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<<October 2016>>
new posts in all blogs
Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: KidLit, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 400
1. Yet More Darwin at The Little Crooked Cottage

Head on over to The Little Crooked Cottage for some more art and talk about the inspiration and process behind Charles Darwin's Around-the-World Adventure! (And check out the rest of the blog. Those ladies know how to rock the kids books!)

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2. Darwin And More on 7-Imp

Julie Danielson has done a lovely roundup of art and early sketches from DARWIN and a few other cool picture books over at her blog, Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. Check it out! ♡

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3. And Then, This Happened!


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4. Charles Darwin ~ Book Birthday!

Charles Darwin's Around-the-World Adventure is officially out today!

I'm so thankful for friends, colleagues— and funny Darwin gifts— along this journey!

(I wonder what kind of cake Charles liked?) ♡

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5. Darwin ~ Publishers Weekly Review

"Letting her background in map illustration shine, Thermes (Little Author in the Big Woods) follows the travels of Charles Darwin while concisely explaining the influence they had on his growing understanding of the interconnectedness of nature..."

Read the full review here...

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6. A History of my Archive in 10 Objects. No.4: Corona 4 typewriter, 1924

Number 4 in this series of 10 Images from my Archives found at my dad's house is my old typewriter... and I mean old typewriter!

Corona Model 4 portable typewriter, 1924 pattern

When I was 16 I discovered the work of the Golden Age illustrators (Rackham, Dulac, Heath-Robinson, Stratton etc). In fact it was a re-discovery really as my mum had kept a couple of compendiums from her childhood that had been illustrated by these artists, but I rarely saw those. It was only in the mid-70's that I began seriously examining children's illustration, Arthur Rackham's work in particular began transporting me to realms of the imagination. Gradually my artwork at school began to take on the iconography of old fashioned ethereal fairy tales, anthropomorphised animals and so on. By the time I reached 6th Form I knew I wanted to be a children's book illustrator, so it was only natural I'd also pursue writing too.

My first attempts at writing children's books had been laughable copies of Enid Blyton adventures, written by hand when I was around 13.... none extended past the first chapter! But by 1977 I was serious, and so managed to persuade my parents to buy me a typewriter.

Of course, what I had in mind was a modern, zippy electric typewriter that I could churn out pages of manuscript. But, ever watchful for a bargain, my mum spotted an ad for something second-hand, and what I ended up with was a Corona 4 manual machine,  released onto the market in 1924. I remember the day we picked this up from a big old house on the private estate, I didn't quite know what to make of it - this wasn't hi-tech! though I fell in love with it's look.

I'd never touched a typewriter before in my life, so the fact the ribbon feed was rusty, you had to bang down the keys so hard it made your fingers ache, or that the 'e' was slightly misaligned didn't bother me, I had no other experience to compare to so just got on with it - it was the only way for me. I felt I was following the route of the great writers, rather than obsolete, it was 'classic'.

While other 18-year olds were discovering pubs, I spent most of my free time typing out my first manuscript In Search of Summer Gold - my one and only attempt at a novel - a long, pretty unpublishable tale of anthropomorphised mice and fairies in the 18th century, a mix of The Wind in the Willows meets The Lord of the Rings, with a good dollop of Brothers Grimm and Peter Pan thrown in for good measure. And of course I illustrated it with highly derivative pen drawings. From a professional level it was not very good and was turned down by two publishers before I eventually shelved it .... but at least it taught me to type!

Later on I used the Corona to type up my degree thesis, and in the early '80's the first issues of the Norwich post-punk fanzine/magazine The Blue Blanket ... banging those keys down with a satisfying smack! smack! smack! as they hit the ribbon, it was the perfect instrument on which to take out frustrations with the world. But thereafter it was retired, and I've never attempted to write a novel again.

It took a battering in the years I used it, 35 years in my dad's loft has not been good to my old stalwart either, but I was very glad to rediscover it there.

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7. Flood Warning

I received a "flood" of books this week. Flood Warning published by Harper Collins.

And here are a couple of peeks inside the book.

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8. Colonial Family

I just finished this one. An American Colonial family is gathered together to listen to the Father read a letter from a loved one far away. Its all done with Prismacolor colored pencils, one black Verithin pencil for a few details, and the clone stamp in Photoshop to pick out a few pencil crumbs that ended up where they shouldn't. I'm pretty happy with this, and figured out some technique things that have been bugging me. 

Here are a few close ups:

Yes, I love doing woodgrain. That rug was fun, too.

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9. Hidden City

I mentioned recently that I had been wrapping up illustrations for a children's book which I have been working on most of this past year. This project has been a labor of love and one of my favorite projects to date. It is published by Eerdman's Books for Young Readers and the title is Hidden City. A release date is yet to be determined as the book is being finalized.

This is the first of a series of sneak peeks and posts about the process I used in illustrating this book leading up to it's release. Eerdman's is a dream publishing house to work with. At every turn they are so supportive to the illustrator's process and have come back with thoughtful and intelligent feedback. It has been a true creative collaboration. The book is a collection of image rich poems written by Sarah Tuttle about nature hidden in urban environments. To tell you this has been fun to illustrate would be an understatement!

Here are a couple of sketches and the progress to full color. I am just showing cropped illustrations, not the full page illustrations yet.

This first illustration is a poem about bats hunting moths at night under a streetlamp. Here are my pencil sketches that I scanned into my computer.

In the past I would not have described myself as a big sketcher. I would typically dive into the color illustrations and work things out intuitively as I proceed. With this book I sketched a lot and tried out different ideas, layouts, characters, etc. Once I had things worked out in pencil, I stuck fairly closely to my sketches for the color work. I wanted to focus on character, story, and atmosphere in each spread. I like to pose a question at the beginning of each book project that gets to the heart of what I am trying to say. For this book, I asked myself.... "Do you want to live in this illustration?" And of course, if the answer was not yes, it was back to the drawing board, literally. 

I also spent a lot of time collecting...references, materials, papers, textures. I made a folder for each poem. I also kept a notebook with all of my ideas regarding colors, textures, and perspectives that would best illustrate the feelings that each poem evoked. I also tried to tap into our shared childlike curiosity,enthusiasm, and wonder when we are surrounded by natural beauty, especially in urban settings.

Another poem is about a mother raccoon teaching its young to hunt. This wound up being one of my favorite illustrations in the book, both to draw and also seeing how it turned out when I was done. 

Here are a couple of little fellas in pencil and full color.

We wound up changing the scene from a city park to a back alley behind a restaurant. It worked out so much better than the original vision I had which I had strong feelings for. There is a lot to be said about letting go and staying open as I mentioned, it has become one of my favorite illustrations in the book. And it stretched me as an illustrator. I can't wait to show you the full spread! 

Stay tuned for more posts about Hidden City as we get closer to a release date.

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10. Great Kirkus Review for Darwin!

I'm thrilled to share that Kirkus calls my forthcoming book, CHARLES DARWIN'S AROUND-THE-WORLD ADVENTURE, "A notable choice for both STEM curricula and family sharing." Thank you, Kirkus! (October will be here in no time!)

Read the full review here.

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11. J. Bears Wilson’s face gets all screwed up when he’s...

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12. It’s like #Sherlock is reaching through the bottom of the...

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13. Charles Darwin's Around-the-World Adventure ~ Advance Copy!

An advance copy of my next book arrived yesterday, to my total surprise! I am absolutely thrilled with the way it turned out. (Hard to see in the photo, but there's a spot varnish on the butterflies, Charles, and the title. I totally wasn't expecting such a wonderful detail. The design geek in me is very, very happy!)

I'm feeling truly fortunate and thankful to be working with such an amazing Editor, Art Director, and the whole team at Abrams!

The book will be out in October... stay tuned for some behind-the-scenes book posts in the weeks leading up to release!

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14. Black Beauty


I'm working on an italian edition of Black Beauty with Edizioni EL. I'm always happy when I have the opportunity to work on a classic I loved as a child. My dream project would be an illustrated edition of Watership Down (there's a pitch in the works in my spare time. I hope it will see the light one day.)
One of the reasons I enjoy working with Edizioni EL is that they leave me a lot of freedom. When I told them that I was tired of my usual digital work, they let me try something a little different - a graphite rendering and digital colour. It's a good way to step away from the computer and the final result is very appealing to me at this stage. Here's a little preview of the work and some sketches. As you can see, I'm still working on the layouts digitally. It's easier for me, as I know how much room I have on the page, but then I transfer them on Fabriano FA2 and use pencils. Follow me on IG to see more as I move along - https://www.instagram.com/gaiabordicchia/

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15. If you’re a Gutsy Girl-Read This!

gutsy girl

March is Women’s History Month and we’re bringing the month to a close by celebrating in grand style. Before women make their history, they first had to have some focus, bravery, and perseverance to get them there. Let’s face it, all women have hurdles to jump over, but every woman that makes, and contributes, to history qualifies as a “Gusty Girl!”

Before we continue, we need to pause for a…..


” Many of the situations that the author encounters in this book have inherent dangers and can lead to serious or even fatal injuries. One particular undertaking-Climbing the Golden Gate Bridge-is also illegal and should not be attempted. Readers should not venture into any of these situations without professional instruction, suitable training, and proper supervision. Neither the publisher nor the author assumes ay responsibility for any injuries incurred by the reader.”

This is the first page of one of the greatest reads of the year. You’re probably in one of two camps after reading this warning. The first camp can’t wait to find out what could be in this book to create such a warning and the second camp will run as fast as they can. Just so you know, I’m in the first camp BUT I greatly advise people of the second camp to take a deep breath and read it anyway. There’s something for everyone to help unveil the gutsy in all of us.

First I had to know more about that Golden Gate Bridge story and second I just had to know more about author Caroline Paul, what type of woman is she and what escapades in her life led her to write a guidebook for tween girls about creating such adventures? The Gutsy Girl:Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure is probably one of the finest reads I’ve picked up so far in 2016.

gutsy girl guide cover


Author Caroline Paul was one of the first women on the San Franciso firefighting force as well as an experimental plane pilot, throughout the pages of her book we also learn that she is a recovering/rescue scuba diver. All this from a woman who says she was the biggest scaredy cat in the world as a child. Caroline greatly believes that girls are taught to be frightened by being instilled with the language of “fear”, while boys are fed that bravery and resilience are the goals to aspire to.

The Gutsy Girl: Escapades of Your Life of Epic Adventure is her antidote to empower tween girls to embrace their own bravery and resilience. This book is FUNNY and extremely imaginative and really intelligently written. Inside she shares her own stories one by one and the lessons and bravery she learned. Not all of them have happy endings but all of them have a take away to a new understanding of who she is or was at that time. This book is also part manifesto using language, insights, and encouragement into bravery and shear gutsiness. This is a guidebook however, and guidebooks mean you have to take action. Caroline Paul has also placed many great and inventive activities called Daring-Dos, as well as journal pages to reflect on ones own Daring-Dos experiences.


While sharing her escapades, author Caroline Paul is brilliant about showing the boundary lines between being gutsy and being stupid. She is always cautioning against being reckless and the difference between recklessness and being adventurous . She just doesn’t say it once, it’s sprinkled everywhere throughout the book in many different ways.


Some of My Favorite Parts

I learned some fun new things….

The illustrations in The Gusty Girl :Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure are done by her partner Wendy Macnaughton who also has a great sense of humor. One of my favorite illustrations is the Gutsy Girl International Phrase Book. It had me howling probably because I’ve needed to ask these very questions of people in far off lands and unknown languages.


Did you know this about how to know what temperature it is ?


So cool right ?

Something To Do

Writer Caroline Paul wasn’t always brave, or adventurous.

I had been a shy and fearful kid. Many things had scared me. Bigger kids. Second grade. The elderly woman across the street. Being called on in class. The book Where the Wild Things Are. Woods at dusk. The way the bones in my hand crisscrossed.

Being scared was a terrible feeling, like sinking in quicksand. My stomach would drop, my feet would feel heavy, my head would prickle. Fear was an all-body experience. For a shy kid like me it was overwhelming.”

She gives great examples of current gutsy girls and women. Some known most we’ve never heard of but I’m so glad to know about them now.

Right within the pixels of Jump Into a Book we’ve had the pleasure of reviewing books based on Gutsy Girls. Here are a few of my favorites:

Below you’ll find a list and some links to some more gutsy girls. Go discover them and see what their bravery and adventuresome spirit inspires you to do.

Please Meet

Laura Dekker who set sail on the boat she made and remodeled with her father. Just shy of her 15th birthday, she set sail around the world to become the youngest person to ever circumnavigate the globe ALONE.

Learn more about her here. She also has a blog and a book called One Girl, One Dream.

Gutsy girl 6

Marie Antoine started climbing trees as a kid for fun. Now she does it as her job. She’s one of the few botanists who work in the canopies of the world’s largest trees the redwoods. From 325 feet up in the air, you’ll find her munching her lunch and taking a little snooze in the hammock she brings along. That’s a long long way down. One of my personal daring dos is to climb up into a Redwood tree. Just thought I’d share that. I first learned of Marie from the book The Wild Trees by Richard Preston which talked about her and her husband Stephen Stillet and the work they do way up there. Here’s a great look at their lives.

gutsy 7

Shark Whisperer Cristina Zenato grew up is the African Congo. She is an accomplished diver. Christina calms the sharks by rubbing around their nose and mouth along small jelly filled holes. This quiets the shark into a semi-paralytic state for up to 20 minutes. During the time the sharks are hypnotized, Christina pulls out fishhooks, removes parasites from their skins, and extracts various samples for scientific research. In lieu of being fearful of these large sea creatures, she calls them family and says they are greatly misunderstood. Do you know who else says that ? My eldest daughter, “Bun-Girl” who also has had her own adventures with sharks.

To find out more about Christina Zenato  have a look here.

This book honestly speaks to girls and women of all ages. I found it to be timeless in it’s appeal. She beckons us to embrace the spirit of adventure or at the very least to explore the idea. She shares what it means to be brave, that perseverance is how to get through it, that we don’t need to be perfect just present and the most important take away for being a Gutsy Girl is to laugh at oneself a lot. That’s an important skill especially when trying to do nearly impossible things.


Are you a Gutsy Girl?


Ready to get your “sleuth” on? My Secret Codes, Mysteries and Adventures Activity PDF for kids will keep young minds percolating for HOURS!

Inside young super detectives will discover:

*19 pages of sleuthing fun for your family to enjoy.
*Use Pilot Frixion Pens and craft paper to create Invisible Secret Notes!
*Make I Spy Cookies!
*Discover a President of the United States who was a Master Code Creator!

This free activity guide is a great way to encourage kids to pull books off of shelves, discover the power of imagination and build a new excitement and anticipation for reading. Fill out the info below and grab your FREE copy. Enjoy!

secret codes

My free gift to YOU!

* indicates required

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16. A Mappish Show-and-Tell Process Post

I was recently commissioned to do a few maps for an upcoming book* due out later this year. A few people asked to see the final art after I posted some work-in-progress details over on Instagram, so here it is, along with some process show-and-tell.

Since I'm usually asked to illustrate places that exist in reality, this project was super interesting, because these were more fantasy-based maps.

In this case, the art director sent over detailed notes about the story, along with a rough sketch of how the author visualized the world in her head. This was all extremely helpful, and gave me a great starting point, yet still left a lot of creative freedom...

Below is the first sketch sent to the publisher. (I swear I had some tiny rough thumbnails, but they were lost in the flurry-of-paper that is my studio.)...

Close up inking details and adding a tone wash...

Coffee meditation break. (No worries! None was spilled! Don't try this at home, kids!!)...

And voilá, one of the finished pieces...

*The book is called THORNGHOST (Dial 2016), by Tone Almhjell, coming in August. Check it out!

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17. The Stumps of Flattop Hill Book & Art Exhibit

Good art can be a little dark and disturbing. In the case of a new exhibition at the Whitney Library Gallery, it can also be classified as creepy, spooky, kooky, mysterious and more than a little fun. The show features dark drawings and haunting images, much of them from a new children's book, "The Stumps of Flattop Hill," by Las Vegas-based author Kenneth Kit Lamug.

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18. Why Write for Children?

Not that those of us who love kidlit need an excuse to write for children, but here are some additional reasons.


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19. Monday Map ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder


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20. Joey Beaver ran through the puddles. #sketch #wabisabi...

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21. The Audrey Press Holiday Book Sale!

It’s time! Time for The Audrey Press Holiday Book Sale!! Giving Young Readers the Gift that they can Open Again and Again!

Audrey Press Holiday Book Sale

As the holiday season approaches, consider adding the gift of books to your shopping list. There are many wonderful booklists available for parents looking to give their child the gift of reading and adventure. A book makes a great gift because they are meaningful, beautiful, portable, appealing, and inexpensive and it’s a gift that can be opened again and again. Books are the perfect gift for any age and a gift that doesn’t require batteries or sizing instruction!

If you would like to get started on your family reading adventure, or would just like to add to your family bookshelf, Audrey Press has some special deals on their catalog of books to get readers and gift-givers on their merry way. From November 30th to December 15th, give the gift of reading, adventure and education at extra-special Black Friday prices!

Discover the joys of delving into this timeless children’s literature classic and see the Secret Garden through new eyes and a modern twist! Kids and nature go hand-and-hand and enjoying the bounty that the great outdoors brings is not just a “summer thing.” A Year in the Secret Garden is a delightful children’s book with over 120 pages, with 150 original color illustrations and 48 activities for your family and friends to enjoy, learn, discover and play with together. Grab your copy ASAP for the Holiday Book Sale price of $15.00 More details HERE!

Audrey Press Holiday Book Sale

Do your young readers love nature and all of nature’s critters? The Fox Diaries: The Year the Foxes Came to our Garden offers an enthusiastically educational opportunity to observe this fox family grow and learn together. From digging and hunting to playing and resting, this diary shares a rare glimpse into the private lives of Momma Rennie and her babies. Grab your copy ASAP for the Holiday Book Sale price of $12.00 HERE.


The Waldorf Homeschool Handbook is a simple step-by-step guide to creating and understanding a Waldorf inspired homeschool plan. Within the pages of this comprehensive homeschooling guide, parents will find information, lesson plans, curriculum, helpful hints, behind the scenes reasons why, rhythm, rituals, helping you fit homeschooling into your life. Discover The Waldorf Homeschool Handbook: The Simple Step-by-Step guide to creating a Waldorf-inspired homeschool will makes a great gift so grab your copy ASAP for the Holiday Book Sale price of $17.00

Audrey Press Holiday sale

The Ultimate Guide to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Enhanced Digital eBook is an entertaining and educational children’s book enhanced with animations, games, recipes, videos, and more providing hours of fun for kids and parents alike. Based on the beloved story of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory this interactive children’s e-book is filled with action and adventure. With over 20 crafts and activities (including creating Gobstopper Gum and Chocolate Rivers, golden tickets, handmade Willy Wonka hats, etc.), this beautifully illustrated e-book re-lives the wonder and amazement through Willy Wonkas world of magic. Download your copy ASAP for the Holiday Book Sale price of $3.99

Don’t have an Apple device, but still want to experience the thrill, activities and magic of The Ultimate Guide to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? This entertaining and educational children’s book based on the beloved story of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is available in PDF form! With over 20 crafts and activities (including creating Gobstopper Gum and Chocolate Rivers, golden tickets, handmade Willy Wonka hats, etc.), this beautifully illustrated PDF re-lives the wonder and amazement through Willy Wonkas world of magic. Download your PDF copy ASAP for the Holiday Book Sale price of $5.00!

Audrey Press Holiday Book Sale

Review Bloggers! We Need YOU! MCCBD 2016 Review Blogger Sign-up is OPEN!
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***Review Bloggers-Sign up is HERE (Sign-up is open until December 31, 2015. There are no guarantees everyone will be matched with a book donator)

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22. Read Out Loud | Hervé Tullet’s PRESS HERE !

Read Out Loud Herve Tullet


Follow along with Best Selling author Hervé Tullet’s spirited reading of Press Here!

Press Here From Chronicle Books:
Press here. That’s right. Just press the yellow dot, and turn the page. The single touch of a finger sparks a whimsical dance of color and motion in this joyful celebration of the power of imagination.


—School Library Journal, starred review

star“An interactive book that gives the iPad a licking.”
—The Horn Book, starred review

Click here for your Press Here Activities GUIDE!
Study Guide and Activites for PRESS HERE
Watch Hervé Tullet’s FULL interview with Rocco on STORYMAKERS!

Host: Rocco Staino @RoccoA
Executive Producer: Julie Gribble @JulieGribbleNYC

Join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/KidLitTV
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Get Your Backstage Pass to view interview EXTRAS from Hervé Tullet: http://kidlit.tv/newsletter

Backstage at KidLit TVKidLit TV is TulletedHervé creates original art for Rocco and Julie GribbleCastAndCrewPressHERE

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23. Dept. of Fun Stuff: Miss Marple's Musings

I've been interviewed by the lovely Joanna Marple over at her blog, Miss Marple's Musings. Check it out!

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24. New Map ~ The Turn of the Tide

It's always fun to get copies of a new book with a map I've worked on inside.
This is from THE TURN OF THE TIDE, by Rosanne Parry (Random House BYR, 2016).


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25. Happy Birthday, Charles Darwin!

"... There are several other sources of enjoyment in a long voyage... the map of the world ceases to be a blank; it becomes a picture full of the most varied and animated pictures." –from THE VOYAGE OF THE BEAGLE

Charles Darwin was born 207 years ago today, on February 12, 1809. Today is also Darwin Day– a celebration of Darwin's life and amazing contributions to the world of science. Cake for everyone!

*Art detail from CHARLES DARWIN'S AROUND-THE-WORLD ADVENTURE (Abrams 2016), coming in October!

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