Today I’d like to welcome KidLit Caravan to the blog. They’re a troupe of authors and author/illustrators with debut picture books headed your way in 2022! They found each other on social media and have become fast friends. Their debut picture books may be “gnu” in 2022, but there are already more stories coming down the pike for 2023 and beyond…

I asked them to tell us a little about their books and what inspired them, considering we’re right on the heels of Storystorm! These delightful books will soon be on the shelves and are available for pre-order. Plus, read to the end because there’s something the Caravanners (is that a word?) want to give you, too!

Levine Querido, March 2022

Paula Cohen

After my mother passed away I realized I’d never asked her about what it was like to live above her family’s grocery market. I realized that, as a writer, I could imagine it! Using her spitfire character and a handful of pictures of the original store, I created the story of a little girl growing up in an immigrant neighborhood, sharing her family traditions with the customers.

Feiwel & Friends, July 2022

Margaret Aitken

As a family doctor in Scotland, I was saddened by the loneliness many of the community’s older members were experiencing. Then, many years later, my son’s preschool attended a local care home. The interaction between the children and the seniors was so touching and it got me thinking–if only there were more multigenerational groups! OLD FRIENDS is a fun story about found family that reinforces the idea that friends can be of any age.

Little Bee Books, September 2022

Melissa Coffey

I was gobsmacked to learn we waste up to 40% of all food in the US! Food is the number one thing dumped in landfills, yet we don’t automatically equate food waste with pollution and climate change. I wrote FRIDGE-OPOLIS to entertain, engage and empower kids to become planet-saving superheroes through their everyday choices and habits. I can’t wait for readers to meet Mayor Mayonnaise and the other hilarious characters trying to save their city from rancid ruin!

Page Street Kids, August 2022

Donna Cangelosi

As a child psychologist, I use play, art, and music to help kids express and manage uncomfortable feelings. Several years ago, I read an article describing how Fred Rogers used music to deal with his own childhood illness and bullying. Knowing how he helped children in the same way on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, I wrote this picture book biography–a celebration of the extraordinary gift of music that Fred Rogers gave to all children.

Flamingo Books, April 2022

Carrie Tillotson

My son did his usual starfish float during swim lessons, and one day the instructor counted “One-two-three, four-five-six, seven-eight-nine, BANANAS!” Hysterics ensued. When the instructor said “Don’t you love my counting to bananas?”—I knew a picture book title was born.

Albert Whitman & Co., March 1, 2022

Harshita Jerath

I was making laddoos (luh-DOOS), a round shaped Indian dessert, for my son’s birthday. And while shaping the laddoo it slipped from my hand onto the floor. This reminded me of the Gingerbread Man story and I promptly noted the idea. THE LEAPING LADDOO is a fun, fast-paced cultural take on this classic tale.

Page Street Kids, April 5, 2022

Kimberly Wilson

During Storystorm 2019, I looked at the coin jug on my kitchen counter and saw something more––a plucky penny on a mission to prove she’s cent-sational! Through Penny’s journey, I realized I had the opportunity not only to make readers laugh with countless puns and introduce them to money math, but to show them something priceless––the importance of self-worth.

Christy Ottaviano Books, June 7, 2022

Robyn McGrath

Dolly Parton’s passion and drive have always fascinated me, where did it come from? When I began my research I learned that Dolly set to dreaming at a young age, even when the odds were stacked against her. Knowing what an inspiration she is to so many, myself included, I knew Dolly’s story had to be told… for our youngest readers and biggest dreamers!

Kids Can Press, May 3, 2022

Debbie Zapata

When I had my first child, the doctors told me my baby had Down syndrome. From the start, my son’s open-hearted and infectious smile was on a mission to brighten people’s days. My dad would say, “Up and at ‘em, Adam!” When Hurricane Sandy struck New York City, I was reminded of how resilient New Yorkers are in times of need. In the story, Adam and his dog, Up, help their neighbors in the aftermath of a storm, lifting spirits as they go.

Sleeping Bear Press, July 2022 (cover art TK)

Rebecca Gardyn Levington

One rainy day, much like the MC in my book BRAINSTORM!, I had a terrible case of writer’s block. My brain felt like the weather—cloudy, gloomy and gray. To avoid staring at the blank page, I turned my attention to the brewing storm outside my window when—kerplink!—I felt the tiniest drop of an idea. What if ideas poured down from the sky? Like a rainstorm?…No, wait! Like a BRAINstorm! I immediately began writing a poem, which later became the first draft of BRAINSTORM! I hope this rhyming concept picture book inspires kids to play in the puddles of their own creativity.

Cameron Kids, October 2022 (cover art TK)

Angela H. Dale

While passing by a new bus stop in my neighborhood, I was completely captivated by the swarm of kids gathered there. It took me right back to my own childhood, waiting at a similar intersection, playing games with siblings and friends until the school bus arrived … or, rarely, (spoiler alert) hearing someone call out that the bus wasn’t coming. I had so much fun naming (26!) characters from amongst my children’s friends and classmates. Can’t wait for them to see their names on the page.

Candlewick Press, October 2022

Suma Subramaniam

I spent my childhood years in India in a tiny apartment with a large family and a secular community from all backgrounds and Indian ethnicities. As a child, I bonded with my neighbors and friends when we embraced and celebrated our differences. I wanted to capture that experience by breaking down the well-known word, Namaste, into smaller, “easy-to-understand and apply” pieces.

Beaming Books, August 2022

Lisa Gerin

As a children’s librarian, I was always looking for new biographies for kids. I decided to write my own featuring unsung heroes and heroines of history and science. When I noticed there were no kid bios about Jewish scientist Rosalind Franklin, I was inspired to tell her story of discovering the shape of DNA’s double helix. During researching, I discovered she also contributed to helping doctors find a vaccine for the polio virus in the 1950s, so relevant to today’s world!

You can follow the whole of Kidlit Caravan online at, on Twitter @kidlitcaravan and Instagram @kidlitcaravan.

Comment below and you could win one of two picture book manuscript critiques—any format! Prose, rhyme, non-fiction, fiction… 

Two random winners will be selected in March.

Good luck!