Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Now, those of you that know me know that I am all about Johnny Appleseed and have been for a long time. So I am especially pleased to announce the release/book birthday of my new picture book biography, SEED BY SEED: THE LEGEND AND LEGACY OF JOHN “APPLESEED” CHAPMAN, illustrated by the great and mighty Lynne Rae Perkins.

Tall buildings, stores, and parking lots.
Buses and cars speeding by.
Red lights and green lights and yellow lights and white lights.
Our country is hard and electrical and moving.
But it was not always this way.
Once it was a tangle,
A tangle,
A tangle,
Of roots and branches and wide tree trunks…
And in this quiet, tree-bough-tangled world,
The world before the cement was poured
And the lights turned on,
There lived a man of his time:
John Chapman, better known
As Johnny Appleseed…

He never drove a car
Or sent a basketball flying through a hoop.
He never acted in front of a camera.
He never wore a medal.
He grew apples, and offered them to the pioneers heading west.
But wait. So what?
A farmer. Why should we remember today,
More than two hundred years later,
And call him a hero?

Besides being a president of my own private chapter of the Johnny Appleseed Fan Club, I had an ulterior motive for writing SEED BY SEED. As an elementary teacher and a K-8 school librarian, I was having a really hard time finding a book about Johnny Appleseed that contained what I wanted to share about him. My go-to was Aliki’s charmer, THE STORY OF JOHNNY APPLESEED , which gave a straightforward story of Chapman’s legend, including clear pictures of covered wagons and straightforward text that allowed me to put Chapman’s life in a historical context (albeit with some explanation behind stereotypical book treatment of the Native Americans). I also love and use Reeve Lindbergh’s JOHNNY APPLESEED, verse flanked by helpful map endpapers. Let's face it, there wasn't any shortage of Johnny Appleseed books.

But what I was really looking for was a book that not only walked through the narrative of John Chapman’s storied life, but one that would make the legend of Johnny Appleseed relevant to the modern, urban readers in the Chicago Public Schools, the children with whom I was reading. The question wasn't "who was Johnny Appleseed?"  The question was, "Why should we care who he was?"  I wanted a book that made readers love Johnny Appleseed, be inspired by him and want to emulate his example, even over the distance of history. I had that experience, and I wanted to share it.  So the first thing I did in approaching SEED BY SEED was think, what is it about John Chapman that transcends time? What about him touches me in both a secular way and a spiritual way, and how can that been written about so it will touch someone else?

So I tried to write a book that mirrored what I teach. And when I teach about Johnny Appleseed, I distill the main ideas of his life into “five footsteps,” or ways he lived by example, which are enumerated in the book:

Use what you have.
Share what you have.
Respect nature.
Try to make peace where there is war.
You can reach your destination by taking small steps.

I use the idea of footsteps to suggest that Chapman laid a path for us to follow, both as Americans and as citizens of the world. Each footstep can be discussed, as they are in the book, in the context of Chapman’s biography, but they can also be discussed in the context of the child’s own experience. When has the child shared, or made do, or persevered, bit by bit? These relatable points make John Chapman a real person and a relevant model today, a mentor, a hero that belongs to them! I want children to see that, hey, it’s not just the people who we see on screens that can help to set us on our path. There are so many people in history that can do that for us.  Children can research and read about their own historical figures, and determine what “footsteps” they have left for us to fill. And as a teacher, who am I kidding? Johnny's Five Footsteps also make for a very nice bulletin board concept; I put one up every year. Post a link to a picture of your own original "Five Footstep" bulletin board in the comments section of this post by September 12th, 2012, and you'll be entered in a drawing for an autographed copy of SEED BY SEED inscribed for your classroom library, though everyone who sends a picture will get an autographed bookplate!

Another aspect of SEED BY SEED I am very excited about has to do with the idea of a legend. What’s fact in a story, and what’s fiction? Is it true that John Chapman donned a tin pot on his head, slept in the same log as a bear, was visited by angels? John Chapman as a historical figure is an enigma. Many books even for grown-ups haggle over what’s real and what is hyperbole. I have been investigating John Chapman for years, and a selected list of resources is at the beginning of the book. One that really interested me especially in my research was an article from the November, 1871 issue of Harper’s Magazine, “Johnny Appleseed, a Pioneer Hero,” because it was more of a primary source, with accounts given by people who might have actually crossed paths with him…might have. I love that Johnny’s story inspires so much scrutiny. Even in reviews for this book thus far, there seems to be an emphasis on fact-checking and argument, and I love it. It’s just another aspect that lends relevancy to the modern age, when we should be check-double-checking facts, and assessing credibility of sources. Good heavens, that warms the coddles of my little librarian heart! I hope SEED BY SEED will be used to help children explore these skills, and I imagine that read in conjunction with Deborah Hopkinson’s wonderful book ABE LINCOLN CROSSES A CREEK: A TALL, THIN TALE, it should inspire some serious discussion and critical thinking across the grade levels about how history might be revised, and where the seed of truth rests in storytelling.

One person who really did her homework was Lynne Rae Perkins. She writes about her process in creating pictures for SEED BY SEED here, and you can look at some of the finished illustrations here. Thank you, Lynne Rae, for bringing this tribute to life!  Though I know she is most famous for her Newbery-award winning CRISS-CROSS, I fell in love with her illustrations in SNOW MUSIC and THE BROKEN CAT. I heard her speak many years ago, and was very much in awe of the gravity she afforded each detail and decision in her books. For SEED BY SEED, her pictures bridge the gap between now and then with a bit of Narnia-like time travel magic, just what I would have hoped, starting and ending on a modern note, with a window into the pioneer past in between. I was especially thrilled and sighing out loud that she chose a model who reminded her of work by the great Barbara Cooney, especially since I always wondered why Madame Cooney never wrote a book about Johnny Appleseed, it seemed like such a perfect match (and MISS RUMPHIUS seemed related to Johnny as a distant aunt, anyway). Did you know, illustrators and authors don’t usually communicate directly in the creation of a book?  So it was a special delight to realize we were on the “same page.” If I may put on my reviewer’s hat (or tin pot, as the case may be), I was also so enraptured by her mixed media approach. Most show-stopping is her embroidered double-page spread speckled with ripe fruit. My personal favorite in the whole book is the painting on wood of two hands outstretched, a banner for “try to make peace where there is war.” Her diverse use of frames, spreads and headings makes me happy from a teacherly Common-Apple-Core point of view, because I know that I could/would/will use it to help children recognize visual cues for attacking nonfiction. Of course, I don’t think Lynne Rae intended that. She’s just a natural, just like Johnny. A perfect pairing.

The back page of SEED BY SEED has suggestions for a celebration, “A Johnny Appleseed Anniversary,” and of course, a how-to for apple pie, Johnny’s favorite dessert, which I make religiously on his birthday, September 26th. Because, with all respect to my very fine husband, I am in love with Johnny Appleseed. Johnny Appleseed is my historical boyfriend; he could be my Daguerreotype Boyfriend, except there are no photos taken of him, just a few drawings. No matter. In my heart and mind’s eye, I know just how he is: from his grungy Phish-show-esque bare feet to his gait, tilted either from navigating gnarly roots underfoot or hard cider. I see the rectangular lump in his shirt, where he is carrying his copy of Swedenborg, or part of it. I see his smile, thin and chapped and wrapped in his grizzly beard, and his eyes, weary from the reflection of river water and worry over the latest rough exchange with family or hard news from one warring side or another, and yet still with a glint borne of the distracting delight of the sight of a tree, heavy with apples, that took root first under his hand, or better yet, a sapling, swaying jauntily on the back of a wagon bed heading west. I see you, Johnny, and I feel you, and I dedicate SEED BY SEED to all that is true to your memory and to your invention. I know you, and I want everyone to know you, Johnny Appleseed, especially now, when we need you and your footsteps so much!

I wrote this book because Johnny Appleseed is my American hero. He changed the landscape of our country by planting seeds every day, and he inspires me to think what seed I can plant every day that might, likewise, change the landscape of my country. For me, that seed is read-aloud to children.  And now, as the last page of SEED BY SEED asks, as Johnny’s example provokes:

What seed will you plant?

Illustration of Johnny Appleseed from the Ohio Historical Society, posted on Ohio History Central.
Monument, Richland Historical Society.
PlanetEsme.com linoleum print courtesy of Jim Pollock at PollockPrints.com.
Links are provided for informational use.  Don't forget to
support your local bookseller.
More Esmé stuff at www.planetesme.com.

Monday, July 09, 2012


DRAGONS LOVE TACOS by Adam Rubin, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri (Dial)

Dragons love tacos.  Of course they do.  Who doesn't?  Just be sure not to serve them any spicy taco toppings.  You won't like them once they've had spicy taco toppings.  Though Rubin's THOSE DARN SQUIRRELS! is still my funny bone's favorite, congratulations are still in order to the author for writing the best cause-and-effect book since Laura Joffe Numeroff's IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE, and kudos to his muse for delivering the title that has every children's book author slapping their forehead and bemoaning, "wish I'd-a thought of that." The other great, great thing about this book is that you will inevitably be inspired to throw a taco party after reading it. Invitations welcome. (4 and up)

Also of interest:
CHICKS AND SALSA by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Paulette Bogan (Bloomsbury).

Links are provided for informational use.  Don't forget to
support your local bookseller.
More Esmé stuff at www.planetesme.com.

Sunday, July 08, 2012


BON APPETIT!: THE DELICIOUS LIFE OF JULIA CHILD by Jessie Hartland (Schwartz & Wade)

When I first opened this book, I thought, "Dommage! Ca, ce n'est pas bon pour à haute voix," which, if my hackneyed recollection of high school French is correct, probably means "dang it, this isn't good for reading aloud." The handwritten pages are splayed with text veering from handwritten cursive to print, information boxed off helter-skelter and doodle-y artwork plopped down at will with text squeezed in around it.  If I didn't know better, I would have thought I was looking over my notes from one of our teacher's meetings.   Yes, I am aware that crazy, swirly lettering that makes a flipping concrete poem out of three-fourths of everything is trés trés chic (oh, thanks a million, Lauren Child), but librarians everywhere already have a hard enough time reading sideways, without creative people deviating from the road map of conventional page layouts and fonts, thanks anyway.


But if it is not initially a great read-aloud, it is a superior read a-quiet.  Pages packed to distraction with lively art and action are as hard to stop consuming as the buttery sole menuiere served in Rouen to Julia Child, revealed in the book as a transformative meal on the road to sharing her love of the cuisine through cookbooks and television. Three things about this book are especially delicious: 1) not only does this book document well the hard work and serendipity that made Julia Child a culinary icon, it captures a freewheeling, spontaneous and joyful effervescence that is hard not to trust as a good reflection of the book's subject and 2) it also really shows, apart from being a gourmande extraordinaire, what an amazing world traveler and adventurer Julia Child was, especially for the time in which she lived.  The bottom of the pages serving as a sort of passport for readers to check the geography of Julia's latest chapter. Most of all, 3), this book takes a subject and a story, full of editors and travel and falling in love and a double-page play-by-play of the creation of a galantine in aspic, which might be a bit sophisticated (sluggish?) for the picture-book palate, mais non, Hartland deftly seasons it to age-appropriate taste. Fans of Maira Kalman's boxy, folksy, stylized art and Marjorie Priceman's propensity for twirly-whirlies will find Ms. Hartland's style trés charmant, and being among those fans, I concur. I loved Julia's affection for cats told wordlessly in the illustrations, the coquettish backward-facing eyeballing between Julia and her husband/beau, and most of all, Julia Child's quote: "Don't apologize for your cooking mistakes.  It is what it is."  That page alone, and certainly that lesson, is worth twice the price of the book. 

I was wrong to wrinkle my nose at what I initially saw being served. If you release expectations of a conventional picture book read-aloud biography and approach it more as a graphic novel, all cupboards will open for you.  And while reading to one's self is probably the preferred mode here, don't abandon all hope of group sharing; just as Julia Child had to make recipes over and over to discover the very best way to do her art, it may take a little practice to get the lay of the pages' landscapes and achieve a signature perfection at storytime.  Worth any extra effort by readers, this book is an inspiring homage to more than a master chef, but a master at being alive.  Both children and adults alike will undoubtedly come away with some dreamy aspiration:  "hey, I would like to throw a party...I would like to travel...I would like to be a spy...I would like to write a book..."  Just remember, Julia did it all.  Thanks for the reminder, Jessie Hartland.  Bibliographies, links and leads comprise backmatter/dessert.  Yum. 

Also of interest:
MINETTE'S FEAST: THE DELICIOUS STORY OF JULIA CHILD AND HER CAT by Susanna Reich, illustrated by Amy Bates (Abrams).

Links are provided for informational use.  Don't forget to
support your local bookseller.
More Esmé stuff at www.planetesme.com.

Saturday, July 07, 2012


Book du Jour:
THE OBSTINATE PEN by Frank W. Dormer (Henry Holt)
As the heart wants what it wants, the pen writes what it writes, and it isn't always very nice. It tells a traffic cop to give the perpetrator a smooch, or be a yam-headed organ grinder. It points out an aspiring author's big nose, and an heiress' warts. It is not until the pen is found by a different kind of artist that it manifests a different kind of voice. In a few choice words and simple pictures, this seriously funny book speaks very honest volumes about the artistic process, or at least what happens to a dream deferred, you yam-headed organ grinders. OOopsy! Already a fan of this author's debut, SOCKSQUATCH, this latest is equally stellar for storytime; read it and laugh. Also good for teaching little kids the word "obstinate."  High-reaching vocabulary aficionados William Steig and Fancy Nancy would be proud.  (6 and up)

Also of interest:
The obstinate pen's cousin,
THE PENCIL by Allen Ahlberg, illustrated by Bruce Ingman (Candlewick).

Speaking of obstinate pens and accommodating pencils, thank you for your patience as I temporarily fell off posting on my own Planet this year, working full-time (ha ha!  That's putting it lightly!) as a Chicago Public School teacher/school librarian, and finishing my master's degree in Library and Information Science from UIUC.  As my dear friend Diane put it, "now you're not a common law librarian, you finally got that piece of paper everyone cares so much about."  Perhaps I should write a children's book, The Elusive Paper.  Perhaps not.  Probably not.  Not. But I will try at least to tap The Overtired Keyboard more often, and catch up with some Books du Jour; descriptions may be brief, but at least you'll have a few lovely new read-aloud leads.  Yours truly.

Links are provided for informational use.  Don't forget to
support your local bookseller.
More Esmé stuff at www.planetesme.com.

Friday, July 06, 2012


Happy book birthday to you,
happy book birthday to you.
happy book birthday to you!

I am so pleased and delighted to share with you my latest picture book, IT'S TIME FOR PRESCHOOL, illustrated by Sue Rama (Greenwillow). If you browse the pages, you'll see what truly genius job Sue Rama did in bringing the sort of colorful supersaturation of new experience to the pages.  My hope above all was that the artwork would look "juicy," with the kind of expressive abandon that might be splayed on a tempera-covered easel...I had hoped that anyone looking at the art might be able to practically smell the wood chips in the guinea pig's cage. I also hoped the pictures would allow every child who read our book to visually identify with the preschool scene, and feel like they would be a welcomed part of it. Kind of a tall order.  Rama nailed it. 

It's called It's Time for Preschool because it is, in fact, structurally very focused on the idea of time, which is so novel and fundamental to newbies on the planet.  One of the great accomplishments of any preschooler, I think, is adjusting many new transitions that have to be made within the structure of school, and becoming cognizant of and learning to trust the idea of time passing, as children look forward to "what comes next," activities and time with friends, the special delights of each season, and being apart from people they love for a while before reconvening at the end of the day.  I think my favorite spread in the book is for "circle time," which Rama cunningly arranged almost like a wheel...around and around it all goes, the seasons as well as the turns we take between each other, listening and talking.

In writing this book, I tried to keep a conversational tone, so that the child feels they are being taken by the hand by a new best friend, a young and more experienced guide eager to share all the parts of this magical new land to which they have been led.  I tried to listen to and capture the inherent musicality of the early childhood classroom in creating the text:  the cadence runs from the joyful staccato shouts of the playground to the internal rhyming hum of a class running well at all the learning stations, to the out-and-out sing-song of the teacher, leading us from one part of the day to the next.  I tried to encourage reassurances that I know to be important to small children, such as that someone will always come and pick them up, and that they will know where the potty will be located if they need to use it, and what to do when the day departs from routine, whether because of a field trip or a fire drill.

It's Time for Preschool is a longer book.  I knew it would be, going in, because my editor specifically asked me to create something that would walk, not run, though child's day, giving enough detail to truly prepare, excite, and relieve its audience.  Even though I knew that might take a little more text than might be customary for an early childhood book, I didn't sweat it because I kept thinking of the great Rosemary Wells' EMILY'S FIRST 100 DAYS OF SCHOOL, which is mammoth at two pounds, sixty-four pages, and really pretty hard to even "do" in a single sitting. But it is comprehensive, and I remembered how when my own son was little, it was nice to have a book that covered all the bases.  Further, I felt like Wells says and says and says what she wants to say about this little bunny-person's experience, until it's all been fully said.   There's something really whole about that, an uninterrupted sharing between author and readers, a case in which "more is more"rings truer than the skimpier "less is more" credo.  Another person whom I think was very good at measuring how long to take to say things to children based on what he had to say and not on any grown-up marketing or formula was Fred Rogers, one of my heroes and one of the people to whom the book is dedicated (the other being Josie Carey).  So I didn't worry about the book being long, I worried about it being whole, and really written for it's intended audience.  And I think it is.

I created this book with the benefit of my experiences as both a teacher and a parent with a child who used to be very little (though goodness knows, when I look at him, he is always that little boy...much to his now-teenage chagrin).   I am an elementary educator, and from that perspective, preschool for a long time seemed like a developmental period that goes by so fast and happens so early, the "little ones" might forget what we teach them.  Now, after a little more exposure and training, I realize that early childhood is indeed ultimately forgettable, just the same way that all day long, we might forget that there is blood flowing through our bodies.  Our experiences in early childhood are just like the blood in our veins:  we carry it with us all the time, and it drives what we do and who we are, and definitely how we approach others and how capable we are of seeing ourselves as a part of a wider world.  I have to say a few words of thanks to a few grown-up friends who taught me what I know about the younger end of the teaching spectrum and informed my approach to this book: Isabel Baker, an expert in children's literature for the very young, and independent bookseller through The Book Vine, and the patient and exemplary models at School for Little Children, who taught my son, and later, Baker Demonstration School, both in Evanston, Illinois.
Since I worked at Baker for a while and it was my first hands-on experience in early education, I was mentored and scaffolded there by several great teachers, and one of them, Carolyn Tripp (since retired), became a particular inspiration.  I still have dreams about Carolyn's beautiful classroom, full of live animals, including a gentle tarantula named Sarah and a huge tortoise that used to follow the children out to the playground and dig in the sand with them.  If you wanted to find Ms. Tripp, you would have to duck your head under the clotheslines of drying art and past the tots in aprons at the water table, and squint for a moment to distinguish her from the children; she was always at eye level with them, sitting at a table on a low, low chair, dusting glue with glitter or mashing clay or counting raisins on cookies alongside them, a leader but also a partner in their joys and discoveries. I was so excited when I saw Sue Rama's illustrations, and they matched the jubilant, invitational spirit of Carolyn's classroom, and the classrooms of so many dedicated teachers.
You can find helpful hints for teachers created by Carolyn on the back of the It's Time for Preschool poster likely available at the Greenwillow booth at NAEYC, and the book itself contains hints for parents with children entering preschool, written by me.  I hope these are helpful, and that the book will be an occasion to have a leisurely conversation with someone small about their questions and experiences surrounding school, or used by teachers as a welcoming tool.  It's time for reading! 
Links are provided for informational use.  Don't forget to support your local bookseller. More Esmé stuff at www.planetesme.com.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Hello, friends! Catching up a bit as I am still finding a balance between blogging, mom-ming, grad school, cake-frosting and being a full-time public school teacher librarian, but I haven't forgotten our fun and am busy compiling a list of this year's best.  Meanwhile, I can't resist sharing my picks for the 2011 American Library Association's Newbery and Caldecott Awards, the "Oscars" of the children's book world, to be announced tomorrow morning. Here's where I am laying my bets:

WITH A NAME LIKE LOVE by first-time author Tess Hilmo (Farrar, Straus and Giroux).  how exciting it would be for a mystery to win, a well-done sample of the genre that children will enjoy, but at the same time, fitting into the quirky, small-town, girl-centric character-driven mold that spelled success for past winners like Susan Patron's THE HIGHER POWER OF LUCKY and Kate DiCamillo's beloved BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE.

The muy populare THE GIRL WHO CIRCUMNAVIGATED FAIRYLAND IN A SHIP OF HER OWN MAKING by Catherynne Valente, illustrated by Ana Juan (Feiwel and Friends), an imaginative quest bringing together the classic flavor and imaginative casting found in The Phantom Tollbooth and Alice and The Wizard of Oz, but with a modern sensibility and erudite sauciness that might tickle the fancy of a team of librarians.

But girls, girls, girls.  How about giving another gender some play, namely,

MY NAME IS NOT EASY by Debby Dahl Edwardson (Masrhall Cavendish). Inspired by her husband's childhood, this is a stirring narrative of an Iñupiaq boy discriminated against at boarding school, told with the prowess, drama, and emotional insight that hearkens back to Louis Sachar's HOLES and situations described in the mighty autobiography by Ednah New Rider Weber, RATTLESNAKE MESA. What a great opportunity it would be for classrooms to discuss Native America in a civil rights context, and to discover a chapter of history all too recent and all too unknown. Whether it wins or not, we should be adding it to our collections and our conversations.

A number of books that have been getting a lot of buzz, and garnered a following through the year. Brian Selznick has been a deserving golden boy of children's books, enjoying recent popular success with his INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET, and fast on its heels was this year's equally formidable WONDERSTRUCK,  about a deaf girl's perceptions of the end of the silent film era. Selznick's thematic love of the movies and reinvention of the book form continues! Other hotties are Franny Billingsley's high fantasy CHIME,  which will likely at least take a Printz award for Young Adult Fiction; Gary D. Schmidt who often creates intermediate/young adult hybrid books has won many silver medals for his work (LIZZIE BRIGHT AND THE BUCKMINSTER BOY THE WEDNESDAY WARS) but may yet take the gold for OKAY FOR NOW; and Colin Meloy's WILDWOOD,
another nod to classic fantasy as Portland, Oregon serves as a portal to the netherworld of The Impassable Wilderness, and is a beautiful tome to hold and to read.

I have fingers and toes crossed for one of my favorites of the year, the beautifully written and poignant prose-poem about a girl who journeys from Saigon during the Vietnam War to Birmingham, Alabama,  INSIDE OUT AND BACK AGAIN by Thanhha La (HarperCollins) (which already has received a National Book Award nod).  I always hope that some poetry or nonfiction takes the Newbery (how about this year's WON TON, by Lee Wardlaw; I have yet to meet someone who doesn't love it or like it a lot); departures from fiction doesn't always happen with the Newbery, but it's always interesting when it does (and there's always the Sibert Award for outstanding nonfiction, and one of my favorite prizes). 

As for the Caldecott Award, my personal favorite as far as jaw-dropping-gorgeousness was BROTHER SUN, SISTER MOON: ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI'S CANTICLE OF THE ANIMALS (Chronicle) reimagined by Katherine Paterson and brought to life in the paper-cut illustrations of Pamela Dalton, an artistic feat which seems almost super-human, the meticulous-labor-of-love likes of which I have not seen since Robert Sabuda's WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ (a pop-up book which should have gotten a Caldecott but was probably considered a novelty). Hopefully Dalton's unusual efforts will not be overlooked.

But then, there are a lot of picture book veterans pulling out the big guns:   Marla Frazee's STARS is a favorite to win, being that she is a bit overdue for a Caldecott, as is Arthur Geisert (ICE) though I'm sure all the artists sweat (albeit admiringly) when the masterful Chris Van Allsburg QUEEN OF THE FALLS) or Maurice Sendak (BUMBLE-ARDY) have new offerings. Then again, Jon Klassen's I WANT MY HAT BACK has a lot of fans, though its rather abrupt naturalistic finish lines might leave it a cult favorite. In a year of stand-outs, I have a suspicion this year's winner could be a sleeper, and I can't wait to wake up and find out whose dream came true.

Certainment, two of the very best illustrated books of 2011 were FAIRLY FAIRY TALES illustrated by Elisa Chavarri, a stylish and eye-popping work which sadly came out too early in 2011 to be properly remembered when awards rolled around, and Jennifer Plecas's slam-dunk in THE BASKET BALL, probably too pink to take the gold, but still a picture party that I know many little girls will be so happy to attend. Luckily we're all such good sports!  A special thank you to these illustrators who made this past year extra special for me, and congratulations to all the authors and illustrators who had works published this year.  Medals or not, we win every time a child opens a book!  Happy reading!

Links are provided for informational use. Don't forget to
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More Esmé stuff at www.planetesme.com.


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