Author Spotlights

From the earliest stages of development, all children should feel confident in their own unique stories, and celebrating diversity is key to that goal. We believe storytellers are a cornerstone of childhood education and stories are the most powerful way to inspire young minds. Author Spotlights is about advocating for very talented children’s book authors who are creating stories that reflect all children. 

Some of our Advisory Team's favorite books.

Bee-bim Bop!

by Linda Sue ParkHo Baek Lee (Illustrator)

Bee-bim bop (the name translates as “mix-mix rice”) is a traditional Korean dish of rice topped, and then mixed, with meat and vegetables. In bouncy rhyming text, a hungry child tells about helping her mother make bee-bim bop: shopping, preparing ingredients, setting the table, and finally sitting down with her family to enjoy a favorite meal. The energy and enthusiasm of the young narrator are conveyed in the whimsical illustrations, which bring details from the artist’s childhood in Korea to his depiction of a modern Korean American family. Even young readers who aren’t familiar with the dish will recognize the pride that comes from helping Mama, the fun of mixing ingredients together in a bowl, and the pleasure of sharing delicious food.

The Name Jar

by Yangsook Choi

The new kid in school needs a new name! Or does she? Being the new kid in school is hard enough, but what about when nobody can pronounce your name? Having just moved from Korea, Unhei is anxious that American kids will like her. So instead of introducing herself on the first day of school, she tells the class that she will choose a name by the following week. Her new classmates are fascinated by this no-name girl and decide to help out by filling a glass jar with names for her to pick from. But while Unhei practices being a Suzy, Laura, or Amanda, one of her classmates comes to her neighborhood and discovers her real name and its special meaning. On the day of her name choosing, the name jar has mysteriously disappeared. Encouraged by her new friends, Unhei chooses her own Korean name and helps everyone pronounce it—Yoon-Hey.

Hair Love 

by Matthew A. Cherry (Author), Vashti Harrison  (Illustrator)

 

Tender and empowering, Hair Love is an ode to loving your natural hair -- and a celebration of daddies and daughters everywhere. "I love that Hair Love is highlighting the relationship between a Black father and daughter. Matthew leads the ranks of new creatives who are telling unique stories of the Black experience.

 

Zuri's hair has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way. Zuri knows it's beautiful. When Daddy steps in to style it for an extra special occasion, he has a lot to learn. But he LOVES his Zuri, and he'll do anything to make her -- and her hair -- happy.

Another

by Christian Robinson

With whimsical and colorful illustrations, this book leads through a flip-flop of perspective. The best part of this book is the illustrations, but considering there are no words, that isn't surprising. The artwork is simple yet hits every moment spot on and allows young listeners to dive into the world. The moments and things depicted are ones which most young listeners can easily identify with and connect to. It's fun to get lost in the scenes and try to discover what they mean. The little girl is super cute, and it's hard not to love her cat.

The Mitten

by Jan Brett

 

When Nicki drops his white mitten in the snow, he goes on without realizing that it is missing. One by one, woodland animals find it and crawl in; first, a curious mole, then a rabbit, a badger and others, each one larger than the last. Finally, a big brown bear is followed in by a tiny brown mouse and what happens next makes for a wonderfully funny climax.

I Like Myself! 

by Karen Beaumont  (Author), David Catrow (Illustrator)

High on energy and imagination, this ode to self-esteem encourages kids to appreciate everything about themselves--inside and out. Messy hair? Beaver breath? So what! Here's a little girl who knows what really matters.

Babies Come From Airports

by Erin Dealey (Author)

A diverse, kid’s-eye view of adoption, one special day, and familial love, Babies Come From Airports has a child-friendly rhyming text and lively and colorful illustrations filled with details. It’s a heartwarming adoption story for any and all kinds of families, steeped in love.

The Snowy Day

by Ezra Jack Keats

 

In this Caldecott Award-winning book, a small boy named Peter experiences the joy of a snowy day. First published in 1962, this now-classic book broke the color barrier in mainstream children’s publishing. The vivid and ageless illustrations and text, beloved by several generations of readers, have earned a place in the pantheon of great American children’s literature.

Where the Wild Things Are
by Maurice Sendak  (Author, Illustrator)

One night Max puts on his wolf suit and makes mischief of one kind and another, so his mother calls him 'Wild Thing' and sends him to bed without his supper. That night a forest begins to grow in Max's room and an ocean rushes by with a boat to take Max to the place where the wild things are. Max tames the wild things and crowns himself as their king, and then the wild rumpus begins! But when Max has sent the monsters to bed, and everything is quiet, he starts to feel lonely and realizes it is time to sail home to the place where someone loves him best of all. 

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone 

by J.K. Rowling  (Author), Mary GrandPré (Illustrator)

Harry Potter has no idea how famous he is. That's because he's being raised by his miserable aunt and uncle who are terrified Harry will learn that he's really a wizard, just as his parents were. But everything changes when Harry is summoned to attend an infamous school for wizards, and he begins to discover some clues about his illustrious birthright. From the surprising way he is greeted by a lovable giant, to the unique curriculum and colorful faculty at his unusual school, Harry finds himself drawn deep inside a mystical world he never knew existed and closer to his own noble destiny.

Flossie & the Fox

by Patricia McKissack (Author), 

Rachel Isadora (Illustrator)

 

A wily fox, notorious for stealing eggs, meets his match when he encounters a bold little girl in the woods who insists upon proof that he is a fox before she will be frightened.

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