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coloring page tuesdays, news and events, blog book tours, reviews, illustration and promotion, and general weirdness from a children's book author/illustrator.
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26. Artwork to the De Grummond

Recently, my friend Lynn Salsi (Pulitzer nominated author) dropped off a bunch of my artwork to the De Grummond Children's Literature Collection in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. She was heading that way to do some research and loved an excuse to meet Ellen Ruffin, the wonderful and supportive Curator. The De Grummond already houses some of my work, but with the move, I had a whole bunch more to share - so this worked out perfectly!
     See all the boxes in the photo? Those are full of sketches, drawings, and rendered artwork. None of it could go to Scotland with me, so it ended up being a win-win!


     THANK YOU to both Lynn and Ellen for being so supportive and giving my art a good home!

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27. Celebrating Immortal Picture Books

From CBS Sunday morning comes this story about a new show at the Grolier Club - "Celebrating Immortal Picture Books." Click the image to see the video and read the story at CBS.

Thanks to 100 Scope Notes at School Library Journal for the heads up!

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28. Illustration Challenge #4

Draw a landscape - mountains, trees, ocean, lake - the big wide-screen stuff. It can be real or imagined.

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29. Hiking at Hollins


I love that Stan and I arrived at Hollins University before summer term. He's got an exploring nature and there's never time during classes. Recently, we sought out the Tinker Creek Greenway-Hollins Trailhead, which begins behind the barns on campus. What a lovely hike it was!

The trail meandered through fields,

with both flora
and fauna (see the deer?),
with long views,
and lovely benches placed just so for us to enjoy them.

A picnic table was buried in the forest at

And then there was this guy... Anybody know what sort of turtle he is? A snapper?

And we found more Hollins student silliness - this was a peace shrine we stumbled across deep in the woods.

     Truly, Virginia is such a beautiful state. I'm so happy to have this opportunity to explore it and enjoy it!

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30. Friday Linky List - June 5, 2015

Great interview with illustrator Erin Eitter Kono (Creator of Caterina) at Brightly

At the Bookseller: The Myth of Discoverability

At HuffPost (via PW): Here's Why Famous Authors Chose Their Fake Names

From SeattlePi (via PW): Latest study confirms that school libraries positively impact student test scores

At the Stylist: The greatest wisdom from Roald Dahl books for all moments in grown-up life

Do you know about John Green's CRASH COURSE series on Youtube? You should! Check it out!

From Matador (via PW): 20 Obsolete English Words That Should Make a Comeback - I like 'jargogle' and 'kench'

At Nathan Bransford: The best way to thank a writer: write a review - SO TRUE!!! PLEASE WRITE PUBLIC REVIEWS OF THE BOOKS YOU LOVE!!!

From School Library Journal: The Authoritative Guide to Children's Books Turned Into TV Shows by Travis Jonker

At BrainPickings (via PW): The Brothers Grimm in Three Transcendent Dimensions: Shaun Tan 's Breathtaking Sculptural Illustrations for the Beloved Tales

From the Scottish Book Trust: 11 Teen Books About Growing Up in Scotland - I need to read these!

From The New York Times (via PW): What Judy Blume's Books Meant

At Salon: Inside the passionate "girl-topi" of BookCon: Where authors are rock stars and geek-chic girls rule

At Shelf Awareness: Jacqueline Woodson New Young People's Poet Laureate

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31. MS. RAPSCOTT'S GIRLS by Elise Primavera - Guest Post

I've been a long-time fan of Elise Primavera's picture books, so I'm thrilled to have her on to talk about her new mid-grade novel, MS. RAPSCOTT'S GIRLS! Here's Elise...

      When I first got the idea for my book MS. RAPSCOTT’S GIRLS I thought it would be a sort of a MADELINE type book – episodic stories of little girls in a boarding school setting. But instead of being orphans I thought it would be funny if the girl’s parents were busy…too busy to be, well…parents.
      I started to wonder about the teacher of this school and I thought about a character from my first novel, GUMM STREET, named Franny Muggs who had a morbid fascination for Mt. Everest, Amelia Earhart and failed missions like Shackleton’s to the South Pole. I thought that a grownup version of Franny would make an interesting headmistress. Here is the first sketch of her:
      We ended up changing out the parrot for corgis:
      I decided right away I wanted the school to be in a lighthouse. Here is an early sketch:
      The writing of MS. RAPSCOTT was a long process which I can only describe as fraught. I think it took a couple of years to complete—but it could have been three—I’m not exactly sure because I kind of lost track of the amount of time or at some point didn’t want to know. Originally I wanted the book to be a cross between a picture book and a novel. A long picture book was what I thought. Lots and lots of pictures with a longer story than a picture book could accommodate but not as long as a novel.
      The first draft was about 56 pages on the computer but my editor, Nancy Conescu wanted more. Nancy had lots of ideas for where the story should go. We had a phone conversation about it and I remember saying to her, “Now you’re scaring me.”
     My office where I write:
      I went back to work and added about sixty pages. At this point my original idea of it being a long picture book had gone out the window. I was in uncharted territory. But when I handed this draft in, Nancy wrote back that she loved what I had done…up to page 56!
      My studio when I’m writing:
      Was I freaking out now? Um, yes. So much that I actually had to put the story aside for six months before I could even approach the changes. It felt a little like stepping into the cage of some wild animal that I was going to have to tame...or fight…or be defeated by.
      Six months later I did venture into the lion’s cage. But something had changed. When I looked at Nancy’s comments this time I could see what she was talking about. For some odd reason (with the benefit of some time past?) something clicked inside my head. I was able to do the third draft and this time I knew I’d nailed it. Here is how my studio looked before I began to work on the art—notice how clean!
      By now I was so late with the book that it was ridiculous. Against my better judgment I started to work on the art in a way that I had never done before—combining graphite pencils with charcoal pencils. There was a learning curve of about a couple of weeks but I loved the medium and really enjoyed working on the art.
      The interior black and white illustrations were done on Arches 140 lb. Hot Press watercolor paper. Here is a sketch:
Finish:
      When I tackled the cover I decided that I wanted to do it in pastels. The only problem was that I hadn’t worked with pastels in years! I had to buy an entire new set. Pricey! When I went to buy the Bainbridge board that I used to work on I found that they no longer made it so I had to use Strathmore. It was a weird (scary?) experience going back and working in the pastels again. I had done probably over a hundred pieces of art using them but it had been so long ago. There was so much I’d forgotten. Fortunately in about a week I was able to figure it out and really enjoyed it – sort of like being with an old friend.
      So the cover was done on Strathmore heavy illustration board that I coated with a gesso and pumice stone mixture. I used gouache paint as an under painting and then Sennelier pastels and pastel pencils. Here is the cover sketch:
     Here’s the cover sketch with frame:
     The feedback here was that the frame was too yellow so I changed it.
     This banner was done in acrylic paint. Here’s the sketch:
     Here’s a sketch of the faces that I did in pastel before I proceeded to finish:
Studio the day I handed in the book:

Learn more about Elise Primavera and her work - click here!

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32. Glendale Public Library Summer Reading Challenge!

The Glendale Public Library Youth Services recently used my Dragon and Boy reading image to launch their summer reading program. Is this not the cutest? I love when librarians use my coloring pages in creative ways like this! Happy reading!

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33. Coloring Page Tuesday - Birthday Sundae!

     My birthday is this week. And rather than cake, I'm craving a banana split with lots of chocolate sauce and whipped cream - YUM!!!!! And my birthday wish? That some of you will leave a nice comment on my blog. Thanks!
     CLICK HERE for more coloring pages!
     Sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and... Please check out my books! Especially...
my debut novel, A BIRD ON WATER STREET - winner of nine literary awards. Click the cover to learn more!
     When the birds return to Water Street, will anyone be left to hear them sing? A miner's strike allows green and growing things to return to the Red Hills, but that same strike may force residents to seek new homes and livelihoods elsewhere. Follow the story of Jack Hicks as he struggles to hold onto everything he loves most.
     I create my coloring pages for teachers, librarians, booksellers, and parents to enjoy for free with their children, but you can also purchase rights to an image for commercial use, please contact me. If you have questions about usage, please visit my Angel Policy page.

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34. The journey so far...

Last Tuesday (the 26th) began like this:

And ended with us moving into faculty housing at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia. I'll be teaching Picture Book Design in the MFA in Children's Book Writing and Illustrating and Certificate in Children's Book Illustration programs during summer term, which begins in a few weeks. Meanwhile, folks in Atlanta are handling the house for sale, and the estate sale... we literally walked away from a full house. SUCH a strange experience, but also strangely liberating.
     We already shipped a small load of items to Edinburgh. We'll see it all again sometime in August, after it travels by ship. We'll travel by plane and meet up with it in whichever apartment we secure. (We know the street we'll be living on, although not the specific flat as yet.) This move to Scotland has all been very interesting so far. We're on a path not many have paved before us. I'm not sure you could relate the layers of emotions without going through it yourself.
     At any rate, we are happily settled for the time being - the first section of our spaceship has been dislodged (an awesome analogy offered by our friend Mark Braught), and we have fun adventures for the next two months before we dislodge the next section. I'll let you know how it goes!

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35. Hello from the Bologna Children's Book Fair

Total credit goes to Cynthia Leitich Smith for finding this gem - Hello from the 2015 Bologna Children's Book Fair. Talk about our world of children's books being a small and wonderful one! Click the image to watch on DailyMotion:

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36. Horses at Hollins

One of my favorite things about Hollins University is the horses and the stable that keeps them. These are some seriously spoiled grand beasties.

     They live in a pristine environment and receive amazing care from the intuitive barn staff.

     Truly, I've never seen a barn kept so immaculately clean.

     Every year I look forward to grooming the horses. Happily, the barn staff welcomes me and I've become a part of the matrix there. Grooming makes the horses feel good, it helps socialize them, makes them pretty, and keeps them from getting bored. But mostly, it makes me feel GREAT! I could care less about riding the grand beasties - I just love grooming them!
     Stan got some pics of me working with Sycamore this morning. Sycamore is just about the sweetest horse on the planet!

     Sycamore has a spot on his neck that makes him lean like a happy dog.

     And after every grooming, I give them a treat. Although really, the treat is all mine. It's so nice to connect with the animals on such an intimate and intuitive level. What a gift. It makes my DAY!
     Photos ©Stan Dulemba, used with permission.

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37. Illustration Challenge #3

I'm having fun with these - how about you? This week, draw something that is purely pretty - a bunch of flowers or swirly designs. It doesn't even have to have any identifiable thing in it - just pure pretty.

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38. Friday Linky List - May 29, 2015

From School Library Journal's Fuse #8 - Betsy Bird shares: What Are the Great Children's Literature Writing Retreats?

From The Picture Book Den: The Fifties - Didn't we have them once already? by Jonathan Allen

From ThriveWire: First, Call Yourself An Artist: Career Advice From Artist Lisa Congdon

At Bookshelf: Follow the link to listen to Julian Barnes talk about the new book IMPROBABLE LIBRARIES

I want one of these - a book bed:

Click here to see more strange beds, although this was the only book-related one.

From The New York Times: Works in Progress: A very small sampling of the female artists now in their 80s and 90s we should have known about decades ago.

From tesconnect: 'Adults read books. Children devour them'

At the V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum, UK): Beatrix Potter: The Tale of Peter Rabbit

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39. Sarah Frances Hardy - Guest Post on DRESS ME!

I'm thrilled to have my friend Sarah Frances Hardy stop by with her new picture book, DRESS ME! Take it away SF!

     When I was coming up with ideas for a companion book to my 2014 release Paint Me! (Sky Pony Press), I looked back through some old unfinished manuscripts for inspiration. I had a couple of dress up books that weren’t quite working, so my agent suggested that I do another “me” book with a dress up theme. Brilliant!

     And right up my alley.
     As the mother of three girls, I’ve read lots and lots of dress up books to my daughters. And most of them are very princess-y, fluffy, and sparkly. Now there’s nothing wrong with little girls getting dressed up. It’s fun. I get it. And I love a party dress just as much as the next girl ... it just seemed like many of the dress up books on the shelves showed girls trying really hard to *look* pretty. They didn’t show little girls trying to express themselves in other ways--ways that showed girls *doing* things. And they didn’t show girls happy just being themselves.
     To make it worse, when I talked to my friends who are parents of boys, they gushed about filling their boys’ toy chests with super hero outfits, doctor scrubs, and hard hats. Most of my friends with daughters haunted the sales racks after Halloween for leftover princess ball gowns, tiaras, and boas.
     So I wanted to create a book that encouraged little girls to expand their dress up repertoire and to have fun experimenting with who they can be instead of how they look.
     In DRESS ME!, my main character goes through many transformations, from wearing a monster mask to trying out different careers (and yes, sporting a mustache!) before getting all glammed up.
     The glam look, she decides, just isn’t for her.
     She finishes out the day running off in her jeans and her sneakers as “just me!”.
     A happy ending to a very fun dress up day!

Thank you so very much for having me on your blog.
     Sarah Frances

About Sarah Frances:
     Sarah Frances Hardy is a children’s author, illustrator, and professional painter. A former lawyer, Hardy studied art at the Parsons School of Design and has had her paintings featured in galleries and commercial establishments. She is the author and illustrator of two books: Puzzled by Pink (Houghton Mifflin) and Paint Me! (Sky Pony Press). Hardy lives with her husband and three daughters in Oxford, Mississippi.
      Please visit her website at www.sfhardy.com.

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40. Gallery Show Opening Night

Friday I attended opening night for the 8th annual Children's Book Illustrators' Show hosted by Prescott Hill and SCBWI Southern Breeze. Prescott is now Illustrator Coordinator and he did a bang up job putting the show together with the help of the Georgia Center for the Book. The show was hosted at the Decatur Library in the main lobby, where folks can wander through and enjoy the framed artwork and their corresponding picture books for FOUR weeks!!
     Opening night is always a treat because most of the illustrators come to help set up, mill about, and head to a celebratory melt-down dinner afterwards. It's always been one of my favorite Southern Breeze events.

     That's me on the left, and Stan is taking the photo. Otherwise, from the left is Danielle Glover (new friend), Mark Braught, Sara Lynn Cramb, Leighanne Schneider, her hubby Kent, Laura Freeman, and Prescott. Joe Davich showed up a little later too. And here are some more pictures from opening night:




     What a great evening! Read about past shows and the inception of the gallery show here.

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41. Coloring Page Tuesday - Hang Time

     School is out in my town and many kids across the country are now out for the summer, which means more time to hang out and READ!
     CLICK HERE for more coloring pages!
     Sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and... Please check out my books! Especially...
my debut novel, A BIRD ON WATER STREET - winner of nine literary awards. Click the cover to learn more!
     When the birds return to Water Street, will anyone be left to hear them sing? A miner's strike allows green and growing things to return to the Red Hills, but that same strike may force residents to seek new homes and livelihoods elsewhere. Follow the story of Jack Hicks as he struggles to hold onto everything he loves most.
     I create my coloring pages for teachers, librarians, booksellers, and parents to enjoy for free with their children, but you can also purchase rights to an image for commercial use, please contact me. If you have questions about usage, please visit my Angel Policy page.

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42. Happy Memorial Day!

Today we honor our fallen heroes. Here's a coloring page to help you do it:

There's also one for soldiers in other countries - our friends and allies. Color the flag to fit your nation. Let's remember those who fought for our freedom today.

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43. Ken Burns delivers the 2015 Commencement Address

Ken Burns recently shared a commencement speech important to all of us, not just this graduating class. I urge you to listen to every bit of it. Click the image to go listen on YouTube.

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44. My Life in Dioramas by Tara Altebrando

What an interesting book trailer for MY LIFE IN DIORAMAS by Tara Altebrando. (Click the image to watch on YouTube.)

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45. My Little Free Library immortalized!

Daren Wang, founder of the Decatur Book Festival, cc'd me on some wonderful news recently. MY Little Free Library is on the COVER of the new tome, THE LITTLE FREE LIBRARY BOOK: TAKE A BOOK • RETURN A BOOK by Margret Aldrich (Coffee House Press).
     How honored am I? SO VERY!!! (It's the LFL on on the lower right covered with my reading fairies. CLICK HERE to see some close ups.) YAY!

      You can check it out on Amazon here, but please support your local economy and purchase it from your local independent bookstore!

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46.

     Play ball! Or just read about it. There are some great baseball books for boys of all ages out there. Just ask your local bookseller or librarian for recommendations.
     CLICK HERE for more coloring pages!
     Sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and... Please check out my books! Especially...
my debut novel, A BIRD ON WATER STREET - winner of nine literary awards. Click the cover to learn more!
     When the birds return to Water Street, will anyone be left to hear them sing? A miner's strike allows green and growing things to return to the Red Hills, but that same strike may force residents to seek new homes and livelihoods elsewhere. Follow the story of Jack Hicks as he struggles to hold onto everything he loves most.
     I create my coloring pages for teachers, librarians, booksellers, and parents to enjoy for free with their children, but you can also purchase rights to an image for commercial use, please contact me. If you have questions about usage, please visit my Angel Policy page.

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47. It's Official!

The house is officially for sale and it's already been shown twice with a third tomorrow. I have to say, it's standing pretty tall. It's been a nice chapter in our lives for about ten years, but it's time to turn a page!


     First we're off to Roanoke, Virginia where I teach Picture Book Design in the MFA in Writing And Illustrating Children's Picture Books and the Certificate in Children's Books programs at Hollins University. And then, at the end of term, we're off to Edinburgh, Scotland, where I will become a student myself studying for an MFA in Illustration at the University of Edinburgh! We'll have feet on the ground in Scotland on August 15th.
     In the mean time, if you need to get in touch with me, my email and website will remain active and I'll do my best to get back to you in the midst of all the chaos!

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48. Peter Adam Salomon - Guest Post

Guest Post by Peter Adam Salomon
After The First Draft: Attitude Is Everything


      Congratulations, you've finished the first draft of your novel! This calls for a celebration. Lots of people have thought "I should write a book" and never started, or started and never finished.
      You've finished!
      Tell your friends, tell your family. Now get back to work. Because the hard part begins now.
      This is important: just as there were times while writing the first draft when you wanted to give up, there will be those same moments as you edit. But, just as you celebrated finishing that first draft, you’ll finish the second as well. And the fourteenth, and more, before you’re ready to query.
      After signing with an agent? More edits. After the novel sells? Yes, that's right: still more.
      There are a number of books on editing so that information can be found elsewhere.
      I'd like to talk about 'Attitude.' Yes, attitude.
      Editing is hard. The book's done, isn’t it?
      No. Not even close.
      The celebration is over and you have two things to do. They are NOT query and sell the novel. That's the goal and despite all the obstacles still to overcome it's within reach now that you've finished the first draft. But not yet.

      1) Let it sit. Untouched. Unread. Some will tell you to let it sit for a certain number of weeks or months. Let it sit. Ignore it. This is great advice. Unfortunately, the manuscript will keep calling to you: "Read Me!" So, my advice isn't so much a time frame as it is more 'attitude.' Let it sit just a little longer than is comfortable. Long enough so the passion starts coming back, until you’re dying to get back into the story and, then:
      2) Revise. Revise again. Revise so many times you can't answer people when they ask 'which draft are you on?' It's not always a matter of each ‘draft' being a complete revision; sometimes you’ll read though only to fix one particular thing (how many times your main character shrugs or the forty-seven times the wind catches her hair just right).
      Finally, let’s talk the most important ‘attitude’ of all: LOVE the revision process. Embrace it. Always remember: anyone who takes the time to give you constructive criticism has only one goal in mind: helping YOU make YOUR manuscript better. They’re trying to help. Helping is good. Revising is good. No matter how long it takes or how many times you want to give up.
      Thank them. Thank them again.
      One day, you'll remember that first draft and realize how much work it needed, how much work you did, how much better the ‘final’ version is.
      It will all be worth it the first time an agent calls you. When you post that your book sold. Or Tweet the cover art.
      That’s the goal. Loving revision will help you get there. You will have to revise and edit no matter what attitude you go into the process with, so learn to love it. It will make it easier, it will make your agent and editor love working with you (always a good thing). And it will teach you so much about writing that when you sit down to write your next book you won't make the same errors (of course, there will always be new errors to make).
      And that calls for another celebration!

About Peter:
      Peter Adam Salomon is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, the Horror Writers Association, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, the Science Fiction Poetry Association, the International Thriller Writers, and The Authors Guild and is represented by the Erin Murphy Literary Agency. His debut novel, HENRY FRANKS, published by Flux in 2012, was named one of the ten ‘Books All Young Georgians Should Read’ by The Georgia Center For The Book in 2014. His second novel, ALL THOSE BROKEN ANGELS, was published in 2014 by Flux and has been nominated for the Bram Stoker Award in the Young Adult category.
     Here's peek at Peter's favorite writing spot:

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49. Friday Linky List - May 22, 2015

At HuffPost: Stephen Mooser on Kids, Books, Writing, and Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators

At Anglotopia.net (via Shelf Awareness) - Turning the Page: Top 10 Coolest Bookshops in Britain to Visit on Your Next Trip - The Bookshop Tour of Britain

Lev Raphael's Writing Across Genres: 5 Things Nobody Tells You About a Writing Career


Brilliant bookends and other library accessories at Houzz

Interesting Articles about book marketing by author and former book publicist Tim Grahl

At PW - Erin Stein: Making an Imprint at Macmillan

From BuzzFeed (via PW): 67 Children's Books That Actually Changed Your Life

From BuzzFeed (via PW): Can You Guess The Children's Book From These Emojis? (FUN!)

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50. Illustration Challenge #2

Take two ideas that don't go together and put them together. For instance, flying pigs. Cows in space. Giraffes on wheels. Get the idea? Have fun!

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