News: May 19, 2008
Agate Wins Again:
Two Awards in One Week
a self-conscious moose, it’s a start!” said Joy
Morgan Dey, quoting her own book after it took the award for Best
Children’s Literature at the Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards
(NEMBA). The 20th annual awards were given Sunday evening at University
of Minnesota Duluth’s Weber Music Hall. More…
News: May 15, 2008
Local Children’s Book Wins
Highest MIPA Honors
local book took a top award Wednesday night, May 15, 2008, at the
Midwest Independent Publishers Association (MIPA) event in St.
Paul. Agate: What Good Is a Moose? by Joy Morgan Dey
and Nikki Johnson and published by Lake Superior Port Cities Inc. was
awarded “Best Children’s Picture Book at the association’s 18th
annual awards ceremony. The author, illustrator and publisher are all
from Duluth. More…
Letter: March 30, 2008
I just loved your book. I found it while searching
Amazon for new moose books for my classroom. My classroom is
called Moose Hollow and it is filled with moose and trees.. The
kids love it. Your book has such a great message for kids and
adults. The pictures are just wonderful. I loved the picture of
the both of you standing by Agate. My school kids have made a
life size fabric moose (one that is flat and can be folded) that we use
to show guests and to measure and compare so your picture was perfect.
The theme of gems encouraged several of my third graders to find out
more about gems. Now I just need to find an agate moose! I have
suggested your book to the owners of Mooseville.com. They are the
nicest people I hope they check it out. Thank you for such a fabulous
book. I treasure it just like all my kids.
Letter: February 18, 2008
I just received my book, poster and chocolate
candies. I love it all and it was shipped very nicely. I
have a question … I wanted to send the chocolate agate candies into my
daughter’s first grade class. Can you tell me if the chocolate candies
are made with any peanut products. There’s one child in the class with
a peanut allergy. Thank you very much.
Thanks for your question - it was a good thing
for us to find out, too. We spoke with the factory and the only
allergens of any kind that are in or around the chocolates are soy and
milk. Their factory is completely peanut free. Thanks again and we
hope the kids love the chocolates!
Letter: November 14, 2007
“Agate” is wonderful. I have been painting on YUPO as
my only medium for almost 10 years … and most importantly and the best
reason … my 4½ lb mixed Yorkie/Poodle is named Moose! I
love Agate and would like to order three copies, please. If you were to
sign, them that would be a bonus. “Agate” should be on everyone’s
coffee table…young and old alike!
Tampa, FL 33629
Review: December 7, 2007, Amazon.com
By A.D. Cox “Hobo,” northern PA
This book has great watercolor illustrations and a nice story.
News: October 23, 2007
Local Book Wins
A children’s book by a local author and a local
illustrator earned Silver and Bronze awards in a first-time national
children’s book competition. The
Moonbeam Awards, designed to honor the year’s best children's books,
authors and illustrators, are being presented for the first time this
year. The awards are organized by Independent Publisher Online and
Jenkins Group. The announcement of awards was made October 18. More…
Letter: November 9, 2007
Was at a bookstore in Bayfield during the Apple fest this
year and the cover of this book caught my eye. Purchased
a copy for a friend from Maryland who loves Moose then bought two more
copies on Madeline Island, one for my grandchildren Lily and Edward and
another for their pre-school teacher. The story is wonderful for
children and adults of all ages. The illustrations are gorgeous!
Letter: April 12, 2008
I am in Montana at the AGATE (Association for Gifted and
Talented Education) Convention right now and your book has been a HUGE
hit here. We had a silent auction with several autographed copies of
your book. It raised money for summer scholarships for gifted kids. I
won one of the autographed books to take back to my students. I just
wanted to tell you everybody here was talking about your book. Besides
the one I won, I bought two more to take back to my friends for THEIR
classrooms. I also love gemstones - especially the ones from Montana.
We have a lot of Agates here but my next favorite is the famous Montana
sapphire. It comes in lots of different colors which is cool too.
Thanks again for publishing the book. I can’t wait to show them to my
students. It teaches such a great lesson. My kids are 9th graders
and we have been learning about tolerance all year. Right now we are
reading “To Kill a Mockingbird” and it’s brought up a lot of good
conversations. Kids can sometimes be so mean to other kids -
especially when someone is a little different. I think it’s awesome
that some kids have the courage to be different and I think it’s
wonderful that your book encourages it!
Blog: March 13, 2008
From: “pixie stix kids pix”
Thoughts, Observations and Ideas About Children’s Books
A blog by Kristen McLean from
WordPress.com - Related tags:
(3-8) Picture Books, 2007 Spring, Books that rate a 9+, Outstanding
Agate: What good is a moose?
by Joy Morgan Dey, illustrated by Nikki Johnson
Lake Superior Port Cities; April 2007; 32 pp; $17.95 HC 978-0942235739
Core Audience: Children 4-8; Anyone who has ever felt
Strengths: Luminous artwork; great message
If you have been
reading pixiestix for awhile you are probably aware of my feelings
about marginal books
that are either self-published, or that are produced by small presses
that don’t quite get how to put the total package together. I receive
hundreds of unsolicited pitches every year for these kinds of books,
and when you combine that with the thousands of mainstream books that
flow across my desk in a given year, it really takes something to make
me sit up.
And this, my friends, is that something.
Meet Agate, the hero of this wonderful and unexpected picture
book from a pair of artists and a small regional press
from Duluth, MN. Agate is in a metaphysical quandary. “What good is a
moose?” he asks when he compares himself to all of his other
“birthstone” friends, like Garnet the Crocodile, Emerald the Lion, and
Sapphire the Hippo.
He has a big case of the inferiors, and any child who has
dull will recognize themselves here. At the back of the book, there is
a nice appendix that talks about birthstone gems. The writing and
rhymes here are very sweet, but what really makes this book is the
incredible watercolor illustration presented on a sparkling white
These are just quick scans. For the full effect,
get a copy and check out how eye-popping they really are. I
particularly like the way Nikki Johnson has let the natural flow of the
paint create the rich texture of the animals in motion.
This book really has it all: clean uncluttered
design, a nice story, a good message, a eye-catching cover, fresh art,
and the element of surprise. This proves the point that a small press
with no background in kid’s books really can do a great job. Amazing
can come from anywhere, which why it is SO important that people
setting off to make a picture book (or indeed any book) for the first
time really understand what it takes, and know the market.
Apparently the author and illustrator brought the project to
the press. Bravo to Lake Superior Port Cities for recognizing that Agate
really is a gem of the highest order.
News: November 21, 2007
A small, independent moose made the top of an important
national booksellers list this month. The American Booksellers
Association released its
Winter 2007-2008 Book Sense Children’s Picks list in its November 15
issue of Bookselling This Week. In the #1 spot is Agate: What Good
Is a Moose? by locals Joy Morgan Dey and Nikki Johnson and
published by Lake Superior Port Cities Inc. of Duluth. More…
Review: October 20, 2007, Amazon.com
Beautiful illustrations and great story
By A. Blais “Bedtime stories,” MN
Very original picture book. Illustrations are gorgeous and
story is first rate. Kids and adults will love this book.