Children's Author





Oscar docks Oct 13!


As America changed, so did the corner store

If you want to see 20th century American history unfold before your eyes, stand on a city street corner and watch it change! 

When Oscar lands on Ellis Island, he has only a suitcase and a down payment in his hands. And he has a dream-- to own his own barbershop.


After it opens on the corner of Front St. and Second Ave, Oscar's barbershop becomes a beloved local fixture... until the day Oscar decides to move on and become a subway conductor.


Over the years, this barbershop will change hands to become a lady's clothing store, then a soup kitchen. A coffee shop follows, then the space becomes an army recruitment center, then a candy shop.


As the years pass and the world changes, the proud corner store stands tall, watching American history unfold around it.

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2020 Orbis Pictus Award


• Horn Book

• School Library Journal

• Kirkus

• Chicago Public Library

• Publishers Weekly

• Evanston Public Library

• Center for the Study of Multicultural Children's Literature (CSMCL)

Book Reviews 

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"A Grand Slam!"


"This uplifting account of a family and the integration of Boston baseball will be inspiring to many youngsters." 


"This picture book contributes to children's understanding of America's past, while telling a good story."


"The story's moments of triumph sound the loudest notes."


“The story is a snapshot of the Civil Rights Movement and a great discussion starter about the state of race relations in the United States today.”


"This uplifting account of a family and the integration of Boston baseball will be inspiring to many youngsters."

Knowledge Quest

 "Wittenstein gives the reader an understanding that the movement for integration is a long one."


  Named one of 2018's BEST BOOKS


• Texas Bluebonnet Master List 2019-2020

• Texas Topaz List 2019-2020

• Great Texas Mosquito List 2019-2020

• Virginia State Reading Association Choice List 2019-2020

• Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Awards Program Master List 2019-2020 

• Alabama Camellia Children's Choice Award Nominee 2019-2020

• Washington Children's Choice Picture Award Nominee 2018-2019

Knowledge Quest

"There are times when I read a historically based picture book and hope that I can find great primary sources to accompany it. I felt this way when I read The Boo-Boos That Changed the World written by Barry Wittenstein and illustrated by Chris Hsu. Luckily, I was not disappointed and can not wait to use these sources with my students."  


Publishers Weekly

"Wittenstein, who imagines the details of the exchanges between Josephine and Earle, gracefully suggests to readers that even items as enduring as the Band-Aid started out as one individual’s creative solution to a common problem." 

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• School Library Journal

“Gr 2–4—“This book tells the fascinating story of the invention of the Band-Aid in the early twentieth century with a delightful sense of humor. Josephine Dickson was particularly accident-prone in the kitchen, inspiring her husband Earle to come up with a creative solution. 


A running "The End" gag will make kids chuckle throughout as they will think they've reached the end of the story only to find out that it is not over yet. 


A funny and illuminating nonfiction entry that will hold particular appeal for aspiring inventors and future medical professionals.”


Susanna Hill's blog

 "I loved this book for the history – the information about Sonny’s life and music – but even better was the way the story was told.  Barry literally wrote in jazz.  Overall this is an amazing book with a lot to offer educationally and artistically.  A great addition to any classroom, library, or kids’ room shelf! "

 "A story about an adult's sabbatical from his professional life is an unusual concept for a children's book, but Barry Wittenstein's jazzy-rhythmed Sonny's Bridge makes perfect sense once it's in readers' hands."


 "An appropriately jazzy picture-book biography of African-American musician Sonny Rollins. Born and raised in Harlem, Rollins grew up at the perfect time for a jazz musician. Written in free verse that flirts with rhyme, the text moves through measures and beats like the up-and-down swings of jazz."

• Publishers Weekly

 "This insightful biography of Sonny Rollins ... fluidly provides historical context while exploring the ebbs and flows of the artistic process."

• Booklist

 "Wittenstein presents the story in jaunty, lyrical phrasings.  A good choice for collections in need of biographies focused on music or lesser-known African American musicians."


 "The life of jazz legend Sonny Rollins pulses with the rousing spontaneity of his music in Wittenstein’s free verse biography. [The]verse replicates the swift tempo of bebop, interspersing rhyme and combining informal vernacular with a sense of extemporization in the rhythm."

 "This biography of Sonny Bridge reads like a jazz song. Syncopated notes of jazz greats and historical events emerge throughout the text. The conversational language flows with a creative tempo. Interesting use of punctuation enhances the rhythm of the story."

KIRKUS  -- Best of 2019

 "Wittenstein’s free-verse narrative perfectly captures the tension leading up to the speech as each adviser urged his own ideas while remaining a supportive community. Pinkney’s trademark illustrations dramatize this and the speech, adding power and further illuminating the sense of historical importance.."

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"'A Place to Land' (Holiday House, ages 7 to 10), written by Barry Wittenstein, focuses on the way Martin Luther King Jr. crafted and delivered his 'I Have a Dream' speech 56 years ago this August. The opening pages feature King in the Willard Hotel lobby with Rustin and eight other advisers, debating the content of the speech the night before the march. The rest of the book, illustrated with enormous heart and rich textures by Jerry Pinkney, presents Dr. King's inspiring words as part of an outsize pageant, featuring King, the crowds and others on the stage, including Mahalia Jackson, who urged King, 'Tell them about the dream!'"

© 2020 Barry Wittenstein

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