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Me announce winner of ME WANT PET contest.

But first, if you a parent/caregiver/teacher with picture book kids, subscribe to blog (see left column). Me have more book contest soon. Comment on this post if you new subscriber and you can win THREE PICTURE BOOK PRIZE PACK (BOY + BOT, EXTRA YARN, ARNIE THE DOUGHNUT)! Me pick winner APRIL 1. THIS NO APRIL FOOL’S!

Now ME WANT PET winner.

It be Anna, age 9! ConBATulations!

Now me show you more great pets!

Isaac, age 6:

This Kid Erik, age 10:

Josie, age 8:

Jordan, age 6:

Renn, age 5:

Me and Tammi Sauer thank all kids who draw pets!

Maybe Tammi write SEQUEL!

OOGA!

by James Burks

It’s day 18 of PiBoIdMo and I’m here to give you inspiration or at least a small push towards the finish line. I’m sure that, at some point in your life, most of you have put together a puzzle. It could have been a small puzzle with only a hundred pieces, or a ginormous puzzle with a bazillion pieces. Regardless of the size, if you can put together a puzzle then you can put together a story. So let’s get started.

To put together a story puzzle, the first things you need are the pieces. That’s where your ideas come in. Every single idea you come up with is a piece of the story puzzle. This includes characters, settings, or lines of dialogue; you name it, they are all pieces of the puzzle. And here’s the best part: there are no wrong pieces. If a piece doesn’t seem to fit into the puzzle you’re working on, you can set it aside to use later.

Here’s an example of a recent story puzzle that I put together:

About a year ago, I sat down and tried to come up with my next great idea. I had just sold my first two stories to different publishers and was trying to come up with a third story that my agent could send out. I had the first piece of my story puzzle: a squirrel. I spent the next few days creating more pieces. I gave the squirrel a name (another puzzle piece), and I came up with a bunch of stuff that he loved to do (more puzzle pieces). After a few days I took all the pieces and arranged them into a simple story, drew some rough drawings (for illustrators, these are more pieces), and sent it off to my agent. My agent thought it needed something more, though, and at the time I didn’t know what that was. So I set the entire puzzle aside and went off to work on another project.

After about a month, my agent called and asked if I had come up with any new ideas. I hadn’t. Or at least that’s what I thought. After hanging up the phone I started running through a bunch of random ideas while surfing the internet. I remember contemplating Amelia Earhart (I think the biopic was coming out or had just came out), went from there to Penguins, then to the South Pole, and from there to a bird migrating south for the winter. (It’s always a good idea to let your brain off its leash once in a while and let it run free. You never know what it might bring back.) Something about a bird flying south for the winter ended up sticking with me.

I didn’t know it just yet but I had just found another piece to my story puzzle.

From there, everything seemed to magically fall into place. I took the bird migrating south for the winter and stuck him with the squirrel from my earlier story. A small part of my story puzzle took shape.

Then I started to ask myself a series of questions to fill in the rest:

Why do they have to migrate south together for the winter? There had to be a reason and it had to be big. I asked myself what would happen if Squirrel was forced to go along after he unintentionally sacrificed his entire winter stash of food to save Bird from an attacking cat. He would have no other choice; if he didn’t go with Bird then he’d starve.

But, where was the conflict? What was going to make my story interesting? Maybe they were like the odd couple. I imagined Bird as a total free spirit who just wanted to have fun, while Squirrel was a bit neurotic and was all about responsibility. Squirrel can’t stand Bird, but they’re stuck together. A natural conflict of personality that would provide for some humorous scenes.

This left one last question. How would the two characters change by the end of the story? What would their character arc be? In the case of this story, I decided to have Bird learn to be a little more responsible and Squirrel learn to have a little more fun. The story, at its heart, would be about finding a balance between having fun and being responsible. And by the time the journey ended, they might even become friends.

At that point I could pretty much see the overall structure of my puzzle. The edges were complete and all the major parts were coming together. All I had to do was fill in the missing pieces in the middle, which solidified as I wrote the outline and got to know the characters better. Two weeks later I sent it off to my agent, we made some minor tweaks, and eventually sold it to a major publisher. (Deal announcement pending; I’m drawing and writing the book for release sometime in 2012.)

I hope you find inspiration in my recent experience and are able to put together some great story puzzles of your own. Just remember that there are no wrong pieces. You may not use every idea or piece you think of right now, but every piece (used or not) helps you build your puzzle. Now go forth and conquer the book world!

James Burks has spent the last 15 years working in the animation industry on various movies and television shows, including The Emperor’s New Groove, Atlantis, Treasure Planet, Home on the Range, Space Jam, The Iron Giant, Wow Wow Wubbzy, and most recently on Fan Boy and Chum Chum. His first graphic novel for kids, GABBY AND GATOR, was published by Yen Press in September 2010 and is a Junior Library Guild selection. James is currently working on a picture book with Lerner/Carolrhoda entitled BEEP AND BAH (2012), and the graphic novel mentioned above.

James is giving away a signed copy of GABBY & GATOR! Leave a comment to enter. A winner will be randomly selected one week from today.

Thanks to James for the PiBoIdMo 2010 logo and badges!

Today’s inspiration from author-illustrator Adam F. Watkins is purely visual. You figure out the story—and you can also win this signed illustration. Just leave a comment! A winner will be randomly selected one week from today.Adam lives in southern Ohio with his wife Amy and daughter Lucy. He graduated from the Columbus College of Art and Design in 2004, where he majored in illustration. He studied under C.F. Payne his junior and senior years. He worked for an advertising agency in Cincinnati after graduation and is now a full-time freelancer. He loves children’s books and the outdoors. Adam hopes to one day share his illustrations and stories with kids all over the world.

Some awards he has acquired along the way:
2003 – Society of Illustrators student show
2004 – Best in Show, Art of Illustration Show
2006 – Gold Addy Award

by Sarah Dillard

It’s not always about the cute bunnies.

I’ve been drawing a lot of bunnies lately. Well, actually one bunny in particular.

He is very persistent and keeps showing up when I’m doodling, waiting for his chance to star in a story. He is not what I am supposed to be drawing right now. I am supposed to be drawing chickens and mice and Christmas trees as well as coming up with a brilliant picture book idea everyday, none of which have had anything to do with bunnies so far. But he keeps showing up, begging for attention like a puppy who wants to go for a walk.

I have nothing against him, I think he is kind of cute. It’s just that I have no time right now for cute little bunnies. I really need to be working on these other things, before I can pay any attention to him.

So I am just trying to ignore him. And the more that I try to ignore him, the more I find myself thinking about him. Where did he COME from? Why does he keep BOTHERING me? What does he WANT? What does he NEED? WHO is this BUNNY?

Ideas are funny things. Sometimes it seems that you will never have another good idea again no matter how hard you try. Sometimes you need to wheedle an idea out of a germ of a thought. And sometimes they just burst through the door and kick you in the head. Who knows which ideas will grow into a full fledged story and which ones will just fizzle away. The best that you can do is listen to them, push them if they need it and give them a chance to shine.

I don’t know yet who this bunny is or if he will ever grow into his own story. All I know is that he’s been bugging me and pretty soon I am going to have to do something about it. The other characters are starting to complain.

Sarah Dillard is an award-winning author/illustrator. Her latest book is Perfectly Arugula.

You can win Sarah’s signed illustration of Bunny and Mouse above! Leave a comment to enter. (One entry per person.) A winner will be randomly selected one week from today. Good luck!

by Bonnie Adamson

Those of us you who were children once upon a time will surely remember how frustrating it was suddenly to have been plunked down in a world where everyone knew more than you did—about everything. Children spend a great deal of time trying to figure things out: where does snow come from? Why can’t dogs talk? What happens next? Or, as we say in our family: “Who ordered the veal cutlet?”*

Kids develop their own little GPS-like subroutines, constantly recalculating to keep themselves on track—but sometimes, inevitably, they get it wrong. Misperceptions and missed information lead to misunderstandings . . . and—I won’t sugar-coat this—little misunderstandings often lead to:

Major Disappointment!

Total Humiliation!

Nightmares!

(Yeah, I was grown before I figured that one out.)

Thank goodness for picture books!

In a picture book, you can check out your own real-live dinosaur any time from the Storybook Lending Zoo.

You can have the queen invite the golfer with the highest score to the palace for tea, and meet the prince, who is even worse at Goony Golf than you are.

You can become a super-hero in training, and rid the world of evil, baby-eating furniture.

How cool is that? As children’s book writers and illustrators, we get to do this all the time. So, having aired three of my own neuroses . . . er, picture book ideas . . . here is a tip for today: think back to those times in your childhood when things were not quite what you expected them to be—and imagine what it would take to discover a new, old friend . . . or have the last laugh . . . or fly to the rescue.

And then, for the love of heaven, explain to the little person in your life that dinosaurs are really extinct; that, as silly as it sounds, low score wins at Goony Golf; and that, yes, if necessary, a very tiny baby can sleep safely in a dresser drawer . . . but only if you take the drawer OUT of the dresser first!

*A line from Mel Brooks’ Silent Movie . . . um, maybe you had to be there.

Bonnie Adamson’s latest illustration project is BEDTIME MONSTER (¡A dormir, pequeño monstruo!) by Heather Ayris Burnell, released in September by Raven Tree Press.

Visit Bonnie’s soon-to-be-completely-overhauled website at www.bonnieadamson.net, or hang out with her on Twitter, where she co-hosts #kidlitchat on Tuesday nights and #kidlitart (for children’s book illustrators and friends) every Thursday.

Bonnie then, practicing her skeptical glare; and now—-an older and wiser children’s book illustrator.

Prize Alert! Leave a comment to enter. One randomly-selected winner will choose one of the three picture-book-inspired sketches above for Bonnie to paint in watercolor (Dinosaur, Royalty, Superhero). One entry per person! Winner will be selected one week from today. Good luck!

[UPDATE: The winner is Sheryl Tilley! Congratulations and enjoy!]

My story “The Juggler Triplets” will appear in the November issue of Abe’s Peanut, a micro-magazine for kids ages 6-10. Delivered in four postcard installments, the story appears on one side with full-color illustration by Lichen Frank on the other.

Independently published by editors Anna and Tess Knoebel, Abe’s Peanut launched this year after the success of Abe’s Penny, a micro-magazine for adults: “Off-set printed on double thick matte card stock, each issue dispenses art and literature while becoming a collectible, temporal object.” (In kidspeak: “They look cool tacked to your bedroom door.”)

Recent Abe’s Peanut contributors include Audrey Vernick, author of Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten?, and Lisa Tharpe, author of P is for Please: A Bestiary of Manners.

Kids love receiving their own mail, so here’s a chance to receive four postcards with your child’s name on the label.

Leave a comment naming your child’s favorite picture book for one contest entry. Mention the giveaway elsewhere for two additional entries. A winner will be chosen on Friday, October 22nd.

And stay-tuned for PiBoIdMo in November, when there will be several itty-bitty (plus some hugantic) giveaways!

edwardeurekaI love picture books with a touch of magic, so I was thrilled to speak with Patricia Storms, illustrator of the whimsical Edward and the Eureka Lucky Wish Company by Barbara Todd. Edward wishes he could fly, and by chance he gets three wishes–but he doesn’t use them wisely.

What a fun challenge to illustrate the Skyhopper 2000, a flying bike! Patricia, how did you land the contract to work on this book?

I’ve been very fortunate when it comes to getting book illustration jobs. Most of the time, publishers have approached me. If memory serves me correctly with the Eureka book, I had sent off a pamphlet of my recent work to various publishers in North America, and as luck would have it, Kids Can Press just happened to be looking for a humorous illustrator for this project. I believe they had been considering my work, since they were already familiar with my art (it’s a small world in Canadian publishing). My portfolio pamphlet just helped to seal the deal.

How did you get started illustrating children’s books?

Well, it was a very slow process for me. I always enjoyed drawing (especially cartoons) and took art all through high school, but for various reason (fear of failure being the big one) I initially took a different path, and studied to work in libraries instead (being a bibliophile and all, and settling for more ‘secure’ work).

But I continued to draw when I could, and slowly started selling art on the side, while working full-time in libraries. I ended up working for the Toronto Public Library cataloguing of all things–children’s books! That’s when I started dreaming about how it would be so much more enjoyable to illustrate the books, rather than catalogue them. Eventually in my mid-30s I went back to school and became a graphic designer, still selling the cartoon/humor work on the side.

About 6 years ago my freelance work really started to increase, mainly because I began putting my work online. My first few picture book illustration jobs were work-for-hire jobs, doing illustrations for the educational kid’s book market. In all those cases, I was approached by the publishers. I enjoyed doing the educational illustration but I really wanted to get into trade book illustration, because I knew I would have a much wider audience.

My first trade illustrated book was 13 Ghosts of Halloween, published by Scholastic Canada. Once again, they approached me. My upcoming illustrated picture book, The Pirate and the Penguin, which is completely my creation, will be my third trade picture book, and I hope I can do more in the future.

This job, more than anything else I have ever done, feels so right for me. Because for me, it’s not just a job. It is who I am. I view myself as a bit of a ‘late bloomer’ in this field. I still feel like a newbie in the kid’s book industry – there are many people my age (45) who have been doing it for 20 years or more. I have so much to learn. I hope I can continue to learn and grow in this industry, if the gods will allow it.

patriciastormsWhat is the biggest challenge when translating someone else’s words into pictures? How much input does the editor have? Do you ever speak directly with the author?

I guess finding that perfect balance in which the editor and author are happy, but also where I get to add my own personal flavor without completely taking over the story…yet at the same time, where I’m not just being a “hired hand” doing grunt work.

How much input the editor has in developing the art for the story really depends upon the publisher and editor with whom you are working. Some editors will give some basic guidelines and then just let you fly, while others are much more hands-on, giving lots of direction and feedback. It’s never been the exact same experience for me.

The only time I’ve spoken directly with the author is when I have been illustrating the story written by me. It’s actually kind of hard to get away from myself. 😉

Generally, editors prefer to keep the author and the illustrator apart until the project is done. I’m not entirely sure of the reasons for doing this, but I suspect it is because they fear a) the author and illustrator will conspire together to give the editor and publisher grief or b) the author and illustrator will hate each other with a passion and disagree on everything and kill each other thus giving the editor and publisher grief.

It’s a tough, time-consuming (and expensive!) job creating a picture book so the last thing anyone working on the project needs is any added emotional stress.

The way I understand the process is that once the story has been accepted, the editor will work with the author to fine-tune the words, and then when the story is pretty much polished, that’s when the artist comes in to illustrate said words. By this point, the editor and art director work together to communicate with the illustrator concepts for the vision of the story, and of course the illustrator provides feedback, too. The script may still get edited a bit at this point, because once the pictures come into the equation, one discovers that very often the images can take the place of any extraneous words.

Once rough sketches are satisfactory for the editor and art director, they are shown to the author, just to make sure that the author doesn’t totally hate the artist’s vision. I’m pretty sure that if the author really were upset with the art, that something would have to be done, but once again, it all depends upon the publisher working on the project.

I only met the authors of my first two trade picture books AFTER the books were complete. Thankfully, both authors were happy with the final product. I do find it a stressful, worrisome experience, wondering whether or not the author is happy with my art. But I am a bit of a neurotic worry-wart, so I tend to let these things eat away at me.

piratepenguin1How and when did you make the decision to morph from illustrator to author-illustrator? Can you tell us about The Pirate and the Penguin, your first book as both author and artist?

Well, I’ve always enjoyed writing as well as drawing. As a kid I wrote and illustrated many comic strips, some of which were quite detailed, chock full of numerous characters. English and Art were my two favorite subjects all through school, and well, they still are! I think as soon as I realized that it was possible for me to get work in children’s book illustration, I knew in the back of my mind that I would eventually want to write my own stories. A lot of this stuff has been bouncing around in my head for a long time, and I really needed to let it out! That’s one of the reasons I started a blog a little over 4 years ago.

I became more determined about becoming an author/illustrator about two years ago. I began reading a lot online and in books about writing picture books, and of course, I read lots and lots of picture books that I brought home from the library. Around this time I joined an online critique group which was very helpful. Then about a year ago I took a “writing for children” course, which was also very helpful in teaching me about what worked in my writing, and what didn’t. During this time I would meet up with a wonderful writer friend of mine, Liam O’Donnell, from time to time. He writes pictures books and graphic novels and he’s just a really cool guy.

I was in one of my crabby moods, and I was kvetching to Liam about how tough it is to get published in the kid’s book biz. I made a flippant comment to him, something to the effect of, “If someone really wanted to cash in on two popular icons in kid’s books, they would write a story about a pirate and a penguin!”

Liam, being much smarter than me, actually thought it was a cool idea for a story, and urged me to write this crazy idea. I didn’t follow up on his suggestion right away, but every now and then he’d ask me “how’s that Pirate and Penguin story going?” So I figured I’d better do something.

When I finally thought of the story idea, I thought it was just too silly, but I mentioned it to Liam, and he loved it, and encouraged me to pursue it. So I did. And that’s how my upcoming picture book The Pirate and the Penguin came to be.

Of course it’s a fun story, because pretty much everything I write and draw is somehow touched by my wacky sense of humor. It’s a silly version of the classic The Prince and the Pauper, except that it involved a Penguin who hates the South Pole and a Pirate who can’t stand life on a pirate ship in the Caribbean. When they meet, lots of interesting stuff happens! And that’s all I’m going to say about the story for now, other than to say that I owe so much to Liam O’Donnell, and I’m eternally grateful to him for his guidance and encouragement.

There are many factors that come to play in getting published–knowledge, talent, perseverance, luck and patience. But it sure doesn’t hurt to have friends who are right there behind you, pushing you, rooting for you, and guiding you towards your dream.

That’s terrific advice! Thanks, Stormsy! (You don’t mind if I call you Stormsy, do you? No? Thanks.)

edwardeureka1Patricia is generously giving away an autographed copy of Edward and the Eureka Lucky Wish Company!

Please leave a comment to be entered into the drawing.

Blog or Tweet about the interview and get another two entries–just let me know here or on Twitter. Winner will be picked by Random.org one week from today! Good luck!

You’ve marked February 19th on your calendar, right?

I’m hosting a release party for Cynthea Liu’s debut novel The Great Call of China. And check out the great giveaways! Watch the video!

UPDATE! Cynthea is giving away more stuff! It’s unreal!

Everyone who attends the virutal book relase party (comments on the day of the book’s release) will get a mini goody bag (US only) and a Teeny-Tique! More details to come on the 19th! So be sure to visit!

Thanks to everyone who entered the Toni De Palma Under the Banyan Tree giveaway and the Corey Rosen Schwartz Hop! Plop! giveaway!

banyan1The winner of a signed copy of Under the Banyan Tree is Susan (The Book Chook)!

 

 

 

hopplop1The winner of an autographed Hop! Plop! is Kristi Valiant!

 

 

 

Congratulations! I’ll be contacting you shortly!

howie11And just a reminder, we have another book giveaway–technically, a four-book giveaway–going on now with author/illustrator Aaron Zenz.

aaronzenzAaron Zenz is the author/illustrator of Hiccupotamus and he’s the hip, groovy dad behind Bookie Woogie, a blog where he and his eldest three children review books and share their fan art. It’s obvious the Z-Family loves kidlit.

Aaron, have you always wanted to be an author/illustrator?

 

Hip and groovy! Lands sakes alive, I’ve never been called either of those before… I’m going to have to look up their definitions.

 

I’ve been writing and illustrating my own stories ever since I was a wee bitty guy. In fact the last time we were over at my folks’ house, the kids and I were looking at the little books my mom has saved that I made when I was as young as three. The creative drive has always been in me, but it wasn’t until later on in life that I thought about it vocationally. Storytelling was just so fun, I think I never really associated it with the “work” world.

It wasn’t even until part way through college that it dawned on me that I wanted a career in art. Later my attention became even more focused when I realized how much I loved the narrative aspect of illustration. I had already begun collecting picture books, long before I dreamed I’d have a chance to participate in that world.

Writing has been interesting. All through life I’d received more comments and recognition for my writing than for my art. I think people simply already knew me as the “art guy,” so my writing came as a surprise. But for me, writing and illustrating are very comparable. They’re both forms of storytelling, and the process for both seems very similar to me.

 

Speaking of collecting picture books, you’ve amassed nearly 3,000 of them. Who are some of your favorite author/illustrators? Whose work has inspired you?

 

cindereyedThe picture book that changed everything for me was Eric Rohmann‘s The Cinder-Eyed Cats. From the moment I saw those golden felines staring out at me from the cover, I knew — “I want to do that.” Something inside me leapt from mere interest to passionate longing. I wanted to make images that had the power to summon emotions, be it a sense of mystery… or a belly laugh… or tears. Pictures are powerful. So I’ll always have a soft spot for Eric Rohmann’s work, particularly that book. 

Another person whose work I find consistently engaging is Adam Rex. Whenever I catch wind of his next new project, I find myself waiting with the kind of anticipation people usually reserve for Hollywood’s summer blockbusters.

Many apologies for slipping into name-listing mode, but I’m also greatly inspired by the work of animator Glen Keane and the art of folks like PJ Lynch, Scott Gustafson, and Peter deSeve. Winsor McCay is amazing. And so is NC Wyeth…but for illustrators, loving Wyeth is a requirement.

On the writing side, I read a lot of Beverly Cleary growing up. I also loved HG Wells and Sir AC Doyle. But I think it was Lloyd Alexander who influenced me the most. I lived in his Chronicles of Prydain as a kid.

Your website features two picture book dummies for Hiccupotamus, one from 1996 and another from 2000. Your book was published in 2005. What kept you driving toward the goal of publication year after year?

In 1996 I took a college class on Children’s Literature. It was actually geared toward teachers — how to use books in the classroom kind of stuff. At the end of the course the teacher had everyone try their hand at writing a picture book. That’s where the first dummy came from — worked up over a weekend for that class.

hiccupotamus1Over the years I continued to write and draw. I came up with scores of picture book ideas that I personally found way more exciting than Hiccupotamus. But when I shared things with people, they tended to gravitate to that first story. In fact people would randomly ask me years after seeing it — “Did you ever do anything with that hippo book?” I dinked around with it off and on over the years, pulling it out, working on the tricky rhyme, developing the characters further.

Eventually (and you’re not going to want to hear this…) out of the blue, it was a publisher who approached me. A friend of mine was participating in building a new publishing company. He had seen that first dummy years earlier when we worked together and wondered if I would “let” them publish it as their debut trade book. I had to think about that for all of three seconds! 

So sadly, I don’t have a story about thousands of rejection letters and years of knocking on doors. I invested lots of time into it over those years, but had never yet tried submitting it anywhere. 

The sad part of my story comes later when, after the book’s astonishing sales and whirlwind success, the company folded shortly after the release of Hiccupotamus due to the underhanded dealings of my friend’s partner. But from my understanding, it sold 17,000 copies in its first 4 months, and it continues to do well via a version in Scholastic’s book clubs.

And Marshall Cavendish plans to put it back in print this fall. Woo hoo! Hopefully sales pick up for them just as strong as where they left off. Be watching for it!

I will! And why wouldn’t I want to hear that? It’s an amazing story.

You’ve also illustrated the work of other writers. Can you tell us about the process of interpreting someone else’s words into pictures? How do you get started?

howiemodelsheetFor stories that are character-based, like with Howie, I’ll spend my first energies doing character development. This is my very favorite part of the whole process. I love all the pre-production work… designing the people and critters, trying to infuse them with life and personality. Sara Henderson had described such an energetic ball of fun when writing about Howie. I set two personal goals for myself on the visual side: attempt to make him the cutest little dog you ever saw, and to fill him bursting with life. Hopefully I came close. So before even thinking about the stories themselves, I spent a few days with a tottering stack of library reference books, filling a sketchbook with page after page of Bichon Frise doodles.

leaf21After all the doodling, I make model sheets of the characters with different poses and expressions. Then I’ll finally turn my attention to the actual story and create quick thumbnail sketches of the story, trying to achieve good variety in the compositions. Sometimes this is a challenge. I recently illustrated a story about three leaves, fastened into place on their branch throughout the entire 32 pages. Lots of work went into finding ways to make each page a fun surprise – through coloring and vantage point and framing devices.

The last step, actually making the final art, is the least fun for me — then it becomes work. The subject matter and timetable often dictate the medium. I like working in colored pencil and do it whenever I can, but sometimes I’ll create everything on the computer. For example, with my two Nascar books, it was so much better for me to create mechanical objects digitally – cars and trucks and racetracks. Other times when deadlines are tight, I work on the computer because it’s much faster. The way I use colored pencil is a very timely process.

What is your best advice for new author/illustrators just starting in the business? What do you know now that you wish you knew then?

Well, I’m still among those just starting out, so I myself am listening for anyone who’s got advice!

createheart1createheart2I suggest making sure that you keep your creative endeavors fun. Don’t get caught up in checking off x-number of items on a list in order to obtain a successful career. Create what you love because you love it.

I also know that networking is just as important as what we produce. So try to find creative ways to cross paths with lots of other people. Blogging can be a great way to grow a circle of influence. Like hosting a month long “Love a Kidlit Author” celebration — perfect example of a creative way to strengthen contacts and increase a presence! Good thinkin’! Eventually, the right person will make an offer at the right time, so have a stack of things ready to go when that happens.

Aaron, it’s been a pleasure learning about your creative process. One last question…what’s your favorite kind of chocolate?

I’ll never be a coffee drinker, but I Love a big mug of hot chocolate.  Oooo… I’m going to need one now.

howie1Me, too!

Aaron is generously giving away a signed four-book set of the Howie I Can Read series. Leave a comment to enter the drawing!

Blog or Twitter about Aaron’s interview and receive another two entries.

I’ll announce the winner one week from today!

And stop by again soon…Aaron will share his thoughts on sharing books as a family.

7ate9
Winner of the 2018 Irma S. Black Award and the SCBWI Crystal Kite!
black kite

As a children's book author and mother of two, I'm pushing a stroller along the path to publication. I collect shiny doodads on the journey and share them here. You've found a kidlit treasure box.

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COMING SOON:


illus by Melissa Crowton
Tundra/PRH Canada
June 4, 2019


illus by Ross MacDonald
Disney*Hyperion
October 15, 2019

THREE WAYS TO TRAP A LEPRECHAUN
illus by Vivienne To
HarperCollins
Spring 2020

THE WHIZBANG WORDBOOK
illustrator TBA
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
August 2020

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