientist. Teresa shows Chien Shiung’s struggles throughout her life and succeeds though the odds are stacked against her.
What I love the most about this book is that it features a strong female that did a lot for the world while she was here. She had a huge impact the scientific world. She also was a large social influence and organized protests and strikes to help her country. Chien Shiung’s journey is wonderful for all children and shows them what they can achieve despite their gender or obstacles in life.
The colors in this book are absolutely lovely. Rebecca Huang did a fantastic job. She uses mixed media to create her pictures. I wasn’t able to find any more information on how she created these illustrations. The textured paper made the story feel more like it was a page out of history. The character expressions were wonderful. I love Rebbeca’s use of white space throughout the book. The white space (or negative space) wasn’t always white, but the pages that were white were particularly striking.
Get The Book
Pick up Queen of Physics here: https://www.teresarobeson.com/queen-of-physics.html
Teresa Robeson’s Website: https://www.teresarobeson.com/
More about Queen of Physics: https://www.patriciamnewman.com/litlinks-connecting-nuclear-physics-to-language-arts-really/
Illustrator Rebecca Huang: http://www.rebeccamhuang.com/
Remember to ask your library to pick up a copy of this book. Also leave a good review for this book on Goodreads and Amazon!