Owls are Good at Keeping Secrets is now available in bookshops and online. I spent the past week in Toronto and there are now signed copies of the book available at Ella Minnow Books, Queen Books, Type Books, and the delightful Penguin Shop.

In the new year I will be doing events at La Petite Librairie Drawn & Quarterly in Montreal and Stories Bookshop & Storytelling Lab in Brooklyn.

I did an interview with Sonali Karnick for CBC Radio about the book that you can listen to here.

Scroll down for a profile of illustrator Jacob Grant. 


Creator Q & A with Jacob Grant

It was a real pleasure working with Jacob Grant on Owls Are Good at Keeping Secrets.  His art for this book is almost impossibly charming, and one of the things I most adore about it is how he captures small intimacies between parents and children in such a familiar way.

To celebrate our publication date this week, Jacob was good enough to answer a few questions for me and to share a glimpse at his work-in-progress, along with photos of his workspace and his family.

How did you end up working as a picture book creator?
As far back as I can remember, I've loved making art. I was constantly drawing through grade school, high school and eventually art school where I majored in graphic design. Graphic design proved to be a fine way to turn my BFA into a job with a paycheck, but was never satisfying as a creative outlet. So, I would draw in my free time. Nights and weekends were an opportunity to make something that felt meaningful. It was around this time that I thought it would be an interesting challenge to make a picture book, and maybe, just maybe, it could be my key to pursuing illustration as a full time job. That book was fairly bad. But I kept writing more stories and making more art, until eventually I made something a publisher was willing to publish.

What animal do you most identify with?
The noble and stubborn goat. When I was very little my parents lived way out in the country, and there they raised a small herd of goats. All of their names started with H, beginning with Heidi, and then Halley, and Harley, and Henny and so on. After my parents found a home closer to the city, they gave the majority of the herd to a neighbor, but two of the goats moved along with us. I was proud to have unusual pets like Heidi and Henny. To be honest, they didn’t do much besides loaf around and eat grass, but I adored them all the same.
Now whenever I see goats, at a petting zoo or otherwise, I always feel some affinity for them. I admire their curious and determined nature, their adorable desire to leap on top of objects, and their willingness to attempt eating just about anything. Nice beards even.

What are you working on now?
I recently finished the art for my follow-up to Bear’s Scare, which is currently titled, Bear Out There. In this new story, Bear ventures out of his tidy home and into the messy forest to help his friend Spider find a lost kite. As their search through the forest goes from bad to worse, Bear and Spider show readers that being a friend means being there for each other, no matter what. This new story will be on shelves in June 2019.
I’ve also just began illustrating a new picture book written by Susannah Lloyd, that involves mind-reading, a scientist, and farting elephants. It’s very serious stuff.

What was your favourite book as a child?
I adored many picture books as a child, but it’s difficult to pick one that would have been my absolute favorite above all others. I adored stories like Swimmy, Where The Wild Things Are, Gregory the Terrible Eater, and Stone Soup, (the version with the pigs). But after thinking more, the one picture book that feels especially significant would be the one that came from Jon Scieszka’s visit to my grade school in a semi-rural suburb outside of Cincinnati. The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales will always have a special stupid place in my heart.

What's the best thing about making books for children?
Children are simply the best audience you could ever ask for. Their curiosity and enthusiasm for the world around them never ceases to amaze or inspire me. Plus their books are loaded with art!  Do you ever think about how wonderful that is? That somewhere down the line we all agreed that children should be provided books that are brimming with beautiful imagery. For me, such a lush combination of words and images feels like storytelling at its finest.

Jacob's most recent books are Bear's Scare and Through with the Zoo. You can see more of his work here.


Owls are Good at Keeping Secrets | Book Trailer

Jacob Grant has made us this lovely trailer for our new book. Will be doing a little Q & A with Jacob here soon.

In the meantime, book is up for pre-order here from Random House (US), here from Tundra/Penguin Random House Canada, and here from Penguin Books Australia. Or from a fine bookseller near you.


Interview with New York City Children's Theater

Did an interview with the lovely people over at New York City Children's Theater this week about the upcoming stage show of This is Sadie. You can read it here. I'm planning a visit to NYC for opening week and so looking forward to seeing the show.

I managed to sneak in a plug for my book with Jacob Grant, Owls Are Good at Keeping Secrets, which is out next month. I think of it as the book that Sadie wrote.

I've been thinking about what a wild ride it has been since This is Sadie was published. One of the nicer things to happen was the fabulous notice the book received from Maria Russo in The New York Times

Reading this review for the first time was one of those rare moments when you can feel your life changing. So grateful to Julie Morstad and Tara Walker for making this book with me and to Jackie Kaiser for encouraging it into being.


Pre-order OWLS

Owls Are Good at Keeping Secrets, my new book with Jacob Grant is now available for pre-order.

We've just had our first review...and it's a good one!

One by one, this picture-book version of a getting-to-know-you game introduces obscure “facts” about each included animal. Each entry presents a large-font letter of the alphabet in upper- and lowercase followed by a sentence or two. For example, “Iguanas sometimes get homesick on sleepovers,” and “Jellyfish don’t care if you think they look funny when they dance.” Sometimes, the animals (which may as well be stand-ins for human children) even flip the traditional script, with dragons crying at happy endings, unicorns believing in themselves, or zebras wanting to be first for a change. Whether socially or in terms of self-awareness, the messages contained within each entry approximate universality. But even when O’Leary writes in absolutes, Grant’s illustrations sometimes include an animal or two who stray from the pack—a subtle celebration of diversity. The light sprinkle of visual and verbal humor keeps the book’s truisms from feeling stale. Readers may not connect with every animal, but they’ll likely see pieces of themselves (or people they know) here and there. The book’s dark cover gives it a nighttime feel, but Grant’s muted, stylized interior illustrations are surrounded by white space. Endpapers list the whole alphabet alongside hidden miniatures of each letter’s animal, inviting readers to make predictions before reading. Don’t let the owls keep this unusual book secret. It deserves to be shared. (Picture book. 3-6) . ~Kirkus Reviews
Owls Are Good at Keeping Secrets was edited by Maria Modugno and is published by Random House Kids and Tundra Books. It hits shelves on December 4.

More here:
Random House
Tundra Books
Penguin Australia


This is Sadie On-Stage in NYC

Thrilled that my book with Julie Morstad is being turned into a stage show by New York City Children's Theater.

What do you do when you get up before your parents on a Saturday morning? If you’re six-year-old Sadie, you take your favorite stuffed animal on a world-wide adventure, without ever leaving your bedroom!
From the company that brought you Ballerina Swan and the Nutcracker comes a new dance/theater show, based on the book by Sara O’Leary, that celebrates the power of imagination! 
Choreographed by Stephanie Klemons 
Scenario by Barbara Zinn Krieger

Playing at Theater Row, 410 West 42nd Street, NYC
March 30th - April 21st, 2019
Saturdays and Sundays at 11am and 2pm

Best for ages 3-8 | Tickets starting at $29.25 | Tickets on Sale Soon

More info here, including a sign-up to be notified when tickets go on sale.

This is Sadie is published by Tundra Books and is now available in both hardcover and board book editions.


A Family is a Family is a Family: Resources for Teachers and Librarians

A Family is a Family is a Family is available from Groundwood either in hardcover (fifth printing!) or in a digital version.

Groundwood has put together an educator's guide for the book. You can find it here.

They have also made a printable classroom poster available for digital download here.

There is an interactive read aloud with ideas for classroom use here. (Thank you, Mai).

Here's an interview I did with CBC Radio in Montreal when the book first came out. And here's a little profile of Qin Leng, who was an absolute joy to work with.

This book owes so much to our editor and publisher, Sheila Barry. Sheila is very much missed,,,by us and by many, many others. I wrote about her for Walrus Magazine here.

The book has been translated into French, Korean, Swedish, and Italian. It has also been picked up by Scholastic Book Club. 

My greatest joy is seeing online reviewers say things like "I wish this book had existed when I was a child" because that is precisely why I wrote it.


A New Sadie

This is Sadie was published nearly three years ago now but is getting a new life thanks to this board book edition from Tundra Books. I couldn't be more pleased. Working on this book with Julie Morstad was an utter joy and the thing that really convinced me that picture books were where my heart lay.

This is Sadie
 in board book is available now via these booksellers:
U.S.  Indiebound   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Powells 
Canada  Amazon.ca    McNally Robinson   Chapters Indigo
Also available through booksellers in Australia.


Bluebells & the magic of making a picture book

Pleased to chat with CBC Radio's Ainslie MacLellan about The Boy and the Blue Moon last weekend. Our talk is now up online and you can listen here.

Our conversation touched on enchantment and bluebells and magic. We talked about how illustrator Ashley Crowley lives in England and I live here in Canada and how strange it is to make something with someone you've never met. And about various references within the book's text and images to other books, particularly The Snowman by Raymond Briggs. And we talked about how much I'd like to go to England and visit a bluebell wood.

                                                       Ashley Crowley/Society6


The Boy and the Blue Moon

 The Boy and the Blue Moon is in stores now. And to celebrate I will be in a store next week!

And to celebrate our new book, illustrator Ashley Crowley has created some great merch over at his Society6 shop. 



"As magical as The Little Prince; as satisfying as Where the Wild Things Are."
                                                  Kirkus Reviews

Info on The Boy and The Blue Moon.

More about illustrator Ashley Crowley and his other books here.

Charming Officer Panda trailer, featuring Ash and his adorable son Frankie here.

And check out Ashley Crowley Illustration on Instagram.

Book publishes February 13, 2018 and is available for preorder now.

Indiebound   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Powells   Books-a-Million   Amazon.ca   Indigo   McNally Robinson


Sadie Board Book Up for Pre-Order

Celebrating a new edition for This is Sadie with a new edition Sadie doll!

As of March this year, you will be able to buy a board book edition of This is Sadie.
Smaller, cheaper, and very small-hand friendly!

This is a first board board book for me and I'm pretty thrilled. Celebrating by commissioning this Sadie doll. The doll--based on Julie Morstad's brilliant illos--was built by Atelier Caroline,  and we couldn't be more pleased with her.

And so long as I'm here, I might as well remind you to check out Emily Arrow's brilliant This is Sadie song either here on youtube or at her site where you can find lyrics and other goodies.

This is Sadie in board book is available for preorder now via these booksellers (will add more as they pop up):
Indiebound   Amazon  Barnes & Noble   Powells 
Amazon.ca   McNally Robinson   Chapters Indigo
Also available through booksellers in Australia.