Debbie Ridpath Ohi: Tuesday, October 1st

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All The Wonders This Week w/ Debbie Ridpath Ohi: October 1, 2019


Author Debbie Ridpath Ohi discusses the New Best Seller categories , Banned Books Week, and three new graphic novels. We’ve got all this and more. I’m Corrina Allen and this is All The Wonders This Week.

Joining me this week to chat about what’s new and intriguing in the world of children’s literature is Debbie Ridpath Ohithe author-illustrator of Where Are My Books? and Sam & Eva, and the illustrator for over twenty books including collaborations with authors like Michael Ian Black, Judy Blume and Aaron Reynolds.



  • The New York Times Book Review is shifting its “best-seller” lists again and bringing back the graphic novel category that it had cut in 2017.  The “graphic books” category will include fiction, nonfiction, adult, and children’s books. The New York Times is also debuting two new monthly children’s “best-seller” lists - middle grade paperback and young adult paperback.
  • There has also been some speculation and concern around the fact that there seem to be fewer professional reviews for books that are coming out from places like Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Horn Book, Library Journal or School Library Journal. The issues was brought up on Twitter by author Shannon Hale and librarian Wendy Daughdrill raised the troubling point that often a certain number of positive professional reviews are required before some libraries can purchase those titles and before they are eligible for consideration for certain awards.  Right now, it’s not clear whether or not those publications are doing fewer reviews or if there are just more books being published. 

  • This past week on the All the Wonders website, is a great list of new bed-time books.  So if you are looking for some modern, fresh alternatives to Goodnight Moon or The Going to Bed Book, check out Ten Bedtime Books for Little Dreamers.

Upcoming Events

  • Last week was Banned Books Week - a yearly spotlight on the issues surrounding challenges to books. Of particular interest to me, as an educator who has fielded book complaints and requests for removal, is the article on the Banned Books website outlining how to deal with challenges.

  • It is Hispanic Heritage Month which runs from September 15th through October 15th, so in honor of that, I thought we’d give a shout out to some favorite children’s books by Hispanic and Latinx authors and illustrators!

Today's New Releases

Picture Books

Alright - it is time to talk books and celebrate some of the most exciting new releases coming out today!  Before we jump in, I just want to say that when I first envisioned this show during the calmer days of summer - I had truly thought I could mention every single new release each week. Well, listeners… that has become rather difficult to take the time to do that and still have time to produce the show each week.  So we’re scaling back a bit to highlight some of the releases each week. And I am sure - there are incredible books that slip through the cracks. So - I hope that you will jump into the conversation on Twitter and let the rest of us know what books you are loving this week. Just search for #ATWThisWeek - and let us know which of today’s book caught your eye.

And Debbie - you have a picture book in the works right now with Linda Sue Park with the intriguing title of Gurple and Preen!  I know it’s still early, but is there anything you can tell us about it?

Debbie: I am SUPER-excited about this picture book! It all began when I decided to create some art using a broken crayon. I’m a bit of a pack rat so tend to keep everything, especially since I started creating art around real-life objects, and I decided to make use of a crayon that had accidentally snapped in half. At first I thought about turning the crayon into some kind of crayon creature, perhaps making the crayon itself part of the monster’s mouth, etc but then I thought HEY, what if something comes OUT of the crayon? I’ve also always loved the quote, “You never know what will come out of a broken crayon.” So I posted the image and was surprised by how much people seemed to like it.

Corrina: Yes!!  I have been following your crayon illustrations on social media - LOVE them!!  

Debbie: Thank you! I’ve really been enjoying creating these. I’ve especially enjoyed hearing from educators who have seen my broken crayon art and have been using it in their classrooms with their young readers.

For the title GURPLE & PREEN: these are the names of the two main characters in a wonderful story written by Linda Sue Park. Gurple and Preen are robots whose rocket ship has crash landed on a planet, and they need to figure out how to repair the rocket so they can continue on their adventure. 


    Chapter Books / Middle Grade

    • The Tornado by Jake Burt
    • The first book in the Alien Superstar middle grade series written by Lin Oliver and Henry Winkler, and illustrated by Ethan Nicolle, is launching from Amulet
    • I Can Make This Promise by Christine Day - an #ownvoices debut novel about Native American identity featuring a girl who discovers the mystery of her mother’s heritage in a box full of letters
    • Another novel-in-verse out today is Caravan to the North: Misael’s Long Walk about a Salvadoran boy whose family joins the caravan heading north to the United States and the fate that awaits him when he arrives at the border
    • Barbara Dee’s new novel - Maybe He Just Likes You  

    graphic novels

    • The third in the autobiographical “Sunny” series by brother and sister duo Jennifer and Matthew Holm is out today - Sunny Rolls the Dice
    • A new R.J. Palacio book is out today -a graphic novel called White Bird  This is another in the Wonder universe, but this one focuses on Julian’s grandmother’s story during World War II. 
    • If you have kids who are interested in drawing and making their own comics, check out  Dog Man Guide to Creating Comics in 3-D by Dav Pilkey and Kate Howard


    • The Power Book: What is it, Who Has it, and Why? by a variety of authors and a foreward by Roxane Gay answers questions like Why can some people vote for their leaders, but other people can’t? Does having lots of money  make you powerful? Why are there fewer female scientists, leaders, and artists than men in history books?  A timely and important book with lots of great illustrations
    • Can You Hear The Trees Talking? Is a new nonfiction out today that looks fascinating and is about the mystery and magic that can be found in the forest.
    • There’s also a new addition to the “Who Was” series available this week - Who Was Mr. Rogers?
    • And we also get a gorgeous over-sized book that you’ll just want to sprawl out on the floor with and explore called Greek Myths & Mazes by Jan Bajtlik
    • Another title I am eager to check out is a brightly illustrated title called Darwin’s Voyage of Discovery by Jake Williams
    • And…..Sarah Albee’s North America!

    Other Media New Releases

    TV Shows / MOVIES

    • Abominable! by Dreamworks and is about a teenage girl, Yi, who discovers a Yeti hiding on the roof of her apartment building in Shanghai. And she and her friends go on this epic quest to return the Yeti to Everest to help him find his family and outrun and outsmart the scientists trying to capture him.

    • On Netflix, this Friday, October 4th is the premiere of the series Raising Dion., which is based on this very short but intriguing comic of the same name by Dennis Liu. Essentially the story is - how would you raise a child with superpowers?

    Currently Reading


    • I’m teaching a Graphic Novel Writing course for 8-12 year olds at the Toronto Public Library this month, so I’ve been reading through a lot of graphic novels for middle graders. One is Sanity & Tallulah by Molly Brooks, a wonderful adventure about two friends who live on a space station. I’m also rereading Share Your Smile by Raina Telgemeier, which helps young readers interested in writing and illustrating their own comics and graphic novels.


    • With my students, we just did a little mini author study of Jessie Sima’s picture books - Not Quite Narwhal, Love, Z and her latest, Spencer’s New Pet. Personally, I just finished a middle grade book -  Laurel Snyder’s My Jasper June - and ooooohhhhh does it have SUCH a good ending!



    For me, coming off of Banned Books week, I’ve been thinking about the ways that educators and librarians self-censor.  Librarian Jennifer LaGarde posted something that really resonated with me, so I thought I’d share it.


    I was just recently presenting at FOLDKids, which is presented by The Festival Of Literary Diversity, and discussion came up in my writing workshop that reminded me of a Linda Sue Park observation. Linda Sue said that sometime diverse creators say “I’m writing books for kids because when I was little, I never saw myself in books. I want to make sure every child has the chance to see themselves in a book.” Linda Sue points out that (depending on the time period) there WERE diverse creators working at that time, and it’s not their fault that their books were not well-known. So if we say something like “I never saw myself in a book,” it could easily be misinterpreted as meaning, “There were no books about kids like me out there.” Linda Sue suggests that when we say “I never saw myself in a book,” we might add a line or two acknowledging the book creators we wish we had known about. I love this!

    Thank You

    Thank all of you for listening and sharing your Tuesday with us!

    You can find an outline of the show and links to all the books and topics we chatted about at  If you have a question or comment, I’d love to hear from you! You can contact me at or connect with me on Twitter or Instagram. And reviews on iTunes or Stitcher are always much appreciated.

    The All the Wonders This Week podcast is brought to you by All The Wonders, where children's books are for everyone. Journey beyond the page with podcasts, videos, crafts, and more at

    See you next week!

    About the Author

    Corrina Allen

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    Corrina Allen is a 5th grade teacher in Central New York. She hosts Books Between, a bi-weekly podcast to help teachers, librarians, and parents connect children between 8 and 12 to books they’ll love. You can connect with Corrina on Twitter at @corrinaaallen or Instagram at @Corrina_Allen.

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