Princeton Children's Book Festival

On Saturday I drove down to Princeton NJ (in a mini van full of Brooklyn kidlit peeps!) to attend the 7th Annual Princeton Children's Book Festival, hosted by the Princeton Public Library. What an awesome, fun-filled day. I got to meet lots of kids and their parents, a bunch of librarians and teachers, AND several authors and illustrators whose work I've admired over the years. Ohh, and I signed a good amount of books too! And then, the owner of JaZams bookstore, Joanne Farrugia, graciously opened up her home to us authors and illustrators for one fantastic after-party (w/ crab cakes and champagne — yummm!) An all round success of a day, I'd say :)

just one tiny piece of the large crowd
my table
the musical entertainment
Bad Kitty!
another piece of the crowd
an adorable Happy Like Soccer fan :)

Extra special thanks to Allison Santos, the festival coordinator, for inviting me to be a part of such a wonderful event!  I love my little children's book world~

Melvin has PA fans!

I was super excited to learn that The Pennsylvania Center for the Book named MELVIN AND THE BOY a 2012 Best Children's Book for Family Literacy!

This from their website:
The Pennsylvania Center for the Book works with hundreds of children's books each year while preparing booklists, activities, and curriculum materials. Our Family Literacy Activities Web page is designed to help parents and caregivers fill each child's world with a love of books. We consider these 13 titles—a Baker's Dozen—to be the very best picture books published in 2011. They fulfill the goals of family literacy programs across the nation: to create lifelong readers and lovers of books and to start with the youngest audience—preschool children.

Huge thanks to The Pennsylvania Center for the Book for selecting Melvin as one of their Baker's Dozen — I am so honored to be a part of this list.

Thank you, Bankstreet!

Bank Street College of Education has released their 2012 edition of the Best Books of the Year, and I was very happy to find out that both SPUNKY TELLS ALL and MELVIN AND THE BOY made the list (age 5-9 category)!! You can read more about Bank Street College of Education, and how they choose books for their annual list, right here. Thanks again to the fantastic committee for selecting my two titles!

Hip Hip Hooray!

WOW. Melvin and the Boy ranked #2 on 100 Scope Notes Top 20 books of 2011 list! Again, wow.. Thank you Travis Jonker (100 Scope Notes) and John Schumacher (Watch. Connect. Read.) for drawing some attention to Melvin. He appreciates it, and I certainly do, too! 

 Here's what Travis has to say:
Again, thank you so much for the support and recognition, gentlemen. 
I am honored to be a part of this fantastic list~

The Original Art 2011

I'm honored that two of my books are included in this years Original Art Show at the Society of Illustrators! Many thanks to the jury for selecting CHRISTMAS IS HERE and MELVIN AND THE BOY. I look forward to seeing lots of lovely book folks at the opening reception next Thursday evening, October 27th. Here are the details if you'd like to join. Hope to see you there!

more blogger love

There's been some more love for Melvin in the blogosphere the last few months!
I wanted to take the time to thank these kind bloggers for the nice things they have said about the book:
 “Melvin and the Boy” is a lovely little book. Both text and illustration work in concert with each other to create a fun, cohesive whole. The text is simple and straightforward with playful artwork filling in the holes. Children will love the images of other pets and parents will appreciate the book’s message. And a two-page section at the end featuring turtle facts is a fun and somewhat unexpected addition.  ~ Cracking The Cover
The Boy of the story is delightfully sweet and appealing, his words expressed simply and honestly. Castillo's text and illustrative style are equally praiseworthy.  ~ Storied Cities
Melvin and the Boy revisits the familiar theme of the child who wants a pet, but successfully finds the sweet and sentimental tone missing from most picture books on that topic.  The illustrations are beautiful and have a timeless feeling about them.  At the end of the story there is a series of facts about turtles to share with the young readers. Melvin and the Boy will remind you of the classics.  ~ A Picture Book A Day
 Every picture is beautiful and charming, with fabulous contrast between bright and subdued colors. There is so much to look at on every page that the squirmiest toddler is sure to focus, and yet Castillo manages not to go too far in the other direction and make the illustrations too busy, they are just wonderfully nuanced. ~ Devourer of Books
 In my opinion [Lauren] hit a home-run with Melvin and the Boy.  The illustrations do a beautiful job of walking with the text though the story.  Nothing about this book is flashy.  It has the look and feel of a classic.    ~ Sharpread
 Thank you again. The amount of praise Melvin has received is truly overwhelming.