December 26



Happy Saturday! I’m overjoyed to kick off the tenth annual Nerdy Book Club Awards. First up is fiction picture books! A GIGANTIC thank-you to everyone who nominated titles. Congratulations to this year’s winners!

A Gift for Amma: Market Day in India by Meera Sriram; illustrated by Mariona Cabassa

“One cannot think of India without thinking colors. As a concept, a book on colors of India was an easy choice. However, it was a dream (and a challenge) to find ways to capture the vibrancy of the colorful street life. Three years ago, a seed was planted when I started exploring a narrative with certain specific elements like picking out colors that are also items at a market, layering with sounds and sensory details, and slowly trying to weave in a storyline.” -Meera Sriram

Please click here to read the full interview with Meera.

All Because You Matter by Tami Charles; illustrated by Bryan Collier

“Tami Charles’ manuscript will take you on a glorious journey of self-discovery and self-worth. In a way it’s an awakening to a gentle and intimate whisper of promise and hope to a child not yet born. It’s also bearing witness to all the wonder of a child’s first steps, first words, and first obstacles.” -Bryan Collier

Please click here to read the full interview with Tami and Bryan.

Bedtime for Sweet Creatures by Nikki Grimes; illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon

“Hopefully, this story will make bedtime a little less scary or stressful for readers. It might also inspire parents to find creative ways to handle bedtime for their own little ones.” -Nikki Grimes

Please click here to read the full interview with Nikki.

Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away by Meg Medina; illustrated by Sonia Sánchez

“It happens to everyone: friends move on. Sometimes it’s just the move to another class or to somebody they like better, but it happens and it’s painful.” –Meg Medina

I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes; illustrated by Gordon C. James

“I wanted through the illustrations for these kids to feel empowered. I want them all to feel like they belong everywhere, like there are no limits to the places they should be, or the things that they can be. -Gordon C. James

Click here to read or listen to the full interview with Derrick and Gordon.

I Talk Like a River by Jordan Scott; illustrated by Sydney Smith

“By turns heartbreaking and illuminating, this picture book brings one more outsider into the fold through economy of language and an abundance of love.”—School Library Journal, Starred Review

In A Jar by Deborah Marcero

“Deborah Marcero draws us deeper into the story with her rich descriptions. We find ourselves astonished and willing to join Llewellyn and Evelyn in their mutual quest to collect those exquisite moments which sometimes only happen once.” -Margie Myers-Culver

Please click here to read Margie’s full review.

Lift by Minh Lê; illustrated by Dan Santat

“Dan Santat’s illustrations are totally out of this world. Sending a story to Dan is kind of like pushing a magic elevator button. I know it’s going to lead to something extraordinary, but it’s always more amazing than I could’ve imagined and takes my breath away every time.” -Minh Lê

Please click here to read the full interview with Minh and Dan.

My Best Friend by Julie Fogliano; illustrated by Jillian Tamaki

“Julie Fogliano’s manuscript for MY BEST FRIEND was the first picture book manuscript that really clicked with me. Play is so intense and vivid at that age, and your best friend is your whole world. I wanted to conjure into images that sense of insularity and whimsy that Julie describes and I remember so well. The rituals of girls and young women will be a theme of mine forever, probably.” -Jillian Tamaki

Please click here to read the full interview with Julie and Jillian.

Nana Akua Goes to School by Tricia Elam Walker; illustrated by April Harrison

“This lovely story explores the perennial fear of being different, while showcasing the great love between a grandparent and grandchild.” –School Library Journal, Starred Review

On Account of the Gum by Adam Rex

“If you want to have a storytime, one on one or with a large group, laughing themselves silly, read On Account Of The Gum written and illustrated by Adam Rex.  The rollicking rhythm of his words with his funny illustrations are sure to prompt requests of ‘read it again.'” -Margie Myers-Culver

Please click here to read Margie’s full review.

Swashby and the Sea by Beth Ferry; illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal

“Swashby is many people. He is an introvert trying to enjoy his quiet time on his own. He’s also anyone who pushes people away because he’s been hurt before. He’s my dad when he’s grumpy and has no patience left. I think we are all Swashby at some point.” -Juana Martinez-Neal

Please click here to read the full interview.

The Arabic Quilt: An Immigrant Story by Aya Khalil; illustrated by Anait Semirdzhyan

“When my parents, brother, and I moved to the United States from Egypt 31 years ago, we were lonely, as most immigrants are when they arrive. We lived in New Jersey at the time, and with limited English-speaking skills and no car, my mom would take us on long bus rides with each other to pass time.” -Aya Khalil

Please click here to read Aya’s full essay.

The Little Mermaid by Jerry Pinkney

“My interest and fascination with The Little Mermaid was also due to its setting, which bridges two worlds, water and land, for a day in which they become one world. I was especially drawn to the undersea with all its oddities and spectacular creatures. I found that the more I researched, the more I realized how overwhelmingly full of energy and life the oceans are, and I knew it would be challenging to capture the awesomeness found there.” –Jerry Pinkney

The Paper Kingdom by Helena Ku Rhee; illustrated by Pascal Campion

“A beautiful, must-read tribute to hardworking families and the magic they create.” —Kirkus, Starred Review

Two Dogs on a Trike by Gabi Snyder; illustrated by Robin Rosenthal

“The dog versus cat dynamic that plays out in TWO DOGS ON A TRIKE was inspired, in part, by my childhood pets. I grew up with a cat we called Kinko (named for his kinked tail) and an assortment of dogs. Kinko was the undisputed boss. Now my family includes one dog and one cat. (They take turns keeping each other in line.)” -Gabi Snyder

Please click here to read the full interview with Gabi.

¡Vamos! Let’s Go Eat by Raúl the Third

“I feel lucky to have parents who come with different perspectives on what it means to be Latinx, and through my work, I hope to make kids who are like me, proud of where they’re from, and that they will be inspired to tell stories of their personal experiences.” -Raúl the Third

Please click here to read the full interview with Raúl the Third.

We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom; illustrated by Michaela Goade

“Carole Lindstrom’s manuscript for We Are Water Protectors sang to me and captured my heart and imagination immediately. The way she writes about Mother Earth, about water, is what I seek to communicate through my art. It resonated so deeply with me.” -Michaela Goade

Please click here to read the full interview with Carole and Michaela.

You Matter by Christian Robinson

“The repetition of the titular phrase is extremely effective; by book’s end, you can’t help but believe it.” – The Horn Book Magazine, Starred Review 

Your Name Is a Song by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow; illustrated by Luisa Uribe

“Luisa captured the magical and musical elements of the story in both bold and subtle ways. I love the use of color—the big splashes and little touches that make it so vibrant. And I love that the characters are radiant. It’s always special to me when my people are depicted in beautiful ways on children’s books. It brings me even more joy that these depictions are from a book I helped create.” -Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow

Please click here to read the full interview with Jamilah.