Introducing…Picture Book Debut Author Jason Kirschner

Jason Kirschner in three scenes:

  1. kirschner.jpgHe is the 2016 picture book debut author/illustrator of Mr. Particular: The World’s Choosiest Champion, published by Sterling. The book is about a boy, Mr. Particular, who is super picky. But, when his friends in the “Super-Duper Group” finally get fed up with his fussiness, can Mr. Particular prove that even the super-squeamish can save the day?
  2. Mr.Particular has themes of friendship, acceptance and the ability to change for the better.
  3. Jason started wearing a red towel as a cape right around the time he started walking and was the particularly particular leader of many super-duper groups in his time. By day, Jason is a set designer for television with credits that include The Meredith Viera Show, Late Night with Conan O’Brien and The Late Show with David Letterman. By night, Jason is an author and illustrator of children’s books. He lives in New Jersey with his finicky wife, persnickety twins, and his ridiculously choosy cats. Find more of his work at,204,203,200_.jpg

Find Jason at

Mr. Particular will be available May 3, 2016, wherever books are sold.

Introducing…Debut Illustrator Wendy Martin


Wendy Martin in three scenes:

  1. She is the illustrator of THE STORY CIRCLEwritten by Diane Gonzales Bertrand and published by Piñata Books (Arte Público Press), about a classroom of students who create their own storybooks to replace the ones lost because of a flood.
  2. THE STORY CIRCLE has themes of recovery from disaster, hope and imagination.
  3. Wendy’s love affair with art and illustration began at an early age. One of her earliest memories is of sitting with a pile of crayons and papers strewn around her proclaiming to her parents that someday everyone in the world would be looking at her art. In spite of her parents’ attempts to steer her toward a more practical choice, she never wanted to do anything else. She has since traded in her crayons for watercolor, pen and ink, and a computer.TheStoryCircle-cover.jpg

A STORY CIRCLE is coming out in May 2016 from Piñata Books. Visit Wendy at


Introducing…Picture Book Debut Author Sylvia Liu

12341211_10153794327894837_7043436251919032288_n.jpgSylvia Liu in three scenes:

  1. She is the 2016 picture book debut author of A MORNING WITH GRANDPA, illustrated by Christina Forshay and published by Lee and Low Books, about Gong Gong, who teaches his granddaughter how to do tai chi, and Mei Mei, who teaches her grandfather how to do yoga.
  2. A MORNING WITH GRANDPA was the winning manuscript for the 2013 New Voices Award by Lee and Low Books and shows the love and fun between a grandparent and grandchild.
  3. Sylvia Liu grew up in Caracas, Venezuela. She is a former environmental attorney who now writes and illustrates for children. Sylvia lives in Virginia Beach, VA with her husband, two girls, and a guinea pig.

Find Sylvia Liu at her portfolio, blog, Twitter, or Facebook page. A MORNING 12208779_10153731411964837_4484454150553227697_n.jpgWITH GRANDPA will be available May 2016, wherever books are sold, and can be pre-ordered at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Indiebound.

(author photo © K Woodard Photography)

Introducing…Picture Book Debut Author Wendy BooydeGraaff

P6018380+(1)Wendy BooydeGraaff in three scenes:

  1. She is the 2016 picture book debut author of SALAD PIE, illustrated by Bryan Langdo and published by Ripple Grove Press, about Maggie, who wants to play alone, and Herbert, who wants to play together.
  2. SALAD PIE has themes of friendship, imagination and trust. Find more story activities and behind-the-scenes peeks on Pinterest.
  3. Wendy BooydeGraaff grew up making mudpies on a fruit farm in Ontario, Canada. Now she lives in Michigan where she whips up all kinds of salads and all kinds of pies.9780991386642.jpg

Find Wendy at SALAD PIE will be available March 1, 2016, wherever books are sold.

Introducing…Picture Book Debut Author Linda Vander Heyden

Linda Vander Heyden photo b & w.jpgLinda Vander Heyden in three scenes:

  1. She is the 2016 picture book debut author of MR. MCGINTY’S MONARCHS, illustrated by Eileen Ryan Ewen and published by Sleeping Bear Press, about Mr. McGinty and his dog Sophie, who while walking one day, discover all the milkweed in town has been mowed down! Mr. McGinty knows monarch caterpillars need milkweed to survive. He and Sophie must come up with a plan to save the monarchs!
  2. MR. MCGINTY’S MONARCHS has themes of friendship, environmentalism and teamwork.
  3. Linda has always loved nature and, as a child, spent many summers at her family’s cottage, captivated by frogs and butterflies. She hopes MR. MCGINTY’S MONARCHS will inspire others to protect and save these remarkable butterflies. Linda lives in Wisconsin with her husband, two dogs, two cats, and two horses.


Find Linda on her website or on Facebook. MR. MCGINTY’S MONARCHS will be available February 1, 2016, wherever books are sold.

Introducing…2016 Picture Book Debut Author Nancy Churnin

nancychurninNancy Churnin in three scenes:

  1. She is the 2016 picture book debut author of THE WILLIAM HOY STORY: HOW A DEAF BASEBALL PLAYER CHANGED THE GAME, illustrated by Jez Tuya and published by Albert Whitman & Company. It’s the true story of William Hoy, one of the first deaf major league baseball players. He taught umpires and teammates the signs we use today so that he could pay the game he loved.
  2. THE WILLIAM HOY STORY has themes of perseverance, independence and transforming physical challenges into assets. An online activity book will be available on the Albert Whitman site with teaching plans involving history (Hoy was born during the presidency of Abraham Lincoln and died during the presidency of John F. Kennedy), sign language instruction, and anti-bullying lessons regarding challenges deaf Americans faced in achieving inclusion and (the book shows how he was bullied until his introduction of sign language and hard work on the playing field brought him respect).
  3. Nancy Churnin is the theater critic for the Dallas Morning News. She grew up in New York City as a baseball fan. The youngest of her four boys required special education, including simple sign language, to learn to speak. After he mastered speaking, he became a special needs coach to help others. His experience left Nancy and her family feeling part of and grateful to the support, affirmation and encouragement in the special needs community.51EbV8GZ0VL._SX405_BO1,204,203,200_

Find Nancy on FaceBook, @nchurnin on Twitter, on D-FW Theater on Facebook and the Dallas Morning News at dallasnews.comTHE WILLIAM HOY STORY: HOW A DEAF BASEBALL PLAYER CHANGED THE GAME will be available March 1, 2016, wherever books are sold.

Introducing…2016 Picture Book Debut Author/Illustrator Liz Wong

Liz Wong HeadshotLiz Wong in three scenes:

  1. She is the 2016 picture book debut author/illustrator of QUACKERS, published by Knopf Books for Young Readers, about Quackers, a cat who thinks he’s a duck—after all, he lives at the duck pond with all the other ducks—until the day he meets Mittens, who claims to be something called a “cat.”
  2. QUACKERS explores themes of family, identity, being different, and finding your place in the world.
  3. Liz Wong was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she spent her early childhood painting and clambering about in mango trees. At age five she won the first place trophy in the school poster contest, which encouraged her to pursue art instead of a sensible career in finance like the rest of her family. Liz currently resides in the Seattle area with her husband and son.11817122_10206875888643183_2076581442620547124_n

Find Liz at and on Twitter. QUACKERS will be available March 22, 2016, wherever books are sold.

Introducing…Lisa Rose and Shmulik

6019Lisa Rose is the 2016 book debut author of SHMULIK PAINTS THE TOWN, illustrated by Catalina Echeverri and published by Kar-Ben Publishing in January 2016.

Israeli Independence Day is coming up and the mayor is planning a celebration with awards and speeches, music and dancing. To prepare for the festivities, the mayor asks Shmulik to paint a mural and decorate the park around it, and Shmulik agrees. But he can’t decide what to paint! Instead he looks for inspiration in the puffy clouds, the lovely trees, a kitten’s soft purrs, and his dreams. Meanwhile, his dog Ezra takes the painting and decorating into his own hands – or paws! – and prepares the park for Yom Ha’Atzmaut.

Yom Ha’Atzmaut, also known as Israeli Independence Day, commemorates the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948. An official celebration is held on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, and Israeli families celebrate with picnics and barbeques.

Lisa Rose lives near Detroit, Michigan. She likes to swim, practice yoga, and eat ice cream, but not at the same time.

Catalina Echeverri, originally from Bogota, Colombia, studied graphic design in Shmulik Paints the Town coverMilan, Italy and completed an M.A. in Children’s Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Arts. She speaks English, Spanish and Italian. She loves to draw and takes her sketchbook everywhere with her.

To Purchase:

Visit your Judaica gift shop or bookstore, or at 800-4KARBEN or online at

Introducing…2016 Picture Book Debut Author J.J. Austrian

JJAustrian-headshot-sideJ.J. Austrian in three scenes:

  1. He is the debut author of WORM LOVES WORM, illustrated by Mike Curato, and published by HarperCollins. When a worm meets a special worm and they fall in love, you know what happens next: They get married! But their friends want to know—who will wear the dress? And who will wear the tux? The answer is: It doesn’t matter. Because Worm loves Worm.
  2. WORM LOVES WORM has themes of love, acceptance, change and trust.
  3. J.J. grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut, graduated from Bard College, and worked in Los Angeles before returning to the East Coast, where he met his wife at a Halloween party. She married him a few years later, in spite of his costume choice. After moving to Minnesota so that they could be closer to family, J.J. earned his MFA in Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults at Hamline University. WORM LOVES WORM is his first picture book.

“How do you explain a revolution to a young audience? This book is a terrific start.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review) 801e09_1b3b037f1d9b40c7a2d2001f2b08690c.jpg_srz_p_499_499_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srz

“Austrian and Curato turn the simple wedding of two worms into a three-ring circus that slyly turns the whole controversy over same-sex versus heterosexual marriage on its head…As in life, love conquers all.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Find J.J. at WORM LOVES WORM will be available January 5, 2016, wherever books are sold.

Introducing…2016 Picture Book Debut Author Julie Falatko

Julie_02Julie Falatko in three scenes:

  1. She is the 2016 picture book debut author of Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book), illustrated by Tim Miller, and published by Viking Children’s Books. Snappsy is an ordinary alligator having an ordinary day when the pesky narrator steps in and starts narrating everything wrong.
  2. Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book) has themes of storytelling, friendship, and creative differences.
  3. Julie Falatko has a library science degree, is a frequent contributor to the Nerdy Book Club, was the picture book reviewer for the podcast Brain Burps About Books from 2011 to 2015, and she started a Little Free Library in front of her house to share books with neighbors. Julie lives in Maine with her husband, four children, and big-eared chiweenie dog.

12032997_10153609616559524_4474365103408056365_nFind Julie at, on Twitter, and on Facebook. SNAPPSY THE ALLIGATOR (DID NOT ASK TO BE IN THIS BOOK) will be available February 2, 2016, wherever books are sold.