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by Phyllis Harris

I may be 60, but I am just getting started! C.S. Lewis said, “It is never too late to dream new dreams!”

Over the past 25 years, I have illustrated over 30 books for children for lots of different genres, but I have always dreamed of writing and illustrating my own books. It wasn’t until I took a sabbatical from the illustration side to really hone my craft of writing and give it the time it needed, before I was able to truly pursue my goal of becoming a published author of children’s picture books. Once I did that, I was able to create some stories I loved and eventually sign with an amazing literary agent, Adria Goetz. A year after that, my lifelong dream came true with the publication of my Christmas picture book, THE GIFT SHOP BEAR. It was published by WorthyKids, The Hachette Book Group, last year.

I also wanted to share a fun backstory of the inspiration behind THE GIFT SHOP BEAR. I was babysitting my granddaughter when she was 3 or 4 years old and we were going through her mama’s toy chest. We came across her mother’s old teddy bear, who had been tucked away in that dark box for many years, and she was very sad to think that old bear had not been loved or cared for so long. It was at that moment, the story idea for THE GIFT SHOP BEAR was born!

All year long, Bear watches from his spot in the attic as the seasons change, waiting for the first snowflakes that signify Christmas is coming. You see, at Christmastime, Bear gets to join his special friend, Annie, in the festivities in her grandma’s gift shop. But this year is different––the gift shop is closing and Bear’s future seems uncertain. Will Bear see Annie and Nana again? The heartwarming conclusion will make this story a family favorite at Christmastime each year. Author-illustrator Phyllis Harris brings a warmth and coziness to her art and storytelling that give the book the timeless feel of a Christmas classic.

I truly believe that no matter our age, if we persevere, it will happen. Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the Little House series, was first published at 65 years old and I kept that in the back of my mind as I went after my goal of being published as an author.

If I can do it, so can all of you!

You can find THE GIFT SHOP BEAR wherever books are sold.

Here is a photo of me seeing THE GIFT SHOP BEAR on the shelves of Barnes and Noble for the first time. What an incredible feeling that was!

Thank you, Phyllis! It is a dream come true to see your own creation on bookstore shelves! And blog readers, you can see THE GIFT SHOP BEAR on your own shelves.

Just leave one comment below to be entered into a random drawing next week.

A winner will receive a copy of THE GIFT SHOP BEAR!

Good luck!

Phyllis Harris first started her career in graphic design at a newspaper while also freelancing at Hallmark Cards. She then shifted to illustration full time where she has happily continued for the past 20 years, creating the art for over 30 children’s books. In recent years, she has focused more on her writing as well as illustrating picture books. Her debut author/illustrator picture book, THE GIFT SHOP BEAR which released on October 26, 2021.

Phyllis has illustrated many different types of children’s products such as trade and mass-market books, religious and educational books, children’s games, and even rubber stamp designs. A couple of her favorites include a best-selling celebrity children’s book and a never-before-published Margaret Wise Brown book. She launched her online shop in 2012 and now has thousands of customers and collectors all over the world. Her art prints are also licensed and sold at many online retail stores.

Phyllis is represented by Adria Goetz at P.S. Literary.



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