BMP Guest Post: Fall Sneak Peeks!

Hello ManaFriends!

We’re back from blue manatee press! If you’re new here, welcome!

blue manatee press is an independent children’s publishing imprint affiliated with (but distinct from) blue manatee children’s bookstore. This week, we wanted to give the readers of the blue manatee book blog a sneak peek at some lovely new children’s books that we’ll be releasing this fall, on September 6th. These books will take you everywhere from your own living room to the far reaches of outer space, with plenty of room in between for imagination and play!


Read on to find out more about the books (and possibly win some free copies—FREE BOOKS!). We’re really excited about this list, and hope you will be, too!

Board Books

HH cover

Hungry Henry, by Marla Osborn

Trust us when we say that this is not your average concept book! Follow Henry as he dreams of meeting animals made out of food—first a blueberry sheep, then a graham cracker moose, and more! While Henry is hand-drawn, the animals are all magnificently created out of real food that has been arranged and photographed in delicious detail. This book arrives just in time for back to school, offering creative snack and lunch ideas that will leave your kids begging for more!

See a full preview of Hungry Henry on our Pinterest page here. You can also enter to win a free advance copy on Goodreads.

IWTBAD cover

I Want to Be a Drummer! by Mark Powers,
illustrated by Maria Montag

Encourage and inspire your child’s musical side with this groovy board book. Daniel wants to be a drummer, but he doesn’t have any drums of his own, so he improvises using items he finds around the house. Full of fun onomatopoeia (aka, sound words) that make this book perfect for reading aloud, the story also promotes problem-solving and imaginative play.

Oh, and did we mention that Todd Sucherman (the drummer for Styx) loves this book?

How cool is that?!

If we’ve sufficiently piqued your interest, enter to win an advance copy of I Want to Be a Drummer! on Goodreads!

WWAQ cover

When We Are Quiet by Stacy Sims,
illustrated by Sharareh Khosravani

In our ever more fast-paced, plugged-in world, does anyone remember what it’s like to not feel busy? Rooted in the City Silence Project (founded by Sims) and its mission of slowing down the world, turning off our digital devices, and turning on our capacity for stillness, wonder, and creativity, this board book is an introduction to mindfulness for your youngest readers. Unwind before bed by sitting quietly together and listening, and see what sounds you can discover in the silence!

Lean more about the wonderful things the City Silence Project is doing here. And if you have a Goodreads account, why not enter to win a free copy of the book here?

Words For Me!

Words For Me! by Sarah Jones

We call this gem “an old-school word book for the modern baby.” The latest addition to Jones’s ROYGBaby series, this board book helps little ones recognize and name the objects in their world, from food to family to vehicles and more. But much like her other books, Jones puts her own spin on the text by including words that you might not see in a traditional word book. In addition to learning cat and ball, for example, readers will also encounter beet, harmonica, and oven mitt. It’s a must-have bookshelf staple for beginning libraries!

If this all sounds good to you, enter to win a free copy of Words For Me! on Goodreads!

Picture Books

Sleepy Solar System cover

Sleepy Solar System by Dr. John Hutton, illustrated by Doug Cenko

Aspiring astronauts and space explorers, prepare to see the planets like you’ve never seen them before: getting ready for bed! Young readers will be amused and delighted to recognize parts of their own nighttime routines in those of the planets, as they read stories, put on pajamas, wash dusty heads, and ask for one more hug and kiss. For bonus reading, check out the distance chart and list of fun facts at the end to really send your imagination soaring!

See a full preview of Sleepy Solar System on our Pinterest page. And of course you could win a free copy in this Goodreads Giveaway!

ADHMe cover

ADH-Me! by Dr. John Hutton, illustrated by Lisa M. Griffin

You read that right; Dr. John has TWO picture books releasing this fall! But this book has a more specific audience in mind: children who have been diagnosed with ADHD. With over 10 percent of U.S. children diagnosed each year (most before age 6), this book is an excellent resource for children just beginning the journey to successfully managing ADHD. Both empowering and empathetic, ADH-Me! includes additional resources to help educate families and give children the tools to succeed.

The giveaway for ADH-Me! has unfortunately ended. However, if you’re anxious to see the book before September 6th, stop by blue manatee children’s bookstore and check out their fall preview display!


That’s all we’ve got for today! We hope you enjoyed this preview and found a few books to add to your library. We can’t wait for the official release of the books on September 6th—just a couple weeks away!

Until next time!


Back to School (Plus a Printable!)

Sorry for the long absence there, ManaFriends! Things have been busy at the store lately, especially with the release of the new Harry Potter book. But we’re hoping to get back on track here. We can’t believe it’s already August!

Parents, you know what that means: it’s time to start thinking about the start of a new school year. The thought is both exciting and anxiety-producing, particularly after such a long break. A lot of schools require summer reading for this reason, to prevent the “summer slide” during almost three months of vacation. But for many schools, while summer reading is encouraged, it is not required (and regardless, getting your kids to read during summer vacation can sometimes feel like pulling teeth).

However, it is so important to keep kids reading during summer vacation, in whatever way you can. And even if you have been taking a break, it’s not too late to ease back into the reading routine before the start of school! Just for you, we have a list of some fantastic early reader books for back-to-school, plus a printable reading scavenger hunt. The scavenger hunt is designed for early readers (around first and second grade), but it can easily be adapted to fit a more advanced reader.

Round up your little readers and send them on a book-themed scavenger hunt, just in time for a new school year! Click the book covers below for more information.



Download the printable scavenger hunt here



Early Reader Books for Back-to-School

Greetings From Somewhere

Greetings From Somewhere series by Harper Paris

Go around the world in 10 books with this early reader mystery series, which combines geography with critical thinking and problem solving. Twins Ethan and Ella get to visit all kinds of different places with their travel-writer mother and professor father, but in each new city they also find themselves caught up in a new mystery. From Venice, Italy to Mumbai, India, Ethan and Ella are always finding new adventures in interesting places!


Nikki and Deja series by Karen English

Written by an award-winning author, this series follows two best friends as they navigate all the problems that elementary school can throw at them. From mean girls to substitute teachers to conflicts between friends, Nikki and Deja are learning a lot about life, but at least they have each other!

notebook of doom

The Notebook of Doom series by Troy Cummings

When Alexander Bopp moves to Stermont, weird things start to happen. First he finds a notebook full of monster drawings; then he starts seeing monsters all around town! Can Alexander stop them before they take over? Designed to help boost reading confidence, this is a perfect series for reluctant or struggling readers.

Anna Hibiscus

Anna Hibiscus series by Atinuke, illustrated by Lauren Tobia

Explore amazing Africa with Anna Hibiscus, who lives there with her parents (her father is African and her mother is Canadian) and her twin brothers, Double and Trouble. She also lives with her grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, so there are always lots of people around to play with!


Captain Awesome series by Stan Kirby, illustrated by
George O’Connor

If your kids prefer books with lots of pictures, the Captain Awesome series is a great pick. Imaginative second grader Eugene McGillicudy loves comic books and superheroes so much that he invents his very own superhero alter ego named Captain Awesome. And while Captain Awesome protects his town from all kinds of “bad guys,” he also has to navigate starting a new school, making friends, and more. Luckily, Captain Awesome can do anything!

Alvin Ho

Alvin Ho series by Lenore Look

This comical series about a second-grade boy with a laundry list of phobias has been compared to Diary of a Wimpy Kid, but for a younger audience. Worry-prone kids can find a kindred spirit in Alvin as he faces new fears with help from his family and friends.

Battle Bugs banner

Battle Bugs series by Jack Patton

This is one of our favorites—and for good reason! Boys and girls interested in anything that buzzes, crawls, or flies will adore this action-packed series. The main character, Max, finds a magic bug encyclopedia that shrinks him to insect-size and transports him to Bug Island, where he must help the bugs defend their home against the Reptilian Empire. Interested? Check out our previous blog post about Battle Bugs to learn more!


Ranger in Time series by Kate Messner

We’ll be honest: this series had us at “time-traveling golden retriever.” Ranger’s a search-and-rescue dog in training, but his impulsive spirit prevents him from passing the test. Luckily, Ranger finds that he can put his skills to good use helping people from all throughout history!

What are some of your favorite early reader series? Tell us in the comments below!

Monday Motivation (from Picture Books)

Happy Monday everyone! It’s the start of another week, which can be exciting for some and stressful for others. We’re hoping that most of you are looking forward to the week, but if you’re not, you might find this post helpful.

This week’s blog post was inspired by, of all things, a Twitter hashtag. If you’re a frequent Twitter user, you might know what we’re talking about. Every Monday we see #mondaymotivation in our trending topics, as people post inspiring quotes, photos, and other graphics to help one another start the week off on a positive note. We occasionally participate, sending out our own #mondaymotivation tweets consisting mainly of quotes we find in children’s books.


Children’s books, especially picture books, contain a surprising amount of wisdom between their front and back covers. Often they manage to convey timeless life lessons in, amazingly, a mere sentence or two. As adults, we marvel at these bits of wisdom, which often get lost in the chaos of life in general. And they’re not just found in the “classics,” the books we remember from our youth; newer releases have just as much advice to offer.

We present to you now some of our favorite #mondaymotivation quotes from children’s books, in the hopes that they will help you start your week off on a high note!

Henkes LPPP

“Today was a difficult day. Tomorrow will be better.” – Kevin Henkes, Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse

Lilly gracefully reminds us of this simplest of life truths: no matter how bad a day you’ve had, tomorrow is a brand new one, with new surprises and chances to start fresh.

Beaty RRE

“Life might have its failures, but this was not it. The only true failure can come if you quit.” – Andrea Beaty, Rosie Revere, Engineer

No one likes to fail, especially at something that they’ve worked really hard for! But if you can learn something from your failures and try again, as Rosie does, then you haven’t really failed, have you?

Yoon P&P

“When you give love, it grows.” – Salina Yoon, Penguin and Pinecone: A Friendship Story

Love is a powerful thing, and unique in that when you show love to someone (or something, as Penguin does to his pinecone), it will grow into something beyond what you could have imagined.

Woodson EK

“This is what kindness does. Each little thing we do goes out, like a ripple, into the world.” – Jacqueline Woodson, Each Kindness

Woodson’s book about one girl’s lost chance at showing kindness to a classmate conveys an important truth: seize these moments while you can—because, as Woodson points out, even the smallest act of kindness can have a huge impact.

Masks Silverstein“She had blue skin, and so did he. He kept it hid and so did she. They searched for blue their whole life through, then passed right by—and never knew.” – Shel Silverstein, “Masks” (from Every Thing On It)

Silverstein is a master at crafting poems that are at turns silly and at others deeply profound—like this poem, a reminder of not to be ashamed of who we are. If you hide who you are, you might miss someone who is looking to be friends with someone just like you.

Litwin Pete the Cat

“I guess it simply goes to show that stuff will come and stuff will go. But do we cry? Goodness, no! We keep on singing.” – Eric Litwin, Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons

Isn’t Pete the Cat great? He’s always got such a positive attitude. He knows that there are good things and bad things in life, but we don’t have to let the bad stuff get us down. And if you’re having a bad day, wait it out—a good day might be right around the corner!

Beaumont ILM

“No matter if they stop and stare, no person ever anywhere can make me feel that what they see is all there really is to me.” – Karen Beaumont, I Like Myself!

Be true to yourself! Don’t let other people make you feel like you should be, look, or act a certain way. There is so much more to you than what people see on the surface.

Saltzberg Beautiful Oops (1)

“When you think you have made a mistake, think of it as an opportunity to make something beautiful.” – Barney Saltzberg, Beautiful Oops

We all make mistakes, it’s true. But when it’s you that’s made the mistake, it can make you feel like the smallest person in the world. What we fail to remember is that mistakes can also be viewed as opportunities to turn an unexpected situation into a great one. It’s all about attitude!

Muth Zen Shorts

“Maybe good luck and bad luck are all mixed up. You never know what will happen next.” – Jon J Muth, Zen Shorts

Muth’s Caldecott Award-winning picture book is chock full of wisdom for readers of all ages, including this gentle reminder that what appears to be bad luck might turn out to be the best thing for you.

Cannon Stellaluna

“‘How can we be so different and feel so much alike?’ mused Flitter. ‘And how can we feel so different and be so much alike?’ wondered Pip. ‘I think this is quite a mystery,’ Flap chirped. ‘I agree,’ said Stellaluna. ‘But we’re friends. And that’s a fact.'” – Janell Cannon, Stellaluna

It is a mystery, what makes people the same in spite of our differences (and vice versa). You’re going to meet a lot of people throughout your life, and most of them will be different from you. But true friendship thrives in spite of differences, if you’re open to it.

What are some of your favorite lessons from children’s books? Tell us in the comments below!

Shark Week

Happy Monday everyone—and happy Shark Week!


We love Shark Week at blue manatee (even though we realize that manatees and sharks don’t always get along). It’s an opportunity to learn more about these sea creatures, which might seem scary at first—but are actually pretty interesting. Shark Week began Sunday, June 26th and lasts until Saturday, July 2nd, and there are all kinds of fun shark-themed activities you can do with your kids this week to celebrate.

Or, you can do what we’re doing and read about sharks!

There are lots of kids’ books, both fiction and nonfiction, about sharks. Some are funny, some are informative, and some are both. We’ve assembled a few of our favorites into the list below! (Click the cover images for more information.)

Little SharkLittle Shark Finger Puppet Book (from Chronicle Books)
Introduce your toddler to this friendly finger-puppet shark, in a sweet little board book that kids will beg to read again and again!

Six Senses

Sharks Have Six Senses by John F. Waters & Bob Barner
Sharks have the same five senses that humans do… plus one extra. What is this sixth sense, and how does it help them survive?

Clark Shark

Clark the Shark by Bruce Hale & Guy Francis
Clark the shark loves life! But he can sometimes be too rowdy. This is a great book for kids who need a little extra help knowing when it’s okay to be loud and when it’s time to quiet down.

Shark inthe Park

Shark in the Park by Phil Roxbee Cox & Stephen Cartwright
Part of the Usborne Phonics series, Shark in the Park is perfect for beginning readers. Read it aloud or let them tackle the text on their own!

great white shark scientist

The Great White Shark Scientist by Sy Montgomery & Keith Ellenbogen
Want to get up close and personal to a great white shark? Follow biologist Dr. Greg Skomal on a thrilling journey into the world of these predators; the stunning photographs will wow readers young and old!


Shark Girl & Belly Button by Casey Riordan Millard
Shark Girl and Belly Button are best friends, and this book contains five short stories about their experiences together. From writing proper thank-you notes to dealing with not-so-nice girls on the playground, Shark Girl and Belly Button know they can face anything as long as they have each other!

fly guy sharks

Fly Guy Presents: Sharks by Tedd Arnold
Learn about sharks with the help of everyone’s favorite Fly Guy!

I'm A Shark

I’m a Shark by Bob Shea
Shark’s not afraid of anything. The dark? Nah. A big mean bear? Don’t make him laugh! But there is one thing that even Shark fears… Can you guess what it is?

3 little fish

The Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark by Ken Geist & Julia Gorton

This retelling of “The Three Little Pigs” features three little fish and, you guessed it: a shark. Mama tells her three little fish it’s time to build their own houses, but can they keep out the big, bad shark?

Pocket Genius

DK Pocket Genius: Sharks (from DK)
Carry your knowledge of sharks with you everywhere with this pocket-sized book. Perfect for when you want to whip out the facts on a shark’s life cycle or hunting habits at a moment’s notice!

What are some of your favorite books about sharks? Tell us in the comments below!

Our Favorite New Picture Books, Vol. III

Fav Picture Books III

Welcome back to the blue manatee book blog! As you know, every few months we like to dedicate a blog post to some of our favorite new picture book releases. There are so many picture books published each month, and it can be tough to know which titles are the real standouts. Luckily for you, that’s our job as booksellers: to keep up so you don’t have to!

This week we’ve got a pretty long and diverse list—everything from a dog who needs glasses to a mud fairy, from a couple of kids exploring the wilderness to a girl who likes to view the world in shapes. If you’re aching for some fresh read-aloud material, try any or all of the books listed below! (Click the book covers for more information.)

Our Favorite New Picture Books

DouglasDouglas, You Need Glasses! by Ged Adamson
Humorous illustrations add extra entertainment to this story of a nearsighted dog who does not want glasses. Kids will laugh at Douglas’s antics, but empathize with his apprehension.

Good Night, Baddies by Deborah Underwood Baddies& Juli Kangas
Have you ever wondered what all of the classic storybook villains do when they go home for the day? Turns out, they’re not so scary when they’re taking bubble baths, reading stories, and checking  fearfully for princesses under each others’ beds!

City ShapesCity Shapes by Diana Murray & Bryan Collier
Who knew how many different shapes can be found on a simple walk around your city? From skyscrapers to kites to stars in the sky, this book will have readers viewing their own cities (or towns, or suburbs) in a whole new shape-filled way.

Excellent Ed

Excellent Ed by Stacy McAnulty & Julia Sarcone-Roach
It seems like everyone in the Ellis family is excellent at something—except Ed, the dog. Every time he thinks he’s found his talent, someone else in the family outdoes him! Will Ed ever find a way to be truly excellent on his own?

Finding WildFinding Wild by Megan Wagner Lloyd & Abigail Halpin
“What is wild? And where can you find it?” Beautiful illustrations compliment a narrative about discovering the surprising beauty of nature, in all its wildness, everywhere you go.

Chicken Lily

Chicken Lily by Lori Mortensen & Nina Victor Crittenden
Lily is a chicken. Yes, the animal, but she’s also afraid of everything. So when she has to read a poem in front of her entire school, Lily wonders how she can overcome her fear.

Wolf CampWolf Camp by Andrea Zuill
Homer is a dog, but he wants to be a wolf. A REAL wolf. So when Homer is invited to Wolf Camp, he jumps at the chance to go—only to find out that being a wolf (a REAL wolf) is a lot harder than it seems!

Poor Little Guy

Poor Little Guy by Elanna Allen
Fans of Jon Klassen’s hat books will certainly enjoy this book about a little pufferfish who is bullied by a big octopus. Unfortunately, the octopus forgets what pufferfish are known for!

FloraFlora and the Peacocks by Molly Idle
Idle’s third book involving the dancing Flora is just as charming and fun as the first two. Bonus points for having gorgeous illustrations, no words, AND lift-the-flaps!


One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree by Daniel Bernstrom & Brendan Wenzel
One day in the shade of the eucalyptus trees, a merry little boy is snatched up by a snake. Undaunted, the boy devises a clever plan to free himself from the snake’s deep, dark belly, involving animals of ever-increasing size. A bouncing narrative, a colorful cast of characters by Wenzel, and a jaunty young hero complete this wonderful book.

BloomBloom by Doreen Cronin & David Small
Fairy-tale fans will enjoy this story about a mud fairy named Bloom, who is banished from her shiny glass kingdom for leaving trails of mud and dirt wherever she goes. But when the kingdom falls into disrepair, Bloom’s earthy magic might be the only thing that can save it!

Ten Hungry Pigs by Derek AndersonTen Hungry Pigs
A follow-up to the clever bathtime book Ten Pigs, Anderson’s latest proves that there is such a thing as too many cooks in the kitchen. Adults as well as kids will enjoy the clever ending!

RaybotRaybot by Adam F. Watkins
Raybot is a robot, searching for his best friend. He doesn’t know what this friend looks like—only that it says “bark.” Along the way, he meets a variety of other animals, whose fun animal sounds will certainly appeal to young readers.