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?


  1. Okay, how can I wait so long to get my hands on this book? Will be adding this to my wonderful collection. And love the kangaroo and joey with their little mouths in an 0.

  2. Looks like another charming book illustrated by Lauren! :)

  3. Can't wait to share this book with my students.

  4. Love the concept! Can't wait to share it with my students!

  5. The illustrations are wonderful! Thank you for sharing some of your creative process. I wonder, since yawns are contagious if making these illustration made you more tired than usual? And if you illustrated a book on caffeine, would you finish the illustrations in half the time of Yawn's. ;-D

    I look forward to reading this book, and also checking out your website. Hopefully you'll share more of the nuts and bolts process of making your art.


  6. This looks like a sweet book! Would love to add it to my collection.


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