Books With The Tag: #family

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Are you looking for this year’s Valentine’s Book to share with your small that will live on as a sweet, timeless classic?  This deLIGHTful board book, I Love You, Little One from DK Canada, will charm you and your babe.

Featuring a cover with a light up moon and a gorgeous colour palette of animals telling their little ones how much they love them, this sweet little book is the perfect gift to parents & smalls.  Cuddle up for a bedtime of moon gazing with animals around the world, on land and sea.

We love the animal choices, silhouette artwork and expressions of love on each page.  A book easily read to your baby, your toddler, your small child…just an excellent addition to the library.  Wonderful shower gift too!  Recommended newborn+up, for adoring parents & their smalls near and far.



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Today’s little #boardbook is Hello, Love! by Japanese artist Taro Miura via @raincoastbooks.  Coming to bookstores on Christmas Eve of this year!
This sweet, simple board book illustrates adorable affection between animals with sparse, tender text and finishes with a family snuggle.  High contrast colours make it ideal for new eyes and it’s small enough in size for little hands to enjoy.  
We loved this sweet little baby book and would be thrilled to see versions with more diverse families at the end!

Recommended newborn+up, a great shower gift for a new baby.



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Today’s #boardbook is Nita’s First Signs by Kathy MacMillan, illustrated by Sara Brezzi via @raincoastbooks.  This unique, pull-tab board book teaches basic sign language for you and your baby!  We loved reading this simple story about manners, play and then trying out all the signs for ourselves!  

This sweet book would make a lovely baby shower gift and is equally enjoyed by toddler and preschool smalls, eager to learn new things!  Recommended newborn+up!  A special book for families to share.



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Today’s #picturebook is Families Families Families! by Suzanne Lang & Max Lang via Random House Kids Books.  

This adorably illustrated tour of the many types of families is a must-have for every library.  We love the variety, diversity and inclusivity of families in this charming book and it’s beautiful closing message:  if you love each other, than you are a family.  

The world needs more beautiful books about love.  Recommended for all ages.



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Today’s #picturebook is just in time for Father’s Day:  Dad By My Side by Soosh via Little Brown Books (HBG Canada).  This water colour illustration started as a series of individual images that went viral online depicting a larger-than-life father figure and his small child.  Now it is a collection of beautiful tributes to the special qualities of a Dad.

It’s worth reading Soosh’s artist statement about the book and the illustration style, which is based on her feelings of what a father represents and appears as to a child’s eye.  The warmth, comfort, laughter and support of a father are depicted with real feeling in this book and we enjoyed reading this together with the special Dad in our life!  Recommended for ages birth & onwards, a lovely father’s day read & gift for new dad’s.



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Today’s #picturebook marks our “Week of Elly MacKay”.  Elly MacKay is a talented paper artist and author of whom we at the blog are a longtime fan!  We are very excited to feature one of her books every day this week AND even more excited that she agreed to an interview AND offered a giveaway (watch for it on Friday!).

First up is:  If You Hold a Seed via @runningpress​ the heartwarming story of a seed and a little boy growing up together through the seasons that ends full circle with the grown boy sitting in that tree with his own son.  The illustrations in Elly MacKay’s books are photographs of her wondrous, hand created paper sets.  I was particularly moved to read that she created this book while pregnant with her son–it definitely captures many of the feelings we have for our smalls.  A wonder-filled book, bright with colours and light and alive with nature and seasons.  My small and I were inspired to head to the great big garden centre in town and choose a little plant to grow together (as seen in the photograph!) and I think you will be inspired to do the same after reading this very special book with your own smalls.  Recommended 2+up.

Elly MacKay agreed to an interview with us & shared some “behind the scenes” photographs of her work.  Thanks so much Elly!  Readers, please enjoy seeing the magic that goes into her work:

1.  Can you tell us a little about how you create the beautiful images in your books?

To make my illustrations I use paper, light and photography. I first do a sketch to work from. I then imagine the picture 3 dimensionally and draw each layer onto Yupo paper. I use ink to colour the layers, then cut them out. I set the layers up inside a little theatre, securing everything with wires and tape. Then, I light the scene. I often use backlighting and filters to create atmosphere. I use several different lenses on my camera, to create depth or distortion. I often take about 20-50 images, adjusting the lighting and playing with the different filters or moving the characters around. It is a lot of fun.

2.  We read in your bio that you studied print making but also had an informal education in the paper arts via the Movable Book Society by train as a teenager?  That sounds super exciting!  What was it like?

It was great! My mom has an adventurous spirit. She is also an author of ‘how to’ books on paper art. When I was a kid, I was her ‘tester’. When I was 15, I told her that I wanted to be a paper artist so she thought she’d help me on my journey by introducing me to members of The Movable Book Society, a group of paper engineers and artists. We found a free pass to travel on Amtrack so off we went! We met wonderful people along the way who taught me about Victorian optical toys, paper theatre, artist books and simple mechanisms I could use in my dioramas. (Here is a picture of me looking quite serious with some of the dioramas I made back then.)

3.  One of the many reasons we love your books is the sense of movement and play caught in the images.  How important is play in your art making?  And what would you like to say to kids and their parents about play as they read your books together?

Thank you! Yes, I think that is why I like printmaking too. I like surprise elements. With printmaking you don’t know quite what something is going to look like until you lift the paper from the press. I was never into making editions. I liked changing the printing plate as I worked. Working in my theatre is much the same. Sometimes working with something you can’t completely control, frees you. It takes away some sense of ownership, and makes things less precious. I like that.

I guess I see picture books as a sort of playground for parent and child. It is a place they can meet to discuss their feelings and ideas, make silly sounds and cuddle. My most recent book is a wordless book called Waltz of the Snowflakes. What I love about wordless books is that they invite play. They can be more challenging to approach but offer opportunities. Waltz of the Snowflakes is as much about The Nutcracker, as it is about emotion. My son likes to make the faces that the children are making as we read the story, while my daughter likes to give us a soundtrack and dance her arms around. I hope parents and children will bring their own sense of play to the story.

Thank you for answering all our questions Elly!  Here are some amazing photographs of her work on the upcoming Red Sky At Night (via Tundra) out in Spring 2018 and a sketch from a fairy book she is currently working on called The Tallest Treehouse (releasing later in 2018).



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Today’s picture book is Wish by Matthew Cordell via Disney Hyperion Books.  It is the only children’s book to ever make me cry.  This is a very special book about a long-awaited baby finally appearing.  It describes the life and plans of parents coming to a halt when their much wanted baby does not appear.  It illustrates the joy that cannot be described when that baby finally comes.

This is the book you must give to parents you know have struggled to meet their little one, who have waited and wished to be a family and at last it has come true. 

Because as the last two pages so simply say:  “You are here.  You are, here.”

Recommended to parents aged new to old.