Don't Blow Your Top! by Ame Dyckman and Abhi Alwar

Happy, happy Friday! I'm DOUBLE SUPER excited to welcome Ame Dyckman and Abhi Alwar back to Watch. Connect. Read.! They stopped by finish my sentence. We discussed Don't Blow Your Top!, Abhi's illustrations, volcanoes, book cannons, and more. I wrote the words in purple, Abhi wrote the words in black, and Ame wrote the words in green. Thank you, Ame and Abhi! 

Don’t Blow Your Top!’s cover is my favorite cover I’ve worked on! During the cover process, I made many different versions with different layouts, lettering, and colors, so I’m very thankful for the direction and input from the wonderful team throughout! (Huge thanks to Rae, Patti-Ann, and Ken!) I so love the way it turned out!

Ame Dyckman’s manuscript for Don’t Blow Your Top is so dang sweet! As soon as I read it, I knew I wanted to be a part of this project. It was very relatable! We all have those not-so-great moments of losing it, and I loved that Ame weaved in three simple steps to de-escalate those reactive feelings at the moment of “eruption”. And I love that Ame made sure to include that even when it does happen, you’ve just got to “shake it off”. It made me think… this book definitely does not just apply to kids!

Volcanoes are incredible forces of nature!! I had a great time researching them (watched some interesting volcano documentaries!), and as I started drawing them as characters, it was fun to imagine them with very expressive personalities. Considering the language we use around big displays of emotion (erupting, bubbling, exploding, etc), it felt really natural that we use volcanoes to explore these themes!

Abhi Alwar’s illustrations for Don’t Blow Your Top! are HAPPINESS FOR YOUR EYEBALLS! They’re VIBRANT, ENERGETIC, and completely UNIQUE! The colors GLOW, the settings are GORGEOUS, and they make you feel like you opened a door to a fantastical tropical vacation! The facial expressions and emotions of Big Volcano (the parent/guardian/teacher) and Little Volcano (the child/student) are HILARIOUS and EMOTIONALLY-TRUE, and Abhi’s charming final-page illustration WILL make you “AWWW!” out loud! (It gets me EVERY time!) I love-love-LOVE ALL of Abhi’s DBYT illustrations and this incredible cover, and I’m so lucky to get to work with Abhi and the DBYT Team: editor Ken Geist, designer Rae Crawford, design supervisor Patti Ann Harris, publicist Lia Ferrone, and the whole fabulous Scholastic crew!

Don’t Blow Your Top! tells the story of Big Volcano and Little Volcano, enjoying a beautiful day together in Paradise. All is calm until something unexpected happens: BONK! A wacky parrot drops a coconut RIGHT on Little Volcano’s crater! Little Volcano heats up, but a quick-thinking Big Volcano shares how to simmer down: breathe, count, and think happy thoughts. Calm is restored! But when something unexpected happens AGAIN, will Little Volcano remember and be able to keep their temper? Or will they—



Even more importantly, will they be able to talk it out, shake it off, and RETURN to their beautiful day together?

We hope readers of ALL ages will laugh with, learn from, and love our characters—and keep them in mind before, during, and after emotional eruptions of their own. (Mr. Schu, did I mention this book is semi-autobiographical? Like Little Volcano… I’m working on it! HA!)

School Library Month SHOULD have televised parades, confetti, and Book Cannons. (Fine. PAPERBACK Book Cannons.) But if you don’t have the blueprints (or insurance coverage) to build your own School Libraries are Awesome Book Cannon, you can celebrate by:

Volunteering an hour or two in your local school library.

Donating a book or materials from your local school library’s wish list.

Simply THANKING school librarians for the tremendous difference they make!

Strong school libraries help grow interested students, and interested students embrace learning, research, creativity… and sometimes, even grow up to be children’s authors themselves!

GRATEFUL children’s authors.


(Breathe, Ame. Count. Think happy thoughts… WHEW!)

Thanks so much for having us, Mr. Schu! Thanks for reading, everybody! Don’t Blow Your Top!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Congratulations, Ame and Abhi! 

Look for Don't Blow Your Top! on October 17, 2023. 


Popular Posts