April Newsletter

by mockingbirdbook


Illustration from “The Denim Jungle” by Angela Taylor Hylland, illus. by Precious Beast (meet Angela here April 9)

April is an exciting month here at Mockingbird Books. We get to host a launch party (with Liz Wong and Quackers on April 2nd), Peter Brown will stop by to sign copies of his first middle grade book (The Wild Robot) for us (so come get a signed copy before they sell out!), we’ll listen to stories celebrating motherhood on April 8th, and we’ll join independent bookstores across the country to celebrate Independent Bookstore Day on April 30th! There are so many other amazing events and author visits coming up too–just take a glance below.

We’ll also continue Storybook Art class (now on Tuesdays and Saturdays), and Story Drama class (starting at the end of the month).

Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates, news, and any last-minute calendar changes.



Finding a parking spot near Mockingbird Books can be tricky, but now you can park up to 90 minutes for free in the PCC parking garage (just a block away) with a purchase at PCC.


Upcoming Events

Story Time every day 11-11:30 a.m. (except Sundays)

Betsy Dischel’s special story time with fun tales and songs in English, Hebrew, and American Sign Language takes place every Thursday (except April 28) at 11:00 a.m. Betsy is sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle and PJ Library.

Storybook Art Class is a story time and art-making exploration inspired by a different book each week. We’ll offer storybook art on Tuesday afternoons as part of a six-week session and Saturday afternoons as a drop-in class (but please do sign up in advance on the Art&Soul website). The class uses art to encourage children to create their own stories and is recommended for ages 3-6.

April 2: Book launch party for Quackers by Liz Wong. 1 p.m. “Quackers is a duck. Sure, he may have paws and whiskers. And his quacks might sound more like . . . well, meows, but he lives among ducks, everyone he knows is a duck, and he’s happy. Then Quackers meets another duck who looks like him (and talks like him too!), but he calls himself a cat. This quirky, funny, book is about standing out, fitting in, and building a life with room for all.” Meet author and illustrator Liz Wong and get your book signed.

April 2: Storybook Art Class. 3-3:45 p.m. $10. This week’s class will explore Some Bugs by Angela DiTerlizzi and make bug collages. Sign up on the Art&Soul website.

April 8: Motherhood Storytelling Evening. 7 p.m. Join us to listen to stories about motherhood and win two tickets to the Listen to Your Mother Seattle live storytelling event (which will take place at Town Hall on May 7–the perfect way to celebrate Mother’s Day).

April 9: Special story time with Seattle author Angela Taylor Hylland, author of The Denim Jungle. 11 a.m. “There’s a whole other world out there from toddler height. Are you ready to dream…small? Leo invites you down into his world, where adult legs become a denim canopy for a magical land of little wonders.” Read more at thedenimjungle.com.

April 9: Storybook Art Class. 1-1:45 p.m. This week’s class will explore The Night World by Mordicai Gerstein.

April 12-May 17: Storybook Art Class Tuesday session, 4-4:45 p.m. Sign up on the Art&Soul website.

April 16: Storybook Art Class. 1-1:45 p.m. This week’s class will explore Tree by Britta Teckentrup.

April 16: Author Gary Schwartz will share his new book The King of Average. 2 p.m. “The King of Average is the fantasy-adventure story of James, an eleven-year-old boy who decides to become the most average person who ever lived. This idea transports him into the Realm of Possibilities, a fantastic land where a state of mind is an actual place.”

April 22: Special Story Time with Kate Berube. 2 p.m. Kate will share her new book Hannah and Sugar and present a drawing activity. “Every day after school, Hannah’s school bus is greeted by her classmate’s dog, Sugar. All of the other kids love Sugar, but Hannah just can’t conquer her fear of dogs. Then, one day, Sugar goes missing, so Hannah joins the search with her classmates. Will Hannah find a way to be brave, and make a new friend in the process?”

April 23: Bus Driver Story Time. 11 a.m.-12 p.m. Celebrate Ride Transit Month with a real bus driver who will read us bus-related books for story time! Our store is conveniently located right by the #16 and #48 bus routes.

April 23: Storybook Art Class. 1-1:45 p.m. This week’s class will explore Cloud Country by Bonnie Becker and Noah Klocek.

April 28: Special Story Time with Nina Laden. 11 a.m. Come meet author and illustrator Nina Laden, who will share her brand new picture book Are We There Yet? “We’ve all been there. Or more accurately, we’ve all been with kids in the backseat clamoring (over and over!) ‘Are we there yet?’ In this genius of a picture book, bestselling author Nina Laden combines forces with dynamic illustrator Adam McCauley to turn that dilemma on its head. Fun for kids and adults, the book is filled with details that readers will want to hunt for (over and over!). Buckle up and enjoy the ride!”

April 30: Independent Bookstore Day! This nationwide event celebrates the wonderful benefits independent bookstores bring to communities. Like Record Store Day, stores across the country will offer exclusive items you can only purchase at bookstores on Independent Bookstore Day. 16+ stores in the Seattle area (including Mockingbird Books) will have special events, activities, and giveaways going on all day. We will have a book scavenger hunt for the kids, free advance reading copies with purchase, a book selfie booth, and more. Follow Seattle Bookstore Day on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more information about Seattle’s celebration.

April 30: Spring Story Drama class with Acting Out Literacy. 10-11 a.m. Ages 3.5-7. $20-$160 (see website for pricing details). Come travel with us into more of our favorite books! Using our voices, bodies, and imaginations, we will visit fantastical imaginary worlds. We will read, draw, and write together each class and use what we learn to solve the fictional problems we encounter in the stories we read. Most importantly, along the way we will learn about friendship, kindness, bravery, and trust. Learn more and sign up on the Acting Out Literacy website.

April 30: Storybook Art Class. 1-1:45 p.m. This week’s class will explore Leo: A Ghost Story by Mac Barnett and Christian Robinson.

Attention Book Clubs:

Looking for a place to hold an afternoon book club? Mockingbird Books can offer a cozy nook for your group with access to coffee, tea, and snacks. Talk to us about scheduling and we will be happy to order books of any genre. Contact us at info@mockingbirdbooksgl.com or (206) 518-5886.

Planning a Birthday Party?

Looking for a venue to host your party or event? Come celebrate at Mockingbird Books! Drop us a line for more information.

A Spotlight on Our April Guest Authors

unnamedWe are thrilled to be hosting a launch party for Liz Wong‘s first book Quackers on April 2nd!

Liz Wong was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she spent her early childhood painting and clambering about in mango trees. She began her illustrious art career at the tender age of five, when she earned the first place trophy in the school poster contest. This encouraged her to pursue art instead of a sensible career in finance like the rest of her family. Liz holds a BFA in Art and a BA in Anthropology from the University of Washington. She is an author and illustrator, with a focus on illustration for children.
Liz currently resides in the Seattle area. She creates her illustrations with a combination of watercolor, colored pencil, pencil and photoshop. See her work at lizwongillustration.com.

Angela HyllandGreen Lake’s own Angela Taylor Hylland will join us for story time April 9th to share her book The Denim Jungle!

Angela ventured into the world of book writing to fulfill a promise to her beloved mother-in-law, Sue, whose bright light was extinguished by breast cancer.

When Angela isn’t writing or navigating the great unknown of parenting, she’s juggling two entrepreneurial businesses, planning her next adventure, crafting up a storm, and sneaking in a little gaming time.

Professionally, she’s most well known for her editorial work on preschool toys, including the award-winning line of Cranium Bloom games, puzzles, and activity books; Kabookii (Nintendo Wii), and MythBusters Hit the Target Trivia Game. Angela also works her wordsmithing magic for clients like Hasbro, Target, and Microsoft.

Angela lives in Seattle with her husband and best friend, Ryan; her sociable daughter, Szaba; her inquisitive baby boy, Von; and her rescue pup, Pavlov. Visit The Denim Jungle website at TheDenimJungle.com.

unnamed-2On April 16th we welcome Gary Schwartz, who will share his novel The King of Average.

Gary Schwartz is an award-winning TV and film actor, director, comedian, and master improvisational acting coach with 30 years experience as a performer and improv teacher. He began his professional career as a mime at age 13, performing up and down the Hudson River with Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie and other great folk entertainers of the 60’s. In the 70’s and 80’s he appeared in numerous film and television projects including the Oscar-winning feature film Quest for Fire and 65 episodes of the Emmy-winning TV series Zoobilee Zoo with Ben Vereen.

Since then, as a voice actor Gary has gone on to work with Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand, Tim Burton, Kenneth Brannagh, and many other well-known directors. He is currently the voice of several popular video game characters in Team Fortress 2, Left for Dead 2, Dota 2, Borderland, and Star Wars: The Old Republic. Gary resides in North Bend, WA and teaches theater games locally and around the world. Learn more about Gary at gary-schwartz.com.

unnamed-3We are big fans of Kate Berube‘s book Hannah and Sugar and are happy to welcome the creator of this lovely book for an event on April 22nd.

Kate Berube (Bear uh bee) grew up wanting to be an artist in a cow-filled Connecticut town. She earned her BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Like so many artists, Kate’s career trajectory wasn’t a straight line – she’s been a nanny, a tax preparer in Massachusetts, a scenic painter in NYC, a decorative painter in Chicago, and a bookseller in Portland.

Kate’s debut picture book as an author and illustrator is Hannah and Sugar, published by Abrams Books For Young Readers. Kate illustrated The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read by Curtis Manley–to be published July 2016 by Simon & Schuster’s Paula Wiseman Books. Kate now lives in Portland, Oregon. Visit her website at KateBerube.com.

unnamed-4Nina Laden joins us April 28th for a story time with her new book Are We There Yet?

Nina was born in New York City and started drawing as soon as she could hold a crayon. By age three, she was folding paper to make books. She graduated from Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts in 1983 with a BFA in Illustration. Even though Nina majored in art, she kept writing. She has kept journals for decades and has over 2,200 pages at this point! After many years as a successful illustrator, and the sad loss of her Mom to cancer, Nina decided to pursue her first love, children’s books. Her first book, The Night I Followed the Dog, was published to great critical acclaim and bestselling status. It won four awards including the 1994 Parent’s Choice Gold Award, and it was a Reading Rainbow book.

In the many books, many awards, and many adventures since then, Nina and her husband Booth have started a small group of espresso bars in Atlanta in 1991, moved to Seattle in 1997, and found paradise on Lummi Island in 2002. Nina and Booth are into all kinds of outdoor activities: cycling, hiking, camping, skiing (Nina), snowboarding (Booth), kayaking, boating, rollerblading and other “ing” words. They both love to cook and grow organic veggies, fruits, and herbs.

Nina’s books have been translated into many languages and are available in countries including France, Switzerland, Belgium, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and of course the United States. She has also visited hundreds of schools and spoken around the world. Nina occasionally teaches writing and illustrating workshops and courses at various locations and loves to motivate children (and adults) to explore their imaginations through writing, drawing, and creating books. Read more at NinaLaden.com.

unnamed-1What is Story Drama?

Story Drama is a class at Mockingbird Books taught by Acting Out Literacy: a group of Seattle educators and theatre artists dedicated to harnessing the power of theatre to teach literacy, social, and emotional skills. Acting Out Literacy teachers are trained educators who have years of experience working with preschool and elementary age students. They are also theatre artists with experience as actors, directors, and in theatre production, throughout Seattle and across North America.

Philosophy: Teaching artists co-create theatre experiences with their students, providing them opportunities to develop leadership and confidence. Together they build communities that honor individuality and difference. Children learn by acting out their world and Acting Out Literacy classes give them the stage to understand that world.

Curriculum: Acting Out Literacy’s teaching artists create theatre classes that address fundamental Common Core Language Arts benchmarks while prioritizing children’s active engagement, as well as social and emotional growth. In all classes they explore students ideas and questions, prioritizing their perspectives.

Visit the Acting Out Literacy website for more information and to register.


Staff Picks

Mary’s Poetry Picks

unnamedYea! April is National Poetry Month and I love poetry. Otto the Owl loves poetry too and his friends always laugh at him. They call him Blotto the Bard. Vern Kousky has written a delightful picture book Otto the Owl Who Loved Poetry. Otto would much rather read, even T.S. Eliot, than hunt and do the things owls are supposed to do. He does not understand why the other owls tease him. Sad, he runs away. He makes friends with the moon and writes a poem. When he recites it out loud he hears tiny voices shouting “More! More!” The forest mice are shouting. He decides he should not be afraid and indeed continues to recite his poems. Now the owls start to listen and the woods become filled with the sounds of poetry.

Mockingbird has lots of poetry books, well-known ones and new. Local author Eric Ode’s Sea Star Wishes: Poems from the Coast is a favorite. A just-arrived book, When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano is a celebration. The author chooses days throughout the year and makes free verse observations. “Rain makes frogs hop in a hurry” is the line for April 12. Charming, simple illustrations by Julie Morstad gently illuminate the text. Old, old favorites such as A.A. Milne’s Now We are Six and Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses are great fun to read out loud even if sometimes you need to explain a word here and there. Last but not least, dip into the inimitable Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends. His words and illustrations are giggle-making.

Mary’s Picture Book Pickunnamed-3

Not All Princesses Dress in Pink by Jane Yolen & Heidi E. Y. Stemple. Illustrated by Anne-Sophie Lanquetin

Did you know Not All Princesses Dress in Pink? Authors Jane Yolen and Heidi E.Y. Stemple prove that is so. Their princesses play soccer, wrestle in the mud, fix things with power tools, drive dump trucks, but always while wearing their sparkly crowns. The delightful, brightly colored illustrations by Anne-Sophie Lanquetin made me giggle. Any three- or four-year-old girl will love this book and perhaps find it empowering.

Kathryn’s Picksunnamed-1

Shadow on the Mountain by Margi Preus – middle grade

On April 9, 1940, Nazi Germany invaded Norway. Espen is fourteen years old when he begins delivering illegal newspapers and soon he is a part of the resistance. From that moment on, he worries who he can trust, even from among his friends, as the townspeople take sides. Those who agree to work with the Germans and those who resist. Espen and his family live in constant fear. Even if you hadn’t done anything wrong, you might be doing something the Nazis wouldn’t like.

Inspired by the real-life experiences of wartime spy Erling Storrusten, the book includes photos, maps, the recipe for invisible ink, and code breaking. A fascinating moment in history as well as a captivating fast-paced story.unnamed-2

Author Margi Preus won a Newberry Honor for her first book Heart of a Samurai, another historical novel based on a true story and definitely worth checking out.

From the publisher:

“It’s 1841, and fourteen-year-old Manjiro and his four friends find themselves stranded on a deserted island after a storm at sea. Beyond the island is the unknown, filled with monsters and demons and barbarians, or so they’ve been told. They know they cannot return to their home in Japan-the country’s borders are closed to foreigners and also to citizens who have strayed.”
Spanning ten years, Manjiro’s wish is to become a samurai. Historical notes, illustrations, and a glossary add to this tale.

Picture book:unnamed-4
A Hungry Lion or A Dwindling Assortment of Animals by Lucy Ruth Cummins

Cute little pencil and gouache illustrations.

A mysterious dwindling of adorable animals. A pleasant surprise. A twist. Another surprise and yet another twist. And a turtle.

Curious? You will just have to read it for yourself.

Haley’s Picks

Hello Nature: Draw, Color, Make, and Grow by Nina Chakrabartiunnamed-5

Did you know:
– Spider silk is the strongest natural fiber known and cannot be dissolved in water?
– Leaf shapes can be simple, lobed, or compound?
– Butterflies usually rest with their wings upright, while moths rest with their wings spread flat?
– In summer, a toad can eat as many as 1,000 insects a day?

Hello Nature is a beautiful thick activity book recommended for ages 8 and up. Each spread of its 224 pages has a creative prompt illustrated with gorgeous white, green, and black nature images and hand-lettering. The book is arranged by season and covers subjects like insects, leaves, snowflakes, birds, flowers, stones, and more.
Some of the pages:
– “Early one spring morning open your bedroom window and just…listen. Can you hear any birds? What do you think these birds are singing about?”
– Make your own herbarium
– Draw your dream tree house on this page
– Draw the moon’s craters, valleys, and seas

Though Hello Nature has a lovely dreamy tone I was impressed with how much factual information it contains. This book creatively encourages readers to stop and take a closer look at the amazing natural world all around us.

Hannah and Sugar by Kate Berubeunnamed-6

Every day when Hannah gets off the school bus she sees her classmate Violet P.’s dog Sugar waiting to walk Violet P. home. Everyone else loves to pet Sugar, but Hannah is scared and keeps her distance. One day, Sugar isn’t at the bus stop–she’s lost! Everyone helps look for Sugar, but she remains missing. Hannah puts herself in the dog’s place and imagines Sugar must be sad and hungry. Can she overcome her fear and make a new friend? Hannah and Sugar is a sweet story for kids who are hesitant or scared around animals.

Are You the Pirate Captain? by Gareth P. Jones, illus. Garry Parsonsunnamed-7

The pirate ship needs a new captain after its previous one was eaten by a giant squid. First Mate Hugh searches high and low for the right pirate for the job but each discovery turns out to be a misunderstanding (that’s not a hook hand, it’s a coat hook. That’s not a treasure map, it’s a shopping list). Finally the crew realizes the perfect captain might be closer than they thought. Colorful illustrations play up the visual comedy of the story and give readers plenty of details beyond the text to examine.

How to Put Your Parents to Bed by Mylisa Larsen, illus. Babette Coleunnamed-8

Your parents are looking pretty haggard, but they just won’t go to sleep! What’s a child to do? This hilarious picture book gives readers a step-by-step guide to helping their parents brush their teeth, get into their pajamas, and get into bed (don’t forget to take their cell phones away!). They will probably make excuses like “my favorite pillow is missing” but remain calm and focused! They need their rest–and after all that, so will you! How to Put Your Parents to Bed is a fresh take on the ever-popular bedtime book.

Happy Reading!

Alyson, Mary, Kathryn, and Haley