Author Spotlight: Howard Pearlstein with The Old Man Eating Alone, Connor Crowe Can’t Let Go, Tribeca, and The Liebrary

Happy Sunday and welcome to Glitter Reviews!

Today we are happy to have Howard Pearlstein featured on Author Spotlight. He has not one but four picture books out this year! These are The Old Man Eating Alone, Connor Crowe Can’t Let Go, Tribeca, and The Liebrary. He co-wrote the latter two with his daughter Amanda Pearlstein.

Summaries from Goodreads:

The Old Man Eating Alone

As long as we have our memories, we will always be together…

Every morning Emily sees an old man eating alone in a café. This makes her sad, and one day she decides to talk with him. The man takes Emily on a journey through his fondest memories. She soon realizes that the bond he had with the love of his life is so strong that he will never be lonely, even if he is alone.

An honest and heartwarming story about a beautiful friendship, the place precious memories will always have in our hearts and love after death.

Connor Crowe Can’t Let Go

A cautionary tale about our obsession with electronic devices and a reminder about reconnecting with the simple things offline… Do you ever wish you could play with your tablet non-stop? Be careful what you wish for! It might actually come true, and you might find out it wasn’t such a great idea after all! Connor Crowe loves his parents, he loves his dog, he even loves his sister. But, most of all, he loves . . . his tablet! He plays on it when he wakes up. He plays on it when he gets home. He plays on it before he goes to bed. But one day, he wishes he could just let it go . . . A helpful story about a boy who can’t let go of his tablet.


Everyone wants to belong. Tribeca does, too.

But with only three legs and three paws, Tribeca knows she’s different from other cats. And when she learns that she’s going to be adopted, she starts to worry that she won’t fit in with her new family.

When the day arrives, Tribeca relaxes after meeting her new dad — but she learns that she also has a new sister. Will her sister accept her?

The Liebrary

A rhyming tale about what happens when a family decides to take every word to heart―and the hilarious consequences that follow. Should children learn to drive cars? Are volcanoes bubbling with fondu? And do rhinos make good pets? Mikayla and Drew loved to read and learn new things…but when a new stack of books gives way to facts unlike anything they had ever heard of before, chaos ensues! Soon the children are swimming with alligators, eating candies like vitamins, and getting blasted by their neighbor. Which leads them to wonder . . . If it’s in a book, is it actually true? From Amanda Pearlstein, Howard Pearlstein, and Maren Amini, comes a rhyming tale about what happens when a family decides to take every word to heart―and the hilarious consequences that follow. A perfect book for fans of Harry Bliss and Doreen Cronin!

Oh my goodness! You have four books out in 2023. Tell us what inspired you to write The Old Man Eating Alone, Connor Crowe Can’t Let Go, Tribeca, and The Liebrary?

The Old Man Eating Alone

My youngest daughter Emily has always been very empathetic. One of the things that upset her the most, from a young age, was seeing old men eating by themselves. I have no idea why. But I took this idea of an old man eating alone and thought about how I could transform this sad premise into something else. While the story has sadness and deals with death, it gives the reader an opportunity to look at loss from a different perspective.

Connor Crowe Can’t Let Go

My wife and I went out to breakfast one day, and it seemed like every parent was on his or her phone rather than paying attention to their children. When the kids started getting antsy, the parents gave them their phones to occupy them. I thought this was incredibly sad to see families barely interacting with each other. I remembered a story from when I was little about a boy who pushed vegetables onto his fork with his thumb, even though his parents told him not to. He kept doing it, and one day vegetables started growing from his thumb. At first, it was cool, but then the vegetables grew out of control. I thought a similar premise could work for a boy who’s addicted to his device and then realizes the consequences. I wanted this story to be a cautionary tale about the dangers of choosing devices over people.


See below. 

The Liebrary

See below.

You co-wrote Tribeca and The Liebrary with your daughter Amanda Pearstein. Tell us about this experience. Who came up with the idea to collaborate? How do you agree on the themes for the stories?

For Tribeca, my oldest daughter Amanda, a lawyer with the Department of Justice, called me one day and said I should write a picture book about the three-legged cat she and her girlfriend had fostered and that was eventually adopted by a family with a three-legged dog. I told her it was a great idea, but I’d only write it if she wrote it with me. Luckily, she agreed.

I wrote a first draft, sent it to Amanda, she refined it, and then we went back and forth a few times to fine-tune it. Writing the story from Tribeca’s perspective and about the thoughts and fears a foster cat could have made the process a lot of fun. 

When we started sending out queries, one publisher, Margie Blumberg from MB Publishing, gave us some really wonderful feedback. We revised the manuscript with her insights and continued with the querying process. I really think her input helped this story get out of the slush pile.

For The Liebrary, I was driving home one day, passed a library and it occurred to me that the word “library” sounds the same whether it’s spelled correctly or “liebrary.” 

Around that time, the term “fake news” was all over TV and social media and, unfortunately, a lot and people tended to believe whatever story aligned with their viewpoints – no matter how fantastical or unrealistic the stories might have been. I thought it would be interesting to tell a story about the consequences of believing everything you read without thinking critically about what is actually being said. I wanted to create a story that was fun and funny, but also showed the importance of using critical thinking skills when faced with unbelievable “facts.”

I wrote a draft and thought it was okay, but knew it could be better, so I sent the manuscript to Amanda. Sure enough, she took my Corolla of a manuscript and transformed it into a Lexus. It was so much fun working together. We each saw ways to push the story and tweaked it for a few rounds over the course of a week – adding scenes, fine-tuning the rhyme and meter, brainstorming titles for the “liebrary” books and sharing our visions for the illustrations.

These four picture books are different from one another. Can you share your secret or tip for being a prolific author?

One tip I would share is to put away fear. People tend to doubt themselves and think that they could never become an author. But you simply need to ignore that voice in your head and write as often as you can. In addition, don’t be afraid to write whatever you feel like writing. An idea might seem too odd to be a children’s book and not like others – but that’s a good thing. If something pops into your head, write it down. If it scares you a little to make a story about it, that’s a good thing.

Which of these books was easier to write and why? Which one was the hardest to write and why?

The Old Man Eating Alone was by far the easiest. Since it was based on my daughters sadness about seeing old men eating alone, I already had the plot. Then I filled in the old man’s memories with experiences my wife and I have had together. All I really had to do was find a nice ending to wrap up the story.

I went through the most drafts writing Connor Crowe Can’t Let Go, so it was the most difficult to write. It started off way too long, so I kept looking for ways to cut down the word count while still getting across the idea in a fun, entertaining and effective way.

Hilde Groven illustrated The Old Man Eating Alone, Stefani Buijsman illustrated Connor Crove Can’t Let Go, Maren Amini illustrated The Liebrary, and Renate Potter illustrated Tribeca. Which is your favorite spread in each story and why?

I couldn’t have asked for better illustrators for each of these stories. They all captured the essence of each book so wonderfully.

The Old Man Eating Alone

My favorite spread is early in the book when Emily has her hand against the café window as she looks at the old man, but it looks as if she’s touching his cheek. I love this spread because it shows Emily’s empathy so simply and perfectly.

Connor Crowe Can’t Let Go

I love the spread that shows Connor’s challenges of being stuck to a tablet – getting dressed, eating and going to the bathroom. But this spread also shows that Connor is starting to realize that being stuck isn’t a great thing after all.

The Liebrary

My favorite illustration here is where the kids are sick to their stomachs after eating too much junk food for breakfast, but the dad is holding the book, Babies, Start Your Engines! You would think that, by the looks of his kids, the dad would realize that these books might not be true, but he’s ready to take everything at face value.


I love the page where the new owner is holding Tribeca, but she has a look of “what the heck?” The way Renate illustrated the eyes on that page communicates so much.

What do you hope children will take away from each story?

For all my stories, my first hope is that children will simply enjoy the story and be entertained. But, if they were to take away anything, here’s what I would hope for:

The Old Man Eating Alone

Creating experiences with your loved ones that lead to special memories is the key to a happy life.

Connor Crowe Can’t Let Go

To recognize that your loved ones are what matter most in life.


To embrace and celebrate your own uniqueness – as well as the uniqueness of others.

The Liebrary

To not instantly accept everything you hear or read as the truth, but, rather, learn to think for yourself.

Can you share with us your writing routine?

I still work, but I do something every day to advance my picture book career. That could be sending out queries, working on a new manuscript or revising an existing one. As long as I spend time each day, I know I’m working towards my goal of becoming a full-time picture book author.

What is next for you?

My goal for 2023 is to get an agent. Even though I’ve had some success with getting published, I don’t think I can take my career to a higher level without an agent.

What would it be if you had to have the same meal every day for the rest of your life?

If I had to have the same meal every day for the rest of my life, I’d have the smoothies I make each morning – frozen kale, spinach, bananas and other fruit. Regardless of the meal, I’d get bored so I might as well make it healthy.

What is an object you can’t let go of?

My mouse pad. It has a photo printed on it of my wife and daughters, so I get to see them every time I sit down to write.

What’s your favorite past-time?

My wife and I have been married for nearly 40 years, and my favorite pastime is simply hanging out with her. It doesn’t really matter what we’re doing.

Recently, a tiger escaped near my town. What would you do if you saw a rhino running through your town?

Hang out with a group of people that I knew I could outrun.

If suddenly your pet could talk to you, what would be the first thing he would say to you?

More cheese, please.

Howard Pearlstein. Source: Photograph from the author’s website.

About Howard Pearlstein

Howard Pearlstein is a picture book author and advertising creative director who has worked on some of the world’s most popular brands, including Toyota, Verizon and Mitsubishi. A California native, Howard now lives in Birmingham, Alabama with his wife, Debi. Howard has three daughters, Amanda, Jacquie and Emily, who live across the country, and one dog, Maeby, who still lives at home.

You can follow Howard at:

IG: howard.pearlstein

Twitter: @HowPearlstein


2 thoughts on “Author Spotlight: Howard Pearlstein with The Old Man Eating Alone, Connor Crowe Can’t Let Go, Tribeca, and The Liebrary

  1. Wow, four published books in 2023 is an incredible accomplishment! I’m looking forward to checking them out. Congrats and thank you for sharing!


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