ALA!

Booth This June, a couple of our Skyhorsers attended the ALA (American Library Association) Annual Summer Conference in Orlando, Florida!

ALA Annual is one of the world’s largest yearly gatherings for publishing industry professionals, librarians, teachers, bloggers, and book lovers! Here, attendees are able to talk to publishers and media, learn about upcoming books, and pick up a WHOLE lot of books and swag! We had a great booth in the middle of the exhibition hall that we filled with our adult fiction, nonfiction, cookbooks, Autism, and of course, Sky Pony titles.

A few of our coworkers (three seasoned professionals and one who had never attended) gave their thoughts on this yearly conference. Although it was swelteringly hot in Florida in the middle of summer, it didn’t dampen our spirits!


Jaidree Braddix, Assistant Publicist, Cooking & Lifestyle

A couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of learning that there is no happier being on earth than a librarian or book blogger who has just received a free book. And boy, did we give out a lot of free books. At ALA Orlando, children’s and YA books ruled the day, with free copies of the adorable picture book Gorillas in Our Midst and the timeline-bending YA thriller Timekeeper being the fastest to fly of our tables.

Timekeeper LineIt should be no surprise then, that one of my favorite memories from my three days at the Skyhorse booth was the moment two small boys rushed in, eyes locked on our “Books for Minecrafters Library” at the back of the booth. Our Books for Minecrafters were hugely popular with children’s librarians and teachers throughout the day, and I had gotten used to answering questions about reading levels and age groups in a more detached sort of way, but seeing the genuine excitement in an 8-year-old boy’s eyes when he asked me, “Is that GameKnight999?!” reminded me who our real audience is. He was beyond disappointed that he could not walk out of there with the entire collection, but was thrilled to come back for our giveaway the following day and to pester his poor mother into taking a handout listing all of our Minecrafter titles, so that she could “buy them all later.”

That 8-year-old’s excitement was mirrored in the eyes of book bloggers in their 20s, standing in a fifty ft. line waiting for Tara Sim to start signing Timekeeper; in a teacher, new to her school, who was desperately seeking picture books with diverse main characters when we showed her Ming Goes to School; and in a costumed young superhero receiving his signed advance copies of Science No Fair!: Project Droid #1 and Soccer Shocker: Project Droid #2.

Even though we were there to self-promote on a broader scale, the individual interactions and happy new-book-owners are really what makes conferences like ALA special.


Cheryl Lew, Associate Publicist, Children’s and YA

This was my second time at ALA Annual (I attended last year’s in San Francisco), and it was still just as fun, exciting, and slightly overwhelming as my first time. We had an awesome team attending this year, and that really made it a memorable experience.

Everything in the booth went smoothly: Our giveaway books flew off the shelves (especially Just One Damned Thing After AnotherThe Hamilton Affair, and Gorillas In Our Midst), and people loved all of the bookmarks, Winston Sparkes buttons, Project Droid temporary tattoos, and other swag that we were giving out. It was so much find to have librarians and other attendees approach us to  learn more about our company, excited that some of our books would fit perfectly with their collections. People were especially excited about our diversity titles, as well as, of course, our books for Minecrafters.

ALA DinnerThe most exciting part of ALA for me was meeting a lot of my authors, including Tara Sim (Timekeeper), Taryn Souders (Dead Possums Are Fair Game), Tamera Will Wissinger (There Was An Old Lady Who Gobbled A Skink), and mother/daughter duo Nancy Krulik and Amanda Burwasser (the Project Droid series). Since ALA is geared mostly toward librarians, we decided that all of our signings would be children’s authors. . . Which was amazing for me since they were all mine! I had corresponded with all of them via email, but it was wonderful to finally put faces to names.  Not only were all of their signings huge successes, we were joined by the authors for dinner at Todd English’s Blue Zoo at Disney/Epcot. The meal was great, but getting to know each other was even better.

Most importantly, ALA was a great opportunity to get to know my coworkers. In addition to making attendees aware of our books, we also bonded as well. . . And a few of us even went to Harry Potter World after!


Jenn Chan, Marketing ManagerHP World

We had a great show this year.  We did targeted advertising leading up to ALA Annual and offered a daily schedule of key title giveaways and in-booth signings which kept foot traffic coming to our booth throughout.

Our author signings were scheduled on the two main days and featured a nice mix of out-of-towners & locals, seasoned & first time children’s book authors.

One of my favorite parts of the show was meeting and getting to know them (we had a fun “family dinner” at Disney on Saturday night) and hosting their signings.  It was also exciting to see firsthand such energetic attention and support from all the fans/readers.


Booth 2Bethany Buck, Editorial Director for Sky Pony Press

It was a particularly poignant show, being in Orlando just two weeks after the nightclub shooting.  There was a feeling a healing and pride, lots of t-shirts, buttons, and rainbows in support of the community.

That’s why it was really meaningful that we had invited three Florida authors to come sign their Sky Pony books in our booth: Taryn Sounders signed her middle grade novel Dead Possums are Fair Game; Tamera Will Wissinger signed her picture book The Was an Old Lady Who Gobbled a Skink; and Kerry O’Malley Cerra, who unfortunately couldn’t attend, but we gave away her novel Just a Drop of Water.

Because there were a lot of local librarians in attendance, the was a lot of recognition and excitement and pride for these for these Florida authors and their great books.


What was your experience at ALA like? Tell us in the comments!

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Swedish Fairy Tales

Swedish Fairy Tales-NEW

Young adult and children’s book authors love to write fairy tale retellings, and the rest of us love to read them. On the Sky Pony list we have Rose Mannering’s Roses and Feathers and David Clawson’s My Fairy Godmother Is a Drag Queen. Everyone knows the stories of Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella, but it’s less common to come across a fairy tale you haven’t read before. Swedish Fairy Tales by John Bauer and illustrated by Holger Lundbergh is a gorgeous collection of fairy tales you won’t recognize at all.

These are stories filled with wicked magicians, troublesome trolls, teasing magpies, and solemn tomtar. In Swedish fairy tales, frogs become beautiful fairy girls, troll girls marry troll princes, kings transform into woodcutters, and little boys go searching for adventure in the forest. They’re stories filled with humor and bits of wisdom and they’re so much fun to read.

This world of wonder and mystery is brought to life by the spellbinding art of one of the greatest illustrators of fairy tales, John Bauer. His big-nosed, good-natured trolls are sure to delight, while his heroes and heroines shine brightly, bringing hope and goodness to dark places.

Check out some of the art below, and then go find your own copy of Swedish Fairy Tales to cozy up with.

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#tbt: Camp by Elaine Wolf

To celebrate #tbt today, we have the author of Sky Pony’s first YA novel sharing her experience publishing with Sky Pony Press! Check out Elaine Wolf’s post on Camp below!


When my agent called to tell me she had an offer from Sky Pony Press, I screamed so loudly you probably heard me all the way across the country. And when I first spoke with my Sky Pony editor, Julie Matysik, I was over the moon.

Although my husband and I were living in Massachusetts then, I raced down to New York to meet Julie over yummy doughnuts at a place very close to the Skyhorse offices. I knew right away that I would adore working with Julie, who made the publishing process a joyous experience.

When I walked Julie back to the office that day, I had a chance to say a quick hi to Brian Peterson, who designed the Camp jacket. Brian listened to my idea for the cover, and I love what he came up with. I loved, too, the bear hug he gave me that day. I knew right then that Camp was in great, caring hands with my Sky Pony team.

Camp was Sky Pony’s inaugural young adult novel, published in hardcover in 2012. It’s a coming-of-age novel about a high school girl who faces intense bullying at summer camp as she begins to discover the truth about her mother, who holds a dark secret. The tag line on the cover of Camp is Every secret has a price . . . 

Much to my delight, Sky Pony released Camp in paperback in 2015. I was thrilled to be in touch with Julie again as we worked on that edition.

Being a Sky Pony author is even better than I thought it would be. Whenever I pass a bookstore, I run in to see Camp on the shelves. I still can never resist taking a photo of my novel wherever I see it. (Yes, I know that’s nerdy!) And I love hearing from readers who want to bring Camp to their schools and book clubs.

I’m still excited that Camp appeals to readers from ages 12 to 92. (Really, it does.) I speak about Camp at middle schools and high schools, and I’ve been contacted by program directors at senior assisted living facilities who want to bring Camp to their residents. How amazing that my young adult novel has crossed into the adult (and much older adult) community.

What makes me especially happy, though—even more than the awards and accolades that Camp has garnered—is that Camp has given me a literal bully pulpit, a platform from which to keep anti-bullying conversations going so that, in concert with professionals, we’ll make our camps and schools kinder, gentler, more inclusive places for everyone.

I’m so grateful to Sky Pony Press for publishing Camp and for cheering me on. If you haven’t yet read Camp, I hope you’ll read it now. I hope, too, that you’ll visit my website: authorelainewolf.com.


Camp by Elaine Wolf

51Nj+rvctpL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_Amy Becker’s mother holds a dark secret. In fact, her whole past is a secret. All Amy knows is that her mother came from Germany — and that her mother doesn’t love her. That icy voice. Those rigid rules of how to eat, dress, walk, talk, and think. No matter what Amy does, no matter how much she follows the rules, she just can’t earn her mother’s love.

But everything changes that summer of 1963, when fourteen-year-old Amy is sent to Camp Takawanda for Girls. Takawanda, where all the rules get broken. Takawanda, where mean girls practice bullying as if it were a sport. Takawanda, where Amy’s cousin unveils the truth about Amy’s mother, setting in motion a tragic event that changes Amy and her family forever.

Winner of the Forward National Literature Award and a book-of-the-month pick by the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County (New York), Camp is widely recommended by librarians, teachers, and book clubs (adult groups as well as teen). It’s an acutely sensitive and compelling novel about bullying, family relationships, and the collateral damage of secrets. The paperback edition includes discussion questions and a conversation with the author.

Elaine Wolf, an award-winning author, was a reading/language arts specialist and school district program administrator. As the daughter of a German immigrant, and as a former camper and camp counselor, she writes of a world she is passionate about and knows well. With an exceptional reputation as “the anti-bullying novelist,” she shows what happens behind the closed gates and doors of camps and schools. Learn more about Elaine at authorelainewolf.com.

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Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day is Friday, April 22nd! To celebrate, check out some of Sky Pony’s environment-related books below!


Pierre the French Bulldog Recycles by Kate Louise, illustrated by Bethany Straker

9781632204110-frontcoverLike most dogs, Pierre, a French bulldog, loves the excitement of digging things up. He hoards his treasures in a hole in the backyard and then makes space for more. One day Pierre tosses some old stuff into the trash can, but he forgets to recycle. Now, instead of being transformed into new things, that plastic bottle and newspaper will sit in a landfill forever! Well, not if Pierre has anything to do with it. He chases the garbage truck through town, but will he catch it in time, or will those treasures be trash forever?

From author Kate Louise comes Pierre the French Bulldog Recycles—a quirky and fun lesson about the importance of recycling. Bethany Straker’s expressive illustrations make this adorable pup come to life on every page and are sure to get kids thinking about the importance of saving the environment one small piece of trash at a time.

A Weird and Wild Beauty by Erin Peabody

9781634502047-frontcoverThe summer of 1871, a team of thirty-two men set out on the first scientific expedition across Yellowstone. Through uncharted territory, some of the day’s most renowned scientists and artists explored, sampled, sketched, and photographed the region’s breathtaking wonders—from its white-capped mountain vistas and thundering falls to its burping mud pots and cauldrons of molten magma. At the end of their adventure, the survey packed up their specimens and boarded trains headed east, determined to convince Congress that the country needed to preserve the land from commercial development. They returned with “stories of wonder hardly short of fairy tales,” to quote the New York Times.

With the support of conservationists such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Frederick Law Olmsted, and John Muir, the importance of a national park was secured. On March 1, 1872, Ulysses S. Grant signed the Yellowstone Park Bill into law. It set aside over two million acres of one-of-a-kind wilderness as “a great national park for the benefit and enjoyment of people.” This important and fascinating book will introduce young adults to the astonishing adventure that led to “the best idea America ever had.” Today over 130 countries have copied the Yellowstone model, and billions of acres of critical habitat and spectacular scenery are being preserved for all of us to enjoy.

This book has a wonderful ecological and historical message for readers ages 12 and up. No book about Yellowstone’s founding has been written for this age group before, yet Yellowstone National Park is a major destination for many families, so many readers will likely have heard of Yellowstone or even have visited there. This is a great book for any school library or for history or science classrooms in middle and high school, where information can be used for research projects.

To Save the Earth by Jules Archer with Foreword by Erin Peabody

9781634501965-frontcoverWith today’s climate change, our environmental problems aren’t going away any time soon.

To Save the Earth looks at the lives of four extraordinary Americans who fought to save our earth. John Muir, a pioneer of conservationism, was the founder of our national park system. Rachel Carson, biologist and author, educated our country about the effects of pesticides and chemical waste. David McTaggart, the organizer of Greenpeace, introduced nonviolent protest into the struggle, while Dave Foreman, cofounder and former leader of the activist group Earth First!, shook up a movement that had grown complacent.

The biographies of each of these figures, as well as personal interviews with David McTaggart and Dave Foreman, help us to understand the environmental movement specific to the United States. With current issues of excessive pollution and climate change, this is an excellent resource for introducing young readers to the cause. Upon first publication, To Save the Earth was chosen as a Junior Library Guild Selection, and now, this fascinating and important book is back in print to teach a whole new generation of readers the importance of environmental conservation and preservation.

 

Stella and Steve Travel Through Space! by James Duffett-Smith

9781628738155-frontcoverDid you know that Jupiter is eleven times the size of Earth? The solar system is an incredible place that is still mostly unexplored. So, when Stella and her family move to a new town—where Stella has no friends except for her dog Steve—she goes exploring. In this educational book, travel across the solar system with Stella and Steve as Stella looks for a new home on another planet and imagines what life would be like on another world, from Mercury to Pluto. But along the way Stella learns that Venus has acid rain and Neptune is made mainly of gas, and she begins to wonder whether Earth might actually be the perfect home for her after all.

Featuring a fun and informational story from author James Duffett-Smith, and bold, comic book–style illustrations by Bethany Straker, Stella and Steve Travel through Space shows just how great the Earth is (while providing young children with an early science lesson) in a twist on “there’s no place like home.”

The Little Raindrop by Joanna Gray

9781628738216-frontcoverFrom cloud to puddle, and puddle to stream, the Little Raindrop is making its way on the remarkable journey that is Earth’s water cycle. In this inviting story—illustrated with pastels for a soft, full color—readers are taught about science and nature through a character-driven narrative that leads a little raindrop on a big adventure. With an easy-to-follow plot that teaches precipitation, water flow, and evaporation, The Little Raindrop offers a sweet story full of learning and discovery.

Featuring a heartwarming adventure from author Joanna Gray and beautiful pastel illustrations by Dubravka Kolanovic, The Little Raindrop takes readers on a fun and educational ride through the water cycle.

 

 

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Sky Pony Books at St. Christopher’s Elementary School

Mary Alice Alvarado shares the story of how Sky Pony books found a home in the library of St. Christopher’s Elementary School. Check it out below!  


Over President’s Week 2016, six major pipes burst in St. Christopher’s Elementary School, in Baldwin, New York. While students and teachers alike were elsewhere enjoying their winter recess, water spilled into several classrooms, ruining countless books and other classroom necessities. Many teachers received the heart-breaking phone call that their classroom was one of the ones affected by the water damage, and that the books they had lovingly accumulated over the years to share with their students, were destroyed.

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Faculty member Mary Alice Alvarado shared the news of the devastation with her daughter, Ronnie, an alumnae of the school and an employee at Skyhorse Publishing. When Ronnie informed some of her fellow Skyhorsers and Sky Ponies about the school’s need for books, Skyhorse galloped to the rescue.

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With a helping hand from many great Skyhorsers (especially Julie Matysik and Brianna Scharfenberg), Skyhorse was able to send dozens of Sky Pony books to the students of St. Christopher’s, who were overjoyed at being able to read with their friends again during recess and play time.

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While all the books that Skyhorse sent were special, some of the students’ favorites included:

Thank you, Skyhorse for your outstanding donation! The students and teachers of St. Christopher’s greatly appreciate it!

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The Lost Marble Notebook of Forgotten Girl and Random Boy

In honor of National Poetry Month, we’re featuring one of Sky Pony’s novels-in-verse! Check it out below!


The Lost Marble Notebook of Forgotten Girl and Random Boy by Marie Jaskulka

9781632204264-frontcoverIf I let you read mine, will you let me read yours?

Forgotten Girl, a fifteen-year-old poet, is going through the most difficult time of her life—the breakup of her parents, and her mom’s resulting depression—when she meets Random Boy, a hot guy who, like her, feels like an outcast and secretly writes poetry to deal with everything going on in his life.

In The Lost Marble Notebook of Forgotten Girl & Random Boy, the couple’s poems come together to tell their unique love story. The two nameless teenagers come from opposite sides of the tracks, yet they find understanding in each other when they lay bare their life stories through the poetry they write and share with each other.

Through verse, they document the power of first kisses, the joy of finally having someone on their side, the devastation of jealousy, and the heartbreaking sadness of what each of them is simultaneously dealing with at home and hiding from the world. Finally they have someone to tell and somewhere to tell it in their marble notebook.

This is the powerful story of two imperfect teens in first love who find solace in poetry.

Reviews for The Lost Marble Notebook of Forgotten Girl and Random Boy:

“Told with such complete believability . . . Jaskulka’s narrative explores the hows and whys of an abusive teenage relationship with heartbreaking honesty, and her delicate touch renders the dark story even more powerful. Graceful. Searing. Haunting.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Realistic, gripping, worrisome yet hopeful. VERDICT: Give this to fans of Sonya Sones and Ellen Hopkins.” —School Library Journal

“This debut novel-in-verse is both beautiful and rough around the edges. Jaskulka handles her subject matter well, blending the poetry around the gritty details of the story. Each poet has his/her own distinct voice, making the transition between one and the other effortless. Both of these voices are real—real teenagers dealing with some major hardships. This is not an easy read; however, Jaskulka’s characters pepper their story with cynicism and wit. Readers will laugh, cry, and find themselves nodding their heads. Fans of Sonya Sones and Ellen Hopkins will want to get their hands on this novel.”—VOYA

“An original love story, arresting and beautiful. Heartbreakingly honest. At moments frightening, but ultimately hopeful.” —Laura Whitcomb, author of A Certain Slant of Light

“Eloquent, lyrical, combustible, Marie Jaskulka’s debut verse novel will draw you into the world of two teens whose thoughts and words resonate with raw beauty, love, and obsession. Jaskulka reminds us that, deep down, we know when love is real, and when we find it—we find our power.” —Bridget Birdsall, author of Double Exposure

“This is one of those books I wish I could travel back in time to give to fifteen-year-old me. It’s a lyrical, raw, and honest account of love, losing yourself, and finding your voice, and with it, your inner strength.” —Stephanie Kuehnert, author of I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone

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Happy Opening Day!

In honor of Opening Day, check out some of Sky Pony’s favorite baseball books!


Mo Smells the Ballpark by Margaret Hyde with Nichelle Robinson, illustrated by Aman Chaudhary

Mo Smells the Ballpark 9781628736687

It’s Bark in the Park day at the baseball stadium! Mo, Jasper, Molly, and Lucky are excited to be at the stadium to watch the game. Mo gets busy right away, smelling the peanuts, hot dogs, cotton candy, and more as they make their way down to the field for the doggie parade. But when Lucky dashes onto the field in pursuit of a ball, Mo chases him and becomes wrapped up in a daydream of Team Mo vs. the Big Dog team. Mo and his friends must learn about teamwork, good sportsmanship, and having fun no matter if you win or lose as they face off against a pinched-face pug pitcher.

 

Jackie and Me: A Very Special Friendship by Tania Grossinger, illustrated by Charles George Esperanza

Jackie and Me 9781620876831

Thirteen-year-old Tania Grossinger lives in the famous Grossinger hotel in New York’s Catskill Mountains, but she doesn’t feel like a real Grossinger; her cousins own the hotel, and Tania often feels like she doesn’t belong. Lots of celebrities come to Grossinger’s, but Tania just wants to meet one man: Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play Major League baseball. When Jackie stays at Grossinger’s on vacation, he hears that Tania is a terrific ping-pong player. Jackie invites the young girl to meet him for a game at four o-clock—but she doesn’t believe he’s serious and stays in her room to read. Soon the telephone rings; it’s Jackie, wondering where Tania is! When she dashes downstairs to the game room, the famous Dodgers star is waiting for Tania—and this is the beginning of an unlikely but very special friendship.

 

Welcome to the Show by Frank Nappi

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It’s 1950 and Mickey Tussler—the now-famous pitching prodigy with autism and a golden arm—is back for another baseball season in this third installment of Frank Nappi’s critically acclaimed Legend of Mickey Tussler series. Talk of Mickey’s legendary exploits on the field has grown since his improbable debut two years prior, as have the fortunes of Murph and the rest of the lovable ragtag Brew Crew. Now Mickey, Murph, and Lester find themselves heading to Bean Town to play for the Boston Braves.

The call up is sweet, for all of them have overcome insurmountable odds to get where they are. But life in the major leagues is filled with fast-paced action both on and off the field. The bright lights of Boston hold a new series of challenges, hardships, and life lessons—especially for Mickey, who finds himself a long way from throwing apples into a barrel back on the farm. The three newest Braves have each other to lean on, as well as a new group of fans who are swept away by pennant fever, but balancing everything this new world has to offer may prove to be the greatest challenge of all.

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Extraordinary Giveaway!

We love sharing our books with our lovely blog readers so hosting giveaways is one of our favorite things to do! This week’s giveaway features a beautiful story about friendship and a necklace to share with your best friend. Check it out below!


Extraordinary by Miriam Spitzer Franklin

9781632204028-frontcoverLast spring, Pansy chickened out on going to spring break camp, even though she’d promised her best friend, Anna, she’d go. It was just like when they went to get their hair cut for Locks of Love; only one of them walked out with a new hairstyle, and it wasn’t Pansy. But Pansy never got the chance to make it up to Anna. While at camp, Anna contracted meningitis and a dangerously high fever, and she hasn’t been the same since. Now all Pansy wants is her best friend back—not the silent girl in the wheelchair who has to go to a special school and who can’t do all the things Pansy used to chicken out of doing. So when Pansy discovers that Anna is getting a surgery that might cure her, Pansy realizes this is her chance—she’ll become the friend she always should have been. She’ll become the best friend Anna’s ever had—even if it means taking risks, trying new things (like those scary roller skates), and running herself ragged in the process.

Pansy’s chasing extraordinary, hoping she reaches it in time for her friend’s triumphant return. But what lies at the end of Pansy’s journey might not be exactly what she had expected—or wanted.

Extraordinary is a heartfelt, occasionally funny, coming-of-age middle grade novel by debut author Miriam Spitzer Franklin. It’s sure to appeal to fans of Cynthia Lord’s Rules and will inspire young friends to cherish the times they spend together. Every day should be lived like it’s extraordinary.


Giveaway time! Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below for your chance to win a copy of Extraordinary and a BFF necklace for you and your very best friend!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

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The Complete Brick Bible for Kids

It’s Easter Monday and if you celebrate, why not take a look at The Complete Brick Bible for Kids and see the stories inside come to life with LEGO bricks.


The Complete Brick Bible for Kids by Brendan Powell Smith 9781634502092-frontcover

Journey through the Bible’s most famous stories in this LEGO-tastic paperback edition of bestselling author Brendan Powell Smith’s Brick Bible for Kids books. From Old Testament favorites to the stunning and prophesied birth of Jesus Christ, this is a must-have book for any young reader new to Bible stories or obsessed with LEGO bricks.

Inside, kids will learn about six classic Bible stories, including:

Noah and his ark full of animals
David’s fight against the giant, Goliath
Daniel’s survival in a den of ferocious lions
Joseph’s colorful coat and his interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream
Jonah’s miraculous survival in the belly of a whale
Jesus’s birth in a small stable in Bethlehem

Complete with a fun search-and-find activity at the end of each story for additional LEGO fun, this substantial paperback is the perfect holiday or anytime gift!

 

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Q & A With Author/Illustrator Nancy Cote

 Author/illustrator Nancy Cote answered the Sky Pony Q & A. Check out her interview and see all of Nancy Cote’s books below!

FullSizeRenderNancy Cote is a children’s book author and illustrator whose playful style has garnered her international attention. She is the recipient of multiple awards, including the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award, the AGA “Pick of the Lists,” the Smithsonian Notable Book for Children, and the Society of School Librarians International Honor Book.

 

 

 


 

Q: Why did you gravitate to the genre that you write in?

It’s the perfect outlet for me to be as creative as I can be through words and images. I absolutely love picture books!

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Q: What are you reading right now?

This morning I re-read Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler. I’m truly inspired by Ms. Donaldson’s storytelling ability in rhyme. It’s as flawless as the artwork that my all-time favorite illustrator, Axel Scheffler, creates. Their collaborations are in perfect harmony and I am uplifted every time I read this story about friendship and loyalty. I am also reading a short story by Franz Kafka called The Metamorphosis that I’ve read many times because it encourages me to see the world uniquely and to embrace the unexpected. It’s a story about transformation, a concept regularly used in children’s stories to show how a character can change through unpredictable circumstances.

Q: If you could be a character in any children’s book, who would you be and why?

I would be Joseph from Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Tabak because I love how resourceful he is and how he always makes something out of nothing. It’s perfect advice for an author/illustrator.

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Q: Where’s your favorite place to write?

I write whenever I become inspired by an idea. That could be anywhere. But when I’m working on a poem or manuscript, I like to find a cozy chair, curl my legs up under me and write for hours. I always write with pencil and do lots of erasing throughout the process.

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Q: What’s your favorite classic movie?

The Nightmare Before Christmas by Tim Burton is my favorite movie. I adore how the character Jack, who lives in Halloween Town, enters Christmas Town and is amazed to see everything completely brand new and different. His ecstatic refrain, “What’s this?” builds as he sees everything for the very first time and it reminds me that this is the way children view the world.

Q: If you could have any animal as a pet (current or extinct), what would it be?

I love animals of all sorts but I could not get along without a dog.

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Q: Milk, dark, or white chocolate?

Yes, yes, and yes please . . .

Q: What’s your favorite holiday?

Halloween is my favorite holiday because it gives everyone the opportunity to live out a little fantasy. Fall, candy, glowing jack o’ lanterns, laughter, and excitement—a recipe for fun!

Q: What’s your favorite emoji? OR What’s your favorite GIF?

I don’t really like them. They’re generic images that take the place of using words to describe how you feel.

Q: What did you want to grow up to be?

I grew up with a pencil in my hand, always drawing or writing little poems. I had no idea that a career in picture books would be something that I could achieve.

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Nancy Cote’s books for Sky Pony Press:

9781620879917-frontcoverDixie Wants an Allergy by Tori Corn, illustrated by Nancy Cote

It’s Dixie’s first day of school, and some of her classmates are sharing details about their various allergies. Bridget tells of her wheat allergy and how she gets to order a special meal from restaurants. Dixie thinks that must be a really special meal! And Charlie had to be rushed to the hospital in an ambulance once due to his dairy allergy. Dixie thinks that must have been thrilling! Even Hannah gets to wear a fashionable bracelet due to her peanut allergy. Dixie races home and begins to eagerly search for the slightest sign of an allergy. After many failed attempts, Dixie discovers that she is allergic to something after all. But is getting what you wish for actually as exciting as it once appeared?

Watch the Cookie by Nancy Cote

9781629146300-frontcoverSam and Mousey are best friends, and Mousey is always looking up to Sam and following his lead. They do everything together and share everything, too. So when Sam surprises Mousey with a big chocolate chip cookie, they can’t wait to split it. Unfortunately, Sam really has to go and he has to go NOW! “Watch the cookie. I’ll be right back,” he tells Mousey. Mousey diligently watches the cookie, but it turns out that he isn’t the only one. Pigeons come pecking and ants come marching. Mousey does his best to shoo them away, but it’s only when he yells in his loudest voice that he can scare them off. Just when Mousey thinks he has saved the cookie, a hungry cat appears—and this cat isn’t hungry for a cookie.

Puddle Jumpers by Anne Margaret Lewis, illustrated by Nancy Cote

9781634501859-frontcoverIt’s a rainy day in the month of May and Sam spots a rainbow, and then a puddle. A perfect spring puddle. His mother warns, “No! No jumping in puddles! You must keep clean today!” but Sam can’t stop himself from testing the water with his galoshes. And then the puddle invites him to play. The puddle whispers, “Jump, Puddle Jumper, jump!” and with that very first jump, Sam is off on an adventure of the imagination. He’ll be a frog in a pond, with a hat and some spots and a magic wand. He’ll be a crocodile with pink polka dots and teeth like blades, and a polar bear with purple polar hair. He’s going to jump, leap, dance, plunge, swim, and jump again. Sam is having so much fun in his puddle that even Mom can’t resist. With a leap and a thwump, she’s jumping too, cheering, “Jump, Puddle Jumper, jump!”

9781634502023-frontcoverWatch the Birdie by Nancy Cote

Mousey was watching a baby bird when it fell from its nest. The baby bird is okay, but she can’t fly yet! So how will she get back up the tree to safety? Mousey may be too small to get the baby bird back up by himself, but maybe he can find somebody else who can! Maybe a frog can jump high enough. Or maybe a bunny can hop far enough. Maybe a snail will be able to crawl his way up the tree . . .

Will Mousey be able to save the baby bird? Or will the hungry cat get in the way of Mousey’s valiant attempts? Sometimes it’s just the size of your heart that really counts.

Coming Fall 2016:

Leonard’s Beard by Nancy Cote

9781510707962-frontcoverLeonard is a writer with many stories to tell. In his house on a hill, with his dogs and his frog, he writes stories of adventures and excitement. He is so consumed with his stories, though, that he loses touch with all of his friends and feels very lonely.

Each day Leonard’s beard grows longer and longer, and more wild and untamed, as he fills up pages and pages of stories. His life becomes dull and much less exciting as he focuses too much on his writing. Leonard is so busy that he doesn’t notice a storm is brewing until the wind shakes the windows, the roof, and the floor and a strong gust knocks off his door. Once the storm passes, Leonard discovers just how out of control his beard has gotten. He finds strange things that have gotten stuck in there, including a mouse, a bird, and some apples. As Leonard removes the items from his beard, he comes to realize that being consumed with writing adventures has prevented him from having his own.

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