‘Tis the Season with Lucille Clifton and Patricia Polacco

Recommended holiday reads:

1. Everett Anderon’s Christmas Coming by Lucille Clifton. Illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist. Published by Henry Holt and Co. 1993. An owlet book. We read this book in the classroom, this past Friday before vacation.

ImageNow, this book is out of print, and selling for a small fortune on the Amazon market. I bought it for about $3.00, including shipping, this summer….because I KNEW the price would sky rocket, because that’s what’s been happening of late with invaluable picture books..(that’s what I’ve been trying to tell ya’ll). Anyways, if you nag the sellers on Amazon, the price should drop.

For example, back in February of 2012, I bought bell hooks’ out of print picture book, Skin Again, for $6.00 off of Amazon.Then, this past summer, I had a house flood, and the precious book was nearly destroyed. When I searched Amazon, and elsewhere online, for a replacement, the prices ranged from $65.00-$900. Hmmph. The sums of those hefty prices were not being pocketed by Ms. hooks, I can assure you that. Just another case of literature gentrification. I see it often in the #kidlit world. Anyhoo, I nagged every single dealer of Skin Again on Amazon, and stated that I wouldn’t pay more than $19.00 for it. All dealers refused to lower the price claiming they go by rankings blah dee blah. I began following the sales of it online. I also removed my praising blog posts of bell hooks’ picture books, in order to depopularize the book, as I had been the only blogger of hooks’ works for children, in the last year. The price finally dropped to the teens in November, and I bought a used copy for $18.00, from one of the sellers who originally listed it for $65.00.

So, I don’t recommend paying outlandish prices for necessary children’s literature. If the money was going into the hands of people in the community, then fine. I’d pay the small fortune. But it’s not, so I won’t. I just wait for sales to go down. GIVE US BACK OUR LITERATURE, I say.

ImageI prefer the vintage illustrations, by Evaline Ness, in the original 1971 publication of Clifton’s Everett Anderson’s Christmas Coming.  Take an inside look below:Image


2. Three Wishes by Lucille Clifton. Illustrations by Michael Hays, Delacorte, 1992. It’s a New Year’s tale about friendship, loyalty, and faith. I plan to read this story in the classroom, on January 3rd, when the students return.


The original Three Wishes was illustrated by Stephanie Douglas, published by Viking (New York, NY) 1976.


4. The Trees of the Dancing Goats by Patricia Polacco


5. Christmas Tapestry by Patricia Polacco


I realize that I didn’t get into much, or any, description of what these beloved holiday stories entail. However, if you appreciate the authors I’ve chosen, and are moved by the illustrations, and can google a summary of the books, then I say that you’re in good shape to go discover more about these books on your own.

Happy 2014, everyone! Love greatly and read fervently.

– The Picture Book Pusher

‘Skin Again’ by bell hooks is Hard to Come By

I’m about picture books that elicit mindfulness. Skin Again by bell hooks, illustrated by Chris Raschka, does just that.


That’s the good news.

The bad news is that Skin Again is no longer in print.  I just received my first-edition, hardcover, copy off of Amazon. It is technically used, but it’s in perfect condition.

You can find all about me/ coming close and letting go/

of who you might think/ I am/

before you come inside/

and let me be real and you become real/ to me.

– hooks. Skin Again. 2004.

Yeah. She’s that good. Everything that a picture book should, and can be – it’s all right here in Skin Again. Raschka’s illustrations are symbiotic with hook’s words. A child read aloud to, from this book, will be naturally, and sustainably engaged because the book offers an honest, mindful, and poetic perspective on physical differences and universal commonalities. Children are naturally attracted to truth.

Be with me inside the me of me, all made up of stories present, past, future/ some true to life and others all fun and fantasy, all the way I imagine me

Photo on 2013-03-08 at 14.56

Skin Again by bell hooks. Illustrated by Chris Raschka.
Jump at the Sun books, an imprint of Hyperion Books for Children, an imprint of Disney.
New York 2004

Skin Again was published in 2004 originally for a small press named Jump at the Sun, which became an imprint of Hyperion Books for Children in New York, only to finally be absorbed by the Disney Co.  Jump at the Sun was a publishing press dedicated to producing afrocentric children’s literature.

“Jump at the Sun: Ten Years of Celebrating Black Culture for all Children” – Disney·Hyperion 2003

The above quote is the heading for Jump at the Sun’s website; a website that no longer exists. Below, is a silhouette of the original jumpatthesun website. It’s a snapshot of the original  site.  Check it out. http://www.leibowstudios.com/webdevelop/hyperion/jump/index.html#

Within the first pages of Skin Again, you can find the website: http://www.jumpatthesun.com . If you click on the link, it takes you straight to Disney’s children’s books’ website.

All of the beautifully published books, originally published for Jump at the Sun (over 200 titles), for Hyperion Books for Children, are in no way a part of Disney’s available books. They’re not mentioned anywhere. Hyperion Books for Children no longer exists either.

Web space regentrification at its finest. African American children’s literature is being regentrified. I see it more and more.

I suggest that you get your copy of Skin Again while you can.  I bought mine, in perfect condition,  for about $6.50 on Amazon. There are now new copies being sold for up to $120 online. Skin Again is still easier to acquire than some of hooks’ other titles.  All six of bell hooks’ children’s books were published through Jump at the Sun. All six are currently out of print.  I have them all except for  Be Love, Baby Love. It is impossible to come across. High or low. Online or on the street.  Oh, Disney.

Thanks for reading The Picture Book Pusher.

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Source: http://isbndb.com/d/book/skin_again.html

The coolest part of Yellow Ball by Molly Bang


Yellow Ball by Molly Bang. Pg 19.

Yesterday, I was meeting with a fellow teacher friend of mine at Codman Academy in Dorchester, MA. The high school students were performing and competing in monologues written by playwright August Wilson. That’s not even the coolest part. The coolest part is that this high school had a shelf of picture books with a sign that read: ‘Free Books. Help Yourself.’…or something like that.

I jest, because that too is not even the coolest part. The coolest part is, along with a couple copies of Frog and Toad, there was a hardcover edition of Molly Bang’s out-of-print book, Yellow Ball, first published in 1991. I don’t know what year it stopped being published, but I do know that I now own a copy of this book.


Last march, when I became a Molly Bang fan, after discovering The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher at the used book store, Back Pages Books in Waltham, MA. , I sought after other titles written by Molly Bang. I perused her website. She has oodles of picture books listed on her website. She also has a page of “out-of-print” titles that includes a couple dozen out-of-print picture books! Her books are unique. I’ve been longing to get my hands on one of her out-of-print books for I have never read any of them. Sure I could buy old copies for all kinds of prices, on ebay or amazon, but I prefer to stumble upon books, rather than break bank.


An image of Molly Bang’s out-of-print titles. Image found on her website. http://www.mollybang.com

Check out Molly Bang’s website here:

The oddest part of my copy of Yellow Ball, is that there is no publishing information inside the book. No year of publication, no edition, no publisher’s name. It’s as if it is an artist’s proof. A sample. The first print. Isn’t that the coolest?

Thank you for reading The Picture Book Pusher