Cover reveals are always exciting around here! Today, I am pleased to collaborate with debut author Joanna Ho to reveal the cover of her forthcoming picture book Eyes That Kiss in the Corners. The book is illustrated by Dung Ho. Check out the synopsis from the publisher written below.
Publisher: Harper Collins On-sale Date: January 5, 2021, available for pre-orders now!
About the book:
Some people have eyes like sapphire lagoons with lashes like lace trim on ballgowns, sweeping their cheeks as they twirl. Big eyes, long lashes.
I have eyes that kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea.
That’s the opening lines to this forthcoming January 2021 picture book release from #ownvoices debut author Joanna Ho. Check out the synopsis below from the publisher.
This picture book tells a story about learning to love and celebrate your Asian-shaped eyes.
A young Asian girl notices that her eyes look different from her peers’. They have big, round eyes and long lashes. She realizes that her eyes are like her mother’s, her grandmother’s, and her little sister’s. They have eyes that kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea, crinkle into crescent moons, and are filled with stories of the past and hope for the future.
Drawing from the strength of these powerful women in her life, she recognizes her own beauty and discovers a path to self love and empowerment.
This powerful, poetic picture book will resonate with readers of all ages and is a celebration of diversity.
I’m thrilled to reveal the cover of this forthcoming 2021 beauty, Latinitas by debut author/illustrator Juliet Menéndez. Check out a quote from Juliet and the synopsis from the publisher written below.
“In making the cover, I wanted to celebrate this amazing community of Latinas who are inspiring leaders and advocates of change and am so happy to share it with you. I can’t believe that this project I have been dreaming about since 2014 is finally coming to life! As Selena would say, estoy MUY excited!” — Juliet Menéndez
Publisher: Godwin Books On-sale Date: February 23, 2021, available for pre-orders now!
About the book:
Meet some of the bravest, most influential Latinas in history! With portraits of the individuals as children and short bios celebrating their accomplishments and lives, Juliet Menéndez brings these amazing women to life. The subjects are a mix of well-known figures such as artist Frida Kahlo and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and lesser known figures, like the spy Policarpa Salavarrieta from Colombia and NASA’s first virtual reality engineer, Evelyn Miralles, from Venezuela.
The book also features Juana Azurduy de Padilla, Policarpa Salavarrieta, Rosa Peña de González, Teresa Carreño, Zelia Nuttall, Antonia Navarro Huezo, Matilde Hidalgo, Gabriela Mistral, Juana de Ibarbourou, Pura Belpré, Gumercinda Páez, Julia de Burgos, Chavela Vargas, Alicia Alonso, Victoria Santa Cruz, Claribel Alegría, Celia Cruz, Dolores Huerta, Rita Moreno, Maria Auxiliadora da Silva, Mercedes Sosa, Isabel Allende, Julia Alvarez, Sandra Cisneros, Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Mercedes Doretti, Sonia Pierre, Justa Canaviri, Evelyn Miralles, Selena Quintanilla, Berta Cáceres, Serena Auñon, Wanda Díaz Merced, Marta Vieira da Silva, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Laurie Hernandez.
Recommended for Ages 8 – 12 and up.
Visit Juliet’s website here to see some of her work.
Happy Juneteenth, friends! I can’t think of a better day than today to unveil my latest FREE resource for you to use with your little readers, your students or on your own. If you’re an educator, it makes the perfect end of school year gift for all of your students no matter what age they are!
To create this printable, I collaborated with Briana James of Artish Reader, a talented Art student who reached out to me on Instagram. She’s currently building up her portfolio and asked to collaborate on projects a few months ago. If you’ve been following me for a while, you may remember the first project Briana and I collaborated on for my 31 Days of Women’s History coloring sheet.
I talked to Briana about my idea and concept and she used her creative genius to produce a high-quality reading chart. I couldn’t be more happier with it! Get in touch with Briana, give her a follow on Instagram, and support her as she continues to build up her art portfolio. It was such a pleasure to work with her once again and help support another Black woman at the same time.
This coloring printable is a fun way to celebrate summer reading. It features an array of books and other items beautifully stacked on bookshelves. You can enjoy this coloring page printed in various sizes from 8.5 X 11 up to 24 X 36 if you’d like jumbo poster size.
Each day during the summer months , color in one book or object until the whole poster is complete. Also, be sure to use the checklist to check off books as you read or complete the challenges.
If you need book recommendations throughout the challenge, I have created several categorized lists in my online Bookshop and Amazon stores to assist you. Also, if purchasing new or used books isn’t in your budget, be sure to utilize your local library. Many libraries will likely have their own summer reading challenges going on as well so do those challenges too. The more reading, the better to help prevent the summer slide.
Here are a few of my book lists to help get you started:
by Meena Harris, illustrated by Ana Ramírez González
Age Range: 4 – 8 years Grade Level: Preschool – 3 Hardcover: 32 pages Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Meena Harris debuts with an empowering picture book about two sisters who work with their community to effect change, inspired by a true story from the childhood of her aunt, US Senator Kamala Harris, and mother, lawyer, and policy expert Maya Harris.
One day, Kamala and Maya had an idea. A big idea: they would turn their empty apartment courtyard into a playground!
This is the uplifting tale of how the author’s aunt and mother first learned to persevere in the face of disappointment and turned a dream into reality. This is a story of children’s ability to make a difference and of a community coming together to transform their neighborhood.
InKamala and Maya’s Big Idea, two sisters decide they need a playground in the back of their building. They won’t take the landlord’s “no” as an answer and rally all the kids who live in the building to help them find a way. I love how at the girls call themselves the “per-sisters” at the end of the book because they were persistent and didn’t give up. Recommended for ages 4 – 8.
Meena Harris was born into a family of strong women whose legacy continues to inspire her. Her grandmother, Shyamala Gopalan, was a cancer researcher and civil rights activist; her mother, Maya Harris, is a lawyer and policy expert; and her aunt, Kamala Harris, is a United States senator from California. Meena herself is a lawyer and entrepreneur. In 2017 she founded the Phenomenal Woman Action Campaign, a female-powered organization that brings awareness to social causes. She currently resides in San Francisco with her partner and two daughters.
Ana Ramírez González worked as a visual development artist on Pixar’s Oscar-winning film Coco and illustrated the companion picture book Coco: Miguel and the Grand Harmony by Matt de la Peña. Ana is also the illustrator of Maybe Tomorrow? by Charlotte Agell. She grew up in Guanajuato, Mexico, and lives in Oakland, California.
We are so excited to join the virtual hat parade to celebrate the picture book Tiara’s Hat Parade written by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Nicole Tadgell.
About the Book
Tiara’s mom has a gift for making hats. Ladies come from all over to visit her studio Tracy Rose Millinery to try on her beautiful creations. She makes all types of hats, but specializes in fancy church hats and hats for special occasions.
When a new store opens with hats that cost way less than Momma’s, it causes Tracy Rose Millinery to close down its business. Momma packs away all of her fabric, tucks her hats back into their boxes and sets her dreams aside. She decides to begin teaching art classes again at her daughter’s school.
Tiara can see how sad her mother is. Can she help Momma understand how much her hats mean to the community and bring back the magic?
This is a heartwarming mother/daughter story about family, community, hardship, and following your dreams. It also pays tribute to the inspiring African American tradition of hat making. The back matter contains an author’s note and additional information about three famous Black milliners: Vanilla Beane, Mae Reeves and Mildred Blount. Tiara’s Hat Parade published April 1, 2020 from Albert Whitman. Ages 4 – 8 and up.
Virtual Hat ParadeFinale
On April 11, 2020 the virtual hat parade finale will include a reading of the book, video peeks at the illustration process, interview with trailblazing milliner Vanilla Beane, prizes, printables for kids courtesy of Here Wee Read and more. RSVP for the virtual finale event here.
Don’t underestimate the power of women connecting and supporting each other in the literary world. I’m thrilled by the rise of authors committed to supporting each others work instead of competing.
Traditionally we have been taught to be competitive with one another and fight our way to the top to be the “best” by any means necessary. However, the truth is that raising each other up and channeling the power of collaboration is truly how we’ll evoke change—and have a lot more fun along the way.
Four women authors who all released picture books in January and February 2020 banded together a couple of years ago, vowed to support one another, and form a support group.
Beth Anderson loves digging into history and culture for undiscovered gems, exploring points of view, and playing with words. A former English as a Second Language teacher who has always marveled at the power of books, she is drawn to stories that open minds, touch hearts, and inspire questions. Born and raised in Illinois, she now lives in Loveland, Colorado. Author of AN INCONVENIENT ALPHABET (S&S 2018) and LIZZIE DEMANDS A SEAT (Boyds Mills & Kane, 2020), Beth has more historical gems on the way.
Rita Lorraine Hubbard is a former special education teacher and the author of THE OLDEST STUDENT (Schwartz & Wade, 2020), HAMMERING FOR FREEDOM (Lee and Low, 2018), and AFRICAN AMERICANS OF CHATTANOOGA (The History Press, 2008). A native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, she has made the celebration of unsung heroes her passion, and her work appears in The Tennessee Women Project and Salem Press’ Great American Lives: African American.
Nancy Churnin’s eight picture book biographies have won the Sydney Taylor Notable, South Asia Book Award, Anne Izard Storytellers Choice Award and Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People, been honored on numerous state reading lists and been translated into Japanese, Korean, Braille and multiple languages in India, Sri Lanka and South Africa. A former theater critic for The Dallas Morning News, Nancy is an alumna of Harvard, with a masters from Columbia. She lives in North Texas.
Vivian Kirkfield loves bringing history alive for young readers. A former kindergarten teacher with a masters in Early Childhood Education, her non-fiction picture books include SWEET DREAMS, SARAH: FROM SLAVERY TO INVENTOR (Creston Books, 2019) and MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: THE INSPIRING FRIENDSHIP OF ELLA FITZGERALD AND MARILYN MONROE (Little Bee Books, 2020). Born and raised in New York City, Vivian has lived in the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut, the wide open spaces of Colorado, and now resides in the quaint little village of Amherst, New Hampshire, where the old stone library is her favorite hangout and her grandson is her favorite board game partner.
If you are a current or aspiring writer, I hope this new trend of supporting your fellow authors resonates with you. Understand you can promote your own work and still take the time to support other writers and encourage their journeys. Remember that other writers are not your competition.
Your turn: Have you read any of these amazing picture book biographies yet? What do you think about the idea of authors banding together to support each other? Feel free to share in the comments.
In March 2020, Brandy Colbert will release her middle-grade debut, THE ONLY BLACK GIRLS IN TOWN – a powerful story (on Apple Books’ Most Anticipated Middle Grade Reads of 2020 list) about the only two black girls in town who discover a collection of hidden journals revealing shocking secrets of the past. A master at writing literary, contemporary novels with a commercial appeal, Colbert has quickly become a go-to author for stories with strong elements of diversity and intersectionality.
I recently had the pleasure of asking Brandy a series of bookish questions in an interview. Check out the highlights below including all of her book recommendations and upcoming tour dates.
What was the inspiration for your forthcoming book, The Only Black Girls in Town? What messages/lessons do you hope people come away with after reading it?
As a person who grew up as one of very few black kids in their school in a predominantly white town in the Midwest, I think a lot about kids who are going through the same thing now. One day I thought about what would happen if you were pretty much the only black girl in a tiny town, and then suddenly another black girl moved in across the street. I really wrote it for me and people who’ve been in or are going through that experience, because it’s such a specific situation to be in. I was so relieved when I got a bit older and realized I wasn’t the only one who’d grown up like that. I never write books with a message or lesson in mind, but I do hope that people who don’t have that experience will think about what it would be like to feel so isolated, and yet on display at the same time. Family also plays a big part in the story. I hope people will open their minds to all the different types of families that are out there.
Have you always been interested in reading and writing?
Yes, they’ve both been a big part of my life since I can remember. We always had a lot of books around the house when I was growing up, and we took regular trips to the library and bookstore, so I was always surrounded by literature. And I’ve loved storytelling from a young age, too; I’ve been writing since the age of 7.
What were some of your favorite subjects growing up in school?
I loved English and spelling, and I guess I’ve always had the same interests, because I grew up to be a writer, and a copy editor for magazines and books. I also really loved my journalism classes in high school; I worked on the yearbook staff and then went on to earn a journalism degree in college.
What are some of your must-have adult books for a home library?
Anything and everything by Colson Whitehead, Zadie Smith, and Curtis Sittenfeld; Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward; Stamped From the Beginning by Ibram X Kendi; The Mothers by Brit Bennett; Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff; The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander; An American Marriage by Tayari Jones; A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
Besides writing, what are some of your other hobbies or interests?
Like writing, I’ve been tap dancing since I was young, and I still love it. I also enjoy cooking, baking, television and movies, trying to keep my indoor and outdoor plants alive, and spending time with friends.
Do you have a favorite book that you have written? If so, what is it and why?
It’s always hard for me to answer this question, because I truly love all of my books for different reasons. I would say maybe The Revolution of Birdie Randolph, because it was a real joy to work on from beginning to end. Readers seem to really connect with Birdie, and I love that a specific coming-of-age story about a black girl living in Chicago can mean something to so many people.
Any advice for aspiring writers and authors?
Shut out the noise, keep your head down, and do the work. Don’t compare yourself to other writers. Remember that publishing is a long game. These are things I still have to remind myself of regularly; publishing is not an easy or predictable business.
What books are on your nightstand or e-reader right now?
Too many! I never used to read multiple books at once, and now I can’t seem to stop. I’m currently reading The Yellow House by Sarah Broom, and the ones on my nightstand right now are Florida by Lauren Groff, Heavy by Kiese Laymon, Bloom by Kevin Panetta and Savanna Ganucheau, Damsel by Elana K. Arnold, and Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid.
Are you working on any special projects that you want to share with others?
My next book, The Voting Booth, will be out July 7, from Disney-Hyperion. It’s a YA novel set over the course of 12 hours, on Election Day, from the dual points of view of two black first-time teen voters, Duke and Marva. It covers a lot of topics, from grief to voter suppression to activism, and I’m excited for people to read it! I’m also currently working on a few projects that I hope to be able to talk about soon.
How can people get in touch with you on social media or on your website?
My website, brandycolbert.com, lists all of the different people to contact if someone needs to reach me, or they can fill out a submission form that goes directly to me. I am also on Twitter and Instagram, both at the handle @brandycolbert.
Brandy Colbert’s 2020 Tour Dates
March 7: BAM! Book Festival (West Palm Beach, FL)
March 13-14: Tucson Festival of Books (Tucson, AZ)
March 15-17: Children’s Literature Festival (Warrensburg, MO)
March 21: Skylight Books (1818 N. Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA) at 3:00 pm
In conversation with Nina LaCour (author of We Are Okay and Hold Still)
March 26: Brazos Bookstore (2421 Bissonnet Street, Houston, TX 77005) at 6:30 pm
In conversation with Liara Tamani (author of Calling My Name)
March 29: East City Bookshop (645 Pennsylvania Ave SE #100, Washington, D.C.) at 5:00 pm. Brandy will also be in conversation with Leah Henderson (author of One Shadow on the Wall).
March 30: Loyalty Bookstore (823 Ellsworth Drive, Silver Spring, MD) at 5:00 pm. Brandy will also be in conversation with bookstagrammer @SpinesVines.
March 31: Books of Wonder (217 W 84th St, New York, NY) at 6:00 pm
In conversation with Karyn Parsons (author of How High the Moon)
April 16: Vroman’s Bookstore (695 E. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA) at 7:00 pm
In conversation with Mary Cecilia Jackson (author of Sparrow)
April 18-19: The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books (Los Angeles, CA)
June 6: Bronx Book Festival (The Bronx, NY)
June 7 | 10:30 AMThe Center for Fiction 15 Lafayette Ave. Brooklyn, NY
In conversation with Renée Watson (author of Ways to Make Sunshine)
June 7 3:00 PMBank Street Bookstore 2780 Broadway New York, NY
In conversation with Renée Watson (author of Ways to Make Sunshine)
About Brandy Colbert
Brandy Colbert is the critically acclaimed author of the novels Pointe, Finding Yvonne, The Revolution of Birdie Randolph, and Stonewall Award winner Little & Lion. Born and raised in Springfield, Missouri, she now lives and writes in Los Angeles.
Warning: Use of undefined constant custom_pagination - assumed 'custom_pagination' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/herewe10/public_html/wp-content/themes/primrose/tag.php on line 46