photographer | slp | language & literacy | love good design, engaging books, reggio emilia, documenting | @averyandaugustine on instagram


the darkest dark

The story of astronaut Chris Hadfield and how he overcomes his fears of the dark as a young boy and comes to embrace the darkest dark of outer space as an astronaut.  Eric and Terry Fan’s inky, dusky palette brings to life Chris Hadfield’s childhood, including his summer family cottage on Stag Island in southern Ontario.

It’s amazing how many different forms of dark are rendered—the faint patterned wallpaper in Chris’ bedroom, the crisp windy night sky outside his cottage, the television set’s cold light on the faces of the crowd gathered to watch the moon landing in his neighbor’s living room—which speaks to their ability as illustrators to bring to life the most ordinary of settings.  As seen in their first picture book The Night Gardener, the Fan brothers are masters of using color to create mood, intrigue and a kind of tangible magic.

The Darkest Dark is by Chris Hadfield, Kate Fillion, Eric Fan and Terry Fan.  Out on September 13 from Tundra Books.


the uncorker of ocean bottles

“The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles lived alone on a high spot with only one tree for shade.  He always kept his eyes on the waves, watchful for a glint of glass.”

A wispy and ethereal story of wonder and unexpected friendship.  The sea-worn foggy texture of Erin Stead's illustrations befit Michelle Cuevas' affecting, hauntingly beautiful text.  The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles is seriously a contender for best picture book published this year.


vincent's starry night and other stories

Vincent’s Starry Night and Other Stories is a unique take on art history for children.  Significant works of art and movements in art history are enveloped in narrative, which bring to life the context, environment, feel, sights, smells, thought life and dialogue between the artist and his world.  Children's senses and imaginations are engaged as the stories help them relate to the artists and their work.  It's well known that stories bring us closer to what we're learning, and that's part of what makes this such an exceptional book.  Spanning 40,000 years of art history, Vincent’s Starry Night and Other Stories features 68 stories, reproductions of notable artwork, a timeline of historical events and features about the cities and places where artists worked.

“I wanted to capture something of the moment of making, the mix of personalities, ideas, materials, ambitions and even crazy accidents that results in art.  The stories are all based on historical facts – which of course can be thin on the ground as we go back in time – but I’d like to think they also work as stories in their own right.”  — From an interview with author Michael Bird.

The book is recommended for ages 9 and up, but probably best presented as a read-aloud or read together with an adult who will be able to provide explanation and insight into the terminology, rare words and abstract concepts presented in the book.  Vincent’s Starry Night and Other Stories would serve as an engaging introduction and foundation for further studies in art history.  It was authored by art historian Michael Bird and illustrated by Kate Evans.  Release date is August 23 from Laurence King Publishing.

Laurence King Publishing is giving away a copy of Vincent’s Starry Night and Other Stories.  Head over to @averyandaugustine on Instagram to enter.  The giveaway ends on Thursday, August 25, 11:00 PM PDT. 

Images used with permission of Laurence King Publishing.




cloud breakfast bowls

Breakfast really is “the best part of waking up.” 😉  Head over to Honest To Nod to read my breakfast post and check out this adorable new cloud pouf while you’re there.  The Land of Nod is giving away one of these cloud poufs to a lucky reader.  The details on how to enter the giveaway on are on @averyandaugustine on Instagram.


five questions with mac barnett

The inimitable Mac Barnett stopped by to answer five questions for us this week.  Pictured is his first book that started it all, Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem: “the story of a boy and the pet whale that ruins his life.”  If you haven’t read it yet, run out and find a copy right now.  We have yet to send out our request for our own blue whale.

Can you tell us about your educational background and how you became a writer?

I wanted to be a writer when I was a kid. In college, I figured out what kind of writer I wanted to be. On my summers off, I was a camp counselor, and it was there that I “wrote” my first stories for children—composed on the spot, for four year olds, usually in hot weather. Tough crowd. 


Were you creative as a kid and what were some of your favorite books growing up?

I went to school far from my house, so I didn’t have many friends in the neighborhood. And it was just me and my mom at home, which meant she was a very busy woman. So I spent a lot of time in my room, either reading books or making up stories. I loved Arnold Lobel, James Marshall, Margaret Wise Brown, Ellen Raskin, Beverly Cleary, Roald Dahl. Still do.


What were some of the more memorable jobs that you’ve had in the past?

I ran a nonprofit called 826LA, a writing center fronted by a convenience store for time travelers. We sell time travel supplies, and all proceeds fund our educational programming, which is free for kids. Since time travel supplies don’t exist, we had to create most of them—writing copy, designing labels, and assembling them in house. 


What's a typical day like for you?  Does it involve man-eating bathtubs or enormous blue whales?

Most of being a writer is sitting around the house, not writing. I read, I snack, and once a day I leave the house to let my dog run around a forest just up the hill.


What do you like—or love—about where you live?

I live in Berkeley, California. I grew up in the East Bay, and I feel very much like a Californian, although I have no idea what I mean by that. 


Thanks, Mac, for stopping by to chat with us.  Read about Mac's new trilogy with Jon Klassen due out in 2017 from Candlewick Press and be sure to visit his site to keep up on his latest news and upcoming books.