Little Senses #Kidlit: This Beach is Loud!

Do you have any friends who know exactly what kind of picture book you’d like to read? I have a friend like that. She is my picture book concierge. This week she brought me This Beach is Loud! by Samantha Cotterill.

Falling in the realm of realistic fiction, this picture book captures the experience of a trip to the beach for a young boy with sensory issues. All the new sounds coupled with the weird texture of the sand overwhelms him. Fortunately, his dad understands and helps the boy soothe himself.

This Beach is Loud! allows readers young and old to glimpse what it is like to hear and feel too much. Also, young readers with sensory issues will be able to recognize and identify with someone who is like themselves. That is a rare experience.

Samantha Cotterill’s block print illustrations are amazing. The text flows over a two-page spread at times, showing visually what the boy is hearing. The experience becomes tangible. When he is having fun, she breaks a single page into a series of smaller, quieter moments, settling things down again.

On the back flap, Samantha Cotterill explains she is on the autism spectrum and she wishes there had been books like this when she was a child.  We can only add that we are glad that there finally are.

Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Publisher: Dial Books (June 18, 2019)
ISBN-10: 0525553452
ISBN-13: 978-0525553458

I’m adding this title to a list of children’s books about senses at Science Books for Kids. It seems an appropriate way to introduce the idea that everyone has senses, but not everyone experiences the world in the same way.


#kidlit Picture Book That Excels At Suspense and Surprise

Along with picture books, I also write mysteries for adult readers (see It’s a Mystery blog). Mystery (and thriller) writers strive to create suspense and tension, as well as surprise in their work. That’s why it is cool to see an author/illustrator excel at this task in a nearly wordless picture book.

In Spencer’s New Pet by Jessie Sima, Spencer has an unusual pet, a balloon dog. The dog accompanies Spencer everywhere he goes, including some places that are decidedly dangerous for balloons.  Readers hold their breath. Will his pet survive?

The ending is a twist sure to surprise everyone. Once the surprise is revealed, many readers are going to want to read it again to look for clues that they might have missed. Although it will never be the same level of surprise, readers also want to re-live that initial experience of tension/suspense.

I noticed in reviews that some people were disturbed by the twist. Perhaps it is possible to defy expectations too much, to make the surprising twist too far from the realm of possibility.? You don’t want to do anything that interferes with readers suspending disbelief and buying into your story in adult books, but the standards are likely different in highly-imaginative children’s books.

Have you read Spencer’s New Pet? What did you think?

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Hardcover: 56 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (August 27, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1534418776
ISBN-13: 978-1534418776

Two New #Kidlit Books Set in Oklahoma

This week I updated the Oklahoma state page of the Reading through the States website with these two books. A big thank you to author/librarian Sherri Maret for suggesting them.

The Cloud Artist–A Choctaw Tale (Told in English and Choctaw) by Sherri Maret and illustrated by Merisha Sequoia Clark

2017 Writers’ League of Texas Book Award Finalist
2018-2019 First Nation Communities Read Shortlist
2018 Oklahoma Book Award Finalist

Leona, a little Choctaw girl, can paint with clouds. When she is invited to join a carnival, Leona must choose what kind of artist she wants to be.

Visit the author’s website for a number of activities to accompany the book.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: The RoadRunner Press; first edition (September 26, 2017)
Language: English, Choctaw
ISBN-10: 1937054748
ISBN-13: 978-1937054748

The Survivor Tree-Oklahoma’s Symbol of Hope and Strength by Gaye Sanders and illustrated by Pamela Behrend

Winner  2018 Comstock Read Aloud Book Award
Winner  2018 Oklahoma Book Award
2019 Notable Social Studies Book
Finalist for 2018 Reading the West Book Award, Mountain and Plains Independent Booksellers Association

No one expected the American elm that grew near the Alfred P. Murrah building to survive after the bombing on April 19, 1995. But it did, earning its name The Survivor Tree.

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Publisher: The RoadRunner Press; first edition (November 1, 2017)
ISBN-10: 1937054497
ISBN-13: 978-1937054496

If you ever have suggestions for appropriate books, please let me know. It is a hobby of mine that often gets put on the back burner.

Blog Tour for All Eyes On Alexandra Starts Tomorrow #kidlit

I’m excited to announce that next week I’m going to be part of a blog tour announcing the new picture book, All Eyes on Alexandra by Anna Levine and illustrated by Chiara Pasqualotto.


What it’s about:

In All Eyes on Alexandra, young Alexandra Crane is terrible at following her family in their flying Vee. She can’t help it that the world is so full of interesting distracting sights! When it’s time for the Cranes to migrate to Israel’s Hula Valley for the winter, Alexandra is excited but her family is worried. Will Alexandra stay with the group, and what happens if a dangerous situation should arise? Might Alexandra—and the rest of the flock—discover that a bad follower can sometimes make a great leader?

Young readers learn about the real crane migration.

If you can’t wait for my post on December 14 to find out about it, be sure to visit the blogs on this week of the tour:

December 3rd @ The Muffin
What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Make sure you visit WOW’s blog and read an interview with the author and enter for a chance to win a copy of the book All Eyes on Alexandra.  –Direct link to post.

December 5th @ Cassandra’s Writing World
Visit Cassandra’s blog where she shares her thoughts about Anna Levine’s picture book All Eyes on Alexandra.

December 5th @ Break Even Books
Visit Erik’s blog where you can read Anna Levine’s guest post about how to jog your inspiration. I’ll be sure to catch that one.

December 7th @ Coffee with Lacey
Grab some coffee and visit Lacey’s blog where you can read her review of Anna Levine’s picture book All Eyes on Alexandra.

December 8th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog
Visit Anthony Avina’s blog where he joins in the fun of celebrating and shares information about Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra.

December 8th @ Christy’s Cozy Corners
Visit Christy’s blog and cozy up while you read her review of Anna Levine’s picture book All Eyes on Alexandra.

December 9th @ Coffee with Lacey
Visit Lacey’s blog again where you can read Anna Levine’s guest post about designing your ideal writing spot. – I need help with this, so I’m looking forward to it.

December 9th @ Christy’s Cozy Corner
Visit Christy’s blog where you can read Anna Levine’s blog post about how she decided to use crane’s in her story.

Can’t wait for more next week.

Thanks to blog tour manager Nicole Pyles for organizing this event and providing the materials.