Category Archives: Picture Books
If you love Pete the Cat as much as we do, then, boy, do we have good news for you! Pete is back in THE WHEELS ON THE BUS, with his own very groovy version of the popular song. The book will be available on June 25th, and in the meantime, here’s a little treat for you and your students to enjoy on this lovely summer Friday:
As you may have heard, 2013 marks 50 years of the beloved, mixed-up housekeeper Amelia Bedelia. Our celebration continues with this heartwarming video featuring Herman Parish, footage of Peggy Parish, illustrators Lynne Avril and Barbara Siebel Thomas, Gretchen Siebel, editor Susan Hirschman, and everyone’s favorite dressed chicken. Hear about the history and evolution of Amelia Bedelia from the people who created her and those who have continued her legacy, and reminisce about your favorite moments from the books. (Dressing the chicken? Stringing the beans? Hitting the road? It’s tough to choose, but our favorite might be the “surprise shower.”)
In case you’d like to share the video with students or others whose attention spans are more suited for brevity, here’s a shorter (but equally warm and fuzzy) version:
Don’t forget to download an Amelia Bedelia Party Kit and join the celebration! Here’s to 50 years of hilarity and delicious baked goods.
Next week we’re exhibiting at one of our very favorite conferences of the year (shh, don’t tell anybody!)– the Texas Library Association Annual Conference. If you’ll be there too, we’d love to meet you! We’re HarperCollins Children’s Books Booth #2232, and we have so many fun things to give you! Galleys, discussion guides, reading kits, smiles, stories– you name it, we’ve got it.
We also have some very very stellar authors at panels and signing in the Author Signing Aisles. Check it out!
THURSDAY, APRIL 25TH:
11—12 Peter Lerangis
11—12 Chris Rylander
11—12:30 Jon Klassen
12—1 Bob Shea
1—2 Patrick Carman
1—2 Kelley Armstrong
2—3 Kiersten White
2—3 Melissa Marr
3—4 Tera Lynn Childs
3:30—4:30 Amy Krouse Rosenthal
FRIDAY, APRIL 26TH:
10:30—11:30 Seymour Simon
2—3 Jarrett Krosocszka
3—4 Jennifer Archer
We can’t wait! And none of us have ever been to Fort Worth before, so if you have any recommendations, let us know! See y’all soon.
Later this week we’re heading down to one of our very favorite states, Texas, with some star authors, to exhibit at the International Reading Association Annual Conference.
Will you be in San Antonio too? If so, come visit us at HarperCollins Children’s Books Booth #3451! We’re going to be giving out oodles of galleys, teaching guides, bookmarks, and other materials– with lots aligned to the Common Core State Standards.
Here’s where you can find our authors:
SATURDAY, April 20th
2:00–3:00PM, JANE O’CONNOR, Anderson’s Booth #1003
SUNDAY, April 21st
1:00–2:00PM, WALTER DEAN MYERS, HarperCollins Children’s Books Booth #3451
1:00–2:00PM, JON SCIESZKA, Anderson’s Booth #1003
2:00–3:00PM, SEYMOUR SIMON, HarperCollins Children’s Books Booth #3451
MONDAY, April 22nd
MO WILLEMS IRA Closing Keynote:
“A Hippopotamus Wouldn’t Fit on the Page and Other Reasons that Mo Willems Writes About Pigeons”
Convention Center Exhibit Hall D
Book signing immediately following
12:00–1:00PM, MICHAEL HALL, HarperCollins Children’s Books Booth #3451
Come by our booth and say hello!
Ms. Bird, a seasoned librarian who has put on many a storytime event, has kindly shared with us some great ideas for hosting a dance party in your library, classroom, or store that will get everyone moving and grooving. We hope you’ll use this guide to throw your own Giant Dance Party for your little giants. And don’t forget to check out the book, which Kirkus Reviews called “Full of pep and verve and enthusiasm . . . Sheer joy.”
Many thanks to Betsy Bird, and happy dancing to everyone!
From Betsy Bird:
In GIANT DANCE PARTY, we see what happens when some furry blue big ’uns cut loose on the floor. Now here’s your chance to have your very own Giant Dance Party in the comfort of your own store, school, or library. When hosting any kind of a dance event, it is important to remember the four essential elements of any good party involving kids:
- Loud music
- Fabulous snacks
- Fun costumes
- Goofy adults
You’re responsible for the goofy adults. For all other items, here are some ideas for having a GIANT DANCE PARTY to beat all other giant dance parties.
Food: It Gotta Be Blue
Are you the kind of person who quails at the thought of providing delicious, healthy, and one-of-a-kind snacks at a party? Well, quail not. Kids love specialized foods, but what they like even more is filling their bellies. And since the giants in GIANT DANCE PARTY are as blue as the sky above, try serving treats of a similar hue. Here are some simple party ideas that can be fancied up if you’ve a yen to do so.
Blue ice pops—In GIANT DANCE PARTY, Lexy turns into the human equivalent of an ice pop whenever she’s called upon to dance. Consider making some ice pops of your own.
Blue juice—Time to get nice and cozy with the Kool-Aid man, yet again. Find your favorite blue version and make up a nice big pitcher.
Blue popcorn—It can be done! Combine butter, oil, salt, corn syrup, and blue food coloring in a big bowl. Next, microwave the mixture for 30–40 seconds, just until butter melts. Stir to combine, and then add the unpopped popcorn kernels and stir so that the kernels get completely covered with the syrup mixture. Spread them out evenly in the bottom of the bowl. Then just cover the bowl with a vented lid and microwave on high for 3–5 minutes, or until there are 1–2 seconds between pops. Instant blue popcorn awaits you!
Cupcakes—Consider blueberry cupcakes with blue frosting and M&Ms for a topper. Healthier alternatives can include blueberry muffins or just big bowls of blueberries.
Suggested Tunes for Little Monsters
The number one most important thing you need when you host a dance party? Dancing! Now that you’ve gotten them hepped up on sugar, it’s time to let those kiddos strut their signature dance moves on the floor. Trust your gut when it comes to great music. If it has a beat, the kids will be able to dance to it. Some recommended selections include:
“Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now),” by C&C Music Factory
“Girls Just Want to Have Fun” (Cindi Lauper’s version)
“Walk Like an Egyptian,” by The Bangles
“Hey Ya!” by OutKast
“La Bamba” (Los Lobos version)
“Twist and Shout” (the Beatles’ version)
The Kidz Bop albums—You may roll your eyes when you hear the oddly infantilized versions of the latest songs on the radio. But hey, if it comes down to the dirty real lyrics and the ones Kidz Bop comes up with, you may as well go for the safe and secure, if only to avoid the glares of irate parents.
Big on Costumes
Everyone has a different idea of what a giant looks like. In GIANT DANCE PARTY the giants are huge (as per usual), furry, and blue. But leave yourself open to a range of different giant interpretations. Here are some great giants in pop culture you might want to consider replicating:
The giants in GIANT DANCE PARTY—Furry-and-blue is the name of the game here. Don’t want to go all out with a hot and heavy costume? Consider going to Etsy and purchasing a pair of furry blue boot covers for the legs alone. They’re sure to gussy up any outfit.
The Jolly Green Giant—The nice thing about this guy is that he doesn’t require fur. Just a toga of green, maybe some green tights, and some makeup for the skin. Toss in a little green dye for the hair, and voila! Instant giant.
Hagrid from the Harry Potter series—This is for your future motorcycle tough guy. All you need is a ginormous beard and maybe an old bathrobe, and it’s Hagrid in the flesh.
Finn MacCoul—He’s the most famous giant in Ireland, so run to your local library to pick up some books on him (we recommend Finn MacCoul and His Fearless Wife, by Robert Byrd, or Fin M’Coul, by Tomie dePaola). Next, construct an outfit. You can go all out with a kilt or just find some plaid fabric to make an appropriate sash.
Your standard Fe Fi Fo Fum giant—Bad teeth, warts, raggedy clothes, and maybe a club for grinding men’s bones into bread. Extra points if you bring along your own beanstalk.
King Kong—Who says all giants have to be humans? Go ape by dressing up as everyone’s favorite Empire State Building ascender. Consider attaching a couple of paper airplanes here and there for the kids to swipe at for fun (and don’t forget to carry a Faye Wray-esque doll around, too!).
Most important of all, have fun! There’s no wrong way to throw a Giant Dance Party. Each one, like each giant, is unique in its very own way.
As Women’s History Month draws to a close, we wanted to be sure that you haven’t missed BRAVE GIRL: CLARA AND THE SHIRTWAIST MAKERS’ STRIKE OF 1909 by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet.
BRAVE GIRL tells the story of Clara Lemlich, a young immigrant girl who led the biggest strike of women workers in U.S. history. The book has received four (!) starred reviews and big praise in the New York Times Book Review, in which they say: “Many schoolchildren today learn about the Triangle shirtwaist factory fire, but they don’t often learn about what precipitated the disaster. Markel’s sympathetic, fact-filled and moving story of a garment worker with gumption rounds out the lesson.” And we completely agree with their compliments for Melissa Sweet’s artwork: “With her distinctive mixed-media collages, she may have surpassed herself here. And with an inspiration like Lemlich — smart, ambitious, gutsy — it’s easy to see why.”
There are so many terrific topics, themes, and curricular tie-ins in this fantastic picture book. We created an educator guide aligned to the Common Core designed to help you start the discussion, available here.
And starting next week… April is Poetry Month!
Getting ready for Poetry Month? We’ve got some brilliant activities for Jack Prelutsky and Carin Berger’s STARDINES SWIM HIGH ACROSS THE SKY, brought to you by picture book and flannelboard maven Storytime Katie. With Jack Prelutsky’s signature sense of humor and Carin Berger’s stunning collage, shadowbox, and diorama illustrations, this fantastic new poetry collection can be paired with SCRANIMALS and BEHOLD THE BOLD UMBRELLAPHANT or used on its own for a rollicking Poetry Month celebration.
Many thanks to Katie for these great activities, and happy (almost) Poetry Month to all!
From Storytime Katie:
In STARDINES SWIM HIGH ACROSS THE SKY, Jack Prelutsky and Carin Berger team up to create an unforgettable recording of sixteen brand-new species unseen by humans before! To celebrate this amazing new book from Greenwillow Books, readers are invited to try their hands at these activities.
1. Create Your Own Animal. In STARDINES, Jack Prelutsky creates animals by combining two words with at least one similar syllable. For example, a panda who plans becomes a planda. Plan + Panda = Planda. Try making your own animal! If you get stuck, you can try using two of the words in the following lists:
Panda: Fan, Land, Sand, Stand
Buffalo: Fluff, Muff, Stuff, Tough
Butterfly: Blue, Flew, Mutt, Nut
Make sure to write out the definition of your new animal. (For example, a Bluetterfly is a butterfly who only lands on blue flowers!)
2. I Spy. In Carin Berger’s collage illustrations, she includes a lot of details to demonstrate each animal’s environment and personality. Can you find all fifteen items listed below in the pictures throughout STARDINES?
Items to find: Apron, Broom, Cactus, Clock, Feather, Fork, Guitar, Mushroom, Pretzel, Red Shoes, Rocks, Sailboat, Spoon, Tuba, Umbrella
3. Collage Art. Make your own collage using a variety of paper, found objects, and creativity. You can use whatever can be glued down on a piece of paper, as long as you have permission to use it! Try using milk caps, cardboard boxes, and newspaper to make a truly Earth-friendly recycled craft.
4. Animal Discoveries. While the creatures in STARDINES may not be real, new animal species are discovered regularly in our world. Do some research about when your favorite animal was discovered and find out who was responsible for the discovery. Write a poem about how your favorite animal was discovered—be imaginative!
As Black History Month draws to a close, we’d like to celebrate the life and work of one of our most groundbreaking author/illustrators, John Steptoe.
“I am not an exception to the rule among my race of people, I am the rule. By that I mean there are a great many others like me where I come from.”
Born in Brooklyn in 1950, John’s career was filled with highlights of the highest honors: 2 Caldecott Honors, 2 Coretta Scott King Awards for Illustration, among many, many more– but above all he is remembered for his abiding passion for instilling children, especially African-American children, with pride in their identity and ancestry in a time when multicultural books were few and far between.
His first picture book, STEVIE, about an African-American child who resents and then accepts a younger foster brother, was published in 1969 when John was just 18 years old, and remains in print today.
STEVIE, by John Steptoe, ISBN: 9780064431224
John’s best-known book, MUFARO’S BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS, was published to huge critical acclaim in 1988. This modern fable about pride going before the fall has been a classic for more than twenty years, the illustrations are absolutely stunning, and the research involved awakened John’s pride in his African ancestry.
MUFARO’S BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS: AN AFRICAN TALE, by John Steptoe, ISBN: 9780688040451
If you follow the annual ALA Youth Media Awards, you’ll recognize John’s name from his namesake award: the John Steptoe New Talent Award, which the Coretta Scott King Task force awards annually to a new African-American writer or illustrator whose works “demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values.” Quite a fitting way to honor a man whose work was a shining light blazing a trail forward.
We hope your Black History Month celebrations were fruitful this month and inspire you all year long!
The Day of Love is almost upon us! There are so many wonderful classics for this holiday (a personal favorite has always been, and always will be I LIKE YOU, by Sandol Stoddard Warburg) and I think the best way to celebrate is with books and chocolate*! These are a few brand new picks for your Valentine’s Day reading:
AN AWESOME BOOK OF LOVE!, by Dallas Clayton
There are so many different kinds of love – the way you love your husband or wife, the way you love your child, the way you love your parents – and Dallas Clayton knows just how to describe them all.
FANCY NANCY, NANCY CLANCY: SECRET ADMIRER, by Jane O’Connor, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser
The second in the Fancy Nancy chapter book series. Love is in the air, and Nancy Clancy is sure to make the most of it!
NOBODY BUT US, by Kristin Halbrook
BONNIE & CLYDE meets BLUE VALENTINE in this addictive, heart-wrenching story about two desperate teenagers on the run from their pasts.
THE TROUBLE WITH FLIRTING, by Clare LaZebnik
A hilarious and romantic twist on the Jane Austen classic, Mansfield Park.
*True chocolate-lover tip: all that Valentine’s Day chocolate goes on deep discount starting February 15th–enjoy!
The news is now far and wide, but we want to officially say– yahoo! This past weekend in Seattle at the Midwinter Meeting of the American Library Association, six of our titles were honored by awards committees and we are beyond bowled over with excitement and pride. Congratulations to all– to the authors, editors, fans, and champions of these books. Every Midwinter we are so grateful to be reminded that the community we book-people live and work within is vibrant, supportive, and very, very much alive and kicking. We are all in it together.
- Newbery Medal Winner: THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN, by Katherine Applegate. (see our previous post about IVAN here, and our discussion guide here)
- Caldecott Honor: EXTRA YARN, by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen.
- Printz Honor: DODGER, by Terry Pratchett (see a special note from Terry about Dodger here)
- Schneider Family Book Award: A DOG CALLED HOMELESS, by Sarah Lean
- Geisel Honor: PETE THE CAT AND HIS FOUR GROOVY BUTTONS, created and illustrated by James Dean, story by Eric Litwin
- Morris Award Finalist: THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST, by emily m. danforth
All of our award-winning books living together in harmony.
Newbery Committee member Susannah Richards placing IVAN’s shiny sticker!
EXTRA YARN co-editor (VP and co-publisher of Balzer + Bray) Alessandra Balzer doing the honors!
Printz Committee friends giving DODGER their love.
Congratulations to all authors and illustrators honored with 2013 awards, and the biggest and humblest of thank you’s to the awards committees for their hard work, dedication, and the countless hours they spent this past year reading and discussing books. Now we wish we could fast-forward to June and our official ALA celebrations!