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:
Linda Ashman is the author of more than 35 picture books including, most recently, ELLA WHO?, illustrated by Sara Sanchez (Sterling), HEY, COACH!, illustrated by Kim Smith (Sterling), HENRY WANTS MORE!, illustrated by Brooke Boynton Hughes (Random House) and ALL WE KNOW, illustrated by Jane Dyer (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.
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
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
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
Jennifer Black Reinhardt is an illustrator/author whose recent children’s book titles include: Blue Ethel (Margaret Ferguson Books, FSG)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: www.jbreinhardt.com
Tammi Sauer is a former teacher and library media specialist. She has sold 29 picture books to the following houses: Bloomsbury, Disney*Hyperion, HarperCollins, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, and Sterling. In addition to winning awards, her books have gone on to do great things. Both Chicken Dance and Nugget & Fang have been developed into musicals. Mostly Monsterly was selected for the 2012 Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories program. And Your Alien was recently released in Spanish, Korean, Italian, and 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
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, The Inventor’s Secret: What Thomas Edison Told Henry Ford (illustrated by Jennifer Black Reinhardt), The Music In George’s Head: George Gershwin Creates Rhapsody in Blue, and Out of School and Into Nature: The Anna Comstock Story (2017.) You can learn more about Suzanne and her books at: www.suzanneslade.com