Hi there, Dr. Mira Reisberg here and I am so thrilled to introduce the following recent and upcoming books from former students of the Craft and Business of Illustrating Children’s Books and the Craft and Business of Writing Children’s Picture Books. These amazing illustrators and writers were impressive CBA students whom I had the honor to edit and art direct at Spork to help launcher revitalize their careers. I’d like to tell you why either my publisher Callie Metler-Smith or I acquired them. And what it was like working on them. We’ve included some purchase links when available, in case you want to take a look at some of them for yourselves.
Mac and Cheese and the Personal Space Invader by Jolene Gutiérrez & Heather Bell
Mac and Cheese are the class guinea pigs, and Oliver is their biggest fan. So he watches them to learn how he can be a good friend. But while snuggling might be fine for guinea pigs, Oliver's classmates don't like him getting in their personal space bubbles. With the help of his teacher and classmates, Oliver learns that being a friend means respecting personal space.
The art has a subdued and soft palate with a lovely balance of warm and cool tones. The overall effect is calming, a nice juxtaposition to Oliver’s anxiety about finding the right physical distance from his teacher and classmates. The characters have a slightly retro feel to them, and the use of negative and positive space on the facing pages creates a lovely sense of balance.
Buy it here
Sadie’s Shabbat Stories by Melissa Stoller & Lisa Goldberg
Sadie loves listening to Nana’s tales about their ancestors, especially her stories about the traveling candlesticks, Kiddush cup, and challah cover they use every Friday night for Shabbat. Sadie wonders, will she ever find her own voice and tell special stories, just like Nana?
Because parts of the story are really sad or scary, Lisa had to tone anything overtly violent looking and added an adorable little kitten throughout the story. At the same time there is also a lot of joy in the story. Just like life and both Lisa and Melissa added wonderful elements from their own lives.
Buy it here
The Freeman Field Photograph by Bryan Patrick Avery & Jerome White
In the Freeman Field Photograph, a fictionalized account of a true story, Sidney fears she may never see her Daddy again. Her father, a Tuskegee Airman, has been arrested for protesting segregation at Freeman Army Airfield. Proud, but sad, Sidney seeks to take one last photograph of her father, which sets of events that end up changing history. This story encourages readers to stand up for themselves and for what they believe and shows how something small (like a photograph) can make a big difference.
Buy it here
Walkout by Tina Shepardson & Terry Sirell
Based-on a true story, Walkout tells about democracy in action as Maddie organizes an anti-school-violence walkout to join other kids throughout the US. The big problem is that Maddie’s best friend Stella is too scared to join in because the principal has announced that their school would not be participating. Maddie needs to help Stella to find her courage and join in.
We matched this story with bright and playful art, where the character's deliberately overlarge heads and cartoonish proportions help to underplay the scariness of the subject matter.
Buy it here.
Little Medusa’s Hair Do-Lema by Jen Buchet & Cassie Chancy
Little Medusa comes from a long line of snake-loving, serpentine-wearing Gorgons. When she receives her very first snake, Little Medusa discovers that having a snake slither and slide through her hair isn’t so great after all. And to make matters more difficult, she begins questioning if she really wants to scare her friends to stone with her new forever friend. Using her imagination and heart, Little Medusa tries her best to please her family, her best-pet snake, and herself. Based on Greek Mythology, Little Medusa features Common Core Connections and explores the universal themes of following family tradition and staying true to oneself.
The whimsically illustrated characters are truly adorable and I love how Cassie weaves in bits of Greek culture to underlie the mythological elements.
Buy it here
Stan’s Frightful Halloween by Sandra Sutter & Chantelle & Burgen Thorne
Poor Stan, a clumsy werewolf, breaks his leg the day before Halloween, and is heartbroken when his friends leave without him for what’s sure to be a scary good time. Still Stan is determined to find a way to enjoy Halloween even if he is all alone. Or is he?
The artwork is spectacular for this!!!
Not yet available for purchase or pre-order.
Joy the Pandacorn by Maggie Lauren Brown & Fia Kilbourn
Carefree as a unicorn and loveable as a panda, Joy the Pandacorn’s world was bamboo-and-rainbow-filled bliss. Until the first day of school. Multiple rejections, and all sorts of identity issues become obvious as Joy struggles to figure out where she fits in.
WIth a distinctive black and white palette, highlighted by rainbow swishes and swirls, Joy is a visual delight.
Obi’s Mud Bath by Annette Schottenfeld & Folasade Adeshida
Obi’s Mud Bath was inspired by an actual event that occurred in Zimbabwe during a drought when a white rhino bull was unable to eat or drink after a tire became trapped around his horn and snout. Park rangers and vets calmed the rhino and pried off the tire, and he made a full recovery. This lovely book calls attention to the fact that litter, including nets and tires, is frequently found on the banks of the lake where animals graze, and drought conditions throughout southern Africa have been a major ongoing issue for the residents and wildlife.
Not yet available for purchase or pre-order but here’s a sneak peek here. Aren’t these characters absolutely adorable and note all those wonderful organic forms.
All of these illustrators came from our Craft and Business of Illustrating Children’s Books course, as did some of the authors. The first live training starts next Monday August 31st and promises to be quite spectacular right here: https://bit.ly/2020CBICB