Coming Soon: New Books are in the Works!

I’m excited to share the news about my next books as announced in Publishers Weekly!

WAKE UP, FREIGHT TRAIN: Little Simon / Summer 2021

ONE BLUE GNU: Amicus Ink / Spring 2022 (date changed since announced)

I look forward to sharing more news about these books with sneak peeks of the amazing art as soon as I’m able.

How Poetry Inspires my Picture Books: Author Interview at Cynsations

I had the pleasure of sitting down for an interview with Linda Joy Singleton, reporter for CYNSATIONS, where we chatted about how my love of poetry influences my picture books, the turning points of my writing career, and my out-of-the-box promotion adventures.

I attribute my love of rhyme to my maternal grandmother, who shared her poetry with me when I was a child and to an uncle who taught me to rhyme on the fly as we danced and clapped and giggled.

Click below to be directed to Cynsations Blog for the full interview.

Two Thumbs Up for Arctic White

Book reviews are a wonderful way to dip your toe into the waters and decide if you want to dive into a book. So as we make our way into winter, I thought I’d share a couple of the cool reviews Arctic White has gotten over the years.

Mason’s mommy sent this picture to me. It’s always so fun to see littles loving my books!


The day I purchased this book at the bookstore, I sat and read thirty or forty recently published picture books. I only bought one: Arctic White by Danna Smith (and three or four chapter books, and a couple of novels, and a board game, and…#bookstoreproblems).

Like several of the books I’ve recently reviewed, the text is spare. In this story however, the spare text helps to emphasize the seeming lack of depth in the Arctic tundra in winter, where “everything is a shade of white” and “winter days are dark as night.” Yet even with so few words, Danna Smith manages to imbue the text with subtle glances into deeper subjects, and reminds us that nature is never really lacking.

She neatly juxtaposes the warmth the little girl feels for her grandfather with the cold that “always finds a way to sneak inside your warmest parka.” She reminds us of the hope the little girl feels, on the longest journey where “even footprints are white in the Arctic” through her grandfather’s glowing lantern. Smith ties the wondrous beauty of nature and the Northern Lights back to the little girl’s love of her grandfather, as the Northern Lights not only remind her to welcome the dark but also help her see “the twinkle in his eye.” And since the little girl has an artist’s eye for color (the blue-white versus the yellow-white versus the silver-white), of course she remembers the beauty through art.

Several reviews of this book mention that there isn’t enough (or any) space given to setting or culture. While this is true, I don’t feel that the story really needs it. There is always pressure to put more into our stories, to make them more useful for school readings and to teach children about the world. But there is so much more to teaching children than teaching history and place. There is hope, patience, trust, family, wonder, nature, art…and these are the lessons that Danna Smith teaches beautifully.  Click here to read the full review at and check out other amazing book reviews on the blog.


Arctic White tells the tale of a little girl who hopes and waits for something more than white in all of the white of the Arctic, until the day her grandfather takes her on a journey to view the Northern Lights.

Here are two reasons why I love Arctic White

(1) It’s an ART book. The beautiful illustrations represent the little girl’s perspective, and I so appreciate White’s detail. The page on which one can see the grandfather’s face hairs is stunning.  But in addition to its illustrations, Arctic White is also a book about the human necessity to create, to remember, to express hope through art. Society has a tendency to overemphasize science and math, so a book like this is so important. Even though it is a children’s picture book, Arctic White can be used to introduce more complex YA books about art (see I’ll Give you the Sun and Fans of the Impossible Life (upcoming review).

(2) It’s a book about natural beauty just as much as it is about one’s inner beauty. Having spent time watching a livestream of the National Arboretum eaglets recently, I really appreciate the book’s commitment to the amazing beauty of our world.  There was something about watching those little eaglets in the nest that made me proud to be human, proud to be alive – and amazed by what happens in our world. And I think readers of Arctic White will empathize with the hope the little girl finds in the natural world and the way in which the Northern Lights reflect her inner beauty. Click here to read Katie’s full review and check out her teaching ideas to use with Arctic White.

Thank you to my readers for all the lovely reviews you’ve given Arctic White (and all m books) over the years. If you’ve read Arctic White, please leave a review at your favorite online books store. They help more than you know!

Arctic White
by Danna Smith
illustrated by Lee White
Henry Holt BFYR
Ages 4-8
ISBN 10: 1627791043
ISBN 13: 9781627791045




Babies Love Board Books! Swallow the Leader

We are happy to announce that SWALLOW THE LEADER is now in board book format! This is not a tiny board book but a 10 x 9 LAP Board Book that’s big enough for one-on-one fun or sharing with a group.  This edition is sure to elicit grabbing, chewing, giggling and hugging from the tiniest book lovers! Plus, look below for fun downloadable activity pages.

Follow the leader, do as I do . . . but watch out for the shark or he’ll swallow you! Count to 10 and back again in this humorous undersea counting book.

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Balloon Trees Has a Birthday!

Hip Hip Hooray! I can’t believe it’s been seven years since Balloon Trees was released. Since then, I’ve had loads of fun sharing the story of how a balloon is made, from it’s beginnings as gooey sap in a tree to its completion at a rubber factory with kids of all ages! Read on for teacher guides and fun balloon crafts to share with your curious little ones.

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