2013

Author Interview with Jane Kohuth

Jane Kohuth’s new book, Anne Frank’s Chestnut Tree, is an ambitious project. Not only does Kohuth broach the challenging topics of war and oppression in picture book form, but she also does this within the boundaries of an early reader. In Kohuth’s hands, accompanied by Elizabeth Sayles’ descriptive illustrations, this is skillfully done.  Anne Frank’s… Read more »

Author Interview with Janine Macbeth

Janine Macbeth has just released her debut picture book Oh, Oh, Baby Boy!. Macbeth is the writer, illustrator, *and* the publisher. Blood Orange Press, “a literary home for diverse readers,” is her newly-founded independent press. The result is gasp-worthy. Truly; I saw this reaction to my review copy from several readers. Oh, Oh, Baby Boy! follows… Read more »

Author Interview with JL Powers

I recently spoke with JL Powers, author of two novels for young adults, The Confessional and This Thing Called the Future. She is also the editor of That Mad Game: Growing Up in a Warzone, an anthology of essays. I first learned about her work when I spotted The Pirate Tree, a blog about social… Read more »

Less than 8 percent

Diversity is a concept with many vantage points. Here is one that is startling: In 2012, only 216 of 3,600 children’s books published in the United States were by authors and/or illustrators of color. Only 271 children’s books had significant content about people of color. That’s only 6 percent of authors and/or illustrators and less… Read more »

I wasn’t planning to talk about The Lorax

I wasn’t planning to write about Dr. Seuss. Volumes have been written about The Lorax. And it’s a bit obvious, eh? But I’ve found that lately when I read contemporary books about the natural world with my children, and as I try to make sense of how these books inspire environmental activism, it’s a challenge… Read more »

Author Interview with Jen Cullerton Johnson

Jen Cullerton Johnson’s wonderful book, Seeds of Change: Planting a Path to Peace, pushes picture book boundaries to share the life of Wangari Maathai, the first African woman and environmentalist to win the Nobel Peace Prize. It was illustrated by Sonia Lynn Sadler and published by Lee & Low Books in 2010. It makes sense… Read more »

A is Actually for Activist

From all of us looking for activist books for our babes, thank you Innosanto Nagara! A is for activist is a recently self-published ABC board book by Nagara who is both the writer and illustrator. He is a founding member of Design Action Collective, a worker-owned cooperative design studio in Oakland. Here’s an ABC book… Read more »

Infinity and Social Change

A few months ago my four year old began to pull me into some *deep* discussions about the biggest possible number (Is infinity bigger than a bazillion?). Surely, I thought, there must be a picture book that can help us… But my web searches turned up empty. So I was thrilled to read a recent… Read more »