Let’s Hear It for Multilingual Board Books!

Hello, World interior
Language is the marvelous attribute and skill that helps bind us together in relationships between individuals and across whole cultures. Being able to use more than a single language expands our capacities to:

  • Consider other people’s perspectives
  • Learn even more languages
  • Improve problem solving skills
  • Become better aware of our surroundings

Spring/Primaver and Amazing Me Dressing Up coversLearning language from the start through exposure to multiple languages can provide lifetime benefits.

If you don’t know multiple languages yourself, you can get a boost from a variety of multilingual board books to support exposing your baby to the many ways people around the world greet each each other, imitate animals, and other baby-centric high interest content.  Some new ones from our publishers include:

Hello, World, and Good Night, World coversHello, World, and Good Night, World, both illustrated by Alessandra Szmidt, published by
Flowerpot Press, provide lap sitters with sweet page spreads of the titular phrase rendered in
different languages by animals from the place the language is spoken.

Two new series of board books published by Child’s Play offer bilingual English andSpring/Primavera page spread Spanish experiences. The “Amazing Me” series, by Carol Thompson, depicts toddlers engaged in Dressing Up!/¡Me disfrazo! and other activities
such as dancing and singing. a set of four seasonal books by Ailie Busby (Spring/Primavera, and so forth) show and tell diverse children engaged in activities from dressing for the season’s weather to enjoying nature to playtime choices befitting the time of year.

Good Night, World interiorBreak out of your monolingualism when you read to your little one! There are many easy ways to find a way to share how other languages talk about the day.

Inclusive Board Books for Every Bunny

Bib on Bunny! board book interiorWhat better way to celebrate World Down Syndrome Awareness Day  than with bright new board books from two different publishers! Both Child’s Play and Barefoot Books have new board book series inclusively featuring energetic and engaged toddlers. There are kids wearing glasses, kids of African heritage and Asian heritage, books in Spanish as well as English, and books with kids who have Down Syndrome.

From Child’s Play, a brand new series of board books includes a little finger puppet in each title, durably bound to the back and poking through dye cuts on each page as well as the cover. Each book gives us a different toddler and puppet-as-playmate as the children bounce along pulling a wagon, taking a bath, getting tucked in with a bedtime story, and enjoying a meal. The volume in this “Chatterbook” series, all by Jo Byatt, titled Bib On, Bunny! features  an amiable toddler whose care to get the bunny appropriately bib-wearing before dining speaks to every little one while also showing, without remark, clear Down Syndrome features.

Baby's Day set

The newest series of board books from Barefoot Books, “Baby’s Day” offers four titles with the themes of Talk, Play, Dream, and Food. Each book is filled with black and white photos of a wide range of toddlers and babies engaged in the title interest, with each page spread standing alone as an image to enjoy and chat about with your little lapsitter. The Baby Play volume sports a cover baby with clear Down Syndrome features, adding another welcome layer to the wide-ranging inclusiveness of the photos.

As ever, inclusive books like these are for all children, not just those whose own persons or even families might include people who look like the pictures. Share the world of toddlers with your own toddler and celebrate every kind of baby!

Fun with Numbers


Pi Day (3/14) approaches, so bake a pie and pull up a good book that features more fun with numbers!

3 X 4 page spread

An award-winner from Toon Books, Ivan Brunetti’s 3 X 4  offers both a fun and fascinating look at multiplication that is accessible for readers as young as three. How many ways can you sort 12 things into even amounts?  You can use socks, spoons, or other common household objects to give the ideas here a spin. As the kids in the class show, paper and crayons work well, too!

Is 2 a Lot coverArriving soon from Tilbury House Publishers, Is 2 a Lot?, by Annie Watson and with hilariously detailed illustrations by Rebecca Evans, explores the concept that whether an amount is a lot or not depends on the particular “what” it is counting. Two pennies may not be a lot, but two skunks in your path? That’s a lot! In addition (get it?) to ever-increasing numbers, there’s a second story happening in the illustrations here. Does the patient mother explaining whether the number in question is lot (100 snowflakes, not so much, but 100 candles on a cake is a lot) know that the road trip she and her questioning child are taking is the opportunity for her car to fill with some of the examples she’s offering? Dinosaurs! Cowboys! A knight in shining armor!  A dog! People eating ice cream cones! That’s a lot of passengers!

Pass the Pandowdy, Please coverDo you need a pie recipe to put your new number sense to work on Pi Day? Pick up Tilbury House’s award winning Pass the Pandowdy, Please, by Eric and Abby Zelz. After your tour of foods eaten throughout history by a healthy variety of famous folk, you’ll find a recipe in the back of this book for Abraham Lincoln’s favorite pie, apple pandowdy. Happy measuring! And remember, no matter which round pie pan you use, the ratio of its circumference to it’s diameter will always be pi, or 3.14….

Celebrating International Women’s Day with Young Readers

First celebrated after women gained suffrage rights in Russia, in 1917, International Women’s Day was recognized by the United Nations in 1975. In recent years, an increasing number of books for children feature strong women and girls that make excellent stories to share with young readers. Visit your library or book store today to add to your own International Women’s Day collection with some of our favorites.

What's My Superpower coverFrom Nunavut’s Inhabit Media, celebrate with Nalvana, a little girl discovering her possibilities in What’s My Superpower? by Aviaq Johnston and with cheerful and universally appealing illustrations by Tim  Mack. Nalvana’s superpower is one to which children everywhere can appreciate and aim to make their own.

The Truly Brave Princesses, by Dolores Brown and with The Truly Brave Princesses coverillustrations by Sonja Wimmer, is published by Spain’s NubeOcho in both Spanish and English versions. From astronauts to office workers, photographers and mothers, all manner of everyday “princesses” with all manner of personal styles, abilities, and challenges, surround us everywhere in both this book and in the world.

Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess coverWinner of the middle grade category in the 2018 Schneider Family Book Awards, Shari Green’s junior novel Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess, from Canada’s Pajama Press, provides readers with two women to celebrate: Macy herself is an Every Girl who happens to be deaf and her elderly neighbor makes magic with baked goods—the magic of friendship and support, including the support of needing help herself and thus giving Macy the opportunity to grow.

Rosa Loves Dinosaurs coverJessica Spanyol’s board book series from British publisher Child’s Play offers the very youngest readers a series featuring Rosa. Bespectacled toddler Rosa loves dinosaurs, plays with toy trains, and is happy with her friends in a gender-free and realistic contemporary world.

New Zealand’s Gecko Press has provided us with the Belgian The Old man coverpicture book The Old Man, by Sarah V. and Clause K. Dubois. In a simple and accessible story that features both homelessness and the uncertain mental health of the titular character, a little girl offers significant help. This little woman’s capacity to meet people where they are, accept them, and provide what she can is inspiring for readers of all ages.

German Calendar No December coverGraphic novel readers can celebrate International Women’s Day with the brand new book from Nigeria’s Cassava Republic, German Calendar No December. Sylvia Ofili and artist Bergit Weyhe provide an accessible coming of age story about a truly international girl who seeks places to fit in, eventually realizing her best fit is to be herself.

May your International Women’s Day be filled with inspiration, celebration, and, as ever, great books to support the world we share.



Listen Up: We’ve Got (Another) Winner!


Esquivel! coverThe 24thannual Audie Awards ceremony, held 4 March 2019, made one of our publishers a star—again! The Audies are the premier awards program in the United States recognizing distinction in audiobooks and spoken-word entertainment.

In the category of Young Listeners, Live Oak Media was represented by two of the five finalists. Esquivel! Space Age Sound Artist  is a picture book introduction to Mexican musician Juan Garcia Esquivel, written by Susan Wood and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh, first published in print By Charlesbridge and turned by the Live Oak Media artistry and engineering into a fully soundscaped feast, read by Brian Amador, with singing by Rosi and Brian Amador.

Before She Was Harriet, written by Lesa Cline-Ransome and with Coretta Scott King Award Honors for illustration by James E. Ransome, came to a full cast performance in Live Oak Media’s studio, featuring SiSi Johnson, January LaVoy, Lisa Renee Pitts, and Bahni Turpin:

Before She Was Harriet audiobook cover
"Listeners travel back through time to explore the life of Harriet Tubman, guided by four African–American narrators. Lisa Renee Pitts, Bahni Turpin, January LaVoy, and SiSi Aisha Johnson narrate in turn to describe Tubman's voice rising in protest as a suffragist, the heroics of General Tubman, the secrecy of her work as a Union spy, all the way back to her childhood as a slave when her father taught her to read the stars. Sounds of horse-drawn carriages, marching soldiers, spirituals, and rushing rivers pair beautifully with the watercolor illustrations to help listeners imagine the many roles that Tubman played over her lifetime. The audiobook concludes with each narrator's echoing intonation of those roles, listing the many accomplishments of her life and honoring her legacy."     
                                                    - AudioFile Magazine

With these two strong contenders, Live Oak Media went to the Audies 2019 ceremony with good prospects. And, indeed, they created the winning Young Listener audiobook for the year! Before She Was Harriet, the full cast of highly regarded narrators (who can count many other Audie Awards across the years among them), and Live Oak Media added another medal to their recognition.

Congratulations to all!

You can hear a clip from the winning audiobook at the end of this AudioFile Magazine review.

Tell a Fairy Tale Day

Today is National Tell a Fairy Tale Day and we have all kinds of inspiration to help you find a favorite to share.

Cinderella of the Nile coverFrom Tiny Owl Books, you can pick up  Cinderella of the Nile, as told by Beverly Naidoo and with evocative and detailed art by Marjan Vafaeian.  This story has many cultural variations, with this version, part of Tiny Owl’s “One Story, Many Voices” series, based on an Egyptian tale.

Stylish graphic artist Bethan Woollvin’s Hansel & Gretel, from Hansel & Gretel cover
Peachtree Publishers, presents the familiar Grimm Brothers’ story with a twist: here we see it all from the witch’s point of view.

Little Red Wolf coverAnother nicely twisted fairy tale set-up comes from Amélie Fléchais, published in translation from French by Jeremy Melloul for Lion Forge. The Little Red Wolf turns Perrault’s classic tale around several times and what emerges is a delightful graphic novel for Born Bad coveryoung and older to share. For a completely different take on wolfish identity, cicada Books offers Born Bad, by C. K. Smouha and illustrated by Stephen Smith. Rather than a fairy tale, this one offers a compelling backstory for the dissatisfaction felt by fairy tales’ perennial bad guy.

The Princess and the Pea coverXanthe Gresham’s retelling of Andersen’s The Princess and the Pea, published by Barefoot Books,  is richly alliterative, making it a great read-aloud. The artwork here, by Miss Clara is luminous and ever-changing in styles as each successive princess takes the prince’s—and readers’—attention.

An Illustrated Treasury of Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales, illustrated by Anastasiya Archipova and published by Floris A Treasury of Hans Christian Andersen Fairy TalesBooks, delivers eight fairy tale favorites, including “The Emperor’s New Clothes” and “The Snow Queen.” This edition does a good job of offering both gift-worthy elegance and accessibility by small children.

Ready to get started telling a fairy tale today?




We Are Family

What a pleasure—and a relief—to see so many picture books showing families that reflect reality! We’ve collected some of our favorite new—and not quite new—picture-driven stories that demonstrate how inclusivity can make strong storytelling ideas even better.

Christiane Engel - Illustration Portfolio / Children's Books ... Christiane Engel Baby's First Words. Barefoot Books 2017In the category of board books for the youngest family member, Barefoot Books’ Baby’s First Words, by Stella Blackstone and Sunny Scribens, and available in both English and Spanish, is a robust collection of activities and items encountered by a family of two dads and their toddler, with Christiane Engel’s colorful illustrating palette further complemented by her whimsical details, like the smiling wolf toes of Baby’s rain boots and the tooth brushing toy wooly mammoth. The dads here and There catalog pageinclude a bespectacled black man who appears to be the primary care giver and his partner, a white man who arrives home in time for the evening bath and bedtime rituals. In addition to nouns and active verbs, our family here encounters and names sounds, emotions, and prepositions, too.

New this spring from Barefoot Books is Here and There, a picture book for ages four to eight, by Tamara Ellis Smith, with acrylic and collage illustrations by Evelyn Daviddi.  In this realistic and emotionally supportive story, Ivan learns to handle visiting his father who now has a separate home from him and his mother.  That Ivan’s father is shown as white and his mother as brown offers kids from newly separated homes or not an opportunity to see diversity reflected in a loving family. Although Ivan’s parents live separately, they clearly support him.

Paula Know What to Do coverSometimes families are broken by parental death, of course. Just published by Pajama Press, the eponymous child at the center of Paula Knows What to Do, by Sanne Dufft, shows picture book readers as well as her sad dad how to cope with the moment by creating a fun-filled and distracting imaginative adventure. Here’s a story for three to seven-year-olds that both acknowledges grief and celebrates a child’s capacity to share her own resilience with a parent.

Confronting more directly how children from multiracial and real sisters Pretend cover
adoptive parented families are confronted by the casually cruel and ignorant assertions of some, Tilbury House’s Real Sisters Pretend, by Megan Dowd Lambert and with luminous illustrations by Nicole Tadgell, has already become a picture book classic. Instead of a parental voice explaining, lucky readers are provided a first hand experience with a helpful sister’s support when her younger sibling relays the objection an outsider has made about their family.hair, It's a Family Affair US cover

Coming soon to American readers from Cassava Republic, Mylo Freeman’s Hair, It’s a Family Affair offers a delightful way to talk about how family members both share traits and differ in them. Macy tells her class all about her family members’ diverse hair styles, from her grandmother’s once big and now more conservative Afro to her baby sister’s soft hair (which is shown to be red) to her father’s bald head. As ever, the author-illustrator’s paintings are filled with jolly expressions, multi-patterned clothing, and lots of energetic actions on every page.

Also coming soon to the US is Lantana Publishing’s picture book Maisie’s Scrapbook, written by maisie's Scrapbook coverSamuel Narh with illustrations by Jo Loring-Fisher. This celebration of family has both traditional and less traditional elements: composed of a mother, a father, and a small child, Maisie’s family is shown sharing music, food, and other cultural expressions. Her father’s traditions, like the author’s, come from Africa, while her mother’s European heritage appears in the details of her choices of recipes, musical instrument, and even clothing material. Maisie is a lucky child to be showered with much cultural bounty as well as parental love.










Green Earth Book Award 2019 Long List Announced

We’re delighted to hear that so many of our books have received attention from The Nature Generation’s national Green Earth Book Award long list selectors! Now celebrating its 15thyear, this award directs attention to books for children and young adults that provide environmental themes and excellent storytelling.

“This long list of environmental stewardship books brings educators and parents top quality, well-vetted choices to give our next generation the gift of the love of nature—and the gift of understanding facts and science about the environment. These gifts are the tools they’ll use to solve the critical environmental issues the world is facing.”                                                                                                                    – Amy Marasco, The Nature Generation Founder and President

There are 68 titles on the long list, including picture books, children’s fiction, children’s nonfiction, young adult fiction, and young adult nonfiction. Publishers include large trade houses, specialized presses, university publishers, and independents. A tenth of that list comes from our clients, who are represented in the categories for picture books, children’s fiction, and children’s nonfiction. Short lists will be revealed in March and final announcement of the awards takes place in April.

That gives you plenty of time to enjoy sharing these with the young environmentalists in your life:

Errol’s Gardenwritten and illustrated by Gillian Hibbs and published by Child’s Play Errol's Garden coverInternational, offers urban children a picture book model hero who finds ways to expand his food gardening in a densely built neighborhood.

Lucy and the Dragonfly cover

Lucy and the Dragonflywritten by Caroline Hamel, illustrated by Lucie Papineau and published by Auzou, shows and tells picture book readers the story of girl who identifies with the Earth’s environmental decay and is cheered by actions taken to restore nature.

Moth and Wasp, Soil and Ocean: Remembering Scientis Pu Zhelong’s Work for Sustainable Farmingwritten by Sigrid Schmalzer, illustrated by Melanie Moth and Wasp coverLinden Chan and published by Tilbury House Publishers appeals to picture book reading children as well as older readers through adult, as it shows and tells the story of Chinese Pu Zhelong from farmboy to researcher.

The King of Beeswritten by Lester L. Laminack, King of the Bees coverillustrated Jim LaMarche and published by Peachtree Publishers provides an inside look at the operations of a bee farmer and the social lives of honeybees.

The Flooded Earthwritten by Mardi McConnochie and published by Pajama Press gives middle grade readers an age-The Flooded Earthappropriate climate fiction dystopia filled with adventure and character development that will leave readers on the lookout for its sequel (publishing this year).

Bat Citizenswritten and illustrated by Rob Bat Citizens cover
Laidlaw and published by Pajama Press combines information about these “ninjas of the night” with activities kids have undertaken to assure bats safe environments in our changing world.

Raising a Forestwritten and illustrated by Thibaud Herem  and
published by Cicada Books shares the architectural artist’s passion for gardening and shows how people can support trees’ and forests’ health.interior from Raising a Forrest






Books for Your Young Valentine

International Book Giving Day 2019 posterWe’re delighted to help you celebrate International Book Giving Day this Valentine holiday! Better than flowers, more accessible than chocolate, and sure to warm the hearts of both giver and recipient, there are warm-hearted books for everyone in your life.

The Wolf Who Wanted to Fall in Love coverFrom Auzou Publishing our friend Wolf offers a perfect tie-in to the traditional February 14 celebration. The Wolf Who Wanted to Fall in Love offers bright images and a heartfelt story that features author Orianne Lallemand and illustrator Éléonore Thuillier series hero on a quest for that special relationship.

Another series offering just the right tale for Valentine’s Day is Manga Classics rendition of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The Romeo and Juliet Manga Classics coverwhole story is here, adapted by Crystal C. Chen and  lushly imagined with art by Julien Choy.

For a different approach to Shakespeare’s romantic tale, younger book Rubio and Julienne coverrecipients can delight in Tilbury House’s witty Rubio and Julienne: A Sweet and Cheesy Tale, by Dan Paley with illustrations by Lauren Gallegos. Be sure to stock up on cheese and some fruit to nibble when you share this one because the back matter will guide you into creating a treat to share all around.

How about some poetry to share with your little book lover? Barefoot Barefoot Book of Classic Poems coverBooks offers a volume of Classic Poems for language lovers of all ages. Verses from William Blake, Rachel Field, and Ogden Nash are featured, along with writers more frequently connected with children’s writing, such as A. A. Milne and  Robert Louis Stevenson.

Celebrate International Book Giving Book today. Your Valentine willBingo Love cover love you for it. And you might want to pick up Image Comics’ Bingo Love by Tee Franklin, Joy San and Jenn St-Onge for yourself and your older Valentine! Let’s make a habit of giving books beyond just today.




Cozy Picture Books for a Winter Day

Oh, my, the Northern Hemisphere is having wintry weather! On the Pacific Coast, that means lots of rain and even unusually generous snowstorms. In the Midwest and along the Northeast, it’s been wind as well as fast moving snowstorms and sub-zero temperatures. Our friends in the UK, meanwhile, also are having snowstorms. All in all, it’s a good time to pull up a pile of warming new picture books and settle indoors.

Hair It's a Family Affair coverFrom Cassava Republic, there’s plenty of warm feelings rising from the bouncy illustrations throughoutHair, It’s a Family Affair, with text and art by Mylo Freeman. The exuberance of one extendedHair interior illustration of 3 girlsfamily’s heads of hair—and how each person has styled or wilded it—gives kids everywhere an #OwnVoices take on hair on the heads of people of African descent. There’s humor, there’s pride, there’s a lot to read in the illustrations beyond hair alone as we notice family members’ postures as they interact with each other, too.

From Gecko Press (and where, since they are in New Zealand, we must Monkey on the Run coverpoint out that it’s now summertime!), Leo Timmers’s nearly wordless Monkey on the Run can keep kids and adults alike giggling and exploring again and again. Yes, there is a monkey; even more exciting, however, is that there are all manner of vehicles, a whole zoological garden of animals, and the combined possible interactions of these two sets of characters practically bound off the landscape-oriented page spreads. Settle in. This one could keep you flipping back and forth and around for hours.

Trying to snuggle with a rambunctious preschooler? Gently, Bentley!, written and illustrated by Gently Bentley cover
Caragh Buxton, and published by Child’s Play, makes good company. The eponymous Bentley is a young anthropomorphic rhino who just overflows with enthusiasm—to the point that anything in his way is likely to be turned over, scattered, or otherwise upended. Except…for his baby sister. Check out the endpapers, front and back, for ideas to engage your little co-reader in telling you other adventures in which Bentley might be featured.

Stay cozy! There’s plenty to share on a wintry day.