Celebrate Picture Book Month with Lerner Publishing

 

What Is Possible in a Picture Book?

By Millbrook Press and Carolrhoda Books Editorial Director Carol Hinz

We all know what a picture book is.

But what is a picture book meant to do?

One answer to that question is that it should catch children’s interest and entertain them. While I don’t disagree with this statement, neither do I believe it is the whole truth. Picture books inform, they delight, and they offer us endless opportunities to look at our world from fresh perspectives.

I’m a believer that while a picture book must speak to a child, a child needn’t be the book’s only audience—reading a picture book can be a powerful experience for a person of any age. As an editor, my time spent working on picture books has made me increasingly curious about what can be accomplished within the confines of this format . . . and to look for possibilities to break the format’s “rules” every once in a while.

I’d like to spotlight a few forthcoming picture books from Carolrhoda Books and Millbrook Press to explore the question of what’s possible with a picture book.

I Got a Chicken for My Birthday
by Laura Gehl, illustrated by Sarah Horne

Ana wants tickets to the amusement park for her birthday . . . and instead her abuela gives her a chicken. It turns out that this is no ordinary chicken! It doesn’t like chicken feed, it’s too busy to lay eggs, and it’s building SOMETHING in Ana’s backyard.

In this picture book, a chicken is also a construction whiz, and a gift that isn’t what our main character wanted turns out to be even better than she could have imagined. The illustrations include lots of fun details that encourage repeat readings.

Meet My Family! Animal Babies and Their Families
by Laura Purdie Salas, illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman

What kind of families do animal babies have? All different kinds! Main text written in rhyming verse brings together a wide range of animal babies, from the sweet to the fierce. Meet a wolf pup cared for by the pack, a young orangutan snuggling with its mother high in a tree, a poison dart frog riding piggyback on its dad, a shark pup going solo, and much more.

This book offers a look at the many kinds of families found in the animal kingdom, and it gives us a chance to look at adorable animal babies in a fresh way!

Fossil by Fossil: Comparing Dinosaur Bones
by Sara Levine, illustrated by T.S Spookytooth

What dinosaur would you be if you had a bony ridge rising from the back of your skull and three horns poking up from the front? A triceratops!

This book makes the most of a Q&A format to show readers just how much our own skeletons have in common with those of some of the best-known dinosaurs. And it ends by highlighting the scientific connection between dinosaurs and birds. (Yes, birds!)

This book may just change how you see dinosaurs . . . and modern-day birds!

Can I Touch Your Hair? Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship
by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko

A picture book can make us laugh, it can teach us something new, and sometimes it can help us join a conversation.

How often do you talk to the kids in your life about race? A little? A lot? In this book, Irene Latham, who is white, and Charles Waters, who is black, have a conversation that all of us are welcome to join. They imagine themselves as fifth-grade classmates who are stuck together working on a poetry project. In the course of 33 poems, they reflect on their own experiences of race while exploring relatable topics such as hair, recess, family dinners, and much more. Artwork by acclaimed illustrators Sean Qualls and Selina Alko beautifully shows how two people who begin the book as near-strangers can end it as friends.

For more thoughts on picture books, check out these blog posts:

Greetings from PictureBookLand

How Picture Book Pagination Keeps Readers Turning the Pages

The Element of Surprise in Nonfiction Picture Books

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Get Inked: Atticus on the Most Tattoo-Able Literary Quotes

Originally published on Bookish.com, our sister company.

There are those lines in books that we read again and again. We doodle them in our notebooks, we hang them on our walls. But what happens when that isn’t quite enough? That’s what tattoos are for. Here, Atticus, beloved Instagram poet and author of Love Her Wild, weighs in on the best literary quotes for tattoos.

“There was nowhere to go but everywhere, keep rolling under the stars.” —Jack Kerouac, On the Road

“So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.” —T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets

“But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.” —Robert Frost, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”

“Their lips brushed like young wild flowers in the wind.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise

“Chase the light, whatever and wherever it may be for you. Chase it.” —Tyler Knott Gregson

“She wasn’t in a hurry, she didn’t want to miss living.” —J. Iron Word

“Breathing dreams like air” —F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

“Heartache wasn’t my intention… love was.” —Alfa

“You don’t know this new me; I put back my pieces differently.” —High Poets Society

“I will never be a morning person, for the moon and I, are much too in love.” —Christopher Poindexter

Atticus is a storyteller and observer. Born on the West Coast, he’s spent much of his life exploring the world but now calls California his home. He loves the ocean, the desert, and playing with words. Visit him on Instagram on @AtticusPoetry.

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Here Are 5 Ways to Celebrate!


Encourage students and teachers to participate in the Dear Poet project

The Academy of American Poets is inviting students in grades five through twelve to be a part of Dear Poet for National Poetry Month. To participate, students watch a series of exclusive videos on the organization’s website, Poets.org, that feature award-winning poets, members of the Academy of American Poets Board of Chancellors, sharing their poems. They then write a letter responding to one of the poems. Students who mail or email their letter to the Academy of American Poets by April 27, 2017 (Poem in Your Pocket Day) have a chance to receive a reply from the poet and have their letter featured on the site.

Participating Chancellors include Mark DotyMarilyn NelsonLinda GregersonJuan Felipe HerreraBrenda HillmanJane HirshfieldKhaled MattawaAlicia OstrikerAlberto RíosArthur Sze, and Anne Waldman.

Local teachers interested in offering the project as a classroom activity can visit Poets.org to access a free Common Core-aligned Dear Poet lesson plan.

Celebrate National Poem in Your Pocket Day on April 27, 2017

On April 27, Poem in Your Pocket Day, people across North America will select a poem, carry it with them, and share it with others throughout the day. People can also share their poem online using the official hashtag #pocketpoem. The Academy of American Poets provides free resources for celebrating Poem in Your Pocket Day, including a downloadable PDF of poems that we curated with the League of Canadian Poets, on Poets.org.

Poem in Your Pocket Day was launched in 2002 by the New York City Office of the Mayor, in partnership with the New York City Departments of Cultural Affairs and Education. In 2008, the Academy of American Poets took the initiative national and today it is celebrated in schools, communities, and workplaces in all 50 states.

Request a free National Poetry Month poster designed by Maira Kalman

Award-winning artist and illustrator Maira Kalman created this year’s official National Poetry Month poster. The poster is available for free through Poets.org while supplies last.

Each year, in partnership with American Booksellers Association, the American Library Association, and the National Council of Teachers of English, the organization distributes over 120,000 free National Poetry Month posters to classrooms, libraries, and bookstores throughout the United States.

Sign up to receive a Poem-a-Day

Join over 140,000 poetry readers receiving a never before published poem to their inbox every weekday, and classic poems on the weekends. To sign up for this free series curated by the Academy of American Poets, visit Poets.org.

Use the official National Poetry Month hashtags and logo

Follow the thousands of National Poetry Month Celebrations taking place throughout the United States by using #npm17, and on April 27 (Poem in Your Pocket Day) the hashtag #pocketpoem. You can also use the new National Poetry Month logo, which can be downloaded from Poets.org, on your poetry event materials.

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