Picture The Books

End o’ Year Shout Out to the PTB Tribe

2017 has been a year full of firsts for Picture The Books authors, each of whom had a picture book debut in the past year. Many of us hosted our first book launch events, did our first school visits, and answered questions for our first blog interviews. One launched a youtube channel. Others led their first sessions at regional SCBWI conferences. Everyone was busy.


Getting to know fellow PTB-ers has been fantastic: it’s a great and generous crew. We’ve shared galleys and F&Gs in advance of publication and co-promoted each others’ work. We’ve communicated on a private face book group compiling advice and tips on all kinds of particulars. We’ve celebrated starred reviews and little gold stickers. And, we’ve commiserated.

This writing business is a solitary one, and can be lonely. A taste for the business side doesn’t necessarily come hand in hand with a love of writing, so having a tribe to co-navigate the ups and downs of launching a book into the world with has been a real gift. Thank you, PTB!

The books from the PTB crew run the gamut — check them out.

A final few, released in recent months, make perfect, seasonal gifts too: Patricia Toht’s Pick a Pine Tree  — a tightly sequenced (and rhymed and paced) ode to the journey from tree lot to Christmas tree; Jannie Ho’s Bear and Chicken — a funny tale of eat-or-be-eaten hunger, misunderstandings and friendship (recipe for Bear’s Vegetable Soup included); and Annie Silvestro’s gorgeous Mice Skating.

AND, if your umpteenth copy of Goodnight Moon arrives with a gift receipt, exchange it for a pre-order of Kerri Kokias‘s sweet Snow Sisters (releases January 2)!



I’ll be a sad to see 2017 — and our group — come to an official end — though I’m pretty sure we aren’t all finished with each other.

Meanwhile, 2018 will bring the “Epic Eighteen”. Learn about their 2018 picture book debuts on their site and, as you do, imagine a new tribe of debut writers and illustrators helping each other out and taking care of one another behind the scenes as their books launch into the world too; as individual as this work is, it really does take a village.





Check out these two sentences: “Night after night, he could hardly sleep for wishing” and then “So, with a flashlight in his paws and hope in his heart, Bunny jumped out of bed and tiptoed through the dark.” Those are really nice sentences, right?


They are that much nicer when you know – from the four pages that precede them in Annie Silvestro’s debut picture book, BUNNY’S BOOK CLUB (illustrated by Tatjana Mai-Wyss) – that the thing keeping bunny up is BOOKS. Bunny loves books and wants more. He knows there are many to be had in the library, but is pretty sure animals aren’t allowed there by day, when it’s open. So out he heads for a little night-time reconnaissance.

Bunny tries everything to make his way into the building. To no avail. “Until finally he notice(s)… the book return.”

The book return! What kid doesn’t love a mail slot or, better yet, the book drop at the library? Those openings are magical little portals where you can make things disappear, sending them from one world to another. And the book return turns out to be Bunny’s perfect portal into the library — for himself.


Getting into the library is just the beginning though. I won’t say more, other that that library cards figure in too. And if the book return is a portal, then the library card is a portkey – a magical object that transports you not just to the other side of a wall, but to worlds far away in space and time — worlds loaded with drama and intrigue and all manner of new and fascinating stuff.

It’s a big, awesome deal when a kid gets her first library card and can access those book-worlds on her own, and is not something that most little readers take lightly. BUNNY’S BOOK CLUB captures that moment beautifully. It is a book sure to delight bibliophiles of all ages.


Annie Silvelstro’s BUNNY’S BOOK CLUB releases on February 7 with Doubleday Books for Young Readers — preorder it here!

Learn about more 2017  debut picture book authors and their books at Picture The Books.