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the bad seed

A hilarious tale about a seed—a bad seed. A VERY bad seed.  One who never returns shopping carts to where they belong, is perpetually tardy to everything, and a line cutter, amongst other baaaaaad things.  But our little guy's history was not always this seedy.  We learn about his humble, simple and unremarkable upbringing on a happy sunflower bed and then what happens one fateful day when the flower droops and the petals drop.  And then the day that everything...went...dark for our tiny seed.  A hearty, animated and side-splitting read aloud for sure.  Smartly written with dynamic illustrations.

The Bad Seed was written by Jory John, illustrated by Pete Oswald and published by HarperCollins.  Click here to watch the book trailer for The Bad Seed!


the antlered ship

A decidedly inquisitive fox embarks on the quest of a lifetime in search of answers to his myriad questions.  Questions like "how deep does the sun go when it sinks into the sea?" and "why don't trees ever talk?"  He decides to set sail on a voyage to seek out other foxes who might be able to shed some light on his philosophical musings.

Marco the fox meets some traveling mates—a band of deer and a flock of pigeons—and they board their otherworldly vessel—a ship whose bow is adorned with majestic antlers.  As the journey progresses and adventures are accumulated, friendships form amongst the crew and Marco realizes he might have been asking the wrong questions all along, looking too far outward instead of right in front of him.

The Fan brothers' emotionally resonant illustrations and atmospheric landscapes immerse the reader in another world, another time and another place only conjured up in the deepest pockets of our imagination.

Special details and thoughtfulness went into producing this book as well—the dust jacket is akin to cold pressed watercolor paper—stiff, substantial, slightly rough and weighty enough to carry the immense beauty of the Fan brothers' art.  All together, picturebook-making at its finest, from all parties involved.  This story will live on past its years.  What can I say?  This book is magic.

The Antlered Ship was written by Dashka Slater and illustrated by the Fan brothers.  Published by Beach Lane Books.


from far away

Saoussan Askar was in fifth grade when From Far Away was published.  It started with a letter she wrote as a second grader to author Robert Munsch.  Numerous letters back and forth eventually turned into a book.

“To Robert Munsch,

I am a little girl. My name is Saoussan. I am seven years old. I am in grade two now. I came to Canada one and half year ago. I didn’t know how to speak English at all. I was just sitting and listening. A lot of funny things happened to me.”

From Far Away is a meaningful and moving account of a war-scarred immigrant adjusting to the newness of life in another country and culture.  A beautiful, timely story that speaks about empathy and welcoming newcomers.  This version is revised and newly illustrated by Robert Munsch and Saoussan Askar, with art by Rebecca Green.  Published by Annick Press.

We just shared From Far Away on @booksfordiversity, a new space I started with @secretsocietyofbooks where we're hoping to connect more people with diverse books, writers and illustrators.  Hope to see you over there and let us know what you'd like to see!


hooray for books!

Turtle leaves no stone unturned on a search for a beloved book that he lent to Zebra...who lent it to Owl...who lent it to who knows?!  Turtle is disheartened—will he ever be able to read his treasured book again?  If you've ever lent a favorite book to a friend and had trouble getting it back, you'll have a chuckle with this one.  Hooray for Books! is a celebration of books and the friends we love reading them with.  It's also a wonderful lesson for little ones on sharing graciously.

Hooray for Books! was written and illustrated by Brian Won and published by HMH Books for Young Readers. Out on September 12.  Visit Brian Won's site to download an activity kit and a preview of the book is available here.


our story begins

"Our story begins with a box in the basement. It's brown and heavy and one of many marked Elissa.  And it's filled, to the brim, with stories from my childhood. Stories I wrote." — from editor Elissa Brent Weissman

Before writers and illustrators were putting their work out into the world, inspiring children everywhere and turning them into lifelong readers, they were kids themselves.  Our Story Begins is an honest, funny and heartfelt collection of some of the earliest works written and drawn by twenty-six authors and illustrators as kids.  Included are Kwame AlexanderTom AnglebergerKathi AppeltAshley BryanTim FederleCandace FlemingMarla FrazeeChris GallAlex GinoChris GrabensteinGordon KormanJarrett J. KrosoczkaThanhha LaiPeter LerangisGail Carson LevineGrace LinYuyi MoralesPhyllis Reynolds NaylorR. J. PalacioLinda Sue ParkRohmann, EricDan SantatBrian SelznickCynthia Leitich Smith and Rita Williams-Garcia.

We read their candid words, thoughts and feelings as they spilled out onto looseleaf lined paper.  We have the privilege of seeing their earliest literary efforts and stapled-together stories, inventive even at a young age.  We learn who and what books inspired their love of words, pictures and stories, what they dreamt about, how they came to the realization that they wanted to write books for children and how they found their own voice.  "Their stories were just beginning. Your story is beginning too. Where will it go?" — E. B. W.

Our Story Begins was edited by Elissa Brent Weissman and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers.