My Shop Small Adventure

One cool thing about being a a Penguin Kids author is that my fabulous editor Leila Sales (who is also a YA/MG author) sometimes reaches out to “her” authors to take part in events that involve the larger literary community. Last year, Leila encouraged us to support Banned Books Week, so I made this video. This year, Leila and Penguin Kids suggested we support #ShopSmall Saturday by visiting independent bookstores and tagging @penguinkids.

So this past Saturday, I took to the road with my trusty pair of assistants. Let me preface this by saying I’m very lucky that the Boston area has so many independent bookstores. We were able to shop small at NINE different indies between 9:30am and 4pm.

We traveled to (in chronological order)

  1. The Concord Bookshop
  2. Porter Square Books
  3. Harvard Book Store
  4. The Curious George Store
  5. Brookline Booksmith
  6. The Children’s Book Shop
  7. The Blue Bunny Books & Toys
  8. New England Mobile Book Fair
  9. Newtonville Books

You can see all my tweets from the day here.

Below is the path we took:
map36.4 miles. 16 books purchased. But by 4pm, my trusty assistants were too exhausted to continue and we didn’t get to all the stores we wanted.

At least now we’ll have a number to beat next year!

Two for You

(two books I recommend you read)

1. One Day, The End written by Rebecca Kai Dotlich and illustrated by Fred Koehler

one day the end

2. Water Is Water written by Miranda Paul and illustrated by Jason Chin

water is water

How can you help an author? I’m so glad you asked…

Several people have asked me how they can support Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast now that it’s out in the world, so I decided to share this info with everyone. If you have a few spare minutes to do any of the items below, that would be greatly appreciated and hugely beneficial.

*Please note that the following information applies to all authors and all books*

  1. Talk about the book with your indie booksellers. Next time you’re in your local indie, ask if they have the book. If they do, it’ll bring it to their attention. If they don’t, maybe they’ll order it or remember next time they’re ordering.
  2. Request that your library purchase a copy. Many libraries have online request systems. But asking your children’s librarian always works (it’s ok. they won’t bite – unless you run. then maybe they will).
  3. Rate and review the book on Amazon here. The more Amazon ratings a book has, the more it will get recommended to others. And if you have time to write a text review, it helps even more.
  4. Review the book on Goodreads here. Similar to Amazon, the more Goodreads reviews received, the more potential readers it will reach.
  5. Share the book with your friends. Whether in conversations with real friends or sharing online with e-friends, letting people know about the book is a great way to get it on their radar. Next time they’re in the market for a picture book, they’ll already have one in mind!


I wrote a more in depth post about ways to help authors here if you REALLY have lots of spare time. And THANK YOU for your help and support!


My Guest Post on MuggleNet [My Marriage with Harry Potter…]

I had the fortunate pleasure of writing a guest posting on, The #1 Harry Potter Site. I’m also giving away a signed copy of Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast at the end of the guest post. See the excerpt below:

My Marriage with Harry Potter… and Getting Pancakes Published

It’s not what you think. My wife’s name isn’t Harry Potter. Her name is Mrs. Funk. But Harrywas there when we fell in love. And Ron was there when I proposed. And Hermione was at our wedding.

Let me backup. I started reading Harry Potter in 2000 when Goblet of Fire came out. When I started dating the future Mrs. Funk in 2002, she hadn’t yet read Harry Potter, so we read them out loud to each other. I remember one particularly late night when we stayed up reading the last 120 pages of Prisoner of Azkaban until sunrise (because once you hit “Professor Trelawny’s Prediction,” there is absolutely no good stopping point)….

Click here to see the rest of the post on

How to Buy a Picture Book (without Buying a Picture Book)

My first book comes out on Tuesday. Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast. You’re probably tired of hearing about it by now, so lucky for you, I don’t plan on talking about it in this post.

Today it’s how to support picture book authors and illustrators.

One of the best things you can do is buy their book(s).

But what if you’re not in the market for picture books at this time in your life, so the idea of buying one doesn’t really interest you? Maybe it doesn’t fit your budget. Or maybe you have an irrational fear of cute animals and anthropomorphic breakfast foods.
Book Shelf with Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast

Here are ten ways to support picture book authors and illustrators:

  1. Give the book as a gift. You probably know someone who might like it. Give it to her/him. Or donate it to your library.
  2. Request that your local library purchase a copy. This can be done in person or often in an online form.
  3. Reserve and borrow it from the library. Increased circulation of books is noticed by librarians. They are smart people.
  4. Review the book. On goodreads. On Amazon. On Text reviews are even more valuable than just star-ratings.
  5. Talk about the book with librarians and booksellers. There are a lot of great books out there. Get this book on their radar.
  6. Talk about the book with friends. Or parents of your child’s friends. Or your child’s teacher. Or strangers on the street.
  7. Share the book on social media. Tweet about it. Blog about it. Post on Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, MySpace, etc. about it. Share the cover image. If you see it in the wild, snap a picture and share that. And tag the author or illustrator (or both). We love that!
  8. Share the author or illustrator’s posts on social media. Follow them on social media sites and share with your networks.
  9. Read the book in public. Like at the park. Or in a restaurant. Or the airport.
  10. Make your own fan book trailer. And post to YouTube. If that’s your thing.

Note: I’m not the first to write a post like this. Here are a few other posts which have similar and more detailed info. Please check them out:

Also Note: These ideas can apply to any type of book, not just picture books.

Thanks for reading. And thank you very much for supporting picture book authors and illustrators, however you choose to do so.

My Top Read-Aloud Picture Books of 2014

Hi, friends! In case you missed it (and if you did, see Colby Sharp’s post right here), the authors and illustrators of the 2015 E. B. White Read-Aloud Picture Book Award & Honor books are all dudes. I read some excellently awesome Read-Aloud Picture Books last year myself, and I’d like to add some of those to the mix (in no particular order):

Josh Funk’s Top Read-Aloud Picture Books of 2014

  • Backhoe Joe written by Lori Alexander & illustrated by Craig Cameron
  • Baking Day at Grandma’s written by Anika Denise & illustrated by Christopher Denise
  • Cock-a-Doodle Oops! written by Lori Degman & illustrated by Deborah Zemke
  • Crankenstein written by Samantha Berger & illustrated by Dan Santat
  • Duck, Duck, Moose written by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen & illustrated by Noah Z. Jones
  • Edgar’s Second Word written by Audrey Vernick & illustrated by Priscilla Burris
  • Found written & illustrated by Salina Yoon
  • Frances Dean Who Loved to Dance and Dance written & illustrated by Birgita Sif
  • Froodle written & illustrated by Antoinette Portis
  • Gaston by written by Kelly DiPucchio & illustrated by Christian Robinson
  • Happy Birthday, Madame Chapeau written by Andrea Beaty & illustrated by David Roberts
  • I Am Cow, Hear Me Moo written by Jill Esbaum & illustrated by Gus Gordon
  • The Jacket written by Kristen Hall & illustrated by Dasha Tolstikova
  • Louise Loves Art written & illustrated by Kelly Light
  • Maple written & illustrated by Lori Nichols
  • Nana in the City written & illustrated by Lauren Castillo
  • Ninja Red Riding Hood written by Corey Rosen Schwartz & illustrated by Dan Santat
  • One Big Pair of Underwear by Laura Gehl & illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
  • Orangutangled written by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen & illustrated by Aaron Zenz
  • A Piece of Cake written & illustrated by LeUyen Pham
  • Sparky written by Jenny Offil & illustrated by Chris Applehans
  • Tap Tap Boom Boom written by Elizabeth Bluemle & illustrated by G. Brian Karas
  • There Was a Wee Lassie Who Swallowed a Midgie written by Rebecca Colby & illustrated by Kate McLelland
  • This Orq. (He Cave Boy.) written by David Elliott & illustrated by Lori Nichols
  • Uni the Unicorn written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & illustrated by Brigette Barrager
  • Very Little Red Riding Hood written by Teresa Heapy & illustrated by Sue Heap
  • Viva Frida written & illustrated by Yuyi Morales
  • You Are (Not) Small written by Anna Kang & illustrated by Christopher Weyant

What are your favorite Read-Aloud Picture Books published in 2014?

Happy International Rhyming Picture Book Day!

Today I declare that from this day forward April 9th shall henceforth be known as International Rhyming Picture Book Day!

Why Rhyming Picture Books? As April is National Poetry Month (and has been since 1996 as declared by the Academy of American Poets), and Rhyming is one small sliver of poetry, I think 1 out of the 30 days in April should be dedicated explicitly to Rhyming Picture Books. It also happens to coincide with Angie Karcher’s RhyPiBoMo (Rhyming Picture Book Month) for writers of rhyming texts.

Why International? Because I kind of like Canada, too.

Why April 9th? No particular reason.

International Rhyming Picture Book Day April 9th

So celebrate International Rhyming Picture Book Day with me today! Read a Rhyming Picture Book (or two, or twelve). Buy one at your local book store or take one out of your library! Read one to a child. Or whisper one to your dog.

How will you celebrate International Rhyming Picture Book Day (#IRPBD)?

What’s your favorite Rhyming Picture Book?

Books I Dug from 2014

I was challenged to (or maybe it was simply suggested that I) share my favorite books from 2014 by Kellee & Ricki of Unleashing Readers. Check out Ricki’s choices here. The following are a handful of my favorites – some that were published in 2014 others that I simply didn’t discover until 2014. They are listed in no particular order.

El Deafo by Cece Bell – best book of the year.
el deafoMy Teacher is a Monster (No I Am Not) by Peter Brown – rivals The Curious Garden as my favorite of his books.

my teacher is a monster

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat – fingers crossed as award season nears.


City Cat by Kate Banks & Lauren Castillo – my introduction to LC’s wonderful world of illustration.

city cat

One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt – LMH is a literary force.

one for

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle – apparently it was a book first.


Herman and Rosie by Gus Gordon – would have equaled Caldecott if GG were American.


Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot Series by Dav Pilkey & Dan Santat – newly re-illustrated versions are fabulous.


A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff – NBC’s Heroes went so downhill after season 1.


Platypus Police Squad Series by Jarrett J. Krosoczka – between these and Lunch Lady and Comics Squad, JJK signed 13 books for me my kids in one sitting.


There are probably loads of others I’m forgetting, but I’ll go with these ten for now. What were your favorite books from 2014?

What books are you most looking forward to in 2015? (hint: the answer should involve breakfast foods)


[oh, and happy 40th anniversary, mom & dad]