Friday, September 8, 2017

25 Picture Books That Cultivate Inclusion & Value Difference

Reading picture books is a great way to cultivate empathy skills and start conversations with our kids.  Here's 25 wonderful, diverse, inclusive picture books from my library to get you started.  You'll be able to find many of them at your local library.

1.The Secret Footprints by Julia Alvarez illustrated By Fabian Negrin, Dell Dragonfly Books, 2000

 2.Beat The Story-Drum, Pum-Pum By Ashely Bryant, Atheneum, 1987   

3.Why Mosquitos Buzz in People's Ears By Verna Aardema & Illustrated By Leo & Diane Dillon, The Dial Press, 1975   

4. The Ugly Vegetables By Grace Lin, Charlesbridge, 1999
6. My Name Is Yoon, By Helen Recorvits & Illustrated By Gabi Swiatkowska, Frances Foster Books, FSG, 2003   

7. A Chair For My Mother By Vera B. Williams, Caldecott Medal, Greenwillow, 1988, Spanish & English   

8. Tar Beach By Faith Ringgold, Caldecott Medal, Crown Publishers, 1998   

9. A Story, A Story, Retold & Illustrated By Gail E. Haley, Aladdin Paperbacks, Simon & Schuster, 1970

12. The Frog Who Wanted To Be A Singer, By Linda Goss & Illustrated By Cynthia Jabar, Orchard Books, 1996

13. The Lotus Seed, Sherry Garland & Illustrated By Tatsuro Kiuchi, Harcourt, 1993

15. Cornrows, By Camille Yarbrough & Illustrated By Carole Byard, Putnam, 1979

16. The Red Butterfly, By Deborah Noyes & Illustrated By Sophie Blackall, Candlewick, 2007     

17. No Hickory, No Dickory, No Dock, Caribbean Nursery Rhymes, By John Agard & Grace Nichols, Illustrated by Cynthia Jabar, Candlewick, 1991

18. What A Wonderful World, By George David Weiss & Bob Theile & Illustrated By Ashley Bryant, Atheneum, 1995

21. Martin's Big Words, The Life of Martin Luther King Jr., By Doreen Rappaport & Illustrated By Bryan Collier, Hyperion, 2001


22. Tiger On A Tree, By Anushka Ravishankar Illustrated By Pulak Biswas, Tara Publishing, 1997


23. We Are All Alike, We Are All Different, Written & Illustrated By the Cheltenhame Elementary School Kindergartners, Scholastic, 1991

24. The Big Box, By Toni Morrison With Slade Morrison Illustrated by Giselle Potter, Hyperion, 1999


25. Dizzy, By Jonah Winter & Illustrated By Sean Qualls, Arthur Levine, 2006

Do you have a favorite?
Tweet it to me: @cynthiajabar and I'll add it to my list.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Crowdfunding Girl Power: Books, Magazines & Toys

People are fed up with stereotypes.  We can see this in the record breaking numbers from indie makers (women & men) who push forward without traditional publishers and create their own vision and brand.

 Good Night for Rebel Girls, an illustrated book byElena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo tops $1M in crowd funding, the largest to date. ($1,112,079 on Kickstarter & Indiegogo)

Augie and The Green Knight, A Children's Adventure Book by Zachary Weiner.  ($384,410 on Kickstarter)

The Princess Who Saved Herself by Greg Pak. ($111,759 on Kickstarter)

Kazoo, a new kind of magazine for girls, by Erin Bried ($171,215 on Kickstarter)

School of Doodle, a free online high school for imagination - for girls, by girls. ($107,129 on Kickstarter)

Hello Ruby, a children's book that teaches programming by Linda Liukas. ($380,747, on Kickstarter)

GoldieBlox: The Engineering Toy For Girls. ($285,881 on Kickstarter)



Women Raise More Money With Crowdfunding
Crowdfunding Is A female Founder's best Friend
Kids' Book for Rebel Girls Makes Crowdfunding History
Good Night Stories for rebel Girls is Dream Kickstarter Success
I Wanted To Disrupt The Pink Aisle
Picture Books That Draw The Line Against Pink Stereotypes of Girls

Follow me on twitter @cynthiajabar or Instagram @NycBookNerd.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Learning Math with Curious George: PBS KIDS Transmedia and Digital Learning Games in the Preschool Classroom

This free report published by,  "explores how the PBS Kids Curious George’s Busy Day transmedia suite, used as a summer school intervention program, supported preschool mathematics learning. The report also examines the features and benefits of transmedia-based learning in preschool."

Learning Math with Curious George: PBS KIDS Transmedia and Digital Learning Games in the Preschool Classroom
By Betsy McCarthy, Michelle Tiu, Linlin Li

transmedia Storytelling For Kids: Free Publications

Up for a little summer research reading from some PhDs? 's FREE publications highlight key findings around how transmedia storytelling can be used to increase family engagement (an entry point into your story) and "improve preschoolers' mathematics learning."

1. Learning with PBS KIDS: A Study of Family Engagement and Early Mathematics Achievement (free PDF)
By Betsy McCarthy, Linlin Li, Michelle Tiu, Sara Atienza, Ursula Sexton

2.  PBS KIDS Mathematics Transmedia Suites in Preschool Homes: A Report to the CPB-PBS Ready To Learn Initiative (free PDF)

3. Evaluation of The Electric Company Summer Learning Program (free PDF) 
By Betsy McCarthy, Lisa Michel, Michelle Tiu, Sara Atienza, John Rice, Jonathan Nakamoto, Armando Tafoya

Dig in. Summer just started yesterday.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Manifesto For 2016: Done is Better Than Perfect

Right. That's my manifesto this year, damn it. Launch my passion project. Get it out there, measure, fail in public, learn something new, grow my community, embrace change, iterate, rest & repeat.
  "Perfection kills creativity." - James Victore
When I need a kick ass pep talk on a late Sunday night about how to stay creatively focused I listen to James Victore. Again.

"The more authentic I can be, the greater impact it's going to have. Then your work becomes a gift" -James Victore

Inspired? Share it.
What are you making?
Find more of my notes on twitter: @cynthiajabar.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Lilli Carre Animation: Like A Lantern

Well this is a nice piece of expressionistic animation from artist Lilli Carre. Love the retro, printmaking vibe, limited palette and sparkling music.

Title: Like A Lantern
Animation: Lilli Carre
Sound: Andrew Dorsett, Eli Moore & Ashley Eriksson
Like a Lantern from Lilli Carre on Vimeo.

Making Picture Books: Lauren Child's New Book; One Thing, Featuring Charlie and Lola

YAY! The first Charlie & Lola book in five years is here. If you're interested in making picture books, Lauren Child is someone you'll want to study.

  • The dialog in the Charlie and Lola series is as timeless as A. A. Milne's Winnie The Pooh, filled with friendship, vulnerability, creativity and kindness.
  • Her sophisticated use of typography, color and collage illustration perfectly compliment the modern tone of the story.
  • I enjoy being swept up into Charlie and Lola's eccentric story world through Child's quirky honest humor and sophisticated visual rhythm. Before I know it, I'm hooked. I want to hang out &  be Charlie & Lola's friends. I'm emotionally connected & I want more. This is no easy feat. Child says, "it takes a lot of time to get it just right." Brand extensions include: activity books, an animated TV series beautifully adapted by Tiger Aspect, licensed toys & much more.
  • I find Lola's humongous and also BIG #GIRLPOWER refreshing! Her best friend is a brown girl with black curly hair named Lotta Zehybe - awesome. We need to see more of this in the picture book world - especially if it depicts girls of all colors.
Watch this interesting BBC video of Lauren Child in her studio sharing her picture book making process.  I absolutely love seeing how other picture book artists work.


1. An Annotated / paginated manuscript from One Thing, Featuring Charlie and Lola, written and illustrated by Lauren Child and published by Orchard Books.

2. Visual Experiments. In the BBC interview, Child says she started to use collage because she likes to move things around on the page and "it takes a lot of time to get it just right." For sure!

3. A storyboard from One Thing, Featuring Charlie and Lola

Listen to this insightful 2015 Bologna Book Fair interview from children's book writer Lucy Coats about Lauren Child's new book, One Thing, featuring Charlie and Lola.

 Charlie & Lola website here.
Charlie & Lola animated series on Cbeebies.
Charlie & Lola on Amazon.
Lauren Child's interactive website; Milk Monitor.
2015 is the 15th anniversary of I Will Not Ever Never Eat A Tomato which won the Kate Greenaway Medal in 2000.
Writer Lucy Coats interviews Lauren Child about One Thing at the Bologna Book Fair 2015.
Lucy Coats website

If you enjoyed my MAKING PICTURE BOOK NOTES,  join me on Twitter @cynthiajabar for more transmedia publishing + picture book + MakerEd stuff to fuel your making process.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Coding #GirlPower: Jessica Hische, Self Proclaimed Type Nerd

"You have to learn the tools to make cool stuff." - Jessica Hische

Stumbled upon these great thoughts from illustrator & type designer Jessica Hische (2012!) about why it's important to learn how to code. Total #GIRLPOWER. Love her work & delivery.

  • In Progress, See Inside a Lettering Artist's Sketchbook and Process from Pencil to Vector

Monday, September 21, 2015

Making Picture Books: Christian Robinson's Joy

I absolutely adore this animated piece, What Is Music? from picture book artist & animator Christian Robinson. The timing of the children's voices paired with vibrant illustration stills, questions, simple animated Gif-like movements & photographs is a grand lesson in the value of LESS IS MORE. So much heart & depth packed into this deceptively simple piece. WOW. BRAVO.

What is Music? from Christian Robinson on Vimeo.

His award winning picture books are filled with the joy and curiosity of childhood. A few of my favorites include:

Harlem's Little Blackbird Story by Renee Watson & Illustrated by Christian Robinson
Cover Illustration, Harlem's Little Blackbird c. 2015 Christian Robinson

Interior Illustration, Harlem's Little Blackbird c 2015 Christian Robinson
Rain! Story by Linda Ashman & Illustrated by Christian Robinson
Cover Illustration, Rain! c. 2015 Christian Robinson

 Last Stop On Market Street Story by Matt DePena & Illustrated by Christian Robinson
Cover Illustration, Last Stop On Market Street c. 2015 Christian Robinson
Read more about award winning picture book author & illustrator Christian Robinson here.

I hope you enjoyed reading my #PictureBookNotes, join me on twitter: @cynthiajabar & instagram: @NycBookNerd for more bookish inspiration & goodness.