Books for March

I’ve been reading a lot of really fun picture books lately.

I’ve been reading a lot of really fun picture books lately. It’s a great way to get ideas on technique for my own writing and art.


I thought I’d share a few of my favorites with you!

Oh, No! by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Eric Rohmann

The art in this book is amazing. The end. Gorgeous colors, lively lines, and it’s a reduction linocut, which is pretty unusual when it comes to children’s book illustrations. Too fun.

It’s a pretty cool story, too, told in typical folktale style. Animal after animal falls into a pit … and a hungry tiger is watching it all.

Steam Train, Dream Train by Sherry Duskey Rinker and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

A great example of a rhyming book that deserves to be a rhyming book. No word is extraneous; it’s a rollicking ride the whole way through.

The art in this book is gorgeous, and kids will love all the fun details of cute animals loading up the train.

Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna PavlovaSwan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova by Laurel Snyder and illustrated by Julie Morstad

The illustrations in this book are so lovely, I just want to look at them over and over. This book tells the story of ballerina Anna Pavlova, from her childhood through her untimely death, in a lyrical and gentle way.

It’s a great example of how nonfiction can be crafted using all the techniques of the best fiction stories.

I think I’m strangely drawn to stories with grumpy characters, because the next three books have pretty rude protagonists.

What can I say. I think they’re funny.

Please, Mr. Panda written and illustrated by Steve Antony

I heard Steve Antony speak at a recent children’s literature conference. He actually read the entire book to us at the conference and it was hilarious. This book is told entirely in dialogue–a device I’m liking a lot.

Mr. Panda has some donuts to give away. But before he’ll let them go, he expects a little politeness in return.

Leave Me Alone! written and illustrated by Vera Brosgol

A Caldecott Honor winner this year! A grandmother just wants some alone time to get some knitting done for her passel of grandchildren. In fact, she’ll go pretty far to make it happen.




I Want My Hat Back written and illustrated by Jon Klassen

Like Please, Mr. Panda, this book is told entirely in dialogue. The art picks up the slack to fill in the holes in the text–in a pretty funny way.

The bear is looking for his hat. But when he finally finds it, he almost doesn’t realize it.

Okay, that’s it for now! More books later.



Five Faves for September

This is my first time trying this, so I’m gonna stretch the rules a little bit.

This is my first time trying this, so I’m gonna stretch the rules a little bit. The idea is that I share five things for the month that I’ve discovered, loved, and that made my life happy! Obviously, I’m a bit late for September! Still, here goes.

1. Connie Willis (To Say Nothing of the Dog, Bellwether)

141003To Say Nothing of the Dog

This is my top favorite for a reason. I can’t say I’ve enjoyed an author so much since I first discovered Rick Riordan. (You can read about that awesomeness here.) Connie Willis writes science fiction, but both of the books I’ve read so far aren’t at all like what I think of when I think science fiction (absolutely no aliens involved). My intro to Willis (hat tip to my friend Kim for that) was To Say Nothing of the Dog, a romance/mystery/sci-fi/just-plain-fun book that I had a hard time putting down. Most of the book takes place in Victorian England as two time-travelers (Ned and Verity) try to solve the mystery of the disappearance of the bishop’s bird stump, a hideous vase of sorts. I just finished Bellwether–the story of a trends researcher who is utterly un-faddish–and liked it nearly as well. I think what appeals to me the most about Willis is the way she fills her books with the most delicious details–history, literature, science–all in the minds of characters who are enthralled by knowing and connecting ideas. I am perfectly certain that if I met Willis’ characters in real life, we would get along.

2. Noosa yogurt

141003 Noosa yogurt.jpgMmm … passion fruit.

This stuff is amazing. I’ve been an Activia fan for a while (I eat it almost every day), but this yogurt may just convert me. It is like dessert. Seriously. So far, I’ve had the pumpkin, the tart cherry, and the raspberry (all amazing), and I fully intend to try every flavor I can get my hands on. I’m looking at the website right now, and THEY HAVE PASSION FRUIT. These people clearly know me. (Thanks to Shoshanna for sharing your snacks, else I might never have known what I was missing!)

3. “Overwhelmed” by Big Daddy Weave

I love Big Daddy Weave! This song makes me so happy. It’s been around for a year or so, apparently, but I heard it for the first time on the radio this month.

Here’s the chorus:

I delight myself in You,
Captivated by Your beauty;
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You.
God, I run into your arms,
Unashamed because of mercy;
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You.

Listen to the full song here:

4. Breathe Christian Writer’s Conference

This doesn’t really count, because I haven’t actually gone yet. But I am all signed up to attend Breathe Writer’s Conference one week from today! I have wanted to attend a writer’s conference for a while now, so I am excited to attend (and thankful to my friend Alexis for letting me know about it). I hope to share some of the highlights of it with you soon.

5. The Crow

1441003 yoga-crow-pose.jpgZe crow.

The crow is a yoga pose that looks like this lady on the right:
I’ve been working on it for a while (read: two years) and I can finally do it! Yeah! It feels really good to say that. (Please don’t tell me how you were able to do the crow the first time you tried. Please. Do. Not.)