Monday, August 31, 2015

That's (Not) Mine Blog Tour

Happy Monday! I'm thrilled to welcome back husband-and-wife team Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant to celebrate That's (Not) Mine, the follow-up to their Geisel Award-winning picture book, You Are (Not) Small. I wrote the words in orange, and they wrote the words in black. Thank you, Anna and Christopher! 

The two fuzzy creatures are back! This time...

Anna: …they fight about who owns a chair. Once again, it is about perspective: they are both right, and they are both wrong.

Chris: ...their quarreling leads to some funny physical antics that reminded me of the many “disagreements” that I would have with my brother when I was growing up.

That ‘s (Not) Mine’s illustrations...

Anna: ….make the text SING. As in our previous book, Chris’ illustrations elevate the story and the humor a hundred-fold.

Chris: ...were a joy to create. Anna wrote so many wonderful, visual opportunities for me to explore that it made my job easy.

Download the curriculum guide for That's (Not) Mine. 
The best thing...

Anna:…about That’s (Not) Mine is that I created it with Chris and received solid notes from both daughters.

Chris: is that these characters are like part of our family. Seeing them appear at the end of my brush again was like having a family reunion.

The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award...
Anna:…was one of the most surprising and overwhelming gifts I’ve ever received, not just because of the medal itself, but because it has allowed us to meet so many people, of all ages, that we probably would not have. I will always be grateful to the 2015 Geisel Committee for selecting our first book and expanding our world.

Chris: ...was a thrilling life moment and was beyond anything I could have hoped for. Like Anna said, it was the people that we met—so many supportive librarians and readers that made it so special. I’m forever grateful to the Geisel Committee for giving us this experience.
Click here to read their Geisel Award acceptance speech. 
Illustrator and designer Sara Gillingham

Chris:...was lovely to work with.

Picture books are...

Anna:…are small, simple treasures that can change the world.
Chris: ...a child’s very first art museum.

Publication Date: Spring 2016, HarperCollins.
Mr. Schu, you should have asked us...

Anna:…what our favorite candy is. Mine is Mike and Ikes. When I was living in L.A. and Chris was in New York, he once sent me a care package that contained every single variety of Mike and Ikes. That’s when I knew I had to marry him.

Chris: Do you ever put hidden Easter eggs in your illustrations? I do! I often put my daughters, Kate and Lily, in my cartoons and also hide the first initials of their names in our books.

One lucky winner will receive a copy of That's (Not) Mine plus an adorable full-color poster.

Rules for the Giveaway

1. It will run from 8/31 to 11:59 PM on 9/2.

2. You must be at least 13.

3. If you win, please pay it forward.

Anna, a native New Yorker, grew up believing everything was hers until one day she realized it was her brother’s, too. She received a master’s degree in fine arts from the USC School of Cinematic Arts, where the visual storyteller in her was awakened, forever changing the way she saw art, life, and everything in between. In addition to writing, Anna loves to read, travel, laugh, eat, and nap. Visit her online at

Christopher is a cartoonist and illustrator. His work can regularly be seen in the New Yorker. His cartoons are syndicated worldwide and have been featured on the Today ShowMeet the Press, and World News Tonight. Christopher likes to share everything but his personal space on the subway. Visit him online at

Tues, Sept 1 Jean Little Library
Wed, Sept 2Teach Mentor Texts
Thurs, Sept 3Kid Lit Frenzy
Fri, Sept 4Unleashing Readers
Mon, Sept 7 The Children's Book Review
Tues, Sept 8proseandkahn
Wed, Sept 9The Library Fanatic
Thurs, Sept 10Sharpread
Fri, Sept 11Bluestocking Thinking

Sunday, August 30, 2015

FLOAT by Daniel Miyares

Hi, Daniel! Welcome to Watch. Connect. Read. As you’ve read on social media, I am WILD about FLOAT. I keep buying copies when I visit bookshops to give away to teachers and librarians. I want this book in as many schools and libraries as possible. 

Daniel Miyares: Wow, what a way to open! The support you and so many others have shown for Float has been quite overwhelming. You’re a class act Mr. Schu. I can’t thank you enough.

No, I cannot thank you enough for creating Float.

Daniel Miyares: When I’m working on a new book I’m usually just focused on how do I tell this story in the most personal and well-crafted way I can. Now to have it out in the world and see and hear people’s reactions to it has been amazing. Everyone brings something different to the story. I love that.

It really shows. Thank you!

What planted the seed for Float?

Daniel Miyares: I was on a plane flying home from my Aunt’s funeral. It had been raining all day and I did this small ink sketch of a boy floating a paper boat in a puddle. I wondered what happened before that moment and drew that. Then I wondered what happened immediately after and drew that. I went on like this throughout the flight until I found the beginning and the end of the story. I’ve always used drawing as a way to quietly make sense of the world around me. Not sure if that’s what I was doing then, but it was a very introspective time for me.
Let’s pretend we’re on Twitter right now. Please book talk Float using 140 characters or fewer. Good luck!

Daniel Miyares: Float is a story about a boy, his paper boat and a rainy day adventure- a wordless portrait of play, imagination, risk, resiliency and joy.

Bravo! A+

Congratulations on becoming a paper boat captain! How many paper boats do you think you’ve folded since you started working on Float? :) 

Daniel Miyares: You know when I started out as a paper boat deckhand, I never imagined I might someday captain one of my own. I’ve totally lost count of how many boats I’ve folded.  Let’s call it a flotilla’s worth at least.

Well, I need to start practicing.

Were you an avid writer and drawer growing up? What did 9-year-old Daniel love to read and draw?

Daniel Miyares: I would say I was an avid drawer growing up, but a secret writer. I drew and painted constantly from as early as I can remember. No scrap of paper or wall for that matter was safe in my house.

In elementary school, I had a teacher that introduced us to Shel Silverstein and my head exploded. I couldn’t believe that we were allowed to read this stuff in school…and the drawings were so wacky! There were kids with fingers stuck up their noses and heads where backsides should be. It felt like home. I also collected a lot of comic books and had a subscription to Mad Magazine. Spy vs Spy was a favorite.

My thing was making up characters and imagining all the adventures they had. I would write to create stories around my characters, but I didn’t really share those with anyone. Later on I got into writing poetry but I didn’t share that either. It wasn’t until much later on and I started crafting picture book ideas to pitch to publishers that I really started putting my writing out there. It took me a long time to connect the dots and feel confident in doing it.

Please complete these sentence starters:

Reading is the only super power that can be taught and learned. My daughter is learning to read right now and I get to see firsthand how much confidence she’s gaining through the process. It’s a great reminder to me just how wild and precious a thing reading is.

Picture books are catalysts for some of the most lasting discoveries a child will ever make. This is why I might also say – Making picture books is an honor and a great responsibility. There is something about the format that demands excellence from the maker and attention from the reader in equal proportion.

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me...What’s on the horizon?

I just finished up two new picture books. One is a collaboration with Kwame Alexander and NorthSouth Books called Surf’s Up. In it two frog friends have every intention of making it to the beach to catch a wave, but the book one of them is reading ends up taking them both on a paradigm shifting detour neither will forget. It comes out February of 2016. The other is my next book with Simon & Schuster titled Bring Me A Rock! I’m the author and illustrator on this one. It’s about an over bearing megalomaniac insect king’s obsession and the tiny bug who saves the day. To be released Summer 2016.

John, I still can’t thank you enough for all the care and support you’ve shown Float and for the opportunity to talk about books with you and your readers. I’m learning that the books community is truly a heartfelt, insightful and generous group of folks. You’re a bright shining example of that.

Thank you, Daniel! You are a class act!

Borrow Float from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Happy Saturday, Mr. Sharp!

Hi, Mr. Sharp,

Happy Saturday! I look forward to celebrating young readers, books, authors, and more with you this fall! 

Enjoy every moment before you head back to school!

Your friend,


Please visit Mr. Sharp's blog to watch his video. 

Nana in the City by Lauren Castillo 

The Wild Ones by C. Alexander London 

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Cover Reveal for Twenty Yawns by Jane Smiley and Lauren Castillo

As the president of the Lauren Castillo Fan Club, I am honored to reveal the cover for her 2016 picture book with Jane Smiley, Twenty Yawns. Take it away, Lauren! 

It was such an honor to be asked to illustrate Pulitzer Prize winner Jane Smileys debut picture book, Twenty Yawns. When I first read the manuscript, I immediately imagined Southern California, and knew I would need to make a trip out there for some inspiration. Travel builds visual vocabulary, and whenever I go somewhere new it helps me grow as an artist. Little did I know taking on this project would prompt me to relocate to the West Coast for eight sunny months. I made all the illustrations for this book while living in a tiny beach house rental in North County San Diego. It was the first time I completed art for a book away from my studio. I took minimal supplies no drafting table! but I made it work. I sketched at the beach, in coffee shops, and on the floor of my little bungalow. It was a challenge, but a great one, which helped me realize just how important it is to get outside of my creative comfort zone. (A lesson Nana has been trying to teach me for a while :))

While the early part of the book takes place at the beach, the rest of the story happens in the cozy home of a little girl named Lucy, after a long day of beachy play. Both of Lucys parents have fallen asleep, but she is wide awake and feeling restless. One by one, she collects her furry friends and brings them to her bedroom to keep her company.  Once all are snuggled in bed, Lucy finally feels relaxed enough to drift off to sleep. 

For the cover image of the book I created a close-up of Lucy and her dear friends, tucked tight under the blankets right before the twentieth and final yawn of the story. This illustration makes me smile. And YAWN.

I hope youll keep an eye out for our sleepy little book at your local bookshop next spring! 

, Lauren

Twenty Yawns by Jane Smiley; illustrated by Lauren Castillo | Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Featuring lyrical text and beautiful illustrations, this bedtime tale from Pulitzer Prize winner Jane Smiley and Caldecott Honor recipient Lauren Castillo evokes the splashy fun of the beach and the quietude of a moonlit night, with twenty yawns sprinkled in for children to discover and count.
As her mom reads a bedtime story, Lucy drifts off. But later, she awakens in a dark, still room, and everything looks mysterious. How will she ever get back to sleep?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Last Week Told Through Vines


I love my book club!


Caldecott Medal winner Paul O. Zelinsky designed a beautiful Little Free Library for me.


Every Crayon Needs a Place to Call Home


Teacher-librarian Sara Ralph sent me this WONDERFUL tote bag designed by Lauren Castillo for my birthday. THANK YOU, SARA!


"McToad likes Thursdays." -Tom Angleberger, from McToad Mows Tiny Island


What do you think they are waiting for? 


Earth, Wind, and Fire 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Today's #Kidlit Sticker (2015-2016 School Year Gallery)

The 2015-2016 school year is going to be filled with many changes and exciting adventures. 

1. I am no longer the teacher-librarian at Brook Forest Elementary School. 

2. I will miss seeing my students every day, but I am honored and excited to serve as the Ambassador of School Libraries for Scholastic Book Fairs. This new role will allow me to work with students, teachers, and librarians around the country. 

3. I am teaching Materials for Children (eCollege course) for Rutgers University. w00t! w00t! 

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that every school day I wear a different #kidlit sticker close to my heart. There is no reason for me to give up this tradition, right? Absolutely not! 

Once the sticker is created, printed, and attached to my body, I will add it to this blog entry. Sound good? Perfect! 

Sticker #1

Sunny Side Up by Jennifer Holm; illustrated by Matthew Holm 

Francine Poulet Meets the Ghost Raccoon by Kate DiCamillo; illustrated by Chris Van Dusen

The Wild Ones by C. Alexander London 

Sticker #2

Waiting by Kevin Henkes | Publication Date: September 1, 2015

          Sticker (button) #3

Little Robot by Ben Hatke

Sticker #4

Be a Friend by Salina Yoon | Publication Date: January 5, 2016

Sticker #5

Float by Daniel Miyares 

Sticker #6

Waiting by Kevin Henkes 

Penguin's Big Adventure by Salina Yoon 

The Nutcracker Comes to America: How Three Ballet-Loving Brothers Created a Holiday Tradition by Chris Barton; illustrated by Cathy Gendron

Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast by Josh Funk; illustrated by Brendan Kearney

A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano

Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton by Don Tate

Guys Read: Terrifying Tales -  edited by Jon Scieska

McToad Mows Tiny Island by Tom Angleberger; illustrated by John Hendrix 

Two Mice by Sergio Ruzzier 

Hilo: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winick

On the Ball by Brian Pinkney 

That's (Not) Mine by Anna Kang; illustrated by Christopher Weyant 

Sticker #7

September is Library Card Sign-Up Month 

Sticker #8

Happy birthday, Anita Silvey

Sticker #9

The Freckleface Strawberry series by Julianne Moore and LeUyen Pham

Sticker #10

  • Becky Albertalli, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins Children's Books)
  • M.T. AndersonSymphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad (Candlewick Press)
  • Ali BenjaminThe Thing About Jellyfish (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
  • Rae Carson, Walk on Earth a Stranger (Greenwillow/HarperCollins Children's Books)
  • Gary Paulsen, This Side of Wild (Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing)
  • Laura RubyBone Gap (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins Children's Books)
  • Ilyasah Shabazz, with Kekla Magoon, X: A Novel (Candlewick Press)
  • Steve SheinkinMost Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War (Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan Children's Publishing Group)
  • Neal ShustermanChallenger Deep (HarperCollins Children's Books)
  • Noelle StevensonNimona (HarperTeen/HarperCollins Children's Books)


Sticker #11

Lauren Castillo's Hedgehog and I wish you a HAPPY DOT DAY! 

Sticker #12

October 13 is International Ivy and Bean Day

Sticker #13

R is for Rocket

Sticker #14

Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo 

Sticker #15

Happy book birthday to Crenshaw

Sticker #16

Monkey: Not Ready for Kindergarten by Marc Brown

Sticker #17

The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste 

Sticker #18

Happy birthday, Harold!

Sticker (button) #19

"Spindiddly means better than awesome! I think it’s a word best used in context when you’re describing a friend, family member, or beloved pet. For example: My dog, Biscuit, is spindiddly." -Natalie Lloyd 
Sticker (button) #20

George by Alex Gino

Sticker (button) #21

Please, Open This Book! by Adam Lehrhaupt and Matthew Forsythe 

                  Sticker #22

Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman and Dan Yaccarino

   Sticker #23

Ivy and Bean 

 Sticker #24

The Marvels by Brian Selznick 

 Sticker (button) #25

The Doldrums by Nicholas Gannon 

 Sticker #26

"Reading is the fuel we need to grow our hearts and minds." -Matt de la Peña

 Sticker #27

Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick; illustrated by Sophie Blackall 

Sticker #28

Sticker #29

Sticker #30

Echo by Pam  Muñoz Ryan

Sticker (button) #31

Sticker #32

Have a happy Halloween tomorrow! 

                     Sticker #33

To the Sea  by Cale Atkinson 

  Sticker #34

Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book) by Julie Falatko; illustrated by Tim Miller 

 Sticker #35

Be a Friend by Salina Yoon

Sticker (button) #36

Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal; illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld 

Sticker #37


Sticker (button) #38

Sticker (button) #39

Tea Party Rules by Ame Dyckman and K.G. Campbell 

Sticker #40

Horrible Bear by Ame Dyckman; illustrated by Zachariah OHora 

Sticker (button) #41

Horrible Bear by Ame Dyckman; illustrated by Zachariah OHora 

Sticker #42

Happy book birthday to Chicken Lily!