Picture books are magical, artful— and dreamful. Children’s literature is an essential piece of writing, and often a child’s first look into poetry and art. Picture books teach, inspire, and cause giggles. And giggles are necessary.

If you know me, you know I am in love with picture books.

My love affair began as a small child when my older sister took me to the library. I would read my checked-out books as fast as I could and beg her to take me back to the library. In college, my love reignited when I took a children’s literature class. And two years later, reading to my newborn, I was thrown back into the Kidlit world.

And, I always enjoyed reading to my children. I dream of the day I read to my grandchildren. Until that day—I lovingly read to my pups.

Summer picture books

I now read many picture books because I write kidlit stories of my own. I’m trying to get published. Reading keeps me inspired and teaches me to be a better writer. Writing picture books is an art.

Picture books are art.

I am reviewing some of my new favorites, for age 4 – 8 years, although I believe picture books entertain long after eight years of age. I hope you will be inspired to check these titles out at your library and/or purchase a few from Fabled Bookshop and Café. Buying books from our independent bookstores helps small businesses. The bookshop, author, and illustrator! Remember that the next time you are tempted to buy from a big box store or speedy online delivery source.

Get ready to laugh, cry, and dream!


Taste Your Words by Bonnie Clark and illustrated by Todd Bright, humorously teaches children about the power of words and the importance of kindness. This charming picture book cleverly shows why we must think before we speak. Having a bad day is no excuse for ruining someone else’s day, and kids will giggle through the lesson. This is a read-it-again book!


Piglette by debut author Katelyn Aronson and illustrated by and #1 New York Times bestselling Eva Byrne

One word to describe this book–Perfection! But I could come up with many more, like pink, precious, darling, dreamy, and Parisian! The illustrations should hang on a wall. They are simply yummy!

This is the perfect book to dream of someplace far away, like Paris. It is stocked-full of posies, piggies, pampering, and perfumeries. Piglette is a book of family and how sometimes we need to get away, but how we always come home because home is where the heart lives.


Dusk Explorers, written by Austin-author, Lindsay Leslie and illustrated by Ellen Rooney, is a beautifully illustrated and lyrically written book about summer and playing outside­­­­—at dusk! It’s about the magic found when you explore your backyard or neighborhood until Mom calls you inside. Dusk is the balance of day and night, dark and light, when the day slows, but your heart races while romping and seeking, scampering, and hunting imagination. And perhaps a lightning bug or two!

Will you be an explorer at dusk? Read this book, and dusk will beckon you outside to explore!


Hound Won’t Go, written by Lisa Rogers and illustrated by Meg Ishihara, is poetic and a pure delight. Joyful, funny, and stubborn—and that describes not only the book but also the hound. You will push and pull along as you read this delightful book over and over, again and again!


The Bear’s Garden, written by Marcie Colleen and illustrated by Allison Oliver, is a sweet story about a New York garden, a little girl with big dreams, and her stuffed bear. Inspired by a true story, a little girl with high hopes and imagination moves dirt to fulfill her dreams! You get the real sense for the need of more greenspace, no matter how small, in neighborhoods in NYC. This book uses lovely illustrations to pull you in and make you feel a part of the community and the garden.


This beautifully written and illustrated book will take you far away to the ocean, and to the wonders Down Under The Pier. Written by Nell Cross Beckerman and illustrated by Rachell Sumpter, this picture book is full of simple surprises and the enchantment waiting for you under a pier. And it will cause you to go under a pier the next time you see one. Magic happens. You will feel the spray of the ocean and smell the salt air—it’s that dreamy.


I have a deep love of turtles, but that’s not the only reason I love this sweet book from an Austin author. The Box Turtle, written and illustrated by Vanessa Roeder, is a delightful tale of feeling comfortable in your own shell (see what I did there), imperfection, and friendship. You need to read this darling story and delight in the illustrations to understand fully. You will cheer for Terrance, and your kids will want to read this story again and again!

I hope you will request these new books at your library. The Waco Public Library has curbside pickup! You simply request online, and when they email you, you call them and tell them you’re on your way—so easy! Also, the Hewitt Public Library reopens on June 15th! And don’t forget about Fabled Bookshop!

Enjoy some summer reading!

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Hi, I'm Dedra!! I am a late-in-life writer trying to fulfill a lifelong dream and emerge into the kidlit world. I am writing, editing, and querying while learning patience and failing forward. I hope to be a published children's book author with my picture books and YA novel. I graduated with a degree in Journalism from the UTA in 1988, but because of raising three beautiful children and life in general, I started writing professionally in 2014. My husband of 34 years and I raised our children in China Spring, right outside of Waco. Even though my children are all in their late twenties, all out of college, and all have careers (yay!!!), I am still a mother in their daily life—mothering, loving, worrying, and praying never stop—no matter how old they are. I am proud to be a late-in-life writer--journalist, freelancer, blogger, and magazine contributor. My work includes online and print magazines, including Modern Texas Living, Unread Magazine, Culture Trip, Everything Home Magazine, The Groove, The Outfitter, Victoria Lee Magazine, Holl and Lane Magazine, and Taylor Magazine. My (other) absolute favorite thing to write about is our ever-growing and evolving, small-urban town, Waco. I am thrilled to be part of Waco Moms and write about motherhood and Waco! I also write about life around me to enlighten, entertain, and make people think. If I make them smile, that's a bonus! You can read my blog at http://www.dedradaviswrites.com


  1. Thank you Dedra, for such a lovely review of Piglette, I’m Eva Byrne the illustrator,
    and it’s always such a thrill when people take the time to review a book, good luck with your childrens’ book journey, I didn’t start until I was in my mid 40’s, so you have lots of time xx Eva

  2. Thank you, Eva, for reading and for your comment. I fell in love with your illustrations in Piglette! They are so adorable. And you’ve given me hope—although I am 54! I’ve been failing forward on this journey for about a year and a half! I’m still going…

  3. Thank you so much, Dedra, for featuring HOUND WON’T GO! I hope your pup liked it! It’s great to have you be part of the kidlit world–you’re exemplifying this community’s generosity. I came late to it as well. What matters is the heart you put into your work, and it’s clear that you have that! Best wishes, Lisa

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