A compassionate story about creativity, houselessness, and believing in yourself

Author and illustrator Chad Otis is asking readers to look on the bright side with his heartfelt picture book, THE BRIGHT SIDE. The sweet and imaginative narrator in THE BRIGHT SIDE gives readers a glimpse into an emotional story of houselessness: life on a bus, making new friends, and becoming resourceful while trying to maintain a positive attitude. “It’s hard sometimes but after a while, I felt like I could do just about anything when I looked on the bright side…,” says the young narrator.

After moving onto an old school bus with his parents, the narrator explains how life has changed for him in THE BRIGHT SIDE. He is homeschooled on the bus, takes showers outdoors, snuggles with his parents for warmth, and enjoys the family’s signature meal: bread and ketchup. His parents encourage him to use his imagination to have a positive outlook and create toys to enjoy. After his parents enroll him in school, the narrator explains his longing for friends and the adjustment it is to be in a classroom. When the class’s pizza and movie party gets foiled, the narrator jumps into action with creativity and optimism to commission new friends to help save the day. 

With nods to house- and food insecurity woven through THE BRIGHT SIDE, it provides an opportunity for conversations around socioeconomic differences. The Department of Education estimated a 70% increase in houseless children in public schools in the last ten years (2019). Children can see themselves or their friends in a story that features optimism, empathy, and imagination. From the adorable artwork and understandable text, children and their families can easily take in the narrator’s perspective to find the courage to see the good in everything.

Otis tapped into his nomadic childhood to provide authenticity to the narrator’s voice in THE BRIGHT SIDE. Growing up on a bus for several years with his family, Otis drew himself and his experiences onto the pages to show how it shaped his outlook on life and inspire others to do the same―to always look on the bright side. 

Chad Otis received his BFA in design from the University of Washington and then worked with Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Disney, Mattel, Hasbro, Nintendo, and DreamWorks for over twenty years as an animator, illustrator, and creative director. He now devotes himself to writing and illustrating children’s books including Oliver the Curious Owl and Little Ferry Tale . He lives with his wife in Boise, Idaho.

Rocky Pond Books | $18.99 | Ages 4-8

ISBN: 9780593530627 |

Penguin Random House, the world’s largest trade book publisher, is dedicated to its mission of nourishing a universal passion for reading by connecting authors and their writing with readers everywhere. The company, which employs more than 10,000 people globally, was formed on July 1, 2013, by Bertelsmann and Pearson, who own 75 percent and 25 percent, respectively. With nearly 275** imprints and brands on six continents, Penguin Random House comprises adult and children’s fiction and nonfiction print and digital English- and Spanish-language trade book publishing businesses in more than 20 countries worldwide. With over 15,000 new titles, and more than 600 million print, audio and eBooks sold annually, Penguin Random House’s publishing lists include more than 80 Nobel Prize laureates and hundreds of the world’s most widely read authors.

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