Category Archives: books

Nancy Gaines of “Boston Inspirational Women” featured in Gloucester Times Article

From the Gloucester Times:

‘Inspirational’ local woman

Times correspondent Nancy Gaines is featured in a new coffee-table book that celebrates “Boston Inspirational Women.”

The project is the first collaboration between well-known Boston photographers Bill Brett, chief photog for the Boston Globe for many years, and daughter Kerry Brett, who shoots portraits and celebrity covers for the Improper Bostonian Magazine. The text for the book is by Carol Beggy, also a former Globe staffer.

Beyond Gaines, a resident of Bay View and wife of Times staff writer Richard Gaines, the portfolio of accomplished and admired women, which will appear in hardcover next month (and on Amazon), includes the likes of the late Myra Kraft, wife of Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft and very much an activist in her own right, Mary Richardson of “Chronicle,” Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust, publisher Wendy Semonian, uberchef Lydia Shire, state Senate president Therese Murray, and actress and author Marianne Leone.


Story Time—Our List of Top Reads for Kids

“Crunch time” for holiday shopping is officially here. And you likely have some little ones on your list yet to buy for. So, you can’t find the exact Pillow Pet Junior is coveting, opt for the gift of reading instead. A magical book can grow a child’s imagination, education and sense of wonder—and it won’t go the way of the Zhu Zhu Pet three years from now.

Sure we’re publishers, authors and illustrators of children’s books. But most of all we’re mothers, always searching the shelves of bookstores and libraries for another good read for kids. And there are plenty to choose from. If you ask us, there can never be too many children’s books.

Of course we’re not the least bit biased when we tell you that we really dig our own children’s stories (Lily + the Imaginary Zoo, The Yellowest Yellow Lab, Frankie Goes to Fenway: The Tale of the Faithful Red Sox–Loving Mouse, and our newest book, by artist Priscilla Hayes, The Too Much Love Story). But if you must search beyond Three Bean Press’s titles, here are some of our personal favs:

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. Because you can’t deny its magical power to make baby’s eyelids peacefully heavy.

Tikki Tikki Tembo retold by Arlene Mosel. For the longest and most rhythmic character name that’s like a fun tongue twister—how fast can you say it?—and for Blair Lent’s gorgeous illustrations.

Amelia Bedelia series by Peggy Parish. For housekeeper Amelia Bedelia’s delightfully literal mind—she makes sponge cake out of sponges and when asked to draw the curtains, she does a drawing of them—that will have kids roaring with laughter over her misunderstood idioms.

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. For its classic poems that are full of heart, whimsy and hilarious moments. Don’t miss “Sick.”

Corduroy by Don Freeman. Because there’s something undeniably charming about this little bear, even if he is missing a button.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. Because can’t we all commiserate? From the getting the prize-less cereal box to being forced to buy the plain white sneakers, this poor kid can’t catch a break today.

Strega Nona by Tomi de Paola. For the bountiful pasta that overtakes an Italian town when Big Anthony tries to use Strega Nona’s magic pot. Yes, there is such a thing as too much pasta.

Horton Hatches the Egg and Horton Hears a Who! by Dr. Seuss. For the elephant’s earnest nature: He meant what he said, and he said what he meant. An elephant’s faithful, one hundred percent. And he realizes that “a person’s a person, no matter how small.”

Polar Express and Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg. For Van Allsburg’s glorious illustrations, and for showing kids how far their imaginations can take them.

Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt. Because who can resist bunny’s soft coat and playing a game of peek-a-boo with Paul? These simple, tactile pages are interactive for baby.

Eloise by Kay Thompson. You simply must have these books. Eloise is really “rawther” entertaining on her escapades with Nanny, Weenie and Skipperdee in the Plaza, to Paris and beyond.

Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw. For the riotous rhymes about a flock of foolish, jeep-driving sheep.

The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman. For the picky Peters’ appetites, and how they all combine to make something wonderful. And, of course, for Marla Frazee’s brilliant illustrations (look for her other books too, as her drawings engage parents and children alike).

Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina. For the naughty monkeys, the exasperated cap peddler, and for the book’s ability to get kids to join in telling the classic tale.

The Napping House by Audrey Wood. For its repetitive yet fun text about a slumbering mouse, snoozing cat, dozing dog, dreaming child, snoring granny, cozy bed and—yikes—a wakeful flea.

The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss. For the little boy’s faith, against all odds, that the carrot will surely come up.

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey. For its tender and beautifully told story of a blueberry-picking trip in Maine gone slightly awry. And for McCloskey’s always striking artwork.

Olivia by Ian Falconer. For the precocious little pig’s unlimited list of talents. And for her wardrobe.

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems. For Trixie’s unwavering love for her beloved stuffed animal and for Mo Willems’ inspired—and hilarious—illustrations.

On the Day You Were Born by Debra Frasier. For its celebratory tone and the way it shows a newborn’s connection to nature and to his or her place in the universe. We’re choked up just thinking about it.

Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney. Because this rhyming tale is just so fun to read—we never tire of reciting “llama drama”—plus, that long-necked little llama is pretty darn cute.

The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds. For Reynolds’ wonderful pen-and-ink drawings and watercolors, and a message that shows how a good teacher can unleash hidden talent in even the most reluctant student.

Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy by David Soman and Jacky Davis. We especially like this follow-up to Ladybug Girl for its imaginative take on playground play, its colorful costumes and its fantastic art. Oh, and we also like that it’s written by two authors.  

The Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park. For the spirited main character and the delight that readers new to chapter books feel when they learn they can join Junie B. in her fun—and slightly irreverent—antics.

Do you love these books too? What are your favorite reads for kids?

Feeling the Love

art © priscilla hayes

Tina Turner asks (okay, so it’s more like belts out) “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” Well, we say “Everything!” And we’re fairly certain Priscilla Hayes is right there with us. Who’s Hayes, you ask? She’s the Boston-based abstract artist–turned–children’s book author who combined a series of sweeping, sunny canvases with her own experiences involving “a child, a couple, a cat and a dog who are dear to [her]” to create a delightful new “fable in paint” called The Too Much Love Story.

Available mid-November (and more than worthy of some space on your bookshelf, we’d add) this story/art book involves a couple who—you guessed it—has too much love. Their love runs so deep that their hearts simply can’t contain it. So what happens? The love spills out of the house, into the yard, and through the streets of a seaside village; readers can literally see it happen through renderings of hearts of all shapes and sizes against Hayes’ vibrant backdrops.

When the town’s beaches, ice cream stands, playgrounds and theaters become impossibly overcrowded with the pair’s emotional outpouring, the couple searches for a solution. They find it—sound the spoiler alert alarms!!—in the swaddled-up arms of a new baby.

According to Hayes, The Too Much Love Story reveals just one of the many special ways of becoming a family. And, in a very cool touch, she encourages children and families to think about their own “love stories” by placing keepsake photos in a pocket that’s affixed to the book’s inside back cover.

Preview The Too Much Love Story here:

Vegging Out

Do you participate in a CSA (community supported agriculture, or a farm share)? A few of us do, and we’re always thrilled to pick up our fresh-from-the-farm veggies. It’s pure incentive to eat healthy and create a delicious meal around the local ingredients provided. This week’s bounty includes, among other things, succulent sweet corn, brightly flavored onions and perfect little red bliss potatoes.

What to do with these seasonal treasures? Peter Davis’s gorgeous cookbook, Fresh & Honest: Food From the Farms of New England and the Kitchen of Henrietta’s Table, which we published in 2008, has inspiration. His Roasted Corn and Crab Chowder popped out as the immediate answer. Baking the corn in the husks will surely impart wonderful flavor, and substituting red bliss potatoes for his suggestion of new potatoes should do the trick. And how can you go wrong with fresh rock crab in the height of summer?

Here’s Chef Davis’s sensory delight of a dish:

Roasted Corn and Crab Chowder
Serves 8


4 ears corn, unhusked
1/2 gallon chicken stock
2 strips bacon, diced
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 medium-sized new potatoes, cut into bite-sized cubes
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 pound rock crabmeat
Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bake the corn in their husks for

40 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool.

Husk the corn and remove the kernels with a knife. Set aside.

Take 1/2 cup of the stock and bring to a boil in a saucepan. Add three-quarters of the corn kernels and cook on medium heat for 20 minutes. Puree the mixture in a blender or food processor.

In a large pot, sauté the bacon until lightly browned. Add the onion and celery and cook until transparent. Add the flour and cook over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring to keep from burning.

Gradually add the potatoes and remaining stock. Cover and cook until the potatoes are soft. Add the corn puree, reserved kernels, turmeric, and crabmeat.

Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

What are your favorite garden-fresh recipes? Please share!

Summer Reading

(image via

We don’t know about you, but come summertime we’ll make any excuse to flee to the beaches of Cape Cod. If that’s where you’re headed, make it a point to stop into Books by the Sea in Osterville. The indie bookshop enthralls tried-and-true bibliophiles as well as those combing its cache for the perfect beach read. Located on the ever charming Main Street (there is also an outpost in South Yarmouth), the store is friendly and as big on community as it is on words. Not only is the staff well-versed on all titles, its owners are dedicated to showcasing local talent. This summer, they’ve planned a slew of readings, signings and lectures, giving patrons even more reason to come calling. We’ve had the good fortune of appearing at the store for a book signing—and were wowed by how the store encourages dialogue between author and reader. It’s a special shop to be sure, but don’t take our word for it, see for yourself. Books by the Sea’s happenings are posted on their Twitter feed: follow @BooksByTheSea or check them out at

Riddle Me This

©Priscilla Hayes

©Priscilla Hayes

One of the most rewarding stages when making a children’s book is piecing together an edited manuscript with corresponding illustrations. There is a satisfaction—almost like completing a 2000-piece puzzle—that comes with matching text to images in different ways, all the while being mindful of page count.

That’s where we are currently with The Too Much Love Story, an exuberant “fable in paint” created by local artist Priscilla Hayes. This children’s book, set in a seaside town, pairs a heart-tugging tale about love and family with Hayes’ vividly rendered paintings. Hayes’ happy, rhythmic pictures have an instant appeal on the page, and are sure to inspire children and adults alike.

What compounds the thrill is when the author or illustrator, who, despite the fact that he or she knew they had the raw ingredients for a successful book, gets jazzed about how all of the pieces coalesce. It’s gratifying to see how their words and images take shape in book form, and rewarding for all sides to engage in the roundtable discussion that occurs throughout the process. For us, this creative dialogue between the creator and the creative team is what it’s all about. It’s how the very best book—for both the reader and the author—is achieved.

Cover Me

Ever wonder what goes into designing a book cover? Lauren, a designer at Orbit Books, left her video screen on capture for six hours while she worked on designing a book cover. The result is a fantastic, time-lapse video of the design process for that oh-so important marketing tool. The video is condensed down to just under two minutes and is set to music that makes you feel like you are watching a really cool/artsy commercial. If only cover construction went this fast. Take a look…