Brenda Dales

Brenda DalesAssistant Teaching Professor

Office: McGuffey 301E
Office Hours: Thursday 1:15 - 2:15; others by appointment

Degrees: Ph.D., Miami University
M.L.S., Miami University
M.Ed., Miami University
B.S., Miami University

Curriculum Vitae

About Brenda Dales

I am currently chair of the “Outstanding International Books” committee for the U.S. section of International Books for Young People (USBBY).  The 2014 list of outstanding international books (books published in 2013) as well as previous lists of outstanding international books, is available here. It is a joy to read books all year and participate in the selection of the final list of exciting, poignant, and wondrous books. Check it out!

I teach courses and workshops related to children’s and young adult literature at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. I am addicted to children’s books, caramels, my computer, motorcycles, sports cars, gardening, and cheese with truffles in it. I also like good red wine, pretending to play my piano, writing, sushi (not sashimi), shopping and traveling (the last two can be related). My favorite movie is Il Postino/The Postman, because of the importance of metaphor and poetry in the story. I can make the world’s best strawberry pie, and I have the unique and basically useless talent of being able to find four-leaf clovers whenever I want to.

Ten Titles Book Lists

Ten Titles Books for Reading and Sharing

For those of you who are visiting from our Facebook page, welcome to Ten Titles: Books for Children, Adults, and Other Humans. Peruse this page for Brenda's picks.

Wordless Books

Foxs Garden

by Princesse Camcam (Enchanted Lion, 2014)

The illustrator created cut-paper scenes, almost like small theatre sets, to tell a tender story of a fox who desperately needs a place to stay, but who is turned away by adult humans.

Fox's Garden

The Island

by Marije Tolman and Ronald Tolman (Lemniscaat USA, 2012)

Opportunities for multiple stories are available in these views of an island with animals and architectural structures that are both primitive and architecturally complex.

The Island


by Aaron Becker (Candlewick, 2013) Caldecott Honor Book

What to do when you use a special red crayon to draw yourself into an exciting life, you are floating in a boat in an extraordinary castle, and you start to plummet over a waterfall? Draw something else, of course! This young girl finally meets a young boy who has his own special purple crayon.


The Red Book

by Barbara Lehman (HMH, 2004) Caldecott Honor Book

A girl in a city finds a red book in the snow, and sees pictures of a boy on an island who finds a red book in the sand. He is seeing pictures of the girl in the city, who is reading a red book. A postmodern picture book for young readers.

Red Book


by Henry Cole (Scholastic, 2012)

Even historical fiction can be wordless, as evidenced in this story of a young girl who encounters an enslaved individual who is seeking freedom. The absence of words reinforces her actions.



by Suzy Lee (Chronicle, 2008)

Watch out—waves are coming in! Now they are receding! Charcoal, acrylic, and digitally manipulated illustrations accentuate lively blue waters as a little girl runs and retreats at the edge of the beach.


The Arrival

by Shaun Tan (Arthur A. Levine, 2007)

Like an old and worn album, the sepia-toned illustrations tell of a man who seeks to find a new place for his family as their current location has become dangerous. Part fantasy, part reality for many peoples over time and in the present, older children and adults will pore over the numerous illustrations in this 128-page book.

The Arrival

Before After

by Anne-Margot Ramstein and Matthias Arégui (Candlewick, 2014)

Pairs of illustrations are like puzzles in this 176-page book . . . a slingshot, then a broken window; a feather in a bottle of ink, then a typewriter; a rocking horse, then a rocking chair; a chicken, then an egg; an egg, then a chicken . . . before, and after.  Excellent for inferencing, for all ages!

Before After

The Conductor

Laëtitia Devernay (Chronicle, 2011) 

A conductor climbs a tree and directs with his baton, while birds fly from the tree. Are they birds, or are they really musical notes?

The Conductor

The Farmer and the Clown

by Marla Frazee (Beach Lane Books, 2014) 

An unlikely friendship evolves when a young clown falls from a circus train and a farmer extends his hospitality until the train makes the return trip.

The Farmer and the Clown

In the News

Illustrating African American Experiences - with Brenda Dales

Learn about a project that explores the African American experience through a literary genre and an art form that, at first, may seem like an unlikely source for the kind of deep and critical cultural analyses that could – according to Brenda Dales -- lead to social change for all.