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.

Big News for Floris Books’ Author Claire McFall

Claire McFall

Claire McFall, Shortlisted author for the Scottish ChildrenÕs Book Awards 2013 on the 18th June 2013, the day the list is announced at The Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh. Pupils across Scotland will read the three books in their age category and vote for their favourite, with the winners announced by Scottish Book Trust on 5 March 2014
picture by Alex Hewitt/Writer Pictures

This may be the first time ever we have occasion to announce that a book from one of the many wonderful authors working with the publishers we market has…a movie coming out!  However, that’s the case here: Claire McFall’s teen novel Ferryman is soon to be a motion picture!  The announcement has come that Kelly Marcel has taken on this delightful story of an afterlife of romance.  The story of Dylan, a girl who didn’t walk away from a train wreck, and Tristan, whose job in the afterlife was escorting the newly dead to the hereafter, is one of adventure, romance, and intriguing questions of what maybe could happen beyond death.

If you want to read the sequels in this trilogy before the movie appears, you can download them from our NetGalley page. In Ferryman’s sequel, Trespassers, Dylan and Tristan escape the afterlife—but to do so they are living in other souls’ bodies. Outcasts brings the saga to an astounding end, with bargains to be made that pit love against death.

Ferryman cover and Kelly Marcel

Welcoming the Year of the Pig

Dragon Dancer coverThe old lunar year is ending and a new year beginning this week. To celebrate, we’re sharing Lantana Publishing’s picture book, Dragon Dancer, by Joyce Chng with gorgeous art by Jérémy Pailler.

As Lantana’s editorial staff note:

There are many traditions, rituals, and festivities associated with Chinese New year, but among the most renowned are the lion and dragon dances. Dance troupes perform in shopping centers and around homes and restaurants to draw out the bad luck and replace it with good luck and prosperity for the coming year. The accompanying sounds of drums, cymbals, and firecrackers surrounding the dance troupes remind those gathered of the origin of the dances. It is said that long ago, a monstrous creature named Nian rampaged through a village in search of food, destroying everything in its path. It was only when the villagers began making loud noises with nearby items that Nian was finally frightened away and peace was brought back to the village.

Join the celebration!


It’s World Read Aloud Day! Join the Fun

What’s more fun than reading? Reading aloud, of course! make those characters shout and pout and giggle and show off their fancy moves!

In honor of the day, we (of course) have a few suggestions:

A Visit to Grandad An African ABC coverFrom Cassava Republic, there’s A Visit to Grandad: An African ABC, by Sade Fadipe and illustrated by Shedrach Ayalomeh. Visit Nigeria with a little girl who’s gone to see family, and get to know all the items that offer alphabet of views on her visit.

Tiger Tales Books is publishing One-stop Story Shop, by Tracey the One-stop Story Shop coverCorderoy and illustrated by Tony Neal. In this picture book, there’s a knight in shining armor, alright–but he has no dragon to engage in battle! Oh, no!

Mira’s Curly Hair, from Lantana Publishing and written by Maryam al Mira's Curly Hair coverSerkal with illustrations by Rebecca Luciani, offers up a different problem, and it’s one many will recognize: if only Mira had the same hair as her mother. Well, maybe she does!

So many great new books to choose to share on World Read Aloud Day! Have you caught that intrepid kindergarten teacher Ed Spicer reading aloud from Karadi Tales Farmer Falgu‘s latest adventure by Chitra Soundar with illustrations by Kanika Nair? Happily, you can catch him right here!


Meet Intern Molly Johnson

Molly Johnson portraitHere at Publisher Spotlight we are lucky to have an internship program that gives us the opportunity to meet and work with new and fresh talent coming into the publishing and marketing world. Our current intern is Molly Johnson, originally from Iowa by way of South Carolina, and a recent graduate of the Denver Publishing Institute.

In addition to her education and professional training in the world of books, Molly is a certified yoga instructor and a mean hand at ping pong as well as tennis. She’s interested in astrology and the great outdoors that beckons her on hikes through the hills as well as through the stars.

As our intern, Molly contributes her photographer’s eye and imagination to our Instagram account and assists with record keeping of our various reviewer lists and mailings. We’re glad she’s here and wish her a long and happy career in the world of stories.

Books for All of Us from All Around Our World

Una Huna What Is This coverWe expect North American readers are familiar with several of the publishers we bring to conferences. From Canada, there’s Pajama Press, for example, a publisher who has Small Things coverreceived acclaim from many associations and for a variety of areas of endeavor. Also from Canada, we bring Inhabit Media, the only wholly Inuit-owned publisher currently on the planet.

You know TOON Books, right? The New Yorker art editor Françoise Mouly founded this German Calendar No December coverpublishing company to give AmericanTOON Books kids the head start reading good comics that her native French experiences gave her. Did you know kids’ graphic novels come from Cassava Republic, too? They’re based in Abuja, Nigeria, with an office in London, too.

Manga Classics, at home in Hong Kong as well as Canada, offers older kids another level of visual book experience, with sensitive and artistic redo’s of Western classics in Asian comics-style storytelling.

Other Asian-rooted publishers in our circle include the London-based Lantana Publishing folks Cat's Egg coverYou're Safe with Me coverwith a rich catalog of Asian and Middle Eastern #OwnVoices books to share, and Karadi Tales, well known in its native India as an award-winning children’s book publisher. Tiny Owl, also housed in the United Kingdom, beings contemporary readers a rich and imagistic tradition of Asian and African picture books.

Cinderella of the Nile coverElmer's Walk coverYou’re sure to know Elmer the Elephant and thus Andersen Press. Other Britain-based books we’re Let's Explore Dinosaurs cover
happy to share with American kids come from the Scottish publisher Floris Books, with its Discover Kelpies and Little Kelpies imprints; Child’s Play with their award-winning multiracial, gender-neutral board books; and Cicada Books with their beautiful picture books  Rosa Loves Cars coverNight Windows cover
and high concept, readily accessible activity books. What On Earth Books is also British, giving kids around the world the delight of unfolding and exploring enormous timelines. Maverick Books may be new to you: get ready to smile and laugh as you discover all they offer!Bears Don't Eat Egg Sandwiches cover

Gilda the Giant Sheep coverOn the European Continent, a pair of excellent publishing resources we’re delighted to bring American kids come from France’s Auzou and Spain’s NubeOcho.

Shh! I'm Reading coverCloser to home, we have Tiger Tales, including their 360 Degree imprint of picture books for older readers, and Tilbury House, offering award winning books for a variety of ages, from Maine. Flowerpot Press has a wide variety of picture books we see, and Barefoot Books publishes books, audiobooks, and story-based games and activities, too.

Speaking of audiobooks, we’re delighted to work with Live Oak Media,Before She was harriet audiobook cover a frequent winner in children’s book recording. And another specialized area of publishing among our publishers is graphic novels and comics, including Diamond Bookshelf clients Lion Forge, Image Comics, and more.

Rivers coverBut wait! Let’s go further from home yet! Gecko Press, at home in New Zealand, is a frequent winner in many readers’ eyes. And we’ve just started working with the travelingest of How Cities Work coverthem all: Lonely Planet Kids. Drop by and see us all, wherever we travel, or on our website and social media channels.





Looking Ahead to ALA Midwinter 2019

In less than a week we’ll be joining thousands of our friends and colleagues in Seattle for the 2019 Liz and Lucy Lareau author signing poster
Midwinter meeting of the American Library Association. We’re bringing along 22 publishers to Booth 2211, where visitors can browse books for kids, audiobook information, our graphic novel gallery, and more. We’ll also host cartoonist Elizabeth Lareau for a pair of signings, one for Marvel on Saturday (2 PM) and then for Papercutz on Sunday (9:30 AM).

We’ll be bringing heaps of children’s books that have earned starred reviews, including Barefoot Books’ La Frontera and Lantana Publishing’s You’re Snug with Me.  Lonely Planet Kids will be The Visitor internal page spreadjoining us for the first time; check out their newest titles! From Gecko Press, you’ll find The 2018 New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Book The Visitor.

Our titles come from all over the world so come by to visit India, Scotland, England, Spain, Canada—including the Inuit publisher Inhabit Media—and Nigeria. Come talk to us about #OwnVoices, reading aloud, International Best Books for Youth, and why we love working with librarians!

Here’s the full list of publishers you’ll find at Booth 2211:

  • Andersen Press
  • Barefoot Books
  • Cassava Republic Press
  • Cicada Books
  • Floris Books
  • Gecko Press
  • Inhabit Media
  • Karadi Tales
  • Lantana Publishing
  • Lonely Planet Kids
  • Manga Classics
  • Marvel
  • Maverick Books
  • Mayo Clinic
  • NubeOcho
  • Pajama Press
  • Papercutz
  • Tiger Tales
  • Tiny Owl Publishing
  • What On Earth
  • Zuiker

Learn All about Sound Learning

Sound Learning infographicWhat do you really know about the power of listening? Maybe you’re an audiobook fan, maybe you believe listening to audiobooks is cheating, maybe you’ve not given much critical thought to how listening matters to literacy. The Sound Learning project provides a wealth of research, practical tools, and other guidance to help educators, librarians, and parents understand the dynamics listening plays in being a fully literate person.

The past couple of years have seen an overdue change in the tide that once opined that to listen to books was somehow doing less than reading print. We know that beginning print readers need a lot of decoding practice. However, before they begin to try to read print on their own, children thrive in their capacity for language—and later literacy—by listening. And after they’ve acquired those decoding skills, reading print is really just one way to acquire narrative that our brains consider critically, imaginatively, or just for fun. The Sound Learning project offers lists of fine audiobooks for different age groups, including read alouds for the very young (while sitting with a caretaker, of course, or for the dozenth time in a row when that caretaker has no passion left at the moment for that one title); read-alongs for those just beginning to learn how to interpret print; and all kinds of texts for competent print readers to hear so that they are exposed to rich language, complex ideas, and a chance to actually slow down and think about what the author has put forward, instead of skimming lightly over its service.

Explore Sound Learning’s site and be sure to ask questions about it when you see us at conferences throughout the year. If you’re not a conference attendee, you can reach out directly to Sound Learning by emailing Happy listening!

Have You Discovered Our Diamond Bookshelf Pinterest Boards?

Graphic Novels snd Comics Round TableAs we gear up for the American Library Association’s 2019 Midwinter Meeting, we’re celebrating the official debut of ALA’s new member-driven Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table. We regularly feature graphic novel galleries in our conference display booths and are proud to represent a range of publishers who produce fine visual literary work for kids and teens.

Whether you’re attending the Midwinter conference or not, you can visit the Diamond Bookshelf Pinterest boards we created and keep wellDiamond Bookshelf logo stocked with news, tips, awards lists, and even graphic novel related lesson plans and discussion guides.  Check out the wide range of “Best of the Year” lists on our 2018 awards board. Read reviews of the newest Fall 2018 graphic novels from comics publishers. Consult the collection of Teacher & Librarian Resources with its ready-to-use plans for discussions and lessons.

You’ll find other helpful information on the Diamond Book Distributors Pinterest site as well, including recommended titles for specific grade levels.  We keep these Pinterest boards updated frequently and our pins are powerful because they take you to curated resources to assist you in collection management and programming for youth of different ages, interests, and needs. Share away and keep checking back to find what’s new!

Hope we’ll see you at Booth 2211. However, we know we’ll see you on Pinterest.


Our Recent Award Winners

Books and media from our publishers regularly receive starred reviews and feature on many lists of best titles. We’re really proud of award-winners that come from our publishers, too!

In the past year, the following have won awards for children and youth publications:

Freeman Award Gold winner sealFrom Tilbury House, the picture book Moth and Wasp, Soil and Ocean: Remembering Chinese Scientist Pu Zhelong’s Work for Sustainable Farmingwon the Freeman Award for the Children’s Literature. The Freeman Award is presented by the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia. Moth and Wasp, Soil and Ocean, by Sigrid Schmalzer with illustrations by Melanie Linden Chan, features information about an important 20thcentury Chinese entomologist as well as historically accurate and beautiful watercolors.

Freeman Award Honorable MentionReceiving an Honorable Mention for the Middle Grade category Freeman Award, Pajama Press published Too Young to Escape, the autobiography of Van Ho, written with Marsha Skrypuch.  In the time between her mother and siblings’ immediate postwar escape and her resettlement with them in North America, the young Van experienced Vietnam from a specific and special perspective.

Toon Books stepped into middle grade publishing and immediately caught Aesop Prize seal from the Children's Folklore Section of the American Folklore Society
critics attention with The Dragon Slayer: Folktales from Latin America, by well known cartoonist Jaime Hernandez and with an introduction by scholar Isabel Campoy. Available in both English and Spanish editions, The Dragon Slayerwon the 2018 Aesop Prize awarded by the Children’s Folklore Section of the American Folklore Society.

Eisner Award sealToon Books also received recognition at San Diego Comic-Con.Good Night, Planet, by Liniers, and again available in both English and Spanish won the 2018 Eisner Award for Early Readers.

Eye Spy: Wild Ways Animals See the World, written and illustrated by Parent's Choice Award gold seal
Guillaume Duprat and published by What On Earth Books, won the Parent’s Choice Award for Nonfiction in 2018.

Odyssey Honor Award seal, American Library AssociationLive Oak Media often makes a stellar showing in media awards and 2018 was no different. Trombone Shorty, written by Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews and narrated for this audiobook format by Dion Graham, was an Honors title in the Odyssey Award celebration.

Many other publishers with whom we work also received a variety of accolades throughout the year. And as the new awards year begins, we know you’ll join us in anticipating which new titles receive major awards.