Picture Books At The Library 215

I catalog hundreds of new picture books each year, and I read as many of them as I can. Unfortunately, I can’t review them all. But I can share them! Below are a few recent titles. (Summaries have been taken directly from the books whenever possible.) Check your local library or bookstore for availability.
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THIS LITTLE PUP: When a little boy throws a ball for a little pup to catch, it bounces past many animals until it’s finally caught. Concept
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CAVE DADA: Even after a long day of hunting and gathering, Dada will do anything for Baba, but Baba wants a book, not just any book, the biggest book of all. Hilarious!
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LIFT: A girl who loves to press the elevator button finds a broken button in the trash, hangs it by her closet door, presses it, and discovers worlds beyond her imagination waiting when the door opens.
OUR FAVORITE DAY OF THE YEAR: Four kindergartners who think they have nothing in common become friends after sharing traditions of their favorite holidays.
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MY BROTHER THE DUCK: Stella, a fledgling scientist, has a new baby brother, Drake, and she is seriously considering the possibility that he is a duck, but furher research is required to test the hypothesis.
WHERE’D MY JO GO?: When Big Al, a little dog, gets separted from his trucker friend Jo at a roadside rest area, he patiently waits for her to return. Rhyme
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OTIS P. OLIVER PROTESTS: Otis rouses a rabble of neighborhood children to join him in a protest demonstration against baths, but notes from his mother lead to a compromise.
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THE BUG COLLECTOR: George loves bugs and decides to collect them until he realizes that watching them in their natural habitat is much better than keeping them in bottles.
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HOT HOT PANCAKES!: When Mommy Mouse leaves Max in charge while she’s out, he decides to make pancakes for his brothers and sisters, but he forgets to make one for himself.
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FOLLOW ME, FLO!: On the way to visit Auntie Jenna, Flo is supposed to follow Daddy Duck, but instead she goes a different way and attracts the attention of hungry Roxy Fox.
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THE ELEPHANT’S GUIDE TO HIDE-AND-SEEK: When an elephant who loves to play with his friends, but doesn’t like to always be the first one found in hide-and-seek needs help, he turns to The Elephant’s Guide to Hide-and-Seek.
MY BIG FAMILY: Alex is excited when his Abuela comes from Cuba to stay with him and his parents, but when even more family moves in, the house is soon bursting at the seams.

Picture Books At The Library 214

I catalog hundreds of new picture books each year, and I read as many of them as I can. Unfortunately, I can’t review them all. But I can share them! Below are a few recent titles. (Summaries have been taken directly from the books whenever possible.) Check your local library or bookstore for availability.
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I AM BROWN: A joyful celebration of the skin you’re in–of being brown, of being you, and all the amazing things you can do.
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MARGOT AND THE MOON LANDING: Margot loves talking about space and the moon landing, but nobody around her seems to care or will even listen, causing Margot great frustration.
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NATSUMI’S SONG OF SUMMER: When Natsumi’s cousin visits from America, she can’t wait to share everything she loves–summertime festivals, the seaside, fireworks, and especially the cicadas.
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BRICK BY BRICK: As a little boy watches his father, a bricklayer, work hard to build the city, both dream of building a house of their own.
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DO NOT EAT THE GAME!: A girl tries to play a game with monsters, but it quickly turns into chaos when they don’t follow the rules.
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I’M NOT A GIRL: Nobody seems to understand that Hannah is not a girl, but a birthday wish, a new word, and a stroke of courage might be just what Hannah needs to show the world who he really is.
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HURRY UP!: After rushing around all day long, at home and at school, a child learns to slow down, breathe, and appreciate the natural world before going to bed. Rhyme
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LONE WOLF: So many people think Maple is a wolf that she starts to believe them, but after exploring the world outside her home, she returns to her pack.
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THAT’S MY CARROT!: In the garden, each bunny works on its own side of the fence, but one day, something unusual grows between them and they both claim it as theirs.
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CORAL: A disagreement between Coral, Filly, and Manta, three young mermaids who work together to build and safeguard the reef that is their home, must quickly be set right, or else it’s the reef that will suffer.
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RUNAWAY SIGNS: When all the street signs decide to take a vacation, their absence causes chaos throughout town, and they soon discover how important their jobs really are.
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THE NIGHT IS FOR DARKNESS: Celebrate the wondrous beauty of the natural world at night as one family moves to a new home. Rhyme

Children’s Literature: A Natural Way to Learn New Languages by Sonia Kermen

Please welcome bilingual children’s book author Sonia Kermen to Frog on a Blog. Sonia recently published Enzo Le Petit Aventurier / Enzo The Little Adventurer, a book written in French and translated into English. It includes nine stories featuring different animals, and each story ends with a proverb.

As a mom of three children from different cultures, Sonia believes it’s important to communicate the importance of languages. She’s here today to talk a bit about how children’s books can help kids learn new languages.

Children’s Literature: A Natural Way to Learn New Languages

by Sonia Kermen

Children’s literature is a natural way to learn new languages. I have recently published a bilingual book for children entitled Enzo The Little Adventurer. These short stories are written to introduce children to new languages, educate them about the life of the nine zoo animals and instill in them the simple values of life. The ability to speak more than one language is a true richness in our society.

We live in a dynamic and globalized world in which our children must be understood and accepted in whatever country they find themselves.
They, therefore, must learn to understand the country’s language as well as its culture. As bilingual speakers, our children will discover a whole other world, a wealth of knowledge that will enable them to be at home on our planet. When I left France a few years ago and moved in 2008 to the United States with my children, my family and I had to face the joys and challenges of bilingual and bicultural living.

I found children’s storybooks to be a natural avenue for children to develop their bilingual skills. It is clear that the younger treasure learning other languages, the easier it is for them. Children become more open to the outside world, more expressive, and more adaptable in new contexts.

There are, of course, certain challenges in learning to speak more than one language: young children tend to start speaking a little later than average, because instead of learning one set of words, they are learning two or three. Their minds are assimilating information in several languages at a time. Nevertheless, bilingual living sets up children for success in the future, and the delayed speech is quickly overcome by an insatiable curiosity for the world.

Children’s books evoke a child’s imagination and creativity. The vocabulary is inherently repetitive, which facilitates the acquisition of new vocabulary words. Parents can naturally dialogue with their child about the stories in one language or in another. The readers can discover cultural differences in a safe context. Furthermore, children’s books are illustrated. Vivid color drawings help boys and girls follow the scenario and easily learn new vocabulary. Paragraphs are short to keep the child engaged.

It also must be noted that the simple values of life are best taught in a narrative context. Not only do bilingual books for children allow them to learn a new language smoothly, these books also can remind the readers about what is important in life. Narratives can teach simple values for living, such as patience, forgiveness, and that we are all born under a star. We remind the education and awakening on the animals of the zoo.

Children thus keep their innocence and naïveté. I find that these stories enable adults to rediscover their childhood and to pass on our wisdom to our children. Books enable children and parents to relearn proverbs that are less common in modern society. When children and adults read together, generations encounter each other and come to understand each other better. Through bilingual children’s books, adults and children learn to better love each other and to share their world.

After several years as blog coordinator, creating slogans, presentation videos, model of various marketing campaigns and teacher, the Breton Sonia Kermen, writer since the age of nine, now devotes herself to her passion with the writing of her bilingual children’s book with Enzo Le petit Aventurier / Enzo The Little Adventurer. She is also the author of the bilingual series Les Aventures d’Enzo / The Adventures of Enzo with the name of Sonia Colasse published in 2012.

Photo from Sonia Kermen’s website: authorandmodel.wixsite.com/soniakermen

For more information about Sonia and her books, please visit:


Thanks so much, Sonia, for sharing the importance of learning languages!

Readers, my public library has an entire section devoted to bilingual children’s books. Check your library to see what they have available.

Picture Books At The Library 213

I catalog hundreds of new picture books each year, and I read as many of them as I can. Unfortunately, I can’t review them all. But I can share them! Below are a few recent titles. (Summaries have been taken directly from the books whenever possible.) Check your local library or bookstore for availability.
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GREEN ON GREEN: A year is full of colors and changes and life and love, from yellow flowers in spring to white snow in winter and back again to the green of new life in spring. Rhyme
GOODNIGHT, VEGGIES: Visit a community garden where potatoes close their eyes, cabbages nod their heads, and corn covers its ears to go to sleep. Rhyme
LIBRARY BOOKS ARE NOT FOR EATING!: Ms. Bronte loves being a teacher, but she has one small problem, she also loves eating books. Rhyme
AN ORDINARY DAY: An ordinary day in an ordinary neighborhood turns out to be extraordinary as death and new life happen right next door to each other.
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UNDER MY TREE: During a visit to her grandparent’s, Susanne leaves the city behind and journeys into the forest to spend time with her favorite tree.
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ANI’S LIGHT: Ani’s world has gone dark in his mother’s absence, but when Mama finally returns, her love chases the darkness away.
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UNDER THE LILACS: When Kate’s mother and sister are too busy to spend time with her, Kate decides to build her own house under the lilacs in the backyard.
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ME AND MCGEE: It’s been a long winter and the pitcher has practiced every day, but will the Slither Ball, Brush-cut Ball, and Cannonball Express be enough to defeat McGee and the Catbirds this year?
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OUTSIDE IN: Follow along with a little girl as she discovers all the ways nature affects our lives, such as providing food and clothing, and showing when to go to bed and when to get up.
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A WAY WITH WILD THINGS: Poppy Ann Fields loves bugs and feels more comfortable with them than with people, until the day a special bugs lands on her grandmother’s birthday cake.
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JASPER & OLLIE BUILD A FORT: Jasper and Ollie have a fort building contest in the yard, but while Jasper keeps adding more and more to his fort, Ollie keeps things simple.
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PIGLETTE: Piglette prefers pampering, pastries, and flowers to mud, slop, and piggish things, so she sets off to experience the finer things in Paris.

Interview Alert: Danielle Dufayet (+ a Book Birthday Celebration Giveaway!)

It is a huge pleasure to welcome picture book author Danielle Dufayet to Frog on a Blog. Danielle is the author of three gorgeous picture books, two published last year and one officially out today via Albert Whitman & Company publishers! Happy Book Birthday to Waiting Together!

As Danielle’s books are some of my recent favorites, I jumped at the chance to learn more about her through an interview.

What inspired you to write your brand-new picture book Waiting Together?

Danielle: Deborah Underwood, The Quiet Book. It was so interesting and fun to read about all the different ways a kid experiences silence throughout the day. It made me ask: what else do kids (universally) experience throughout the day? The answer was “waiting”. For kids, being quiet is not always easy -neither is being patient.

Do you, as an English and a Public Speaking teacher, feel that teaching informs or affects your writing in any way?

Danielle: Actually, it’s the other way around. I found that I enjoy writing books that help kids feel self-empowered. From that, I designed my own public speaking course which focuses on leadership and self-empowerment. I like to emphasize self-love and positive self-talk. Those themes come out whenever I am teaching kids, if I have the opportunity.

You have two other gorgeous picture books already out in the world. For those who may not be familiar, please tell us a little about You Are Your Strong and Fantastic You.

Danielle: You Are Your Strong is about using our own resources for handling our difficult emotions (sadness, anger, worry and fear) with breath, positive thinking, self-distraction, etc. Fantastic You is all about self-love and self-compassion and forgiveness. In essence, it’s about how to treat ourselves as if we were our own best friend.

Just like your other books, Waiting Together has an eye-catching cover! How excited were you to see it for the first time?

Danielle: I was so excited! I loved that it was of a boy and his dog -which circles back to the end of the book. I love my illustrator’s work, especially her children -such sweet faces! I am very lucky to have Srimalie Bassani as my illustrator.

You’re also an artist, and I’ve seen some of your amazing art on your website. Do you hope to one day illustrate picture books, either your own or other’s?

Danielle: Thank you for your kind words! I love to paint big, colorful paintings that uplift the viewer. I enjoy expressing love and light and joy in my work and hopefully that’s what it brings to the walls. Illustrating books and painting large works are two very different types of art, but, yes, one day I may be inspired to illustrate my own book. After all, I wanted to be a cartoonist when I was young.

Your books are uplifting and encouraging, perfect to share with the children we love anytime, but maybe even more so during difficult times. Do you have any advice for kids or adults who may be struggling right now?

Danielle: My advice is to take one day at a time and to NOT be so hard on yourself. Do the best you can. Make time for self-care. Do things that bring you joy, always get a good dose of sunshine, fresh air and physical activity, watch your thoughts, for they become “things”. Practice being loving and gentle and kind to yourself and everyone.

Where can people go to learn more about you and your books, or to connect with you online?


Danielle Dufayet, born in Yonkers, New York, now lives in sunny San Jose, California, where she writes children’s books and paints. She also teaches English and Public Speaking (Self-Empowerment) to grades K-12.

Danielle read her first picture book (Little Raccoon and the Thing in the Pool) when she was 18 whereupon she was blown away by its simplicity, timelessness and transformative power. That’s when she knew it was her calling.

Thirty five years and a Master’s Degree later, she finally made her dream come true with TWO books out in 2019 – one about inner strength and the other about self-love/compassion, and a third book, Waiting Together, September 1, 2020.

Hooray for a GIVEAWAY!

To celebrate its Book Birthday, Danielle is giving away a copy of her brand new picture book Waiting Together to one lucky reader! Just leave a comment on this post by September 15 to be entered to win. The winner will be chosen at random and notified via email. Giveaway available to U.S. residents only.

Picture Books At The Library 212

I catalog hundreds of new picture books each year, and I read as many of them as I can. Unfortunately, I can’t review them all. But I can share them! Below are a few recent titles. (Summaries have been taken directly from the books whenever possible.) Check your local library or bookstore for availability.
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ELSIE: When Elsie goes fishing with her six siblings, she wants to do things her way, even though they tell her not too, but they soon discover that doing things differently isn’t such a bad idea after all.
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FROG BOOTS: Dylan loves his new rain boots with colorful poison dart frogs, until he wears them to school and discovers that the boots are meant for girls.
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WHAT SOUND IS MORNING?: Welcome the day by exploring the exuberant sounds and soft silences of morning.
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DESERT GIRL, MONSOON BOY: Two families flee extreme weather in India and come together on a mountaintop. Rhyme
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WHEN THE STORM COMES: Follow several people and animals as they show the many different ways in which they prepare for a storm and take shelter. Rhyme
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THE BOLD, BRAVE BUNNY: After his brothers and sisters ruin his favorite alphabet book, Teetu the bunny has had enough of his big bunny family and decides to sneak off into the night.
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NESTING: A pair of robins build a nest together and raise their chicks, navigating a year of changing seasons and serpentine predators.
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SWING: As four very different letters arrive at the playground, each makes the next feel unwelcome, but once they begin to swing together , they have a wonderful time.
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THE BEDTIME BOOK: Mouse’s favorite book is missing, so she sets off to find it with the help of her dog friend Frank.
WOODPECKER GIRL: When a little girl born with cerebral palsy is given a paintbrush by her teacher, she’s able to express herself and freely explore the world through her paintings.
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KAIA AND THE BEES: Kaia is afraid of getting stung even though her dad is a beekeeper, but after she spends time helping care for the bees, she begins to feel braver.
A FRIEND FOR BEAR: After Bear wakes up from her long winter sleep, she’s in a rush to do everything, including running, rolling, and swimming, until her new friend Tortoise convinces her to slow down.

Picture Books At The Library 211

I catalog hundreds of new picture books each year, and I read as many of them as I can. Unfortunately, I can’t review them all. But I can share them! Below are a few recent titles. (Summaries have been taken directly from the books whenever possible.) Check your local library or bookstore for availability.
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LILAH TOV GOOD NIGHT: Based on a Hebrew lullaby, a Jewish refugee family travels by night to find a safe home in a new land. Rhyme
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BIKE & TRIKE: When Lulu graduates to a bicycle with training wheels, rusty, old Trike feels lonely in the garage and worries about Lulu’s safety on her shiny, new bike.
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WE ARE WATER PROTECTORS: When a black snake threatens to destroy the Earth and poison her people’s water, one young water protector takes a stand to defend Earth’s most sacred resource.
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HAVE YOU EVER ZEEN A ZIZ?: The mythological Ziz is a giant bird that likes to show off by flying, singing, blocking out the sun with its wings, and resting its head upon a cloud. Rhyme
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MY OCEAN IS BLUE: Join a curious young explorer on her seaside adventure as she relates everything the ocean can be with all of its shapes, sounds, smells, and sights.
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REMEMBERING ETHAN: Sarah misses her big brother Ethan and wants to talk about him, but her parents don’t even want to mention his name, and she can’t understand why.
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CAT AND DOG’S ALPHABET: When Dog discovers the 26 letters of the alphabet, it’s up to Cat to show him all the great things he can do with them.
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DIGGERSAURS EXPLORE: The diggersaurs search for buried treasure and discover a new friend. Rhyme
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BABY CLOWN: When Frieda and Boffo Clown have a baby, the entire circus is over the moon, but there’s just one problem, Baby Clown won’t stop crying.
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DOWN UNDER THE PIER: There’s lots of fun to be had up on the pier, but it’s down under the pier, at low tide, where the real magic can be found.
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THE HOMESICK CLUB: Monica and Hannah are classmates who have moved to the U.S. from far away and miss their homes so much that they form the Homesick Club.
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THIS BOOK IS UPSIDE DOWN: Penelope Giraffe and Gus Penguin are at home on two different sides of the same world, and when something looks upside down to Penelope, it looks right-side up to Gus.

Picture Books At The Library 210

I catalog hundreds of new picture books each year, and I read as many of them as I can. Unfortunately, I can’t review them all. But I can share them! Below are a few recent titles. (Summaries have been taken directly from the books whenever possible.) Check your local library or bookstore for availability.
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OVER THE MOON: When two wolves find a baby floating down the river, they take her home, nourish her, teach her, love her, watch her grow, and let her go.
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LITTLE BEAR’S TREASURES: Little Bear loves his treasures, but the other animals think they’re only junk, until Little Bird comes along.
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TREES MAKE PERFECT PETS: The whole family is surprised when Abigail chooses a tree for a pet, and Names it Fido, keeps it in her room, and takes it for walks, until it grows too big and she must reluctantly plant it in the yard.
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I GO QUIET: A lonely little girl, overwhelmed by an overpowering and hostile world, disappears into the pages of a book and her imagination and discovers her voice.
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IN A GARDEN: Follow a busy garden through the seasons from seedlings sprouting in spring and birds, bees, and bunnies visiting to the chill of fall and the stillness of winter and then back to spring again. Rhyme
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I DON’T LIKE RAIN: One sunny day, a little rabbit and his pals are playing outside, until the rain comes pouring down and spoils their fun, or does it?
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GLAD, GLAD BEAR!: Bear is very glad about going to ballet class today, gets anxious before the music starts, then joyously begins to dance.
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BOATS WILL FLOAT: Observe a wide variety of boats that spend all day from early morning to dreamy night in the bay, on the ocean, or under the sea. Rhyme
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DRAGON MEETS BOY: Dragon and Boy have many adventures together, but when Boy grows up, Dragon is left alone to guard all of Boy’s treasures until he returns.
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TIARA’S HAT PARADE: When her momma has to close down her millinery shop, Tiara finds a way to show her how much her hats mean to the community.
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ELMORE AND PINKY: Elmore the porcupine longs for a best friend, and after Pinky the skunk scares off some frightening bears, Elmore realizes his best friend has been there all along.
CANNONBALL: A Maori boy dreams of pulling off the perfect cannonball and making a big splash, but after listening to everyone’s advice, he still struggles, until he learns to listen to himself.

Picture Books At The Library 209

I catalog hundreds of new picture books each year, and I read as many of them as I can. Unfortunately, I can’t review them all. But I can share them! Below are a few recent titles. (Summaries have been taken directly from the books whenever possible.) Check your local library or bookstore for availability.

I’m pleased to resume Picture Books At The Library with this 209th list featuring an eclectic mix of books that have been published during the first half of 2020. How many have you read?

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DIABETES DOESN’T STOP MADDIE!: When Maddie returns to school after discovering she has diabetes, she’s not ready to tell her classmates because she doesn’t want to be different.
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I’M STICKING WITH YOU: Bear and Squirrel are best friends, and wherever Squirrel goes, Bear follows, until Squirrel decides he’s had enough and wants his space.
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BUNNY BUSINESS: The bunnysitter is sick and Mama must bring Bunny to work with her, which is exciting for Bunny, but when boredom and hunger strike, Bunny must find a way to take charge.
ALREADY A BUTTERFLY: A too-busy butterfly, who spends her day hurrying and worrying, finds her own quiet place after learning about meditation and mindfulness from a flower bud.
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HOW TO SOLVE A PROBLEM: Ashima solves her problems, which are boulders with twists and turns, by seeing the possibilities and climbing to the top, but not without learning from scrapes and falls first.
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HOME BASE: A young girl and her mother support one another as one tries out for the baseball team and the other interviews for a bricklaying job, then celebrate their success together.
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USHA AND THE STOLEN SUN: Usha is determined to bring the sun back to her village by knocking down the wall that blocks it.
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KNOT CANNOT: Knot longs to be like Snake because Snake can do so many amazing things, but when a bird threatens to eat Snake, it’s Knot to the rescue.
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WHAT I LIKE MOST: A little girl observes, one by one, the things that bring her joy, but even after those things are gone, one favorite always remains, her mother.
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A LITTLE BIT BRAVE: Logan is a stay-at-home bunny who musters up the courage to set off on an adventure to find his friend Luna and, ultimately, saves her from a hungry wolf.
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THE BEAR’S GARDEN: An imaginative little girl sees an empty lot in the city and envisions a beautiful garden that brings her community together.
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MY MASTODON: Inspired by the 19th-century lives of artist and scientist Charles Willson Peale’s family, this is a tale of a girl and her favorite companion, a fossilized mastodon, which will soon travel from Philadelphia to London.

“Picture Books At The Library” Returning Soon!

I catalog hundreds of new picture books each year, and I read as many of them as I can. Unfortunately, I can’t review them all. But I can share them! Below are a few recent titles. (Summaries have been taken directly from the books whenever possible.) Check your local library or bookstore for availability.

I haven’t posted Picture Books At The Library since my library shut down due to the pandemic in mid-March. But now that I’m back to work in the library (I had been teleworking) and shipments have resumed from our vendors, I’ll finally be able to share new picture books again!

I may be back to work, but the library building is not yet open to the public. We’ve been offering curbside pickup for the past several weeks. And we’re still promoting digital services and resources, as well as online programs (the summer reading program is in full swing) and access to digital books, movies, music, and more. If you haven’t already, check your library’s website to see what kinds of offerings they have. Even during times like these, most libraries are working hard to serve their communities.

I hope that wherever you are in the world, that things are improving. And I hope you will soon be able to visit your library to check out a few glorious new picture books. There are many to choose from! My third hope is that if you cannot visit your library, that you can access many wonderful picture books digitally. It’s not quite the same as having that physical book in your hands, but it’s something, at least.

Stay well, everyone. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. And stay strong. We’re all in this together, and we’ll get out of it together, too! Until then, read some picture books to help you and your kids escape even for just a few moments. I can’t wait to share tons of fabulous new picture books with you. Even if you can’t get your hands on the books right away, keep a list, keep them in mind, and when your library reopens, they’ll be waiting there for you. See you soon At The Library!

Five Board Books To Expand Your World by Sue Lowell Gallion

I’m excited to feature multi-published children’s book author Sue Lowell Gallion on Frog on a Blog today! Sue is known for her Pug & Pig picture book series, as well as the Tip & Tucker early reader series. She has published in several children’s magazines, and she has multiple awards and honors for her work, as well.

(Cover of and interior image from Our World: A First Book of Geography by Sue Lowell Gallion, illustrated by Lisk Feng)

Sue’s newest book, Our World: A First Book of Geography, which was just released by Phaidon Press, is a must-see, beautifully unique, nonfiction board book! Sue is here to share five of her favorite original board books, plus more information about her own wonderful book.

Five Board Books to Expand Your World

by Sue Lowell Gallion

Board book sales have increased every year over the past six years. The variety of original board books is expanding every publishing season as well. I love studying and sharing these sturdy and chewable books with kids of all ages. Board books offer author-illustrators, illustrators, and authors unique creative opportunities.

Here are five of my favorite original board books published over the last year that show some of the options available in this format. An original board book is one that is first published as a board book, not a picture book reprinted in a board book format.

MERBABY’S LULLABY, by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Elizabeth Dulemba, Little Simon, 2019

I’m a Jane Yolen groupie, but even if I wasn’t, I’d put this “hush-filled bedtime rhyme from the bottom of the sea” on the same shelf as my all-favorite TIME FOR BED by Mem Fox and Jane Dyer (disclaimer: TIME FOR BED was originally published as a picture book .) Yolen’s dreamy words and Dulemba’s soft illustrations will transport anyone into an enchanting underwater world. There is a story arc in this 51-word poem that looks back at the merbaby’s day and ends with the merbaby being tucked into a shell bed.

There are no novelty elements here and none needed. The size of the book, about 5 inches square, is grabbable for little hands yet large enough to show off the art. Board books aren’t constrained to many of the parameters of picture books. Their size, shape, and number of spreads aren’t bound by the 8-page signature, which offers loads of flexibility. A book can have an odd number of spreads, and the number of spreads may change during the design process.

GOODNIGHT, RAINBOW CATS by Barbara Castro Urio, Chronicle 2019, originally published by Zahori Book, Barcelona, Spain, 2018

Chronicle Books says, “It is time to say goodnight, which means that each colorful cat comes home to curl up in the big white house. The youngest of readers will delight as each cat enters the house with the turn of a page, and one by one, the die-cut windows are infused with color . . . with reassuring warmth, charm, and an early-concept “colors” hook.”

Little Light-Blue Cat, Little Lime-Green Cat and 10 more cats gradually appearing in the die-cut square windows will fascinate any young child. Like any brilliant board book, the format appears simple. But it’s surely an effective bedtime book as each cat comes home to the big white house with conversational, calming text. The novelty element enhances the book. That’s key.

PLAY WITH YOUR PLATE, A Mix-and-Match Play Book by Judith Rossell, Abrams Appleseed, 2020

Here’s how Abrams introduces this intriguing book: “comprised of four mini board books, each making up a quarter of the plate. Mix and match the four sets of pages to make healthy food choices and create more than 4,000 mealtime combinations! By playing the various games suggested in the book, readers will also be able to hone their concepts of colors and shapes by creating plates with, for example, only red foods or triangles.”

This book combines different concepts in a format that is fun to fiddle with. The food choices range from sushi to mac and cheese in vivid colors and patterns and sturdy flaps. Here’s a great example to see some of the possibilities in paper engineering — and dream of novelty elements that just might work with one of your ideas.

BILL AIME LES VOYAGES/I LOVE TO TRAVEL by Alexx Sanders and Pierrick Bisinski, Gallimard Jeunesse, France, 2019

My daughter lives in France, so when I was visiting her last fall I also I went to every bookstore I could find to look at the children’s books. Publishers around the world are doing wonderful things with board books. Also, novelty board books can easily transcend language differences or also can be a wonderful tool to introduce another language.

This series has multiple flaps with graduated levels. It tells a story in French and English of Bill the rabbit, who travels throughout the world via different modes of transportation, from bike and bus to hot air balloon. Again, the novelty design fits the topic perfectly. It may be hard to get your hands on a copy, but I hope this gives you an idea of its appeal.

DREAM BIG by Joyce Wan, Cartwheel Books/Scholastic 2019

Scholastic’s summary: “In this dreamy oversized board book, little ones will find the courage and strength to achieve anything they want — all by dreaming big! With inspiring illustrations of female trailblazers and icons of history and simple, hopeful text, Joyce Wan creates a moving send-off for graduates of all ages. Included in the back is a simple guide to some of the bold dreamers who came before us who followed their dreams . . . and changed the world.”

Joyce Wan’s board books are some of my favorite baby gifts. This large-format board book with metallic cover embossing doesn’t have any novelty elements such as the lift-the-flaps in some of her other titles. But the size of this chunky book combined with Wan’s vibrant, rounded illustrations will appeal to the youngest on up. The last spread introduces 15 women spotlighted in the book and ends with “you!”

There are amazing choices in board book nonfiction now. I’m a huge fan of the board book series introducing STEM concepts and careers for all kids, such as Ruth Bernstein Spiro and Irene Chan’s BABY LOVES series with Charlesbridge and Laura Gehl and Daniel Wiseman’s BABY SCIENTIST series from HarperFestival.

OUR WORLD, A First Book of Geography, by Sue Lowell Gallion, illustrated by Lisk Feng, Phaidon Press 2020

From Phaidon: “A read-aloud introduction to geography for young children that, when opened and folded back, creates a freestanding globe. Children are invited to identify and experience the Earth’s amazing geography through rhyming verse and lush illustrations: from rivers, lakes, and oceans deep, to valleys, hills, and mountains steep. Secondary text offers more detailed, curriculum-focused facts and encourages readers to consider their own living environments, making the reading experience personal yet set within a global backdrop.”

(Interior images from Our World: A First Book of Geography by Sue Lowell Gallion, illustrated by Lisk Feng)

I’m thrilled to share my first board book here as well, which released July 22. My concept was to make a board book shaped like a globe, with a stand that would be easy for a young child to grasp. I came up with the concept during a workshop on novelty board books at our annual Kansas/Missouri SCBWI conference.

(Interior image from Our World: A First Book of Geography by Sue Lowell Gallion, illustrated by Lisk Feng)

The actual submission was a 56-word poem and a small dummy showing the die-cut half-globe shape, which evolved into this wonderful collaboration with illustrator Lisk Feng and the team at Phaidon. The book has evolved a great deal during the team’s work over the past year and a half, including the addition of secondary non-fiction text to broaden its audience, and the magnetic closure so the book can stand up alone.

Thank you so much, Lauri, for this opportunity!

Sue Lowell Gallion is the author of four picture books: Pug Meets Pig, Pug & Pig Trick-or-Treat, and Pug & Pig and Friends (spring 2021) — all from Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster — as well as All About Axle (Aladdin/Simon & Schuster). Gallion is also the author of three early readers (the Tip and Tucker series) with Sleeping Bear Press and is a frequent speaker at elementary schools and libraries.

Gallion was destined to write books. As the daughter of a third generation printer, she grew up immersed in the smells of paper and ink and the sound of printing presses.

When she’s not writing, Gallion likes to spend time with her grandsons and share books with children as a reading mentor with Lead to Read Kansas City. Gallion lives in the Kansas City area with her black lab mix, Tucker, who likes to hold hands.

Gallion’s represented by Liza Voges of Eden Street Literary. For more information, please go to www.suegallion.com.

Connect with Gallion via social media:
Twitter: @SueLGallion
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sue.l.gallion
Instagram: suelowellgallion

Trusting The Process by Kathleen Long Bostrom

I’m thrilled to feature multi-published children’s book author Kathleen Long Bostrom today on Frog on a Blog. I’m sure you’re familiar with many of Kathleen’s books. She’s the author of the award-winning Little Blessings series and several VeggieTales books, as well as lots of other books and magazine stories for children and adults. She and her books have received multiple awards and honors. Kathleen’s newest children’s book, Will You Be Friends with Me?, published just this month by WorthyKids, is a timely board book that celebrates friendship, differences, and diversity.

Kathleen’s here to talk a little about the connection between writer and illustrator, letting go and trusting the publisher and illustrator to help bring your story to life. Let’s hear from Kathleen!

Trusting the Process

by Kathleen Long Bostrom

My children were three, five, and seven when I began writing picture books in 1992. They’re all in their thirties now and two are about to be married. In other words, it’s been a long time!

Much has changed but one thing hasn’t: the questions I get asked. First and foremost is, “Do you illustrate your own books?”

The answer is an unequivocal, “No!” I can’t even draw a decent stick figure. Illustration is not my gift, although I’d love if it were.

I knew nothing about publishing picture books when I first began writing them, but I learned quickly. I discovered that it’s up to the publisher to choose the illustrator. People startle when I say that.  “What? You mean you get no say in choosing? That doesn’t seem fair!” I felt like that myself at first, but I’ve learned to trust the process.

After four years and 250 rejections, my first book, What is God Like? (Tyndale House, 1998) was accepted for publication. I imagined a beautiful, jacketed hardcover book with colorful, double-page layouts. The design crew decided otherwise. The trim size ending up being  9” x 6” x 6”, which fit just right in little hands. The illustrations were not gorgeous; they were simple, childlike. And absolutely perfect! The illustrator, Elena Kucharik, was known for designing the popular Care Bears. For her books with Tyndale House, she created four charming children of different ethnicities. It was brilliant. This was back in the 1990’s when diversity in children’s books was not a priority (should have been). Over the years, many children told me, “I’m in the book!” A bi-racial boy. A girl adopted from China. My blonde-haired youngest son. I couldn’t have asked for more.

That book led to a series called Little Blessings, which ended up in 20 languages around the world, selling several million copies. This did not translate into millions of dollars for me! But I had the joy of knowing that my work was in the hands of children all around the world. From the start, I learned to trust the process.

Spread from Will You Be Friends with Me? by Kathleen Long Bostrom, illustrated by Jo de Ruiter

My newest board book, Will You Be Friends with Me? (WorthyKids, July 2020) is another example. I sought to show how friends can be different in many ways. That’s what makes life great! I imagined one child speaking to another, trying to convince that child that their differences shouldn’t be a problem. But when the art team got to work, they decided on a device called “daisy chain.” One child in each spread moves to the next spread with a new child, and so on. At the end, all the children stand together, showing diversity and friendship and joy. Again, perfect! And timely, too.

Spread from Will You Be Friends with Me? by Kathleen Long Bostrom, illustrated by Jo de Ruiter

With 50+ books published, most of those picture books, I can honestly say that only once have I not been thrilled with the illustrations and how the book turned out.

It’s a fabulous collaboration, author and illustrator. And children! I love it all.

And yes, I’m still learning. I hope that’s always true.

Kathleen Long Bostrom is a Presbyterian minister who has written more than 50 books, including the award-winning Little Blessings series, multiple VeggieTales books, and the upcoming board book version of This Little Light of Mine.

Her books, both for children and adults, have sold close to three million copies and have been translated into more than 20 languages including Chinese, Russian and Indonesian. In fact, Italian versions of her books may be found at the Vatican bookstore in Rome.

Kathleen and her husband Greg, and Ellie — her little empty-nest dog — live in Carlsbad, California. Kathleen is represented by Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary Agency. For more information please go to www.kathleenlongbostrom.com.

Connect with Kathleen online:
Twitter: @KathleenBostrom
Facebook: Kathleen Long Bostrom / Author
Instagram: kathleenbostrom

Interview Alert: Yuno Imai

I’m excited to feature children’s picture book author Yuno Imai on Frog on a Blog today. Yuno has recently published two very timely books. In an email correspondence, Yuno said, “I specialize in writing heartwarming stories that help children and adults cope with death. I know many people have lost their loved ones and are hurting right now due to COVID-19… I hope my stories will inspire or heal readers.”

Let’s learn more about Yuno and her two beautifully illustrated books.

Why do you like to write stories for children?

I believe children have limitless potential. They’re curious and open to learn. Through my stories, I hope to inspire my readers to exercise creativity and imagination.

I’m a fan of children’s books and what they represent – family time, creativity and imagination, opportunity to get a peek into a new world. Many stories are timeless and can be passed down to next generations.

I think of children’s books as art. As an author, it’s exciting to see how my ideas take shape as books and could potentially live over a century!

What inspired you to write your two beautiful picture books The Last Meal and Trevor and Me? And can you tell us a bit about each book?

Trevor and Me is about reincarnation and friendship that transcends age, nationality and gender. It’s based on my real life friendship with my elderly friend, Trevor.

Image From Trevor and Me by Yuno Imai, illustrated by Liuba Syrotiuk

The Last Meal is about last meal requests of death row inmates. Compassion plays a big role in this story.

Image From The Last Meal by Yuno Imai, illustrated by Nadia Popova

They’re both heartwarming stories that help readers cope with death or develop a healthy understanding of difficult subjects. I got inspiration to write about death, because 1) I’m interested in the topic, and 2) growing up, my mom was very uncomfortable discussing it.

I realized that many parents struggle to find ways to explain death to their children, so I decided to write stories around difficult subjects.

“Food” is also a common theme in my stories as I’m a food writer and always intrigued by memories and feelings associated with people’s favorite food.

Image From Trevor and Me by Yuno Imai, illustrated by Liuba Syrotiuk

On your website, you describe yourself as a go-getter. How did this quality help you pursue publication? And what route did you take to publish your books?

Being a go-getter helps tremendously when it comes to pursuing your goals. Believe it or not, I’ve never had a regular 9-5 job. Being your own boss and managing your time requires discipline. I’m naturally driven and motivated, and over the years, I cultivated my professionalism and driven attitude.

Becoming an author is like a marathon. It’s an endless journey and there are always things you could do more. Being a go-getter helps you keep the fire going. 🙂

I chose to self-publish my children’s books, with plans to get picked up by publishers in the future. I initially looked for agents in the U.S. and UK, and reached out to publishers in Japan, but couldn’t seem to make it happen.

I believe in making your own dreams come true, so I decided to just go for it anyway.

It’s obviously a lot more work, but nice to take control of your own destiny in a way. Having physical copies has been helping spread the word — I’m currently in talks with Chinese publishers.

You have two different illustrators for your books, and both did a fantastic job! How did you find your illustrators?

I found both of my illustrators online.

It took me a good 2-3 years finding the right person — I asked my friends and colleagues for referrals, attended book fairs and Creator’s Expo in Tokyo, all while searching online.

After talking with countless illustrators, I had about 10 of them draw samples for me. Finally in 2019, I found two illustrators that could truly understand what was inside of my head, and put them onto paper.

Illustrations are a very important part of children’s books. I could not have done it without my illustrators and I’m so grateful for their talent and professionalism!

Image From The Last Meal by Yuno Imai, illustrated by Nadia Popova

You are also a food & travel writer. How different is that from writing for children? Are there any similarities?

In my opinion, the whole message and purpose of writing changes, depending on who you write for. When I write my food and travel articles, my goal is to provide readers with useful information. I make sure to include the basic information, like any journalistic articles would. For children’s books, I focus on showing and telling a story, instead of just providing information.

How I approach writing, though are the same whether I’m writing an article for adult readers or children’s stories for younger readers. I love puzzles, so I write in sections and pieces and move them around like I’m playing puzzles.

Where can people go to find more information about you and your books?

You can learn more about my books and order them on my website and Amazon worldwide!

Website http://iknowyouknowyuno.com/books/

Amazon amazon.com/author/yunoimai 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with everyone?

I really hope my stories will inspire, entertain or help you heal. I love getting comments and feedback about my books – please feel free to email or DM me on social media!

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/yunobook/ or https://www.instagram.com/iknowyouknowyuno/

Yuno Imai is a Los Angeles based children’s book author and food & travel writer.

She specializes in writing heartwarming stories that help readers cope with death or develop a healthy understanding of difficult subjects. She is originally from Hamamatsu, Japan and came to the United States alone at 17, speaking very little English, and spent a year as a high school foreign exchange student in a small town in Kansas.

Yuno is passionate about inspiring people through her stories and also bridging Japan and other countries, especially America, where she calls her second home.

An Interview With 12-Year-Old Published Illustrator Alyssa Brulz by Author Brigitte Brulz

Please welcome picture book author Brigitte Brulz and illustrator Alyssa Brulz to Frog on a Blog. This talanted mother-daughter duo’s new picture book Aah! Blown Away, Crash!: An Alphabet Misadventure was published last month. I really like the bold, colorful art of this concept book, which works well to tell the tale of a little bird that crashes on a deserted island. Each page or spread highlights one letter of the alphabet and continues in order as the story progresses.

Brigitte contacted me about sharing a post in which she interviews her daughter with the hopes of inspiring other kids who may be interested in writing or illustrating and publishing their own books. And I thought it was a fabulous idea! Let’s hear from Brigitte and Alyssa!

Interview with 12-Year-Old Published Illustrator, Alyssa Brulz

Conducted by Brigitte Brulz

Aah! Blown Away, Crash!: An Alphabet Misadventure is a comical story told in alphabetical order with only one to three words per page about a bird who is blown away and crashes on a deserted island. Will he figure out how to get off the island? And who – or what – is following him?  

Since there are less than 40 words in the entire book, the illustrations are crucial to telling the story of Aah! Blown Away, Crash!: An Alphabet Misadventure.

I am excited to share an interview with 12-year-old Alyssa Brulz, illustrator of this newly released picture book, which received a Readers’ Favorite Five Stars review.

Q: How did Aah! Blown Away, Crash!: An Alphabet Misadventure start?

A.B.: Aah! Blown Away, Crash! was started when my mom went to one of her monthly writer group meetings in 2017. Someone mentioned a challenge of creating a book similar to Oops, Pounce, Quick, Run!, with the words in alphabetical order. In response, my mom came up with a draft of Aah! Blown Away, Crash! She, my sister, and I created a “dummy” with paper stapled together. Since then, the book has changed quite a bit – both the text and the illustrations. Mom brought the dummy to her writer group. They suggested a few tweaks and some of them thought my mom should pursue getting the book published. By that point, she had published two picture books, Pickles, Pickles, I Like Pickles and Jobs of a Preschooler, so she was familiar with the publishing process. She didn’t want to do the illustrations, so she hired me.

Dummy and actual finished copy of Aah! Blown Away, Crash!

Q: What was the illustration process like for Aah! Blown Away, Crash!: An Alphabet Misadventure?

A.B.: It took a lot of research – shadows, birds, islands, palm trees – to make objects look realistic while still being cartoonish. I used Affinity Designer for the illustrations, and if you have a careful eye, you might be able to see that most of the objects were actually made with simple shapes. My sister also helped by making the bird out of clay and pipe cleaners, so I could see how it would look from different angles.

Clay bird model

Q: What did you enjoy most about illustrating it?

A.B.: My favorite part was working on the expressions. The only character in Aah! Blown Away, Crash! is a bird, whom we affectionately named Finch (even though he really isn’t a finch). Some of the expressions he made were absolutely hilarious to me. In real life, I love to watch the expressions on people’s faces when they’re excited, angry, sad, surprised, etc., so working with the body language Finch needed to have was super fun.

Q: What was the hardest part?

A.B.: I think the hardest part was that both my mom and I had our own opinions about how the illustrations should look, so it was a little challenging to create pictures that we were both satisfied with. We obviously figured it out and tried to go with the best option.

Original idea to final “U” page in Aah! Blown Away, Crash!

Q: What was something you learned?

A.B.: Just one thing? I learned A LOT, from how to use Affinity Designer more effectively to how to work with what you have to make something great. I watched some videos and did quite a bit of research while doing the illustrations to help me learn more.

Q: What other projects have you been working on?

A.B.: My 13-year-old sister and I recently published an activity journal titled Write, Draw, Believe: 75+ Faith-Building Activities for Christian Kids, which I had a ton of fun making. My sister was the ideas person, and I created most of the graphics for it. We hope other kids will really enjoy it. We plan on reaching out to various people, bookstores, and churches to sell our journals. Also, I have been writing a middle grade novel for a couple years now and am on the third draft. That project has been one of my favorite writing projects, and I hope it will eventually be published.

Click here: Write, Draw, Believe: 75+ Faith-Building Activities for Christian Kids

Q: What advice would you give to other kids who want to be published?

A.B.: I have realized that you really shouldn’t doubt yourself. Many people don’t think they can actually be published, but that is a myth. Try to use whatever talents you have and do your best, no matter what. Learn a lot. If you are writing, read and write. If you are illustrating, examine other illustrations and draw. For whatever you want to do, learn and take action.

Q: Where can people go to learn more about Aah! Blown Away, Crash!: An Alphabet Misadventure and your journal?

A.B.: Since I am not technically allowed to have my own website until I am thirteen, the best place to contact me or learn more about Aah! Blown Away, Crash! and the journal my sister and I created is my mom’s website. You can visit www.brigittebrulz.com under the Books and Journals tabs for more information. I also helped my mom create a teacher’s guide and other fun extras to go along with Aah! Blown Away, Crash!, which are available on her website under the Fun Extras tab.

Thank you, Alyssa, for showing others it is possible to be published even at such a young age!

Click here: Aah! Blown Away, Crash!: An Alphabet Misadventure

Alyssa Brulz is a 12-year-old homeschooled student who knows the alphabet in English and in French. She used a computer program to create all of the illustrations for Aah! Blown Away, Crash!: An Alphabet Misadventure, which is her first published picture book.

Brigitte Brulz is a homeschooling mom, author, journal creator, and freelance writer. She offers free coloring pages, activity ideas, and more information on her website at www.brigittebrulz.com.

Thank you so much Alyssa and Brigitte! Your interview is sure to be an inspiration to kids everywhere who like to write and make art and who’d love to share their stories with the world.

Happy Book Birthday to WILL YOU BE FRIENDS WITH ME? by Kathleen Long Bostrom!

Title: Will You Be Friends with Me?
Author: Kathleen Long Bostrom
Illustrator: Jo de Ruiter
Publisher: WorthyKids
Release Date: July 7, 2020
Format: Board Book
Summary: Celebrate the differences that make life richer and more interesting with this inclusive board book about a budding friendship.

Making friends is something all children do, but sometimes it can feel scary. They might worry that no one will like them or that they are too different to find a friend. In this sweet board book, the narrator lists all the ways children can be different from a prospective friend: “I wake early. You sleep late. My hair’s curly. Yours is straight. I say, ‘Now!’ You say, ‘Wait?’ Will you be friends with me?” Instead of worrying that these differences will make friendship impossible, the narrator decides that: “We’re all different. That’s okay! Life is much more fun that way.” Perfect for children heading to school or any child in a new situation trying to make friends, this encouraging book reassures readers that diversity is what makes friendship–and life–so interesting.

Author’s Site: www.kathleenlongbostrom.com

Do you have a children’s picture book coming out soon? I’d love to wish it a Happy Book Birthday here on Frog on a Blog! CLICK for more information.

Author Carolyn Leiloglou Shares Her Library Love + A Giveaway!

Please welcome author Carolyn Leiloglou to Frog on a Blog! Carolyn’s debut picture book Library’s Most Wanted was just released in May by Pelican Publishing. As a public library employee for nearly thirteen years now, I’m a huge library supporter. During this uncertain time, with many libraries still closed, including my workplace, props go out to my coworkers for all the hard work they’ve done to bring library services to the community via digital means. Just because the building is closed, doesn’t mean the library’s commitment to the people it serves has been shut down.

But I’m not the only one who loves libraries. It’s clear that Carolyn loves them too! Let’s hear from her about how her library love has grown over the years.

I have a surprising admission. Even though I’m an author and my debut picture book, Library’s Most Wanted, is about libraries… I didn’t grow up a library patron.

I know, I know. You thought it was mandatory for all authors to spend their childhoods roaming the stacks at their local public library. It sounds very idyllic, but, alas, that was not my childhood.

I remember my mom taking me to the library once in fifth grade for a report on Vincent van Gogh. I’m sure we must have gone other times, but it was rare. More often, my mom would take us to a bookstore, allowing us to choose a book. I suppose that was easier than having to remember due dates or deal with library fines. As a mom of four book-misplacing kids, I can attest that it was likely cheaper.

But my relationship to the library changed in fourth grade. My classroom was right next to the school library, which we visited frequently. This was where I first found The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, which led to a lifelong love of fantasy. This was also the year I began writing my first novel, inspired by Redwall, one of my bookstore-trip selections.

It wasn’t until I had my own children that I became a regular library user. I’m fortunate to live in a large city that has a wonderful public library system. They are always trying to innovate and put together great programs, especially ones geared toward getting kids interested in reading and learning.


So when I started taking my own young kids to the library, I discovered this wealth of wonderful picture books I never knew existed. I had always wanted to write, and I assumed I’d write fantasy novels. But now that I was reading one picture book after another to my children, something magical happened. I started to think I could write them too.

Of course. What parent hasn’t thought that? And like most parents who have tried to write their own picture books, my first attempts were clumsy at best.

But I kept having kids (four total), and I kept reading picture books. And my wonderful library, with its consistently updated collection, allowed me to absorb the essence of what a picture book should be.

In fact, while books on writing craft are helpful, there’s nothing that can compare to the education that reading and rereading hundreds of picture books can give.


For years, we have had a library day—a day of the week where going to the library is part of our routine. We return books we’ve finished, pick up new books—I almost always have something on hold—and my kids roam the aisles, pulling random books off the shelves, looking for that next book that will capture their imagination.

And just like the library inspired me to write, I’ve seen that tendency sprout in my children. One of them writes daily. Another draws his own comics. The younger ones write stories and picture books. And because they’re constantly reading, they too, are getting an education in writing.

Right now—March 2020 when I’m writing this—we are living in an uncertain time. Because of the coronavirus outbreak, many libraries have temporarily closed their doors. But despite that, libraries continue to innovate as resources for their communities. Some libraries are offering no-contact, walk-up hold pick-ups. Others have abolished due dates and fines during this crisis. My own library has made it easier than ever to get a digital library card to check out audio and ebooks.

Having a public library is a gift that I don’t want to take for granted. Now more than ever.

Carolyn Leiloglou writes poems and stories for children which have been published in Clubhouse Jr., Ladybug, and Wildflowers. She is the author of the Noah Green Junior Zookeeper series, and her debut picture book, Library’s Most Wanted, released May 2020. You can find her on her blog, housefullofbookworms.com, where she reviews her favorite children’s books each month.

Hooray, it’s Giveaway time!

Carolyn Leiloglou and Pelican Publishing are giving away a copy of Library’s Most Wanted to one lucky commenter. Just leave a comment on this post by July 19, 2020 and you’ll be entered to win this beautiful picture book! A winner will be chosen randomly and notified on July 20, 2020. Contest open to U.S. residents only.

Summer Reading

Hey, everyone! Are you looking for something for your kids to do for the summer? Check your local library’s website. Summer Reading Programs are going on now, all around the United States, even if your library is closed, because a lot of it can be accessed online. Your kids can enjoy entertaining and educational programming, crafts, and storytimes, as well as earn prizes for all the books they read. Take a look!

Hey, Kid! You Matter. (What is a Picture Book?)

What is a picture book? So many things! It’s a window to the world, a mirror in which to see oneself, a mini art gallery, a door that leads to exploration, a tool for together time, a gateway to literacy, a generator of joy, even an inspiration for thought and creativity, and so much more.

Though I could argue that picture books are for everyone, that’s a post for another day. Because, first and foremost, picture books are for kids. In the midst of so much going on in our country and across the world right now–protests, civil unrest, the pandemic, and natural disasters–let’s not forget the children.

Note to authors and illustrators, books hold a lot of power. That’s something we don’t think about very often. But think about it now. If children see themselves reflected in the pages of a book, that means something. That tells the child, hey, you know what, you matter. All children deserve that.

To quote children’s author Jarrett Lerner from a recent Facebook post (https://www.facebook.com/jarrett.lerner), “We need to keep working for children’s literature that reflects, honors, and celebrates the lives of ALL young people.

Years ago, there was a psychologist (I wish I could remember her name.) who said something like this: When children are born, they are blank slates. Everything they experience in their lives is written on the slate of who they are and affects who they will become. That idea has always stuck with me, and I try to keep it in the back of my mind when I write picture book stories. Good stories, both fictional and true, are important.

So, today, I’m sharing picture books that feature black children. When your libraries reopen, seek out these beautiful books and share them with your kids. Many libraries offer eBooks, too. Check your library’s website or call them to see how you can access their digital collection. Then browse the picture books there to discover more wonderful titles like these.

And Remember, Kids, You Matter!

It’s Time for a #VirtualFieldTrip to the Everywhere Book Fest! by Anna E. Jordan

Read more about the Everywhere Book Fest on the Nerdy Book Club site!

Nerdy Book Club

There were plenty of things about field trips in the “before times” that were difficult. Budgets for busses were minimal, permissions slips never came back, charging for events magnified inequities between students, and chaperones were often hard to find. Even so, we know that authentic experiences with experts inspire children and give classroom learning context. Our class discussions after the field trips were energized and as a teacher, I loved letting someone else take the lead so I could learn new ways to present subject matter I thought I knew backward and forwards.

Young readers have an exciting opportunity for a #virtualfieldtrip to visit the Everywhere Book Fest on May 1st and May 2nd.

Author visits, either IRL or via Skype, create a new joy for student reading and writing. The Everywhere Book Fest is an author visit times one thousand! Where else can you find three Ambassadors…

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Picture Books At The Library 208

I catalog hundreds of new picture books each year, and I read as many of them as I can. Unfortunately, I can’t review them all. But I can share them! Below are a few recent titles. (Summaries have been taken directly from the books whenever possible.) Check your local library or bookstore for availability.
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WHEN NUMBERS MET LETTERS: Toy numbers and letters meet and, in some cases, clash in a classroom during recess, but soon discover that they have some things in common. Clever and fun!
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OLD ROCK: Tall Pine, Spotted Beetle, and Hummingbird are certain that being a rock is boring until Old Rock shares what he has seen and done since he first flew out of a volcano.
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THE GIRL WHO SPOKE TO THE MOON: When Sofia dreams of visiting the Moon one night, she discovers people are hurting the Earth, and with the Moon as her guide, she learns how we can work together to make the Earth feel better. Rhyme
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WHERE LILY ISN’T: Lily is no longer in the house, or the park, or waiting by the door, but she remains in one little girl’s heart forever.
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SNAIL CROSSING: A determined snail spots cabbages on the other side of the road, and thus begins his epic journey. Funny!
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ONE HUG: A celebration of the many ways we embrace our loved ones. Rhyme
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FREEDOM BIRD: In the antebellum South, two siblings shelter a large, mysterious, wounded bird and eventually follow it west toward freedom.
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SUNNY: Sunny likes to look on the bright side of things, even when she was stranded at sea, until she found herself all alone and close to losing hope. Love this one!
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MAGNIFICENT HOMESPUN BROWN: An exuberant celebration of feeling at home in one’s own skin.

Picture Books At The Library 207

I catalog hundreds of new picture books each year, and I read as many of them as I can. Unfortunately, I can’t review them all. But I can share them! Below are a few recent titles. (Summaries have been taken directly from the books whenever possible.) Check your local library or bookstore for availability.

Two of these lovely picture books were illustrated by the same artist. Can you tell which ones by just looking at the cover art?

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THE BEAR MUST GO ON: Rabbit, Bear, Squirrel, and Other Squirrel make big plans for a show, but they have forgotten one very important thing, and only shy Bear can help.
HOSEA PLAYS ON: Rain or shine and with his saxophone case in hand, Hosea rides the bus to his favorite place–the Rochester Public Market–to play for everyone there.
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OVERGROUND RAILROAD: A girl named Ruth Ellen tells the story of her family’s train journey from North Carolina to New York City as part of the Great Migration.
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THE HEART OF A WHALE: Lonely Whale’s beautiful song calms a wriggly octopus, cheers a sad urchin, and much more, but it cannot cure his longing to meet another whale.
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I AM GOOSE!: Goose asks to play Duck, Duck, Goose with the other animals, but causes trouble by insisting that none of them can possibly be goose.
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NUMENIA AND THE HURRICANE: When Numenia and her sisters fly into a hurricane, fierce winds rip Numenia away from her family during their migration.
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BIG PAPA AND THE TIME MACHINE: In this dialogue between a child and his grandfather, crucial moments of African American history and stories of courage are shared.
IN A JAR: When Llewellyn, a little rabbit who collects ordinary things in jars, meets a friend named Evelyn, he joins with her to capture the extraordinary.
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THE PERFECTLY PERFECT WISH: A young girl has so many choices, but only one wish.
THE MUSIC OF LIFE: In Paris, Lenny has trouble starting to compose his symphony until he discovers that there is music all around him in everyday life.

My View Book Review: EVERYONE LOVES A PARADE!* by Andrea Denish


Author: Andrea Denish

Illustrator: Guilherme Franco

Publisher/Year: Boyds Mills Press/2020

I haven’t done a book review in a while, but with the sun shining, birds singing, kids playing outside, and the scent of spring in the air, I feel like celebrating. What better way to celebrate than to share a picture book that’s all about parades! Parades really are the epitome of celebrations, after all.

Author Andrea Denish’s brand new picture book EVERYONE LOVES A PARADE!*, officially due out on April 28, features nine of America’s most popular parades, including the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Tournament of Roses Parade.

Andrea’s fun rhyming text, combined with illustrator Guilherme Franco’s expressive and colorful art, makes this book a joy to read and share with the little parade enthusiasts in your household. Back matter offers more information about each parade featured, such as the fact that St. Patrick’s Day Parades in Boston and New York are the oldest parades in America, dating back to the 1700s, and that Chicago held the first official Pride Parade in 1970.

Reading about parades takes me back to my childhood home in Canastota, NY. Every year, my little hometown holds a Memorial Day Parade. My house happened to be on the parade route, which was the main street through town. We used to sit on our front porch, ready to watch the parade go by. But, the parade was so small that if you happened to run inside for a minute, you were likely to miss it.

There’s another parade that takes place in Canastota every summer, and that’s the Boxing Hall of Fame Parade or Parade of Champions, which is part of a days-long celebration of boxing (Canastota was the home of professional boxer Carmen Basilio), and ends with an induction ceremony on the last day. The festivities usually attract several boxing celebrities.

No conversation about books and parades would be complete without mentioning the Oz-Stravaganza! Parade, held in another little town (just 6 miles west of Canastota), Chittenango, NY. This town holds a weekend-long celebration every year, including the parade, to celebrate Oz creator L. Frank Baum, who was born there.

If you like parades and picture books, then I highly recommend you pick up a copy of EVERYONE LOVES A PARADE!* It is, in itself, a celebration of one of the most perfect examples of celebrations, the parade! 🙂

P.S. Did you notice the little asterisk at the end of the title? What could it mean? Read the book to find out. 😉

F&G provided by publisher

New Children’s Book Publisher, BiblioKid Publishing, Gives Back to Education + a Giveaway!

Kid’s book author, Brooke Van Sickle, has just launched her own publishing house and it’s pretty remarkable. BiblioKid Publishing is the children’s book publisher that donates 50% of its profits back to help fund literacy programs at low-income schools.

Brooke sat down to discuss the inspiration behind this cause and to let us know more about what to expect from BiblioKid Publishing in 2020 and years to come. Read all about it below.

Tell us a little about BiblioKid Publishing.

BiblioKid Publishing is a children’s book publisher who donates 50% of its profits to help fund literacy and reading programs at low-income schools. Right now, that’s through two national charities, Pencils for Promise and First Book, but we will eventually venture into more local and individual school fundraising opportunities.

Because we’re a huge advocate for a love of reading and education, BiblioKid likes to focus on that same purpose in our books. Our picture books always include humor and heart for the reader, and if there’s a learning component or moral, that comes second. Our mission is to always bring a quality book that kids will love first.

What made you want to start this company?

I’ve always been a proponent of education because I believe it’s the axis that leads us to chase our dreams and become successful. However, it wasn’t until I was substitute teaching for inner-city schools that I realized the great need for kids to have access to books and feel empowered to want to read.

And with education being the first thing that tends to be cut from government budgets, it takes people giving to these places to help keep them funded. I wanted to be one of those to give back to education, particularly through reading initiatives, and this was the best way to do that. With a traditional publisher, my royalties would have been too minuscule to have that opportunity.

What can we expect first from BiblioKid Publishing?

Our first book sets sail on February 25th called Pirates Stuck at ‘C’. This alphabet picture book is about a crew of pirates that find the perfect island for a treasure hunt. (Or so they think!) But as they start searching, all sorts of mishaps happen.

Daryll’s in deep water, Killian’s tangled in kelp, and Larry’s got a lobster clamped to his toe. And none of the pirates are having any luck finding treasure.

It should be a fun read for kids and parents to read together. Plus, there’s a free classroom guide for teachers to incorporate the book into their lesson plan.

Do you have any other books coming in 2020 or after?

Yes! We just announced the next book, Humans In-Training, which comes out in June about a puppy named Buster who has to train his humans. The illustrator, Stephanie Vanderpol has been creating some amazing scenes for this story, so I’m really excited for everyone to see it.

And the final picture book in 2020 will come out in September called Together in Our Castle. This is a touching friendship story that will give you all the feels. Plus, we’ve already got a line-up in 2021 of 4 new picture books and plan to open it up to even more authors, too.

If an author wants to submit to you, how would they go about that?

Great question! On the site, there’s a tab with our submission requirements. We’re always looking for children’s book illustrators and should open up to authors by 2021. The best place to stay informed when submissions open up is through my email list. (Plus, you’ll get lots of tips on how to write and publish a kid’s book!) Get signed up here and I’ll even give you my free “How to Write a Kid’s Book” guide.

Thank you so much for reading. To learn more about BiblioKid Publishing, visit their website here. You can also pre-order the picture book Pirates Stuck at ‘C’ before it debuts on February 25th and 50% of the profits will be donated back to help fund low-income schools.

Brooke Van Sickle is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) and Regional Webmaster for the Iowa-SCBWI region. She’s also a member of the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) and Midwest Independent Publishers Association (MiPa).

PIRATES STUCK AT “C”, published by BiblioKid Publishing, is Brooke Van Sickle’s debut picture book. She also has 2 more books expected in 2020. When not writing her own books, Brooke teaches other aspiring writers how to write and publish kid’s books at www.journeytokidlit.com.

Learn more about her on her website www.brookevansickle.com and connect with her on social @authorbrookevs.

Time For A Giveaway!

Brooke Van Sickle is generously giving away a hardcover, signed copy of her debut picture book PIRATES STUCK AT “C” to one lucky person who comments on this post by February 29th! If you share this post on social media, let us know in the comments to earn an additional chance to win.

The winner will be chosen randomly. Open to U.S. residents only.

Picture Books At The Library 206

I catalog hundreds of new picture books each year, and I read as many of them as I can. Unfortunately, I can’t review them all. But I can share them! Below are a few recent titles. (Summaries have been taken directly from the books whenever possible.) Check your local library or bookstore for availability.

These recent picture books couldn’t be more different in story or art style, and each one is worth checking out!

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YOU LOVES EWE!: Homonyms cause great confusion as an increasingly cranky yam tries to make introductions and provide explanations to his silly donkey friend. Funny!
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BEDTIME FOR SWEET CREATURES: As a young child protests bedtime by behaving like different animals, Mommy struggles to wrangle her sweet creature into bed.
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SOMETHING FOR YOU: When a field mouse discovers that his friend is sick in bed, he is determined to make her feel better, but things don’t go as planned. Sweet!
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FREEDOM SOUP: As Ti Gran teaches Belle how to make Freedom Soup, she tells her the history of her family and the history of Haiti.
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PENGUIN & MOOSE: Penguin is determined to learn how to fly, and his friend Moose is determined to help him, or support him when he fails.
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THE BEST KIND OF BEAR: Bear goes on a mission to find out what kind of bear he is, a grizzly bear, a sun bear, a polar bear, a spectacled bear, or something else entirely.
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TOOTH FAIRY IN TRAINING: A new tooth fairy learns the trade from her older sister, and discovers there’s more to it than just collecting teeth from sleeping children. Rhyme
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THE OLD TRUCK: A girl grows up on a farm, learns to build and fix things, and eventually restores the old family truck.
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CAVEBOY CRUSH: Neander, determined to win over Neanne, brings her gift after gift, but she remains unimpressed, until he comes up with the grandest gesture of all.

Top 10 Circulating Picture Books of 2019

Which picture books were checked out most often from the Community Library of DeWitt and Jamesville in 2019?

There was a tie for the top spot between two wonderful stand-alone titles! That’s right, a movie or TV tie-in did not take the top spot this year! Shocking, I know! But also pretty awesome!

The Library’s top circulating books were The Color Monster : A Story About Emotions and Sophie Johnson : Unicorn Expert. Both circulated 20 times. This may seem like a small number, but when you consider that each book may be checked out for up to 3 weeks (21 days), that 20 times means the top books were checked out over and over for the entire year!

Circulated 20 Times:

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Of course, there are a couple of movie and TV tie-ins in the Top 10. Paw Patrol is on the list again this year with a book that made the list last year, and, in fact, Real Rescue Dogs circulated one time more this year than last.

And Llama Llama–from the Netflix series, not the book series–is on the list as well.

The rest of the Top 10 spotlights a terrific mix of picture books featuring ever-popular characters, such as penguins, trucks, and dinosaurs. Two surprising, but well deserving, titles made the list too: Tomie dePaola’s Quiet and Brian Lies’ The Rough Patch. Check out all of the covers below.

Circulated 19 Times:

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Circulated 18 Times:

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Circulated 17 Times:

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What are the top circulating picture books at your local library?

Take a look at the top circulating picture books at the Community Library of DeWitt & Jamesville in prior years:

Top 21 of 2018

Top 17 of 2017

Top 19 of 2016

Top 15 of 2015

Happy New Year! 2020!

Prince of Wales � Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, everyone! Let me take a moment to thank all of you for following my humble blog. I truly appreciate every Like, Comment, Share, and visit, and I hope you’ll continue to visit in 2020. I wish each of you a very happy, healthy, and successful new year! May 2020 be your year! Cheers!

Frog On A Blog will return soon with more picture book posts, so stay tuned.

*virtual hug* 🙂