February 2022

February 28, 2022

Image by Lisa Johnston Hancock



Happy Book Birthday


NYT Bestselling 
Anna Dewdney

Illustrated by
Judy Schachner 

(Viking Books for Young Readers)

The bestselling creators of Llama Llama and Skippyjon Jones team up to bring warmth and humor to a story with a comforting message we could all use when times are tough:
everything will be OK.

8-copy floor display 
Listening Library Audiobook 
(narrated by Natalie Naudus)

Editions Circonflexe
(French translation)

in Poetry for Early Learning


A Big Hug in book form!

Trailer link above

The On-Sale Calendar: February 2022 Children’s Books (publishersweekly.com)

Featured in 

The Most Exciting Picture Books
Coming in 2022

Gentle rhymes and the comforting storyline give this book a cozy tone, making it a perfect read-aloud while snuggling with a loved one.”

Penguin/ Random House:

Anna Dewdney and Judy Schachner perfectly blend rhyme, humor, and comfort to show readers the way out of a tough spot
—no matter if it’s big or small.

From the dedication page


Coming in March:




as of 2.27.22

Marking East/West’s

278th week



2.21 PW print edition




as of 2.17.22


Mountains & Plains


New Atlantic


and Great Lakes Independent





Junior Library Guild has selected Pura Belpré-winning author Ernesto Cisneros’s FALLING SHORT as a gold standard title.

Ithaki Publishing has licensed Turkish rights to award-winning Antoinette Portis’s A SEED GROWS.

Happy Book Birthday

(Harper Collins)

Back matter includes creators’ notes, photographs, and a timeline of Alma’s life alongside events in the U.S.

in Children’s Painting Books



Meet an incredible woman who broke down barriers throughout her whole life and is now known as one of the most preeminent painters of the 20th century.

Trailer link above

“This charming biography’s title describes not only Alma Thomas’ signature paintings but the book’s radiant artwork, which emphasizes how the colors of the natural world inspired her unusual, iconic works. Neatly encapsulating a long life that saw social and personal upheaval, as well as gorgeously showcasing the art produced along the way and the natural world that inspired it, this title is a must for art and biography shelves.

Harvey rectifies an enormous wrong with this spirited biography of Black painter Alma Thomas (1891-1978), who is not nearly as renowned as she ought to be.  An inspiring introduction for artists and appreciators…”

This superb picture-book biography profiles Alma Thomas (1891–1978), the first Black woman to have art displayed in the White House’s permanent collection. Harvey’s (Maya Lin, rev. 7/17) poetic text is imagistic and deftly paced; Wise’s (The People Remember, rev. 11/21) digital artwork is boldly, fittingly colorful.

“Harvey employs a poetic voice, rich with alliteration and rhythm … Wise’s fluid digital art employs vivid strokes, patterns, colors, and reproductions that pay winning homage to Thomas in this comprehensive biography of a celebrated, trailblazing 20th-century painter…”

“That “Alma did not live to see the momentous day—when the first Black president and First Lady chose Alma’s painting as the first artwork by a Black woman to be displayed in the White House” closes her story with a single bittersweet episode in a tour de force career.”

Celebrate Black Voices All Year Long! Add these books to your collection in 2022 – Harperstacks (harpercollins.com)

99 Books about Extraordinary Black Mighty Girls and Women | A Mighty Girl

As featured on the Books of Wonder
nonfiction picture book panel

Read about Jeanne Walker Harvey’s process in this Book Birthday
Blog via Erin Dealey.

“I hope our book inspires children to seek joy on their own creative paths and overcome their own challenges.”

“Check out these fun activities which you can download on my website at https://www.jeanneharvey.com/projects.  Not only is there a terrific comprehensive Guide for Educators, Librarians and Parents, there’s also an Alma Thomas Activity Kit with a Create Your Own Collage and a Colorful Paper Puzzle. And I’d love for anyone to share what they create and I can post it on my website. Or send me a photo of any of your pets working along with you. My cat adores stretching out on these project pages when I’m creating.”

Interview with Mr. Schu (excerpted):

Working with Megan Ilnitzki, my editor at HarperCollins, was a dream. She edits with finesse, grace and talent. I explain to students that receiving editing notes from an editor is like getting feedback from a teacher on a paper or story. I tell children that the teacher’s suggestions are like keys that can unlock treasure chests because the comments provide ways to make the writing even better. Let’s hear it for editors and teachers! I’m also grateful for the team at Harper Collins: Chelsea C. Donaldson – art director, Caitlin Stamper – designer, Shona McCarthy – copy editor, Aubrey Churchward – publicist.

Loveis Wise’s illustrations surpass anything I envisioned when I wrote this book. They are STUNNING! Loveis’ illustrations are artworks displaying creativity, vibrancy, power and poignancy. Their illustrations not only embody Alma Thomas’ joy and passion for beauty, but also create a sense of time, place and experience which is integral to sharing Alma’s story. I love the way Loveis’ illustrations burst forth with color and power when the seventy-year-old Alma is inspired to paint in her new style.”

Jeanne Walker Harvey has been a longtime docent at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Just like Alma Thomas, Jeanne believes that art brings us joy. ABLAZE WITH COLOR is her third picture book biography after MY HANDS SING THE BLUES: ROMARE BEAREN’S CHILDHOOD JOURNEY, and MAYA LIN.  Stay tuned for her next book this fall, DRESSING UP THE STARS:  THE STORY OF MOVIE COSTUME DESIGNER EDITH HEAD (Beach Lane Books).

Available for pre-order.


Image by Shiho Pate.


Happy Book Birthday


Illustrated by


Mehrdokht Amini

Written by Irene Latham 

(G.P. Putnam’s Sons BYR)

Mehrdokht Amini’s gorgeous and vibrant illustrations bring a wonderful sense of drama to Irene Latham’s lyrical and rhythmic read-aloud text. Together they tell the story of two brave snails who, with the help of a small miracle, embark on the journey of a lifetime in this timeless and classic tale of friendship and perseverance.

“(A) Noah’s Ark story of perseverance and friendship. . . Amini’s hand-drawn and digitally layered acrylic-gouache collages convey the rushed forward-movement of the creatures and the progressively darkening skies. The interior of the ark and the animals’ faces are full of warmth and golden tones contrasting with the cool and tumultuous storm that rages outside… a refreshing new angle on a familiar tale.

“A sweet retelling of the story of Noah’s
ark, from the snail’s perspective… 
Dramatic illustrations of the billowing skies and storm and then serene waters about to recede will seed some exciting story hour discussions… This tale has a lot to offer for little-snail-that-could devotees… [and] works for children of any faith.”

Joys, troubles, and journeys
are best shared.


“…the previous collaborators (DICTIONARY FOR A BETTER WORLD) conjure a snail’s-eye view … written in Latham’s rhythmic prose and rendered with visual urgency via Amini’s digitally enhanced acrylic-gouache collages … the creators capture the many emotions of seeing a big event through small eyes.”

Also Available from the Collaborators,
including Charles Waters:

Mehrdokht Amini is an Iranian British children’s book illustrator living in London. She has a degree in graphic design from Tehran University, where she worked for children’s magazines and books while still a student. In 2016, CHICKEN IN THE KITCHEN won Best Book at the Children’s Africana Book Awards, was put on the White Ravens Honour List, and was nominated for the Kate Greenaway MedalGOLDEN DOMES AND SILVER LANTERNS (written by Hena Khan) was selected for the ALSC Notable Children’s Books list. Stay tuned for the upcoming book in the trilogy, ONE SUN AND COUNTLESS STARS: A MUSLIM BOOK OF NUMBERS.

Check out her Illustrator Highlight

Selected Backlist:

Coming in March:

Happy Book Birthday 


A Biography Book for New Readers

By Susan B. Katz 

(Rockridge Press)

He changed the world of entertainment

 “As someone from LA, I thought I knew all about Walt Disney. This biography introduces young readers, like my son, to unknown fun facts about Walt’s life and legacy. Disney fans will love this book.” 
Karen Ehrhardt, children’s book author and former children’s librarian

Happy Paperback Release 


by award-winning
Halli Gomez

(Union Square Kids)

It’s Kind of a Funny Story meets Turtles All the Way Down in this harrowing yet hopeful account of a teen living with Tourette syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder while contemplating his own mortality.

  • A 2023 Oklahoma Library Association High School Sequoyah Masterlist title

  • A 2022 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Nominee

  • 2021 NC Young People’s Literature Award 

Halli Gomez‘s neurodivergent debut YA novel LIST OF TEN is the winner of the 2021 American Association of University Women North Carolina Young People’s Literature Award
Click image above to hear Halli’s acceptance. 

“I hoped people with similar issues would connect and feel seen. I hoped it would bring a greater understanding of misunderstood neurodivergent individuals. What I didn’t expect was an even greater audience. I’ve heard from people who see books like List of Ten as a way to connect with their own children and family members, and others who are sharing it to promote inclusion and respect, and even others who have found themselves questioning their own behavior toward neurodivergent individuals.”
—Halli Gomez
The Author-Reader Relationship: Reaching Beyond Expectations, a guest post by Halli Gomez – Teen Librarian Toolbox

Halli Gomez, who was diagnosed with these neurological disorders at the age of eight, teaches martial arts and writes for children and young adults. She has written several stories with neurodivergent characters including her #LivedExperience debut YA, 

Our February Illustrator Highlight

features images by
Luciana Navarro Powell (see below), Kirk Reedstrom, Gela Kalaitzidis, Linh My Nguyen, Lisa Johnston Hancock,
Heather Brockman Lee, Ruth E. Harper, Z. B. Asterplume, Shiho Pate, Kelly Crull, John Ledda,
Nora Hilb, Chad Hunter, and Thomas Gonzalez.

See full Highlight here.



So Much February BOOK LOVE!


Megan Hoyt’s debut JLG PB bio, BARTALI’S BICYCLE (Quill Tree Books; illustrated by Iacopo Bruno)—a 2022-23 Texas Bluebonnet nominee, a NYPL Best Book of 2021 and a finalist for the 2021 National Jewish Book Awards (among other accolades)—is a #CYBILS2021 winner!

Further to PB bios: thank you, Books of Wonder, for hosting both
Jeanne Walker Harvey and Dow Phumiruk and boosting their books this month!



… don’t miss Margie Myers-Culver’s Librarian’s Quest blog mention:

Margie Myers-Culver’s Librarian’s Quest blog
“…Think of people representative of the word courage [and] Mary Katharine Goddard will come to your mind.  You will want to place this book in the who-knew-but-grateful-to-know-now category of titles to be read and shared widely.”  
We’ve ALWAYS known that Dow is “notable!”

Helaine Becker’s AN EQUAL SHOT, a nonfiction picture book introduction to the history and importance of Title IX as civil rights legislature, featuring illustrations by Dow Phumiruk—included in the 2022 Texas Topaz Nonfiction Reading List and a 2021 Mighty Girl Book of the Year—was chosen as a 2022 Notable Social Studies Trade Book.

And it was not “alone.” 

CONGRATS, Megan E. Freeman, on ALL of ALONE’s accolades and honors this year! 

ALONE and Lauren Kerstein‘s HOME FOR A WHILE are Nominees for the
2022-2023 South Carolina Book Awards.


Today included Ernesto Cisneros’ FALLING SHORT (Harper Collins) In their
“18 books by Latino authors you’ll want to read in 2022” roundup.

Check out what Meg Medina’s looking forward to reading!

“Medina says she is looking forward to this release, which will hit shelves on March 15, 2022. It centers around sixth graders Isaac and Marco, who already know this academic year is going to be a tough one. How will it change their lives at home, though? They need to team up to find out.”


(Quill Tree Books/HC, March 2022)

Complete entry form for a chance at the Harper Collins Giveaway




Also Coming in March

Jawsome news!

It’s a Booklist Star!

Readers at the younger end of the grade range will enjoy searching the images for the items shown beneath each photo and learning how to make their own art from trash, while a section of more advanced activities, such as keeping a field journal, might appeal more to older students. An excellent work on an unusual topic and a must for school and library shelves. 


We’re seeing stars!

Marino’s gorgeous artwork is on full display in this sweet book narrated by a baby emperor penguin still inside its shell for the majority of the story. Papa Penguin keeps the egg warm and safe between his belly and his toes, while Mama Penguin goes off to hunt for food. Papa and Baby await Mama’s return as cold winds blow. Marino’s expressive penguin faces and Antarctic landscapes in blue, pink, orange, yellow, and white pair perfectly with the brief, well-balanced prose, making this perfect for repeated readings, one-on-one and during story time. Back matter includes further information. 
VERDICT A first purchase for all libraries.

Speaking of NYT-bestselling creator Gianna Marino—
save the Date!

East/Westers—be sure to RSVP for our “3rd Saturday”
March 19th ZOOMtacular…


Where’s East West?

We spy Sibert Honoree Patricia Newman.

We spy NYT-bestselling author Stacia Deutsch.


Pura Belpré Winner, Ernesto Cisneros
North Texas Teen Book Festival (virtual) 3/4/22

And that’s just the beginning!

99 Books about Extraordinary Black Mighty Girls and Women | A Mighty Girl


Broadening the Story: 60 Picture Books Starring Black Mighty Girls | A Mighty Girl

Also Available:




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