Tuesday, September 28, 2021

More, more, more: Goodnight Ganesha


There is so much beauty in this work from Nadia Salomon, illustrated by Poonam Mistry. With a nod to Goodnight Moon, two children say goodnight to Ganesha, as they visit their grandparents in India. The evening includes stories and rituals which set a beautiful tone. 

Mistry's tapestry style artwork brings mystery, warmth, and awe. You can look long at the intricate patterns and stylizations which accompany Salomon's rhyming text. 

Goodnight, thali.
Goodnight, kumkum. 
Goodnight, deepam--and wafts of perfume. 

Visit this beauty with your totz before they drift to sleep. 

by Nadia Salomon
illustrated by Poonam Mistry
Philomel Books, 2021

Sunday, September 19, 2021

More, more, more: ABC of Feelings

How many of us could benefit from this new picture book? I can! Author/illustrator Bonnie Lui brings a range of emotions to young readers by walking through the alphabet. Short definitions and expressive illustrations aid in the teaching. A background painter for Dreamworks and WB, Lui has created beauty in another format for all to enjoy. 

A is for anxious. Anxious is feeling really worried about something. 

B is for brave. Brave is being nervous about something...and doing it anyway!


N is for needy. Needy is wanting someone you love to pay attention to you. 

O is for overwhelmed. Overwhelmed is having too many thoughts and feelings all at once. 

I can imagine reaching for this book over and over as your readertotz gain self-awareness and learn to identify emotions. Get ready to spot those feelings!

by Bonnie Lui
Philomel, 2021

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Celebrations: Margaret Wise Brown Board Book Award


It's official! Bank Street College of Education has decided to begin acknowledging and awarding board books! My editor just zipped me the press release as she and I talked about this need in 2010. The award will be named: the Margaret Wise Brown Board Book Award for excellence in literature for very young children. Wonderful!

Here is a press release excerpt: 

The first prize will be awarded in the spring of 2023 for board books published or picture books adapted to board book format in 2021 and 2022. The award will be given every two years to a board book for infants and toddlers (ages 0-3).

“Criteria for selection will include books that promote interplay and engagement, incorporate rich
language, demonstrate a consideration for childhood development, and are constructed to withstand multiple encounters with little hands,” said Dr. Cynthia Weill, Director, Center for Children’s Literature, Bank Street College of Education.

Joan Holub and I, both board book author/illustrators, have been calling for a recognition of the board book format since 2009. Our aim at the readertotz blog has always been to raise the profile of board books for our first readers. We make a call to authors, illustrators, and publishers to create the best possible works as they introduce reading to our youngest ones. 

We have envisioned the American Library Association creating the Dorothy Kunhardt Award for the Outstanding Board or Novelty Book. Click here to see our facebook page. We would love to see Dorothy named as the creator of the beloved, first novelty book still in print: Pat the Bunny

Joan and I are thrilled Bank Street College is lifting this important format for all to see! Here's to future award recipients, the wee ones who will hold the works, and Bank Street College for their efforts. Bravo! 

What is Fall? Genie Espinosa


What is Fall? gives a cut-out, shaped experience of the season nearly upon us. 

"The days are shorter. Summer is done.
Now FALL is here....
Let's have

Rhymes continue to accompany author/illustrator Genie Espinosa's rounded illustrations created with a soft fall palette. You might need a scarf, or want an apple, or enjoy a bright sunflower this season. Readertotz can explore the cut shapes, be introduced to autumn, and anticipate the coming rhyme. This is a delightful addition to season books for first readers. 

What is Fall?
by Genie Espinosa
Random House, 2021

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Grumpy Monkey's Little Book of Grumpiness: Suzanne Lang

Everyone tries to help Suzanne Lang's Grumpy Monkey lose the grumps. But no matter the offerings, from a rainbow to a flamingo, nothing helps. Grumpy Monkey moves through anger and sadness before finding a bit of happiness beside a friend. 

Emotions are illustrated boldly, vividly, and close-up to the reader at times. Max Lang's work pops off the page and illicits giggles from everyone. Yay for this character finding his way to the smallest hands. 

by Suzanne Lang
illustrated by Max Lang
Random House, 2020