author spotlight, humor, illustration, social-emotional

Author Spotlight: Samantha Berger

Samantha Berger is one of those people who exudes a beautiful shining light of joy. You can see it in her photos, hear it in her interviews, but most importantly, read it in her picture books. Berger’s career has seen her writing copy for Nickelodeon promos and cartoons, penning comic books & commercials, and even working as a voice-over artist. She has an infectious enthusiasm that can be seen in how excited children get reading her books. You can’t help but feel happy when you come to those final pages and want to start again. Berger’s advice for young writers is to embrace it as a form of play and play daily. Spend a lot of time daydreaming and writing down your ideas. Before you know it, you’ll have your own story to share with the world.

What If? (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Written by Amanda Berger
Illustrated by Michael Curato
For ages: 4-8

A little girl lets her imagination sore with just some paper and crayons in this celebration of creativity. Our unnamed protagonist wonders what stories she can tell and how the potential is limitless as long as she listens to her heart. An exploration of art follows where we glimpse origami, wood carving, and even using wallpaper scraps to make art and express ourselves. Berger and collaborator Michael Curato deliver a surprise in the construction of their book, one that is sure to get “ooohs” and “aaaahs” out of the children listening and watching. Curato also employs mixed media to further support Berger’s beautiful expressions of creating and sharing art.

Crankenstein (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Written by Amanda Berger
Illustrated by Dan Santat

For ages: 3-7
Combining two of my favorite kid-lit creators, Berger and the brilliant art of Dan Santat, we get Crankenstein. This book was a constant favorite of my students, which is due to the appeal of its cover. You will want to read this book if you are an elementary-age child. Berger knows precisely what an obstinate child talks and behaves like, and you will be reminded of your times being one and dealing with one. The tantrums are absurd, and the reader can see this is an overreaction to the circumstances. But we also understand why Crankenstein cannot see what we do. He’s lost in his emotions. The situations are profoundly relatable and sure to elicit laughs from little ones.

Snoozefest (Dial Books)
Written by Amanda Berger
Illustrated by Kristyna Litten

For ages: 4-8
Snoozefest is an annual sleeping festival similar to Bonnaroo or Coachella. Snuggleford Cuddlebun is a sloth and champion sleeper and is excited to attend her first Snoozefest. We explore the event through her eyes as she experiences the band Nocturnal Nesters who play lullabies. You can feast on warm milk & honey and even purchase designer PJs from Diane von Firstinbed. This is the kind of book that appeals to kids & adults through wonderfully expressive illustrations and clever puns. Snoozefest comes with my highest possible recommendation and if you only buy one of these, make it this book for sure!

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