Synopsis Ever wonder why there’s a little pink eraser on every pencil? Find out in this funny, clever picture book that tells the true story of how Pencil and Eraser became the best of friends.
When Pencil draws on the pages of this book, Eraser erases parts of Pencil’s work, and the book itself becomes a canvas for their different takes on creativity—until the two discover their artwork is even better when they work together.
From Karen Kilpatrick, Luis O. Ramos, and illustrator Germán Blanco, When Pencil Met Eraser brings to life something kids use every day at school and at home. Engaging art, adorable characters, and a clever ending create a memorable message about friendship and creativity.
More About the Book Like its artists, the book’s titular heroes wriggle out of their comfort zones as they learn to coexist in the same space and create together as one adds while the other subtracts. As Pencil and Eraser competitively draw and erase, the book itself becomes a 4th-wall-bending battleground between the two. Kids will delight in seeing how each spread uses both characters to create a work of art, with clever additive and subtractive scene manipulations.
The ultimate message of embracing teamwork shines through the animated-style art, reminiscent of enduring classics like The Dot and the Line. Moreover, as the story experiments with composition, texture, and color, it serves both curious young artists and those just discovering the joy of collaboration.
Check out When Pencil Met Eraser when it publishes in May 2019!
About the Authors and Illustrator Karen Kilpatrick has been telling and writing stories for as long as she can remember. A former attorney who left the legal industry for the toy industry, she is also the author of the Pumpkinheads children’s book series and cocreator with her two daughters of the toy brand, MeBears. She lives in South Florida with her three kids.
Luis Osvaldo Ramos, Jr. was born and raised in Tampa, Florida, and graduated from University of Central Florida and University of Miami Law. He’s an attorney at law and a kid at heart who practices law during the day and writes and consumes stories in his free time. He and his wife currently live in South Florida with their very cute but very demanding orange cat.
Germán Blanco has been using pencils all his life. Erasers, too. He unknowingly began his artistic career as a kid by doodling in school whenever he was bored. (Sorry, Mom!) He later became a graphic designer but he found his passion in illustration. When he’s not drawing, he enjoys watching movies and playing football (AKA soccer).
Synopsis One afternoon, eleven-year-old Titan, his friends from the Wild Boars soccer team, and their coach rode their bikes to explore local caves. They crawled through the narrow tunnels in the dark to reach the center of the cave. When they turned to go home, heavy rains had flooded the tunnel. They were trapped!
With rising waters and monsoon season upon them, time and oxygen were running out. The world watched with bated breath as rescuers from around the globe joined forces to try to free the boys. After eighteen harrowing days, in an unprecedented effort of international teamwork, they were finally saved.
Reflection Eleven-year-old Chanin grew up being obsessed with soccer. At the age of six he started playing and joined the Wild Boars soccer team a few short years later. Nicknamed “Titan” by his family after the powerful giants of Greek mythology, he was known for his strength which made him an asset to the team.
On June 23, 2018 Titan and eleven of his teammates entered the Tham Luang Nang Non Caves along with their soccer coach in search of adventure. The storied “hidden city” within the cave excited the boys so they went in search of it. Little did they know they’d be spending 18 days trapped (June 23 – July 10) there underground surrounded by stone cold water and little oxygen with no food.
While reading this book I felt a range of different emotions from sadness to nervousness to sheer excitement! This story is not only captivating, but it’s informative too. It’s so interesting to read the details about how the team members all made it out alive. What an incredible journey for the soccer team, their coach and all of the rescuers/volunteers involved! This is an amazing story of bravery, perseverance, teamwork and community. The illustrations by Dow Phumiruk are so vivid will take your breath away. Each illustration really helps to bring the story to life.
The back matter has more information about the cave rescue including a timeline and other fascinating facts. For example: while being trapped in the cave, four of the boys missed their birthdays. There is also a brief interview with British divers Chris Jewell and Jason Mallinson. An inspiring non-fiction book not to be missed this year.
Watch the Book Trailer!
About the Authors Susan Hood is the award-winning author of many books for young readers, including Ada’s Violin, Shaking Things Up, and Lifeboat 12. She is the recipient of the 2017 E.B. White Honor Award, the 2017 Christopher Award, the 2017 Américas Award, and the 2017 Bank Street Flora Steiglitz Straus Award, given annually to “a distinguished work of nonfiction which serves as an inspiration to young people.” Visit susanhoodbooks.com.
Pathana Sornhiran was born in Bangkok, Thailand, where she attended the Faculty of Arts at Chulalongkorn University with a major in English and French. She later completed her master’s degree in journalism in London, UK and now works as a journalist in Asia, traveling across the region to find and tell stories that matter.
About the Illustrator Dow Phumiruk was born in Bangkok, Thailand and came to the United States with her family when she was very young. Her mother was a nurse, and her father, a retired Royal Thai Air Force captain. He worked for Thai Airways for many years, which allowed her family many trips back to Thailand when she was younger. Dow currently lives in Colorado with her husband and three daughters. She is an author and illustrator of children’s books and has been a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators since 2011. Dow is also a general pediatrician who teaches medical students part time. When she is not creating or teaching, she likes to hike the trails near her home. Visit her at artbydow.blogspot.com
In partnership with Familius, I am thrilled to be revealing the cover for the forthcoming August 2019 book Marvin’s Monster Diary 2: ADHD Emotion Explosion by Dr. Raun Melmed and Caroline Bliss Larsen.
Synopsis Meet Marvin, a lovable monster with a twelve-stringed baby fang guitar, a rambunctious case of ADHD, emotions that sometimes overwhelm him (and others), and a diary to record it all. While Marvin got it together in Marvin’s Monster Diary: ADHD Attacks, his lab partner Lyssa’s emotional roller coaster is a bit out of control. Can he help her—and win the Science Scare-Fair—before she explodes?
In the same humorous spirit of Diary of a Wimpy Kid comes Marvin’s Monster Diary: ADHD Emotion Explosion Using the “monstercam” and “ST4” techniques developed by Dr. Raun Melmed of the Melmed Center in Arizona, Marvin’s Monster Diary: ADHD Emotion Explosion teaches kids how to be mindful, observe their surroundings, and take time to think about their actions. Marvin’s hilarious doodles and diary entries chronicle his delightful adventures, misadventures, and eventual triumph in a funny, relatable way. It’s the series on ADHD that kids will actually want to read!
Marvin’s Monster Diary: ADHD Emotion Explosion also includes a resource section to help parents and teachers implement Dr. Melmed’s methods, plus ST4 badge reminders that kids can remove, color, and place around the house.
Check out Marvin’s Monster Diary: ADHD Emotion Explosion when it publishes in August 2019!
About the Author Raun D. Melmed, MD, FAAP, a developmental and behavioral pediatrician, is director of the Melmed Center in Scottsdale, Arizona, and cofounder and medical director of the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center. He is the author of Autism: Early Intervention; Autism and the Extended Family; and a series of books on mindfulness for children: Marvin’s Monster Diary: ADHD Attacks, Timmy’s Monster Diary: Screen Time Stress, Harriet’s Monster Diary: Awfully Anxious, andthe next in the series, Marvin’s Monster Diary 2 (+Lyssa): ADHD Emotions.
Disclaimer: I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.
Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry, illustrated by Vashti Harrison
Publisher: Kokila, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Format: Hardcover Pages: 32 Age Range: 4 – 8 Grade Level: Preschool – 3
Synopsis It’s up to Daddy to give his daughter an extra-special hair style in this ode to self-confidence and the love between fathers and daughters, from former NFL wide receiver Matthew A. Cherry and New York Times bestselling illustrator Vashti Harrison.
Zuri’s hair has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way. Zuri knows it’s beautiful. When Daddy steps in to style it for an extra special occasion, he has a lot to learn. But he LOVES his Zuri, and he’ll do anything to make her — and her hair — happy.
Reflection Twist outs. Braid outs. Wash and Gos. Bantu knots. Locs. Afros. Braids. Top Knots. Ponytails. Today’s natural haired beauties are embracing their kinks, coils and curls more than ever before to express their style. Just ask little Zuri. She wants to have the perfect hairstyle to welcome her mother home. Armed with an iPad, hair products and her dad, she ends up finding the perfect look.
I adore this book for so many reasons. First, it showcases a Black father in a positive light bonding with his daughter doing her hair. We don’t see this enough, especially in the Black community. I personally think a father caring for his daughter’s hair isn’t a loss of masculinity. In fact, I think women admire men even more who take the initiative to learn how to do hair. I love how Zuri’s dad steps up to the plate and figures out what needs to be done to do his daughter’s hair in his wife’s absence.
With the help of social media, Zuri’s father learns how to comb, part, oil, twist, and style Zuri’s hair. This experience allowed Zuri to bond with her dad in an entirely new way, and likely instilled a deep pride about the heritage in her hair.
One thing I notice with my husband is he likes to bond with our kids by playing, roughhousing, teaching them a skill or a sport. But Hair Love shows that fathers talking to their daughters about their hair is an entirely new way to bond. Just like my daughter, many girls love to see and spend time with their dad. So when a father actually does a good job on his daughter’s hair she’ll likely respond with, “Yeah, my daddy did my hair!”…now that’s bonding.
I also love how Zuri’s dad tells her that her hair is beautiful.
Daddy tells me it is beautiful. That makes me proud. I love that my hair lets me be me!
When I was younger I remember people used to always use the word “nappy” to describe natural Black hair. That word was thrown around a lot during my childhood by children and grown-ups and I never liked it. Since becoming an adult and embracing my own natural hair, I no longer use that word to describe my hair or anyone else’s natural hair. You have to be mindful of the things you say to children and teach them about self-love at an early age like Zuri’s dad.
I also think Hair Love does a great job showing readers that being a father is much more than being able to provide for a family financially. Fatherhood sometimes encompasses: cooking, cleaning, AND doing hair. It may also involve showing your daughter how to love herself completely inside and out, how to appreciate her natural beauty, and love everything about herself. Those are things that sometimes men (and women) really don’t think about as being a father.
Lastly, the adorable illustrations by Vashti Harrison make this book a ten on the cuteness scale. Just look at how adorable the front cover is! As always, Vashti does an outstanding job telling the story through her stunning illustrations. A winner!
Hair Tips & Techniques
Learn your daughter’s hair type and what will work best in styling her hair.
Create or find a regimen that works your daughter’s hair and lifestyle. Once you find what works KEEP DOING IT. Consistency is key to growing beautiful, natural hair.
Find people within your family and friends and talk to them about maintenance if you’re unsure.
Utilize social media when necessary. There is a wealth of information online. You can find easy, child-friendly tutorials as well as product reviews.
Browse the hashtag #naturalhair or #naturalhairkids on any social media platform and all kinds of helpful information will be in the palm of your hand.
About the Author
Chicago native Matthew A. Cherry is a former NFL wide receiver turned filmmaker who played for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cincinnati Bengals, Carolina Panthers, and the Baltimore Ravens. In 2007 he retired and moved to LA to pursue a career in entertainment. Now, he directs music videos and short films, including “Hair Love,” the animated short film on which this book is based. Matthew was named to Paste Magazine‘s list of Directors to Watch in 2016.
About the Illustrator
Vashti Harrison is the author-illustrator of the New York Times bestselling picture book Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History, which is also a NAACP Image Award winner. She earned her BA from the University of Virginia with a double major in Media Studies and Studio Art, and received her MFA in Film and Video from CalArts where she snuck into Animation classes to learn from Disney and Dreamworks legends. There she rekindled a love for drawing and painting. Now, utilizing both skill sets, she is passionate about crafting beautiful stories in both the film and picture book worlds.
Your turn: How do you teach your children to love their hair? What natural hair tips and techniques would you add to this list? Feel free to share in the comments.
Sam is a nine-year-old boy who loves riding his bike and learning about the American Revolution. There’s just one problem: Sam’s family knows him as a girl named Isabel. Sam feels a sense of relief when he finally confides in his sister Maggie, and then his parents, even though it takes them a while to feel comfortable with it. But with lots of love and support, Sam and his family learn and grow through Sam’s journey to embrace his true self. In the vein of I Am Jazzby Jessica Herthel, Sam! is based on a true story. With a note from the author explaining her family’s experience, Sam! is an important addition to a list of books that help children and adults discuss gender identity.
Check out Sam! when it publishes in September 2019!
About the Author
Dani Gabriel is a poet, writer, activist, and teacher, the author of The Woman You Write Poems About (Civil Defense Press) and coauthor of Molotov Mouths (Manic D Press). She holds a BA from UC Berkeley in Peace and Conflict Studies and an MFA from Mills College in Creative Writing. This is Dani’s debut picture book. She lives in the Bay Area.
About the Illustrator
Robert Liu-Trujillo is an author/illustrator and publisher from the Bay Area. He has worked on several picture books including Furqan’s First Flat Top, which he wrote and illustrated, One of a Kind, Like Me by Laurin Mayeno, which he illustrated, and Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy by Tony Medina, for which he contributed an illustration. He is a co-founder of The Trust Your Struggle Collective, a contributor to Rad Dad, and the founder of Come Bien Books. He lives in Oakland, CA, with his wife, son, and daughter.
Are you looking for Screen-Free Week book recommendations for readers of all ages? We’ve got you covered!
Every year during screen-free week, thousands of people participate and commit to unplug from screen-based entertainment for an entire week. Are you up for the challenge? You can visit the screenfree.org website to find out more information, discover local screen-free week events and find great resources to help you.
What is Screen-Free Week?
From the Screen-Free website: Screen-Free Week is an annual invitation to play, explore, and rediscover the joys of life beyond ad-supported screens. Each year, thousands of families, schools, and communities around the world will put down their entertainment screens for seven days of fun, connection, and discovery. Even though it’s about turning off screens, Screen-Free Week isn’t about going without – it’s about what you can get! An hour once dedicated to YouTube becomes an hour spent outside; ten minutes wiled away on social media turn into ten minutes spent doodling; a movie on a rainy afternoon is replaced by time spent reading, chatting, or playing pretend! You can celebrate Screen-Free Week at home, in your school, in your community, or anywhere – just put down those entertainment screens and do literally anything else! You might be surprised at what you find.
Below are a few book recommendations for members of your whole family to enjoy during screen-free week. These books are all related to the themes of living life unplugged or technology. Happy Reading!
Unplugged by Steve Anthony (Ages 3-5)
One day, Blip becomes unplugged after a blackout and discovers the outside world beyond screens. Blip explores the outdoors and also makes new friends. A fun story with a timely message that shows kids it’s possible to have fun without electronic devices.
When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree by Jamie L.B. Dennihan, illustrated by Lorraine Rocha (Ages 4-8)
“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” In this imaginative take on that popular saying, a child is surprised (and disappointed) to receive a lemon tree from Grandma for her birthday. After all, she DID ask for a new gadget! But when she follows the narrator’s careful—and funny—instructions, she discovers that the tree might be exactly what she wanted after all. This clever story, complete with a recipe for lemonade, celebrates the pleasures of patience, hard work, nature, community . . . and putting down the electronic devices just for a while.
Blackout by John Rocco (Ages 4-8)
This is a wonderful story about how a power outage brings families and neighbors together by turning off all the distractions. I like reading this one with the kids Enjoy in the dark with a flashlight under the covers.
Goodnight iPad by Ann Droyd (Ages 4-8)
“In a bright buzzing room, in the glow of the moon-and iPhones and Androids and Blackberries too-it is time to say goodnight…” A whimsical parody about living a life filled with technology and screens.
How to Code a Sandcastle by Josh Funk (Ages 4 – 8)
All summer, Pearl has been trying to build the perfect sandcastle, but out-of-control Frisbees and mischievous puppies keep getting in the way! Pearl and her robot friend Pascal have one last chance, and this time, they’re going to use code to get the job done.
What Does it Mean to Be Safe? by Rana DiOrio (Ages 4-8) What Does It Mean To Be Safe? explores physical, emotional, social, and cyber safety in unthreatening ways that spark meaningful conversations between adults and children.
Jaden Toussant, The Greatest Episode 1: The Quest for Screen Time by Marti Dumas (Ages 5-7 )
Jaden Toussaint, 5 year-old scientist and all around cool dude, is on a mission to convince the grown-ups that he needs more SCREEN TIME. His only weapons are science, ninja dancing, and his super-powered brain power. Can Jaden Toussaint get the grown-ups to change their minds?
But I Read It on the Internet by Toni Buzzeo (Ages 8 – 12)
Hunter and Carmen disagree whether George Washington really had wooden teeth, and Mrs. Skorupski encourages them to research the story on the internet and use her “Website Evaluation Gizmo” to evaluate websites and come up with the correct answer.
Raising Humans in a Digital World by Diana Graber
This book is packed with at-home discussion topics and enjoyable activities that any busy family can slip into their daily routine. Full of practical tips grounded in academic research and hands-on experience, today’s parents finally have what they’ve been waiting for—a guide to raising digital kids who will become the positive and successful leaders our world desperately needs.
Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport
Drawing on a diverse array of real-life examples, from Amish farmers to harried parents to Silicon Valley programmers, Newport identifies the common practices of digital minimalists and the ideas that underpin them. He shows how digital minimalists are rethinking their relationship to social media, rediscovering the pleasures of the offline world, and reconnecting with their inner selves through regular periods of solitude.
The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place by Andy Crouch
Drawing on in-depth original research from the Barna Group, Andy Crouch shows readers that the choices we make about technology have consequences we may never have considered. He takes readers beyond the typical questions of what, where, and when and instead challenges them to answer provocative questions like, Who do we want to be as a family? and How does our use of a particular technology move us closer or farther away from that goal?
Screen-Free Fun: 400 Activities for the Whole Family by Shannon Philpott-Sanders Screen-Free Fun offers over 400 ideas to disconnect from tech devices and reconnect with our families in a healthier way. You can pick from DIY activities to games to weekend outings. Since many of the activities work well for kids at various ages, your family will be able to grow along with the different projects and make plans for both younger and older siblings alike. You can try indoor projects, outdoor activities, or learn more about your favorite destinations with activities like a scavenger hunt in your neighborhood or an i-spy game at the zoo. There is also space for your family to add your own favorite activities so you never forget a great idea or memory! From summer vacation to holiday breaks and every rainy day in between, with this book you and your family will always have something fun to do together—without ever having to resort to a tablet, phone, or computer.
Your turn: Are you planning to participate in screen-free week? What other books would you add to this list? Feel free to share in the comments.
Are you a book lover looking for a new literary podcast to listen to?
I love listening to podcasts instead of watching tv or mindlessly surfing social media. I usually listen to podcasts while folding laundry, commuting or when I’m washing dishes.
I think podcasts have so much to offer people of all ages. The ones I like to listen to have exciting stories, interesting facts, and lively sound effects. That’s basically everything you need for an entertaining listening experience. The best part? There are podcasts for every member of your family to enjoy!
Below I’ve rounded up some of my current favorite literary podcasts for kids, tweens/teens, young adults and adults. I hope you’ll find at least one podcast that resonates with you or other members of your family. Happy listening!
Oh, and just in case you never listened to a podcast and don’t know how to do it, I’ve included some of the most popular options for listening:
Podcasts.The original podcast app (only available for Apple iOS)
SoundCloud.An online audio-streaming platform for podcasts as well as music (also an app).Streaming platform specifically for podcasts (app available for Android, but iOS coming soon)
Kids Listen.An online service that features kid-friendly podcasts (app available for iOS, but Android coming soon)
Once you find your favorite app or website, search its library by topic and start exploring.And don’t forget to subscribe if you’d like to. Subscribing lets the app push new episodes directly to your device as soon as they’re available, so you’ll always have the latest update at your fingertips. You’re welcome!
All the Wonders
Weekly interviews with Authors, Illustrators, Award Winners, Up-And-Comers, and Everyone In Between
Book Club for Kids
The place where young readers meet to talk about books. The show includes a celebrity reader and an interview with the author.
A Podcast to help connect kids between 8-12 to books they’ll love.
Circle Round is a storytelling podcast for kids ages 3 to 10. The show features folktales from around the world with an eye towards inclusivity. Stories are 10 to 20 minute diverse episodes that delve into topics such as kindness, persistence and generosity.
Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls
Based on the popular book, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, the global best-selling book series written by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo, inspiring millions of girls and women around the world to dream bigger, aim higher and fight harder.
A podcast featuring original kids’ stories and poems that will delight the tiny people in your life.
Lu and Bean Read
Join Lu, Bean and friends as they hear stories read by children’s picture books authors and interview the authors about their books. Writer and blogger Tracy Babler and daughters Lu and Bean share their favorite children’s books and stories.
A podcast that showcases the authors and illustrators of some of your favorite children’s books.
The perfect kids podcast for imaginative families. Whether you’re driving with your children or just want to limit your kids’ screen time, Stories Podcast delivers entertainment that kids and parents alike will love.
A podcast offering a mixture of original stories and myths from around the world.
Story Pirates is a group of world-class actors, comedians, improvisers and musicians who adapt stories written by kids into sketch comedy and musical theater.
Story Time is a free fortnightly audiobook podcast for children ages 2-13. Each story is usually less than 20 minutes long, just long enough to keep toddlers, preschoolers, and little ones engaged.
Talking About Books for Kids
A podcast that explores diverse books for kids and teens through conversations with authors and those that love reading children’s literature.
A narrative adventure. The Yarn takes listeners behind the scenes of children’s literature, and lets them look at all the threads that must be weaved together to create a book.
Adults / Young Adults
All the Books! Podcast
A weekly book podcast of recommendations and discussions about the most interesting and exciting new book releases.
In conversations between us and guests like David Sedaris, best-selling romance author Sarina Bowen, Jennifer Weiner, Alan Alda, Anna Quinlan, Cal Newport and many, many more, the podcast gives you all we can about getting started and keeping going in all aspects of the writing business.
Black & Read
A book club podcast hosted by Terry Brown. Each week Terry and his guest will discuss a piece of literature from the unique perspectives of a person of color.
Books and Boba
A book club dedicated to books written by authors of Asian and Pacific Islander descent.
Currently Reading Podcast
A podcast dedicated to the love of books and reading. Two bookish friends discuss what’s on their nightstands, in their earbuds, and on their Kindles right now, in addition to books they’ve loved forever, and a variety of other readerly topics.
The Guardian Books Podcast
A weekly look at the world of books, poetry and great writing presented by Claire Armitstead, Richard Lea, & Sian Cain
A literary podcast for book lovers who enjoy YA (young adult) books.
Kidlit Women Podcast
A podcast of interviews and essays focusing on women’s and gender issues, including non-binary and gender fluidity, in the children’s literature community and all its intersectionality.
Levar Burton Reads
In every episode, host LeVar Burton (Reading Rainbow, Roots, Star Trek) invites you to take a break from your daily life, and dive into a great story.
A literary podcast that beyond the book and ask the writers and thinkers what they’re reading and what they are thinking, and the truth about who they really are.
The brain child of publishing professional Jenn Baker, MiP is a podcastdiscussing diversity (or lack thereof) in the book publishing industry with other professionals working in-house as well as authors and those in the literary scene.
What Should I Read Next?
Hosted by Anne Bogel, of the popular blog Modern Mrs Darcy, this podcast features interviews with readers about the books they love, the books they hate, and the books they’re reading now. Then, Anne she makes recommendations about what to read next.
Your turn: What are your favorite literary podcasts to listen to? Feel free to share in the comments. I’d love to hear your suggestions!