Naoko Stoop’s latest children’s book, Red Knit Cap Girl and the Reading Tree, is the quintessential Little Library treasure – that book you probably wouldn’t have found otherwise but upon opening the pages, it startles you with its brilliance.

Red Knit Cap Girl and friends enjoying books from their reading tree library.

Red Knit Cap Girl and friends enjoying books from their reading tree library.

Vibrant illustrations paired with elegant, simple prose unfold a story about the importance of reading, sharing and working together. Really, how perfect is that?

You can win an autographed copy for your Library – we came up with a super fun, easy contest that you don’t want to miss (more details below).

We also had the opportunity to do an exclusive interview with Naoko and were charmed by her sweet candor; we bet you will be too! Here’s the inside scoop:

Sometimes the quiet voice resonates more than the shout; the awakening to what was always there trumps the obvious. A tiny girl with a red knit cap can show us such things. In fact, that is the message that children and adults can learn from all 3 books in the Red Knit Cap Girl series.

Red Knit Cap Girl and the Reading Tree is about (you guessed it!) a reading tree. The allusions in the book are both subtle and full of grace, and they speak eloquently to Little Free Library users.

Red Knit Cap Girl and friends building the library.

Red Knit Cap Girl and friends building the library.

Seeing how her friend Owl has made the nook in a tree into a library, she candidly reminds us: “A library is a place where anyone can borrow a book.”

The story continues and Red Knit Cap Girl and a fox, sheep, bear, deer, owl, squirrel and hedgehog all pitch in to help.

A turtle and the moon each contributed what they could to build and stock the reading tree with books. Sound familiar?

How did Naoko get her start? “I started drawing in my childhood,” she says, “but it wasn’t really me. It was someone I wanted to be.”

It wasn’t until 2008 that she started doing art as a professional in the United States. “My editor discovered me, ” she says, admitting that being an author was not her original intent. “Art was like therapy for me. It feels more meaningful now, as though I could share my soul.”

Maybe that is the source of delight and surprise we can find in her work. The understated adventures of “a little girl with a big dream – to meet the moon – can remind us of the lessons of childhood that we often forget.”

Naoko Stoop is not sure that she is childish or child like. But for anyone who finds her book, especially if they find it in a Little Free Library, such distinctions may not matter. Her insights into what children imagine and dream are much more valuable.

P.S. If you love the Red Knit Cap Girl illustrations as much as we do, check out Naoko’s Etsy shop.

How can you win your copy?

  1. Download or view the step-by-step instructions to make Naoko’s Funny Bunny Hat – all it requires is a sheet of newspaper. You can also find the instructions on the Red Knit Cap Girl Pinterest board.
  2. Take a photo of yourself, family or friends wearing your Funny Bunny Hats next to your neighborhood Little Free Library (goofy faces encouraged).
  3. Post the photo to Little Free Library’s Facebook wall with the hashtag #redknitcap.
Naoko's Funny Bunny Hat!

Naoko’s Funny Bunny Hat! Photo courtesy of naokosstoop.blogspot.com

That’s it! We can’t wait to see your Funny Bunny Hat photos…and you just might see us wearing Funny Bunny Hats, too.

Contest Rules

50 winners will be chosen to receive an autographed copy of Red Knit Cap Girl and the Reading Tree. To be eligible to win, a photo including at least 1 Funny Bunny Hat and 1 Little Free Library must be posted to Little Free Library’s Facebook wall with the hashtag #redknitcap during the submission period.

The contest submission period will run from midnight (CST) on Friday, 9/19/14 to midnight on Sunday, 9/28/14. A valid U.S. or Canadian mailing address is required to win.

Winners will be notified via a comment on their Funny Bunny Hat photo posted to Little Free Library’s Facebook page. Books will be shipped within 4 weeks of contest end.

Questions? Contact mphanson@littlefreelibrary.org.

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