Sunday, December 4, 2016

5 with Sarah Aspinall of Penguins Love Colors

For today's post I turn the LibLaura5 blog over to Sarah Aspinall, creator of Penguins Love Colors.

Sarah, thank you so much for stopping by my blog to share about your new book Penguins Love Colors by finishing my 5 purple prompts.

[Sarah:] Thank you for having me, it’s lovely to be here!

Penguins… are so much fun to illustrate!  I adore animals of all kinds and any excuse to draw and paint them I will take!  Did you know there are approximately 17 different types of penguins? Not all of them live in the cold like mine do, in fact, the smallest breed of penguin, called a Fairy Penguin, (the biggest ones grow to just 13” tall, with a maximum weight of 3.3 lbs!) lives in Southern Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand!
It was also very important to me that I make the world of the book as void of color as possible so that when the creativity begins (much like starting a drawing on a blank piece of paper, or painting a fresh canvas) the colors truly burst across the page/snow!  There are no limits!  What better choice than a sibling group of playful black and white penguins!

Broccoli… is delicious!  My best friend and I used to eat it nearly every day with cheese and spicy sauce (those were the frugal days of living in London in my early 20’s- ha!).  
The penguins all have very specific names linking them to their favorite colors.  I wanted to have one, named Broccoli, that was a little out of the ordinary.  I think we almost all have that quirky friend or family member who is a little different than the rest.  In fact, I think I might even be that person for some- hehe.
I also think it helps to give young readers something to remember and react to right away!  Most people do not know that Broccoli is a flowering vegetable, it’s a good way to make sure they’re listening ;)

Growing up on top of a hill in the middle of the english countryside.
Surrounded by seven brothers and sisters, dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs and mice

Picture books…  help us to connect, communicate, understand, learn, laugh, remember, feel, express love for one another and form a creative point of view--they are truly limitless.  They must never, ever, ever go away.
I first understood just how powerful a picture book could be when I took a class at RISD called Picture and Word.  I will never forget day one when Judy-Sue, an amazing lady who has inspired me more than anyone I have met, introduced us to a spectrum of wonderful picture books, but finished by reading aloud ‘Annie Bananie’ by Leah Komaiko (Illustrated by Laura Cornell).  By the end of the book she was moved to tears and I was surprised to find that I was too. Taking that class was a truly pivotal moment in my life, and I have not stopped writing, illustrating and collecting picture books ever since.

Making books for young readers… is an honor and a heck of a lot of fun.  Children are the experts when it comes to play and bringing life to one’s imaginings, as a creator you need to keep your wits about you!  
There is also something incredibly special about being a part of someone’s childhood, if you get it right, parts of whatever it is you created stays with them forever.

Sharing the books we love is one way we share about ourselves and connect with each other, so my last prompt for you is...

One book I read and loved recently… Oh!  There are so many!!  Only one?  Hmm, well, if I must- I think I will choose ‘Rude Cakes’ by Rowboat Watson.  It is absolutely bonkers, and really, really funny, I loved it.  When these kinds of books get published I feel relieved to know that there are still enough grown up folks out there with a great sense of humor and the gumption to publish something truly original.

Thank you, Sarah!

Find Penguins Love Colors on...

Friday, November 18, 2016

PCS Reads - Episode 16 with Stephen Shaskan

Author/Illustrator Stephen Shaskan visits PCS Reads to share about his latest book Max Speed!

Don't see the embedded podcast player? Click Here

Mentioned in Episode 16:

Author and Illustrator Stephen Shaskan

Dog is a Dog

Three Triceratops Tough

Art Panels, Bam! Speech Bubbles, Pow! Writing Your Own Graphic Novel

Stephen Shaskan Recommends:

written by Barbara Bottner
illustrated by Peggy Rathmann


Written by David LaRochelle
Illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka



Music used in the episode:
Dirt Bike Lovers, Bitter Roll and Wingspan by Blue Dot Sessions

Friday, October 7, 2016

PCS Reads - Episode 15 with Author Abby Cooper

Author of Sticks and Stones Abby Cooper joins PCS Reads for Episode 15!

Don't see the embedded podcast player? Click Here

Mentioned in Episode 15:

Author Abby Cooper

Sticks and Stones

(out in stores and libraries July 2017)

Rat Prince
by Bridget Hodder

Read an Excerpt of The Rat Prince

Music used in the episode:
Dirt bike Lovers, A Path Unwinding and Wingspan by Blue Dot Sessions

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

PCS Reads - Episode 14 with Author Josh Funk

Episode 14 of PCS Reads is the first of the school year episodes that will now air periodically.

Episode 14 is a book creator episode featuring a single author or illustrator.
Today's guest is author Josh Funk, who visited my blog yesterday

Don't see the embedded podcast player? Click Here

Mentioned in Episode 14:

Author Josh Funk

Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast


Dear Dragon

Pink is for Blobfish
By Jess Keating
with illustrations by David Degrand

Boats for Papa

One Day, The End
Illustrated by Fred Koehler

Normal Norman
Written by Tara Lazar
Illustrated by S. Britt

Under a Pig Tree: A History of the Noble Fruit
Written by Margie Palatini
Illustrated by Chuck Groenink

Music used in the episode:
Dirtbike Lovers, Discovery Harbor and Wingspan by Blue Dot Sessions

Monday, September 5, 2016

5 Favorites with Author Josh Funk

Today author Josh Funk stopped by the blog to share 5 favorite books from his childhood.

Josh Funk's newest book Dear Dragon is a clever story about two pen pals--one a boy, and the other a dragon--and the assumptions about each other they make along the way. Dear Dragon is a fabulous book to share with kids about letter writing, making assumptions or just for fun.

Dear Dragon is released tomorrow Sept. 6th, so look for it in your local bookstore or library. 

Today Josh is visiting my blog... tomorrow he is visiting my podcast.
So be sure to stop back tomorrow for a special episode of PCS Reads.

And now...

My first favorite picture book was Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina. This book has everything you could want in a book for preschool age children. It has a very organized salesman with excellent posture and very affordably priced caps. It has naptime. It has the surprise (!) of missing caps. It has mischief making monkeys. It has repetition. And it encourages movement. As an adult, I have to admit that I didn’t love reading this book to my own kids (maybe because of all the flailing limbs). But as I’m analyzing the appeal of Caps for Sale for the first time as I write this, I’m beginning to understand (Note to self: use Caps for Sale as a mentor text for a future manuscript).

I so badly wanted to spend the night in a giant department store bouncing on beds like Corduroy! In fact, I still do. Don Freeman’s teddy bear lived the dream life, where the worst thing that could possibly happen was losing a button (or maybe needing a pocket). I sometimes wonder what it would be like to be one of my cats, napping pretty much all day. But wouldn’t it be even better to be a teddy bear?

I was certainly a fan of William Steig (despite the fact that Sylvester heightened my claustrophobic tendencies). My favorite of his as a child was The Amazing Bone. This was during the early ‘80s and I’ve been told I was going through a ‘pig’ phase, where I also had a thing for Miss Piggy (but who didn’t, right? Right …?). I loved the magic, but the real appeal was that the stakes were so high - as Pearl got into some serious danger - tense for a toddler! Also, my grandmother’s name was Pearl.

In third grade, my teacher read Lafcadio: The Lion Who Shot Back aloud to the class. I remember loving the book so much that I forced my parents to buy it and read it with me so I could share its awesomeness. Shel Silverstein’s storytelling and illustrations are always humorous and familiar (having read several of his other works before). But I think for me as a child, it was the ending (which I won’t give away) that intrigued me so.

Matilda came out at exactly the right time for me. I’d read other Roald Dahl books, but this one was different somehow. Maybe it was because this was one of the first books that I got to share with a teacher, not the other way around. It was a new book, and I read it for the first time at the same time as (or even before) everyone else. Being able to get excited about a book, book talk it to classmates, and champion a book gave me a sense of ownership that I’d never had (or at least don’t remember having) previously. It’s also an amazing story about a magic genius.

Thank you, Laura, for inviting me to share some of my favorite books … from when I “was” a child (I mean, I still pretty much am a child). And thank you for sharing Dear Dragon!

​​Josh Funk is the author of Dear Dragon (Viking/Penguin) and other picture books. Josh is a board member of The Writers' Loft in Sherborn, MA and the co-coordinator of the 2016 and 2017 New England Regional SCBWI Conferences. Josh grew up in New England and studied Computer Science in school. Today, he still lives in New England and when not writing Java code or Python scripts, he drinks Java coffee and writes picture book manuscripts.

Josh is terrible at writing bios, so please help fill in the blanks. Josh enjoys _______ during ________ and has always loved __________. He has played ____________ since age __ and his biggest fear in life is being eaten by a __________.

Find out more at and on twitter @joshfunkbooks.

Be sure to visit the other stops on the Dear Dragon Blog Tour:

The Late Bloomer’s Book Blog – September 6
Teach Mentor Texts – September 7As They Grow Up – September 8Emily’s Reading Room – September 9Reederama – September 10