Dedicated to Dedications II

by Peter McCleery for Picture the Books

Have you ever wondered about the stories behind the dedications in your favorite books?

In this post, we continue our blog series to hear the stories behind a few more Picture the Books authors’ dedications. In this rare glimpse behind the scenes, the authors share their personal stories about who they honored and why.

RenatoBarbara DiLorenzo’s debut book, RENATO AND THE LION, will be released on June 20, 2017 by Viking Children’s Books.

Barbara dedicated her book to two important people who made the book possible.

“For my son, Rennie B., who showed me that with a little bit of magic, stone lions come alive. And for Tracy Gates, who brought the words of this story to life. Without you both, this story would remain a collection of notes and sketches.”


My son inspired the book when he was only 3 years old–and believed a statue of a lion was actually alive. He is 14 today, but that moment stayed with me long enough to become this book. When I sold the book to Viking, it was wordless. Therefore, my editor Tracy Gates deserves credit in helping the words to emerge. 

whobert WHOBERT WHOVER, OWL DETECTIVE is Jason Gallaher’s debut picture book. It releases on July 18, 2017 from Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster.

Jason’s dedication is a touching story about his grandmother who believed in him perhaps more than anyone else. Get the tissues ready because it’s a very touching story.

whobert dedication

I wanted to dedicate this to my Grandma Joan because she was convinced I would become a writer, even when I wasn’t. Whenever I came over to her house, she had a typewriter set up for me with a stack of blank pages. Literally every single phone call we had, she’d ask, “So what are you working on, John Grisham?” She had such a zest for life and she passed that on to me by always reaffirming I could follow my dreams. She got to hear the news that I was getting published, and she was ecstatic. She passed away in December 2015, and I wanted this book to be a tribute to her and her constant support.

old tracksJessica Peterson’s debut, OLD TRACKS, NEW TRICKS, was published on March 14th by The Innovation Press.

Jessica didn’t have to look far for her inspiration. It was right there in her own family.

My book was inspired by many, many hours of playing trains with my now seven-year-old son, who I call “the Little Engineer” when I blog about our adventures. He was very involved in the process of making the book, and he even makes a cameo appearance near the beginning. I tucked the tracks into the pocket of his well-loved engineer overalls to make the illustration for the dedication page. I especially love the way the three tracks from the book seem to represent my son, my husband, and myself in that image — a happy accident of the creative process!

Old Tracks New Tricks Dedication Photo


daddy depotChana Stiefel’s first picture book, DADDY DEPOT, illustrated by Andy Snair is available now from Feiwel & Friends.

Her dedication story is both hilarious and heartfelt!

DADDY DEPOT is dedicated to my Pop and to my husband Larry, with an Unlimited Lifetime Guarantee. When I told my Pop that I was writing a book about a girl who returns her father to the Daddy store, he said, “What? I can’t hear you. My hearing aid’s not working!” (His hearing is fine, BTW!) But the dad in my book has very little resemblance to my own dad and everything in common with my husband. Larry loves football, tells silly jokes all day (as a pediatrician), and snores in our kids’ beds. He also does the best funky chicken touchdown dance ever. In the perfect dad department, I am extremely blessed.

daddy depot dedication

Hannah Barnaby has two picture books coming this spring. BAD GUY, illustrated by Mike Yamada was published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers and is available now. GARCIA AND COLETTE GO EXPLORING, illustrated by Andrew Joyner, will be published by Putnam on June 6.

Hannah dedicates both books to those closest to her: her family.

When my husband was a little boy, on the rare occasion he was misbehaving, his mother would say he had changed from Eddie Barnaby to his naughty alter-ego, FBad Guy dedication croppedreddie Hernaby. I’ve always loved this story, because it’s so true that even though kids (all kids!) work hard to behave and follow the rules, there are always times when that naughty side just has to come out. And it’s also true that without my husband’s support, I wouldn’t be able to do this work that I love so much.

G&C dedication croppedIt’s not very original, but this one is dedicated to my son and daughter. I have wanted to write picture books since I was a children’s book editor, but it wasn’t until I became a mom that I really immersed myself in the form. Reading dozens of books with my kids, and seeing which stories drew them in again and again, taught me so much about how picture books work and helped me finally solve the mystery of how to write them.

jabariGaia Cornwall’s first picture book, JABARI JUMPS, was published on May 9th by Candlewick.

In Gaia’s dedication story, below, we learn all about her family and how they inspired her.

Larkin and Rowan are my daughter and son. Lark was a month old when I came up with the dedication and already it fit perfectly. When I was pregnant, after having to come back for a second ultrasound because she wouldn’t stop moving, the tech advised us to “get that girl in gymnastics as soon as possible!” And Ro is my sweet, sensitive, then two year old, who helped our family come up with the phrase “Use your bravery!” –Which we now say to each other all the time.

jabari dedication

dadGina Perry’s first book, IT’S GREAT BEING A DAD, written by Dan Bar-el, is available now from Tundra Books.

Her dedication made for a nice surprise!

“To my loves: Piper the Unicorn, Miles the Robot and Kristian the Dad”


My children and husband are my anchors. I would not be making picture books without their love and support, so of course I wanted to dedicate the first picture book I illustrated to them. It was especially fun to keep it a secret until my advance copies arrived! Also, I loved that Dan Bar-el’s story included characters that fit each of them. 


londonPatricia Toht’s debut picture book, ALL ABOARD THE LONDON BUS, illustrated by Sam Usher, was released on May 4th by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books.

If you are a fan of the Chuggington TV show, you’ll love her dedication story.

Don is my husband. He and a friend co-created the TV show Chuggington, which was produced in the UK. Lucky for us, that job brought our family to London, where we lived for four years. It was a magical time for us, and the poems in the book reflect places we went and things we did.

london dedication

You might be wondering why the initials “D.H.” in the dedication don’t match Patricia Toht’s initials. That’s another funny story. Turns out, Patricia forgot to proof read the dedication page! Oops!

You can learn about these wonderful authors and illustrators – and many more – in our Creator and Book galleries. Thanks for supporting and celebrating 2017 picture book debuts with us! Keep in the loop on all the excitement by following @picturethebooks on Twitter and Instagram, too!

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