Cover reveal: Eighteen Flowers for Grandma

I’m excited to share the cover of Eighteen Flowers for Grandma: A Gift of Chai illustrated by Jesse White and available from Red Comet Press on 9/24/24!

This story was inspired by my own grandma who graduated from college at the age of seventy-eight. She loved painting and photography, and she went back to school in her seventies to pursue art. I wanted to honor her lifelong commitment to learning and creativity through a story that highlights the Jewish tradition of giving chai–a symbolic gift of life. I’m thrilled to partner with Jesse White and Red Comet Press on this project. I love this sweet cover!

Preorder now! Signed copies are available from my wonderful local indie Porter Square Books.

Here’s the book summary:
A celebration of family, culture, and the enduring bond between generations.

Sadie’s grandmother is studying art and invites Sadie to learn and share her passion. But Sadie’s grandmother passes on more than her love of art to her grandchild; she also shares her knowledge of Jewish cultural traditions. Sadie learns about the meaning of “chai”—the Hebrew word for life—and the significance of the lucky number eighteen. Her grandmother will soon graduate from college, so Sadie commits herself to finding a perfect way to celebrate with a gift that combines her love of art and newly learned traditions.

Learn more at Red Comet Press.

Eighteen Flowers for Grandma cover

Book announcement!

I’m thrilled to share the announcement for my new picture book!

THE REMEMBERING CANDLE, illustrated by Selina Alko, will be published by Barefoot Books in 2025.

Lisa Rosinsky at Barefoot Books has acquired world rights to The Remembering Candle by Alison Goldberg, illustrated by Selina Aldo. A child light's a yahrzeit candle on the anniversary of his grandfather's death, in the Jewish tradition of remembrance, and discovers how old memories can bring new blessings. Publication is set for fall 2025.

 

Children’s Africana Book Awards 2023 Ceremony & Festival

On October 14th, I was honored to participate in the Children’s Africana Book Awards 2023 Ceremony & Festival together with illustrator Elizabeth Zunon and the other awardees. The event took place at the Louis Stokes Health Sciences Library at Howard University. Thank you to the Outreach Council of the African Studies Association, the Center for African Studies at Howard University, and Africa Access for a wonderful event!

The day before, Liz and I had the opportunity to visit the Miner Elementary School in Washington, DC. I loved meeting the students and hearing their questions about the book. Thank you to the Miner Elementary School and An Open Book Foundation for hosting us!

Here are some photos from the event:

 

 

 

 

Book announcement!

I’m thrilled to share the announcement for my new picture book!

18 FLOWERS FOR GRANDMA, illustrated by Jesse White, published by Red Comet Press, will release in 2024.

I offer picture book critique services

Are you looking for in-depth feedback on a children’s book project? I offer picture book critique services! I love working with writers as they develop and polish their manuscripts and prepare them for submission.

A few recent testimonials:

“Alison’s critique of my PB biography was like receiving a warm hug. Throughout the text, she asked questions which highlighted where I could provide additional information to make the story richer and more complete. These nudges also made me realize how and when to add facts without slowing down the story and losing the language I had already worked hard to establish. Alison carefully broke down her overall thoughts into sections so I could easily go back to these thoughts individually in my revision process. Thank you, Alison, for your insight.”

-Sara Dorsch

“Alison is a trusted, valuable picture book critique partner of fiction and nonfiction, who returns manuscripts promptly. The feedback she provides, both overall comments and line edits, is professional, helpful, and encouraging. I highly recommend her services!”

-Robin W.

“I came to Alison with a children’s book that I’d been working on for two years and she was amazingly helpful in taking my raw ideas and refining them into something beautiful that truly expressed the essence of the work.  It’s been a joy working with her and her encouragement and guidance have been invaluable to my creative process.”

-Adriana Mesén

Learn more and get in touch!

I look forward to reading your words!

Bottle Tops in 2022

Thank you to everyone who read and shared Bottle Tops: The Art of El Anatsui, illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon and published by Lee & Low Books in 2022! I’m very grateful!

Cover Reveal!

Bottle Tops: The Art of El Anatsui

By Alison Goldberg and illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon

We are thrilled to reveal the cover of our forthcoming picture book, Bottle Tops: The Art of El Anatsui, releasing from Lee & Low Books on May 31, 2022! 

About Bottle Tops

Bottle Tops tells the story of contemporary Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui and how he transforms discarded materials into vibrant and extraordinary art.

Bottle Tops follows El’s journey as a student in Ghana to Nigeria, where he taught and became an internationally-exhibiting artist. Over decades, El experimented with a variety of materials that connected to the people around him. He built sculptures from broken pots, milk can tin lids, and driftwood. When he found a bag of old bottle tops in the bushes, he used them to begin a series of enormous, shimmering tapestries that were unlike anything people had ever seen.

Read more about the book.

Our introductions to El Anatsui’s work

Alison: I first saw El’s artwork while studying in Ghana in 1995, and I’ve sought opportunities to see it ever since. Many of his awe-inspiring sculptures are pieced together from small aluminum bottle tops. The material evokes his environment, and linked together, the bottle tops tell stories about history and culture. When I look at El’s art, I’m reminded that creating powerful art is about being true to yourself. I hope that learning about El’s story inspires young people to seek unique ways to tell their own stories.

Elizabeth: I first saw El’s work while visiting the High Museum of Art in Atlanta with my brother and our mom in 2016. I initially thought those pieces on exhibit were Kente fabrics, and didn’t realize until a closer look that they were made up of little metal pieces from bottle caps. I was mesmerized by the technique and the amount of time it must have taken to create such monumental art. Investigating El’s artistic processes inspired me to re-think my own art-making techniques and what is possible. 

The cover!

Book cover for Bottle Tops: The Art of El Anatsui

Pre-order now

Order from our local indie bookstores, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA and The Little Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, NY.

Or wherever you purchase books!

Author and illustrator bios:

Alison Goldberg is a writer based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the author of I Love You for Miles and Miles. She blogs about activism in children’s literature and loves researching everything from marine life to contemporary art for her books. Alison first learned about El Anatsui’s work while studying art in Ghana in 1995 and has sought opportunities to see his sculptures ever since. You can visit her online at alisongoldberg.com

Elizabeth Zunon earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration degree at the Rhode Island School of Design and has illustrated many books for children, including Lee & Low Books’s Poems in the Attic by Nikki Grimes. Zunon spent her childhood in Ivory Coast, West Africa, and now lives in Albany, New York, where she was born. Zunon was inspired by both the fragility and the strength of El Anatsui’s works and created the illustrations for Bottle Tops with paint and cut paper collage. You can visit her online at lizzunon.com.

Learn more about El Anatsui

Visit El Anatsui’s website to learn more about El Anatsui and see images of his artwork.

A list of actions for authors & illustrators promoting a children’s book


While putting together notes for an upcoming panel at KidLitCon this weekend, “What We’ve Learned as Debut Authors,” I thought about the list of book promotion activities that I would recommend to other debut authors.

Below is a starter list. For the most part I’m including actions that are free, though they will require your time. Several rely on your community, such as family, friends, other writers and illustrators, booksellers, and/or librarians. There are many, many more possible actions, but I share this list to help you begin to brainstorm.

Last summer, I wrote a post for 24 Carrot Writing, “Goals for Promoting Your Debut Picture Book,” and I still think that goal-setting is such an important starting place for any book promotion efforts.

Mix and match the actions that make the most sense for you!

• Send email updates to family and friends announcing your book. Share updates on your own website, newsletter, blog, and/or social media.
• Join a debut group or find ways to collaborate with other book creators whose books are releasing in the same year.
• Ask your local bookstore if they can sell signed copies of your book.
• Whenever you visit bookstores or libraries, introduce yourself, drop off your card, a bookmark, or other swag, and show off a copy of your book.
• If you are not the book’s illustrator or the book’s author, reach out to the other book creator (in some cases you will need to go through the publisher to do this) to see what their promotion plans are and if you can team up.
• Add information to your author page on Amazon and Goodreads.
• Create a preorder campaign. If you have arranged for signed copies with a local bookstore, you could direct people to this store.
• Ask agency-mates for help boosting posts.
• Ask critique partners for help boosting posts.
• Ask children’s writers and bloggers if you can guest blog. If possible, write some of these posts in advance of your book launch.
• Ask your publisher for giveaway copies to include with guest blog posts.
• Ask your local bookstore and/or library if you can do an event. If at a library, ask your local bookstore if they can do book sales at the event.
• Ask your critique partners and writing friends for suggested venues and contacts at bookstores, libraries, etc. where you are interested in having events.
• Ask your critique partners, family, and friends for help with book event planning and outreach.
• Ask your publisher if they can respond to review copy requests. Contact bloggers to see if they would like to receive review copies and pass those requests along.
• Identify other children’s writers in your area who have published books with similar themes. If you find a good match, team up to plan events together.