Tag Archives: picture book giveaway

amy krouse rosenthal’s picture book life + giveaway



Amy Krouse Rosenthal is a prolific picture book writer. By reading her books, you know she is someone who loves language. You also know she is someone who likes to PLAY with language. She explores words and phrases in the most inventive ways. But those words and phrases are doing something else too. They are making us smile the kinds of smiles that recognize something true.

There’s a little bit of Ruth Krauss‘s understanding of a child’s mind in Krouse Rosenthal’s voice. There’s silliness. There’s smart. There’s hope.

She’s collaborated with Tom Lichtenheld, with Jen Corace, with Scott Magoon. She has done projects like The Beckoning of Lovely. She’s been a guest DJ on my favorite local radio show. She is full of creativity combined with joy.

Come see some of her books!




Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Tom Lichtenheld. In which unseen characters have an argument about what animal they’re looking at. It’s a wonderful way to play with the idea of different and many and varied visual interpretations of the same thing.



this plus that, illustrated by Jen Corace. This one looks at life as a series of non-literal math problems. It teaches as it plays and explores. Some examples of its wisdom: “good days + bad days = real life.” “Practice + practice + practice = mastering.”




Spoon and Chopsticks by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Scott Magoon. The first, a book about longing to be something other than what you are and discovering that being you is pretty cool. The second, a book about finding your independence in order to be an even better companion. And don’t worry, they’re both hilarious too!




Little Pea, Little Oink, and Little Hoot by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Jen Corace. Each of these is a little animal with a problem every kid can relate to—in reverse. Little pea must finish his sweets! Little Oink must mess up his room! And Little Hoot’s greatest wish is to go to bed early. A way to play with the stuff littles have to do.




I Scream, Ice Cream by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Serge Bloch; The OK Book and Wumbers by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. The first explores “wordles” that sound the same but mean different things. The second takes the idea of OK and makes a character out of it. The third? A gr8 book of word-number brain teasers for the math and language arts crowds.



Exclamation Mark, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. You don’t have to love punctuation to get a kick out of this smart, funny book. The real story is in finding joy in who you are.


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Friendshape and I Wish You More, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld; Little Miss, Big Sis, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds.




Awake Beautiful Child, illustrated by Gracia Lam. This gorgeous book, just out from McSweeney’s, is a child’s day told through A-B-C phrases only Amy Krouse Rosenthal could write and illustrated with Lam’s retro/pastel/inviting artwork. Artful Book Creation!

I have to admit: this is my new favorite AKR book! There’s a sheen to the pages that perfectly complements the magic of the text. First, a boy, then a girl, scenes of home and life all told in three word phrases: “Afraid But Courageous.” “Always Be Curious.”

You just have to see and read it to know how truly special it is. And as a bonus, kid readers are encouraged to hunt for all the things portrayed in the book that start with A, B, or C. Apples on the table! Cactus in the bedroom! Blocks on the floor!

And like all McSweeney’s kids’ books, the jacket folds out to a large-sized poster.



I’m giving away one copy of Awake Beautiful Child to celebrate AKR’s picture book life!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

And you might want to check out my last Their Picture Book Life featuring Taro Gomi too!



10 picture books set in paris + PICTURE BOOK GIVEAWAY


I’ve been dreaming about visiting Paris someday, so I thought we could all dream together with some picture books set in the City of Light, each with its own special flair.

Come see!



Tricky Vic: The Impossibly True Story of The Man Who Sold The Eiffel Tower by Greg Pizzoli.

Just out this spring, Tricky Vic is a non-fiction book like no other. Instead of profiling an inspirational hero, this one tells the story of a con artist. And it’s very entertaining! And while not set entirely in Paris, the main episode referred to in the title takes place there—Vic’s attempt to sell the Eiffel Tower to someone in order to tear it down. Twice. (I’m giving away a copy if you scroll down. Woo hoo!)



Madame Martine by Sarah S. Brannen.

I’ll just go ahead and tell you I love this book. It’s about a woman who is used to her routine but is inspired to change because of a stray dog. And the payoff is pretty wonderful. Sunset at the top of the Eiffel Tower wonderful.  (I’m giving away a copy of this gem as well!)



Come With Me to Paris by Gloria Fowler, illustrated by Min Heo.

A rhyming romp through the sights of the city. So graphic, colorful, and charming!



A Walk in Paris by Salvatore Rubbino.

This one shows the landmarks of Paris as well, but with a girl’s grandfather as guide. So sweet.




Paris Chien by Jackie Clark Mancuso.

Hudson the expat dog narrates this charmer as he makes his way in Paris for the first time. And there’s a follow-up book just out in which Hudson travels to Provence!



This is Paris by M. Sasek.

A perfect historical portrait of Paris in the 60s. (See my post on This Is Hong Kong in the series too.)



 An Armadillo in Paris by Julie Kraulis.

This one reads as travel diary, penned by an armadillo! It also sees the sights, but at its heart is a mystery about The Iron Lady’s identity.



The Secret Circus by Johanna Wright.

Mice have a turn this time, traveling via tiny hot air balloon to a secret show, tucked away in Paris. Charming, magical, still, and satisfying.



A Lion in Paris by Beatrice Alemagna.

This is one you get for the mixed media artwork, which is wow! And more to distinguish it? The book is oriented vertically, giving us a fresh perspective.



Ooh-lala, Max in Love by Maira Kalman.

Because, Maira Kalman, right? And a second dog in Paris book. And it is so so so sophisticated and loads of fun.


Enter below for a chance to win a copy of Tricky Vic & Madame Martine! Two very different Eiffel Tower-centric picture books set in Paris to one lucky winner! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

shaun tan + rules of summer giveaway



Shaun Tan is truly a picture book hero of mine. His work is mysterious and deep and dark and beautiful. It hits so close to home and one never outgrows it. In fact, you may have to grow a bit to fully understand it.


Let’s talk about his picture books, okay?


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My favorite: The Red Tree.

I’ve written about this one before. According to Shaun Tan, the story is “emotions as landscapes.” Specifically, feelings of depression, overwhelm, alienation, and confusion.




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Those feelings become Tan’s signature settings: strange, mechanical worlds. He also leaves small clues in the paintings. In this case, the tiny leaf on every spread foreshadows the red tree to come. See the tiny orange-haired girl above? And that red leaf by the fire hydrant, on the gutter?

Tan’s works may be dark, but each concludes open-ended. There’s room for a red tree to magically sprout. There’s room for what comes next.


“There is always a glimmering tentacle of hope.”

—Shaun Tan


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Most celebrated: The Arrival. A wordless graphic novel meets picture book that portrays an immigrant experience in a way that looks like fantasy but captures the feeling fully and realistically.



 “…a story about somebody leaving their home to find a new life in an unseen country, where even the most basic details of ordinary life are strange, confronting or confusing – not to mention beyond the grasp of language.”

—Shaun Tan




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Made into an Oscar-winning animated short film: The Lost Thing. Here too, there’s so much to the setting. Layers and layers of visual clues. We recognize the story the (now grown) boy is telling us; it’s familiar. Even the place is familiar despite its cold, strange menace.





A boy who collects bottle tops is a likely candidate to notice something else out of place. Something huge, but that no one else sees or can see. It’s a lost thing and it belongs with other lost, magical, wonderful things that very few notice. Especially after they grow up.


“‘the lost thing’: a vague sense of forgetting something important, losing the inspirations of childhood, or being worn down by the pressure of adult pragmatism and cynicism.”

—Shaun Tan

The Lost Thing might be childhood, or the curiosity of childhood. It might be kindness or connection. It might just be a lost thing. (In this one, readers can search for tiny squiggle-like arrow shapes on each page.)


Lost & Found CoverI highly recommend, Lost and Found: Three (2011), which is an anthology of: The Red TreeThe Lost Thing, and The Rabbits, with Tan’s commentary at the back. All three titles are not available individually in the U.S., so it’s a great way to get three in one! Plus, The Rabbits, Tan’s collaboration with John Marsden, is incredible.







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Tan’s latest: Rules of Summer (2014). Two boys (brothers) and 16 rules. The first: “Never leave a red sock on the clothesline.”





“Ideally we might study this story in a similar way to dreams, looking for some waking insight within irrational play.”

—Shaun Tan

While some rules seem more random than others, there are commonalities. There’s always some threat of consequence (e.g. creepy red rabbit and black birds throughout). And there’s always some dynamic push-pull going on between these two boys, one clearly older than the other.

For me, the absence of parents is important. It feels like these two characters live in a precarious, unpredictable world (perhaps all children do to some extent.) Because of that, their relationship is that much more important. And more fraught. They are everything to each other.



The older brother protects the younger, instructs him, punishes, shuts him out, and betrays him. In the end though, always hope, in this case in the form of a rescue and the most scrumptious summer fruit parade that would make Wayne Thiebaud proud.

Not to mention Tan’s trademarks: vast, desolate spaces and bizarre machines and creatures and layers and layers of paint.


(And check out my first Their Picture Book Life post on ISOL!)

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Thanks to Scholastic for images! You can check out Shaun Tan’s website and he’s got a blog too, with process work, paintings, and more.



Scholastic has generously provided one copy of Rules of Summer to give away!

Enter to win by leaving a comment on this post! It’s that easy.


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I’ll contact the randomly chosen winner by email for your mailing address.

(Enter until Monday, July 21 at midnight; open to North American residents only—sorry about that, far flung international readers!)




eerie dearies + giveaway

18167208Eerie Dearies: 26 Ways to Miss School by Rebecca Chaperon (2014).


Curious why an ABC book is one for the older set? Because it’s dark. It’s creepy in the best way (think Edward Gorey). And it’s filled with wild excuses to miss school! All topics for a slightly older someone (or much older someone!).


It requires a brave reader such as yourself.


And even if one knows her ABCs, this book has lots of advanced concepts and words. You’ll see.




Take A for example. It’s for Astral Projection. Of course it is! Sorry teachers, but I’m having an out of body experience today.


(click image(s) to enlarge.)


B is for a broken heart. (See, this book is perfect for teenagers.)

There’s Dumbstruck, Ennui (my personal favorite), Gremlins, and Juvenile delinquent. And it ends with Z for zombie apocalypse. Not your average ABC, right? In fact, it’s inventive and strange and will appeal to any creative spirit.


Rebecca Chaperon‘s artistic style is sure to please as well: painterly and delicate and exquisite in every way. I love how she incorporated vintage books as backgrounds into the illustrations of quite vintage looking girls.


“While creating the images for the book I collected a great deal of old book covers looking for colours, textures and in some cases, titles, that would inspire the illustrations for Eerie Dearies. I scavenged second-hand shops examining the outer and inner covers of the books to find the right amount of ratty-ness, out-dated design and the general patina of age!”

                                                                   — RebeccaChaperon




Perhaps my favourite reason for missing school was ‘Snow Day.’ As anyone who grew up with cold snowy winters will tell you: there are days when things just shut down. Buses, schools, teachers. In the morning, If the weather seemed bad, my parents would turn on the radio. My brother and I would sit at the kitchen table, silently eating cereal and listening with such concentration to the radio list of each school that would be closed for the day. And of course if we heard them say our school we would absolutely freak out with happiness and then spend the day playing in the snow!”

                                                — RebeccaChaperon



EerieDearies_M_Chaperon1 copy


Thanks to Rebecca Chaperon for images!  



See more of her artwork from the book in her shop. And her other original art. Another bonus: she’s got special edition versions of the book that come signed and with stickers on her website!!




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Simply Read Books generously provided one copy of Eerie Dearies for one lucky reader! And Rebecca Chaperon, because she’s so great, threw in some artwork as well. And she’s packaged it up with all the class and artistry you’d expect!


The grand prize winner will receive the book, Eerie Drearies and two prints 


two winners will receive two prints by Rebecca Chaperon!

Three winners in all!


Here’s how to enter the giveaway:

1.) Sign up for Rebecca Chaperon’s newsletter here.

2.) Sign up for This Picture Book Life‘s new and improved newsletter here.

3.) Leave a comment on this post with a way you once missed a day of school.


 I’ll contact the randomly chosen winners by email for your mailing addresses!

(Enter until Wednesday, June 25 at midnight; open to North American residents only—sorry about that, far flung international readers!)

their picture book life: ISOL + a giveaway from la librería!

I’m starting another series! It’s called “THEIR PICTURE BOOK LIFE” in which I’ll periodically showcase one picture book creator and her contribution to the form. I’m excited!


First up, Argentinian author/illustrator, ISOL (aka Marisol Misenta). She won the prestigious Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in 2013 (which has just been awarded this year to Barbro Lindgren).



It’s clear from ISOL’s books that she possesses a unique, creative mind as both artist and storyteller—bizarre, wonderful, edgy. And her books have that special thing I love: they appeal to anyone of any age.

“I don’t think about ages…

my wish is that you can

enjoy the book even if you [are] 

two or twenty or sixty.”

—Isol from this interview.


Take  It’s Useful to Have a Duck (Tener Un Patito es Útil) for example. It’s a board book. You know, a super simple book for the youngest little readers and hearers of stories. But it’s so well-exectued and so layered and smart that I found myself amazed and delighted when reading it.



ISOL never underestimates her audience and this accordion style book told from two different perspectives—boy and duck—is basically genius. When the boy thinks the duck is giving him kisses, the duck thinks the boy is waxing his beak.



“The skillful way that Isol handles these subtexts allows her books to be read on mulitple levels. The child is constantly discovering something new, while the adult is rewarded on a perhaps more profound psychological level.

Ulla Rhedin, here.


ISOL’S latest is Nocturne: Dream Recipes (Nocturno) in 2011.

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It’s incredible. Each spread is a picture of a possible dream. And when you turn out the light, the dream, the picture, glows in the dark. GLOWS IN THE DARK!! There’s even one children can make themselves, “the drawn dream.”

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Thanks to Groundwood Books for Nocturne images! 



I must also mention Beautiful Griselda (La Bella Griselda, 2011), the book that introduced me to ISOL’s work. It’s so like a traditional fairy tale—it’s strange, dark, and even gruesome, with an ending to puzzle over. And it’s wonderful.


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“Princess Griselda was so beautiful that almost everyone she met fell

head over heels in love with her.”


Literally, men’s heads fell off when they saw Griselda. Their heads fell off! The book deals with vanity and being loved versus being feared.

MEZCLA salon new   doggy-slippers-poems

Doggy Slippers is a series of poems by Jorge Lujan developed with the contributions of Latin American children aged 5 to 13 talking about their pets. (ISOL and Lujan have collaborated on two books so far.)


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The poems are so very childlike and delightful and rich. And ISOL’s illustrations really shine with her characteristic bold shapes, hand drawn lines that can’t be contained, and her own childlike quality that manages to convey so much emotion. Darkness, then light, confusion, then comfort.


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Not to mention this book is completely hilarious.

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 “My bunny understands me. 

When I’m sad she can tell right away.

And though she walks on four feet

and she likes to bite,

she’s nicer than the nicest people.”

What strikes me most about ISOL’S work is duality and things in opposition. Take the dual perspectives in It’s Useful to Have a Duck. The dark and light of Nocturne. In Petit, the Monster, the opposition of good and bad and the way ISOL plays with and morphs them. Her illustration style as well: bold shapes and intricate patterns with her hand drawn and coloring out of the lines quality—simple and childlike while at the same time sophisticated.



How cool is she? Wouldn’t you know it, she’s not just a writer, illustrator, and designer, she’s a singer too. ISOL’S about to release release a new album with her band SIMA called “Novela gráfica.” 


A big shout out has to go to Groundwood for publishing ISOL’s work in English and to Elisa Amado for translating it.


/ / / / / /

Now, on to LA Librería and a wonderful giveaway!


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Based here in Southern California and providing books for kids in Spanish,  LA Librería is a treasure. They host events and sell the most beautiful books from Latin America and Spain.


I first learned of them at their LA Times Festival of Books booth and it was those very beautiful books that drew me in. Their books are perfect for Spanish speakers and/or Spanish learners. For parents of either. For bilingual teachers of bilingual students. For anyone who appreciates wonderfully crafted books.


Chiara & Celene are giving away 4 Spanish language books by ISOL to one reader of This Picture Book Life for our very first giveaway! (It’s been hard for me to contain my excitement while cooking this up!)


The books: Intercambio Cultural (2000, paperback), Secreto de Familia (2003, paperback), Regalo Sorpresa (Los Primerisimos) (2010, paperback), and La Bella Griselda (2010, hardcover).

Screen Shot 2014-05-26 at 11.19.14 AM Here’s how to enter the giveaway:

1.) Like LA librería on Facebook here.

2.) Like This Picture Book Life on Facebook here.

3.) Leave a comment on this post that says who you’d like to share an ISOL book with.


I’ll contact the randomly chosen winner by email for your mailing address!


(Enter until Friday, May 30th at midnight; open to U.S. residents only—sorry about that international readers!)