Penguin Random House: Vanessa Brantley-Newton Presents Her New Picture Book That Celebrates Uniqueness

Attention colleagues with young children: Vanessa Brantley-Newton, author and illustrator of BECOMING VANESSA (Knopf Books for Young Readers), will share her newest picture book at a special virtual storytime event hosted by the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art via Zoom on Thursday, August 26 at 10:00 am (ET).


BECOMING VANESSA is a story of a little girl learning to celebrate her uniqueness. Loosely inspired by events from her own life, Vanessa Brantley-Newton uses her trademark voice and gorgeous artwork to craft a heartwarming story for any kid afraid to stand out.

On Vanessa’s first day of school, her parents tell her it will be easy to make friends. She wears her fanciest outfit so her new classmates will notice her right away. Her classmates notice, but the attention isn’t what she’d hoped it would be; as the day goes on, she feels more and more self-conscious. Her clothes are too bright, and even her name is too hard to write. The next day, she picks out a plain outfit and tells her mom that her name is too long. But when her mother tells her the meaning behind her name, it gives her the confidence she needs to introduce her classmates to the real Vanessa.

Vanessa Brantley-Newton is a self-taught illustrator, doll maker, and crafter who studied fashion illustration at FIT and children’s book illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York. She is the author and illustrator of Grandma’s Purse and Just Like Me, and has illustrated numerous children’s books, including The King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes and Sewing Stories by Barbara Herkert. Vanessa currently makes her home in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband, daughter, and a very rambunctious cat named Stripes.

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