April 2023

April 1, 2023

Good news from East to West and everywhere in between…


 Good News–from East to West 
and everywhere in between!

See our April Illustrator Highlight here!

Happy Book Birthday 

From worldwide bestselling author Max Brallier and co-author Joshua Pruett – in his GN debut – comes a full-color graphic novel spin-off series based on the #1 NYTWSJ, and USA Today bestselling Last Kids on Earth!

(Viking Books for Young Readers)

Illustrated by Jay Cooper
& Douglas Holgate
Designed by Jim Hoover

The debut in a 4-book meta-fictional comic book MG adventure series from within the Last Kids on Earth universe …

Art by Douglas Holgate

Like Dog Man is to Captain Underpants, this is a leap off of the original series into brand-new territory, but still firmly planted in the Last Kids world.


The Last Comics on Earth
Official Book Trailer

Art by Douglas Holgate

Excerpts from cbr.com
“I’m incredibly excited to be expanding the world of The Last Kids on Earth – and to do it with something that’s very different from the main series, but still feels true to the characters and world,” Brallier said. “The Last Comics on Earth is a goofy, silly, action-packed graphic novel adventure – loaded with amazing art from Doug Holgate and Jay Cooper — and I hope kids have just as much fun reading it as Joshua and I had writing it.

Art by Douglas Holgate

Pruett added, “Even before writing for the Netflix series, I was a fan of The Last Kids on Earth and the world and characters Max and Doug had brought to life … With the wild and wacky story Max and I put together, as realized by Doug and the force of nature that is fellow comics geek Jay Cooper, The Last Comics on Earth is jam-packed with outrageous adventure and big laughs for both new and die-hard Last Kids fans, realized in a way that only a ginormous, full color graphic novel could deliver!

Art by Douglas Holgate

As featured in:

“What’s better than a middle grade graphic novel? A full-color middle grade graphic novel!

Art by Douglas Holgate

Joshua Pruett is an Emmy Award winning writer best known for his work on Mystery Science Theater 3000The Last Kids on Earth animated series, and the original feature for Disney Plus, Phineas and Ferb: The Movie: Candace Against the Universe. Josh has been a storyboard artist, writer and creative consultant for LEGO, Warner Animation Group, Pure Imagination Studios, Disney TV, DreamWorks Feature Animation, Nickelodeon, DreamWorks TV, Sprout/NBC Universal, Netflix, Paramount Feature Animation as well as co-author of Shipwreckers! The Curse of the Cursed Temple of Curses, Or We Nearly Died. A Lot, with Scott Peterson.

Happy Book Birthday

Illustrated by
Luciana Navarro Powell

Written by Christine Layton
(Tilbury House Publishing) 

A poetic, wonder-sparking approach to PB non-fiction …

#BookBirthday Interview excerpt:  

Q. What medium / process did you use in this gorgeous book?

LNP: I used a mixed media technique to try to capture visually the mood of what our editor Jonathan called “light mysterious messages.” I used acrylic paints with stencils, some watercolor washes, and the most fun of all, real light from sun rays!

To capture “real stars” I perforated a grocery bag and photographed a myriad of little stars projected on the other side, then manipulated it all on Photoshop.

What do you hope readers will take away from LIGHT SPEAKS?

I loved how Christine’s text approached a non-fiction concept with a poetic lens – so I hope that kids can pause and think that science can also contain an element of wonder and can be viewed differently than how we read it in textbooks.


Q. For author Christine Layton: What surprises did Luciana bring to the project?

CL: Wow! The illustrations add incredible layers to the book! I mean, there is an entire story told through Luciana’s illustrations that isn’t present in the text. Luciana brought fun, real characters, a theme of exploration, and a cohesive journey that continues across the pages. I have no idea how she makes each page practically glow as if the paper is infused with light! What could be more perfect for this book? I’m so thankful to have the opportunity to collaborate with Luciana, and I treasure our friendship that’s grown through this book.

(Full Book Birthday interview on erindealey.com )

An enchanting picture book about the joyful, mysterious, awe-inspiring messages of light, whether emanating from a firefly or the sun, fireworks or the Big Bang, boats at sea or a bolt of lightning, a movie projector or a rainbow.

Backmatter provides further adventures in the science of light. 


Luciana’s Illustrator Highlight

Luciana Navarro Powell has created art since childhood and became a full-time illustrator in 2001. She moved from watercolor and acrylic paints to the digital brush―loving the freedom and the possibilities of experimentation with textures―and then to mixed media, incorporating photographs and scanned objects with traditional techniques in a digital melting pot. The colors, vibrancy, and warmth of her native Brazil infuse her work with a sunny optimism, humor, and warm human-animal-landscape interactions. As an immigrant, she makes sure that kids can see themselves in her art.

Happy Book Birthday


Illustrated by award-winning
Dow Phumiruk

Written by Kristen Mai Giang

(Levine Querido)

 Children’s Planes and Aviation books 

Recorded Books Audiobook narrated by Quyen Ngo

The powerful, true story of a family’s escape from Saigon six days before its fall in 1975, on the dramatic last commercial flight out, as experienced by author Kristen Mai Giang. 

“Mai Giang’s sensory-filled prose gently and evocatively communicates a personal wartime story. Phumiruk’s clean, soft illustrations … bring to life a gamut of emotions … A moving and illuminating story of family, war, courage, and newfound home.”

Phumiruk’s illustrations … capture rich emotions through expressive eyes and thoughtful contrast between bright and darkly colored scenes. A tender and powerful portrait of a harrowing, historic event.”

The On-Sale Calendar: April 2023 Children’s Books

“Giang’s affecting, powerful recounting of her family’s escape from Saigon in 1975 renders a largely unexplored moment in history intimate and urgent.”

“It was an incredible honor to work on this book. I am so excited it is out in the world!”
Dow Phumiruk

Dow’s Illustrator Highlight 


Happy Book Birthday

Board Book edition

Written by award-winning
Jeanne Walker Harvey

Illustrated by
Grady McFerrin

(Cameron Kids/Abrams)

A KidLitTV recommended book!

Inspired by the San Francisco Bay but with universal appeal, the book features a spectacular double-spread gatefold finale showing a boat parade and fireworks glowing against a city backdrop.




(As of 4.23.23)
42 weeks total


(As of 4.2.23)
16 weeks total

Marking East/West’s
300th week

(as of 4.23.23)

(as of 04.17.23)






(04.03.23, print edition of PW)


Matar Publishers has licensed Hebrew rights to Gela Kalaitzidis’s debut PB – a B&N “Best Book of 2022” – OZZIE & PRINCE ZEBEDEE (Flamingo Books).


Beyaz Balina has renewed Turkish rights for Antoinette Portis’s NYT best illustrated, Geisel Honor award-winning NOT A BOX, also selected as a 2022 “Kansas Reads to Preschoolers” title.


The Eastern Publishing has renewed Complex Chinese Taiwanese rights for Anna Dewdney’s 6-week NYT’s bestseller LITTLE EXCAVATOR.


Happy Book Birthday 

Illustrated by NYT-bestselling
Thomas Gonzalez

Written by Sibert Honor-award winning author Suzanne Slade 


Strange but true nonfiction filled with stunning illustrations, fascinating facts, and illuminating, elegant poetry.

This informational PB from a powerhouse creative team [COUNTDOWN: 2979 DAYS TO THE MOON] reveals the fascinating features of the remarkable octopus, such as lights that attract prey, legs that walk on land, and the ability to change color and shape to match their surroundings and even masquerade as other animals.

“Gonzalez’s photorealistic art is breathtaking …”

“Slade’s two-level text is set directly on Gonzalez’s luminous illustrations … [with] striking close-up artwork. An admirable, admiring introduction to an intriguing species.”

“Accessible and informative … Gonzalez’s remarkably large and lifelike illustrations [fill] each page …”

Stay tuned for the team’s third collaboration for Peachtree, BEHOLD THE HUMMINGBIRD, soon!

Happy Book Birthday

by Erin Dealey
Illustrated by
Germán Blanco

Who wouldn’t want two birthdays in one year?


This rhyming adventure = a HALF Birthday party in a book! (a WHOLE lot of fun + 4 adorable Birthday Buddies + DIY activities)

“… [HALF birthday buddies] exuberantly leave decorations for sleeping children, bake a HALF cake, and leave HALF invitations. And though they will hide from view, you may hear them sing the HALF birthday song.  The rhyming text describes further activities for a HALF birthday party with family and friends, though presents are not a part of this celebration, even HALF ones… Dealey and Blanco give kids another day to celebrate each year.

No presents allowed.
Not even HALF ones.
Just this WHOLE book of HALF things to do!

HALF-cheers for a Happy HALF Birthday
From the HALF Birthday Buddies to YOU.

From SIMPLY 7 
“A fun celebration of half birthdays with the half birthday buddies.  It’s full of half jokes and half songs, as well as half math facts.  This is a book that will appeal to teachers everywhere for multiple reasons.

SIMPLY 7: I have a summer birthday, which was always a bummer as a younger school kid.  I didn’t get to celebrate my birthday during the school year at all.  Do you anticipate this book being used for kiddos like me?  

Erin: THE HALF BIRTHDAY BOOK is for everyone –any time of the year but especially kids with summer birthdays or birthdays on holidays, who don’t get to celebrate at school. There are also those who share their birthdays with the BIG holidays… I wanted this book to be a magical celebration, and yet something that any child could do, or teachers could use in the classroom. I hope you’ll use it too, Jena!

SIMPLY 7:  I absolutely plan to! 

Dear readers, if you have a hard-to-celebrate birthday, consider celebrating your half birthday with this book…I plan to grab a copy of it myself.

“The inspiration for THE HALF BIRTHDAY BOOK came from a Vice Principal at the elementary school where our daughter teaches 2nd grade. The VP told her I should write a book about half birthdays because there weren’t any. Just out of curiosity, I checked … [and then] got to work.  (Thanks, Mr. Douty!)” 
Erin Dealey 

Perfect for:

  • Anyone with a HALF birthday (could this be you?)
  • Celebrating HALF birthdays in a fun and stress-free way.
  • Teachers to use in the classroom for children who have summer birthdays!

“Half” a great time!

Happy Book Birthday 

Written by Susan B. Katz

Illustrated by Jen Taylor

(Little Bee Books) 

“With adorable illustrations and fun rhymes, this board book is the perfect story for any kid’s bedtime. I have no doubt that it will soon be a family favorite.”
—Arianna Huffington, Founder & CEO, Thrive Global

“Kids will fall in love with this adorable red car! That it’s cleverly written to the tune of a beloved lullaby will make it even more fun as they sing along with their parents!
A must for any child who loves cars!”
—Laura Numeroff, NYT Bestselling Author of “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie” series

“Colorful illustrations of downright adorable, anthropomorphic vehicles, which evoke the Pixar Cars franchise, are engaging and complement the text … Sure to help get the jammie-clad set get ready for bed.”

“The personified vehicles will appeal to Disney’s “Cars” fans. A recommended title for collections catering to the vehicle obsessed.”


(Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan)

“If George Bailey, facing ruin in It’s A Wonderful Life, wrestled the illustrations away from Anthony Browne (Ernest the ­Elephant, Gorilla), the result would be Asterplume’s optimistic debut about food insecurity … Asterplume has a perfect grasp of the give-and-take between pictures and text.

Z.B. Asterplume’s Illustrator Highlight


Illustrated by Joey Spiotto

Written by Luvvie Ajayi Jones
(Philomel Books)

“A lighthearted tale perfect for setting little ones on the path to good trouble.”

Joey Spiotto’s Illustrator Highlight



Talk about being “on a roll!”


Stay tuned for Marie’s interview with MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart soon!


Continuing to SPRING into the season:


Consider this one a contemporary classic.—Elizabeth Bird’s (Fuse8) review


 Here’s to yet ANOTHER honor, Ernesto!

Ernesto with his editor, Rosemary Brosnan, and Courtney Stevenson (associate editor)
Quill Tree Books/HC


CONGRATS to our 2023 CBC “Favorites”:

3rd – 5th Grade Favorites 2023 – Children’s Book Council (cbcbooks.org)


Further to Dow’s A LIFE OF SERVICE:

And WOW, Dow!










BRAVA on the continuing accolades, Megan!



Mary Rand Hess & Randy Preston take 
ACOUSTIC ROOSTER’S BARNYARD BOOGIE (launched at the Kennedy Center)
on tour to Las Vegas! 




More EARTH DAY call outs:

SCBWI Earth Day reading list (above)



Myth and Middle Grade: Exploring the Books


Speaking of Alexandra’s editor, Sophia Jimenez:



In Brief: March 30











Overheard on TWITTER






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Artwork by Danielle Arbour


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