If you follow B.J. Novak on Instagram, you know The Office star (and Mindy Kaling’s BFF!) has a tongue-in-cheek feed called “Pictures of Text” with…well, photos of text-heavy signs, posters, book covers, you name it.
So it’s no surprise that Novak pitched an idea for a children’s book called, “The Book With No Pictures“, a “picture” book without pictures…the first of its kind! Speaking to People, Novak shared, “I really wanted to get kids thinking that the written word is their ally not their enemy and it creates a great experience between the parent and the kid.”
Novak also posted photos of the front and back covers on Instagram and Twitter recently. Given Novak’s fondness for text, the cover is plain and sparse, similar to the black-text-on-white-background cover of his other book, “One More Thing,” a collection of short stories for adults.
Although little else is known about the picture book, Novak did tell People that it was a “simple” book with “hidden messages.” He got a chance to read it to a group of elementary school kids in Queens, who responded in a positive way. No doubt humor is a big part of the book (as evidenced by the text on his back cover: “WARNING! This book looks serious but it is actually COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS!”).
“I think a lot of parents think they are not funny and are scared to read a funny book, but I’ve tested it with so many parents and I think this is fool-proof. No matter how you read it, you’re funny,” Novak said.
Look out for the book when it’s released by Penguin Kids on September 30.
Mother’s Day and Father’s Day will be here before you know it! Help your little one enjoy the festivities with some of the many stories dedicated to moms and dads.
Davy Loves His Mommy, by Brigette Weninger and Eve Tharlet: Devious kiddos will relate to Davy the bunny, whose ill-mannered habits have disappointed Mother Rabbit. In order to impress her on Mother’s Day, Davy and his siblings decide to read up on good behavior. While at first Davy doesn’t think being proper is much fun, acting politely soon becomes less challenging. How will Davy use his new skills to surprise Mama?
A Gift for Mama, by Linda Ravin Lodding: Travel to Vienna, Austria, and follow along with Oskar, who’s on a mission to find the perfect gift for mom’s birthday. Where will his encounters take him? This vividly-illustrated book leaves readers guessing.
Where’s Mommy, by Beverly Donofrio: Readers familiar with Mary and the Mouse, the Mouse and Mary will enjoy being reacquainted with Maria and Mouse Mouse, who are looking for their human and animal mothers, respectively. Eventually, the two little girls run into each other and are met with a pleasant surprise!
How to Cheer Up Dad, by Fred Koehler: Troublemaking elephant Little Jumbo keeps upsetting his dad. While sitting in time-out, he comes up with a few ideas to make Dad feel better. After a day of playing catch, eating ice cream, and going fishing, Little Jumbo picks out Dad’s favorite book to read before bed. But what will Little Jumbo do once Dad’s asleep?
The Best Daddy in the World, by Eleni Zabini and Susanne Lütje: Animal children (and one human boy!) express their love and appreciation for special things their fathers do (“My daddy makes me breakfast,” “My daddy comes and tucks me in”). Ask your little one what makes his or her daddy special!
Finding a gift for mom doesn’t have to be stressful! Kids can make their own paper creations, as shown here:
It’s Children’s Book Week, which means this week is another special reason to encourage your kids to read! This celebration of books (sponsored by the Children’s Book Council and Every Child a Reader) officially began in 1919, though the idea was originally formulated in 1913 by Franklin K. Matthiews, the librarian of the Boy Scouts of America. To date, this week is considered the longest-running literacy program in the U.S. (Read more about the history at bookweekonline.com)
Since spring and rain are on my mind (it’s been endless wet weather in New York), here are some new and old spring-related books that are perfect for the season:
Gem by Holly Hobbie – The author/illustrator of the “Toot and Puddle” series showcases her superb watercolors in this (mostly) wordless book about a frog and a young girl’s discovery of the world.
And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano – Spare and poetic as a haiku, this first-time author focuses on a boy waiting for his garden to bloom. Subdued illustrations by Erin E. Stead, who won the 2011 Caldecott Medal for “A Sick Day for Amos McGee,” are a perfect accompaniment.
Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger – A tribute to nature and the environment, Seeger shares the different shades of green that exist in the world, along with scenes of what a world would be like without green. Strategic cut-outs on each page also give a hint of what will come next.
The Curious Garden by Peter Brown – Inspired by the High Line in New York City, this story follows a little boy as he plants a rooftop garden with the hope of transforming a dark and dreary world into something bright and bold. (Brown’s signature drawings are detailed, lush, and vibrant.)
It’s no secret I love children’s picture books (and collecting them), so I’m excited to present this fun book trailer for Revenge of the Dinotrux by Chris Gall, a sequel to Dinotrux (imagine Transformers meets dinosaurs). Gall writes and illustrates his own books, combining clever ideas (dinosaur-like trucks!) with colorful and bold illustrations. In fact, I own one of Gall’s earlier books, Dear Fish, which is about what happens after a young boy writes a letter to all the fish in the sea, inviting them to visit him on land!
In this Dinotrux sequel, watch out as Garbageadon, Craneosaurus, and Tyrannosaurus Trux try to take over the world!
This cute and catchy music video came across my inbox yesterday and I’ve watched it at least three times. If you love books and reading as much as I do, you will also love this video from Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), the largest non-profit children’s literacy organization. RIF just launched the national ”Book People Unite” campaign to encourage book lovers to band together, and this Public Service Announcement features an original song produced by The Roots.
A montage of assorted puppets (by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop) and animations (by Curious Pictures) of beloved book characters (Pinocchio, Curious George, Babar, Humpty Dumpty, Clifford, Raggedy Ann and Andy, and Madeline) are all seen or heard singing ”Book People Unite.” Famous musicians and celebrities such as Chris Martin from “Coldplay,” John Legend, Regina Spektor, and Jack Black also contribute vocals for the characters or make appearances alongside them. LeVar Burton, who hosted “Reading Rainbow,” also makes a cameo. (NYTimes.com also has a feature-length piece about the video.)
Last year, RIF provided 14 million books to 4 million children, and the non-profit hopes to give more books to the 16 million children living in poverty in our country. To show your support for literacy, sign the “Book People Unite” reading pledge and receive a free download of the song.
Can you spot all the book characters or match them to the celeb voices?
Before March ends, make sure to encourage bring your little bookworm to the library since March is National Reading Month.
To help promote a love for reading, Cheerios is celebrating the 10-year anniversary of its Spoonfuls of Stories program, which places one free book written by award-winning authors inside specially-marked cereal boxes. This year, six different books (with English and Spanish versions) will be distributed together:
Peeny Butter Fudge, by Toni and Slade Morrison and illustrated by Joe Cepeda
Mostly Monsterly, by Tammi Sauer and illustrated by Scott Magoon
Noodle & Lou, by Elizabeth Garton Scanlon and illustrated by Arthur Howard
If I Were a Jungle Animal, by Amanda Ellery and illustrated by Tom Ellery
Hello Baby, by Mem Fox and illustrated by Steve Jenkins
Can I Just Take a Nap?, by Ron Rauss and illustrated by Rob Shepperson
Since 2002, Cheerios has distributed 60 million books in boxes and donated $3.8 million to First Book, a non-profit dedicated to improving literacy for low-include families by providing them their first new books. This year, Cheerios will be giving 50,000 children’s books and $300,000 to First Book.
You can also donate to First Book through your mobile phones by using short code 20222 and texting Books2Kids. By doing so, a $5 donation will be made that will provide two new books to a child in need. Standard messaging rates apply, and the donation amount will appear on your cell phone bill. Parents can also find other book-related events sponsored by Cheerios near you.
Make sure to read our Tech Savvy Parents blog by Leticia Barr — she has some family- and budget-friendly ideas for celebrating Dr. Seuss’s birthday with fun online activities. March is also National Reading Month, so get your kids hooked on books with classic Seuss favorites such as The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, and Horton Hears a Who! Or plan a trip to the colorful Seuss Landing at Islands of Adventure in Universal Orlando — where favorite characters, scenes, and places from the books come to life.
Update: Play a matching game online, The Many Languages of Dr. Seuss, to see if you can match the English versions of his book titles with the translations in other languages. You may need to print the image out and use a pen or pencil to draw lines between the titles. After you’re done, find the answers at www.smartling.com/seuss.
What are your favorite Dr. Seuss books? Which ones do your kids love?
Over the weekend, I popped into a bookstore and spotted the familiar-looking “Goodnight, Moon” cover with its classic blue, green, and orange, colors…but on close inspection, I realized that it was a parody called, “Goodnight, iPad.”
Written by Ann Droyd, the book mimics the rhyming style of Margaret Wise’s book but focuses on a a family of floppy rabbits being driven a little crazy by modern technology. The hilarious book is a reminder to say goodnight to all our mobile devices and gadgets in the evening. (“In a bright buzzing room, in the glow of the moon–and iPhones and Androids and Blackberries too–it is time to say goodnight…”)