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2016 Gittle List Winners

The goal of The Gittle List is to find great indie children’s picture books out of the thousands self-published. There are now 39 wonderful books to choose from. Any (and all) of them will be a cherished gift for the little ones in your life. Click on the book cover or book title link to buy online. It’s quick & easy!*

Ms. Stone is the first indie author to get two books on The Gittle List in one year. She is also the first author to win the #1 spot two times. (The Gittle List 2014)

#1 on The Gittle List 2016

#1: Snowpuppies and the Snowdeer, written & illustrated by Bev Stone, is the story of Tri, a very restless and curious puppy. The Snowpuppies series (this is Book 3) is about ten puppies who live in the snow. I love the whimsy of the story. The puppies sleep on snowflakes for pillows and a snowman stands watch at night. One night Tri, our curious puppy, can’t sleep and decides to follow a blackbird who is flying from tree to tree. The bird flies out of sight and Tri finds himself lost and alone in the middle of the forest, unprepared to deal with the dangers that nightfall can bring. How will he get home? Ms. Stone’s illustrations and page design are lovely. Once again, Ms. Stone writes a story in rhyme that is wonderful to read out loud (which I did several times). There is the lesson of not wandering off and staying close to home to be safe. But the rhyming is so beautiful; Snowpuppies and the Snowdeer exposes a child to the sheer joy of words. It will inspire a child to read — and perhaps bring out the writer in them. Note: Available in paperback.

#2: The Wanting Monster: (Not) Home For Christmas, written by now 4-time winner Mariana Llanos, and illustrated by Julián Galván, is the follow-up to The Wanting Monster (a 2015 Gittle List winner). Brothers Tito and Andy find themselves headed to Peru for Christmas. Tito is very unhappy about not being home for the holidays. He is absolutely sure that Santa will not find them in Peru. Tito has many clever — and hilarious —  ways to help Santa and his reindeer deliver the brothers’ Christmas gifts at their alternate location. Despite older brother Andy’s claim that Christmas is about more than presents, he’s also concerned that Santa won’t make his way to Uncle Pepe’s house. So many lessons here — about diversity, of course, but also about moving outside your comfort zone. At first, it’s difficult for the boys in their parents’ homeland — different language, traditions, and no snow! (Not) Home For Christmas proves that family, love, and celebration are the ingredients to a successful holiday anywhere in the world. Notes: Available in paperback. Bilingual English/Spanish version: Not Home For Christmas/Navidad Lejos de Casa.

#3 on The Gittle List 2016

#3: Amos Bounces Back: A Tale of Too Much TV written by Margaret Lowder and illustrated by Ellen Davis, is part of the Amos Tales series. (Amos Likes to Jump is a Gittle List 2015 winner) In this rhyming tale, Amos has stopped jumping. Instead, he has parked himself in a comfy chair in front of the TV. There he meets a variety of “friends” who seem very exciting — at first. These TV dogs do everything! Cook, play sports, dance, sing. There’s no end to their talents! After awhile Amos realizes that he’s gotten very lazy and a bit pudgy from laying around spending so much time with his TV buddies. He forces himself to get up and go outside. To his great joy, all his friends are waiting for him. When we were kids, we were  outside all day. Easier to do when there were only three channels and no video games. Amos Bounces Back provides a timely lesson for kids–and adults. Notes: Available in hardcover. There is also an Amos plush toy and Amos activity book that would make great gifts, too.

#4 on The Gittle List 2016
#4 on The Gittle List 2016

#4: In I Am An Art Superhero, written and illustrated by Desirée DiGerolamo, a little boy, Theo, shares the tale of how he became a hero in art class. It all starts with an unwanted blob of paint. Like many children, Theo gets frustrated when things don’t go the way he expects. His art teacher calmly explains that “There are no mistakes in art…only other possibilities.” It’s a wonderful lesson about the creative process. The art teacher, Mrs. D, shares her words of wisdom — then walks away. There is a tendency to just make something right for a child because we don’t like to see them sad. Or we don’t have the patience to let them work out their problems on their own. In working out his creative dilemma, Theo also discovers that the skills he learns in art class extend beyond art class. The illustrations have a mid-century feel in style and color that is unique today. (And that this Boomer really enjoyed.) Read I Am An Art Superhero to your little one and learn a parenting lesson or two along the way. Note: Available in paperback.

#5 on The Gittle List 2016
#5 on The Gittle List 2016

#5: Rumbly Grumbly, written and illustrated by Bev Stone, is the story of a happy little cloud who is faced with a very negative dark cloud. Ms. Stone is a now a 3-time Gittle List winner. There’s a reason for this — she is one of the rare authors who can consistently write great rhyming stories. Writing in rhyme is difficult and a precious few do it well. This book is fun to read aloud as the grouchy cloud “Grrrumbles,”Rummmbles,” and “Grrrrrrrs” its way through the sky. The little cloud comes close to being engulfed by the dark cloud’s negativity, but the Sun helps him remember his own true nature. He realizes that his positive disposition can be just as powerful. I’m a fan of Ms. Stone’s illustrations and page design. I’m amazed by how much emotion she’s able to convey on the “face” of the little cloud. The lesson of not allowing others to impact your mood or how you feel about yourself is clear. Rumbly Grumbly ends with an adorable song sung to the tune of If You’re Happy and You Know It that kids will enjoy. Note: Available in paperback. 😸

#6 on The Gittle List

#6: The Tree Watcher, written and illustrated by Christopher P. Stanley, is a celebration of trees and, in a sense, the passing of time that they mark. Many of us walk past trees all the time. See them towering outside a window or flickering past us on the way to work. But, like many things in life, we take them for granted — until we see them anew through the eyes of a child. Inspired by his son Sam, Mr. Stanley’s simple, gentle story is of a parent introducing a toddler to the magic of trees. The mammoth size of some; the generations of people and change they have witnessed; the beauty they bring to the seasons. Mr. Stanley’s illustrations are wondrous. Wispy and ethereal. If I’m waxing a bit poetic, it’s because reading the story makes me feel that way. As if I’ve rediscovered something and want to share it with my grandchildren. Take a walk in the park with your little one, find a big shady tree, and read The Tree Watcher together. Note: Available in hardcover and paperback. (I can’t wait for my hardcover copy to arrive!) 😸

#7 on The Gittle List 2016

#7: Bear Wants to Know, written by Donna Gibbs and illustrated by Janet Trotta, is the story of a little girl, Harriet, who has a very curious stuffed bear. Bear wants to know everything. What is tall? What is deep? The adults around them oblige Bear’s curiosity by taking the two on day trips to various places. Harriet then shows Bear the answers to his many questions. Absolutely adorable illustrations by Ms. Trotta. I really enjoyed the little background details in many of the scenes. (Have fun finding them.) Perfect for teaching the little ones basic concepts. Bear Wants to Know  is a lovely bedtime story with a sweet ending filled with love. The quality of the book is excellent; thick, shiny pages that deepen the colors in the illustrations. Most indie authors don’t have the budget for such a luxury. A real treat for the picture book lover. 😸 Note: Bear Wants to Know is only available through the author. Email Ms. Gibbs at Probably best to order now if you want it in time for the holidays.

#8 on The Gittle List
#8 on The Gittle List 2016

#8: Priceless Penny, written by Lauren Kramer-Theuerkauf and illustrated by James Sell, is the story of a puppy living in a shelter who hopes to find a forever home. Like many animals in shelters, Penny has some physical challenges. Several of the humans who come to the shelter on Adoption Day can’t see past them. What Penny lacks in beauty, she makes up for in the sweetest of dispositions. Ms. Kramer-Theuerkauf is clearly on a mission to bring awareness to the plight of shelter animals and she succeeds through the story of Penny. Mr. Sell’s illustrations capture the range of emotions in the story. Penny’s sadness at being passed by; her joy when she finds herself in a place with a big yard and other friendly dogs. Priceless Penny celebrates the hopeful spirit and the confidence that being loved “just as you are” can bring. Careful; you may find yourself heading down to your local animal shelter to find a forever friend. 😸 Notes: Paperback and Kindle versions. Available to read for free with KindleUnlimited.

#9 on The Gittle List 2016
#9 on The Gittle List 2016

#9: Milkweed Matters: A Close Look at the Life Cycles within a Food Chain written by Lisa Connors and illustrated by Betty Gatewood explains the life cycles of several living things-from the tiny milkweed seed to the Monarch butterfly to the owl (who dies of old age and regenerates the soil to start the process all over again). Ms. Connors describes the process in a simple way and the elegant illustrations by Ms. Gatewood bring the subject to life. (Pun sorta intended.) It is a wonderful introduction to the natural world and provides opportunity to discuss the “circle of life” with your little one. Ms. Connors provides a link to a website for more information and some awesome videos. There are some more challenging terms used sparingly throughout that are defined in the glossary, such as chrysalis and metamorphose. You may find yourself going on a few field trips after reading Milkweed Matters. 😸 Note: Kindle format, paperback. Available to read for free with KindleUnlimited.

*Please support my indie book business by clicking on the book covers or using the links posted in my blog to buy books and other products. This way, Amazon gives me a little commission that helps me continue the website for you and other readers. Thank you!

This year there are 9 books on The Gittle List (Why only 9 and not 10?)

2015 Gittle List Winners
2014 Gittle List Winners
2013 Gittle List Winners
Aviva Gittle writes and publishes children’s stories in English and Spanish. Her books are filled with beautiful illustrations from artists around the world. You can now order prints and mugs from all of the Kitten and Friends books, Nana books, and more! Each year, Aviva runs The Gittle List contest to support her fellow indie authors. Oh, she also loves children’s picture books and is always on the lookout for great ones. The 2017 Gittle List submission guidelines are due out in January. Follow @AvivaGittle on signup for Gittle News to be the first to know when they are posted! 😺

Published inGittle List WinnersThe Gittle List


  1. This is such wonderful news!! Thank you! And I just uploaded the book on Createspace. As soon as my soft proof arrives and looks ok, it will be available as a print on demand. Hopefully in a week.

    • AvivaGittle AvivaGittle

      If that’s the case, I’d like to wait until I can buy the print book before I leave your review on Amazon. Please let me know when Amazon has it for sale. Thanks! Again, congratulations!

  2. Congratulations Ms Lisa , Milkweed Matters sounds like a great book and now it has also earned the recognition. Thanks for bringing this subject in front of little ones.
    Subhash Kommuru

  3. Congratulations Ms Lauren. It looks like you have handled a very touchy subject elegantly. Especially for kids this is a very important lesson and parents stumble while talking about it. This book should provide a good perspective.
    Subhash Kommuru

  4. “The Tree Watcher” hold a very important spot near and dear to my heart, and I am beyond thrilled that my book was chosen for this list. Thank you so much very this great honor! I’m excited to see the rest of the great titles that will fill out the list for 2016.

    • AvivaGittle AvivaGittle

      Again, Chris, you are very welcome! Clearly from my review, I so enjoyed this book! I hope that you will consider entering another of your children’s picture books in 2017. (Submission guidelines will come out in January; be sure to sign up for Gittle News at to be alerted when they’re posted.)

  5. Congratulations Chris! I look forward to reading your book. Trees are superheroes to me.

    • Lisa, Contact Amazon via author central. They typically get it done within a day or less.
      – Subhash

  6. Congratulations to all the winners! I have just ordered a copy of everyone’s book and I am looking forward to reading them. Happy Holidays!

  7. Congratulations to all of the 2016 winners!! You’ve chosen a wonderful selection of children’s books for all to enjoy, Aviva! They all sound amazing!!

    • AvivaGittle AvivaGittle

      Thank you, Jill! You’ll enjoy any and all of them. Also, check out winners from previous years. I realized that I gave my copy of “Over the Under, and around the Square” (written and illustrated by 2014 Gittle Lister Craig Kunce) to my son. (It makes a great gift for adults, too.) So, I’m ordering another copy along with all the 2016 winning books. If you know other self-published children’s picture book authors, please tell them about the upcoming 2017 contest. Thanks and have a wonderful holiday! – Aviva

  8. Congratulations to all! Especially, Mariana Llanos! Your book teaches children the essence of living with two or more cultures! Brava!

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