Judging a Book By Its Cover: My Seven Favorite Children’s Book Illustrators

I have a confession to make – I judge books by their covers.

Well, mostly I judge children’s books by their covers.  My non-scientific approach to finding good children’s book generally amounts to – “Ooh, that’s a neat picture!”  Generally, I find this approach works quite well.  Good storytelling and good illustration often goes hand in hand.

So today I wanted to share some of my favorite illustrators – the ones whose work I can spot from a mile away and generally doesn’t disappoint in the actual story.

I love these illustrators for a variety of reasons.  Often for the details that are hidden in each frame, just waiting for something new to be discovered.  Sometimes for the simplicity.  Some I love for their whimsy and others for the realism.  All in all, they are beautiful books to grace any bookshelf.













I could go on.*
So take this list and my blessing to appreciate children’s book illustrators and judge a book by it’s cover.

*Really I could, I’m already making “Part 2” in my head.

(If you need to expand your home library, these pictures are Amazon Affiliate Links for your purchasing pleasure.  I get a small kick back for this.  I usually buy books.)


What Defines Me

I never really expected an identity struggle to be part of this process.  It is easy to say “Oh you have children/a child; you’re still a mother” and that is true.  But for a mother of one in this situation it’s not quite enough.  I am a mother, but I don’t feel like I qualify in so many areas.  I only have one small sphere of experience – I have no suggestions on so many topics because they either require the experience of managing multiple children or experiences that you don’t necessarily get with one kid.  There are personalities, illness, experiences that I’ve just never experienced and perhaps never will.

My friends swap stories about dealing with kids in different situation or challenging personalities and I feel I have nothing to add to the conversation.  I have all these things I’ve done in three and half years and it doesn’t really feel like it counts for much.

So I guess I don’t really know who I am any more and I feel like such an outsider to it all.  All the experience I have, everything I can be identified with is not what I wish to give.   I don’t want to be *that* working mom.  I don’t want to be the one that people come to see if it’s possible to raise an un-spoiled only child.  I don’t want to be the one that people come to see a multiple miscarriage, infertility “survivor”.

What do you do when you hate what defines you?

Still Here

Thank you for all the prayers, all the emails and FB messages checking up on us this weekend.  We’re doing about as good as can be expected.  The actual procedure went fine, and I’ve bounced back as well as I usually do.

Now we wait for lab tests which could take over a month.  This time, unlike the previous two, there was something to test that will actually tell us about this little one and what might have happened.

Then there will be more tests that will hopefully tell us what’s going on in our own bodies.  I’m not expecting to have this all figured out before the end of the year.

Where do we go from here?  I think that’s the big question and I wish I had answer.  I’ve been pregnant three times in about 16 months, I’ve been through three first trimesters;  I’m tired and depleted and I need a break.  I need to give the family I have on earth the mother and wife they deserve for a little while if I can.

I’ve had many people comment on what appears to be strength when written down and shared through social media and I just laugh because it doesn’t feel like strength.  I’m scared and sad and angry and lost.  I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing.

At the moment motherhood just feels like a big joke someone has played on me.  Something I’ve bought into hook, line and sinker.  Something I’ve been happy to throw my all into – happy to sacrifice so much so that I can be a good mother.  And now it feels like a waste; not only is it getting more and more likely I’ll never use these skills and lessons I’ve learned again, but I won’t even get to pass it on.  No one comes to the one time mother looking for sage advice or support.

No one wants to relate to the working, daycare using, public schooling, c-section having, formula using mother of one.  Who the hell wants to be a mother like me?  I don’t even want to be a mother like me.

I feel absolutely useless and I feel like this has all just been a big game of make believe that I’ve taken much too seriously,  Silly me.


Thank you everyone for all the love and support. I’ve been wondering why I’ve been sharing all of this recently, but the outpouring of support and appreciation for having my experience “out there” for others going through the same is a good reminder why some of us feel called to share.

I go in this morning, and I will always appreciate the prayers, but I have been asking my friends in other groups to do me a favor. When and if you say a prayer for me and my family please include those who’ve lost children to violence and terrorism recently; including our own country and particularly the people of Iraq. The passing of this little one feels so merciful compared to the reports of so many atrocities.

Pray with me for the comfort of grieving mothers and for the reuniting and healing of families everywhere.

This Was Going to be a Different Post

This was going to be a different post.  I had it all concocted in my mind.  I was going to allude to the fact that I managed to sneak someone into the Edel Conference without Jen or Hallie ever knowing.  I was going to leave you suspense until the end when I finally revealed that I managed this bit of trickery thanks to a very small person hiding in my womb.  It was going to be a great post.  There were going to laughter and tears, just like the brunch date with blogging friends that Saturday when I got to tell them in person.  It was going to be perfect.

But, this is not that post.

I cannot write that post because it is no longer true.  This baby, my third since last April, has passed on to it’s home in Heaven.  By the looks of things, the baby probably passed away not long after that brunch celebration.  I go in for a D&C on Friday to avoid the complications that drew out my previous losses much further than they needed to go.

Because of the progress this pregnancy made we will hopefully get a few more questions answered.  Because this is my third there will be many more blood draws, tests and consultations in my future and I don’t know what our decision will be when it’s all over.  I’m quickly approaching the age where most women in my family find their reproductive abilities compromised due to one thing or another.  While I refuse to give up hope I also feel a hand guiding me towards acceptance.  We might be surprised in the future, and it might well be that unbeknownst to us Henry was a miracle.  While I might find out that what’s wrong may be treatable with blood thinners or supplements; most likely we’ll find out that our issues are genetic in nature and cannot be worked around. 

We have big decisions ahead of us and I have no idea what the future holds any more.

“Those who sow in tears will reap in songs of joy.” – Psalm 126; 5-6.

Back to School with Usborne

Hello friends!  I’m still selling Usborne books on the side and thought now is the perfect time to share with you some of my favorite to add to your home libraries.  With school years kicking into high gear all around me these are my favorites to encourage a love of learning at home.  Whether your kids are taught at home or away, these are great additions to shelves!

Reading Collections:
First Encyclopedias:
First Encyclopedia of Science, Space, the Human Body and More
(8 years+)
Illustrated Dictionaries:

(6 years+)

Illustrated Elementary Math and Science:
(8 years+)

(12 years+)

(8 years+)

Foreign Language:

First Thousand Words in Chinese, French, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Russian and Spanish
Classic Literature:

And so much more.  Use the “search box” on the website to find books on any number of other subjects like:
Rocks & Minerals, Astronomy, History, Castles, World War I & II, Time Tables, Telling Time, Space, Wild West, Fairy Tales, Greek Myths and Shakespeare.
If you’d like your friends and family to help you stock your shelves for FREE send me a message and we can set up a Facebook party.  Their purchases will go towards earning you FREE books!

Contact me HERE