Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

The special bond between grandparent and grandchild: I Dream of Popo

I Dream of Popo, by Livia Blackburne/Illustrated by Julia Kuo, (Jan. 2021, Roaring Brook Press), $18.99, ISBN: 9781250249319

Ages 3-7

Inspired by the author’s own story, I Dream of Popo is about the special connection between a young girl and her grandmother, that crosses the distance between Taiwan and America. The girl grows up spending time with her grandmother, rocking on her lap and enjoying food and holidays together, but when she moves to America with her family, Popo – grandma – stays in Taiwan. She sees her over videochat and even visits, and their love endures even as she sees Popo’s hair get gray and she gets sick. A book rich with emotion and connection, this is an incredible #OwnVoices story that will resonate with all families, especially when most of our visits are conducted via device screen. Livia Blackburne creates a yearning feel for Popo and her granddaughter throughout the story; her connection to her own Popo shines through in her prose. Julia Kuo’s artwork is vibrant, deep reds, greens, and golds weaving a warm atmosphere to comfort readers. Back matter includes an author note and an illustrator note, each remembering their relationships with their own grandparents, and a glossary.

I was lucky enough to be at a Macmillan live event with other librarians and the author and illustrator, and they each spoke at length about their inspiration for the prose and artwork for the book. They drew on their relationships with their grandparents, lived on two shores and over phone, in the days before videochat. The book is stunning; Livia Blackburne and Julia Kuo put their hearts into creating a testament to the enduring love between grandparent and grandchild. An instabuy for collections, I Dream of Popo has a starred review from Kirkus.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Two more Thanksgiving Books, just in time!

I’ve got two more Thanksgiving books for the Littles, just in time for the big day on Thursday!

See, Touch, Feel: Happy Thanksgiving, by Roger Priddy (Aug. 2020, Priddy Books U.S.), $7.95, ISBN: 9781684490738

Ages 0-3

Another adorable Roger Priddy book for the littlest of Littles! See, Touch, Feel Thanksgiving is a rhyming book of gratitude for food, nature, pets, and friends, with tactile pages for little explorers to touch and feel. They can run their fingers across the ridged corn husks and nubby corn, soft and smooth textures of handpainted trees, glittery rain, and a fuzzy dog. Colorful, with photos and childlike artwork sharing space, this is a book that will be a joy to sit down with, put your Kiddo in your lap, and let them know how thankful you are for them. Use the book as inspiration, if you have paints, and let them make their own hand-stamped crafts. A sensory feast for the hands and eyes!

 

If Animals Gave Thanks, by Ann Whitford Paul/Illustrated by David Walker, (Sept. 2020, Farrar Straus & Giroux), $9.99, ISBN: 9780374388737

Ages 3-6

The latest in the If Animals… series, this rhyming story welcomes readers with colorful fall leaves across endpapers. Inside, the author wonders what different animals would give thanks for, if they could: Rabbit would give thanks for being able to hop and for his thick fur; Crow, for the sky and the ability to fly; Turtle, for his hard shell. Meanwhile, the story returns to Bear, who’s gathering ingredients to make all sorts of delicious food for his friends at a harvest table! A kind story of gratitude and friendship, it’s a gently illustrated, softly colored story with colorful sound effects that invite readers to join in with multiple readings, whether it’s a chomp-chomp, chewy-chew, or a shuf-shuffle, or a pickety-pick. Great storytime pick.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

The epic tale of Ronan the Librarian

Ronan the Librarian, by Tara Luebbe & Becky Cattie/Illustrated by Victoria Maderna, (Apr. 2020, Roaring Brook Press), $17.99, ISBN: 9781250189219

Ages 3-7

To truly enjoy this writeup, please click here to enjoy The Anvil of Crom from the Conan the Barbarian soundtrack, courtesy of Spotify and CimmercianRecords.com.

The mighty Ronan was a barbarian invader, raider, and trader. He led his people and pillaged the best jewelry, precious metals, weapons, you name it. If you wanted to trade for it, Ronan had it. But when one of Ronan’s raids turned up a chest  of books, he was baffled. Barbarians don’t read, right? What was he supposed to do with these things? No one else wanted them either! Until… well, one night he figured reading a sentence won’t hurt. Maybe a paragraph. A page? Every reader worth their salt knows what happens next: a true disregard of bedtime; Ronan becomes a Reader and seeks out books on all of his pillages from then on. And again, like any true book fan… his collection threatens to overwhelm him. After all, no one else wants the books: Barbarians don’t read! So Ronan builds a library, and decides to entice his fellow barbarians into reading. Like any bookworm knows, one of the best parts about loving books is sharing them with friends! This hilarious, wonderful story about barbarians and books is perfect storytime reading (I’ve got one coming up myself): it’s got adventure, barbarians, and books! Tara Luebbe and Becky Cattie create a story that book lovers will relate to, and give a wink, nudge, come to the Book Side for those kids who don’t think they’re readers… yet.

Victoria Maderna’s artwork is cartoony fun, with so many little moments to love: the Viking ship toppling over with books (I feel seen); Ronan riding into battle, axe held high in one hand, book wide open in his other hand; Ronan curled up with a cup of tea amidst his towering pile of books (so precarious!), the swirling, dreamlike story of Odin coming to life as it leaps from a book Ronan reads out loud to his fellow barbarians, and – one of my favorite pieces in the whole story – the bulletin board Ronan puts up in his library, with notes like “Keep Out: This Goat” (sharp-eyed viewers will notice the goat snacking on some books, a few spreads earlier), “Closed During Raids”, and a cautionary “Swords Make Terrible Bookmarks”. Clearly, library signage hasn’t seen the need to evolve much.

I’m gushing with love for Ronan the Librarian because it’s just too much fun and it’s all about discovering the joy of books and reading. Insta-buy for your collections if you don’t already have it. Consider it an investment in your class visits for life. Make sure to visit the authors’ website, and find activities, guides, and more information about their books!

Posted in Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Brita Teckentrup has a new board book series!

You know I love Brita Teckentrup’s books, right? She’s got a new board book series out through Orca, and I was squealing nonstop. These animal stories are all adorable, tell brief stories, making them great books for toddler readers who are ready to listen to stories beyond basic concepts. The books are part of Orca’s All Natural series, published on recycled paper and using eco-friendly inks, so it’s doing a good deed to have these available!

 

Little Owl, by Brita Teckentrup, (Sept. 2020, Orca Book Publishers), $10.95, ISBN: 9781459826922

Ages 0-3

It’s nighttime, and Little Owl is excited to be flying with Mom and Dad tonight! The family swoops through the skies, seeing beetles, hedgehogs, and a bat together, before Little Owl is just too tired to keep going. The family snuggles down for a good day’s sleep, ready to take to the skies again the next night. The prose is simple, with sight words aplenty and brief sentences. The artwork is just lovely, with expressive large-eyed owls and smiling forest animals. Colors are deep, and the night sky shifts from a sunset, to night, to the barest light as morning approaches, really giving readers a sense of time. This story is lovely for a lapsit, with tons of snuggle-worthy moments; use with flannels for extra fun. There are some great owl storytimes available online, including this one from North Mankato Taylor Library and this one from Literary Hoots.

 

 

Little Squirrel, by Brita Teckentrup, (Sept. 2020, Orca Book Publishers), $10.95, ISBN: 9781459826915

Ages 0-3

Little Squirrel lives high up in an old oak tree and loves running and playing with his friends, the birds and the fox! But the nice weather won’t last forever, so Little Squirrel has to collect acorns and nuts to eat before the winter sets in. Once the cold weather arrives, Little Squirrel is safe and sound in the tree with his family, and they wait for the nice weather to return. Adorable art gives us expressive, friendly animal faces that enjoy play, and the message about being responsible and helpful is there, but subtle for toddlers. The seasons change during the course of the story as blue skies give way to cloudy, snowy skies and white snowflakes fall as the snow piles up. A nice store of acorns lets readers know that Little Squirrel will be just fine this winter, and our parting picture is of a happy Squirrel family together in their tree. There’s some factual information here, placed in the story’s context: squirrels living in the tree, saving food for the winter, and cracking open nuts with their teeth. Perfect for little readers Storytime Secrets has a great squirrel storytime available, and Jen in the Library has the cutest squirrel flannel up. The Canton Public Library has good squirrel book suggestions, too!

 

 

 

 

Little Duck, by Brita Teckentrup, (Jan. 2021, Orca Book Publishers), $10.95, ISBN: 9781459826946

Ages 0-3

Little Duck is happily swimming in the pond with her siblings and Mama. She dives, says hello to dragonflies, frogs, fish, and tadpoles, and plays hide and seek with her siblings until everyone starts getting tired. Time for a nap! They curl up to Mama and fall asleep. A sweet story that will work with flannels and begs to be read alongside the song Five Little Ducks, this is another snuggy lapsit story that babies, toddlers, and caregivers will love to read together. Add some sound effects, encourage games like peek-a-book when Duck looks for her siblings or waving when Duck encounters new friends to greet. Canton Public Library has good readalike suggestions, and there are excellent storytime ideas from North Mankato Taylor Library, Abby the Librarian, Sunflower Storytime, and Storytime Katie. Little Duck will be out in January 2021.

 

 

Little Fox, by Brita Teckentrup, (Jan. 2021, Orca Book Publishers). $10.95, ISBN: 9781459826939

Ages 0-3

Little Fox is the most interactive of the All Natural series so far. Little Fox emerges from his den, sleepy but shaking it off in time to spend his evening playing with friends and observing his surroundings. He sees a woodpecker, some deer, and a few other animals, and plays hide and seek with his friend until the birds start singing. Daytime is coming, and it’s time for Little Fox to find Mama and go back to sleep until late in the day again. The book brings up some observational questions for toddlers to discover, like finding Mama and wondering what the woodpecker is looking for. Kids can point or begin verbalizing, and parents can also point out animals, colors, and shapes as they go along. The day moves into evening, back into morning, giving readers a feel for the passage of time. Sunflower Storytime has a very cute fox storytime available, as does Jen in the Library. Pasadena Library has a cute fox storytime with some flannels.

 

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Books to cuddle, snuggle, and hug by

This is a tough time of year we’re going into. We want to hug people that we can’t. We want to see people in person, not through a device screen. We’ll get there. Until then, we have books to share with those we love. Let these snuggly books do the talking when your arms can’t; if you are lucky enough to have snuggly folx within your quarantine circle, then enjoy these books together.

 

You Are a Beautiful Beginning, by Nina Laden/Illustrated by Kelsey Garrity-Riley,
(Aug. 2020, Roaring Brook Press), $18.99, ISBN: 9781250311832
Ages 3-6

If little ones ever needed inspiration and to hear about their incredible potential, this is the time. You Are a Beautiful Beginning is all about potential, with encouraging, rhyming phrases that are just what we all need to hear to keep us going: “It is not the number of pages. / It is the story in the book. / It is not how far you traveled. / It is the journey that you took.” Messages also include having self-confidence and not worrying about the outcome, but the progress; being a good person, and being part of a team, and ultimately, becoming who you are supposed to be. Mixed media artwork creates magical spreads with classic fantasy story elements bright colors. You Are a Beautiful Beginning is the encouraging talk so many of us need today, especially our little ones who are facing remote learning, lack of socialization, and feeling overwhelmed by big, often scary feelings. A much-needed pep talk and hug in book form.

 

Because You’re Mine, by Nancy Tillman, (Sept. 2020, Feiwel & Friends),
$18.99, ISBN: 9781250256133
Ages 2-7

Nancy Tillman, award-winning author of On the Night You Were Born, is back with a rhyming story about the love between a parent and child. Because You’re Mine is a parent’s declaration of love from the very beginning: “The moment that you came along / my heart grew mighty, fierce and strong / And everything just fell from view / All that I could see was you”. That fierce devotion never wanes, as Tillman also notes: “The clouds can blow, the wind can call / the snow can come, the rain can fall / but they’ll just have to wait in line”. It speaks to the protective love parents and caregivers have for their littles; children will feel secure and protected hearing their loving grownup read this to them and it’s perfect for bedtime and cuddle time reading. Ms. Tillman’s instantly recognizable artwork, images of children and grownups, frolicking across spreads of woods, fields, and enjoying flora and fauna, brings to mind carefree days and joy.

Posted in Intermediate, Non-Fiction, picture books

Black Lives, Black History

The Big Day, by Terry Lee Caruthers/Illustrated by Robert Casilla, (Oct. 2020, Star Bright Books), $16.99, ISBN: 978-1-59572-913-2

Ages 5-8

This celebration of suffrage and Black women voters is a fictionalized story of Agnes Sadler, the first Black woman to legally vote in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1919. Agnes, called Big Mama here, wakes her daughter Tansy up and urges her to get moving; today is a “big day”, after all. Tansy and Big Mama dress in their finest, get on the bus, and head to the polls; it’s voting day and women have the vote! A lovely tribute to Black women’s suffrage, Agnes and the other women voters proudly wear sashes; the Black women belong to the “Colored Women’s Political League”, and the white women wear “Votes for Women” sashes. The artwork is colorful, soft, and carries a beautiful, historic feel to it. Endpapers are made up of newspaper articles about women’s suffrage, and back matter provides more information about Agnes Sadler, women’s suffrage and Black women’s role in suffrage, and sources for further reading. A great introduction to Black women’s history, and a good picture book biography on a little-known figure in Black suffrage.

For more information about African American Women and the suffrage movement, visit the Suffragist Memorial, the Black Women’s Suffrage Digital Collection, and National Geographic.

A Voice Named Aretha, by Katheryn Russell-Brown/Illustrated by Laura Freeman, (Jan. 2020, Bloomsbury Kids USA), $17.99, ISBN: 9781681198507

Ages 5-8

All hail the Queen of Soul! This picture book biography on Aretha Franklin starts from her beginnings, singing in her father’s church choir through her singing for President Barack Obama (and bringing him to tears). Covering Aretha’s social justice work, Katheryn Russell-Brown notes that Aretha refused to perform for “whites only” audiences and her work with civil rights groups and philanthropy. Laura Freeman’s artwork brings Aretha Franklin to life with rich colors and passionate renderings; Aretha’s head thrown back as she sings and plays the piano at 12; clasping her hands to her chest as she belts out a song in the choir, and Barack Obama wiping a tear away as he listens to a lushly garbed Franklin sing onstage. Endpapers are a feast of vinyl and gold records on a deep purple background. Back matter provides more information about Aretha Franklin’s life and music and some of her hit songs. A must-have in your picture book biography section, this is an excellent introduction to a music and civil rights icon.

A Voice Named Aretha has starred reviews from Kirkus and School Library Journal.

 

William Still and His Freedom Stories: The Father of the Underground Railroad, by Don Tate, $18.99, ISBN: 978-1-56145-935-3

Ages 5-8

Written in free verse, Don Tate’s biography of William Still, abolitionist, member of the Underground Railroad, and archivist of stories that reunited families, is simply incredible. Born to former slaves living in New Jersey, William Still grew up with a desire to learn and a desire for justice. He moved to Philadelphia and worked with the Anti-Slavery Society, where he took on greater roles, ultimately becoming part of the Underground Railroad. When he reunited his long-lost brother with his family, Still began keeping extensive notes on the people he spoke with, leading to more reunions. The verse is concise but packs emotional punches, like this moment where he meets his brother, Peter: “The man was middle-aged. / Stooped back. Furrowed brow. / Threadbare clothes. / His name was Peter. / He was looking for his mother, his family.” Endpapers include excerpts from Still’s observations. Digital illustrations are emotional and expressive. Another must-have picture book biography. Publisher Peachtree has an excerpt, teacher’s guide, and poster on their website.

William Still and His Freedom Stories: The Father of the Underground Railroad has starred reviews from School Library Journal, Booklist, and Publisher’s Weekly.

 

 

Mary Seacole: Bound for the Battlefield, by Susan Goldman Rubin/Illustrated by Richie Pope, (Oct. 2020, Candlewick Press), $17.99, ISBN: 9780763679941

Ages 8-11

This intermediate picture book biography on Crimean War figure Mary Seacole, born in Kingston, Jamaica, begins with her childhood in Kingston, watching her healer mother care for soldiers with herbal remedies and hoping to be like her one day, through her own healing work with soldiers during the Crimean War and cholera patients in Panama. The book deep dives into the racism she encountered as a biracial woman, including a run-in with Florence Nightingale, who scoffed at her remedies and cures and refused her services. Drawn from Mary Seacole’s own writing, this biography is comprehensive for younger readers, with richly colorful and evocative illustrations. Back matter includes sources notes and a bibliography. An important biography for younger readers.

 

Northbound: A Train Ride Out of Segregation, by Michael S. Bandy & Eric Stein/Illustrated by James E. Ransome, (Oct. 2020, Candlewick Press), $17.99, ISBN: 9780763696504

Ages 6-8

Inspired by author Michael S. Bandy’s memories of taking the train as a child of color during segregation, Northbound tells the story of a boy of color and a white boy becoming friends on a train ride from Alabama to Cincinnati, amid the shifting segregation seating on the train. Young Michael boards the train and goes to the “colored only” section, but when the train leaves Atlanta, the signs come down and he’s free to roam the train. He meets Bobby Ray, a boy his own age and from his own town, and the two become instant friends. Once the train approaches Chattanooga, though, the signs go back up and the new friends are separated. A heart-rending story of separation and segregation, Northbound ends with a spark of hope. The story explains segregation in its most basic terms to children, and encourages discussion about how the story – and our past – parallels with our present. James A. Ransome’s watercolor and collage artwork creates splendid scenery as the train speeds along and the two boys become friends over the course of a train ride; moments of racism, as when the conductor leads Michael out of the “whites only” car when the train approaches Chattanooga, are emotional; the “whites only” harsh white sign stands out like an ugly scar across a lovely painting. An author’s note explains the Interstate Commerce Act and how segregation played into it.

Northbound: A Train Ride Out of Segregation has starred reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly.

Posted in Early Reader, Fiction

Spotlight on indie and small publishers!

I hope you like these as much as I do. As I’ve worked through my ginormous TBR this year, I’ve gotten to many of the books sent to me by independent and small authors and publishers; the best way to show them off is to give them their own little spotlight. There are some little gems to be found here.

 

Ollie’s Backpack (A Carefree Ollie Book), by Riya Aarini/Illustrated by Virvalle Caravallo, (July 2020, independently published), $15.99, ISBN: 978-1733166140

Ages 5-7

Ollie is a kid who loves to put stuff in his backpack. He knows there’s stuff that’s way too big, like a moose; way too heavy, like a watermelon, or way too cold, like an igloo. The thing is, he starts to collect little things that end up really weighing him down as he goes through his day: a crumpled homework assignment; a broken toy that a bully snatched from him; a granola bar that a classmate refused to share; even a trophy that he won! As Ollie takes a break from carrying all that heavy weight, he realizes that sometimes, you have to get rid of the weight you carry. He sheds the things that made him sad, and displays the trophy, which made him happy. Once he stops hiding everything away, he realizes that he’s not weighed down anymore!

Ollie’s Backpack is a good social-emotional learning story that reminds me of Brian Wray’s and Shiloh Penfield’s excellent Max’s Box. Kids will see themselves both in the packrat stuffing of everything and anything into a backpack, and will understand the meaning of holding onto memories – for better or for worse – and appreciate Ollie’s way of embracing the good and letting go of the bad. The digital artwork is bright and colorful. A nice choice for your SEL collections. Visit author Riya Aarini’s website for more books, including the next Ollie books.

 

Sam the Superhero and His Super Life, by Kathryn F. Pearson & James T Pearson/Illustrated by Lauren Jezierski, (July 2020, independently published), $9.25, ISBN: 979-8640502343

Ages 5-8

A young boy named Sam lives with his grandparents and loves his stuffed dog, Hercules. He’s very sensitive to sound, light, and touch, and he has what his grandfather calls “big feelings”: he feels everything intensely. His grandfather shows Sam photos of himself as a baby and explains that he was he was born very small and needed to stay in the hospital for a few weeks, and was very sensitive, even as a baby; he also tells Sam that he is a superhero, just like the guys in the comics, for overcoming so many obstacles.

The book looks at children born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS): children born substance-exposed and the challenges they overcome from birth. Developed by an 8-year old girl named Sophia, the story is brought to life through straightforward, simple prose and sketched, gently colorful artwork. Sam the Superhero and His Super Life raises NAS awareness and encourages adults and children alike to approach all kids with kindness and understanding. Visit https://2themoonandback.org/ for more info.

 

Chicken Little Investigates, by Lois Wickstrom/Illustrated by Francie Mion, (Aug. 2019, Look Under Rocks), $12, ISBN: 978-0916176365

Ages 5-7

A fun spin on the classic Chicken Little tale, Chicken Little Investigates puts a STEM spin on the story. Chicken Little and Henny Penny are strolling along when an acorn falls on Chicken Little’s head. Chicken Little and Henny Penny do some experimenting with gravity, and decide to go visit the king to find out what he would call their discovery. Along the way, they meet Goosey Loosey, Ducky Lucky, and Turkey Lurkey, all with different ideas on what to call their discovery, when they meet up with sly Foxy Woxy, who has his own ideas. But the gang is too smart for Foxy, and use their new discovery to escape to safety. A cute introduction to physics, with fun sounds like jangles, flops, and plops, this is a cute read-aloud that invites kids to chime in with their own sound effects. I’d use this in a Discovery Club readaloud and invite kids to drop their own pencils, pillows, and pom-pom balls to see what drops fast, what drops slow, and what sounds they make. Lois Wickstrom has been writing some fun STEM/STEAM stories; see more of her books at her website, Look Under Rocks.

Posted in Fiction, Intermediate, picture books

Big Wishes for Little Feat – a horse and human story

Big Wishes for Little Feat, by Cheryl Olsten/Illustrated by Paolo d’Altan, (Oct. 2020, Fleecydale Press), $17.95, ISBN: 978-1-7339551-0-2

Ages 7-10

Little Feat is a horse who’s small, and worries he’ll never find a rider to love him. Ella is an American girl who moves in with her aunt, in Belgium, while her parents try to get back on their financial feet. Each feels sad and alone, until Ella’s Aunt Anastasia brings the two together. The story is based on a true story, with a spark of fantasy for inspiration as the horse and the girl look to the stars for courage and hope: Ella, hoping to feel a connection by looking at the same sky her family at home in the States looks at, and sharing a love of constellations with her father; Lafitte (Little Feat is the name Ella gives him), who imagines himself leaping into the sky, a constellation made real. The artwork is just lovely, with deep colors and beautiful renderings of horses, nighttime skies, and the bond between horse and rider. A good choice for animal fans and horse lovers.

Enjoy a preview of the book, and learn about the EQUUS Foundation, a charity supporting America’s horse, at the author’s website.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Blog Tour and Giveaway: The Rescue Rabbits!

The Rescue Rabbits, by Eric Seltzer/Illustrated by Roland Garrigue, (Nov. 2020, Two Lions), $17.99, ISBN: 978-1-5420-4263-5

Ages 3-6

Kids who love Paw Patrol are going to go nuts for this group of Rescue Rabbits! Ace, Dot, Chip, and Spot rescue all kinds of animals from trouble; crowding into their helicopter and flying off wherever they’re needed, they’ve got all sorts of wild gadgets on hand to get the job done. When they come up against the Rex the Rhino Prince, though, they’ve got their work cut out for them. Rex is a little high-maintenance, and the Rabbits realize that they have to call for a little more help: Rhino’s MOM.

Cartoony, with storytelling narration and word bubbles from the characters to add more humor and context, The Rescue Rabbits is perfect reading for fans of shows like Paw Patrol and Blaze and the Monster Machines. Parents and caregivers will get a chuckle out of the specially branded gadgets the Rabbits use: it’s like a Target toy aisle in here! Rex Rhino is hilariously exhausting as the cossetted prince; kids will get a big laugh out of his desire to be rescued on his own terms and bigger laughs when they see Mom on the way (we all know what that means!) The colorful art and constant action, plus the cool gadgets, make this a fun readaloud for the kiddos. Let’s see if The Rescue Rabbits find themselves on another adventure soon!

 

Eric Seltzer received his BFA from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan. He worked as a TV graphics designer and an advertising art director before writing and illustrating children’s books. His book Four Pups and a Worm was an IRA/CBC Children’s Book Choice, and The Long Dog was named a Gryphon Award Honor Book. He recently published the board book Arf! Buzz! Cluck! illustrated by David Creighton-Pester. Eric lives with his family in Michigan.

Roland Garrigue is a prolific children’s book illustrator from Paris who attended art school in Strasbourg, France. His recent books include Cavekid Birthday, written by Cathy Breisacher, and Mother Ghost: Nursery Rhymes for Little Monsters, written by Rachel Kolar. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter @rolandgarrigue.

“Readers will see in these pages a gentle spoof of cartoons and blockbusters that include endless product tie-ins, but the story also offers an amusing tribute to competency-themed pretend play.” —Publishers Weekly

One lucky winner will receive a copy of The Rescue Rabbits, courtesy of Two Lions (U.S. addresses). Enter this Rafflecopter giveaway!

Posted in Uncategorized

Celebrating Ignacio (Nacho) Anaya on National Nacho Day!

Nacho’s Nachos: The Story Behind the World’s Favorite Snack, by Sandra Nickel and Oliver Dominguez, (Aug. 2020, Lee & Low), $18.95, ISBN: 9781620143698

Ages 6-10

Not all heroes wear capes. Ignacio Anaya was born in Northern Mexico in 1895, and raised by a foster mother who made him delicious quesadillas. He grew up and became well-respected in the restaurant industry, handling everything from waiting tables to greeting guests and making sure everyone was well taken care of and happy. When a famous foodie asked him for “something different” one night in 1940, Ignacio – called “Nacho” for short – searched the kitchen until he noticed a bowl of fried corn tortillas. Thinking of his foster mother’s delicious quesadillas, he put his own spin on them, by melting cheddar cheese on them, topping each with a piece of pickled jalapeño pepper, and serving them up as “Nacho’s Special”. And, my friends, a legend was born.

Nacho’s Nachos tells Ignacio’s story, from the beginnings at his foster mother’s table through to his fame as the creator of a dish that appealed to everyone, everywhere, including actors and presidents; even allowing him to open a restaurant of his own. Ignacio’s original recipe is included in the back matter, along with an afterword on his life. There are sources and an author’s note addressing the somewhat tall tales that have arisen about Nacho’s life. Sandra Nickel creates a wonderfully inspirational biography, and Oliver Dominguez’s mixed media artwork is realistic and has gorgeous earth colors alongside colorful nightlife scenes. A fantastic addition to picture book biographies.

Warm up some cheddar cheese, have some nachos, and celebrate the life of Nacho Anaya today! Check out the National Nachos Day website for recipes and the history of the celebration.