Monday, October 16, 2023

Happy Book Birthday, The Little Books of the Little Brontes by Sara O'Leary!

I'm jumping ahead just a tiny bit on this birthday shout-out. Today's read actually releases tomorrow. But who said we can't get the party started early? Pre-party? 

This picture book introduces young readers to the Bronte siblings and takes a peek at their history. I'm not expecting tons of is a picture book, after all. I am curious how this will be handled, though. While I love the idea of introducing young readers to some history and famous figures, something like this is going to be a tough connect for most. So, I can't wait to see how the author tackles these theme.

by Sara O'Leary
Illustrated by Briony May Smith
Tundra Books
Picture Book
40 pages
ages 5 to 9


The inspiring true tale of young siblings who loved to make stories -- and grew up to be among English literature's finest writers. A picture book for fans of Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein.

Many years ago, the four motherless children of the Bronte family -- Charlotte, Branwell, Emily and Anne -- lived in a windswept house by the moors with their father. Although their lives were often filled with sadness and their world was only as large as the distance they could walk, their INNER worlds were bound only by their imaginations. Hungry for stories, these children devoured novels and poetry, history and fables. And with the gift of a group of toy soldiers, they were inspired to make their own stories, and their own tiny books . . . a passion that would last them a lifetime.

A moving and atmospheric story about the power of imagination, the joy of storytelling and the love of books, The Little Books of the Little Brontes will enchant both those who love these literary sisters and those who are learning about them for the first time. Includes an author's note, timeline of the Brontes' lives and a fun craft with instructions on creating your own little book.

GOODREADS    /    B&N     /     BOOKSHOP      /      AMAZON


The power of sibling love and the imagination shines like a beacon of light through out the story.

While being a short picture book, the author manages to bring quite a bit of depth and life to the Bronte siblings. The sad family history is mentioned and sets a solemn atmosphere before launching into the more playful moments of the siblings. Each one is presented as their love for tales, the creation of their little books, as well as the special meaning of the toy soldiers settles in. They come across as average kids which makes them easy for listeners to identify with and connect to. Still, there special love for tales comes through and inspires. It introduces readers to the history without overloading and makes it 'touchable' instead of something far and distant. 

The text is a little longer, so not for the youngest listeners. It does make a nice read-aloud. The ending was a bit more hazed, which I assume was an attempt to nod toward their adult lives without leaving the atmosphere of the childhood. Still, it works well to introduce young listeners to the Brontes and also is great for classroom or group settings.

As an extra bonus, there are instructions at the end of the book, which explain and show how readers/listeners can create their own tiny reads. This as well as the beautiful illustrations throughout the tale make in an inviting book to dive into and enjoy. 

And here they are...

Sara O’Leary has a degree in screenwriting from the University of British Columbia and teaches at Concordia University in Montreal. She has written a number of critically acclaimed books for children, including This is Sadie, which was adapted for the stage by New York City Children’s Theater. A former literary columnist for The Vancouver Sun and CBC Radio, she also writes short fiction. The Ghost in the House is her first novel. Visit her online at

Briony May Smith is the creator of Margaret’s Unicorn, which was an Indie bestseller and has been licensed in twelve countries. Her second picture book, The Mermaid Moon, was licensed in seven countries. Briony’s other books published in the US include Imelda and the Goblin King, which the Wall Street Journal called “enchantingly illustrated.” She lives in the UK.

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