Paper Son and Angel Island

I'm pleased to announce the historical fiction, picture book manuscript I co-wrote with Virginia Loh about a paper son will be published by Sleeping Bear Press! It will be one of the titles in their series, Tales of Young Americans.

Paper sons emigrated from China to America through Angel Island. To learn more about paper sons and the Angel Island Immigration experience, visit the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation website at:

Virginia Shin-Mui Loh is also the author of The Jade Dragon (Candlewick, 2006).

The book will be published in 2014 or 2015. More information to come!

Book of the Year Award

Little California and Little America received Creative Child Awards Program Book of the Year (combined award in the board books category).

Their website is

The books are listed on page 50 of their online catalog.

Had to share!

Happy Holiday Season!

Midwest Book Review

The Easy Reader Shelf

Little America
Helen Foster James, author
Jeannie Brett, Michael Glenn Monroe, and Helle Urban, illustrators
Sleeping Bear Press
Suite 200
315 East Eisenhower Parkway
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585361793 $9.95

Little America is a board book for beginning readers, written in the format of ten rhyming riddles about American treasures. For example, riddle five is "Baked in the oven, round and sweet, try a slice for a tasty treat," and the answer is "Apple Pie," naturally. Bright, colorful illustrations add the perfect touch to this delightful addition to the "Little" board book series for the very young.

Showering a Baby with Books

Recently it was my pleasure to attend a baby shower for a longtime friend who had just become a first-time grandma. She was delighted to have a new little one in her life and her friends rallied around her in celebration.

I had never heard of a baby shower for grandmas, but I’m always happy to celebrate with a friend. I googled around and found that grandma showers are a new and very up-and-coming tradition. They’re trendy. They’re unique and, if you ask me, they’re here to stay.

Don’t get me wrong, showers are usually “not my thing,” but this was different in many ways. One of the best parts of the shower was that every one of the dozen attendees was to bring a baby book for little Elliot so grandma would always have baby books handy for his visits. Now, that’s an idea I can back! This simple idea started Elliot’s personal library of books.

The attendees investigated what book (or books) we should gift grandma and Elliot. Without consulting each other, there was not a single duplication. The assorted books ranged from long-time favorites to fresh-off-the-press releases. From board books to plastic books for the tub and almost every type of book in between!

If you are looking for help finding great shower books, visit the National Parenting Publications Awards website ( for a list of this year’s winners and previous winners.

If you want more help, visit your local children’s bookstore and ask them for assistance. They are sure to be able to put the right book in your hands. If you aren’t lucky enough to have a children’s bookstore in your neighborhood, try your local independent brick-and-mortar store. They’ll give you great advice. A visit to your local public library might put you in touch with a librarian with a host of favorite book ideas, and don’t forget to recall all the books you or your child loved as a little one.

I hope the next time you have a shower to attend (or give!), you’ll consider a shower of books. And, if you have a new grandmother in your life, I hope you’ll give her a book shower.

I'm the author of two board books that would make excellent shower gifts: Little California and Little America (Sleeping Bear Press, 2011). To learn more about Helen, visit her website at

Juliette Gordon Lowe's 100th annivesary

"Come right over! I've got something for the girls of Savannah, and all America, and all the world, and we're going to start it tonight!"

—Juliette Gordon Low phoning her cousin Nina Anderson Pape in 1912

With those words, the Girl Scouts were started and 2012 marks its 100th anniversary. What better way to celebrate the Girl Scouts than to celebrate with one of their creations: S'mores!

My book has a double-page spread celebrating Juliette Low and another environmentalist, John Muir. Check it out.

Is your Girl Scout group celebrating this 100th anniversary? If so, consider inviting me to the celebration. We can make some s'mores together!

National S'mores Day!

Happy National S'mores Day!
Have you had a s'more today?

S'mores Cookies

Wow! A big thank you to Kat, a librarian who loves to connect children's books and cooking! She mentioned my book, S Is for S'mores: A Camping Alphabet and presented a fabulous s'mores cookie recipe. Read her entire blog here.

Thanks Kat!

Yellow Book Road Children's Bookstore and LITTLE CALIFORNIA

Mark Your Calendar!

I'll be at the Yellow Book Road's new store on Friday, July 15 in the morning (exact time TBA). I'll be launching my new book, LITTLE CALIFORNIA! This fabulous independent children's bookstore has moved and their new address is:

2690 Historic Decatur Road #102, San Diego 92106
[aka BARRACKS 19] on the corner of Dewey & Historic Decatur

If you get in the Liberty Station area, follow the BLUE signs to ACE Hardware - you'll end up just across the street! NOT FAR FROM CORVETTE DINER!

Email me at if you don't know the time as the date approaches!

See You There!

Bakersfield Young Authors' Fair

It was my pleasure to be a part of the Kern Reading Association's Young Authors' Fair. I had the best time! The kids were prepared and it was great fun sharing with them. I was at:

Beardsley Elementary

Chavez Elementary

Owens Primary

Franklin Elementary

Vineland Elementary

Thanks to everyone for making this an excellent event! You Rock!

I just recorded two short audios for One is a three minute audio about my book, "S is for S’mores: A Camping Book," and one is a one minute audio about my name. I thought these might be of interest to you. Although is a subscription website, these are free links for all that they gave me to share with you. I hope you find them useful!

S is for S'mores

Author name pronunciation

California Reading Association's—A Keynote Speaker

It is my pleasure to announce that I will be a keynote speaker at the California Reading Association's 44th Annual Professional Development Institute. The event is co-sponosored by Solano Community College and will be held on Friday, November 4 and Saturday, November 5 in Vacaville California.

For more information, please visit the California Reading Association's website at

See you there!

Spencer Valley

Spencer Valley School. School Visit. Wow. Fun! Enough Said!

ALA — I was there!

It's like Disneyland for children's book lovers. Nothing can compare to the fun and joy of seeing great children's books recognized and honored! Here's the American Library Association's list. (Not my list, their list. And, this gives me a chance to again say how important NONFICTION books are for kids!)

Newbery Medal

"Moon Over Manifest," written by Clare Vanderpool, published by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children's Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

Newbery Honor Books

"Turtle in Paradise" written by Jennifer L. Holm, published by Random House Children's Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

"Heart of a Samurai" written by Margi Preus, published by Amulet Books, an imprint of Abrams

"Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night" written by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Rick Allen, published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

"One Crazy Summer" written by Rita Williams-Garcia, published by Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

Caldecott Medal

"A Sick Day for Amos McGee" illustrated by Erin E. Stead, written by Philip C. Stead, a Neal Porter Book, published by Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing

Caldecott Honor Books

"Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave" illustrated by Bryan Collier, written by Laban Carrick Hill, published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

"Interrupting Chicken" illustrated and written by David Ezra Stein, published by Candlewick Press

2012 Arbuthnot Honor Lecture

Peter Sis

Batchelder Award

"A Time of Miracles" written by Anne-Laure Bondoux, translated by Y. Maudet, published by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children's Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

Batchelder Honor Books

"Departure Time" written by Truus Matti, translated by Nancy Forest-Flier, published by Namelos

"Nothing" written by Janne Teller, translated by Martin Aitken, published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division

Belpre (Illustrator) Award

"Grandma's Gift" illustrated and written by Eric Velasquez, published by Walker Publishing Company, Inc., a division of Bloomsbury Publishing, Inc.

Belpre (Illustrator) Honor Books

"Fiesta Babies" illustrated by Amy Córdova, written by Carmen Tafolla, published by Tricycle Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc.

"Me, Frida" illustrated by David Diaz, written by Amy Novesky, published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Abrams

"Dear Primo: A Letter to My Cousin" illustrated and written by Duncan Tonatiuh, published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Abrams

Belpre (Author) Award

"The Dreamer" written by Pam Munoz Ryan, illustrated by Peter Sis, published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic Inc.

Belpre (Author) Honor Books

"Ole! Flamenco" written by George Ancona, photographs by George Ancona, published by Lee & Low Books Inc.

"The Firefly Letters: A Suffragette's Journey to Cuba" written by Margarita Engle, published by Henry Holt and Company, LLC

"90 Miles to Havana" written by Enrique Flores-Galbis, published by Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing

Carnegie Award

"The Curious Garden" produced by Paul R. Gagne and Melissa Reilly Ellard, Weston Woods Studios

Geisel Award

"Bink and Gollie" written by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee, illustrated by Tony Fucile, published by Candlewick Press

Geisel Honor Books

"Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same!" written and illustrated by Grace Lin, published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

"We Are in a Book!" written and illustrated by Mo Willems, published by Hyperion Books for Children, an imprint of Disney Book Group

Odyssey Award

"The True Meaning of Smekday" produced by Listening Library, an imprint of Random House Audio Publishing Group

Odyssey Honor Audio Books

"Alchemy and Meggy Swann" produced by Listening Library, an imprint of the Random House Audio Publishing Group

"The Knife of Never Letting Go" produced by Candlewick on Brilliance Audio, an imprint of Brilliance Audio

"Revolution" produced by Listening Library, an imprint of the Random House Audio Publishing Group

"will grayson, will grayson" produced by Brilliance Audio

Sibert Medal

"Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World's Strangest Parrot" written by Sy Montgomery, photographs by Nic Bishop, published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company

Sibert Honor Books

"Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring" written by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan, illustrated by Brian Floca. A Neal Porter Book., published by Flash Point, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing

"Lafayette and the American Revolution, written by Russell Freedman, published by Holiday House

Wilder Medal

Tomie dePaola