Thursday, August 18, 2022

Today's read and an interview: Something Beautiful by Lita Judge

 Today's post packs so much goodness! (I might just be a tiny-little-bit excited). I have another favorite of the year read, today, and this one falls under my top three. Plus, I've just become a huge fan of this author/illustration. So, I'm over the moon!

I also have an interview with her below because she was so sweet to agree to answer some questions for us. And I have a small surprise for you guys right after the interview (of course, about today's read but it's a special treat). 

So, should we just get on with it?

by Lita Judge
Atheneum Books
Picture Book
32 pages
ages 4 to 8

A trio of animal pals discover the beauty in making new friends in this tender and adorable picture book from Lita Judge, the beloved author-illustrator of Red Sled and Flight School.

Mouse, Elephant, and Giraffe have so much in common. They like the same games. They eat the same snacks. They don’t need anyone else! Or do they? When the group takes a chance on opening up, they discover that meeting someone new and seeing things from a new perspective can be truly wonderful.



This picture book incorporates so much goodness as it calms the heart, embraces the uniqueness every person has to offer, and leaves the reader with a lasting smile.

Mouse loves to play with a ball until he meets Elephant. Then, the two play together until they meet Giraffe. The three friends get along very well, since they have so much in common, but then, Porcupine drops in, and he's so not like them. As he accidentally ruins their ball and does odd things, they find themselves more than a little hesitant to accept him into their group. But when they do, it's only the beginning of an amazing experience.

I am now a Lita Judge fan. Firstly, this book is so uplifting, and that with just the right amount of humor sprinkled around an important lesson. It doesn't feel like a lesson, though, since the tale is simply so wonderful. This one is all about friendship and the magic it brings. It's about playing together, something young readers/listeners can identify with no matter who they are or where they are. And it's about expanding horizons and opening up to new ways at looking at others and the world. 

Secondly, and this is what sends this read soaring, the illustrations are so well done. The aquarelle gives a gentle atmosphere to invite the reader/listener in, and that while holding all the needed details to make each scene and character sit. These characters pack personality. Their emotions and antics grab on every page. I was amazed at the lovely little details, such as the leaves sticking to the porcupine. They add depth to the humor in all the right ways. There are some priceless moments in these scenes, which will have young listeners/readers coming back again and again just to relive them.

I do recommend this read and see it as becoming a favorite. Listeners/readers will wish they could play right along with the animals because being their friend is definitely something special.


I was so glad that Lita Judge agreed to take the time...and have the answer some questions. It's always fun to get to know the authors better, since every book does hold a piece of who they are. 

So, thank you Lita for stopping by!

Something Beautiful is by no means your first picture book, but you have an entire, wonderful parade of reads already under your belt. What draws you to write for this younger audience level?

I love writing for young readers for so many reasons. First of all, I adored the few picture books I had as a child. The art transported me to a place that was happy and filled with wonder. And the pictures invited me into stories in a way that words didn’t at first. I was dyslexic and grew up in a remote area (born on an island in Alaska) and didn’t have a lot of access to books. I fell in love with reading and stories through these few picture books. So I love to create stories for kids who might feel the same.

Picture books is also the perfect means for my work because I always see my stories in my mind before finding the words, and I love creating the art. I love how much emotion, joy, vulnerability, enthusiasm, and mystery can be conveyed with just art.

And I love how picture books is a genre that is shared by all generations in a family. Reading together, snuggled with a book, is one of the most comforting times I think for many people.

That's so true. I can't think of a time I read a picture book with my kids, and they didn't want to sit on my lap during the reading. Even my husband would stop what he was doing and 'sneak' in to listen and see the pages. That doesn't happen with older books.

With two cats and a parrot, you, obviously, have a love for animals. What other pet would you enjoy adding to your family if you could?

I actually have three cats now, a parrot, and an adorable mouse named Pan. I’d have a household more if I could, but reality makes it hard to travel with any more. I was lucky to grow up with eagles, owls, hawks, and two ravens because my grandparents were ornithologists. The birds were part of their research, but I was pretty lucky to get to help care for them. If I could add a family member now, it would be a raven. They were the smartest, funniest family member I’ve ever known. They constantly hid important things like the house keys and played tricks on our dogs, like hiding their dog food. And the calls they make to each other is about the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard. 

I've heard that ravens are quite the animals. What a treat it must have been to grow up like that!

What is your favorite part about writing? And what would you rather eat worms than do?

My favorite part is that it makes your life filled with wonder. You have to have wonder in order to write, so you guard it and nurture it. And then there is that magical moment when you get an idea that you know is the one that will grow full-fledged into a story and it’s the best kind of happiness and excitement.

I’d honestly rather eat worms than sit in traffic or even drive on a car packed road. I love traveling, but I hate the getting there part. It feels like such a waste of time. The one place where I can’t be writing, drawing, painting, sculpting, or working in my garden.

It would be nice to be just zapped to wear we're headed. 

Many authors were avid readers during their childhood. What were your favorite books while growing up?

Honestly, I am not one of those authors. I wish I was. I didn’t have a lot of access to books. I mostly read bird guidebooks. My parents and grandparents had a lot of those. But a book mobile came to our town when I was 11 and I checked out The Witch of Blackberry Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. I loved it so much, I checked it out again and again until the librarian driving the silver Aerostar that served as our library gave me my own copy. I kept it under my pillow and vowed that someday I would move to New England and write children’s books. So here I am in NH, writing and illustrating and wishing I could find that librarian and tell her just how much her kindness meant to me!

It wasn’t till I went to college that I read all the classics and started devouring stories. I was studying geology, but I had my head in wonderful children’s books that helped guide me back to that crazy dream I had when I was a girl.

Wow, geology! I would have never guessed. And now, I am curious how you went from Alaska to New Hampshire, but we'll have to save that one for another day.

What book(s) are you reading right now?

I’m reading a biography on Vanessa Bell (Virginia Wolfes sister). Her art touches me deeply, as well as her life and how she chose to live it.

I also enjoy reading dozens of picture books each month, and getting excited all over again about the genre each time I do.

I wonder what your favorites might be... This interview is, actually, leaving me more curious about several things. How fun!

When you aren’t writing, what do you like to do? 

My favorite thing is to sculpt with clay and then have a big bonfire in the driveway to harden the clay. I can also be found in my garden, either taking care of it, or sketching in my journal. I love travelling when I can and hiking all day and plunking down wherever I find a beautiful spot to paint. And playing with my pets, of course.

Huh, you can harden clay with a bonfire? I would have never guessed. 

What was your biggest wish as a child?

To write and illustrate children’s books! Hooray, that turned out well. I’m so grateful to readers who enjoy my books and are a part of that dream.

I discovered a special treat! If you head over to Youtube, you can see Lita and this wonderful tale, too!

And here she is...

Lita Judge is the award-winning author and illustrator of many children’s books, including Even the Smallest Will GrowWhen You Need WingsFlight SchoolPenguin Flies Home, Red SledRed HatGood Morning to Me!Born in the Wild, and her illustrated young adult novel, Mary’s Monster. She lives with her husband, two cats, and a parrot in New Hampshire. You can visit her online at

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