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:

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 19 picture books, with more on the way. Her newest is Stinkbird Has a Superpower (Putnam), the first of a new series illustrated by Bob Shea. Others include We Love Babies, Where’d My Jo Go?, Frog Boots, How to Grow a DinosaurFrankenbunny, If a T. Rex Crashes Your Birthday Party, Teeny Tiny Toady, Elwood Bigfoot – Wanted:  Birdie Friends, I Hatched! (Dial), and more. Her I Am Cow, Hear Me Moo! won a 2015 Crystal Kite from the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, and her books have been nominated for a number of state awards. She has also authored 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: Playing Possum (Clarion), Gondra’s Treasure (Clarion), Sometimes You Fly (Clarion), 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). 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, a former teacher and library media specialist, is a full-time children’s book author who presents at schools and conferences across the country. She has more than 30 published picture books and has many others on the way. Her books have received awards, earned starred reviews, made lists, been made into musicals, and been translated into many different languages. Most importantly, kids really like her books! To learn more about Tammi and her books, please visit tammisauer.com and follow her on Twitter at @SauerTammi.

Andrea Wang is the award-winning author of picture books The Nian Monster (Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature Honor), Magic Ramen (Sakura Medal, Freeman Book Award Honor), and Watercress (Boston Globe – Horn Book Honor Award, JLG Gold Standard Selection, seven starred reviews). The Many Meanings of Meilan, her debut MG novel, publishes in August 2021. Andrea’s work explores culture, creative thinking, and identity. She is also the author of seven non-fiction titles for the library and school market. Andrea holds an M.S. in Environmental Science and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing for Young People. She lives in Colorado with her family and pandemic pup, Tupelo. Learn more about Andrea and her books at andreaywang.com.

Sara Ackerman is the author of several forthcoming picture books including THE GABI THAT GIRMA WORE, co-authored with Fasika Adefris and illustrated by Netsanet Tesfay (Little, Brown, winter 2024) and NOT JUST THE DRIVER illustrated by Robert Neubecker (Beach Lane Books, spring 2024). She is an early childhood educator who lives in Brooklyn, NY right down the street from the library. Sara can be found at www.saraackerman.com and on Twitter at @sara_h_ackerman.

Rebecca Gardyn Levington Rebecca Gardyn Levington is a children’s book author, poet, and journalist with a particular penchant for penning both playful and poignant picture books and poems – primarily in rhyme. She is the author of BRAINSTORM!, WHATEVER COMES TOMORROW, and AFIKOMAN, WHERE’D YOU GO? A PASSOVER HIDE-AND-SEEK ADVENTURE, with seven additional rhyming picture books forthcoming, including LITTLE DREIDEL LEARNS TO SPIN (Scholastic, 9/3/24), WRITE HERE, WRITE NOW (Capstone, 1/1/25) and ALWAYS ME (HarperCollins, 4/15/25). Her award-winning poems and articles have appeared in numerous anthologies, newspapers, and magazines. She lives with her family in Summit, N.J., where she enjoys bouncing on a mini-trampoline, playing Mah Jongg, and eating chocolate-peanut butter ice cream (although not usually at the same time!). Find out more and sign up for Rebecca’s monthly newsletter where she answers subscriber questions and shares tips learned throughout her writing journey at www.RebeccaGardynLevington.com.

Our alumni:


  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.


    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.

  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. 🙂

  33. This is one of my favorite blogs! I use most of the books you review as mentor texts! Thank you for your reviews and interviews.

  34. Thanks, Mary!

  35. Hi,
    Just to let you know that the Home page of your site, and via the tab, currently comes up as an ‘access denied’ page.

  36. Hello! Great blog. Love it. How do you decide which books to review?

  37. Thanks, Anne! The books we talk about are simply stories we each find and admire, for one reason or another. Our goal is to highlight one story element we think is especially strong.

  38. I frequent your website. Thanks for the valuable information.

    I also blog about specific picture books every Friday at http://www.jeanmatthewhall.com

    I recently decided to use your “Our Latest Books” for my posts over the next 2-3 months, beginning this Friday. I would love to link back to this blog and/or your individual blogs/websites at the bottom of each post. Is that okay? Also, can you share your header jpg or other picture file with me so I can include it with each post.?


  39. Ooops! Would one of you consider writing a guest post for me about PBB? Thanks.

  40. Just saw this! I think I can safely speak for the group when I say that we’d love it if you included our books on your blog, Jean. Thank you! And yes, you may link back to our blog and websites. I think you can just copy and paste our headshots from this page. And sure, I’d be happy to do a guest post about PBB. Just email me anytime (through my website). -Jill

  41. Cynthia Levinson

    How do I subscribe to your blog?

  42. Somehow, I had missed this fantastic blog. Congratulations to the entire crew of PBB on reaching 5 fabulous years. I wish you many, many more.

  43. Help!

    I tried responding to Pat’s latest blog and kept getting bumped, saying that I “already send a reply with that message”

  44. Hi, I just bought Linda’s book on kindle – can’t wait to read it! I’m so happy to be a part of this community!

  45. We’re glad you found us, Amy!

  46. For a few yrs I received an email with this blog and loved the info you provide but a few months ago they stopped. I tried signing up again but I get an error message. Is it possible to add me to your mailing list again?

  47. I’d like to add a picture and last name to my posts – HELP! I am so not-techy.

  48. Linda! You once had a post on the web teaching authors how to write wordless picture books. In the past, I’ve sent a number of aspiring authors to your link. I can no longer find your link–has it been removed? Is there a chapter on this process in your Nuts & Bolts Guide?

  49. I Will have to get this fun Avocado book. My daughter-in-law is a registered dietician and she would love this along with one for myself.

  50. This blog is such a great resource! I’m hoping to get my book up and available in the next few days. Is there any way we could connect to get it featured? It is titled Jack the Unicorn.

  51. Christina Francine

    This is such a lovely and useful resource you provide. Do you take requests for picture book profiles?

  52. Writers of the same visions gather together is how I will describe this group of writers. I kept receiving your e-mails, but it is only now that I peep into it. Where o where have I been?

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