Tag Archives: Jane Yolen

Slacker. That’s what I am.

Are you kidding me? I haven’t posted my favs since January?  Someone should have fired me by now.

Here, finally, are my favorites of the picture books I’ve read in February. And March. And April. And May. (Sheesh.)

  • ABC3D by Marion Bataille, 2008, A Neal Porter Book (Roaring Brook Press)
  • THE BEAR SAID PLEASE by Jacque Duffy, 2014, Wombat Books
  • BUGS IN MY HAIR by David Shannon, 2013, Blue Sky Press
  • CHEESE BELONGS TO YOU by Alexis Deacon, illustrated by Viviane Schwarz, 2013, Candlewick Press
  • COME BACK, MOON by David Kherdian, illustrated by Nonny Hogrogian, 2013, Beach Lane Books
  • EENIE, MEENY, MINEY MOLE by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Kathryn Brown, 1992, Harcourt Brace & Company
  • HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON by Crockett Johnson, 1955, Harper Festival (HarperCollins)
  • HERE COMES THE EASTER CAT by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Claudia Rueda, 2014, Dial Books for Young Readers (Penguin Random House)
  • HOW TO BICYCLE TO THE MOON TO PLANT SUNFLOWERS by Mordicai Gerstein, 2013, Roaring Brook Press
  • JUMPING PENGUINS by Jesse Goossens, illustrated by Marije Tolman, 2013, Lemniscaat
  • MISS MOUSIE’S BLIND DATE by Tim Reiser, illustrated by Rachel Berman, 2012, Tundra Books of Northern New York
  • OFF WE GO! by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Laurel Molk, 2000, Little, Brown and Company
  • THE SILVER BUTTON by Bob Graham, 2013, Candlewick Press
  • WAKING DRAGONS by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Derek Anderson, 2012, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Yes, I hadn’t read Purple Crayon until just recently. Not sure how that happened. And yes, I have three books by Jane Yolen on this list. How could anyone have a list of fav books without Jane’s books included? Unless those anyones aren’t reading Jane’s books. And if that’s the case, what the heck is wrong with you?




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Do I get a robe and gavel?

I read 27 picture books in August. I should have read 40. Wait. I’m way behind on my goal for the year, and to catch up I should have read 162. What’s a girl to do to get her butt in gear and reach her goal?

Voila! Cybils to the rescue!

I’ve been chosen to be a Round One judge in the Fiction Picture Books category of the Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards seventh annual competition. That means I’ll be reading and evaluating about 200 books nominated this year. It should help me catch up on my reading, don’t you think?

I’m honored to be selected, and I’m eager to put my opinionated self expertise to work. I can hardly wait to begin discussing favorites with the other judges.

Nominations will be accepted October 1-15. If you want to nominate a favorite children’s book, check out the guidelines and how-to details here.

If you’re curious about becoming a judge for next year, you can learn more here.

And now here’s what you’ve all been waiting for (right?) – my favorite reads of August:

  • ALL THOSE SECRETS OF THE WORLD by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Leslie Baker, 1991, Little, Brown & Company
  • COWPOKE CLYDE AND DIRTY DAWG by Lori Mortensen, illustrated by Michael Allen Austin, 2013, Clarion Books
  • EACH KINDNESS by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis, 2012, Nancy Paulsen Book (Penguin Young Readers Group)
  • EVEN ALIENS NEED SNACKS by Matthew McElligott, 2012, Walker BFYR (Bloomsbury Publishing)
  • GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE DINOSAURS by Mo Willems, 2012, Balzar + Bray (HarperCollins Publishers)
  • MINETTE’S FEAST by Susanna Reich, illustrated by Amy Bates, 2012, Abrams Books for Young Readers
  • THE MONSTERS’ MONSTER by Patrick McDonnell, 2012, Little Brown and Company (Hachette Book Group)
  • MY FATHER’S ARMS ARE A BOAT by Stein Erik Lunde, illustrated by Oyvind Torseter, 2012, Enchanted Lion Books
  • WHEN THE COWS GOT LOOSE by Carol Weis, illustrated by Ard Hoyt, 2006, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division)

By the way, if you live in or will be visiting Western Mass any time in the next 5 months, check out “Seriously Silly: A Decade of Art and Whimsy by Mo Willems” at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts. The exhibit will be on display through February 23, 2014.


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Heads up. If fear is getting the best of you and your writing efforts, Marcie Flinchum Atkin’s latest post in her We’re All in this Together series may help. I’ve been busy, so I didn’t contribute my thoughts to the series this month, but click here to read what Robyn Campbell, Donna L. Sadd, Alayne Kay Christian, and Marcie have to say on the subject. (And check out Alayne’s blog for details about a writing contest in honor of Grandparent’s Day.)

What do I fear? That when I wake up tomorrow morning, I’ll realize it’s already December! 2013 is moving along so quickly I feel I have to keep one hand gripped to the chair lest I get flung into the deep, dark woods as the time train speeds on. I began to panicky about my goals for this year, feeling like I haven’t accomplished enough, but actually I’m doing pretty well. I’m staying focused, I’m getting new picture book drafts written, I’m submitting work, and the rejections I’m getting are kind and thoughtful and positive. The type of rejections writers like to get if they have to get rejections at all. But still. Ugh.

I haven’t been revising as much as I’d like, though, and I’m trying to catch up on my picture book reading goal (a little more than 500 by year’s end). I love so much of what I’ve been reading lately. Here are my favorites from July’s list.

KALI’S SONG by Jeanette Winter, 2012, Schwartz & Wade Books
MOUSE’S BIRTHDAY by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Bruce Degen, 1993, G.P. Putnam’s Sons
NAMING LIBERTY by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Jim Burke, 2008, Philomel Books (Penguin Young Readers Group)
TWINKLE, TWINKLE, LITTLE STAR by Jerry Pickney, 2011, Hachette Book Group (Little, Brown and Company)

Not a frightening book in the bunch. Read them for yourself!

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Favorite PBs Read in June

As of the end of June, I’m behind by 71 on my picture book reading goal, and it doesn’t look like I’m going to be too successful in catching up during July. There’s just so much else grabbing at my attention. (I never did understand the “summer reading” craze.) But I will try.

I’m attempting to read at least 530 picture books in 2013 – about 10 per week. I’d highly recommend this to other writers of picture books. I think it’s making a difference in my own writing, understanding the market, and in fueling the idea tank.

I read 28 books in June, and found six that I loved. Three are by Jane Yolen. I LOVE Jane’s writing. She and her work have been a huge inspiration to me.

006I first read PICNIC WITH PIGGINS (on the list below) some twenty-plus years ago. I was so struck by the writing I immediately read the jacket flap to learn more about this amazing author. She lived in my region! I went to the library the next day to find out more about her. “I think she leads a writing critique group,” one of the library staff members told me. WHAT? Holy moly macaroni! You mean I could join this group? Yep. And I did. Best thing I ever did in regards to my writing. I’m forever appreciative of the years Jane led that group. I learned so much from her and the groups’ other gifted writers (many of whom I pay tribute to in the photo at the top of this page).

So here are my June favorites.

  • BEFORE THE STORM by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Georgia Pugh, 1995, Boyds Mills Press
  • CHARLEY’S FIRST NIGHT by Amy Hest, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, 2012, Candlewick Press
  • INFINITY AND ME by Kate Hosford, illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska, 2012, Carolrhoda Books (Lerner Publishing Group)
  • MIZ BERLIN WALKS by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Floyd Cooper, 1997, Philomel Books (Putnam & Grosset Group)
  • PICNIC WITH PIGGINS by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Jane Dyer, 1988, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Publishers
  • OLD ROBERT AND THE SEA-SILLY CATS by Barbara Joosse, illustrated by Jan Jutte, 2012, Philomel Books (Penguin Books)

Check them out. Let me know if you love them, too.

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Holy moly, I love May! I’m sad to leave it behind.


(c) 2013 Photo by Carol Munro

May is cram-packed full of friends with birthdays. What a great month to be born. (I should know. I’m a May baby myself.) Here in Western Mass, snow melted, lawns got green, leaves sprouted on trees, flowers bloomed, bloomed, BLOOMED! Ahhhhh… happy birthday, spring!

In this post, I have three heads up for you:

1. I’d like to ask you to support a writer-friend’s new book. Because of a thing between Tara Lazar’s publisher and Barnes & Noble, her book, The Monstore, won’t be carried on the shelves of this biggie chain. That means it will have a difficult time getting noticed and will likely have lower sales and little chance for a reprint or sequel, regardless of the quality of the book and the writing. Learn more about this on her blog, and if you don’t mind, please support Tara and The Monstore. She suggests these ways to help:

  • Order it from places that already have it: IndieBoundAmazonBN.com
  • Call Tara’s local indie, The Bookworm, and order a signed copy to be shipped to you: 908-766-4599
  • Visit/call your local B&N and ask them to order the book for in-store pick-up.
  • Visit/call your local indie and ask them to order the book. They may already have it!
  • Review THE MONSTORE on any book site.
  • Mark it “want to read” on GoodReads.
  • Let your local librarian(s) know about the book. The Monstore’s ISBN: 9781442420175.

2.  I’ll be a guest on Donna Martin’s Writerly Wisdom blog post on Wednesday. I’ll post the link here on Wednesday morning.

3.  Here are my favs of the picture books I read in May. Go read them if you haven’t already. If you have, why not read them again? They’re lovely.

  • I Feel Better with a Frog in My Throat by Carlyn Beccia, 2010, Houghton Mifflin Books For Children (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company)
  • Owl Moon by Jane Yolen, illustrated by John Schoenherr, 1987, Philomel
  • That is Not a Good Idea by Mo Willems, 2013, Balzar + Bray (HarperCollins Children’s Books)

I’m off to read some more.


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