Kate Cosgrove rocks

Hi everyone,

Kudos to KATE COSGROVE, the artist for two of my books with Holiday House, and working on a third as we speak.

Both books have done well. And the Bullfrogs Sing, A Life Cycle was a Bank Street Best Book of the Year, and a Maryland Blue Crab Young Reader Award Honors book.  The Dirt Book: Poems About Animals That Live Beneath Our Feet, was juried into The Original Art 41st Annual Exhibition in NYC by the Society of Illustrators. It was also a New York Public Library Best Book of the Year. It has been named to two state reading lists for this fall, Texas Blue Bonnet and Bill Martin Jr. list in Kansas.

Kate’s most recent triumph is A Day with No Words, by TIFFANY HAMMOND. The subject is autism and it has gone straight to the top of the charts, reaching #1 on the New York Times picture book best seller list and #1 on Amazon for Children’s Books on Disabilities. Here’s what one critic has to say. The American Library Association Booklist starred review boasts, “The story is written from the boy’s first-person perspective, however—a clever choice in that it gives readers a direct look into his mind and reinforces the book’s crucial statement that nonverbal people have as many words and as much intelligence as anyone else. Cosgrove’s art, throughout, does an amazing job of transporting readers into his perspective, employing various color tones, metaphoric imagery, and ‘camera’ angles to reflect the deep expressiveness contained in every page.

Way to go, Kate! I’m so happy for you and glad that we are working on our third book together!

The price of procrastination

Hi everyone,

I’ve mentioned before that THE DIRT BOOK is on the Texas Bluebonnet Award Master Reading List for 2023-24. As part of the preparation for that year, KATE COSGRAVE and I were asked to make individual videos to explain how we made the book and to add answers to a list of questions. The deadline was way off in the future.

The smart thing would have been to make my video and check it off my worry list. I didn’t, of course, and in time I forgot about the obligation entirely. Yesterday evening Kate got around to making her video, and it’s just really excellent. She looks good, sounds good, and shows both of our books that she has illustrated, including AND THE BULLFROGS SING.

Today is the deadline that once seemed so far in the future. I’m at the Wilderness Club near Branson, an hour’s drive from Springfield. I didn’t bring “video clothes” with me, nor do I have a copy of THE DIRT BOOK with me. Sometime today I’ll check to see if there’s a library nearby that has a copy of my book that I can borrow. If I can’t cobble together some decent clothes, I’ll have to drive back to Springfield anyway.

My deadline to review my editor’s comments for the upcoming book of poems is tomorrow. I hadn’t intended to work much while we were here relaxing, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

Suggestions for older children

Hi everyone,

If the child you have in mind is a bit older, maybe kindergarten through 2nd grade or so, here are a few ideas.

If you’re looking for a book for an older child, I’ll give you a few options over the next two or three days. This first one was beautifully illustrated by the Italian artist, ROBERTA ANGARAMO and is called, A PERFECT HOME FOR A FAMILY. Mama Raccoon is expecting twins and doesn’t want to raise them in the big tree where they currently live. Too noisy. Too crowded. Mama and Papa set out in search of the perfect home for a family. They eventually find it, back where they started.

DYLAN THE EAGLE-HEARTED CHICKEN is the feather-raising tale of a baby chicken who is egg-napped at an early age by a balding old crow, who drops it (the egg) into a crow’s nest, in which the mother eagle attempts to raise the scrawny little “eagle” that hatches from the egg that suddenly drops into her nest. How Dylan manages to escape with his life and go on to save his real mother from a hungry fox makes this a good read-aloud story.

AND THE BULLFROGS SING presents the life cycle of bullfrogs in easy to understand language. From egg to adult, young readers learn the story of those loud-mouth creatures down by the water’s edge, croaking the night away calling for a mate. This popular book is illustrated by KATE COSGROVE, rising star artist who illustrated the recent DIRT BOOK and is winning accolades for her original work.

And the winner is Kate Cosgrove!

Hi everyone,

My congratulations to Kate Cosgrove, the gifted artist who illustrated THE DIRT BOOK. Many of you saw yesterday that Kate’s artwork for our book has been chosen by a jury for inclusion in this year’s 2021 Original Art Show in New York City. Here’s more about the exhibit and why it’s such an honor for Kate. Here’s some information from the website.

The premier showcase for illustrators and animators, the Society of Illustrators Annual Exhibition features over 400 pieces of the most outstanding works created throughout each year. Open to artists worldwide, thousands of entries are considered by a jury of professionals, which include renowned illustrators, art directors and designers. The Original Art is an annual exhibit created to showcase illustrations from the year’s best children’s books published in the U.S. For editors and art directors, it’s an inspiration and a treasure trove of talent to draw upon. For art students, it’s a marvelous opportunity to examine—up close—the work of the best in the field. And for the public, it’s a chance to appreciate the enormous range of creativity in children’s books and to see the printed pages alongside the original paintings, drawings, prints, and collages they represent.

Way to go, Kate! First we did AND THE BULLFROGS SING.


Who knows what might wait for us down the road. I’m proud to be your partner. 

The Word of the Month word for August

Hi everyone

Kaye Cosgrove and I enjoyed our virtual visit yesterday morning to The BookMark in Neptune, Florida. I hope sometime to get over that way to meet Rona Brinlee and the gang in person. The picture is in a different place (SunDog Books in Seaside, Florida) and a different book (AND THE BULLFROGS SING, but also illustrated by Kate), but it’s hard to take a picture when you’re doing a virtual visit. If it helps any, yesterday I wore the same shirt and shorts.

Time to put away your “poem” poems and write your “weed” poems. I’ve been looking back through the records and it appears that we’ve never used that word before.

So off we go. Let’s see your weedy best!