Perfect Picture Book Friday! Coyote by Lee Harper


So – I know I am VERY late in publishing this, but I had an unexpected trip to Washington DC pop up. I was invited to cover the USA Science and Engineering Festival for Scholastic News (I am a Scholastic News Kid Reporter) and it was an opportunity I wanted to do. With a little convincing that had to be done for my mom, I got to take that invitation! I will link up to the article when it is published. It was a great event but I was out of town for a couple days and fell behind on my blog. I really wanted to get this PPBF book out there because it’s been on my list for a while and I really was impressed with this book and the story behind it.

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it is a good book to breach the topic of losing a loved person in one’s life.

By Lee Harper
pages – ages 5+
Published by on

Theme/Topic- Death / Losing a friend / Losing a loved one

Genre- Realistic Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “It’s Saturday!!

I hop on my bike and go  for a ride.”

Synopsis: From the author- “Author’s Note: COYOTE is based on the real events of the morning I learned of my brother Chase’s unexpected death — a morning when I actually saw and rode with a coyote — then returned home to learn that Chase was gone. Retold through the eyes of a child, COYOTE is a gentle and lyrical picture book dealing with the subject of loss. It is my hope that COYOTE will help children talk about loss and to show how art can be used to help heal the hurt of losing someone you love. In Chase’s memory, my wife Krista and I will donate our share of the proceeds to help the children of Sandy Hook. ~Lee Harper”

What I Thought- This was a simple book with a lot behind the words. The book itself is just about the boy and his bike ride with the coyote, which he never sees again. Enter the symbolism. The book was written as a tribute after the sudden passing of Mr. Harper’s brother. The book shows Mr. Harper’s love for his brother, and his shock at no longer being able to see him. I saw Mr. Harper at a book-festival, and asked why the book was self-published, instead of by a traditional publisher – he said that he didn’t want an editor to try to rewrite the book because it was just the tribute he wanted for his brother. That really touched me. The book is illustrated in gorgeous water-colors, adding a little bit of surreal-ness to the book. I think that this book will be a necessary read for children who have lost a loved one.

Activities and Resources- Here is a good PDF Teacher’s Guide from Scholastic for kids dealing with the loss of a loved one.

Here is another link to a good post with a teacher’s guide on dealing with grief.

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

Categories: Age 1-5, Age 6-9, Perfect Picture Book Friday

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15 replies

  1. Congratulations on your exciting trip to DC, Erik! 🙂

    This book looks to be a very good one to have on hand for children losing loved ones. I’m going to request my local library add this one into their system. It could be just what a little one needs at some difficult time. Thanks, Erik.

  2. What a touching story about a touching event. Can’t wait to read your article, E. You are my favorite kid reporter.

    Love and licks,

  3. A special book to honour a sibling. Having lost a brother myself, I think this would be perfect to help children through a difficult time. Congrats on the trip!

  4. Scholastic sent you to DC?! That is awesome!

    Man, in a couple of year’s you’re gonna have the publishing world by the tail. And when that happens, don’t forget to remember your good pal, Mike, OK?


    • Mike? Who’s Mike?
      I don’t know if that’ll happen, but I’ll remember someone. I don’t remember his name, but I knew he disliked cats. Something about how a cat mugged his pet rat, causing Lucy to become a super cat-crime fighter, and he’s never seen her since (she said something about Chicago needing her help, and no one else could do the job). Am I thinking of the right guy?

  5. I heard of this book and the tribute. Seems like an awesome read. It’s too bad a publisher would change things up, given the larger audience the book could have reached.

  6. What a great book about grief and so nice to keep it as the author wished. Congrats on your exciting weekend Erik!

  7. What Mike said. Congrats on the sweet journalism assignment! 😀 Seriously, this looks like a beautiful tribute (text and visually) to his brother. And one that will help other kids work through their loss. Thank you for highlighting it.

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