The Picture Book Buzz

The Picture Book Buzz - Interview with Barbara Lowell

Barbara Lowell's newest picture book is a biography of beloved cartoonist Charles Schultz. For Barbara, “writing books for children is a dream come true.” She’s been a reader since she was little. Barbara lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma with my husband and two terrific cats. She writes nonfiction and historical fiction picture books, nonfiction early readers, and nonfiction educational market books for reluctant readers. Welcome Barbara, thank-you so much for stopping by to talk about your newest book, Sparky & Spike: Charles Schulz and the Wildest, Smartest Dog Ever, which released April 23rd, and writing. ME: Tell us a little about yourself. (Where/when do you write? How long have you been writin

I Will Be Fierce - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

I've heard time and again that a picture book is a 50-50 partnership of the text and the illustrations. Often times the illustrator goes beyond the text or brings additional elements to the story. As I evaluate books, some as potential mentors, some for reviews, I am struck by the number I've recently found where the text, often very lyrical and beautiful, provides a framework, while the plot of the story exists in the illustrations. This week's #PPBF book is another such book. This book will resonate with anyone who's shy, facing a new or scary experience (new school, public speaking, . . .), daring to chart their own path, and those who can find a bit of sunshine in every experience. It is

The Picture Book Buzz - Interview with Simona Ceccarelli and Review of If You Had Your Birthday Part

Here is another of those, slightly longer, but no less delightful double posts. I met Simona in Italy, at the Bologna Children's Book Fair this year. I was immediately enthralled with her humor and so impressed by her illustrations. Here is how she describes herself: “I’m a potluck children's illustrator: half British, half Italian, half Swiss and more than a quarter French. I had a different career for many years, but art eventually lured me back to follow 'the road not taken.' I studied illustration and visual development at San Francisco’s Academy of Art University. Upon graduation I hopped into children’s book illustration – occasionally straddling into advertisement and concept art for

The Picture Book Buzz - Interview with Bea Birdsong

Today I have the pleasure of featuring a debut picture book author, Bea Birdsong. Bea is a former teacher. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, son, and rescue dog named Bilbo. She spends her free time reading, traveling, and searching for hidden doors to other worlds. Her debut picture book, I Will Be Fierce, releases April 23rd. Welcome Bea, ME: Tell us a little about yourself. (Where/when do you write? How long have you been writing? How did you get started? What is your favorite type of book to write?) BEA: I started working as a freelance writer and editor for the education market in 2010. It was a fantastic way to hone my skills as a writer and gain experience working with pub

The Picture Book Buzz - The Night Library

I stumbled across this book at the 2019 ALA Midwinter Conference in Seattle. I couldn't wait until I found a "free" Friday to share this beautiful, touching book with you. So, I am doing an extra post for fun. Besides, the book released on April 2nd. If you liked Renato and the Lion by Barbara DiLorenzo, where a lion statute, that a boy has protected from the Nazi's, springs to life and carried him safely home and The Book Without a Story by Carolina Rabei, where the anthropomorphized books spring into action to get a forgotten book in to the hands of a reluctant reader, have I got a gorgeous new picture book for you! It combines many of the elements that make these two books so special - t

Just Like Rube Goldberg: The Incredible True Story of the Man Behind the Machines - Perfect Picture

The first improbable Rube Goldberg machine I remember seeing was in the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang movie. The "Breakfast Maker" was so enthralling and exciting. But if I'm honest, I have to admit that half the fun was watching the various mishaps that occurred with the machine. As the Rube Goldberg website notes: "Goldberg is a true success when it comes to making people laugh. He was able to draw fifty-plus years of invention comics during his lifetime. Each of those inventions has the potential to produce tummy-aching and muscle-pulling comedy." I dare you not to chuckle, or outright laugh, when you examine the Rube Goldberg cartoons on the end pages. Just Like Rube Goldberg: The Incredible T

The Picture Book Buzz - Interview with Sarah Aronson

Sarah Aronson is an amazing author, writing across all genres of children’s literature. She has two young adult books, five middle grade books (four in her middle grade Wishlist series and Beyond Lucky), and a pop-up book picture book, The Princess and the Pea. Her second picture book, Just Like Rube Goldberg: The Incredible True Story of the Man Behind the Machines, released March 12th. Additionally, Sarah “loves working with other writers in one of her classes at the amazing Highlights Foundation or Writers on the Net ( She is also the co-founder of the Writing Novels for Young People Retreat at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has served as an SCBWI mentor in both Illin

Bikes For Sale - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

With the "Makers Movement," DIY and reclamation projects have experienced a surge in popularity. Add that to the ongoing environmental crisis and things our grandparents did out of necessity (canning, gardening, reusing/re-purposing) are becoming a trend. More people are interested in refurbishing items or creating new items from worn out things, becoming inventors, rather than merely consumers. Carter Higgins newest book developed from a sign she saw posted on a telephone pole - "Bikes For Sale - all found discarded and refurbished." She started imagining what had happened to these bikes and what a refurbished bike might look like. Bikes For Sale beautifully combines these musings and Zacha

The Picture Book Buzz - Interview with B.J. Lee and Review of There Was An Old Gator Who Swallowed A

Here's another of those promised, or was it threatened (?), double posts. So many great books are being released this Spring. This one is the debut picture book of B.J. Lee. B.J. Lee is a former librarian at The Boston Conservatory at Berklee. She is an award-winning poet, musician, and former piano teacher. She enjoys getting kids excited about the writing process using story, poetry, and music. She is also working on a verse novel. She lives in Florida with her husband and their toy poodle, Bijoux. In addition to all of that, she is now a picture book author. Her debut picture book There Was an Old Gator Who Swallowed a Moth released January 28th. Welcome B. J., ME: Tell us a little about

The Picture Book Buzz - Interview with Carter Higgins

Today, I get the amazing opportunity to interview Carter Higgins. Carter has worn a few hats. She is an Emmy-winning visual effects and motion graphics artist, an elementary school librarian, and the author of MG novel - A Rambler Steals Home (HMH) and two picture books from Chronicle Books: This is Not a Valentine (illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins) and Everything You Need For a Treehouse (illustrated by Emily Hughes). Her third picture book Bikes for Sale (illustrated by Zachariah Ohora) released last week on April 2nd! Welcome Carter! ME: Tell us a little about yourself. (Where/when do you write? How long have you been writing? What is your favorite type of book to write?) CARTER: Thanks f

When A Tree Grows - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

Every action has a predictable reaction, right? Eat spaghetti with gusto and you will likely end up wearing red splotches. Try a new sport/activity and you will likely fall and/or collect a few bruises. Lean back and stick out your feet while swinging, and you'll feel like you're flying. But is every reaction predictable? Sometimes people, animals, and things don't respond to an action the way you'd expect. Check out this fun picture book, where multiple possible consequences exist for each action. When A Tree Grows Author: Cathy Ballou Mealey Illustrator: Kasia Nowowiejska Publisher: Sterling Children's Books (2019) Ages: 3 and up Fiction Themes: Humor, friendship, and cause and effect. Syn

The Picture Book Buzz - Interview with Marshal Diane Arnold and Review of Mine. Yours.

Today's post is a bit unusual. I am combining the author interview and the book's review. I've been lucky that so many authors are willing to be interviewed by me. But there are more fascinating authors, releasing fun picture books, then there are weeks in a month. So . . . I will occasionally be doing a double post. Hope you'll all bear with the slightly longer posts. You're definitely in for a treat. Called a “born storyteller” by the media, Marsha Diane Arnold's books have garnered such honors as Best First Book by a New Author, Smithsonian Notable, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and state Children’s Choice awards. Recent books include Galápagos Girl, a bilingual book about a young gi

The Picture Book Buzz - Interview with Cathy Ballou Mealey

Debut author Cathy Ballou Mealey lives with her family north of Boston, where she delights in watching silly squirrel antics and is waiting patiently for a moose to appear. Her favorite nut is the hazelnut and her favorite cupcake is cardamom crème. Her new book, When a Tree Grows, is a rollicking read-aloud that follows a zany chain of events triggered by a broken tree, a cranky Bear, a nut-loving Squirrel and his loyal friend Moose. It releases tomorrow! Welcome Cathy, ME: Tell us a little about yourself. (Where/when do you write? How long have you been writing? How did you get started? What is your favorite type of book to write?) CATHY: First, thank you for hosting me! I enjoy reading th

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