Tag: illustration

Picture Book About a Trans-Child Wins A Major Award!

Today’s world can often seem extremely anti-LGBTQ, with society feeling oppressive toward people who fall outside the line of heterosexually. But there is still a lot of good news, especially with the recent news about the book called Julian Is a Mermaid.  



The book is a children’s picture book that tells the story of a young boy called Julian who comes to terms with his queer identity, showcasing his attempts at dressing in woman’s clothing and how his nana reacts to his attempts to embrace his new identity. The author and illustrator Jessica Love, who was partly inspired by a trans friend, never expected it to be published. After all, many U.K. and U.S. imprints are yanking books off shelves who have gay or trans protagonists, with children’s work a big victim of this unfortunate practice.


Image via Amazon


On Sept 11, Jessica Love was proven wrong when her book won the much coveted Klaus Flugge prize. The prize goes to the most exciting newcomer in children’s book illustration and on Wednesday night, Jessica Love took it home. The judges called the book ‘astonishingly beautiful’ and were further quote as saying:

‘Julian Is a Mermaid reminds us that picture books can make us understand the world differently and better; that they are for everyone. It is a groundbreaking book.’

Love went onto note that the recaption had been mostly positive but there was some hostility toward her work for supposedly spreading the ‘gay agenda.’ She noted Julian is a Mermaid was drawn from her own personal life, with Julian’s nana based off her own queer role modes, her aunt and her aunt’s wife. She wanted a book that could provide the support she received to millions around the world.


Jessica Love

Image VIa Letstalkpicturebooks.com


She is extremely humbled to win the prize and is now working on a sequel, again featuring Julian and his nana. She found the book’s success totally gratifying and paralyzing at the same time. She hopes to continue to give her characters further life, while hoping the success doesn’t overwhelm her. But with the amount of joy and praise she has received from the LBGTQ community, she is likely to continue to soar upward much like Julian himself.




Featured Image Via The Guardian 

Can You Resist Bookstores? No? Then These Memes Are For You!

We’re all book nerds here, so I’m sure I’m in good company. The only thing I love more than a good meme is a good bookstore. Why not combine the two? If you, like me, can’t control yourself in a bookstore, these memes are for you.



The best invite


Image via Meme


Yes. Yes I do. Also I have zero chill. Any self control I may usually use is just gone. Maybe I’m the only one, but if I even pass a bookstore in the street I have to be gently steered away, or sometimes physically dragged. The pure glee on her face really says it all. And those are good friends right there.



I know all I need to

Image via An Intentional Life


All books are queens, and you know it. Sure, I can spend eight plus hours just looking around, but do I need to? I already want them all. The only limit is how many books I can physically take home on the subway, and even that barrier doesn’t get a lot of respect. Sure, I’m sorry by the time I get home, but when I’m deciding, no one can stop me.



Ancient wisdom


Image via MemeCenter


Sure, it’s three pm on a Tuesday, and I’m drinking bubble tea, but I think I still look mysterious and wise. The books are used. That means they’re old and dramatic, regardless of the particular facts. I may not have the mysterious potion or the rocking beard, but I’m not going to let that stop me.



I’ve put a lot of thought in, and decided


Image via Pintrest


Now you may ask, when are you going to read them? Where are they going to go in your apartment? These minor logistics aren’t my concern right now. I’ve read the backs, and I’ve decided the best book in the store is all of them. At once. Right now. No, I don’t take criticism.



Nothing can stop me accept…


Image via Meme


As long as I have blood plasma to sell, I have book money, but unfortunately most shops won’t take it directly. It’s dangerous to even go in, why did no one warn me? You did, and I ugly cried in the street until you caved? Agree to disagree. But I will be back.



Ready to investigate?


Image via Me.me

These bookstores think they’re so clever. And they are. I mean, are those even mystery books? We don’t know. We’ll likely never know. Unless someone wants to go full Sherlock Holmes and get into the truth of this. Volunteers, please send an owl posthaste.



Featured image via Pikdo

A graphic of silhouetted tombstones

This Children’s Book Helps Kids Cope with Loss

The truth about death is pretty depressing: it’s inevitable. As adults, we’re consciously aware of this fact mostly because we have no say in the matter—even if we escape death in our personal lives, that luck can only be tragically temporary (just like us, unfortunately!!!).


It’s often easier to joke about death than it is to confront it directly, as evidenced by this article. RIP, human nature. It can be difficult to live with the reality of death… so can you imagine how impossible it might feel to explain it to a kid, like spoiling the ending of an otherwise excellent story. This children’s book can serve as a gentle conversation-starter in a difficult time.


'The Funeral' children's book

Image Via Barnesandnoble.com


Matt James‘ The Funeral depicts a funeral from a child’s perspective. Even in its title, the book hints at the uncanny juxtaposition between the weight of death and the lighthearted whimsy of a child’s perspective—the fun in funeral is a cheery yellow while the word continues in a dim blue. Though the cover depicts tombstones, the two children are smiling and playful. The book opens:


Norma was practicing her sad face in the mirror of her parents’ room. Though she was, in fact, pretty happy. It was a day off from school, and she would be spending it with her cousin Ray. Her FAVORITE cousin, Ray.



'The Funeral' illustration depicting a child cartwheeling in the graveyard

Image Via 100scopenotes.com


The Funeral tackles the difficult questions, but, as in life, the hardest ones go unanswered. Norma asks: “is Uncle Frank still a person?” Instead of explaining to children what death means (or, even more daunting, what actually happens when you die), James simply depicts what the process of death might look like to a child. The book portrays a scene of the funeral itself, during which Norma laments “how looong they sat on those hard seats, with all that talk about God and souls, and not very much talk about Uncle Frank.” The story is unique in that it grounds itself in the physical, sensory details of a death—it is not an explanation but an introduction.



Featured Image Via Sr22insurancequotes.com

Legendary Children’s Author and Illustrator John Burningham Dies at 82

There is something magical and pure about children’s picture books. Even more than any other books, they teach and bring joy. Furthermore, for younger generations to grow up loving books and being introduced to the wonders of creativity and imagination is a fantastic thing!


To all the children’s authors today, I thank you for your work! But today specifically, we honor one particular author and artist who we have sadly lost, children’s author and illustrator John Burningham.



Image result for helen oxenbury and john burningham

Image Via Telegraph Media Group


According to his official website, johnburningham.com, Burningham studied illustration and graphic design at the Central School of Art, graduating in 1959. With his degree he worked on several illustration commissions, including posters for London Transport. Each commission was made with whimsy and childlike imagination.



John Burningham poster, LT, 1961

Image Via twentiethcenturyposters.com

John Burningham poster, LT, Zoo Ahoy

This piece was designed to convince people to visit a local zoo. | Image Via twentiethcenturyposters.com

John Burningham Poster for London Transport

Image Via London Transport Museum Shop



The aspiring artist continued his work creating these charming illustrations for a living for some years, until finally his first book was published! That book was Borka: the Adventures of a Goose with No Feathers


Image Via Amazon

Mr. and Mrs. Plumpster are delighted when their six eggs hatch into adorable baby goslings. But one has them worried: Borka, who was born without feathers. The doctor encourages Mrs. Plumpster to knit Borka a fuzzy sweater, but while it helps keep out the cold, it doesn’t keep all the other young geese from teasing Borka — until, come migration day, her siblings fly off without her. What is the tearful goose to do? In a brand-new edition of his debut book for children —awarded a prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal in 1963 — the incomparable John Burningham turns a sad beginning into a whimsical tale of pluck and serendipity, kindness and kindred spirits, as he celebrates the rare birds among us.



This adorable and, at first, somewhat tragic tale about finding your own way no matter how “different” people may see you, helped jumpstart Burningham’s career in children’s books. Since then John Burningham has illustrated over thirty picture books, that have been translated and distributed all over the world.


Included in his vast collection Burningham has also published books collaborating with other artists and writers. The well-known novel Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car, which had its own film, entitled Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang, was one  book Burningham illustrated .


Image via Amazon


Ian Fleming, best known for his James Bond novels, wrote only one children’s book—and it is a classic! Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is the name of the flying, floating, driving-by-itself automobile that takes the Pott family on a riotous series of adventures as they try to capture a notorious gang of robbers. This is a story filled with humor, adventure, and gadgetry that only a genius like Fleming could create.

Goodreads.com, synopsis of Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang



Burningham also took the challenge of solely writing a book! With the help of his wife Helen Oxynbury, who is an illustrator herself, the book There’s Going To Be A Baby was born (pun fully intended)!


Image Via Amazon


From two of the world’s best-loved picture-book creators, an absolute gem for new-siblings-to-be. When is the baby coming? What will we call it? What will the baby do? We don’t really need the baby, do we? As the arrival of a new sibling draws nearer, the questions that stream through a young child’s mind are followed with sensitivity and humour in this enchanting book. Exquisitely illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, these pages brim with love, excitement and reassurance as the child in the story imagines all kinds of colourful futures for the brother or sister he is waiting to meet. Full of warmth and promise, this is an instant and timeless classic.


This incredibly endearing story book is perfect for ever-growing families, and for the past eight years has been helping parents explain to their children that new baby is on the way. I can imagine it being the perfect project for the Burningham and Oxenbury!


Since his start from college as a poster illustrator for his community, he skyrocketed to famous children’s book author and illustrator. John Burman has brought whimsy, joy, and inspiration to the people of London and across the world! In honor of all his work in children’s books, John was awarded with the BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award last year. His imaginitive and unique stories and charming illustrations will be remembered!


Related image

John with his wife Helen. | Image via Nursery World



Featured Image Via Flipboard


Florence Welch’s Debut Book Is Here and It Is Stunning!

Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine, has just released her debut book, Useless Magic. Published under Penguin Random House and released yesterday, July 5th, this collection of personal poems, illustrations, and more is stunningly unique, and something you definitely don’t want to miss!


Useless Magic

Image via Amazon


Florence and the Machine formed in 2007 in London, consisting of Florence Welch, Isabella Summers, and a blend of other guest artists and musicians. By 2009 they’d released their debut album, Lungs, packed with the popular chart toppers Dog Days Are OverKiss with a Fist, and You’ve Got the Love, and rapidly gained international fame.


Since the start of her career, Welch has always brought something entirely otherworldly to the table; her voice acting as an instrument all it’s own, on par with the voices of artists like Kate Bush or Björk, giving her music a dream-like quality and creating a sound you recognize as hers the moment you hear it. Her past work has had a much bigger instrumental sound (including the use of wind chimes, drumming on multiple surfaces, bells, electric guitars, etc.) while her newest release, High as Hope, feels more stripped-down and raw; her voice feels more conversational, her lyrics more poetic. This is also the first album on which Welch herself is listed as the producer.


Listening to this album feels more personal; Welch has been open about much of the lyrics deriving directly from poems and journal entries (Hunger smacks you right from the get-go with it’s opening line, as does Sky Full Of Song with the bridge “I thought I was flying but maybe I’m dying tonight“) creating a listening experience that feels completely relatable and entirely human.


And now, with the release of Useless Magic, Florence Welch has taken the full dive into letting us truly see her inner world. Reading this collection feels as though you’re reading someone’s journal filled with their direct and most personal thoughts; not to mention the mystical, ethereal quality Welch is famous for seems to pour from within the pages, giving the collection a prophetic-like feel.


Useless Magic

Image via Amazon


This book is beautiful in how it shows someone as their most realistic, not-always-put-together self. Welch is open about her struggles with eating disorders, alcoholism, anxiety, and more; she writes of those who’ve hurt her, of the things she feels afraid of, of the things she feels ashamed for having done. There is no sugar-coating here, no rose colored glasses, nor smoke or mirrors. It’s the sort of work you’ll read and think, “oh my god, I’ve felt that way, too!”


Useless Magic is the more than simply another inside look at a successful artist and her musical process; it’s a look at someone in all of her graceless, messy, miserable, terrified, and fallible humanity. It’s clouded and scribbled and just so, completely gorgeous in how heartbreakingly relatable every word, note, poem, and illustration are. (Being a person is scary; none of us really have any idea what we’re doing or why we’re here or if we’re living our lives the way we were meant to, and Welch has been fearless in opening up about that.)


Useless Magic

Image via Amazon


Watching an artist blend poetry with music, and openly speak about the power poems and writing and words can hold, is so exciting. I’m a big believer that reading poems and writing your own (in whatever way feels right) can cause you to grow, shift, change, and realize thoughts and you feelings you never knew you had. Poetry can sometimes tend to gain a bit of a bad reputation as something boring and difficult to understand because of the way many school systems teach us to read poems from a technical, as opposed to emotional, standpoint; it’s refreshing to see someone who holds such a powerful place in the mainstream media release poems; now fans of Welch who may not have necessarily considered themselves fans of poetry before will be buying and reading a book of poems, and that’s insanely cool. (This all part of the poetry-community’s plan to get everyone in the world to read poetry, obviously. We’re after a poetry-ruled world, baby!)


Useless Magic will allow you to see someone in an intimate light we are rarely granted. You don’t want to miss this, order here! Also, be sure to check out Florence Welch’s Instagram-based book club, Between Two Books, now!


…a prediction comes true and I couldn’t do anything to stop it, so it seems like a kind of useless magic.




Featured Image Via Marie Claire UK