The beauty of “SHELTER” (and SYF winner announced)

There are a lot of wonderful and beautiful picture books about kindness, empathy, generosity, and forgiveness. The special thing about Shelter, by Céline Claire and Qin Leng is this is a seemingly simple story about all of those big, complicated emotions.

There is a huge storm approaching in the forest and the animals all prepare for it by hunkering down in their shelters with their stores of food. Two strangers approach and ask each family for shelter. Each turns them away, back into the cold night.

When the fox family’s den caves in they must go out into the storm and ask for help. They see a warm glow in the snow and follow the aroma of spice tea to the home of the strangers who they had turned away. The strangers offer forgiveness and kindness and welcome them into their shelter.

It’s hard to show inside interiors of animal homes while at the same time showing the changing climate outside of it. Qin Leng’s beautiful watercolor and ink illustrations move us in and out of environments by the clever use of light, blowing leaves, and moves us forward with each page turn.

Kids will be able to make the connection for inclusion by relating to both sides of the fence. Have they been the kid who was excluded from game the other’s started, or were they on the team that told the new child they couldn’t play?

This feels like a classic fable. Not preachy. Not in your face. But one that will warm your heart for a long time to come.


The winner of a signed art print and the book, Sometimes You Fly—- is Amanda Sincavage!

Congratulations!!!! If you can please email me through my website with your address and inscription I will send them out to you!





Thank you!


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Jennifer Black Reinhardt

Jennifer is the illustrator and author of several acclaimed picture books. Most recently is Always by My Side, 'A Stuffie Story', which she wrote and illustrated. She also is both the author and illustrator of Playing Possum, and Blue Ethel. Jennifer illustrated Gondra’s Treasure, written by Newbery award winner Linda Sue Park. As well as, Sometimes You Fly, by Newbery medalist, Katherine Applegate. She illustrated Yaks Yak, Animal Word Pairs by Linda Sue Park, The Inventor's Secret, What Thomas Edison Told Henry Ford, by Suzanne Slade, Rabbi Benjamin's Buttons, by Alice B. McGinty, and The Adventures of a South Pole Pig, by Chris Kurtz.


  1. This looks so warm and cozy. Love the illustrations!


    I want to jump into these illustrations. Gorgeous!

  3. Angie Quantrell

    I love this book! I’ve checked it out several times from the library. It’s one of those quiet, deep books. Gorgeous illustrations, too!

  4. I love this story, too. I’ve also read it several times. It’s one of my go to books when I am feeling blue.
    Thanks for getting the word out about it.

  5. I’m so going out today to find this gem!! 🙂

  6. This book looks amazing! Can’t wait to read it!

  7. Gorgeous.

  8. It’s a gorgeous book. Qin Leng is one of my favorite illustrators! That snow scene is so lovely. I especially love her art for Norman, Speak and the new Jane Austen book.

  9. I am off to order this beautiful (in so many ways) book! Thank you so much for sharing this gem with us.

  10. Thanks for this post. The story sounds beautiful!

  11. Beautiful book with an important message. Thanks for sharing!

  12. This is a book I checked out of the library to read for an assignment and read it over several times. I found myself wanting to re-read it so I checked out again and this time tasted, felt and experienced every word. It is truly even better the second time around. Love this work of art, both the words and illustrations!

  13. Beautiful, soft, inviting! Looks like a must read!

  14. This looks like a wonderful book. I can’t believe I haven’t read it yet.

  15. Love the illustrations!

  16. A timely book about inclusion and forgiveness. Showing what it is without telling or being didactic. I love it.

  17. This looks like the most perfect book for me!

  18. Patricia Nozell

    What a gorgeous book!

  19. LeeAnn Rizzuti

    Yes a very thoughtful book–one to start a conversation.

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