News Archive

Here’s a little bit of what Publishers’ Weekly said in their starred review: “And yet
 there is nothing prosaic in these pages — 
it’s a book of poetic,
 plainspoken beauty, resonant with deeply felt emotions about attachment, loyalty, and growing up.”

Read the full review.


Turtle and Me

My picture book story, with the oh-so wonderful art by U.K. illustrator Tor Freeman, is now available for young children, their families, teachers, librarians, and day-care providers in the U.S. thanks to publisher Little Bee Books. This story is about a young child and his lovey — a stuffed turtle — and what happens when TURTLE gets too old and too ripped and ragged. Is having a “lovey” a baby thing? Or not?

20th Anniversary edition of IT’S PERFECTLY NORMAL—15th Anniversary edition of IT’S SO AMAZING! in feature articles and interviews

New York Times Motherlode, blog: 20 Years After ‘It’s Perfectly Normal”, What’s Changed? by KJ Dell’Antonia

Publishers Weekly: ‘It’s Perfectly Normal’ Turns 20 by Shannon Maughan

NPR’s All Things Considered: It May Be ‘Perfectly Normal’, But It’s Also Frequently Banned by Rebecca Hersher blog: Twenty Years Later: Still Challenging—Still Engaging—Still Relevant by “yours truly” as guest blogger

What’s So Yummy? Review

Harris, Robie H. What’s So Yummy?: All About Eating Well and Feeling Good. illus. by Nadine Bernard Westcott. 32p. Candlewick. Sept. 2014. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780763636326. LC 2013955674.

K-Gr 2–While the digital illustrations tell the story of a racially mixed family’s active day (walking and cycling to the community garden, farmer’s market, and grocery store before making lunch and preparing food for an afternoon picnic), text and speech bubbles from siblings Gus and Nellie provide the information about healthy foods and how they affect our bodies. Joined in all of the public settings with a multicultural background cast, smiles abound within and around the family unit, equating the act of making good food choices with family togetherness and fun. This genial positivism, along with the wide variety of featured foods (smartly labeled to provide new things to point out during repeat readings) makes for a fine resource for promoting a healthy lifestyle.–Joanna K. Fabicon, Los Angeles Public Library

Great Review for WHAT’S SO YUMMY?

Here’s a bit of what School Library Journal said in their review: “… siblings Gus and Nellie provide the information about healthy foods and how they affect our bodies. Joined in all of the public settings with a multicultural background cast, smiles abound within and around the family unit, equating the act of making good food choices with family togetherness and fun.”

Read the full review.


WHAT’S IN THERE? has been chosen by the Bank Street College of Education’s Children’s Book Committee to be included in their 2014 edition of Best Books of the Year for Children and Young Adults.

The Children’s Book Committee at the Bank Street strives to guide librarians, educators, parents, grandparents, and other interested adults to the best books for children published each year. MORE In choosing books for the annual list, reviewers consider literary quality and excellence of presentation as well as the potential emotional impact of the books on young readers. Other criteria include credibility of characterization and plot, authenticity of time and place, age suitability, positive treatment of ethnic and religious differences, and the absence of stereotypes. Nonfiction titles are further evaluated for accuracy and clarity. Each book accepted for the list is read and reviewed by at least two committee members and then discussed by the committee as a whole.

Read about it here: Bank Street College of Education


WHEN LIONS ROAR was selected as a 2013 Parents’ Choice Awards Silver Honor winner by the Parent’s Choice Foundation.

Read about it on the Parents’ Choice Awards page.


MAYBE A BEAR ATE IT! has been named a Silver Bell in the Colorado CLEL Bell Picture Book Awards (in the READ category).

The Silver Bells are 25 picture books from the last 25 years, still in print that the CLEL Bell Awards Selection Committee consider to be excellent representations of the Bell Awards. MORE Five books have been selected in each of five categories: Read, Write, Sing, Talk, and Play. These categories represent practices that research shows support early literacy development in young children.

Read about it here: Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy

What’s In There? Review

All About Before You Were Born
Author: Robie H. Harris
Illustrator: Nadine Bernard Westcott

Review Issue Date: August 15, 2013
Online Publish Date: July 31, 2013
Publisher: Candlewick
Pages: 40
Price ( Hardcover ): $15.99
Publication Date: September 24, 2013
ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-0-7636-3630-2
Category: Picture Books
Series: Let’s Talk About You and Me

The third installment in the Let’s Talk About You and Me series finds Harris back where adults expect to find her—discussing the human body for the youngest set.

Gus and Nellie’s mom is having a baby. The sibling pair from Who Has What? (2011) and Who’s in My Family? (2012) could not be more excited. But of course they have plenty of questions, too. Harris admirably begins by stressing that the baby is not growing inside mommy’s tummy but in her uterus. (“The uterus is just below a girl’s or woman’s tummy and is very soft and stretchy.”) Each spread represents a month of the pregnancy, but the passage of time is subtly hidden within Westcott’s cheery illustrations, rather than as a defined calendar counting down the days. Mommy can also be seen to be growing larger, with the fetus varying in size from a pencil-point dot to a watermelon. Amid the simple facts of development, Harris includes extra tidbits aimed squarely at the curiosities of child readers—the baby starts out with a tail! It pees a little inside the womb! However, the mention of how the baby was actually made is kept purely at a cellular level; adults may welcome the freedom to fill in that gap as they see fit.

Clear, direct and anatomically correct; an excellent entryway for the many anticipated questions about childbirth. (Informational picture book. 2-6)

Booklist Starred Review for When Lions Roar

*Starred Review* When Lions Roar
By Robie H. Harris. Illus. by Chris Raschka
Oct. 2013. 32p. Scholastic/Orchard, $16.99 (9780545112833). PreS–K.
First published August, 2013 (Booklist).

Harris and Raschka elegantly tackle a common childhood emotion in this pitch-perfect book for the youngest child. ―When lions roar! / When monkeys screech! / When lightening cracks! / When thunder booms!,‖ it’s scary, and the sources of the fear can feel very close and very threatening. After becoming overwhelmed by a series of events, a little boy sits down, closes his eyes, and tells the scary to ―Go away.‖ Quiet starts to return, as flowers bloom, puppies cuddle, and mommies and daddies, who have their scary moments too, are back to their singing and dancing selves. Sure, it’s simplistic, but it’s also a powerful message about positive thinking: a change in perspective influences how we experience our environment. It’s possible that no one conveys emotion better than Raschka and, with the curve of an eyebrow or the posturing of a body, we know exactly what the boy is thinking and feeling. Similarly, simple backgrounds depict footsteps and fear clouds or offer exuberant swirls of excitement and speak volumes about the boy’s state-of-mind. Paired with Robie’s simple text, this reassures children that facing your fears can have truly transformative results. —Ann Kelley


Here’s a bit of what Booklist said in their starred review: “Harris and Raschka elegantly tackle a common childhood emotion in this pitch-perfect book for the youngest child.”
Read the full review.
Here’s a bit of what Publishers Weekly said in their starred review: “Expertly attuned to everyday situations that frighten children…”
Read the full review.


What’s In There? has been selected by EBSCO as a Core Collection Star Title.

Books chosen as Core Collection Star Titles embody literary excellence and are judged to be distinguished contributions to their particular field/genre. The Core Collections are a set of six well-respected tools for librarians in public and school libraries. The collections provide title recommendations and purchasing guidance for librarians in more than 10,000 libraries across North America.

To be selected for inclusion in one of the Core Collections, a book must meet a stringent selection policy and be of the highest quality. This determination is made by EBSCO’s team of selectors and Advisory Board, a group of eminent librarians who have served on national selection and award committees like the Caldecott and Printz committees.

Best Science Picture Books 2013

WHAT’S IN THERE? headlines SLATE.COM’s list of The Best Science Picture Books of 2013. Read about it here.

When Lions Roar, Best of the Best

WHEN LIONS ROAR chosen by Professor Susan P. Bloom as one of the “Best of the Best 2103 Picture Books.” As part of her annual Eric Carle Museum lecture, Bloom celebrates Chris Raschka’s art and states that it adds “a layer of comfort to Harris’ simple and reassuring story.” Listen here.


WHAT’S IN THERE? has been chosen as an Outstanding Science Trade Book for Students K-12 for 2014. The list is selected by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and the Children’s Book Council (CBC).


Here’s a bit of what Kirkus said in their great review: “Clear, direct and anatomically correct; an excellent entryway for the many anticipated questions about childbirth.”
Read the full review.

Reach Out and Read Acceptance

I am so proud to be the recipient of the inaugural Mills Tanenbaum Award for Children’s Literacy for several reasons, because it not only honors me and my work and all children’s book authors, and also all of my illustrators, editors, and publishers, but by name it honors Gary Tanenbaum and Helen Mills, who are also honoring Reach Out and Read of Greater New York through their award, and its leader Traci Lester and her incredible staff. But this award also honors perhaps the most important group of all—the babies, toddlers and preschoolers who benefit from this amazing program. Additionally, this award honors the pediatricians and volunteers in the hospitals and clinics, who partner with Reach Out and Read and model for parents and caregivers the how wonderful and important it is for a child to have an adult read to him or her and then giving that book to that child to take home and keep. So the biggest thanks ever to Gary and Helen for your generosity and for honoring all of us who create books for babies and young children. I also want to give a shout out for Traci, Amy Sokel, and Asari Beale, who put in so many hours to make this night happen.

When I think of Reach Out and Read of Greater New York, the word EARLY pops into my mind. Why? First, because Reach Out and Read understands that the way to foster early literacy and a love of books, is to start EARLY by giving a book to a baby about 6 months old and to continue to do so until age 5 when that child is off to kindergarten and ready, because of his or her love of books, ready to learn to read and to become a life-long learner and thinker and a life-long lover of books. Second, the word EARLY applies to this Reach Out and Read’s work with future pediatricians, building into their clinical training the Reach Out and Read model, in 187 sites in greater New York, virtually in every major hospital and clinic and health center in Greater New York. So how great is that? How smart is that? Great and Smart.

I have had the particular privilege of creating a picture book for young children about a creature, who is really a child, just as he or she gets into bed with its favorite book of the moment, the book disappears, and that child is totally frantic and of course, can’t go to sleep without it—just like many of us in this room when we lose our favorite book of the moment, we too, at least I do, freak out, and can’t go to sleep without it. And then, we, young children and adults alike, imagine all the terrible things that could happen to our book. We might even worry that MAYBE A BEAR ATE IT! I came up with this idea after having breakfast with Reach Out and Read pediatrician Perri Klass. This book was created as a regular trade book to be sold in bookstores, libraries, and online, and is illustrated by the talented Michael Emberley, and published by Orchard Books at Scholastic Press. But Scholastic, thanks to my marvelous editor there Ken Geist and thanks to the CEO of Scholastic, Dick Robinson, who is here tonight, thank you Dick, Scholastic created a special edition of this book for Reach Out and Read to be given out to children during their pediatric visits.

So I will close by reading only a few lines from MAYBE A BEAT ATE IT!, since each of you will receive a signed copy of this book in your gift bags as you leave tonight.

NO matter how old you are, I hope this book will help you out when you can’t find the book you love. Thank you everyone, I am so proud to receive this award.



This past May, I was honored and thrilled to receive the inaugural Mills Tannenbaum Award for Children’s Literacy from Reach Out and Read of Greater New York. Here are comments I made when accepting this wonderful award: “Reach Out and Read understands that the way to foster early literacy and a love of books, is to start EARLY by giving a book to a baby about 6 months old and to continue to do so until age 5 when that child is off to kindergarten and ready, because of his or her love of books, ready to learn to read and to become a life-long learner and thinker and a life-long lover of books.” I also said that this award goes to all of the authors and illustrators who create books for our very youngest children and am proud and delighted that a special edition of MAYBE A BEAR ATE IT!, illustrated by Michael Emberley, was created by Scholastic for Reach Out and Read.
Read the press release.
Read my acceptance remarks.


I was also honored and thrilled to receive Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s highest education award—The MARY LEE TATUM Award. This annual award “is given to the person who most exemplifies the qualities of an Ideal Sexuality Educator.” I was honored for the four books I wrote on healthy sexuality. But one of the first things I told the audience of educators was that this prestigious award was not for me alone. But that I shared this award with two world-class illustrators—Michael Emberley and Nadine Bernard Westcott—and with every person at Candlewick Press who edited, designed, and believe in and continue to support the books I have written on healthy sexuality. And they have done that for over twenty years!

One Book 4 Colorado

I was honored and thrilled when MAYBE A BEAR ATE IT! was officially voted and selected as the One Book 4 Colorado book and a celebration that took place statewide. This program supported an effort to give every four-year-old in Colorado a copy of MAYBE A BEAR ATE IT! and support parents as their child’s first teacher. 70, 000 copies of the book in English and Spanish were ordered to be given out for free to four-year olds all over the state. Lucky me! I had the honor of spending three days in Colorado reading to young children at a local library, at a Reach Out and Read Center, at a health clinic, and many other venues, including reading with a member of the Denver Broncos as the Denver Museum of Science and the Drop Everything and Read event for young children and families at the Denver Children’s Museum, where everyone, the children, and Colorado’s Lieutenant Governor Joe Garcia and I wore pajamas.
Click here to read the event press release.
For more information about One Book 4 Colorado, please visit:
For more information about Reach Out and Read Colorado, please visit:
For more information about the National Reach Out and Read Center, please visit:
For more information about Pre-School One Book One Denver, please visit:

My piece is up on NYTimes Online

Exciting to have a piece up and running on NYTimes online, ROOM FOR DEBATE. Do check it out. Here’s the link.

Two Terrific Reviews for Who’s In My Family? All About Our Families

Hooray! The first reviews are coming in for WHO’S IN MY FAMILY? All About Our Families.

School Library Journal wrote, “This book sets out to reassure children: “Wherever you live, wherever you go, there are all kinds of families.” As readers journey to the zoo with Nellie, Gus, and their family, they learn about where people live, what they eat, their habits and hobbies, and how their families are composed, including references to single parents and same-sex couples. The prose is unadorned and economical, but gentle, and perfect for very young children. Digitally created images are bright and welcoming and feature a host of multicultural characters and diverse families. The conversations between Nellie and Gus featured in speech bubbles alongside the illustrations sweetly reinforce the messages in the broader text: “Right, Gus. Don’t worry. I can be your big sister and your friend. And I am!” This book should find a place in classroom libraries, guidance offices, and public libraries.”
–Alison Donnelly, Mississippi Valley Library District, Collinsville, IL

Kirkus wrote, “Narrative text and speech balloons introduce diverse family constellations in a celebratory spirit of inclusivity and community… the tone remains positive and affirming even as it acknowledges that “sometimes, families have mad times. And sometimes, families have sad times.”” Here’s the link to the full review.


Keeping fingers crossed! SHADOW has made it into the shortlist of the Inspiration Book Awards run by Coventry City Council in the UK in the Never Too Young Category (0-4). Voting has started and the results will be announced in the New Year.


Check out this great review from The review says, “WHO HAS WHAT is a standout book, both for the fact that there are very few books that cover this subject on the shelves today and for the relatable, story-like way that Harris presents the facts.”
Here’s a link to the full review:


Exciting news! WHO HAS WHAT? has been named an outstanding children’s book by the Children’s Book Committee of Bank Street College of Education and is listed in their recent publication THE BEST CHILDREN’S BOOKS OF THE YEAR, 2012.
As it says on the Committee’s site, this wonderful and useful publication is “One of the most comprehensive annotated book lists for children, aged infant-16. The Committee reviews over 6,000 titles each year for accuracy and literary quality and considers their emotional impact on children. It chooses the best 600 books, both fiction and nonfiction, which it lists with annotations, according to age and category.“
WHO HAS WHAT? was awarded a star for being one of the nineteen outstanding books in the UNDER FIVE CATEGORY.
Here’s the link to the full list, including the outstanding books of the year:
WHO HAS WHAT? is in the Under 5 category of outstanding books.

Who Has What? named ALA 2012 Notable Children’s Book

WHO HAS WHAT? was recently named an American Library Association 2012 Notable Children’s Book. As it says on their site, “Each year a committee of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) identifies the best of the best in children’s books. According to the Notables Criteria, “notable” is defined as: Worthy of note or notice, important, distinguished, outstanding.”
See the American Library Associations full list here.

Feature Interview on

An exciting feature interview, plus an overview of all four of my books on healthy sexuality, including WHO HAS WHAT?, has just been posted on Check out the interview here, and the overview here.


HOORAY! Three reviews — from School Library Journal, Kirkus and Booklist — for WHO HAS WHAT? are starred reviews!
Read the starred review from School Library Journal
Read the starred review from Kirkus Reviews
Read the starred review from Booklist


HOORAY! Bloggers are now reviewing WHO HAS WHAT?
Read the review from As the Page Turns Blog.
Read the review from ThinkBannedThoughts Blog.
Read the review from Richie’s Picks Blog.

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Best Book Award

WHO HAS WHAT? has also been given an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Best Book Award in the Platinum category for two age groups — Preschoolers and Early Elementary School Years. The Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award represents the most innovative, engaging new products of the year.
You can read their review here.

In the New Yorker

The New Yorker has a marvelous essay by Jill Lepore—BOOKS ABOUT THE BIRDS AND THE BEES—in which she cites IT’S PERFECTLY NORMAL, IT’S SO AMAZING! and IT’S NOT THE STORK! Lepore calls these books “the best of the latest batch” and says, “they have an endearing and companionable matter-of-factness.” You can read the article here.

Banned Books: A Podcast Conversation

I recently participated in a discussion on banned books at the PEN American Center. You can listen to the podcast here.

Mail Harry to the Moon!

Robie and Michael Emberley’s picture book MAIL HARRY TO THE MOON! was the winner of the Irma S. and James H. Black Award for Excellence in Children’s Literature, a prize awarded annually by the Bank Street College of Education. Read about the award here.

This prestigious award goes to an outstanding book for young children—a book, according to Bank Street, “in which text and illustrations are inseparable, each enhancing and enlarging on the other to produce a singular whole.”

Robie and Michael were thrilled to know that children were a vital part of naming MAIL HARRY TO THE MOON! the best picture book of 2008. Over the course of many weeks, more than 2,500 children around the country read, examined, discussed, and re-read the four nominated picture books before they voted on the winning book.

It’s Perfectly Normal

Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health

15th Anniversary Edition
by Robie H. Harris with illustrations by Michael Emberley

Announcing the fifteenth anniversary edition of the definitive and most trusted book for kids and teens on puberty and sexual health – completely updated for the twenty-first century.

Publication date:
**September 8th, 2009**
(Hardcover and Paperback release)

With more than 1.5 million copies in print, IT’S PERFECTLY NORMAL celebrates 15 years in print with a fully updated version, including a brand-new chapter on safe and healthy Internet use – one of parents’ key concerns. This universally acclaimed classic by Robie H. Harris and Michael Emberley is the trusted resource kids and teens turn to as they go through puberty and adolescence. Parents, teachers, librarians, health professionals and clergy also turn to this trusted and accessible resource. Providing honest and scientifically-accurate answers to nearly every imaginable question, from conception and puberty to birth control and HIV/AIDS, IT’S PERFECTLY NORMAL offers young people real information they need – now more than ever – to make responsible decisions and stay healthy.

The Day Leo Said I Hate You!

THE DAY LEO SAID I HATE YOU! was selected as a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year for 2008 and also chosen as a Scripps-Howard Best of the Year 2008 pick.

Stars upon stars (and a box too)! THE DAY LEO SAID I HATE YOU! illustrated by Molly Bang, has just been published. It has received a starred review from Kirkus, a starred review from School Library Journal, and a starred and boxed review from Publishers Weekly. I’m positively starry-eyed about the honors. I feel so lucky that both MAIL HARRY TO THE MOON! and MAYBE A BEAR ATE IT! also received two starred reviews. It’s gratifying that reviewers appreciate that stories about very strong feelings resonate with young children and their families.
Read starred boxed review

Maybe a Bear Ate It!

MAYBE A BEAR ATE IT! was selected as a Children’s Choices Book for 2009 by the International Reading Association and the Children’s Book Council.

MAYBE A BEAR ATE IT! was chosen as an American Library Association Notable Book for 2009. Each year a committee identifies the best of the best in children’s books.

This picture book, illustrated by Michael Emberley, was published by Orchard Books/Scholastic Press on January 1st, 2008. This story, told by an endearing creature, is the story of how bereft this creature feels when it’s bedtime, and it has lost its favorite book-of-the-moment! First, bewilderment, then worry, and then panic sets in. “Maybe a bear ate it!” the creature worries. “Maybe a stegosaurus stomped on it!” These thoughts are much too worrisome! That’s when the creature is compelled to go and look for its beloved book — because it’s impossible to go to sleep without it!
Read starred reviews from School Library Journal’s
Read starred reviews from Booklist

Mail Harry to the Moon!

MAIL HARRY TO THE MOON! was selected as a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year for 2008.
Read starred reviews from School Library Journal’s
Read starred reviews from Booklist

It’s Not the Stork! Paperback

The paperback edition of IT’S NOT THE STORK! was published this past September. Now all three books in Robie’s and Michael Emberley’s award-winning and best-selling FAMILY LIBRARY – IT’S NOT THE STORK! for children age 4 and up, IT’S SO AMAZING! for children age 7 and up, and IT’S PERFECTLY NORMAL for kids and teens age 10 and up – are available in paperback for kids, families, teachers, librarians, health professionals, and clergy. Finally, children and teens have A FAMILY LIBRARY to help them stay healthy as they grow up.

Robie H. Harris Blog Tour

Check out the Robie H. Harris Blog Tour hosted by five top-rated children’s book blogmasters! Read about MAYBE A BEAR ATE IT!, and read more about Robie Harris’s picture books and nonfiction — both past and future.

Day #1
Fuse #8
FICTION AND NONFICTION: Both Need to Tell a Story

Day #2
Book Buds
DON’T BE AFRAID! Writing with Honesty and in the Best Interests of the Child

Day #3
Mother Reader
WRITING FROM THE ‘CHILD’S EYE-VIEW’: Who Is Your Audience? And Does It Matter? Should It Affect Your Writing — Or Not?

Day #4
Kids Lit

Day #5
Bookshelves of Doom

It’s Not the Stork!

In addition to receiving raves and starred reviews, was featured in a TODAY SHOW segment in which Robie commented about the need to answer young children’s questions and concerns about the birds and the bees. Read starred reviews for IT’S NOT THE STORK! from School Library Journal, The Horn Book, and Booklist.

Parents magazine highlighted IT’S NOT THE STORK! as a book to use for talking to pre-schoolers about sensitive subjects.


A Podcast with Robie Harris and children’s book author Susan Patron, moderated by noted pediatrician and author Perri Klass, M.D. Listen to Robie Harris and Susan Patron discuss freedom to read and freedom to write issues and children’s books; hosted by PEN American Center.

Whenever I find out a book of mine is
in the media, my first response is “Me? Really?”
Then when I realize that something I wrote
is being talked or written about, most always,
I feel proud and thrilled!