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I Am a Tornado

Illustrated by Drew Beckmeyer

About The Book

An emotionally unaware tornado carves a path of destruction until it picks up a very empathetic cow in this quirky and sweet picture book about compassion and navigating negative emotions.

Tornado is on a rampage. It tosses cars and knocks over barns. Tornado is also angry, only it doesn’t know that or want to admit it. Then Tornado picks up Cow. Oh, no! Cow would like to be put down. Fortunately, Cow is a good listener. And sometimes Tornado just needs to be heard.

About The Author

Photograph (c) Lauder Photography

Drew Beckmeyer is an author-illustrator and schoolteacher based in Los Angeles. He is the author-illustrator of I Am a TornadoThe First Week of SchoolStalactite & Stalagmite, and The Long Island, which was longlisted for the Klaus Flugge Prize, and the illustrator of Dear Wild Child. Visit him online at DrewBeckmeyer.com.

About The Illustrator

Photograph (c) Lauder Photography

Drew Beckmeyer is an author-illustrator and schoolteacher based in Los Angeles. He is the author-illustrator of I Am a TornadoThe First Week of SchoolStalactite & Stalagmite, and The Long Island, which was longlisted for the Klaus Flugge Prize, and the illustrator of Dear Wild Child. Visit him online at DrewBeckmeyer.com.

Why We Love It

“Drew Beckmeyer’s sensibility is inventive and fresh, and this book combines multiple layers with its quirky premise, chuckle-inducing humor, and the heartfelt connection between a tornado and cow—coming together to create something so original yet accessible for kids.”

—Kristie C., Editorial Assistant, on I Am a Tornado

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (May 9, 2023)
  • Length: 40 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781665916745
  • Grades: P - 3
  • Ages: 4 - 8

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Raves and Reviews

* "The writing could not be more preschooler friendly, the subtext available for discussion among young elementary readers, and paired with a more fact-based book, this is a winning lesson for all kinds of turmoil. VERDICT With humor and grace, Beckmeyer’s wide-eyed characters convey emotions bridging science topics and SEL, putting this whirlwind of a book within the grasp of readers across a broad age range."

School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

* "[I Am a Tornado] is so hilarious and psychologically astute that any other authors contemplating a picture book about a cow playing therapist to a whirling windstorm should probably think twice, as their offering is unlikely to measure up to this one. . . It's all as wonderfully wacky as it sounds."

Shelf Awareness, STARRED REVIEW

"Colorful illustrations reminiscent of paper cutouts create a dynamic, cartoonish impression that adds humor without downplaying the tornado’s reckless destruction. . .The tornado’s big feelings and actions will initially amuse and draw children in. . . An endearing portrayal of an emotional meltdown told with humor and compassion."

Kirkus Reviews

"In an entertaining story about the power of compassion, an anthropomorphic tornado finds an empathetic ear—and some emotional support—from an unexpected source. . . Beckmeyer delivers a relatable, conversational power-down that is by turns gentle, funny, and vulnerable."

Publishers Weekly

"As an anthropomorphized tornado wreaks havoc, a cow caught and carried along does its best to de-escalate things. Related via their conversations and Beckmeyer's animated, cut-paper illustrations . . . the boisterous story does nicely portray the ways intense weather (and moods) will eventually abate."

Booklist

Awards and Honors

  • Black-Eyed Susan Book Award Nominee (MD)
  • Red Clover Book Award Nominee (VT)
  • Wanda Gág Read Aloud Book Award (MN)

Resources and Downloads

High Resolution Images