Debut children books by my ‘2020 Debut Crew’

[ 1 ] 23/01/2020 |

One of the loveliest things that writing has brought to my life lately is getting to e-meet some super talented writers who are also getting their debut children’s books published in 2020. We are a very small, international ‘debut writers crew’, and I am proud of each one of them. They are so talented, and they have so much to share with our children. In this post, I will share with you the books by our little group that I have already read and loved. I will keep on adding to this list as the year progresses and more books get published.

Help Wanted Must Love Books – written by Janet Summer Johnson, illustrated by Courtney Dawson

An adorable book about a little girl who loves reading books as part of her bedtime routine. When her Daddy falls down on his book reading responsibilities, Shailey ‘fires’ him and starts interviews to fill the position. Lots of iconic book characters try to get the job, like Pinocchio, Cinderella, Alice, the Sleeping Beauty, the Giant, but they all fail miserably! The best applicant for this role is, of course, Daddy, but he must agree that work-related stuff is off-limits during bedtime stories.

Back cover description: When Shailey’s dad gets a new job, she loses her bedtime reading partner. She immediately starts interviews to fill the position and is thrilled when her favorite fairy tale characters line up to apply. But Sleeping Beauty can’t stay awake, the Gingerbread Man steals her book, and Snow White brings her whole team. Shailey is running out of options. Is bedtime ruined forever?

Bedtime Daddy – written by Sharon Giltrow, illustrated by Katrin Dreiling

A most adorable, funny, cute bedtime story where the roles are reversed and the little bear puts daddy bear to bed. I promise you and your little one are up for the most hilarious ride. I couldn’t stop smiling while I was flipping through the pages. Relatable and engaging, highly recommended.

Back cover description: This hilarious book is for anyone who has ever tried to put their daddy to bed. It will show you how to
-wrestle your daddy into his pajamas
-read just one more bedtime story
-battle endless excuses, and
-frighten away monsters with monster spray until finally…

you get Daddy to bed!

Where am I from? – written by Elisavet Arkolaki, graffiti art by Platon

‘All the children of the world united. We’re going to solve this riddle, they decided.’ Join the quest to find the universal answer to the question ‘Where am I from?’. A children’s picture book illustrated entirely with life-size spray paint graffiti, painted in public primary schools.

After reading this book, kids will appreciate how beautiful, diverse and colorful our world is. They will also discover that we all have common origins that go far beyond borders on a map. There is, indeed, a universal answer to this question. A must-read for all future global citizens.

What inspired me to write this book? I was born and raised in Greece, my husband in Norway, our son was born in Malta and our daughter in Norway. We have also been living for months at a time in Thailand with the kids, and before the kids, I have also lived in France and Spain. At home, we speak three languages on a daily basis. Many of our friends and extended circle families are also mixed, and they speak more than one language at home. I started being more aware of it, and I realized how commonplace it is nowadays for kids to be of a mixed cultural background. Starting with my own family, it has been of great concern to me how to answer the question ‘Where am I from?’ when a child is ‘from’ multiple countries. Thus, I wrote this story.

I also curated the resource guide ‘How to Raise Confident Multicultural Children‘ which we wrote together with academics and experts in fields related to multilingualism and multiculturalism. It’s available for purchase on Amazon as a paperback but you can download the ebook for free by subscribing to my newsletter list here.

The Fort – written by Laura Perdew, illustrated by Adelina Lirius

Deep in the woods, there’s a Fort! And in that Fort, the most imaginative play takes place. A pirate and a prince try to claim it as their own, arguing whether the Fort is a pirate’s ship or a prince’s castle. In the end, they make amends, they work as a team, and solve the problem by embarking on a completely different adventure, like astronauts in outer space. As a parent, absolutely adored the last part of the story, and the illustrations are gorgeous.

Back cover description: The fort in the woods is one boy’s princely castle, perfect for hosting magnificent feasts. But it’s also one girl’s pirate ship, ready to set sail on the open seas! When they each discover that someone else is using their castle -no, ship- an imaginative tug of war ensues. Will royalty or rapscallion win? Or can they come up with a new adventure… together?

Railway Jack – written by K.T. Johnston, illustrated by César Samaniego

The most amazing thing about this book is that it’s not fiction! This is the true account of a remarkable friendship between a man and a primate accompanied by beautiful illustrations. It’s the story of Jim Wide, a South African railway inspector in the late 1800s who lost his legs in an accident while at work, and Jack, a baboon, who against all odds helped him to perform tasks both at home and at the depot. This inspiring true story celebrates the history of service animals and devoted friendship. It is very well researched, with all sources listed at the end of the book.

The Arabic Quilt: An Immigrant Story

It’s the first day at school and Kanzi is the new girl in class. Not only she’s the new one, but she’s also the ‘foreign’ one. Kanzi needs to bridge the gap and find the balance between the different cultures and languages that are part of her life, and luckily she’s not alone in this journey. The most adorable teacher is there, present, and takes action to unify the class. A beautiful book about multilingualism, immigration, acceptance, diversity, friendship. This book has it all. Aya, the writer, said that the story is based on true events from her own childhood, and the immigration of her family from Egypt to the USA when she was 1 year old. Growing up, she never forgot the kind teachers she met along the way who made her feel welcome.

From the publisher: That night, Kanzi wraps herself in the beautiful Arabic quilt her teita (grandma) in Cairo gave her and writes a poem in Arabic about the quilt. Next day her teacher sees the poem and gets the entire class excited about creating a “quilt” (a paper collage) of student names in Arabic. In the end, Kanzi’s most treasured reminder of her old home provides a pathway for acceptance in her new one.

Thank you for reading!

Love, Liza.

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Comments (1)

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  1. So many wonderful books in this group! I’ve not yet read them all, but I’ve loved the ones I have. I love the diversity in our little group. So many beautiful things to learn about our world. 🙂

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