More Upcoming Books I Love

I’m a huge fan of these titles coming to bookshelves in Spring of 2023 from Penguin Random House Canada and Tundra Books! I highly recommend them all.

Title: Banana
Author: Zoey Abbott

Zoey Abbott’s hilarious and heartwarming tale of a child whose father becomes obsessed with a banana and shirks all of his previously beloved fatherly behaviors is sure to please. A stand-in for technology (or a relationship with anything that gets in the way of father-child interactions), the banana slowly takes over the father’s attention until the child has no choice but to get rid of it with the funniest of means and reclaim her father’s affections. Coming March 2023!

Title: The Care and Keeping of Grandmas
Author: Jennifer Mook-Sang
Illustrator: Yong Ling Kang

Jennifer Mook-Sang and illustrator Yong Ling Sang have created a stunning picture book about caring for grandmas as they experience change. With language usually reserved for plants, our protagonist tells about how they cared for their grandma when she came to live with their family. The story and illustrations are charming and unexpected in the best of ways. Coming April 2023!

Title: What Does Little Crocodile Say at the Beach?
Author: Eva Montanari

Who needs all of the Little Crocodile books? We all do! Sure thrill, this latest Eva Montanari tale (What Does Little Crocodile Say and What Does Little Crocodile Say at the Park) takes Little Crocodile to the beach and camping. It’s full of delightful read-aloud noises and sounds and engaging illustrations. This storylady laughed right out loud when she discovered what Little Crocodile finally says at the beach! Coming March 2023.

Title: The Song That Called Them Home
Author: David A. Robertson
Illustrator: Maya McKibbin

Another stunning example of David A. Robertson’s powerful storytelling and yet another reason to own everything he writes. With engaging illustrations from Maya McKibbin, this intriguing and compelling tale pulls the reader into the world of two grandchildren who find themselves lost and at the mercy of the Memekwesewak (“little people”) after their Moshom falls asleep at the water’s edge. Will they be forever lost in the music of the Memekwesewak or will their Grandfather call them home with a more alluring song? Coming April 2023 from Penguin Random House Canada/Tundra straight to your local storylady’s bookshelf.

ARCs from NetGalley.

Books I Love: Sidney, the Lonely Cloud

Title: Sidney the Lonely Cloud
Author: Tim Hopgood
Publisher: Flyaway Books

Another knockout from Flyaway Books! Tim Hopgood’s glorious rainbow of a picture book follows a cloud named Sidney on their journey to belonging. Who will finally welcome this lonely cloud? Oh, Sidney, I want to hug you! Full of feeling and compassion, “Sidney the Lonely Cloud” will be a great read aloud. Coming to bookstores October 18th! I can’t wait to welcome Sidney to the Library!

ARC: NetGalley

Books I Love: The Coat

Title: The Coat
Author: Séverine Vidal
Publisher: Flyaway Books

I’m a fan of everything coming out of Flyaway Books lately and “The Coat” is no exception! A story about anticipation, big heartedness, and seeing people differently than others do, Séverine Vidal’s emotional tale leads the reader through growing anticipation of when the protagonist, Elise, will receive a red coat as a hand-me-down from her sister. But what will Elise do with the coat when she finally receives this gift? Charmingly illustrated by Louis Thomas, this heartwarming story and images will leave readers knowing a little more about the true nature of giving when it starts in the heart. A must have picture book for starting conversations about homelessness.

Today is book birthday of “The Coat!” Coming soon to the Lightbulb Heart library!

ARC from NetGalley

“What if Fancy Cat is a Musical?”

Exactly seven months ago today on January 11, 2022, that was the question posed to me by Sid Ryan Eilers, co-artistic director of Aeris Körper and my glorious collaborator on Fancy Cat. While working on a grant for Fancy Cat, Sid was listening to music Raphael Roter had composed to underscore scene 1 (for the November 2021 development workshop) and was inspired; hence: “What if Fancy Cat is a musical?” I was equal parts thrilled by the question and terrified, but immediately started writing songs – something I thought I’d never ever ever (ever) do again. I wrote Fancy’s theme (“Too Much”), a song for their bullies (“Why Can’t You Be Normal?”), and a reprise of “Too Much” for Fancy’s caregiver, ZaZa. I’m currently working on a solo for ZaZa to accompany a nightmare sequence where they confront their father-figure about their own messaging of “too much.” (or is it a duet? *shrug*)

So, here’s a small taste of my process from winter/spring 2022. “Too Much” is the first song Fancy sings after they start internalizing the messages of “too much” they receive from teachers, classmates, and schoolbus drivers. Fancy is a non-binary human child I’ve been pretty much in love with since Sid brought the original idea to me and I started writing the script and accompanying picture book in March 2021. Like everything Fancy Cat, the music is still in process, with orchestrations to come from the beautiful mind of Raphael.

This mp3 is from February 2022 and was the first thing I sent to Sid after the musical prompt:

“Too Much” in February 2022

And the lyrics as they currently stand in August 2022:

🎵 I wear my culottes, they say “You can’t wear a dress!”
I splash in puddles, they say “Don’t make such a mess!”
I’m too much. It makes my skin feel tight.
Too much. When will I be just right?
I climb in trees, they grumble, judge and frown,
I waltz in gym class, they say “What a foolish clown!”
I shimmy on the suspension bridge and shake everyone down.
I’m too much. When will I be okay?
Too much. It ruins every day.
When will they finally see?
When can I be just me and not too much?
Just…me. 🎵

I’ll be honest: I feel pretty vulnerable sharing my voice and Voice here. Sid and I both received messages of “too much” when we were children and it’s been a lifelong struggle for us to shrug them off and learn to celebrate what makes us each unique. I don’t think we’re alone in that fight and that’s why Fancy Cat exists. We hope that each child and caregiver who experiences our little love letter will come away feeling seen and start on their own healing paths together.

I’m so thankful to Sid for asking the question and for being one of the best collaborators I could ever ask for. I’m also grateful to the rest of the Fancy Cat people who’ve joined us on this journey: Karen Ancheta, Jackie Chau, Dedra McDermott, Raphael Roter, Alten Wilmot, Shannon Kitchings, Mayumi Lashbrook, Jody Boston, Mikaela Demers, and Carlyn Rhamey. I love them all with my whole fancy heart.

Books I Love: One Thursday Afternoon

Title: One Thursday Afternoon
Author: Barbara DiLorenzo
Publisher: Flyaway Books
Storylady Says: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Read Aloud? NO (topic suited to one-on-one so the child can ask questions; in-depth conversation)
Tags: trauma, school lockdown, grandparents, mindfulness, art

Wondering how to start having conversations with kids about the after effects of school shooter lockdown drills? Barbara DiLorenzo has created a beautiful book to help start the discussion. The illustrations are gentle in both color and depiction. The modeled behavior and emotional availability of the granddad character are helpful for integrating creative mindfulness behaviors and talking with children about our own fears, while recognizing differences in what the child might be experiencing. 

Highly Recommended. This book will make its way into the Lightbulb Heart Lending Library as soon as it becomes available in September 2022.  

ARC provided by NetGalley.