Tag Archives: imagination

Maisie’s Scrapbook

Written by: Samuel Narh

Illustrated by: Jo Loring-Fisher

For ages: 3-7 years

Language: English and some Ghanian 

Topics Covered: POC-Centric Narratives, Family, Biracial Family, Love, Imagination. 

Summary: This is a really cute story about a young girl named Maisie and her parents.  Her father is African, and while the ethnicity of her mother is not specifically mentioned,  she appears to be of European descent.  The story is a celebration of the fact that while sometimes Maisie’s parents wear different clothes or call items by different names, they love and hug her the same.  Maisie’s father tells her African stories and her mother comforts her when she gets scared.

The story reads much like a collection of memories, or a scrapbook (calling back to the book’s title).  We absolutely love the illustrations, especially the grumpy looks of Maisie’s face when her parents are nagging her.  Overall, we liked this book and it’s lovely to see a culturally blended and multiracial family represented in a children’s book without that being the entire plot of the story, bashing the reader over the head.  The book is about the memories that Maisie has with her parents, and the love she feels from them.

About the Author & the Illustrator:

7791Samuel Narh was “immersed in many folktales from the African continent and beyond as a child. Narh was born and raised in Ghana. For that reason, he is a natural storyteller. Narh enjoys using words to paint beautiful stories. He brings these attributes to the craft of writing picture books for young children. Narh’s stories are alive and they are meant to touch and move people. The messages are fashioned to enrich the lives of both young children and adults.”



JoPromoStudio1Jo Loring-Fisher is an “artist, illustrator and graduate of Cambridge School of Art’s MA in Children’s Book Illustration. She lives with her husband and two youngest daughters close to Stonehenge on Wiltshire’s beautiful Salisbury Plain in England.

Jo loves the countryside, and enjoy creating images using a range of materials including collage, ink, paint and printmaking. Much of her inspiration comes from observing nature and everyday life. 

Jo loves the scope of subjects that children’s books cover, from light-hearted, to tackling the challenges we all face. She will sometimes favour difficult subject matter softened by the use of her chosen materials.  Jo enjoys illustrating the texts of others, as well as my own material.” 


Rosie Revere, Engineer

Written by: Andrea Beaty 

Illustrated by: David Roberts

For ages: 4 years and up

Language: English

Topics Covered: STEM, Feminism, Family, Imagination, Creativity, Self-Esteem. 

Summary: Rosie is a shy child, but she loves to build things at night when she’s alone in her room.  She wasn’t so shy until she made her uncle a special hat to keep the pythons off his head (he’s a zookeeper) and he laughs at her.  Confused, she thinks she shouldn’t share her inventions with anyone which is why she only builds alone in her room.

Until her great-great-aunt Rose shows up.  Rose used to build airplanes, but has never flown.  Rosie decides to help her achieve her dream…but will she get laughed at?  It turns out yes, but Rose explains to her that it doesn’t mean she should quit or hide away.  Sometimes helicopters made out of cheese are just funny!  And just because something ultimately fails, it works for a minute.  And that is a stepping stone to success!

This book is super cute, and we love seeing young girls interested in STEM!  This book impresses upon readers the importance of sticking to a project even if it fails a few times.  This whole series is great, and we’re especially excited to read Sophia Valdez, Future Prez!

Reflection Questions:

  • Why do you think Rosie was embarrassed when her uncle laughed at her?
  • Have you ever invented anything?
  • What do you think is the most important thing that Rosie’s aunt Rose told her?

About the Author & the Illustrator:

Andrea Beaty photoAndrea Beaty was raised in southern Illinois in a town so small she knew everybody and their pets. And they all knew her. Andrea was one of six kids and we spent our summer days traipsing through the fields and forests hunting for adventure.  Always, it was fun and often, they laughed so hard they blew Orange Crush or Grape Nehi Soda out their noses. She still avoids Grape Nehi … just in case.

Andrea was a big reader as a kid and LOVED Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon Mysteries.  Then she moved on to Agatha Christie books and then the classics.  Don’t tell anyone, but her secret ambition is to star in a Broadway musical and Andrea is often tempted to break into song and dance at very odd moments. Mostly in the frozen food section of her grocery store!  They have very good lighting.

Andrea attended Southern Illinois University and studied Biology and Computer Science. After that, she worked for a computer software company. Andrea helped people with their computer problems (“Did you try turning it off and on again?”) and some technical writing. Andrea didn’t know at the time, but tech writing was great training for writing for kids because it taught her to be a fierce self-editor.

Now, she lives in Chicago with her family. Andrea visits lots of schools each year to share her love of reading and her writing journey with kids and educators.

davidroberts_websiteWhen David Roberts was at school, he claims he wasn’t very good at anything so the teacher would give me projects to produce big pictures for the school hall. He remembers doing one of Death rowing in a boat on the river Thames with a dead dog floating past!

David has always been drawing ever since he was a very small child and then when he left school at 16, he went to Art College. There, David did a foundation course trying out all different types of art practice. The thing David thought he wanted to do the most was costume and fashion design so he did a degree in fashion design.

David ended up being a children’s book illustrator and it was always his dream to do this! Although David tried to pursue a career as a fashion illustrator first. When he met Christine of Artist Partners she pointed out to him that he was drawing characters and perhaps he should focus more on publishing and in particular children’s books.

Lily Brown’s Paintings

Written by: Angela Johnson 

Illustrated by: E.B. Lewis

For ages: 3 years and up

Language: English

Topics Covered: POC-Centric Narratives, Art, Artist, Self-Expression, Independent Thought.

Summary: This sweet and whimsical book is all about Lily Brown and how she paints.  When painting, Lily is captivated and sent into another universe where her imagination makes her soar through the solar system, see tea-drinking trees, and faces on fruit.  When Lily paints, she lives in a magical land and can listen to the beach breezes and paint the wind or imagine a world where people walk upside down.  She ends the day thinking about her family, and how happy she is when they are around.

This is truly such a sweet book.  The illustrations are Lily’s paintings on some pages, and paintings of Lily on others.  Something that is also worthy of noting about the book is that the family of color is shown only happy and loving each other.  Sometimes, critiques arise of books that characters of color must reconcile with past human rights abuses or enslavement within the story arc.  While this is crucial and important in books, it is also important for there to be characters simply enjoying their lives and supporting each other.

Reflection Questions:

  • What does your imagination show you?
  • What is special about your family?
  • How do you make art?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Explore different mediums of art, and decide on your favorite!  Is it painting like Lily, maybe drawing, or sculpting with clay?
  • Who is an artist that does the style of art that is your favorite?  We love Wangechi Mutu, Marlena Myles, Kehinde Wiley, Kenojuak Ashevak, and we found this list incredible also! Let’s be real here, folks, we could list tons and tons more fantastic artists!  If you have love for an artist and we missed them (which is likely) leave a comment below with their name and your favorite work by them!
  • We found this article to be a great resource for exploring First Nations artists and community involvement!
  • Write your own story about your family, and the things you do together.  What is a special memory you keep about them, like how Lily’s little brother holds her hand until he falls asleep?

About the Author & the Illustrator:

angela-johnson-1263944Angela Johnson is an award winning American children’s book and poetry author with over 40 books to her credit. She began her writing career in 1989 with the publication of a picture book called “Tell Me a Story, Mama” which won the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award in 1991. She has won three Coretta Scott King Awards, one each for her novels The First Part Last (2004),” “Heaven (1999),” and “Toning the Sweep” (1994).”The First Part Last” was also the recipient of the Michael L Printz Award.“When I Am Old With You” was an Honor Book in 1990 and named an American Library Association Notable Book. “The Other Side, The Shorter Poems” was also selected as a Coretta Scott King Honor book in 1998. In recognition of her outstanding talent, Angela was named a 2003 MacArthur Fellow. Born in Tuskegee, Alabama in 1961, she grew up in Alabama and Ohio. She lives in Kent, Ohio.

51201cc92eca7.imageE.B. Lewis is the illustrator of a numerous books for children including Talkin’ About Bessie (a 2003 Coretta Scott King Award winner), The Bat Boy and His Violin (a Coretta Scott King Honor book), Down the Road (a Notable Book for Children by the American Library Association), and The Other Side (a Notable Book for Language Arts). The Coretta Scott King Award is the premier award honoring African-American authors and illustrators of outstanding books for children and young adults.

Inspired by two artist uncles, as early as the third grade, Lewis displayed artistic promise. Beginning in the sixth grade, he attended the Saturday Morning Art League and studied with Clarence Wood. Lewis attended the Temple University Tyler School of Art, where, he discovered his medium of preference was watercolor.

During his four years at Temple, Lewis majored in Graphic Design, Illustration and Art Education. After graduating, he taught art in public schools for twelve years. Presently, E.B. teaches at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He is also a member of The Society of Illustrators in New York City, and an artist member of Salamagundi Art Club of New York.