Megan Dowd Lambert
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Dear Readers,

When it comes to the holiday season, I am a notorious last-minute shopper. One reason for this is that my teaching job at Simmons College is busiest at this time of year, with grading galore. In perhaps what is a teeny bit of grading procrastination, here is a sampling of book lists that may come in handy as you set out to do (or wrap up?!) your own picture book buying for the holidays.
stacks of picture books

November was Picture Book Month and on my Twitter account I did daily Whole Book Approach tweet threads about picture book art and design. Because I believe that we need diverse books (the link to the WNDB website is a treasure-trove of resources!), I was mindful of including titles by diverse authors and illustrators and am currently analyzing demographic percentages (more on that later).

The response I got to this project was tremendous, and this link to my blog will bring you to all 30 days of my Picture Book Month tweet thread links (you don't need a Twitter account to access them, just click). Scroll down to November 20 for a list of all 375 books I mentioned in this month-long project.

Need a shorter list of brand new picture books? Here's the Mock Caldecott list I'm using in my graduate course on picture books at Simmons, with 30 excellent titles published in 2016. Many will be under the tree for my kids this year, and here are five of my kids at one of our favorite independent bookstores, the Odyssey Bookshop, where I am sure I will do plenty of book buying this season.



If you don't already have them, or if you'd like to recommend them to others, click the book titles below for links t0 order signed copies of my books from the Shop at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art (mention if and how you'd like signings personalized when you order and I will pop over to The Carle to do this for you):

Reading Picture Books with Children by Megan Dowd Lambert

Reading Picture Books with Children: How to Shake Up Storytime and Get Kids Talking About What They See for the teachers and librarians in your life, and also for parents and other caregivers who read with children. "You've made reading a picture book for the umpteenth time not only tolerable but exciting!" one reader recently said to me.

A Crow of His Own, my 2016 Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor book, illustrated by David Hyde Costello. It's a barnyard tale about having the courage to be yourself with "wordplay to crow about," as none other than king-of-puns Norton Juster said in his blurb, below:

Norton Juster's blurb for A Crow of His Own

And last but not least, Real Sisters Pretend my newest picture book, illustrated by Nicole Tadgell and inspired by a loving conversation I overheard two of my daughters having about adoption after a stranger questioned whether they were “real sisters.” 

A reader of this book in my home state of Vermont recently gave me a tremendous gift when she wrote me this email (which she's since given permission to share):

Hi Megan,

I am an adoptive Mom with a 4 year old and 10 month old at home.  We talk adoption A LOT at home and both girls have open adoptions.  When my oldest came home from preschool two weeks ago she announced from the back seat that she could no longer play with her baby sister.  She explained to me that we were a white family and her sister was brown.  She told me that her friends at school told her they were not “real sisters” and that they shouldn’t play anymore.
I read every book about skin color we owned and started through our adoption collection but none of them addressed the “real” issue – that they WERE REAL SISTERS!  I found your book at our local library in Vermont.  We started to read it on our way home while I was pumping gas… we couldn’t wait to finish it.  This book was exactly what our family needed at exactly the right time.  I’m now getting the book for Christmas as well as a copy for my daughter’s classroom.  I have been invited in to read the book and discuss adoption.
Thank you!!

Nicole and I were so moved by this mother's note, and here's my blog post about receiving it, which includes a few other recommendations of picture books about diverse family constellations.
And, finally, in the spirit of giving, here's a link to donate to Reader to Reader, a nonprofit organization based in my town "dedicated to expanding literacy and learning opportunities for the nation's most chronically underserved and vulnerable communities, including inner-city schools, Native American reservations, and poor rural towns." I offer this suggestion knowing that there are many, many worthy causes and organizations to support (among them We Need Diverse Books and The Carle, already mentioned in this email, and Embrace Race, where I am a Staff Blogger. Here's my latest piece in case you missed it: Living with This).
Please pass this email along to others who might be interested, and check out my website and social media accounts for many other updates and upcoming events. My spring and summer are booking up quickly, but let me know if you'd like information about author visits, speaking engagements, or professional development trainings.

Thanks, as always, for your support of my work. It means the world to me.





Copyright © 2016 Megan Dowd Lambert, All rights reserved.

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