Kidlit County, Little Elliot's Neighborhood

Children’s Book Week in New England

Last week, Little Elliot and I traveled to New England for Children’s Book Week, a national reading initiative administered by Every Child a Reader, sponsored by the Children’s Book Council. Here are a few pics from the trip!

The kids at Essex Elementary and I wrote a Little Elliot mini story together. (photo credit: Carol Scrimgeour)

We stopped at the border of VT & NH to see the beautiful Athenuem in St. Johnsbury.


Mt. Washington was a sight to behold!


All aboard! Elliot is ready to hop on the reading train in North Conway!

In North Conway, Elliot and I visited John Fuller Elementary and Robert Frost Charter School.

White Birch Books is a small treasure, and you know how Elliot loves small treasures...

White Birch Books in North Conway, NH,  is a small treasure, and you know how Elliot loves small treasures…

The kids at Harris Family Children's Center got to make cupcakes before my presentation, and then eat them after! That's what I call hands-on-learning!

The kids at Harris Family Children’s Center in Exeter, NH, got to make cupcakes before my presentation, and then eat them after! That’s what I call hands-on-learning!


Water Street Books in Exeter, NH, is a lovely store with lovely people. They’ve been selling books for 25 years!

I visited Mason-Rice Elementary in Newton Centre, Mass. They gave me a beautiful book they made filled with cupcakes that they colored and decorated. The librarian, Jennifer Reed, wrote up a pretty thorough blog post about my visit, in case you ever wondered what I do for school visits. She also posted some pretty amazing pieces of fan art and feedback from the kids. So sweet!

Little Elliot loves the cupcakes that students made to decorate their library!

Little Elliot loves the cupcakes that students at Mason-Rice made to decorate their library!

Students at Mason-Rice were full of questions and good ideas!

Students at Mason-Rice were full of good questions and ideas! (photo credit: Jennifer Reed)

In East Haven, CT, Elliot and I paid a visit to D.C. Moore School. Later, at Overbrook School, I really had my socks knocked off when I walked into the building and saw the hallway filled with a BIG CITY that the students all made! I have to show a lot of photos of this, because it’s too good!!!

Overbrook's BIG CITY!

Overbrook’s BIG CITY!


Little Elliot looks over the city with excitement


OK, I really just wanted to drop everything and play with these cars, but I had to focus…


Yum Yums, Sugar Shock Candy Store, and Wonka Candy Factory. Obviously, I’m living on THIS block…


Hmmm…although this block has a candy shop, a bakery, AND a comedy club, so maybe I’d live here instead. I wonder how much rent goes for in this town.


mmmm Tasty Flaky Bakery, and MUSEUM MADNESS!!!! I love how this city has a bakery that’s bigger than its Natural History Museum. My kind of place.


This town boasts at least ten fire stations, outnumbered only by sweet shops. Since the city is completely built out of cardboard, it’s good to be prepared.


OK, I think I found the apartment building I want to live in (…or swim in?).


This building not only follows strict fire code, it is also a pioneer in accordion fire escapes.

The modern black condominium on the right features (a) fireworks, or (b) pink palm tree sculptures. Either way, I see a write up in Dwell soon approaching.

The modern black condominium on the right features (a) fireworks, or (b) pink palm tree sculptures. Either way, I see a write up in Dwell soon approaching.

Last, but not least, Elliot and I met some new friends at Darien Public Library. It’s a really beautiful facility, complete with a 3-D printing room in their children’s wing, and a teen-only lounge, which I would have loved when I was in high school.


A bunch of my extended family members showed up in Darien to surprise me. Cousin Jordan fit me in between his Little League game and his pizza-themed birthday party <3

A very special THANK YOU to Macmillan, Every Child a Reader, the Children’s Book Council, and these fine book sellers:

Phoenix Books, Burlington & Essex, VT
White Birch Books, North Conway, NH
Water Street Books, Exeter, NH
Wellesley Books, Wellesley, MA
R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, CT
Barrett Bookstore, Darien, CT


Kidlit County, Little Elliot's Neighborhood

An Award, A Collection, and the Best Shrimp & Grits Ever

Last week I headed down South to accept the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Honor at the 48th Annual Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival at the University of Southern Mississippi. My partner in crime, Ruth Chan, and I landed in New Orleans, Louisiana, and ate our way to Hattiesburg, Mississippi.


Ruth and I at City Park in New Orleans

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Kidlit County, Little Elliot's Neighborhood

Little Elliot plush now available!

The wait is over! You can now have your very own Little Elliot plush to cuddle and hug and read with! Many thanks to my friends at MerryMakers for bringing him to life!


My grandmother gave me an elephant for my first Christmas. He had a wind-up lullaby that would play “It’s a Small World.” For many years, I would wind it up and let it play the sweet song when I was going to sleep. We had many adventures together, and I am so excited to think about all the adventures Little Elliot will have with his new friends.


My little white and blue friend would later serve as one of the inspirations for Little Elliot.


Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find my old elephant friend for many years (he is rumored to be living in my parents’ attic). I found this cousin of his online. He and Elliot have become fast friends. They have a lot to say to each other–they’re all ears!!

Little Elliot has been kid-tested, author-illustrator approved! He’ll make a great friend for kids of any age. Trust me, I did not give final sign-off until he met all of my huggability requirements.


for scale and adorableness…

You can order your Little Elliot online, or ask your bookstore if they carry him (and if they don’t, they will likely order him for you).

Kidlit County, Little Elliot's Neighborhood

Foreign Editions: Spanish, Catalan, & Bulgarian!

¡Buenas noticias! This week three of the first foreign editions of Little Elliot, Big City release! Today, March 16, is publication day for Spanish and Catalan versions with Ediciones B, and Wednesday, March 18, the Bulgarian version comes out with Prozerets. Check with the publishers to see where you can get a copy.




Illustration Station, Kidlit County, Little Elliot's Neighborhood

Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Honor


When I was in second grade, I remember reading The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats for the first time. The colors and shapes wove a spell over me. This was a world that I wanted to play in. Now, as a grown up, I get to live, play, and march through the snow in Brooklyn, where Keats set his story. This past month, I was privileged to receive the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Honor for Little Elliot, Big City. The little boy in me who grew up reading The Snow Day is quite proud. I hope to follow in Keats’ snowy footsteps, creating meaningful books for young readers.

Elliot and peter are friends! You can purchase them both from MerryMakers.

Elliot and Peter are friends! You can purchase them both from MerryMakers.

I am also humbled to be included amongst these other talented people:

Chris Haughton
EJK New Illustrator Award for Shh! We Have a Plan

Evan Turk
EJK New Illustrator Honor for Grandfather Gandhi

Chieri Uegaki
EJK New Writer Award for Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin

Adam Auerbach
EJK New Writer Honor for Edda: A Little Valkyrie’s First Day of School

Alan Rabinowitz
EJK New Writer Honor for A Boy and a Jaguar

Misty Copeland
EJK New Writer Honor for Firebird

You can check out the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation’s website for more details.


Illustration Station, Little Elliot's Neighborhood

Original Art Show now in Memphis, TN


If you happen to be in Memphis between now and March 16, you can see original art from Little Elliot, Big City (and many other children’s books) on display at Memphis College of Art as part of the Original Art Show. The exhibit began at the Society Of Illustrators in New York City and is now traveling the country. Little Elliot, Big City received the Founder’s Award at the show last October. The opening reception at MCA is this Friday, February 20, 6 to 8PM. Click here for more information.