New Year, New Books

Every year over the holidays my Mom-in-Law picks picture books to gift from a wishlist, and I love that feeling of starting a new year with a new stack of books. Among them this year are:

Shakespeare’s ROMEO & JULIET, retold by Anthea Bell and illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger.
The annual work of Lisbeth Zwerger is a staple for my bookshelf, and her art never fails to inspire me. Shakespeare feels like a natural, yet new direction for her illustrations, and Anthea Bell has done a nice job of re-working the text as an introduction to a young audience, and deals with the tragic ending in a creative and direct way.
(To hear more gushing about Zwerger’s work, visit my earlier post).


Some Writer! The Story of E.B. White, written and illustrated by Melissa Sweet.
Melissa Sweet is the champion of illustrating for non-fiction and picture book biography, so how amazing is it to see her illustrate and write (!) a long-form, 176-page story book bio of E.B. White? I can only imagine what a huge undertaking this was for her, and it’s as luscious and layered as her work for previous books. Melissa Sweet is some storyteller! I hope we get to see more and more highly illustrated books in longer formats, such as this one.


The Music in George’s Head: George Gershwin Creates Rhapsody in Blue, written by Suzanne Slade with art by Stacy Innerst.
You might think this is a bit biased because Suzanne Slade is one of our bloggers here at Picture Book Builders, and yes, it was already introduced in this previous post . . . but I can’t say enough good things about this book! Not only are Stacy Innerst’s paintings a perfect match to Suzanne’s text, but both are also a perfect match to Gershwin. Who knew that a picture book could embody music in such a way? The whole package–writing, type design, and compositions–moves to the beat of Rhapsody in Blue.
A total winner.


Thanks to my Mom-in-Law for these sweet and inspiring gifts, and hurrah to more picture book making and reading in 2017!



Eliza Wheeler

Eliza Wheeler is the author-illustrator of MISS MAPLE’S SEEDS (Penguin), which debuted on the New York Times Best Seller list. She also illustrated Holly Black’s Newbery Honor winning novel DOLL BONES (Simon & Schuster), Pat Zietlow Miller’s picture book WHEREVER YOU GO (Little Brown), Mara Rockliff’s picture book THE GRUDGE KEEPER (Peachtree), and Tricia Springstubb's new middle grade series CODY (Candlewick). Eliza received the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Grand Prize Award for best portfolio at the 2011 SCBWI National Conference. Eliza is a northern Wisconsin native currently living with her husband in Los Angeles, California. See her work at


  1. All gorgeous books! Love your mom-in-law’s gifting from a list of picture books. 🙂

  2. Nice! They all look fantastic!

  3. Cool books! I’ll be looking for them!

  4. I loved both Some Writer & The Music in George’s Head.

    Lizbeth’s illustrations are always lovely. Will look for her Romeo & Juliet 🙂

  5. What wonderful gifts! And many thanks for sharing. I will definitely look for these treasures!

  6. Your Mom-in-Law has great taste!

  7. Love these selections and look forward to taking them in.

  8. Both great choices.

  9. Three gems. Sounds like your mom-in-law is a gem, too. 🙂

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