At the start of this month, I had the best of intentions to step back a bit from blogging. With a deadline for responding to editorial comments on the book we signed in January (illustrator is on board and we will hopefully be announcing in PW soon) and with a decision needed on cover sketches for PEDAL, BALANCE, STEER: Annie Londonderry, The First Woman to Cycle Around the World…and with the #PBChat Mentorship coming up…and with my desire to actually write a new story…I thought I’d refrain from writing blog posts for a while.
But here I am for Perfect Picture Book Friday (and two days early because I pressed PUBLISH a bit too quickly)- and the reason is that today’s book is AMAZING! When I heard that the dynamic duo of author Abigail Rayner and illustrator Molly Ruttan had teamed up again (after I AM A THIEF, one of my all-time favorite picture books!), I knew I had to emerge from my planned sabbatical!
VIOLET AND THE CRUMBS: A Gluten-Free Adventure
Written by Abigail Rayner
Illustrated by Molly Ruttan
Published by NorthSouth Books (2022)
Themes: Food allergies, courage, creativity
Synopsis: From Amazon:
Success has never tasted so good!
The dynamic duo of I Am a Thief by Abigail Rayner (author) and Molly Ruttan (illustrator) have created a new picture book sure to spark conversations about this timely issue.
Violet used to love birthday parties, but now that she has celiac disease, she’s not allowed to eat pizza, cake, or anything else with gluten. Violet feels alone until she discovers that some animals have dietary restrictions as well. While standing up for her animal friends, she realizes she can do the same for herself. And when it’s time to celebrate Violet’s birthday, there isn’t a single gluten-containing crumb in sight!
Filled with pluck and humor, this informative story provides a great opportunity to discuss this increasingly common condition with children who have celiac disease and gluten-intolerance as well as those who know people who have it and are seeking to learn more about it.
This book has been approved by the Celiac Disease Foundation.
Why I love this book:
1. This is such an important topic…and author Abigail Rayner got right to the heart of it – she acknowledges how difficult it is for children with celiac disease (and this would hold true for kids with all sort of food allergies and intolerances). She shows how sad the main character feels being left out of fun celebrations and how dangerous it is for kids when people aren’t careful about how food is served. And best of all, she offers a plan of action to empower the child and make the situation better.
2. The text by Abigail Rayner is masterful…filled with heart and humor! And so much important information.
3. Illustrator Molly Ruttan does a fabulous job of imparting a personality to the gluten crumbs – and her art is engaging, emotional, and entertaining. This is a story that kids will want to read again and again – discovering wonderful new details with every page turn.
And we are so lucky. Illustrator Molly Ruttan stopped by to share a bit about her journey with this book:
MOLLY: Often when I’m in the thick of working on a book, my real life starts to echo the book! When I was working on a book dummy about a pigeon and some parrots, a pigeon arrived at our door and walked in. He was wearing a tag, and while we waited for his owners to come get him, he modeled for me! Soon after that a flock of parrots landed in the tree outside my studio window. When I was working on I Am a Thief!, my first book with Abigail Rayner, every time I went out I saw people wearing black & white stripes. When I was working on my author/illustrated book The Stray, about a family who finds an alien critter, I went to a UFO conference in the Joshua Tree desert and was one of 100 people that witnessed a mass sighting! For this book, it was Violet’s outfit. As I started creating the final art for this book, the entire country shut down because of the pandemic. While I was designing her superhero suit— which she created to protect herself from the crumbs at school— a cry for PPE went out across the country. Maybe my next book should be about winning the lottery!
WOW…I love that story, Molly! Thank you so much for sharing it.
And if you all want to find out more about Molly:
And you can find out more about author Abigail Rayer here: https://www.abiraynerwrites.com/
You know all of those awesome recipes for creating play-dough and other stuff for kids? Some of those recipes may contain gluten…and others were prepared on surfaces where gluten may be hiding in crevices. Teachingmama.org to the rescue! Take a look…and have fun! https://teachingmama.org/7-gluten-free-play-recipes/
The illustrator has created fabulous end papers, filled with information about gluten and other grains and starches and flours that can be used as substitutes. The author has included back matter about celiac disease. All in all, this is a must-have story for libraries, schools, and home bookshelves. We can help by asking our local library to purchase copies and by telling friends about it and of course, by reviewing it and buying a copy ourselves. And because of the generosity of the lovely people at NorthSouth Books, there is a brand-new copy being offered as a giveaway – please leave a comment to be entered for a chance to win (maybe you can tell us about any food issues that you or your family face) – and please make sure you share this post on your social media channels.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.