Friends, it’s a good-newsy kind of week, so I apologize for all these braggy-sounding posts, but … oh, my stars! It’s a @Kirkus STARRED review for GROUP HUG from MacKids Books, Joey Chou and me!
“Paying it forward with cuddles. Starting with an affectionate slug, a bevy of down-in-the-dumps animals, including a beetle, a mouse, a skunk, a beaver, a porcupine, a goose, and a fox, encounter one another, one by one. Each needs something to lift it out of the doldrums. That’s soon taken care of as each newcomer in turn is invited to become enfolded in an ever larger…GROUP HUG! The cumulative hug always manages to make room for others and become more inclusive—until Bear lumbers onto this cozy scene. Suddenly, all the huggers quickly skedaddle, leaving only Slug and Bear in their wake. At this point, Slug shares a very important secret with the forlorn ursine and readers: ‘that a hugger finds happiness… / ’longside the hugged!’ Unsurprisingly, the book concludes with a very heartwarming (and expansive) bear (and slug) hug. This sweetly endearing charmer, highlighting kindness, is expressed in jaunty, witty rhymes that read and scan beautifully and will develop kids’ aural skills and vocabulary. They beg to be read aloud in order to capture the verses’ full emotional and punchy effect. The adorably simple, lively illustrations layer colors to depict the various critters with delightfully expressive charm. Readers will embrace this captivating winner.”
Friends, take a peek at this so, SO sweet cover for the next picturebook in the “What Would You Do” series. It’s about those very special first and best friendships and it’s coming August 2022 from HarperKids Books, Joey Chou and me!
Yippee! GROUP HUG got this gorgeous review from Publishers Weekly! And though I needed to consult my dictionary on several words, I’m totally okay with growing my vocabulary whilst celebrating! Thank you, PW!!
“A yellow and orange slug in need of a hug finds a lonely beetle who could also benefit from the shoring up that can accompany physical contact. Their embrace sets off a growing collective clutch of woodland critters, all having a bad day for one reason or another (‘A groundhog, forgotten./ A goose, out of luck.// A fox nicknamed ‘Sneaky.’/ A moose, feeling stuck’) and each welcomed into the literal fold with the refrain, “GROUP HUG!” A bear “needing someone to care” momentarily tests the group’s resolve, but when the slug bravely proffers a hug, the others return from their respective hiding places to join the huddle once again. The economic text has a surfeit of aural pleasures, and Reidy (Truman) strikes a comic tone that never sinks into sentimentality: an overworked beaver is beckoned with ‘Come join our crew./ Let the hugging ensue!’ Digital art by Chou (Ways to Welcome) combines strong lines and shapes with intricate, expertly balanced overlays of color and texture. Together, text and art radiate a sense of unalloyed communal joy.”
Sea otters have a pocket of loose skin under their forelegs where they store toys, food and their favorite rocks, which they use as tools.
Sea otters at the Shedd love to wrap themselves up in colorful fabric carwash strips – which resemble sea kelp.
And the cutest fact EVER! Sea otters often hold hands and make a “raft” – sometimes with hundreds or thousands of other otters – while they sleep, so they don’t drift out to sea.
PUP 681 is based on the true story of an orphaned sea otter, one of the smallest ever rescued by the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Only a week old and weighing only two pounds, she was found on the California coast and ID’d as Pup 681 – the 681st otter to enter their otter program. When she was five weeks old, she was moved to her permanent home at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.
Photo provided by The Shedd Aquarium
While, in my story, I’ve focused on a single caregiver, in fact, Pup 681 received round-the-clock care from several animal care experts. And while it’s unlikely that she ever got seriously sick, as portrayed in my story, sea otter pups do have trouble regulating body temperature and the process of sea otter rescue and rehabilitation is fragile and fraught with risk.
Pup 681 won the hearts of millions when her story was picked up and her videos were shared by major news networks. But she became a true celebrity when The Shedd Aquarium teamed up with Good Morning America to hold a contest for her naming. She was lovingly renamed Luna … a reminder of her original home near Half Moon Bay.
There are loads of adorable Luna videos online. Simply search under “Pup 681” or check out The Shedd Aquarium website at http://www.sheddaquarium.org/.
I’ve fallen in love with Luna. And I hope you do too!
My latest book, WHAT WOULD YOU DO IN A BOOK ABOUT YOU? encourages readers to explore their hopes and dreams and empowers them to be the author of their own life stories. That feels like a tall order … until you ask a kid. Young readers will happily comply. They are natural storytellers. And with a few fun tools, they might evolve into story writers or illustrators, as well.
First, try these simple and fun activity pages (you can download them right here!). Just add a pencil or crayon to set kids off on their story’s journey. Spark their imagination by having them choose their “Dream Roles.” Give them time to practice their letters. Have them consider a few – or many – affirming character traits. And finally, allow them to map out their story with a handy graphic organizer. Then, watch their imaginations sparkle.
Next, hopes and dreams and story ideas can strike anytime or anywhere, so young artists or storytellers might appreciate having a notebook handy – especially if it fits right in their pocket! These mini-notebooks are so fun to fold – I love them! – and can be made out of a single sheet of paper. You can even use scrap paper as long as one side is clean. Kids will love their “shrunken stories.” And while their notebooks might fill up fast, no problem. Just grab another sheet of paper and fold a new one.
And finally, there’s nothing wrong with a plain old pencil (or colored pencils) and paper. Check out these amazing creations from the first graders at Southfield School in Shreveport, LA. Storytellers, indeed!
So, read the book. Ask the question. Grab some tools. And then let young readers and listeners launch into their amazing adventures. Because, when kids dream big, they might just become or create what we’ve yet to imagine.
You can buy WHAT WOULD YOU DO IN A BOOK ABOUT YOU? wherever books are sold and right here!
I’m thrilled to introduce you to my latest picture book – perfect for babies, birthdays, graduations and more!
No dream is too big or too small in this heartwarming, heart-building book about you, empowering readers of all ages to dream big and to be the authors of their own life stories.
“Featuring upbeat rhymes and busy, cheerful, animated art, this peppy, motivational read invites kids to imagine what they could do or be, during playtime and beyond.” – Booklist –
“When you use your imagination and tell your own stories, there are endless possibilities for magic, mayhem, fun, and learning.”
– Kirkus Reviews –
VIRTUAL LAUNCH EVENT AND BUYING THE BOOK
Please join illustrator Joey Chou and me at our FREE Virtual Launch and Storytime Event on 4/10/21 at 11:00 AM Central Time, hosted by The Book Stall. Register and order your book right here! (Books ordered from The Book Stall will come with a bookplate signed by both Joey and me.)
If you can’t make it to the launch, you can also order your copy from your favorite bookseller (IndieBound, Barnes & Noble, Amazon) or request it at your library.
TEACHERS, LIBRARIANS & PARENTS
Check out my FREE Downloadable Graduation Kit, Storytime Activity Sheets, and Curriculum/Storytime Guide linked to learning standards – all available on my book page.
Social media is one of the best ways to spread the word about new books. If you’d like to join me in spreading the word about WHAT WOULD YOU DO IN A BOOK ABOUT YOU? here are some sample posts and the cover photo to get you started:
No dream is too big or too small! WHAT WOULD YOU DO IN A BOOK ABOUT YOU? – a new picture book from @jeanreidy and @joeychouart and @HarperChildrens! Buy it here: https://tinyurl.com/xmb3a8
New from @HarperChildrens – just in time for graduations! WHAT WOULD YOU DO IN A BOOK ABOUT YOU? – a new picture book by @jeanreidy and illustrated by @joeychouart. Buy it here: https://tinyurl.com/xmb3a8
The perfect picture book gift for any milestone – baby, birthday, graduation – or any day. WHAT WOULD YOU DO IN A BOOK ABOUT YOU? from @jeanreidy and @joeychouart and @HarperChildrens. Buy it here: https://tinyurl.com/xmb3a8
Empower young readers to be the authors of their own life stories with WHAT WOULD YOU DO IN A BOOK ABOUT YOU? – a new picture book from @jeanreidy and @joeychouart and @HarperChildrens. Buy it here: https://tinyurl.com/xmb3a8
With my latest picture book WHAT WOULD YOU DO IN A BOOK ABOUT YOU? (illustrated by Joey Chou) coming out in less than two weeks, friends outside of publishing might think that I’m spending all my time and energy on promoting that book. And while, yes, a portion of time – think launch event planning, preorders, social media, interviews – goes to that latest book, my older books are still being read and appreciated, and my future books are still proceeding down the path to publication.
Take TRUMAN (illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins) for instance. That book of my heart is still getting lovely attention and earning new fans every single day. And just this week, I received an amazing gift from one of them.
A Truman quilt! Look at those details. I’m in awe of it, as well as humbled by the words on the inscription patch. It’s such a wonder to see and hear how our books touch people’s lives and the connections readers make with a simple story.
And then a little later this week, I got to move on to a mini-celebration of my upcoming book GROUP HUG! illustrated by Joey Chou and coming out 11/2021 from
Macmillan/Holt/Godwin Books. I say “mini” celebration because the book isn’t final, final yet. But I did receive the color proofs – which is one of the last steps before it goes to print.
I love when color proofs arrive. Because by then, revisions have been made and rough patches smoothed over and I get to bask in something beautiful. And without giving away the whole book, these are BEAUTIFUL … and joyful and fun! I’ll be revealing the cover soon. But until then, I’ll give you an itty-bitty peek at those proofs.
Yes, when you write and publish for children, sometimes your head has to be in several places at once. But one thing is for certain, keeping up lockstep with every task, every t0-do, every turn of your head, there lies your heart!
WHAT WOULD YOU DO IN A BOOK ABOUT YOU? encourages readers, of all ages, to explore their hopes and dreams and empowers them to be the authors of their own life stories, making it the perfect gift for graduations, new babies, birthdays and more.
Tune in to the event on your own, or with your young readers, and get ready for reading, activities, art and more. The event is free but you have to register. You can do that right here:
Do you have 3 minutes? Then stick around and listen to my book talk about my upcoming picture book, WHAT WOULD YOU DO IN A BOOK ABOUT YOU? This book – which encourages kids to dream big – is illustrated by the amazing Joey Chou and published by the awesome children’s team at HarperCollins. We think it’s a perfect gift for a graduation, a new baby, a birthday, or any milestone. So, have a listen. Then look for it on bookstore and library shelves on April 6th. OR you can preorder it now at your favorite independent bookstore, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.
And stay tuned for virtual book launch party details coming soon! We’re so excited for April!