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We made a simple craft inspired by Matt De la Peña and Loren Long’s new book LOVE, a book about everything that can be love.  To make heart-shaped pencil toppers, all you need are pencils and pipe cleaners.

1. Bend a pipe cleaner in half.  Wind it around the top of a pencil a couple of times.  Pull both ends of the pipe cleaner to make sure it’s wrapped around the pencil tightly.  

2. Bend and shape the rest of the pipe cleaner into the shape of a heart.  Twist the ends of the pipe cleaner together to finish off the heart. 

You can watch the book trailer for LOVE here, and find out about Matt and Loren’s upcoming book tour dates here.



Wow.  WOW.  First of all, Sean Rubin, you had us at “Bolivar.”  The name, the iconic typeface, the cover, the promise of a great story.  And then you blew us away with your first couple of double page spreads and their sweeping urban skyline.  We lingered over these opening scenes and heard the unmistakable sounds of New York; we heard the noisy din of cars, traffic, people walking the sidewalks en masse, and then we were drawn into the quiet quotidian life of...a dinosaur in New York.  A dinosaur named Bolivar.

Bolivar has an apartment on 78th Street, and he lives on corned beef sandwiches and tonic water with lime (like most dinosaurs).  His interests include used books and old records.  And The New Yorker of course.  Everyone in the city is too busy to notice him except for his next door neighbor Sybil.  After months of spying on him, she finally corners him in front of the recycling bins where their long-awaited meet cute takes place.

Writer/illustrator Sean Rubin on how the story came about — “I realized that if a dinosaur lived in New York City, no one would notice him, but then I began to wonder, what would his life be like? The story really came from trying to answer that question.”

BOLIVAR is a special book and a brilliant debut.  Its written and visual narratives come together seamlessly to tell this tremendous tale which is also a beautiful and meaningful tribute to New York City.  Do yourself a favor and get a copy—for you and for everyone you know.

Written and illustrated by Sean Rubin and published by Archaia | BOOM! Studios.


the littlest viking

Though he’s the littlest in his tribe, Sven is fierce and is always up for anything.  What he loves best is a good yarn and his forte is storytelling.  He’s used to ruling the roost until a baby sister makes inroads into his world.  Suddenly there’s crying all the time and the little warrior princess cannot be soothed.  But Sven has an idea.

We are longtime fans of Isabel’s work and her use of color and pattern really sings in this one.  Her palette of verdant greens reminds us of Scandinavia’s warmer season with some ruddy counterpoints thrown in to represent the fiery but sweet temperament of Sven’s little sister.

The Littlest Viking was written by Alexandra Penfold, illustrated by Isabel Roxas and published by Knopf Books for Young Readers.


interactive books

We’re sharing a collection of books perfect for snowy days, rainy days or any day you’re looking for an interesting book to interact with.  These books are great for inspiring creativity and thinking about other perspectives.  Some of these titles are perfect for budding writers.  And they provide engaging tasks for kids who are a little more reluctant to practice writing at home.  Each has opportunities for making art (definitely our favorite kind of book).  Doing a page or two from one of these books can also a good short break from homework, or a big task where a long stretch of thinking is involved.  Read descriptions of each book below, then head over to this Instagram post to flip through the books.  Would love to hear about some of your favorite interactive books in the comments below.  Happy weekend!


Playing With Food is for kids (and people of all ages for that matter) who take their food seriously!  It’s a place to discover food from around the world, try your hand at culinary experiments and invent your own versions of dishes and popular foods.  It also contains recipes, games and a ton of prompts for writing and making art.  Each set of pages is unique.  Anyway you slice it, it’s incredibly fun.  Playing With Food: An Activity Book was written and illustrated by Louise Lockhart and published by Cicada Books.


Draw Me a House is a place for kids (or anyone) to learn about “the built environment” and various architectural movements and ideas and elements—form, function, light, shape, pattern, color and line.  They’ll draw tree houses, skyscrapers, mailboxes, what they see through windows.  They’ll design a house that can withstand extreme cold, finish building an aqueduct and—one of our favorite exercises—sketch an aerial view of the room they’re standing in.  Draw Me a House: Architectural Ideas, Inspiration and Colouring In in was created by Thibaud Herem and published by Cicada Books.


In Sticker, Shape, Create, kids use stickers in various shapes to create different scenes of animals, cityscapes, insects, forests, and more.  They can then finish the their pictures using pens, markers and the like.  A creative way to explore part/whole relationships.  Sticker, Shape, Create: A Sticker Art Activity Book was created by Thereza Rowe and published by Princeton Architectural Press. 


With Read All About It, children can design their own newspapers.  Templates and stickers of people, faces, buildings, random things (dinosaurs and explosions being some of them) are included to help finish off your stories of the day so you can call it a day and put your newspaper to bed.  After all, you’ve got to get up early at the crack of dawn and make deliveries.  Read All About It: Write and Design Your Own Newspaper was created by Alice Bowsher and published by Cicada Books.


I Like is a snapshot of a moment in time—kids fill out its pages with facts about themselves including some of their favorite things and what a perfect day would be like for them.  They invent their own holiday, answer intriguing hypothetical questions and—we’re still mulling over this one—craft their own ice cream flavors that the world has never seen.  And there’s a lot more in store. I Like makes a fantastic birthday gift and is a meaningful keepsake for kids and their parents. I Like… A Great Big Book of Awesome Activities, Delightful Drawings, and Fantastical Fun for Kids of All Ages (That’s You!) was written by M. H. Clark, illustrated by Sarah Walsh and published by Compendium.  Also pictured is a set of double-sided What Do We Have Here?! Colored Pencils from Compendium.



Bigger asks all sorts of mathy questions (fun ones, actually!).  The book is made up of one giant ruler that you can fold out, lay on the floor and use to measure.  There are opportunities for comparing and estimating, and fun tidbits about world height and length records.  Both centimeters and inches are used in the book.  Bigger: A Fold-Out Book of Measuring Fun was written and illustrated by Eleonora Marton and published by Cicada Books.


the noisy book

A noisy onomatopoetic classic by Margaret Wise Brown, reissued as a board book for a new generation of young readers.

The Noisy Book was written by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Leonard Weisgard and published by HarperFestival.