PICTURE BOOK FAVORITES FOR SPRING

Just when we’re sure that winter has finally left us, another cold snap has us pulling out our jackets again. This month’s picture book favorites are a reminder that a little patience is helpful as winter eases us into the spring season of the year.

abracadabra, it's spring

“Abracadabra, It’s Spring!” written by Anne Sibley O’Brien and illustrated by Susan Gal (Copyright 2016, Abrams Appleseed) is a stunning book of rhyming verse paired with vibrant illustrations using charcoal on paper and digital collage. Each set of pages fold out to reveal the magic of nature’s springtime surprises.

when spring comes

“When Spring Comes” written by Kevin Henkes and illustrated by Laura Dronzek (Copyright 2016, Greenwillow Books imprint of HarperCollins) presents the dramatic transformation from winter to spring using simple text and colorful acrylic full-color art to reveal nature’s blooming beauty as seen through the eyes of children and animals.

and then it's spring

“And then it’s spring” written by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Erin E. Stead  (Copyright 2012, A Neal Porter Book by Roaring Brook Press) uses a slow pace and quiet illustrations to reveal the feelings of a boy who is watchfully waiting for the seeds he planted in the winter to bloom in the spring.

PICTURE BOOK FAVORITES FOR VALENTINE’S DAY

My picture book favorites for this Valentine’s Day celebrate the love that is shared between friends, the love of a mother and child, and the invisible bond that connects us to those we love.

click clack moo ily

“Click, Clack, Moo: I LOVE YOU!” written by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Betsy Lewin (Copyright 2017, Atheneum Books for Young Readers) is a glittering fun read that will have you laughing out loud as Little Duck and the other animals on the farm welcome a surprise visitor to their Valentine’s Day dance.

the kissing hand 2

“The Kissing Hand” written by Audrey Penn and illustrated by Ruth E. Harper and Nancy M. Leak (Copyright 1993, Scholastic Inc. by arrangement with Child Welfare League of America, Inc.) is a timeless story that brings the bond between mother and child full circle as they carry the warmth and reassurance of each other’s love in the palms of their hands.

the invisible string

“The Invisible String” written by Patrice Karst and illustrated by Geoff Stevenson (Copyright 2000, DeVorss & Company) uses a simple conversation between a mother and her children to explain the unbreakable connection that exists between people who love each other.

PICTURE BOOK FAVORITES FOR WINTER

When the winter weather forces you to stay inside, think of it as an opportunity to catch up on your reading. A few good picture books later, and you’ll be ready for some winter fun . . . or maybe a long winter’s nap.

winter is here

“Winter Is Here” written by Kevin Henkes and illustrated by Laura Dronzek (Copyright 2018, Greenwillow Books imprint of HarperCollins Publishers) uses colorful acrylic art and creative prose to beautifully illustrate the season of winter. The scenes depict memories being made in snow and ice, winter’s frozen staying power, and the familiar sights and sounds of the season.

snuggle down deep

“Snuggle Down Deep” written by Diane Ohanesian and illustrated by Emily Bornoff (Copyright 2018, Little Bee Books imprint of Bonnier Publishing USA) is about, you guessed it, sleep. The book begins with the arrival of winter or “slumber time” and uses rhyming verse to describe various animals and the many places and ways they tuck themselves in for winter hibernation. With sweet illustrations and repetitive verse, this will surely be a bedtime favorite for little ones.

the after-christmas tree

“The After-Christmas Tree” written by Linda Wagner Tyler and illustrated by Susan Davis (Copyright 1990, Penguin Group) is a favorite from my collection of vintage picture books. The story begins on New Year’s Day, stating that it’s (sadly) time to take down the Christmas tree. After remembering the fun of the Christmas season and not wanting it to end, a winter party is planned. The old Christmas tree finds new life as it is moved to the backyard, where it is decorated with treats for the birds and wild animals to eat during the winter.

PICTURE BOOK FAVORITES FOR CHRISTMAS

If you find yourself getting distracted by all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, try reading some Christ-centered picture books to put things back into perspective. I bring you these favorites with a grateful heart for the message they share about the true meaning of Christmas.

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“The Wonderful Gifts of Winter” written by Dandi Daley Mackall and illustrated by Katherine Blackmore (Copyright 2014, B&H Publishing Group) presents the many blessings of the season using rhyming text, Bible verses, and beautiful illustrations to celebrate the birth of Christ while giving thanks to God for winter.

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“Mary, Did You Know? The Story of God’s Great Plan” written by Mark Lowry and illustrated by Phil Boatwright (Copyright 1998, Waterbrook Press) uses lyrics from the popular song, Scripture references, and stunning illustrations to describe the birth, life, and miracles of Christ through the eyes of Mary as she raised God’s son.

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“The First Christmas: A Christmas Pop-Up” (Copyright 1995, Landoll, Inc.) is a favorite from my collection of vintage books.  Each page turn produces a pop-up illustration, using simple language to retell the story of Christ’s birth and the reason for the celebration of Christmas. This one will have the little ones saying, “read it again.”

PICTURE BOOK FAVORITES FOR FALL

I start each day with a cup of coffee and a picture book. I recommend my favorites to parents and grandparents who visit the library searching for books to share with their families. I’ve also decided to post some of those favorite books here from time to time and help spread the word that picture books are great entertainment for all ages.

Every Autumn Comes the Bear“Every Autumn Comes the Bear” written and illustrated by Jim Arnosky (Copyright 1993, G.P. Putnam’s Sons) is a beautifully illustrated vintage picture book that is a tribute to autumn shown through the routines of a bear as he finds a den for hibernation.

IMG_0451 “Hocus Pocus, It’s Fall!” written by Anne Sibley O’Brien and illustrated by Susan Gal (Copyright 2016, Abrams Appleseed) is a fun rhyming book with gorgeous illustrations of charcoal on paper and digital collage. Each fold-out page turn is a testament to the magical sights, sounds, and smells of the fall season.

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“A Fall Ball for All” written by Jamie A. Swenson and illustrated by Chiara Fedele (Copyright 2018, Millbrook Press) is also a rhyming book about the fall season. The beautiful illustrations were made using watercolor, colored pencils, and tempura with digital retouching. This creative story has the autumn wind inviting the forest animals to the Windfall Ball, where they’ll enjoy nature’s feast of the fall harvest.

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS

My informational ad for the Gurley Public Library has been published in this month’s Mt. Carmel by the River Community Connections Newsletter. For those of you who don’t have access to this online publication, here is the ad:

THE GURLEY PUBLIC LIBRARY, one of several small-town branches of the Huntsville Madison-County Public Library system, is located just off of Highway 72 on Walker Street in Gurley. Many Mt. Carmel by the River residents have already discovered the great resources and programming this branch offers. If you have not, they hope you will give them a try. For more information, look them up online by visiting http://www.hmcpl.org or give them a call at 256/776-2102.

Their hours are listed below:
Mondays:        12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Tuesdays:        12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Wednesdays:  10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Thursdays:      12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Fridays:            12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Saturdays:       10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Sundays:          closed

 

BUMPLES MAGAZINES

Two of my stories for children are featured in recent issues of BUMPLES, a group of subscription-based interactive online magazines. Founded in 2009, BUMPLES is a market for writers and illustrators from all over the world. They pair the text from stories such as mine to their own kid-friendly interactive illustrations with the goal of encouraging children to enjoy reading.