The Boy Who Loved Maps

My debut picture book was announced yesterday! It feels like a dream typing this out. When they say publishing is full of secrets and waiting, they aren’t kidding! I’ve waited almost a year to be able to shout this from every rooftop and mountain peak.

I am beyond grateful to my editor Anne Schwartz and agent Erszi Deak for making this happen.

There is going to be a book in a bookstore someday with my words in it.

There’s so much I could share, but I’ll save it for a different post. I am feeling enormous amounts of gratitude towards everyone in the kidlit community and to my family and friends. I am in the best most surreal dream right now!






The Publisher’s Weekly announcement. 



Eek! That’s my picture up there!

Eek! That’s my picture up there!


I’ve been away from daily classroom life for awhile now. But in the fall, all that changes as I slowly dip my toes back into teaching through a maternity leave sub position. I can’t tell you how excited I am. Every time I entered into a bookstore and browse, I thought about how I could use these books in a classroom with kids. I have bought many a title with the disclaimer “when I go back, I’ll use this.” So without further ado, my picture book ten for ten are the 10 books I am bringing into the classroom with me to use the first week of school! My first ten read alouds! 






I want to use this book by Stacy Mcanulty to have students start to write about themselves! 





This book, aside from being funny and delightful, will be used to start thinking about what kind of classroom community we want to create. 




Piggybacking off of my number 2 book, this title will help continue the conversation about community and empathy.  



I love this quiet simple book, it will help us to learn about each other and our names and where they come from with this story. 

I love this quiet simple book, it will help us to learn about each other and our names and where they come from with this story. 




I believe in reading out loud every day. I also believe in writing every day. This mentor text will help supper both of those beliefs!  




I like students to think about themselves and all the different roles they take on during the school day, scientists being an important one!




So much we could do with this book. Inflection, punctuation, how to read pictures, how pictures affect how we read a book. I read this to my pre-reading son over vacation and immediately he took it and started to read it out loud on his own, trying out different ways to read the word DUDE!




We all need quiet sometimes. I was able to pick this up early at our local art museum as they have a display of dePaola’s work. It won’t be released until October!! 




I love this book to start exploring other places besides the one we live in. Books connect us to others and this one is an excellent example of how to do that. 




I read this one to the class already when they had a Move Up day in the spring. They’ve already heard it. But the power of rereading is magical. I can’t wait to see what they notice about this text this time around.  



Thanks for checking out my first ten read alouds! Counting down to the first day of school.  


A lot of writers and people are posting their words for 2018. I’ve been wearing a word around my wrist for the better part of a year, I also have it as a necklace. It was my word for 2017 and I think I still need it in 2018. Is it okay to have the same word for two years running? I’m going to say it is. Without further ado, here is my mantra as it applies to so many things.  





Believe. Believe in the process. Believe in myself.  Believe in magic and light and love. Belive in words and stories. Believe that the impossible is possible.  


Here’s to believing in 2018. (And yes, I am a Journey fan...😊) 

I think in picture books...

I think in picture books, in page turns, thirty-two pages and around fifteen beats. I think in  rules of three and repetition. I pull snippets of dialogue from the air around me to save and hoard for a day when it will fit in just right into a place where I need it. I think in picture books, in wordless double page spreads and endpapers. I think in pacing and predictions and how everything sounds when read aloud.  I think in that final twist, that wink to the reader. I think in bedtime-under-the-cover, surrounded-by-stacks books kind of reading. I think in picture books.  


What about you? What do you think in?  




This is my first year participating in Picture Book 10 for 10. Probably because it's my first year having a blog! Anyone who knows me knows how much I love picture books. Every one I read becomes a favorite. The books I picked for #pb10for10 are picture books that I think are perfect examples of the picture book format and structure, the ones I read and happy sigh when they are done because they just embody what a picture book is (to me!) And of course if I did this tomorrow, I'd have a completely different list! 

1. There's NO Such Thing as a Dragon by Jack Kent



An oldie but a goodie. This one stands up to the test of time and is pretty much perfect.  

2. Boats for Papa by Jessixa Bagley


This book makes me cry every time I read it out loud. If that's not impact I don't know what is! 

This book makes me cry every time I read it out loud. If that's not impact I don't know what is! 

3. The Silver Button by Bob Graham



Bob Graham really can't do wrong for me. He could write my to-do list and make it sound interesting. This book captures one minute of one day and it's brilliant!  


4. This Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers  



If I could only have one Oliver Jeffers book on my list, this is the one I would pick. When I teach my Writing Children's Literature course, this is one of the books I use every summer to illustrate what a picture can do. The voice, the plot, the twist at the end! All of it is spot on. 

5. Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown



While I think The Curious Garden is my favorite Peter Brown book, Mr. Tiger pulls me in every time. The use of color in this one I think is particularly important.  

6. Swirl by Swirl by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Beth Krommes


I have a soft spot for books that fit in well with classrrom curriculum and this is one that fits so well. Not to mention the stunning illustrations by Beth Krommes and Sidman's science writing is lovely. 

7. This House Once by Deborah Freedman


I think this is Deborah Freedman's best book yet! It's simple, yet poignant. It's quiet, but its message is loud.  Love this one. 


8. Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads by Bob Shea and illustrated by Lane Smith



This might be my favorite book of all time. Maybe. It's that good. Funny and fun. Can I use the word brilliant again? Because it is.  


9. I'm New Here by Anne Sibley O'Brien



This one is a relatively new title to me.  If a picture book's job is to connect us and to help us learn about others, then this one is top of the list for doing that. It's a very important book. Read it and share it.

10. Last Stop on Market Street by Matt De La Peña illustrated by Christian Robinson


This one may be obvious. Christian Robinson might be one of my favorite current illustrators. This one won a Newbury and a Caldecott and while awards shouldn't matter, a picture book is a marriage of text and pictures. This does that perfectly, so much so it won prestigious awards for both! I love it so much I have both a hard copy and a soft cover. :)


Thanks for checking out my Picture Book 10 for 10 list! There are so many amazing books, it was hard to narrow down to just ten titles.