Sophie Blackall

Caldecott, Newbery, Coretta Scott King,… the Awards are in for 2016!

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If you happened to be following me on any social media platform yesterday, you probably witnessed some nerding-out over the ALA Award Announcements. It is an exciting time of year for children’s book lovers! I am very excited about all the winners that I was familiar with, which was mostly the Caldecott, Newbery, Coretta Scott King, Pura Belpré, & Geisel categories. I am especially excited about the book I happened to highlight over the weekend, Last Stop on Market Street.

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Take a look at that pristine cover. From now on anytime you see this book it will be boasting not one, not two, but THREE award stickers. Illustrator Christian Robinson rightfully earned himself a Coretta Scott King Honor and a Caldecott Honor with his fantastic illustrations. And author Matt de la Peña was awarded the Newbery Medal for his powerful writing and storytelling. This is only the second time in the history of the Newbery (since 1922) for a picture book to win the Newbery Medal. The only other time it happened—in 1982 for A Visit to William Blake’s Inn by Nancy Willard—that book also received a Caldecott Honor for its illustrations by Alice & Martin Provensen! Big congratulations and excitement for de la Peña and Robinson.

Once again, this year I only own one of the five Caldecott award winners (see above). I don’t have the best track record at predicting or collecting the winners until after the fact. But I have had the winner, Finding Winnie, on my library hold list for a couple weeks so that must count for something. I am so excited for Sophie Blackall‘s first ever Caldecott. Hurrah!

Also, Waiting by Kevin Henkes, which won a Caldecott Honor and a Geisel, is a fabulous book that even my daughter spied in the announcements and was ecstatic. It is in the queue of reviews, so stay tuned.

All the other award winners in my favorite categories are now going on the library hold list (along with everyone else’s apparently!), and I cannot wait to check them out. While I don’t always agree with the choices, this year I have few issues and am looking forward to new favorites.

Thanks for letting me nerd-out a bit here. And in case you are thoroughly confused about what I am talking about, check out my Things to Know About the Caldecott Medal post from last year. That will get you started. You can also view the whole announcement and see a full list of the awards, if you are so inclined.

See you tomorrow with another Wordless Wednesday post and Q&A!

How To: Children’s Book Character Costumes Part 2

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Yesterday we started a mini-series on children’s book character costumes. Tonight I bring Part 2! This is a larger grouping of characters, male and female, and most of them would be excellent adult costumes as well. As with Part 1, there are some classic characters, some more obscure, and some brand new. Let’s imagine some costumes! Read the full post…

Book Review: The Baby Tree By Sophie Blackall (And A Giveaway!)

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Our house is obviously a bit baby crazy right now. Given our recent penchant towards new baby and big sister books, I was ecstatic to get my hands on a brand new book written and illustrated by the amazing illustrator, Sophie Blackall. I have admired her style for some time now and especially her unique perspective and twist to the work she does. Her newest book is both humorous and adorable. Abounding with cute babies, the story follows a little boy who, upon hearing about his sibling’s impending arrival, is determined to find out where babies come from. It is a classic question – parodied, joked about, and dreaded often – yet Ms. Blackall handles it with gentility, humor, and not even a hint of embarrassment. Be delighted in The Baby Tree by Sophie Blackall, May 1, 2014. Read the full post…

Children’s Picture Books For Back To School, 2013

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(yes, most of these are either ex-library books or library books so please forgive the plastic covers, tags, and potential photo glare!)

Believe it or not, August is here and that can mean only one thing: back-to-school themes are everywhere! I wouldn’t normally call myself a follower, but I openly admit to loving the back-to-school time of year. Those store sections suddenly packed with notebooks, pencils, backpacks, and the smell of Scotch Tape absolutely make me giddy. I’ve always felt this way. Getting my new school books each year was like a sort of Christmas in September. (Why on earth do schools start so early now?) Since I’m no longer in the mass of students and my child won’t be for a while either, I will celebrate the oncoming of the school year (and the hint of fall right behind!) by making lists of my favorite school-themed picture books, and inevitably buying a few school supplies for myself while I’m at it. You never know when you’ll need an awesome patterned folder or another pack of Sharpies!

Here is my 2013 list of fifteen picture books that center around school in some form and make me slightly nostalgic for those childhood schooldays. Read the full post…

Book Review: Edwin Speaks Up By April Stevens & Sophie Blackall

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Perhaps it is because my own little one just turned a year old and we have fully entered the babbling-almost-words phase, but something about this book just tickles my fancy. I had never heard of this one before, but the name Sophie Blackall is enough to make me pick up just about anything and give it a try. And what’s not to love about that sweet little guy in a striped one-piece on the cover? This book is a surprisingly calm but clever story about an absent-minded mother and her crazy ferret brood’s trip to the grocery store that is saved from being completely disastrous by the unassuming sharp eye of the tiniest member of the family. Here is Edwin Speaks Up by April Stevens, illustrated by Sophie Blackall, 2011. Read the full post…