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Apr 1, 2018

Amy June Bates and her middle school daughter, Juniper Bates, have created something very special in their picture book The Big Umbrella. Kirkus Reviews wrote that it is a subtle, deceptively simple book about inclusion, hospitality, and welcoming the ‘other. Booklist calls it open-ended and a natural springboard for discussion. And for me this book is my new life mantra.


Featured book:

The Big Umbrella
By Amy June Bates, Juniper Bates
Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books


Episode summary:

The idea for The Big Umbrella came the day after the 2016 election. They knew they had a book idea right away and quickly (for an adult) had a story and dummy out to an art director.

Once they understood what the tone of the book, the story decisions fell into place.

They wanted this book to be inclusive in every way possible, including both sides of the political spectrum.

This book is more universal than political. It speaks to a deeper truth about the world we live in and how we can shape it into something better.

Amy’s illustrations were designed to allow us to see ourselves in these characters. But there is one character in the book that has both Amy and Juniper’s heart.

The images in this picture book showing all the diversity under one umbrella are powerful. They are all united and are all different at the same time.

Juniper tells us what she has learned from the process and Amy give us illustrators some great advice to help improve our work.


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Today’s podcast is also brought to you by Audible get a FREE audiobook download and 30 day free trial at I recommend Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children’s Literature as an Adult by Bruce Handy (Picturebooking Episode 87).

This episode was recorded inside the Mulva Library Studio on the campus of St. Norbert College. Picturebooking is produced by Nick Patton Studio, LLC.

Thanks for listening.