Archive for the ‘Author/Illustrator’ category

Sea Cow or Manatee?

October 10, 2019

Is it a sea cow or a manatee? Find out when you read This Is a Sea Cow written and illustrated by Cassandra Federman.

sea cow

A second grader is given a homework assignment to write about a marine mammal she likes. The student chooses a sea cow and proceeds to write facts and draw illustrations. She begins by comparing the sea cow to a land cow. Cassandra Federman’s clever illustrations show the sea cow – who prefers to be called a manatee – using speech bubbles to clarify the facts written by the student. With each page turn, readers see the sea cow’s hilarious personality come to life as the sea cow continues to dispute some of the facts and comparisons the second-grade student is writing and drawing.

This book bursts with clever commentary, interesting facts, and some fascinating back matter. Cassandra Federman has created a delightfully funny book that will hook readers from the beginning.

Are You a Dreamer?

February 7, 2019

If you’re a dreamer, then you will love Dreamers written and illustrated by Yuri Morales. It’s a beautiful book. It received the 2019 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award, seven starred reviews, a New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Book of 2018, and more.


As a lover of books and libraries, this book grabbed my heart. It’s based on Yuri Morales’ life story of coming to America with her young son. It’s simply told in beautiful language. Coming to the United States and unable to understand and speak the language, mother and son have much to learn. It’s a library that makes all the difference in their quest to fit in and find a safe haven to learn. They immerse themselves in books, and they slowly learn to read, to speak, and to write in English. Yuri Morales‘ illustrations are drawn in ink, painted with acrylics, and include scanned photographs of personal items. The combination of the vibrantly colored and imaginative illustrations along with the sparse text capture readers’ attention. It’s a book that celebrates the difficult and emotional journey of coming to a new country, and a book of hope and dreams for all to enjoy.

And the Answer Is …

October 25, 2018

Where was I last week?

I was in New London, NH, having a conversation with a very well-known author/illustrator. That’s another clue for you. But, before I reveal who I had the pleasure of spending quality time with, here are a few more clues.

This gentleman

is amazing,

loves wearing scarves,

has won a Caldecott Honor Award and a Newbery Honor Award, to name only a few of his  many awards,

and his newest picture book is on the New York Times Best Sellers list at #8.

Are you ready?

QUIET and listen up.

The answer is…


Tomie dePaola

Tomie dePaola is a multi-talented, author/illustrator/teacher, and winner of many prestigious awards. At 84 years young, Tomie continues to work on numerous projects in his studio – a 200-year-old renovated barn.





Besides illustrating books, Tomie’s many artistic projects also include liturgical art. He is in the process of working on a mural for a chapel dear to his heart. He is also co-writing and illustrating the Andy & Sandy easy-to-read picture book series, will be giving his artistic touch to two Little Free Libraries, and has enough other projects to keep him busy for years.

Little Free Libraries Waiting for Tomie’s Magic Touch


Tomie’s creative process begins with the story which he writes in longhand. When it comes to illustrating, Tomie prefers the tried and true method. He uses line drawing, a paint brush, and acrylic paints. He says he likes “feeling the paper/feeling the brush.”

Coming from an Irish/Italian background, many of his books are written from that perspective. Tomie’s favorite book is Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs. It’s an autobiographical story of his Irish great-grandmother and Irish grandmother. His close family ties could be seen and felt when he spoke about the day he ran to Nana Upstairs’ room and found her bed empty. He remembers exactly how the room looked and how he felt when he learned his great-grandma had passed away. He recreated that moment in his picture book.

In his studio, there is a special area where Tomie spends meditative time each morning. It’s a place where he can slowly breathe in and breathe out, be prayerful and appreciate the world around him.


While visiting, I also had the privilege of touring his home. It’s filled with collections of Native American and early American folk art. Throughout his home, you’ll also find numerous candles, religious art, and artifacts. Everything is in perfect order. A newer addition to Tomie’s house, which he dubbed the Mercer Room, is light and bright and filled with colorful art from Mexico and his own paintings.

The Mercer Room




Tomie has a particular connection with the story of Juan Diego and Our Lady Of Guadalupe. Images of Our Lady of Guadalupe can be found in almost every room of his home and studio.


More Art and Artifacts


Tomie also enjoys eating, cooking, and entertaining.

How’s this for a well-appointed kitchen?

My time with Tomie dePaola was an incredible experience. He is a kind, gentle man who makes you feel like you’ve known him forever. He respects others, works hard, and has a great sense of humor. No matter who you are, Tomie dePaola readily welcomes you into his extraordinary world. I was lucky to be a part of it!

Quiet is a perfect book to share with young and old in our fast-paced world.


Quiet written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, October 2018.

Have You Seen A Cat?

October 20, 2016


Have you seen a cat? If you haven’t, then it’s time you take a look at Brendan Wenzel’s latest picture book, THEY ALL SAW A CAT. It’s a simply told tale about a cat walking through the world and the creatures who see it. What makes this picture book unique are the illustrations. Each creature sees the cat from its own distinctive perspective. The mouse sees a cat with sharp teeth and claws. The bee sees a cat from many different lenses. The bird sees a cat from high above. And so it goes with the other animals. Brendan Wenzel uses a wide variety of media to create his illustrations. His artistic approach and his double-page spreads will surprise and dazzle readers. And how does the cat see himself? You’ll have to get this book and find out!

This picture book, along with many other admirable books, has been nominated for the 2016 Cybils Awards (Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards).


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