Closing Wrapped In Foil Website and Blog Soon

Dear Followers,

I’m sad to announce that it’s time to close up this Wrapped in Foil blog and Reading Through the States website.

I’ve been blogging about children’s picture books since January 2009. A lot has changed over the years. Behind the scenes it has become more complicated and more expensive to maintain a website and blog. For example, each site needs an SSL certificate that costs around $150 for a domain plus subdomain per year. Given I have several blogs and websites, that begins to be costly.

I’m hoping to re-post some of my favorite Wrapped in Foil posts to a Blogger blogspot, Robie Gibson Writes.

You can also find my latest books and updates at Roberta Gibson Writes and It’s A Mystery blog.

I’ll also continue to post on Instagram.

Thank you for following all these years.

Happy Reading,

Roberta Gibson


#ReadYourWorld Arletis, Abuelo, and the Message in a Bottle

For Multicultural Book Day, we are featuring Arletis, abuelo, y el mensaje en la botella by Lea Aschkenas and illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu . The English version, Arletis, Abuelo, and the Message in a Bottle, will be available in April 2023.

Based on a true story. When a little girl from  rural Cuba who dreams of one day meeting people from other places finds a message in a bottle thrown by an old man from Sausalito, California, she writes back. Their ongoing communication bridges generational, cultural, and political boundaries to forge a lasting friendship.

The amazing (!) illustrations show rich details of life in rural Cuba. Especially sweet is one of the family snuggled together in bed.

The author’s note in the back contains photographs of both Arletis and the man she corresponds with, abuelo Esteban.

The back matter also includes a recipe using Cascos de toronja (pomelos).

Arletis, abuelo, y el mensaje en la botella is a heartwarming glimpse into the lives of children from different places. Expand your world by picking up a copy today!

About the Author: Lea Aschkenas has written book reviews and articles for Washington Post Book WorldLos Angeles Review of Books, and Salon. She is the author of a travel memoir, Es Cuba: Life and Love on an Illegal Island. She fell in love with Cuba and its people on her first trip to the island in the year 2000 and has been returning nearly every year since. Arletis, Abuelo, and the Message in a Bottle is her first book for children. Lea lives in Northern California where she works as a public librarian and teaches with the California Poets in the Schools program.

About the Illustrator: Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu are a husband and wife children’s book illustration team. They have worked on many assignments together, but have also illustrated numerous projects and books individually. They have won a number of awards for their books. Their work has been exhibited at the Bologna Book Fair and the Society of Illustrators’ “The Original Art” show. They live in New York City.

Download their 2023 Spring catalog HERE!

Star Bright Books Publishes children’s books in 33 languages

Related activity:

Investigate the cuisine of Cuba.


{Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2023 (1/26/22) is in its 10th year! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those books into the hands of young readers and educators.

Ten years in, MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves continues. Read about our Mission & History HERE.

MCBD 2023 is honored to be Supported by these Medallion Sponsors!

FOUNDER’S CIRCLE: Mia Wenjen (Pragmaticmom) and Valarie Budayr’s (

🏅 Super Platinum Sponsor: Author Deedee Cummings and Make A Way Media

🏅 Platinum Sponsors: Language Lizard Bilingual Books in 50+ Languages

🏅 Gold Sponsors: Interlink Books, Publisher Spotlight 

🏅 Silver Sponsors: Cardinal Rule Press,  Lee & Low,  Barefoot Books, Kimberly Gordon Biddle

🏅 Bronze Sponsors: Vivian Kirkfield, Patrice McLaurin , Quarto Group, Carole P. Roman, Star Bright Books,, Redfin Canada, Bay Equity Home Loans,, Title Forward, Brunella Costagliola Bronze Sponsor

Poster Artist:  Lisa Wee

Classroom Kit Poster: Led Bradshaw

MCBD 2023 is honored to be Supported by these Author Sponsors!

Authors: Sivan Hong, Amanda Hsiung-Blodgett, Josh Funk , Stephanie M. Wildman, Gwen Jackson, Diana Huang, Afsaneh Moradian, Kathleen Burkinshaw, Eugenia Chu, Jacqueline Jules, Alejandra Domenzain, Gaia Cornwall, Ruth Spiro, Evelyn Sanchez-Toledo, Tonya Duncan Ellis, Kiyanda and Benjamin Young/Twin Powers Books, Kimberly Lee , Tameka Fryer Brown, Talia Aikens-Nuñez, Marcia Argueta Mickelson, Kerry O’Malley Cerra, Jennie Liu, Heather Murphy Capps, Diane Wilson, Sun Yung Shin, Shannon Gibney, John Coy, Irene Latham and Charles Waters, Maritza M Mejia, Lois Petren, J.C. Kato and J.C.², CultureGroove, Lindsey Rowe Parker, Red Comet Press, Shifa Saltagi Safadi, Nancy Tupper Ling, Deborah Acio, Asha Hagood, Priya Kumari, Chris Singleton, Padma Venkatraman, Teresa Robeson, Valerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, Martha Seif Simpson, Rochelle Melander, Alva Sachs, Moni Ritchie Hadley, Gea Meijering, Frances Díaz Evans, Michael Genhart, Angela H. Dale, Courtney Kelly, Queenbe Monyei, Jamia Wilson, Charnaie Gordon, Debbie Ridpath Ohi, Debbie Zapata, Jacquetta Nammar Feldman, Natasha Yim, Tracy T. Agnelli, Kitty Feld, Anna Maria DiDio, Ko Kim, Shachi Kaushik, Shanequa Waison-Rattray, Susan S. El Yazgi, Shirim Shamsi

MCBD 2023 is Honored to be Supported by our CoHosts and Global CoHosts!

MCBD 2023 is Honored to be Supported by these Media Partners!

Check out MCBD’s Multicultural Books for Kids Pinterest Board!

📌 FREE RESOURCES from Multicultural Children’s Book Day

📌 Register for the MCBD Read Your World Virtual Party

Join us on Thursday, January 26, 2023, at 9 pm EST for the 10th annual Multicultural Children’s Book Day Read Your World Virtual Party!

This espically fun and fast-paced hour includes multicultural book discussions, addressing timely issues, diverse book recommendations, & reading ideas.

We will be giving away a 10-Book Bundle during the virtual party plus Bonus Prizes as well! *** US and Global participants welcome. **

Follow the hashtag #ReadYourWorld to join the conversation, and connect with like-minded parts, authors, publishers, educators, organizations, and librarians. We look forward to seeing you all on January 26, 2023, at our virtual party!

Picture Book Writers: January Means Storystorm!

What’s the best thing about the New Year?

It is time for Storystorm at Tara Lazar’s blog!

Storystorm is one month of inspirational blog posts to help children’s book writers generate new story ideas. Although to register and win prizes you must sign up during January, the posts are available all year around. Hop on over any time you need a creativity boost. And be sure to check out posts from previous years as well.

Are you going to take part in 2023?

Big Bear and Little Fish @LernerBooks

Wishing a “Big” happy book birthday for Sandra Nickel’s newest picture book Big Bear and Little Fish, illustrated by Il Sung Na.

Big Bear wants to win a teddy bear at the carnival, but instead she ends up with Little Fish. She has very fixed ideas about what Little Fish can be and do, and she doesn’t think Little Fish can “measure up” as a friend. Will Little Fish be able to change her mind?

The illustrations are full of subtle delightful details. Children will probably notice some of them, like the fact Little Fish has books in her fish bowl (a lovely nod to books and reading). Perhaps less obvious are the changes in size of Big Bear and Little Fish from spread to spread, which shows “Big” and “Little” can be relative.  To me, the vegetation outside Big Bear’s house resembles seaweed shapes. Is that to emphasize that Big Bear and Little Fish’s environments are not that different?  Let me know if it struck you, too.

All in all, Big Bear and Little Fish is a gentle and very timely reminder that friends may come in unexpected packages. Share a copy with a new friend today!


Activity Suggestions:

Visit Sandra Nickel’s Resources page for a Big-Bear-sized collection of activity sheets to accompany the book.

Sandra Nickel is an award-winning author of picture books. She is honored to be the winner of a Christopher Award, the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators Crystal Kite Award, a two-time winner of the Katherine Paterson Prize for picture books, and a finalist for the Golden Kite Award for Nonfiction for Younger Readers. She holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and has presented workshops on writing for children and young adults throughout Europe and the United States. When at home in Switzerland, Sandra loves ambling and rambling and eating carrot muffins just as much as Bear and Fish do. To learn more about Sandra, visit her fabulous website at

Il Sung Na was born in Seoul, South Korea. In 2001, he moved to London to pursue a BFA in Illustration and Animation at Kingston University, where he discovered a passion for children’s books. He completed his MFA Illustration Practice at MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art) in 2015. Il Sung has illustrated several books including Wild Peace, My Tree, and ZZZZ: A Book of Sleep. Currently based in Kansas City, Il Sung teaches illustration courses at KCAI (Kansas City Art Institute) and works on new books.
Instagram: @ilsungna

Reading age ‏ : ‎ 4 – 8 years
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Carolrhoda Books ® (September 6, 2022)
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1728417171
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1728417172

This book was provided by the publisher for review purposes. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.