Books My Mother Gave Me

What are the books you most associate with each of your parents? The list on my father’s side is shockingly short — Rabbit Hill, the works of James Thurber, and the beloved Jack Kent comic strip King Aroo. Instead, almost every book I think of loving as a child was given to me by Mom, with the…


Illustrated Bibles and Biblical Picture Books

  When I was little the only illustrated Bible available was a reprint of a 1950′s NIV New Testament, which has illustrations that were somehow both overwrought and evocative of comics with their pixelated, technicolor vibrancy. I’ll tell you honestly, I hated reading it. Thankfully there are many better options available today — both adaptations…

Easter Books Collage

Picture Books for Easter

Easter baskets are a huge deal for my family. 13 years away from home, and Mom still sends a box filled with the usual suspects: Cadbury Creme Eggs, Peeps, Robin’s Eggs, and Jelly Beans. And, of course, a book. Easter has always been a time for my parents to get a special book for each…

Black Book of Colors

The Black Book of Colors

Listed as one of the best illustrated books of the year by the New York Times, I finally got my hands on a copy to review. It really is a delightful book, and makes a difficult subject approachable and engaging. I don’t know that I’d call it the best illustrated book of the year–it’s not really…

2013 bear song

Best Children’s Books of 2013

Last year, oh my, there were probably three picture books I liked. It was not a good year, alas. But this year has more than paid off. Here’s a quick recap of some of my very favorite picture books that came out in 2013 – listed in alphabetical order, because who can pick a real favorite?…


Christmas, Remembered by Tomie de Paola

Tomorrow: my annual roundup of the best picture books of 2013! TITLE: Christmas Remembered AUTHOR + ILLUSTRATOR: Tomie dePaola PUBLISHED BY: Puffin/Putnam, 2006 In the first of 10 stories about Christmas in Tomie DePaola’s Christmas, Remembered, he tells us of the first Christmas he remembers: the Christmas of the miraculous fireplace. When he was three…


A Small Nativity by Aquiles Nazoa and Ana Palmero Caceres

TITLE: A Small Nativity AUTHOR: Aquiles Nazoa ILLUSTRATOR: Ana Palmero Caceres PUBLISHED BY: Groundwood Books Nazoa, a winner of the Venezuelan National prize for Journalism, created this little poem about the birth of Christ. Embellishing tradition somewhat, he brought the figures of Mary and Joseph into the culture and context of Venezuela. His poem captured…


Saint Nicholas Books

TITLE: Saint Nicholas: The Story of the Real Santa Claus AUTHOR: Mary Joslin ILLUSTRATOR: Helen Cann PUBLISHED BY: Pauline Books Just in time for St. Nick’s Day, here’s a lovely retelling of the legend of Saint Nicholas, who becomes, of course, Santa Claus. This one, I love, because of the vibrant immediacy of the story, and the lovely illustrations….

Adventures of Cow

Adventures of Cow

Title: Adventures of Cow Title: Adventures of Cow, Too Author/Illustrator: Marshall Taylor and Lori Korchek Publisher: Tricycle Press Buy it here Adventures of Cow is probably the silliest book I have ever encountered. And I love it. Normally, I’m not a fan of the photographic picture books. It seems to me one of the most…