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Janet Lawler

Award-winning author Janet Lawler writes fiction and nonfiction for children.

She loves how words make music, and she appreciates the wonderful way illustrators create new directions and added depth for her stories. Her books have appeared in the Scholastic Book Clubs and the Children’s Book of the Month Club. Translations of her work include editions in Spanish, Japanese, Hebrew, Korean, Arabic, French, Italian, and Indonesian. Janet’s published fiction picture books include Kindergarten Hat (Little Bee; illustrated by Bright Agency artist Geraldine Rodriguez), Good Night, Little Engine (Grosset & Dunlap), Fright School (Albert Whitman), Mirabel’s Missing Valentine’s (Sterling), and Winter Cats (Albert Whitman). Janet shares a deep love of the natural world in her nonfiction books that include National Geographic’s Rainforest Colors and Ocean Counting (named an Outstanding Science Trade Book by the National Science Teachers’ Association), Leaves and Shells (Jumping Jack Press pop-ups), and WALRUS SONG (Candlewick).

Janet Lawler is represented by Anne Moore Armstrong — to work with Janet please email Anne


First-day jitters are conquered with gentleness, empathy, and a kind smile in this sweet back-to-school tale.

Carlos is anxious about the start of kindergarten, unsure of what to expect and full of what-ifs. Then his new teacher, Mrs. Bashay, sends a welcome letter with two important instructions: send “a photo of you doing something you love,” and bring a flower to add to her big flowered hat on the first day of school. After much deliberation, Carlos decides to share a photo of himself and his beloved garden. The same garden is the source of a big bright daisy to add to Mrs. Bashay’s hat on the first day of school. But then, disaster! En route to school the happy little daisy is accidentally dismantled, along with Carlos’ verve. What can Carlos contribute now? Fortunately, Mrs. Bashay is as warm and welcoming in person as she was in her letter, and with a little bit of flexibility, all is well. With a Latinx protagonist and a diverse cast of classmates, this book offers plenty of mirrors for new kindergarten students. Carlos presents as male, and it is refreshing to see a boy character depicted with such emotional complexity and tenderness. The story is brief, but there is much to love here, with its reassuring message that will encourage both enthusiastic and worried first-time students.

A practically perfect first-experience story, especially for anxious hearts and gentle spirits.

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