Sweep by Louise Greig and Júlia Sardà

Have you ever gotten swept away by a bad mood?

The Picture Book of the Week is Sweep, written by Louise Greig and illustrated by Júlia Sardà.

About the Book:

Ed isn’t always in a bad mood, but on this day he is in a big one. At first only small things get swept up in his bad mood, but the more he ruminates, the bigger his bad mood gets. Bigger and bigger things get swept up until it seems like the entire world has been swept up in Ed’s big, bad mood. If he would just look up at what is beautiful. Can anything make Ed look up?

Writing Exercise:

This book uses the metaphor of sweeping up leaves and cars and buses and bicycles to represent Ed’s bad mood as it gets bigger and bigger. Write or draw a metaphor for your bad mood. Is it a freight train running everything over or is it a tornado ripping everything in its path. Let your imagination run wild.

Happy Writing!

Louis by Tom Lichtenheld and Julie Rowan-Zoch

Have you ever felt overlooked, mistreated, like you wanted to find a place where you were appreciated?

The Picture Book of the Week is Louis, written by Tom Lichtenheld and illustrated by Julie Rowan-Zoch.

About the Book:

Louis is about a teddy bear named Louis who isn’t quite happy with his job. When he isn’t being used as a hankie, he is being fed to dinosaurs or sprayed with milk. The only solution, he thinks, is to get away–go somewhere where he is appreciated. He just has to find the right moment–just not when it’s raining and not during a tea party. Will Louis ever find the right time?

Writing Exercise:

Louis isn’t happy with his job. He feels under appreciated. Write a story or an essay about a character or you wanting to get out of a similar situation. Include details like being sprayed with milk or being eaten by a dinosaur.

Happy Writing!

The Barnabus Project by The Fan Brothers

Congratulations to Village Books, an indie bookstore in the Woodlands, TX that opened it’s door this past Friday, September 10, giving me a new place to browse the lastest picture books.

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Have you ever felt like a misfit? Have you ever yearned to be understood?

The Picture Book of the Week is The Barnabus Project, written and illustrated by brothers Terry, Eric, and Devin Fan.

About the Book:

Barnabus had the misfortune of being born imperfect in a world that demanded perfection. He was kept deep underground where no one would see him except the other misfits and the Green Rubber Suits. He accepted his existence, enjoyed his favorite foods, until…he learned he was scheduled for recycling. Barnabus had to do something. He planned an escape. It would be hard, but he and his imperfect friends had no other choice. They took a chance.

Writing Exercise:

Have you ever had to escape a difficult situation? Write a story or an essay about a time or a character who had to escape a difficult situation. It can be about getting out of homework or getting out of a family function, anything you had to escape.

Happy Writing!

Are We Pears Yet? by Miranda Paul and Carin Berger

It’s hard to wait for what we want, but waiting is just part of the process.

The Picture Book of the Week is Are We Pears Yet?, written by Miranda Paul and illustrated by Carin Berger.

About the Book:

Are We Pears Yet? is about two seeds who are waiting to become pears. They have never done this before and don’t really know what is coming — well, one of them seems to. They only know that eventually they will become pears. It is their destiny. They make sure they have everything they need to grow, they nap when they have to, but they just can’t wait. Although, one of them is more patient than the other.

Writing Exercise:

Are We Pears Yet? explains the process a seed goes through to become a pear in the form of a play, that is, using dialogue to move the story along. Try to write a story explaining a scientific process using only dialogue. If you can make them cute like pear seeds, that’s a bonus.

Happy Writing!

Child of the Flower Song People by Gloria Amescua and Duncan Tonatiuh

Luz Jimenez survived hardships during early 1900’s Mexico and became a model and a teacher who was for many “the soul of Mexico”.

The Picture Book of the Week is a biography called Child of the Flower-Song People: Luz Jimenez, Daughter of the Nahua, written by Gloria Amescua and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh.

About the Book:

Luz grew up in a village called Milpa Alta, listening to the stories her elders told, learning to grind corn, twist yarn, and weave. She spoke Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs and kept all the stories she heard in her heart. Luz wanted more than anything to be a teacher, but life interrupted. When the Revolution came to her village, she and her family fled to Mexico City, where they sold food and handicrafts to make a living. Luz grew up and, against all odds, fulfilled her dream of becoming a teacher, but not in the way she had expected. She taught the world about the beauty and strength of the flower-song people.

Writing Exercise:

Do you know of an inspiring person who accomplished something close to your heart? Do some research and write a biography of this person like the writer of this book did. It can be an ancestor or someone you know right now, like a grandparent. Write about their life and how they accomplished what they did and why it is important to you.

Happy Writing!

Bob, Not Bob!

It’s no fun being sick, but it’s worse when no one understands you.

The Picture Book of the Week is an oldie but a goodie, Bob, Not Bob! written by Liz Garton Scanlon & Audrey Vernick and illustrated by Matthey Cordell.

About the Book:

The main character is Louie, a little boy who is just old enough that he doesn’t need his mom so much anymore. That is, until he gets sick. A stuffy nose can make you hard to understand. When he calls for his mom, it comes out as Bob. To confuse things a bit more, his dog is named Bob. This book is a delightful comedy of error with a sweet message at the end.

Writing Exercise:

Little Louie didn’t need his mom so much anymore, until he got sick. Write a story or essay about the times when you still need your mom.

Happy Writing!

Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away by Meg Medina and Sonia Sánchez

Have you ever had to say goodbye to a good friend? It is hard no matter what age you are, but when you are young, it is happening for the first time. It seems like nothing will ever be the same.

The Picture Book of the Week is a selection from 2020 called Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away.

About the Book:

In Evelyn Del Rey is Moving Away, Daniela has a very best mejor amiga named Evelyn Del Rey. They share each others secrets like where they keep their specials finds and all the good spots for hide-n-seek. They play make-believe and they spin as fast as they can. They make plans to call each other when Evelyn moves, and visit each other and spend the night. The moment finally arrives, however, when the two have to part ways and Daniela has to place Evelyn somewhere in her heart where she will never leave.

Writing Exercise:

When they part, Daniela and Evelyn place a butterfly sticker on each other’s cheek. Write a story or essay about a butterfly or other symbol helped sooth you or the character through a transition.

Happy Writing!

Lala’s Words by Grace Zhang

Kindness and faith can have unexpected results.

This week’s Picture Book of the Week is Lala’s Words, written and illustrated by Grace Zhang.

About the Book:

It’s a long, hot summer and Lala is rambunctious. She loves running, and jumping, and getting in the dirt. Her mom is not so happy about the consequences of Lala’s activities – torn dress, covered in dirt. One of Lala’s activities is tending to a garden that she found around the block. She brings the plants water and gently talks to them. She tells them they are marvelous. She goes to the garden every morning until her mom, frustrated with Lala’s unkempt condition, makes her stop. She can’t go to the garden anymore, but that doesn’t stop Lala from whispering softly to her friends? Will she ever see her garden again?

Writing Exercise:

In this story, the main character, Lala, talks to plants. The writing challenge for this week is to write a story or an essay about talking to plants or communing with nature in some way — hugging a tree, taking a walk in the woods or along the seashore.

Happy Writing!

It Could Be Worse by Einat Tsarfati

The world has two kinds of people, the ones that freak out and worry when things go wrong, and the ones who always look on the bright side and roll with the punches. Which one are you?

The Picture Book of the Week is It Could Be Worse, written and illustrated by Einat Tsarfati.

About the Book:

It Could Be Worse follows George and Albertini who are stranded at sea on the remnants of their boat after a disaster that occured before the book started. Albertini lamented everything that happened to them. George looked on the bright side. He sang and played with the mermaids, smiled at the pirate ghosts, and faced down an ark full of hungry carnivores with no fear. Albertini reacted to each event with despair. They end up in a whale’s stomach and in a dark cave before things start looking up and even Albertini looks on the bright side.

Writing Exercise

In this story, George and Albertini were faced with a string of challenges. Each character reacted differently. Write a story or a personal essay about everything going wrong and how you or your characters reacted, what you or they learned.

Happy Writing

Snail Crossing by Corey R. Tabor

You never know when an act of kindness will be returned.

The Picture Book of the Week is Snail Crossing, written and illustrated by Corey R. Tabor.

About the Book:

Snail Crossing is about a snail Swho is trying to cross a road to get to some yummy cabbage. He begins with all the determination of someone who doesn’t know the perils in his way. He feels unstoppable. A car speeds over him, but he feels no fear, he keeps going. Then come the ants who could stand to be a little more polite. Snail helps them anyway and they go on their way. Snail gets a little turned around and it looks like he will never get to the cabbages, then fate intervenes.

Writing Exercise:

Snail makes his dream come true in an unexpected way, as a sort of reward for doing a good deed. Write a story about a character (it can be yourself) that has an act of kindness returned to him/her.

Happy Writing!