New Picture Books

Plus–Easy Art Projects for Kids

By Connie Goldin, LMFT


Here are two beautiful and different books that were published this year, 2017.


In the Middle of Fall

In the Middle of Fall by Kevin Henkes (Author), Laura Dronzek (Illustrator) was published in September, just in time for fall–at least in many parts of the country. San Diego doesn’t have a “true fall” like the one picture in this beautiful book for young children. However, if we go to the mountains, it is possible to see the leaves changing color, and see squirrels that live in trees, as opposed to our local ground squirrels, which live in tunnels under the earth.

“In the middle of fall, the sky is nearly gray, the leaves have already turned, and all it takes is one gust of wind to turn the world yellow and red and orange.”

Read this book with young children for the lovely text, and admire the bold colors and simplicity of the drawings.

In the Middle of Fall
In the Middle of Fall

Easy Tempera Stick Drawings for Kids 

By using Kwik Stix, the children can draw a thick black outline of a leaf, apple, or pumpkin and fill it in with bright yellow, red, and orange for their own illustrations. They could also use markers or gel crayons. Have fun expanding the reading experience of  In the Middle of Fall  by adding this simple art project that will look great on the refrigerator, and bring fall into your home, no matter where you live!


Miguel and the Grand Harmony


Miguel and the Grand Harmony
Miguel and the Grand Harmony

Miguel and the Grand Harmony by Matt de la Peña (Author), Ana Ramírez (Illustrator) is a joyful book about a young boy’s love of music, full of bright colors, that is based on the Pixar movie, Coco.  Miguel and the Grand Harmony is, “… a beautiful original story based on the characters of the film… this title is sure to appeal to readers of all ages.” Author, Matt de la Peña, lives in San Diego and received an MFA from San Diego State University. As a San Diegan, I wonder if Horton Plaza was an inspiration for the background of this vibrantly illustrated book. It sure looks familiar to me! Enjoy this charming story with your family members.

Explore Art Using Sharpies and Watercolor Crayons

Enjoy using brilliant colors and creating happy shapes, like illustrator, Ana Ramírez, uses in the book.  Start with watercolor paper cut in half or fourths, depending on original size of paper. Use a Sharpie pen to make an outline of something simple–a flower, circle, or heart. If the outline is small, make a bigger one around it. If it is big, make a smaller one inside it. The idea is to have concentric–one within another–objects. Now use watercolor crayons or water soluble pastels to color the object or entire paper. Last step is to moisten finger tip with water and go over entire painting to turn the crayon into watercolor paint. It’s fun, easy, and quick! The paper curls for a bit, then dries flat.


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