Who we are, why we’re here

What goes into building a great picture book? Why is this one successful and that one … not? That’s what we’re here to explore – how one element of a picture book’s story or art manages to grab us or wow us or strike an emotional chord. We hope you’ll follow along and feel free to comment anytime. We are:

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Linda Ashman is the author of more than 30 picture books including, most recently, ROCK-A-BYE ROMP (Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House), HENRY WANTS MORE! (Random House) and ALL WE KNOW (HarperCollins).  She’s also the author of The Nuts and Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books, a “how to” handbook for picture book writers. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina with her husband, son, and two rascally dogs. For more, visit www.lindaashman.com.

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Kevan Atteberry is an illustrator/writer living in the Seattle area. He has designed and illustrated many things including award-winning children’s books. Among them are FRANKIE STEIN and FRANKIE STEIN STARTS SCHOOL, by Lola Schaefer, and TICKLE MONSTER and BOOGIE MONSTER, by Josie Bisset. His first authored picture book, BUNNIES!!!, came out in 2015 from Katherine Tegen Books, the follow up book, PUDDLES!!! came out in 2016. And yes, he illustrated them too. His next book, I LOVE YOU MORE THAN THE SMELL OF SWAMP GAS will be out in 2017. Up until now, Kevan’s biggest claim to fame is creating Clippy the paperclip helper in Microsoft Office which still annoys millions of people every day. Learn more here:  www.kevanatteberry.com

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Jill Esbaum is the author of eleven picture books. Her newest is If a T. Rex Crashes Your Birthday Party (Sterling). Her I Am Cow, Hear Me Moo! won a 2015 Crystal Kite from the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. Other books include Teeny Tiny Toady (Sterling), Elwood Bigfoot – Wanted:  Birdie Friends (Sterling), I Hatched! (Dial), Tom’s Tweet (Knopf), Stanza (HMHarcourt), To the Big Top (FSG), Estelle Takes a Bath (Holt), Ste-e-e-e-eamboat A-Comin’! (FSG), and Stink Soup (FSG). She also enjoys writing a variety of nonfiction books for National Geographic Kids. Jill lives on a farm in Iowa. Learn more at www.jillesbaum.com

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Pat Zietlow Miller wanted to be an author ever since a teacher read her square-dancing essay and said: “This is the first time a student paper has given me chills.” (Thanks, Mrs. Mueller! You rock!) Pat’s first book, Sophie’s Squash, was illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf and published by Schwartz & Wade. A sequel, Sophie’s Squash Go to School was released in 2016. Also out in the world are: Wherever You Go (from Little, Brown, illustrated by Eliza Wheeler); Sharing the Bread (from Schwartz & Wade, illustrated by Jill McElmurry); and The Quickest Kid in Clarksville (from Chronicle, illustrated by Frank Morrison). Books in process include: My Brother, the Duck (with Chronicle); Be Kind (with Roaring Brook Press, to be illustrated by Jen Hill);  Wide-Awake Bear (with HarperCollins, to be illustrated by Jean Kim); Remarkably You (with HarperCollins, to be illustrated by Patrice Barton); and Brave (with Little Brown, to be illustrated by Eliza Wheeler). Learn more at www.patzietlowmiller.com

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Jennifer Black Reinhardt is an illustrator/author whose recent children’s book titles include, Yaks Yak, Animal Word Pairs (Clarion), The Inventor’s Secret (Charlesbridge Publishing), Rabbi Benjamin’s Buttons (Charlesbridge Publishing), The Adventures of a South Pole Pig (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), and Footer Davis Probably is Crazy (Simon and Schuster). Her work often appears in Cricket, Baby Bug, Ask, and Spider magazines. Jennifer graduated with a BFA in Illustration from Carnegie Mellon University and currently lives in Iowa City, Iowa. For more about Jennifer:  http://www.jbreinhardt.com

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Tammi Sauer is a former teacher and library media specialist. She has sold 20 picture books to the following houses: Bloomsbury, Disney-Hyperion, HarperCollins, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Simon & Schuster, and Sterling. In addition to winning awards, her books have gone on to do great things. Both Cowboy Camp and Bawk & Roll have been developed into musicals. Mostly Monsterly was selected for the 2012 Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories program. And Me Want Pet! was recently released in French which makes her feel extra fancy. When Tammi is not reading or writing, she is most likely eating out or checking her email. Learn more about Tammi and her books at www.tammisauer.com

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Suzanne Slade is the author of more than 100 books–all nonfiction. A mechanical engineer by degree, she enjoys writing about science topics and fascinating, little-known facts about famous historical figures. Some of her recent picture books include:  Friends for Freedom, With Books and Bricks, and The Inventor’s Secret: What Thomas Edison Told Henry Ford (illustrated by Jennifer Black Reinhardt). Next up, The Music In George’s Head: George Gershwin Creates Rhapsody in Blue (2016, Calkins Creek.)  You can learn more about Suzanne and her books at: www.suzanneslade.com

Eliza Wheeler is an illustrator/author who grew up in northern Wisconsin in a family of artists and teachers. Her picture book, MISS MAPLE’S SEEDS (Penguin), debuted on the New York Times Best Seller list. Other books with her illustrations include JOHN RONALD’S DRAGONS: THE STORY OF J.R.R. TOLKIEN by Caroline McAlister (MacMillan), TELL ME A TATTOO STORY by Alison McGhee (Chronicle), WHEREVER YOU GO by Pat Zietlow Miller (Little Brown), THE LEFT-HANDED FATE by Kate Milford (MacMillan), and Holly Black’s Newbery Honor winning DOLL BONES (Simon & Schuster). Eliza received the SCBWI National Grand Prize Award for best portfolio in 2011. She currently lives with her husband in Los Angeles, California. See her work at www.wheelerstudio.com

40 Comments:

  1. So glad I found you! Yes, I do want to know why one PB is successful another, not. You are now in my favorites.

  2. Hello – wonderful resource! Is there a way to subscribe? I’m not a techy!

  3. What a great new blog! I look forward to learning so much from all of you! Congratulations!

  4. Hello!
    Are you guys willing to review? I have 3 newly published picture books on Amazon: Dress Up Day, Grandparents’ Day, and Zoo Day.

    Thanks!

    Tina Marie Kaht

  5. Oooh – what a find (thanks to Elaine). Following RIGHT now 😀 Thanks for sharing what you know with us learners 🙂

  6. What a wonderful thing you are doing here! It will be fascinating to hear your insights on creating picture books.

  7. Thanks, Vonna! Come back often. 🙂

  8. What a great resource! And, yes–please let us know when we can subscribe!

  9. You can subscribe now, Bonnie, from our home page. 🙂

  10. Wow, so glad you all are working on this blog. I am really looking forward to learning with you all; quite a stellar line up!

    Thank you,
    Todd Burleson

  11. Hooray! I found you, too! Looking forward to reading more posts.

  12. Thanks, Todd, and Patty, good to see you here! 🙂

  13. Thanks to Bonnie Adamson for letting us know about this site. As a writer of many unpublished picture books, I look forward to learning from the pros.

  14. Thanks for joining us, Sarah. 🙂

  15. If it’s about picture books, then I’m in! Just subscribed!

  16. Happy to have you here, Lauri!

  17. Megan Wagner Lloyd

    What fun! Linda Ashman’s RAIN! is one of my favorite recent picture books. Can’t wait to glean wisdom from you all!

  18. Subscribed and ready to learn! Yay! 🙂

  19. Welcome, Emma and Shar!

  20. Wow! I’m so glad you I found you all! I really look forward to this.

  21. Welcome, Anne!

  22. Wow, such a great group of writers and amazing insight! So glad I came across this 🙂

  23. So are we, Katrina. Welcome!

  24. Linda, I am so happy I discovered this site. I will visit often! Maybe ALL WE KNOW can be on here one day!

  25. So thrilled to have been given a heads up regarding this site. I love it! I will be back often.
    Karry

  26. I’m glad I stumbled upon your blog. As a fairly new children’s illustrator, this will provide some great guidance, wisdom, etc in what’s found in a good children’s book. Thanks so much!

  27. It was great to see at least 3 of you at the Wild Wild Midwest Conference! My first midwest conference after leaving Seattle. Miss you Kevan!

  28. So great to make those connections, Kathryn!

  29. Great website. I’m so glad I stumbled upon it. We love you, Jill!

  30. Thanks, Beth! You’ll find lots of gems here, and I’m not just talking about the books. 😉

  31. I’ve been meaning to jump on here for years. At last, joining your many fans!

  32. Happy you’ve joined us, Wendy! I used DON’T LICK THE DOG in a slideshow once when I was showing covers of books with terrific titles. 🙂

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