Bloom: A Story of Fashion Designer Elsa Schiaparelli

The best picture book biographies introduce readers to people who they might not learn about in textbooks. A great example is Bloom: A Story of Fashion Designer Elsa Schiaparelli by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Julie Morstad.


Born in Rome, Italy, Elsa Schiaparelli felt her family preferred her older sister. In fact, she thought she was ugly and when she was seven she covered her face, ears, nose, and mouth with flower seeds in an effort to make herself more attractive. All the seeds did was make her sick, but it showed how she could think outside the box. After she grew up, Elsa used her creative spirit to design beautiful, innovative clothing that turned the fashion world of Paris on its ear.

For the most part, Kyo Maclear’s first person text is enjoyable and informative. Julie Morstad’s gouache, watercolor and pencil illustrations are a perfect reflection of Elsa Schiaparelli’s artistic and creative talent. They aren’t static, but zoom in and out in scale. The focus moves from close up of faces to a panorama of the night sky and back again.

Like a fresh flower, Bloom is a delight to behold. It is sure to inspire young readers to try their hands at clothing design.

See Wrapped in Foil blog for suggested activities to accompany Bloom.

Cutting-Edge Computing With Raspberry Pi

Cutting-Edge Computing With Raspberry Pi
by Krystyna Poray Goddu (Author)

Booktalk: Did you know that a tiny computer the size of a credit card can power robots, video games, and even weather stations? This tiny computer is known as raspberry pi, and people are using it in all kinds of creative ways. Use it with Scratch to make games and cartoons.


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Copyright © 2018 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

Emily: 10-Year-Old Champion of Rainforest Animals in Need

Emily: 10-Year-Old Champion of Rainforest Animals in Need
by Cathleen Burnham (Author)

Booktalk: Meet Emily, a real-life young girl active in a youth program to save rainforest animals in western Costa Rica called Kids Saving The Rainforest (KSTR). Emily helps care for an orphaned baby sloth at a local animal sanctuary and more.


“A baby three-toed sloth was brought in to the rehabilitation center this morning,” said Jennifer.

“Is he all right?” asked Emily.

“He isn’t injured. Hikers found him in the jungle. Must have fallen out of a tree. Will you take him for a sloth walk after the meeting? asked Jennifer.

Sure!” Emily loved any opportunity to handle these rare creatures.

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Copyright © 2018 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

Picture Book Biography: Counting on Katherine

For the next month or two at Wrapped in Foil blog we’re going to be sharing some of the excellent children’s books nominated for Cybils awards.

Let’s start out with Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13 by Helaine Becker and illustrated by Dow Phumiruk.


Katherine Johnson was a gifted mathematician who was denied a high school education where she lived because of her skin color. Her father decided to move the family to another town where there was a school she could attend. Through persistence and hard work Katherine ended up working for NASA, where she performed the many complicated calculations needed for successful space flight.

This is the kind of biography that makes you want to stand up and cheer at the end. Helaine Becker does a wonderful job of summarizing Katherine Johnson’s life, distilling it to the essentials needed for a picture book. It’s delightful how she plays with Katherine’s love of counting by repetition of the phrase “count on me” through the text.

Dow Phumiruk’s digitally-created illustrations are both warm and finely detailed. They capture the tone of the book beautifully.

Counting On Katherine ticks all the boxes for a picture book biography because it reveals the life of an amazing woman set to the backdrop of her time in history. It is a moving story that will encourage young readers to dream big and follow their passions, no matter what the obstacles. Check out a copy today!


by Rachel Grack (Author)

Booktalk: This photo illustrated book will introduce young readers to wolves that live in North America. It explains their history, life cycle, habitat, and feeding habits. Includes a photo diagram, glossary, further resources, and index.

Snippet: Is that a German shepherd dog? No, it’s a wolf! Wolves are bigger. They are wild.

Also available in Spanish as Los Lobos:

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Copyright © 2018 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.