Yes, I realize it’s not Friday, but I’m so thrilled about Miranda Paul and Luciana Powell’s new book, WHOSE HANDS ARE THESE?, that I can’t wait until Friday. I caught up with Miranda and Luciana Saturday at their book launch in San Diego. Their presentation was a big hit with kids and parents alike.

Book launch at Barnes and Noble
Book launch at Barnes and Noble



AUTHOR: Miranda Paul

ILLUSTRATOR: Luciana Navarro Powell

PUBLICATION INFO: Millbrook Press, 2016


SOURCE: personal copy


GENRE: nonfiction picture book


“Hands can wiggle, hands can clap.

Hands can wrap and flap and tap.

But hands can help — so raise yours, please!

Can you guess?

Whose hands are these?”


From the publisher: “If your hands can mix and mash, what job might you have? What if your hands reach, wrench, yank, and crank? The hands in this book—and the people attached to them—do all sorts of helpful work. And together, these helpers make their community a safe and fun place to live. As you read, keep an eye out for community members who make repeat appearances! Can you guess all the jobs based on the actions of these busy hands?”

THEMES/TOPICS: community workers, jobs

WHY I LIKE THIS BOOK: Most kids in pre-k through first grade do community helper units, and there are plenty of books on the subject. In fact, my first-grader is studying community helpers and their jobs right now for the school social studies fair. Yet Paul and Powell make learning about these helpers loads of fun by creating a rhyming community helper guessing game. At the book launch, I learned that Powell used real people in her community as inspiration for her illustrations. The physician and a student from the book came to the launch. When we went out for lunch later in La Jolla, we ran into the reporter Luciana drew. What a small world!


  • Try creating your own community helper clues in rhyme. Can your parents and friends guess who you’ve described?
  • What will your hands do? Try this art project. Make a hand print and then draw details that show what jobs your hands might do when you grow up.
  • For teachers, Miranda’s Web site has this WHOSE HANDS teacher’s guide.
The post-launch lunch bunch.

You’ll find way more cool books at Susanna Leonard Hill’s “Perfect Picture Books.” Every Friday folks review a host of new books. Join us!


Palms Up for Receiving


I used to teach yoga ages ago. I was never good at practicing at home on my own, so when the kids were born and the local yoga studio moved, I stopped practicing. Now I’m delighted to be back in yoga class twice a week thanks to two yoga-instructor moms from my kids’ school.

Yoga’s mindfulness and gentle acceptance have been a godsend as I query literary agents with my writing in hopes of receiving an offer of rep. For those who are unfamiliar with this process, check out this post, Trying to Find a Literary Agent Is The Worst Thing Ever.

The only thing the author doesn’t mention is the endless Twitter pitch contests where you try to get agents to “favorite” your book pitch. No favorites makes you feel like not getting picked for the basketball team. Seriously, I don’t think my palms were this sweaty in high school!

As I send out email after email to agents and post pitch after pitch, I’m reminded to keep palms up for giving and receiving — giving my best to the world and receiving whatever agents and the world have to offer. Both yoga and writing are a journey, perfected each and every day.