Coming Soon: 2018 Picture Books Part Eleven

We’re winding down… I anticipate probably two more of these posts for this year! Nevertheless, there are so many great looking books to look forward to…. Enjoy scrolling through this set!











Interview with Corinna Luyken!

Next up on the series of interviews on my blog is the talented Corinna Luyken! Enjoy!

Hello, Corinna! Thank you for joining me here!

It’s my pleasure Dylan, thank you for having me!

Tell us a little bit about your 2018 book, Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have A Horse!


Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have A Horse, (written by debut author Marcy Campbell and illustrated by me) is essentially a story about compassion, kindness, and learning to see the world a little differently.

The publisher’s description is here:

Adrian Simcox tells anyone who will listen that he has a horse–the best and most beautiful horse anywhere.

But Chloe does NOT believe him. Adrian Simcox lives in a tiny house. Where would he keep a horse? He has holes in his shoes. How would he pay for a horse?




The more Adrian talks about his horse, the angrier Chloe gets. But when she calls him out at school and even complains about him to her mom, Chloe doesn’t get the vindication she craves. She gets something far more important.


Written with tenderness and poignancy and gorgeously illustrated, this book will show readers that kindness is always rewarding, understanding is sweeter than judgment, and friendship is the best gift one can give.


Have you always been into writing and illustrating?

Yes!  I’ve always loved to write and draw.  I’ve been fortunate to have a mom who loves poetry and art, and who encouraged me when she saw that I loved to write and draw.  Even so, it took seventeen years for my dream of writing and illustrating books for children to come true!

What inspires your creativity?

I’m inspired by the general messiness and uncertainty of life.  By nature, the human form, my family.  But in terms of finding the inspiration for a particular project, I rarely have an idea that appears in my head like a light bulb.  More often, my ideas come from the process itself.  I sit down to write or draw and from the blank page and the process of interacting with it, ideas start to emerge.

There is a Chuck Close quote, which I find to be absolutely true:

“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.” 


What is one thing that readers don’t know about you, that only you could tell us?

I almost left college to become a Buddhist nun. (In the tradition of the Vietnamese monk, poet and peace activist, Thich Nhat Hanh.) Fortunately my stepmother intervened, and insisted that I finish college first.  After that, she said, I could do whatever I wanted.  She knew from personal experience how difficult it was to find meaningful work in today’s world, especially as a woman, without a college degree. I was furious at the time, but I’m very grateful now.

If you weren’t writing and illustrating books, what do you think you’d be doing?

I’d be trying to figure out what I needed to do so that I could write and illustrate books!

In all seriousness, I feel like I’m finally doing the work I’m meant to do.  And it’s been a long journey. But if for some reason I couldn’t do this, I’d probably want to be a school librarian.

What can readers expect from you in the future?

After Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have A Horse (written by Marcy Campbell, which will be out August 14, 2018 from DIial), I will be illustrating Weird Little Robots, a middle grade novel written by Carolyn Crimi, which should be out in spring 2019 from Candlewick.

I’m also working on my next book as author/illustrator with Dial.  It’s called my heart, my heart and is a meditation on/celebration of the heart— how it can open, close, and open again.  It’s a project I started many years ago— I took a rough dummy of it to my first national SCBWI conference, in LA, in 2013.  It also went on receive the SCBWI Don Freeman Work in Progress Grant in 2016.  The book has changed a bit since then (with all new art) and we are still tinkering with the text.  It’s a poem, and it has rhyme and a meter, which makes it tricky.  The artwork, which started out in watercolor, is now all monotype printmaking— so when this book finally makes it out into the world, it will look quite different from my other books.



Anything else you’d like to share with readers of this blog?

To see more of my work you can head over to:

IG: @corinnaluyken:

twitter: @corinnaluyken

Interview with Stephanie Graegin!

Next up on my series of interviews is Stephanie Graegin! I’m thrilled Stephanie is here with me today!

Hello, Stephanie! Thank you for joining me here!

Happy to be here!

Tell us a little bit about all of the books you have coming in 2018!

In February, the third book in the Heartwood Hotel Series by Kallie George will be out. This book is titled, Better Together. If you are unfamiliar, this chapter book series stars Mona the Mouse, a hard working, brave and quick witted young maid who works at the Heartwood Hotel. It’s a really great story and series, and I feel incredibly fortunate I get to experience this world through my drawings. The fourth and final book in the Heartwood Hotel series, Home Again, is out this July. I’m really going to miss drawing these charming characters.


Also in July—my favorite little, brave raccoon, Super Manny, is back in Super Manny Cleans Up! written by Kelly Dipucchio. This time, Super Manny and his friend Gertie are standing up for their community and the environment along with having fun, imaginative, adventures while wearing capes!




In September, I have a picture book coming out written by Mary Lyn Ray called, The Thank You Book. This book is about gratitude for little things, for family, for friends, for home and for the earth. Mary Lyn Ray’s text is beautiful and poetic—it left a lot a room for me to play around and create without having to adhere to a traditional story arc.


What was it like illustrating Elvis Presley’s text, Love Me Tender?

It was a really great experience! It was, hands down, the shortest period of time I’ve ever had to complete a book (the whole thing was done in just a few months). The timeline forced me to not procrastinate, to just sit down and draw quickly. I worked closely with my editor and art director, plotting out the images that would go with the lyrics. We decided early on we wanted several diverse families represented, and the book would take you through the sweet milestone moments: from the hospital nursery to crawling and walking and up to preschool. It’s really a love letter from a parent to a child. I love the challenge of illustrating picture books that don’t have a traditional story line.



Have you always been into writing and illustrating?

I have! I’m tilted slightly more to the illustrating-side. Drawing has been my favorite activity since I was old enough to hold a crayon. I remember back in elementary school I enjoyed writing and illustrating little stories—I still have some of them. One of these books I did when I was around  8 was about beavers and bunnies playing baseball, The Magic Baseball Bats. It won a young author award at my school in Indiana. It was around this time that I started to think I wanted to be a children’s book illustrator (or a zookeeper), when I grew up. In college I studied fine art, though everything I made was a kidlit-esq masquerading as fine art.

What inspires your creativity?

The world around me. Animals, nature, the seasons, long walks, the city, and a really nice pencil. The process of making is really taking the everyday and slowly building upon it—I guess to the point where animals can dress themselves.


What is one thing that readers don’t know about you, that only you could tell us?

I’m obsessed with collecting picture books! I currently have close to 500 and they are from all around. I have some from Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, Japan, Egypt, and on…though I didn’t actually travel to get them. There are so many super talented people around the globe making great picture books.  I’m in the process of cataloging them.

If you weren’t writing and illustrating books, what do you think you’d be doing?

I think I might be an editor or a librarian, or something in the book world. I just love reading.

What can readers expect from you in the future?

I just want to keep drawing and making books. I love what I do and the experience of having to put pictures with words. It’s challenging and rewarding—there’s a certain satisfaction of throwing yourself into a project that is unquenchable.

I will also be authoring and illustrating more of my own books. I’ve learned a tremendous amount by working with talented authors and editors and I’d like to use those lessons to unlock all the stories I have inside of me.

Anything else you’d like to share with readers of this blog?

Thank you for the opportunity to chat! Thank you Dylan for your support of all of us in the kidlit world!

If you’re interested in seeing more of my work, you can here:


Interview with Samantha Cotterill!

I’ve got some stellar interviews lined up on the blog for the next few weeks, and I’m thrilled that Samantha Cotterill is here to kick things off!

Hello, Samantha! Thank you for joining me here!

Thank you, Dylan!   It’s such an honor to be here!


Tell us a little bit about all of the books you have coming in 2018!

2018 is an extremely exciting year for me, as I have three wonderful books coming out over the next three seasons.  February 13th will see the release of Jinx and Doom Fight Crime, written by the amazing Lisa Mantchev. This is my first book done in 3-d format, and I’m just ecstatic with how it turned out.




Once Upon a Slime, written by debut author Andy Maxwell, slimes stores everywhere July 3rd. I know there are probably many parents out there ready for the slime craze to die down a bit, but we are enthusiastically encouraging all the kids out there to keep it going strong (sorry parents).


Finally, Just Add Glitter by Angela Diterlizzi will hit shelves this September with sprays of glitter vs the goop of slime.  I will say that was my most challenging book to date, as in addition to the 3-d approach, piles and piles of real glitter filled each spread. (Our family is still in therapy trying to heal over the specks of glitter that are still present in every nook and cranny of our home.)




Tell us about your very unique and amazing illustration process.

It depends on the book, and with my ADD, sticking to one method gets boring pretty quickly. I like to vary things up, while trying to be aware the entire time of the common threads that need to be sewn into every book I make. Pattern and linework have quickly become those threads for me, and it’s my goal that they take center stage no matter the medium of the work itself.  Whether the work is 2-d or 3-d, my approach to linework now is always the same. I have tried digital methods of drawing, but find the good ol’ nib pen and ink bottle to be my preferred method. Once dry, they are scanned in to be colored digitally via Photoshop.  For the 3-d books, the process continues as I print, cut, glue, and set up each diorama to be photographed.

Have you always been into writing and illustrating?

I studied bacteriology and virology for 5 years at uw-Madison, but I did eventually admit to my mother that she was right and agreed to go to art school like she told me to 😉. A good 20 years was spent as a ceramicist, oil painter, and fiber artist (ADD make more sense now?) before taking a good 8-year hiatus to focus on my family. When I hit 40, I decided it was time to get back out there, and was soon approached by the amazing Kirsten Hall, who thought my illustrations could lend themselves well to picture books.  So first my mum told me what to do, and then my agent. I need to listen to people more often.

What is one thing that readers don’t know about you, that only you could tell us?

Hmmm…..I accidentally shut down all the computers in Helen C White Library at UW-Madison 1 hour before closing during finals week? And all because I sent an email asking about a party.  My computer screen froze…I absent mindedly reached under the desk, turned the power strip off, and within seconds heard the shrieks of many a students’ final essays disappearing. Let’s just say I made a very stealth and quiet exit.

If you weren’t writing and illustrating books, what do you think you’d be doing?

Diagnosing everyone’s food borne illnesses.

What can readers expect from you in the future?

More books! I have a wonderful series coming out over the next couple of years that’s very near and dear to my heart. I cannot wait until I have the green light to share those details! I am also illustrating a book for debut author Jonathan E. Jacobs, entitled The Secret Rhino Society, which will debut Spring 2020.

Anything else you’d like to share with readers of this blog?

Just thank you to all of the kids, readers, librarians, publishers, editors, interviewers 😉, that have already made this career so fulfilling.


Coming Soon: 2018 Picture Books Part Ten

Get ready to scroll through another great line up of what we have to look forward to later this year! More to come!






























Come Right In! May I Come In? Blog Tour Guest Post by Marsha Diane Arnold

“Come Right In!”

It’s always a pleasure to share book news with Dylan Teut. Maybe it’s because he himself is one of the most sharing people I know and a champion of children’s literature. Maybe it’s because Dylan feels a bit like a neighbor, I growing up in Kansas and he living in Nebraska. Whatever the reason, I’m delighted to be here to share about my newest book May I Come In? Thank you, Dylan!


May I Come In? actually launches from Sleeping Bear Press tomorrow, on February 15, but I’ve already shared it with students from California to Connecticut to India via Skype. It feels a bit like I’m sharing a secret with them and they are more than happy to be in on it!


Sharing May I Come In? with first graders at the Aga Khan Academy in India. 

I’ve spoken with classes at this school several times. It’s always a pleasure.

 It’s the simplest of stories, really, Raccoon searching for an open door, a friend to spend a scary night with. It’s a story about inclusion, sharing, and empathy. Jennie Poh’s delightful illustrations are also simple, perfect for the youngest readers and filled with a brightness that keeps the story light, rather than scary.


What children find interesting and somewhat surprising is that although Raccoon is afraid of the thunderstorm, he goes outside anyway to search for emotional support, a friend to spend this frightening time with. Sadly, when he knocks on the doors of Possum, Quail, and Woodchuck, he’s turned away! Then he sees a light in the darkness, “glimmering and shimmering.” That light represents hope to Raccoon. But when he approaches the door he becomes doubtful and when the door is opened to a house full of rabbits, he’s more doubtful still. Mother Rabbit is used to a crowded home though and she invites Raccoon right in, for there is always room for another friend. Our dear Raccoon moves from fear and discomfort to joy and serenity.


The little twist in the book is when Possum, Quail, and Woodchuck, who each turned Raccoon away, are seen first as shadows approaching Rabbit’s home and then sheepishly standing at the door because they too have realized, “Being alone on a night like tonight is scary.”


Many of my stories take scores of drafts and lots of tweaking, but my May I Come In? folder shows only three drafts. My stories are often called character-driven and I often start my stories with a character. This particular story is an example of my following my character, who leads me through his story and shows me which way to go. Interestingly, my main character was originally Badger. The main reason I transformed Badger into Raccoon was because I had other stories with badgers as the main character and wanted to spread the spotlight around a bit. And I do like raccoons. When I lived in the country in California, they often visited our back door, and here in Florida, they appreciate our pond very much.

 Publisher Weekly recently announced news of another Sleeping Bear Press book which is planned for spring of 2019 and I couldn’t be happier. The staff at Sleeping Bear Press is a delight to work with and they do so much to help readers find their authors’ books. The name of the 2019 book is Badger’s Seeds. Yes, one of those badger stories.

It’s Valentine’s Day today, a perfect day to open our hearts, which is what my book is about. I hope you read a copy of May I Come In? with someone and do just that.

 More information about my books and author visits may be found and more information on following your characters through your story at my course, Writing Wonderful Character-Driven Picture Books at



Coming Soon: 2018 Picture Books Part Nine!

Get ready to scroll through another great line up of what we have to look forward to later this year! More to come!









































Coming Soon: 2018 Picture Books Part Eight

Yes, the more we roll on in to 2018 the more glimpses we get of books to look forward to…. Enjoy the latest round up, and be sure to look back on parts one through seven if you have not had a chance yet!


























Bub is Here! Interview with Elizabeth Rose Stanton

Hey Beth! Thanks for joining me here to talk about your 2018 picture book, Bub!

Always a pleasure to visit, Dylan!  


Tell us a little bit about Bub.

Bub is the quintessential middle child—except he’s a little monster.  Try as he might, he finds it hard to be seen and heard by his loud and distracted little monster family—that is, until he decides to take matters into his own hands…er, claws. Mayyybee there’s some magic, but, basically, Bub goes unseen to be seen! Bub is really for anyone who feels caught in the middle, and is as much for families as it Is for an individual child.


Tell us a little bit about your process.

Rather than a story idea, I usually come up with a character or characters first (by way of, what I like to call, procrastidoodling). Then the story flows from there. But I would have to say that Bub was a fair combination of character-idea and story-idea.


I had been toying with the idea of a misbehaving little monster family (and had been drawing a lot of little monsters), while at the same time was thinking about doing a story about a middle child. My editor at Simon and Schuster suggested I combine the two. . . and out came BUB!


Have you always been into writing and illustrating?

I studied art history in college, and then went on to become an architect. Getting married and having kids bumped me off my creative track for a while, but as soon as my youngest entered kindergarten, I dove into art (since at that point it wasn’t practical for me to return to architecture). I worked as a portrait artist and fine artist, and completed certification in scientific illustration. It turns out that all this, as well as my training as an architect, was great prep for building picture books!

 What’s the most exciting part of your job?

I’d have to say it’s coming up with the with the characters. It’s fun because it involves drawing and, at first, the sky’s the limit! When they appear on the page, I make lots of notes and keep drawing them until a story begins to emerge. The second most fun, once I have the story figured out (which I think is the hard part), is winnowing away at the text and fitting it and the preliminary drawings into a dummy. It’s like solving a challenging but fun puzzle.

 What inspires your creativity?

I’m not really sure. I think creativity is a combination of mystery and hard work. Things can be hard-thought, or come out of nowhere. But one thing I know is that it’s something I can’t seem to let go of, in spite of the ups and downs. One of my favorite quotes is from Maurice Sendak: “I do it because I can’t not.”

 What is one thing that readers don’t know about you, that only you could tell us?

Well, since BUB is about being in the middle, here are two middle things:  One is, I’m not a middle child. I am the youngest. Second, my middle name, Rose, was actually my last name before I got married.  Sometimes I wish I hadn’t changed it. Beth Rose take up so much less space 😉


If you weren’t writing books, what do you think you’d be doing?

Playing the banjo.



What can readers expect from you in the future?

I recently signed a contract with Simon & Schuster for another picture book! Henny and Peddles will have a companion . . . COWIE. Yes, I’m back to farm animals. Cowie (who, by the way, is not a cow), will be released in early 2020.

Anything else you’d like to share with readers of this blog?

Only to say thank you, Dylan, as well as all the other people like you who work so hard on behalf of children and children’s literature. You make the world a better place.


 More about BUB 


I Am Loved: Interview with Ashley Bryan and Nikki Giovanni

I am quite honored to have two literary individuals who I admire dearly on my blog today…. Ashley Bryan and Nikki Giovanni, who have recently collaborated on I Am Loved.


Thank you for taking the time to join me here at Mile High Reading!   

Ashley: Thank you!

Tell us a little bit about I Am Loved from your perspective.

Nikki: I love the morning light.  When I was younger I liked to write at night because the dog and my son were asleep and the house was quiet.  My father had a stroke and we moved back home to help my mother so my habits changed.  Now that everyone is grown or has transitioned, I am back to my lonely habits.

Ashley: The very title lifts the spirit. Anyone who sends the book to anyone else is saying something from the heart, to the heart. It’s a year-round Valentine!

Nikki, can you tell us a little bit about your writing process? 

Nikki: I think the most important thing is to observe.  I watch.  And reading is great.  I never seem to have enough time to read.  Even if it’s no more than the comics I read a bit of something everyday.

Ashley, can you tell us a little bit about your illustration process?

Ashley: First I read the text of the poem or story and absorb it.  Then I start sketching compositional ideas that the words provoke. And then I choose a composition, and another world of color enters it now, so I can make a complete painting to accompany the words.

Have you always been into writing / illustrating?

Nikki: I love images so I’ve always loved words.  I had the joy recently of challenging my class to how a word was formed and became a part of our everyday use.  They were surprised at how they used words that they had no idea where they came from or why we use them.  I would have loved to paint with paints but I had no talent.  I could paint what I saw with words, though and that gave me something to share.

Ashley: Yes, no question about that! From babyhood on!

What’s the most exciting part of your job?

Nikki:  Watching young people read and respond to my work.

Ashley: The challenge to create, which is universal.

What inspires your creativity?

Nikki:  I actually like people and cheer for our possibilities.  I am a space freak so the future means a lot to me.  I love that Ashley put a mirror on the last page so everyone could see Yes:  I Am Loved.  And that is the future.

Ashley: The joyous response of others to my work, my creations, is what inspires my creativity.

What is one thing that readers don’t know about you, that only you could tell us?

Nikki:  I can’t dance.  I can sing but I can’t carry a tune.  That doesn’t bother me so much as I can’t dance.

Ashley: I love gummies! Sour Patch Kids especially (he says with a great laugh)!

If you weren’t writing/illustrating books, what do you think you’d be doing?

Nikki: I would probably be a chef and if I won a big lottery I’d create a create restaurant.

Ashley: I’d become an inventor of the book form if it weren’t existing, because I can’t imagine ever doing anything but writing and painting. So if there was no book form in existence to put writing and art into, I’d invent that.

What can readers expect from you in the future?

Nikki: I am working on a book with my friend Kaye Graham, The Wednesday Club, in which the mothers of sons get to discuss children books. We’ve see a couple of men talk about books that affected them, but Kaye and I are mothers and we thought it would be interesting to see how the mothers looked at the same subject.

Ashley: Ongoing work with creating books that will engage the children especially, but for all ages.

Anything else you’d like to share with readers of this blog?

Nikki:  Don’t smoke.  No joke. You can’t go into space if you smoke because it changes how you can return to Earth.

Ashley: That they will find ways of creating – don’t let a day go by without creating something.  Whether with an instrument or writing or painting or other creative activity – but create every day!