Monday, February 23, 2015

Julie Paschkis' Unconventional Guide to Throwing the Best Pysansky Party

Author illustrator Julie Paschkis created a simple (and colorful) guide to hosting your very own pysanky party, just in time for Easter!  Read the book P.Zonka Lays an Egg, host an Egg Decorating Party, and make the most beautifully authentic decorated eggs.  Are you the P.Zonka in your group of friends? Or, are you more of a Gloria?   

Julie  Paschkis' Unconventional Guide to Throwing the Best Pysansky Party

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

New Book Wednesday: P. ZONKA LAYS AN EGG by Julie Paschkis

Welcome to the very first New Book Wednesday!
Stop by every Wednesday to get the scoop on our Spring 2015 titles.

This Wednesday we're talking about P. Zonka Lays an Egg, written and illustrated by Julie Paschkis.

P. Zonka and her daydreaming ways are getting a lot of attention. If P. wasn't such a head-in-the-clouds type of gal, I'd be worried the fanfare might make her a little vain. (Read the STARRED reviews here: PW, Kirkus, SLJ)

P. Zonka Lays an Egg is a bright, beautiful celebration of individuality and imagination. But the coolest thing about the book is what inspired it.

Have you ever heard of pysanky?

In short, pysanky is an egg decoration technique, stemming from ancient Ukrainian tradition, closely associated with Easter.
The sun was the ancient Ukrainians’ supreme god, but the only creatures able to approach the life-giving star were birds. Hoping the winged creatures could fly high enough to intercede for humanity, Ukrainians inscribed wishes and requests to the heavens on birds’ eggs.

These richly decorated eggs are called pysanky.

The pysanky were made as gifts for honored family and friends—talismans meant to bring happiness, fertility, and protection. Each of the elements and colors carried symbolic meaning.

☼ The sun represented happiness, growth, and good fortune.
{Flowers signified love, charity, and good will.
h Waves, ribbons, and belts meant eternity.
 Birds, hens, and roosters symbolized fulfillment of wishes and fertility.

Red was the color of love and joy, while pink meant success.
Yellow represented resurrection and spirituality.
Green was the sign of new life, of prosperity and wealth.
Blue encompassed courage, strength, stability, loyalty, and health.

So, what do pysanky have to do with P. Zonka?

Every year, Julie Paschkis’ sister, Jan, and brother-in-law, Greg, throw a big neighborhood party where friends and family make pysanky and eat traditional Ukrainian food to celebrate spring and the Easter season. 

P. Zonka Lays an Egg came out of this experience. (Get it? Pysanka...P. Zonka?)

Want to know more about pysanky, Julie Paschkis, or how to throw your very own pysanky party? Stay tuned!


Friday, February 6, 2015

#FreeBookFriday: P. ZONKA LAYS AN EGG by Julie Paschkis

We took January off from #FreeBookFriday to give ourselves the chance to stop and smell the roses. Then we remembered—just in time for February—that there aren't too many roses around in winter.

This got us thinking about all of the things we're looking forward to about the warmer months ahead: Hiking (without the parka!), going to Braves games, picking strawberries, and spending rainy days curled up with a good book.

Everything about spring feels new and fresh and hopeful, doesn't it?

The world emerges, full of color, from the dreary, monochromatic winter, and we can't help but wonder at the beauty around us. That feeling is exactly what P. ZONKA LAYS AN EGG, today's #FreeBookFriday, is all about. We could tell you more...or we could let the [STARRED!] reviews speak for themselves. Enter to win your copy below!

★ ★ 

"A tale of the dividends of daydreaming, beautifully enhanced by colors and designs that shout 'Spring!' to a winter-weary world."

“A lyrical and lushly illustrated allegory about creativity and taking time to notice beauty.” 
Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Vibrant watercolor illustrations … burst from the pages to draw viewers in to share P. Zonka’s delight with the colors and patterns of her world.” 
School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

New Year, New List

Guys! It's 2015!

A New Year always brings two things: well-intentioned [but doomed] resolutions and fantastic new children's books.

We’re thrilled to announce our Spring 2015 list, which is filled with award-winning talent, mischievous cow-folk, daydreaming chickens, and migrating toads!

NEW Picture Books:

Illustrated by Caldecott Honor Book winner Molly Idle, Rodeo Red is a rip-roaring story of sibling rivalry with a cheeky Western twist.

Julie Paschkis, inspired by traditional Ukrainian pysanky, weaves an original folk tale celebrating individuality and imagination in P. Zonka Lays an Egg.

Toad Weather’s lyrical text by Sandra Markle and stunning paintings by New York Times bestselling illustrator Thomas Gonzalez explore a remarkable natural occurrence that, when the weather is just right, happens each spring in rain-soaked Philadelphia.

In Kashmira Sheth’s Sona and the Wedding Game, a young Indian girl learns about her culture when she’s tasked with stealing the groom’s shoes at her sister’s wedding.

NEW Middle Grade:

Each quirky poem in Random Body Parts poses a puzzle in verse (with a sly nod to Shakespeare) and provides hints for uncovering the answers—all of which are biological.

NEW additions to your favorite series:

Love Stanley? William Bee’s hat-wearing hamster is back! Stanley the Farmer invites young children to the farm where they’ll explore processes, colors, and machines in a sweet, simple world.

Spectacular Spots, the charming companion to Stripes of All Types, features bright, beautifully detailed paintings of spotted creatures and their habitats.

A complex narrative of endings and forgiveness, Some Kind of Magic marks the finale of Adrian Fogelin’s award-winning Neighborhood novels.

Check out our full Spring 2015 catalog here, and stay tuned for giveaways, interviews, and more! 

Spring is going to be good, guys. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Some Free Resources Out There...

Beneath the Sun  (library) was just named "Highly Commended" by the 2015 Zolotow Award committee, administered by the Cooperative Children's Book Center, recognized for "outstanding writing in a picture book for young children."  

But what are some ways to use a title like this in the library, classroom, or home?

In addition to your favorite bloggers (like Two Writing Teachers, who include Beneath the Sun in their 10 Math and Science Topic Choice Mentors for read alouds and writing prompts) and Pinterest searches, the Peachtree website and blog shares some great resources, too.

We've shared a Teacher Guide for Beneath the Sun as well as Melissa Stewart's other titles When Rain Falls  and Under the Snow. (Check out all of our Teacher Guides here.)  If you really want the book to come alive, consider doing a Readers Theater, script available here.

Stewart also shares a wealth of fabulous activities on her Science Clubhouse Website for teachers, librarians, booksellers, and homeschoolers, including a Teacher Guide and Mini Video Lesson. Speaking of your favorite bloggers, check out Stewart's Celebrate Science Blog for innovative resources for teaching science and tips for writing nonfiction. She's on Pinterest, too, and shares plenty of teaching ideas and resources for using the title in the classroom.

What are you favorite bloggers and resources?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Spring 2015 Preview of Titles

President & Publisher, Margaret Quinlin, hosted a little Afternoon Tea/ Preview at to share our exciting Spring 2015 Frontlist.  Original artwork was on display, our editors spoke about select titles in a Round Robin format, and special guest illustrator Thomas Gonzalez shared his storyboarding process for future release Toad Weather with guests.

For those of you who could not make the trip to Atlanta and who won't be making the trip to Chicago for ALA Midwinter, check out all the highlights from Peachtree Friend, Elizabeth O. Dulemba!

Monday, December 15, 2014

DIY: Cardboard Car

With the holidays fast approaching, you're bound to have two things in abundance: empty boxes and rambunctious kids.

Put them both to use by making cardboard cars to take into Stanley's Garage!


-   1 large box
-   Colored duct tape and/or hot glue
-   Construction paper and/or paint
-   4 Paper plates
-   2 Solo cups
-   Wide colored ribbon


  1. First, cut off the bottom and top flaps of the box so that it fits over your child's head. 
  2. Glue or tape two paper plates on either side of the box to make wheels. 
  3. Glue or tape your two Solo cups on the front of your box to make headlights.
  4. Finally, cut two strips of ribbon and attach them to the front and back of the box to make straps. Measure them so that the box hangs from your child's shoulders.
  5. Give that car a custom paint job! You can finger-paint it, glue on construction paper patterns, or even make designs from your colored tape. Be creative! 

Beep! Beep! You're ready for the open road!

Friday, December 5, 2014

#FreeBookFriday: CLAUDE ON THE SLOPES by Alex T. Smith

What is it about December that makes it feel so magical?

Is it having a snowball fight?

Is it skiing gracefully as snow falls?

Is it entering snowman-building competitions?

Look! Claude thinks he knows. Yes, Claude?

Oh! Of course! 
The magic is in spending time with the people (and socks) you love.

We hope you'll spend this December sharing Claude & Sir. B's wintry adventure with the little people close to your heart. To help you do just that, Claude on the Slopes is the December #FreeBookFriday! Enter below!

Claude and his best friend Sir Bobblysock go to the Snowy Mountains to swish down the powdery slopes. They throw snowballs, learn to ski, and enter a snow-sculpture contest. But when an avalanche threatens their winter wonderland, Claude must come to the rescue.own the powdery slopes. They throw snowballs, learn to ski, and enter a snow-sculpture contest. But when an avalanche threatens their winter wonderland, Claude must come to the rescue.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Story Time Snack: A Recipe for GOLD!

You've heard the expression, "put your money where your mouth is." But what if we literally did that?

Check it out:


Looks a little like this

Right?!  And who doesn't love caramel popcorn?

Here’s a recipe for edible gold to snack on while reading about the Alaskan Gold Rush in Alison Hart’s Murphy, Gold Rush Dog

  •       1 cup butter
  •       2 cups brown sugar
  •       ½ cup corn syrup
  •       1 teaspoon salt
  •       ½ teaspoon baking soda
  •       1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •       5 quarts popped popcorn (microwave or stove-top is fine!)


1.  Preheat oven to 250°F

2.  Put popped popcorn in a large bowl.

3.  In medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.

4.  Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt.

5.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Then, boil without stirring for 4 minutes.

6.  Remove from heat and stir in baking soda and vanilla.

7.  Pour in a thin stream over popcorn, stirring to coat.

8.  Place in two large shallow baking dishes and bake in a preheated oven, stirring every 15 minutes, for 1 hour.

9.  Remove from oven and let cool completely. 

Just try to only eat a serving size. I double-Murphy-Gold-Rush-Dog-dare you. 

Ha. See what I did there?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Spoiler Alert- John Sill Painted Your Favorite Polar Animal

Here's a sneak peek into the future: bundle up for Fall 2015 Polar Regions!

Husband wife team John and Cathryn Sill just stopped by our offices to share their latest work, inspired by their recent trip to Alaska, though you'll find Antarctic as well as Arctic here.  Maybe you envision stark white landscapes, sometimes dotted with black and white penguins and whales, but John painted with all of the colors in his palette.

I don't want to spoil the page turns of Fall 2015, but here are some snapshots of the lovingly rendered animals you've come to expect in the About Series.  They are neither stiff scientific illustrations nor the awkwardly anthropomorphic, but that successful place in between where anatomically correct animals still have soul and life.  John paints them perfectly into their polar environments, and that's what is so dazzling about this title.  Maybe it's because John shared his watercolor technique, but maybe it's because you didn't expect the sweeping landscapes of the polar extremes to be so colorful.

Top row: bikini ready Southern Elephant Seal, a southern region sky, baby Chinstrap Penguins (aww!)
Bottom row: Art Director Loraine Joyner likes the aurora australis, the whole book at once