Tag Archives: this picture book life
Well, it’s been almost 10 years of This Picture Book Life. 10 years! (Last year’s anniversary post, number 9.) And I’ve decided to retire it in order to give more time to my writing projects. It’ll stay here as an archive and resource, and I may pop in once in a while too.
Thank YOU for reading all these years! This space has brought me so much joy in diving into my favorite form, what feels like my second language, my picture book passion. And it’s brought me so much joy showcasing and sharing beautiful, meaningful, outstanding picture books while making connections with authors, illustrators, publishers, and readers.
I hope you’ll visit and connect with me elsewhere, like these places I frequent:
This Writer’s Life on YouTube.
Instagram (lots of picture books and other books I love found there too!):
And now, for this farewell, I give you some wonderful picture books on goodbyes and going places to mark the occasion and to say, see you soon and please do keep in touch!
Room for Everyone by written by Naaz Khan, illustrations by Mercè López (2021).
I Am the Subway by Kim Hyo-eun (translated by Deborah Smith) (2021).
Ride, Roll, Run: Time for Fun! written by Valerie Bolling, illustrated by Sabrena Khadija (2022).
Whatever Comes Tomorrow words by Rebecca Garden Levington, art by Mariona Cabassa (2023).
Show the World written by Angela Dalton, illustrated by Daria Peoples-Riley (2022).
Moth and Butterfly: Ta-da! written by Dev Petty, illustrated by Ana Aranda (2021).
Stroller Coaster by Matt Ringler, art by Raúl the Third and Elaine Bay (2021).
We Dream Medicine Dreams by Lisa Boivin (2021).
Good Night Little Bookstore by Amy Cherrix, illustrated by E.B. Goodale (2022).
On This Airplane by Lourdes Heuer and Sara Palacios (2022).
I’ll Go and Come Back by Rajani LaRocca, illustrated by Sara Palacios (2022).
Sal Boat: A Boat by Sal by Thyra Heder (2022).
The Red Tin Box by Matthew Burgess, illustrated by Evan Turk (April 2023).
Amah Faraway by Margaret Chiu Greanias, illustrated by Tracy Subisak (2022).
The Longest Letsgoboy written by Derick Wilder, illustrated by Cátia Chien (2021).
Hot Dog by Doug Salati (2022).
One more thing: I’m giving away four of these picture books over on Instagram this week!
And all that’s left to say is goodbye. Wishing you all the best in the places you’re going too.
Thao Lam is one of my favorite makers. Her picture books are inventive, original, resonant, and risk-taking in a way that pops in terms of both style and meaning.
A paper collage artist, the art Lam creates is textured, patterned, and fresh. For some books, it’s colorful and a bit wacky. For The Paper Boat, it’s muted, grounded, and striking, with familiar imagery on captivating backgrounds for dramatic compositions and combinations. Her stories are fresh and oftentimes deeply personal whether about a concept, creativity, or Thao herself in one of my all-time favorite picture books that was jaw-dropping when I first read it and remains a total inspiration for its content and for showing what this special form can become.
The latest: The Line in the Sand (2022)
“The most enjoyable part of bringing this story to life was creating all the little monsters…I intentionally made The Line In The Sand a wordless picture book because misunderstandings are often due to a lack of communication. By not including text, readers are now left to their own interpretation of the situation; will they be right or wrong? Or do they just have a different perspective?”
—Thao Lam from this interview on Owlkids.
The memoir: THAO (2021).
“This one I wrote for me so I could cleanse my head of all the issues with my name that I had dealt with. I’ve been lucky that every time I write a book, it’s also something that somebody else has dealt with or taken an interest in.”
—Thao Lam from this interview with the CBC.
Another true story inventively, movingly told: The Paper Boat: A Refugee Story (2020).
“I was two when my family fled Vietnam, so I have no recollection of our journey across the South China Sea. My mother often tells the story of her mom leaving a bowl of sugar water on the table to trap ants in the house. My mother, then a little girl, would sit there for hours and rescue them. On the night of our escape she got lost in the tall grass. Spotting a trail of ants in the moonlight, she followed them to the river where a boat awaited: the ants my mother rescued as a little girl saved her in return that night. These images of kindness and karma woven by my mother were the only facts I knew about the war and our escape. They helped shape me and guide me through life. This story with the ants and the sugar water became the cornerstone of The Paper Boat.”
—Thao Lam from this interview with Open Book.
The imaginative, magical companion for a new-to-towner: Wallpaper (2018).
“The inspirations for my stories come from taking a walk, on the subway, standing in line at the bank—anywhere where you’re forced to wait that’s when my imagination kind of runs wild. The way the story starts for me is that I get an image in my head and with that image I start asking questions. If I find myself asking a lot of questions about an image, I would start plotting it down. I call it a ‘brain dump.'”
—Thao Lam from this in-studio video with Owlkids.
The goofy one with a fresh perspective for us all: My Cat Looks Like My Dad (2019).
The first one: Skunk on a String (2016).
In honor of this post and Thao Lam’s picture book life, Owlkids is giving away all five of her picture books to one lucky reader! Enter in the rafflecopter below!
Big thanks to Owlkids Books for images and books for our giveway winner! (North America only.)
You might want to check out my WALLPAPER + Paper Creature Craft post if you’re in the mood to make something fun!
For This Picture Book Life’s 9th anniversary, I’m giving away two bundles of new, some summery and some fall-feeling, picture books with this theme: people and places. Summer adventures, special relatives, trips, swimming, biographies, first days of school, belonging, identity, siblings, pizza, and more!
The giveaway for Bundle One will be right here! (Rafflecopter below.)
The one for Bundle Two will be on Instagram—here instead!
The First Bundle:
Climb on! Illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara, written by Baptiste Paul (2022).
Ready for the Spotlight! by Jaime Kim (2022).
Clementine and the Lion by Zoey Abbott (2022).
I’ll Go and Come Back by Rajani LaRocca, illustrated by Sara Palacios (2022).
Black Girl Rising by Brynne Barnes, illustrations by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh (2022).
Pizza: A Slice of History by Greg Pizzoli (2022).
The Fossil Whisperer by Helaine Becker and Sandra Dumais (2022).
This is a School words by John Schu, illustrations by Veronica Miller Jamison (2022).
The Big Bath House by Kyo Maclear & Gracey Zhang (2021).
My Town Mi Pueblo by Nicholas Solis, illustrated by Luisa Uribe (2022).
A Mermaid Girl by Sana Rafi, illustrated by Olivia Aserr (2022).
The Queen of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes and Vanessa Brantley-Newton (2022).
Cycle City by Alison Farrell (2018).
Everything in Its Place: A Story of Books and Belonging by Pauline David-Sax, illustrated by Charnel Pinkney Barlow (2022).
Strong written by Rob Kearney & Eric Rosewood, illustrated by Nidhi Chanani (2022).
One Boy Watching by Grant Snider (2022).
Okay, enter to win below for the first bundle or on IG for the second! And many thanks for following along with This Picture Book Life.
Picture books can be slow and still, loving lullabies for nighttime routines. But they can also be containers of boisterous merry-making. Spirited, energetic, gleeful affairs! These ten picture books are like that. To me, they feel like parties. And I hope they make the little readers in your life want to dance, parade, bike, include others, celebrate themselves and everyone, and generally throw confetti.
Boogie Boogie, Y’all by C.G. Esperanza (2021). Community and art are a party.
This picture book gave me the idea for this party picture books roundup post! It’s truly special and pulses with art, energy, and celebration! A stunning tribute to graffiti and murals in Brooklyn that turns into a magical block party all because one child notices the “art on the wall” and everywhere.
Whole Whale words by Karen Yin & art by Nelleke Verhoeff (2021). A party is for everyone!
Will an entire blue whale fit? That’s the main question of this book-menagerie. Gathering and acceptance ensue in the answer “when everybody makes some space.”
Bisa’s Carnaval by Joana Pastro, illustrated by Carolina Coroa (coming December 2021). Carnaval and music and costumes and, of course, Bisa, is a party!
Clara’s great-grandmother is the secret ingredient to her Carnaval preparations, especially her fabulous fantasia (costume) for parade day. But it turns out, Bisa is also the secret ingredient for the parade itself. This picture book is a sweet joy! “Confete showers enchant and serpentine spirals bedazzle. We mingle with beauty queens, super heroes, fairies, harlequins, and people from all over the world. Different accents, cultures, beliefs.”
Bodies Are cool by Tyler Feder (2021). Loving ours and the variance of bodies is a party!
Yes, this book celebrates all kinds of bodies!! Because they’re cool! And that feels like a joyful party too.
Bicycle Bash by Alison Farrell (2020). Biking together is a party!
This picture book is a delightful seek and find of animals on wheels in fun and fact-filled museum rooms of discovery and details and, of course, momentum!
Family Reunion by Chad & Dad Richardson and Ashleigh Corrin (2021). A family reunion is a party!
While the main character is initially reluctant to join the shindig, in they end, they’re totally won over. How could they not be? This family get-together is tops with a cook-off, dance-off, cousins, family history, and loving PopPop there too.
Pride Puppy! by Robin Stevenson and Julie McLaughlin (2021). Community, acceptance and pride are a party!
Vibrant art and an alphabet-story to accompany puppy’s first pride parade are sure to make any reader smile in this celebratory picture book.
How Do You Dance? by Thyra Heder (2019). Dancing is always a party!
A brilliant, bobbing, boogie-ing, body-loving book.
Stack the Cats by Susie Ghahremani (2017). Eye-catching design and playful arithmetic with cats are a party!
This is one of my all-time favorites—so much so that I made a cat clay craft on this blog a few years back in its honor! It’s about cats. It’s about stacks of cats. It’s about math. And it is pure pure playful fun!
How to Have a Birthday by Mary Lyn Ray, illustrated by Cindy Derby (2021). A day that’s all yours is a party!
A slower kind of party awaits readers in this beautiful picture book that encapsulates the childhood magic and love and hope I wish everyone had. A birthday doesn’t always mean a party, but it’s always a day to celebrate in your own way.
You might also enjoy my craft for the delightful crowd-pleaser Stack the Cats by Susie Ghahremani found here.
I love giving away books and this is the most to a single blog reader I’ve ever had the pleasure of sending off! These 16 terrific books from the last couple of years are for an educator’s classroom or library to celebrate 8 years of This Picture Book Life and to celebrate all the vital work teachers do, entry details below!
The picture books:
Mii maanda ezhi-gkendmaanh / This is How I Know: a Book about Seasons by Brittany Luby & Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley (2021). Translated by Alvin Ted Corbiere and Alan Corbiere.
Me & Mama by Cozbi A. Cabrera (2020).
The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee by Julie Leung, illustrated by Julie Kwon (2021).
Together We March by Leah Henderson, illustrated by Tyler Feder (2021).
Pride Puppy by Robin Stevenson and Julie McLaughlin (2021).
Amira’s Picture Day by Reem Faruqi, illustrated by Fahmida Azim (2021).
If Dominican Were a Color written by Sili Recio, illustrated by Brianna McCarthy (2021).
Princess Arabella at the Museum by Mylo Freeman (2021).
A Gift for Amma by Meera Sriram and Mariona Cabassa (2020).
The Secret Fawn by Kallie George & Elly MacKay (2021).
Amazing Women of the Middle East by Wafa’ Tarnowska, illustrated by Hoda Hadadi, Sahar Haghgoo, Christelle Halal, Esteli Meza Margarida Esteves (2020).
Sato the Rabbit by Yuki Ainoya (2021).
The Last Tree by Emily Haworth-Booth (2020).
My Bed by Rebecca bond, illustrated by Salley Mavor (2020).
Lift As You Climb by Patricia Hruby Powell, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie (2020).
Toasty by Sarah Hwang (2021).
And quick update for any picture book creators out there: I’m super excited to be teaching another round of my online picture book revision workshop series starting August 7th! There are details about this special opportunity to REVISE your manuscript according to your voice and vision, RECEIVE encouragement and inspiration from me and the small group, and REVITALIZE your writing process on my website here! Or simply email me to get more info or sign up. Two scholarships at a significant discount available for participants with underrepresented/marginalized voices in publishing—we need your voices!