Tag Archives: illustrators

Response to Anne Ursu’s Piece on “Sexual Harassment in the Children’s Book Industry”

12 Feb

Last week, children and young adult author, Anne Ursu, published a piece on Sexual Harassment in the Children’s Book Industry and it’s had people talking all weekend long about what can be done, what should be done and a call to action from authors, illustrators, bloggers and librarians to make it known that this type of behavior is unwelcome, unwanted, and unequivocally wrong in our industry.

I’m not a confrontational blogger, for the most part, I try to promote the books I like and be respectful of books that weren’t my favorite or didn’t work for me. But, in the past year or so, I’ve been thinking more and more about the platform I have and where I stand. And although it’s never going to get crazy here, it is going to get real and my posts will reflect the world we live in today, whether that’s creating a booklist for kids who have immigrated to the U.S., a list of books that show diversity in its’ many forms, or standing up for what I believe in, while being conscientious and respectful.

After reading the piece, I have to say that it’s not surprising, which in and of itself is a sad statement – that I expected that this happened, and that I just didn’t know the details. But, what makes me more sad, angry, upset, and frustrated is for all the people who have been sexually harassed who feel helpless. What a horrible feeling to have and then realizing that even if you did say something, nothing might come of it.

So where do we, the children’s book industry, and we as a nation go from here? This behavior, sadly, is not going to change overnight and I think, as many have pointed out, that it is time for the innocent bystander to take a stand and become an ally – to speak up when a casually sexual comment is made and say outright, that the type of talk/behavior is not acceptable. If someone is doing or saying something that you don’t like or is unwanted attention, speak up – be straightforward and make sure the other person understands that “no means no.” We need conferences, workshops, and conventions to have a strict sexual harassment policy in place and that when a complaint is filed, it follows procedure every time – no matter who it’s against. People in power need to learn that this is not the way they stay in power, that this is far from unacceptable and that there will be consequences.

If you want to learn more about the conversation happening, check out Gwenda Bond‘s tweets as well as Shannon Hale‘s, among so many others ready to stand up for what is right and just and good. The children’s book industry, although we want to believe is all sunshines, rainbows, and unicorns, is just like other industries and I think it’s important to remember to be realistic, but to also be hopeful that we have the power to make a change.


Just When I Think…

25 Jan

28263.jpgJust when I think the kid lit world can’t get any better, Jason Reynolds is interviewed by Trevor Noah on The Daily Show and it’s everything I expected and more. If you haven’t seen the clip yet, watch it… NOW! (I’ll wait)


As he stated, Jason has written nine books and each and every one is amazing in it’s own way. What I love about Jason is that he is very aware of what kids think will be cool or uncool, boring or interesting and he capitalizes on making sure his books are never boring. He’s written everything from contemporary YA literature to Miles Morales: Spiderman and middle grade titles sure to hook even the most reluctant readers.

In the interview Jason says, “I am in service to young people. They are not in service to me.” And this is what I think is so remarkable about Jason Reynolds and other children’s and young adult authors and illustrators – they care so much for the kids they right about and for. They aren’t doing this work for fame and fortune, they are doing it to make sure their readers know that they are seen and that people care about them.

And as for me, if I can promote these amazing authors and illustrators and get their books into the hands of kids in my community, then I’ve done my part to make this world just a little bit better.

Why Matt de la Peña Writes for Children

10 Jan

35356379.jpgWhy We Shouldn’t Shield Children From Darkness written by Newbery Award-Winning author Matt de la Peña was published on Time’s website just a few days ago, but what an impact it has made. I myself have read over it a handful of times and each time I do, I marvel at how well that man can write a story and how lucky I am to live during this golden age of picture books that is occurring right now – not just because the books being published right now are well-written and beautifully illustrated, but because their are authors and illustrators out there making sure that they show the diversity of lives children lead and continue to fight for the importance of all types of picture books in this world.

“Maybe instead of anxiously trying to protect our children from every little hurt and heartache, our job is to simply support them through such experiences. To talk to them. To hold them.”

I think there is nothing truer than supporting kids in this world by allowing them to feel, but knowing you are there to help them and hold them when they need it. Otherwise, how else will they learn to deal with difficult decisions, unkind words or actions, or sadness. It is a disservice to children to expect them to what to do with big feelings – how to manage them if necessary and to believe it’s okay to feel things. Picture books, as Matt points out can share a glimpse of your own life and show you that you are not alone in this world and they can help you to experience a life outside of your own, teaching empathy and understanding.

Picture books are powerful things and with kind-hearted, true people like Matt de la Peña behind them, I think the world is a much better place.

#blogbookaday: The Book of Mistakes

4 Jan

31456756Summary: One eye was bigger than the other. That was a mistake.
The weird frog-cat-cow thing? It made an excellent bush.
And the inky smudges… they look as if they were always meant to be leaves floating gently across the sky.

As one artist incorporates accidental splotches, spots, and misshapen things into her art, she transforms her piece in quirky and unexpected ways, taking readers on a journey through her process. Told in minimal, playful text, this story shows readers that even the biggest “mistakes” can be the source of the brightest ideas — and that, at the end of the day, we are all works in progress, too.” (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: I found this title to be absolutely delightful and such a great message for young children who stress over perfection. With sparse text and black ink drawings colored in with pencils and watercolors, the focus is on how the drawing isn’t quite right, except when it is. The author/illustrator perfectly shows how you can adapt a mistake to make it work for what you need and what you have. I think this title would work well for kids (and adults) of all ages allowing older kids to open up a discussion about their feelings about perfection and making mistakes, while young children will delight in watching the illustrations change throughout the story.

Personal Reaction: More and more children I encounter have this horrible and almost debilitating fear of making mistakes and usually choosing to not even try something for fear of failure. This is a trend that is not helping children grow into adults who think outside the box, looking for creative solutions to the problems the world faces today. I hope that a book like this can show kids that making mistakes is not the end of the world, in fact, it’s just an opportunity to try something different!

Title: The Book of Mistakes
Author: Corinna Luyken
Illustrator: Corinna Luyken
Publisher: Dial Books
Publication Date: April 18, 2017

#blogbookaday (1)This is a new idea I’m trying on my blog this year that was inspired by @donalynbooks and @heisereads – to provide a brief review of a picture book every day of 2018. You’ll get a brief summary of the story, a review of the content, illustrations and theme, my personal reaction to the book and all the pertinent publication information! Enjoy!

November is… Picture Book Month

1 Nov

PBMBADGE-AMBASSADOR-FBAll this month, I’ll be sharing my picture book love on my blog as part of Picture Book Month! I’ll be highlighting a different book each day that matches that day’s theme according to the 2017 Calendar and I’ll be sharing the link to each author/illiustrator’s essays on why picture books are important. These essays make for great reading each day and it’s fun to see the similarities and differences each person writes about. Check out the calendar below to get a sneak preview of this year’s themes and get ready to share some awesome picture books!



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