Monday, September 13, 2021

I Am Smoke by Henry L. Herz


by Henry L Herz
Illustrated by Merce Lopez Ascanoio
Tilbury House Publishers
Picture Book
36 pages
ages 4 to 8


Smoke speaks in mesmerizing riddles: “I lack a mouth, but I can speak…. I lack hands, but I can push out unwanted guests…. I’m gentler than a feather, but I can cause harm….”This rhythmically powerful narration is complemented by illustrations in which swirling smoke was captured on art paper held over smoky candle flames, and the dancing smoke textures were then deepened and elaborated with watercolors and Photoshop finishes. With this unique method, Mercè López “let the smoke decide how the idea I had in mind would dance with it, giving freedom to the images.” The resulting illustrations are astounding, and they resonate with the otherworldly text.


“Herz presents a provocative and unique look at the lifecycle and benefits of smoke throughout the millennia. Lopez’s multimedia artwork further illuminates the ethereal nature of smoke as it drifts and dances across the page.”
– John Rocco, author/illustrator of the Caldecott Honor book BLACKOUT

“A fascinating, refreshing, and beautifully atmospheric take on something often taken for granted. I’ll never look at smoke the same way again!”
– Matthew Cordell, author/illustrator of the Caldecott Medal-winning book WOLF IN SNOW

“I Am Smoke is an absolutely beautiful book, where smoke is both poetry and science. Readers will rest, float, and dance along with smoke’s quiet power across time and traditions. I have lingered over its pages more than once, and I’m sure young readers will, too.”
– Doreen Cronin, author of the Caldecott Honor and NY Times bestselling book CLICK, CLACK, MOO: COWS THAT TYPE

– Raina Telgemeier, #1 NY Times, #1 USA Today, #1 Publishers Weekly bestselling author/illustrator

And here he is...

Henry Herz authored 11 traditionally published children's titles: MONSTER GOOSE NURSERY RHYMES (Pelican, 2015), WHEN YOU GIVE AN IMP A PENNY (Pelican, 2016), MABEL & THE QUEEN OF DREAMS (Schiffer, 2016), LITTLE RED CUTTLEFISH (Pelican, 2016), CAP'N REX & HIS CLEVER CREW (Sterling, 2017), HOW THE SQUID GOT TWO LONG ARMS (Pelican, 2018), ALICE'S MAGIC GARDEN (Familius, 2018), GOOD EGG AND BAD APPLE (Schiffer, 2018), 2 PIRATES + 1 ROBOT (Kane Miller, 2019), I AM SMOKE (Tilbury House, 2021), and THE MAGIC SPATULA (Month9 Books, 2022).

He sold the children's short stories: “Born to Dance” (Highlights for Children), “Pay the Piper” (Highlights for Children), “Maria & Maslow” (Highlights for Children, 2020), “A Proper Party” (Ladybug Magazine), "Bar Mitzvah on Planet Kishka" (sci-fi MG story in COMING OF AGE anthology, Albert Whitman & Co., 2021), "The Castle on the Loch" (YA story in CASTLE OF HORROR anthology, Castle Bridge Media, 2020), and “Cheating Death” (dark sci-fi YA story in THE HITHERTO SECRET EXPERIMENTS OF MARIE CURIE anthology, Blackstone Publishing, 2022).

Henry edited three anthologies: BEYOND THE PALE adult dark fantasy (Birch Tree Publishing, 2014) – stories by Saladin Ahmed, Peter S. Beagle, Heather (Zac) Brewer, Jim Butcher, Rachel Caine, Kami Garcia, Nancy Holder, and Jane Yolen. COMING OF AGE: 13 B’NAI MITZVAH STORIES middle grade #ownvoices (Albert Whitman & Co, 2022) – stories by Sarah Aronson, Barbara Bottner, Stacia Deutsch, Debbie Reed Fischer, Debra Garfinkle, Alan Katz, Nancy Krulik, Stacie Ramey, Jonathan Rosen, Melissa Roske, Laura Shovan. THE HITHERTO SECRET EXPERIMENTS OF MARIE CURIE young adult horror (Blackstone Publishing, 2022) – stories by Mylo Carbia, Stacia Deutsch, Sarah Beth Durst, Alethea Kontis, Jonathan Maberry, Seanan McGuire, Scott Sigler, Scott Westerfeld, Jane Yolen.

Henry is an editor at Running Wild Press. He's an SCBWI member and moderates author panels yearly at San Diego Comic-Con. He earned a BS in Engineering from Cornell U., an MS in Engineering from George Washington U., and an MA in Political Science from Georgetown U.


Ava Bear Parent Portal said...

Dear Tonja,
I am new to and just came across your Bookwormforkids blog. I have to say, you are doing fantastic job!
Is there any chance you would consider reviewing some Advance Reader Copies of our very first picture book titles? We are a brand new children's press called Ava Bear Books, and are shortly to put our first three titles on Amazon for pre-order. We would certainly appreciate your wisdom and input!
If you are interested, my email address is helen [at]
Many thanks and best wishes, Helen

Tonja Drecker said...

Nice to meet you, Helen! Go ahead and take a peek at my Review Policies (upper right side of blog), and there you should find the information you need. If you have any other questions, please feel free to reach out to me through the email listed there. I look forward to hearing from you!