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1. New website! chadwbeckerman.com

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2. New website! chadwbeckerman.com

 I am in the process of building up a website. After 8 years I decided my old flash website wasn't the best choice. Not to mention I have been working on a lot of cool stuff since then. 

I still have a ways to go till all the details are in place but if you want to take a peek . . .

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3. Let the prank wars begin!: THE TERRIBLE TWO

Let the prank wars begin!
Mac Barnett and Jory John initiated the inaugural school into the“International Order of Disorder” during the
cover reveal for their new prankster series The Terrible Two, publishing 1.13.15. As set up by Copperfield’s Bookstore in Petaluma, CA, 400 3rd through 8th graders at the Mary Collins School at Cherry Valley got pranked as Mac and Jory
revealed the cover to be a picture of their librarian with a doodle mustache!
After the real cover reveal, the ultimate prank—Mac and Jory stole the school principal’s car and moved it to the playground! See photo chronology below and the certificate that each kid received. An amazing start to our huge campaign!

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4. The Cover Evolution of OTHERBOUND

It's been awhile since my last Cover evolution post after reading this blog you might forgive me. Usually, I give a couple short phrase about how each stage progressed. This post is a little different. Senior Editor Maggie Lehrman and artist Vince Natale will guide us through the cover evolution of OTHERBOUND by Corinne Duyvis So let's get started.

First things first your need to know a little about the story.

Amara is never alone. Not when she’s protecting the cursed princess she unwillingly serves. Not when they’re fleeing across dunes and islands and seas to stay alive. Not when she’s punished, ordered around, or neglected.

She can’t be alone, because a boy from another world experiences all that alongside her, looking through her eyes.

Nolan longs for a life uninterrupted. Every time he blinks, he’s yanked from his Arizona town into Amara’s mind, a world away, which makes even simple things like hobbies and homework impossible. He’s spent years as a powerless observer of Amara’s life. Amara has no idea . . . until he learns to control her, and they communicate for the first time. Amara is terrified. Then, she’s furious.

All Amara and Nolan want is to be free of each other. But Nolan’s breakthrough has dangerous consequences. Now, they’ll have to work together to survive—and discover the truth about their connection.

So now let's hear from Maggie Lerhman, Senior Editor:

Otherboundis an incredibly original book, unlike anything I’d read before. It has interweaving perspectives, male and female POVs, a “normal” Arizona world and a “fantasy” world of the Dunelands, and characters that cross back and forth between them. The incredibly original can be tough to conceptualize in a book cover, since they tend not to have easy comparisons—and Chad and I found to be true in this case. We wanted to get across the idea of seeing the world through someone else’s eyes, and the general concept that there would be two worlds. But pretty much the rest of the cover was up in the air.

The first few comps that Chad and our designer Sara Corbett came up with tried a photographic/typographic approach. We liked the idea of having one eye open/one eye closed, but these felt a little slick, and they didn’t get across the strangeness and the seriousness of the central concept.

Then Sara and Chad came up with these, which were definitely more mysterious and very striking. Eyes are a natural thing to focus on—Corinne’s original title for the book was Blink. But in the end we felt there was something cold about these. 

Our publisher expressed the problem concisely: These feel like science fiction, and we wanted to get across more of a sense of the magic and the fantastical. 
By this point, we realized we needed to start from scratch… 
but we’d spent a lot of time on what we’d done already, and our Advance Reader Copies were due to the printer. This was a crucial deadline so that booksellers and reviewers could start reading and talking about Corinne’s amazing book in advance of publication. We hate to have to print an ARC with a non-final cover, but sometimes it happens, and in this case, it was unavoidable. But Chad and Sara made an effort to find a typeface that read more “fantasy.”

Some of these felt “fantasy,” but a much more medieval-style fantasy that what Corinne had written. The Dunelands are a gritty, rough-edged world. There’s magic, but it’s an earthy, painful strain of magic, not a gowns-and-potions magic. The gothic feel of that type didn’t fit in with how I had pictured that world. Plus it didn’t hint at Nolan’s real-world environment at all—which is half of the book. We eventually went with this blocky interconnected type, which felt to me as if it had been carved out of stone.

We liked that type for the ARC, but for the final cover, we wanted a more evocative image to go with it. Chad put together this sketch. The idea is from the book: it’s the magical tattoo that servants wear in the Dunelands, with some actual dunegrass below. Something about this didn’t feel right, though. Perhaps it was too mechanical-looking. After all, this is a book that’s very concerned with its protagonists’ bodies—who’s in control, who’s in pain, who gets a say.

( psst, its Chad, At this point in the process I felt a bit lost and tired but not defeated. I wasn't super happy with this direction but it felt right at the time. Mainly because I think it was different than what we had been doing. Which doesn't mean it was the right direction. )

So finally Chad suggested we approach an illustrator he’d worked with before (on the absolutely gorgeous Megan Whalen Turner Attolia covers), Vince Natale. 

(CHAD: I had been waiting to work with Vince again and this was the perfect fit for him. It just took me awhile to figure that out. Thankfully the idea of using Vince was conceived.)


We had total confidence that Vince could bring the fantasy feel to this cover while also introducing compelling characters. He sent several sketches of composition options, all with that old gothic font we’d toyed with for the ARC. Chad took our favorite composition and combined it with the more blocky interconnected type we liked so much in the ARC and Vince went to final.


And now I’ll let Vince take over to discuss some of his process!

These sketches are my effort to work out details of how to handle the imagery at the bottom of the cover art to include in my tight sketch. I needed to show the separate and differing environments each of the protagonists of the book inhabited - one a typical suburban southwestern U.S. neighborhood, and the other a mysterious , magic filled seaside world.
I needed somehow to meld the two together visually, but keep them separate at the same time. I decided that the best way to do this was to draw them on the same plane at similar sizes and commingle some physical elements, and then make the point of them being separate worlds through the use of color.
In the top sketch I felt that there was too much detail in the 'neighborhood' scene, and that the size of the house was too "in your face", and the composition not fluid enough.
In the bottom sketch I felt that I got more of a 'feel' for the environment neighborhood scene -more houses and more obvious mountains in the background and not so much explicit detail. 
The castle, though, I found had gotten a bit fidgety and detailed, and the silhouette didn't really scream 'castle' - it looks like ti could be some kind of medieval village.(which might have worked but that wasn't the plan.) 
So, I combined the castle from the top sketch with the neighborhood from the bottom and that seemed to hit the mark.

In the completed tight sketch these elements were refined and modified slightly; In the final painting, even a little more -but those were really just details, such as grasses in the foreground to balance out the composition.

This is the underpainting - the first step in the painting process of the final artwork. It's a thin layer of paint applied on top of a very detailed line drawing on canvas or primed board.
This helps to loosely establish the basic color and value patterns as a guide for the top layer of paint.
Here you can see the breakdown of three distinct color sections - warm, orange-brown for the Southwestern feel, cool, silvery-grey for a mysterious mood, and both blending to violet towards the top representing the vast space between the two worlds.
This color scheme developed in my head as I was working through all the preliminary sketches so I had a good idea of where I wanted to go with color.Many times I"ll do color sketches for myself when I'm not sure what the best way to handle something is, if it hasn't just "come to me", or if a client requests one. It's hard doing color sketches for clients though, because most times my color sketches are what I call "failures" -a series of color messes that show me what I DON'T want to do. Also, many times they're simply color swatches that I find look good together, not always little mini versions of the final art. For this piece I gave the art director written notes of my intentions, and for this particular project it worked out well.

And so at least here’s the final over of Otherbound. For the finished book, we printed the type in spot UV so that it pops from the matte background. We’re very happy with the way it turned out and think it conveys everything we need it to—the points of view, fantasy, characters’ bodies, warmth, roughness, etc. It was a long road but good things are worth waiting for.


And I do hope you’ll read Otherbound!


Original and compelling; a stunning debut.”
--Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Numerous plot twists drive the story along, and it’s grounded in worldbuilding that creates a believable, authentic setting.  Duyvis makes ingenious use of a fascinating premise.”
--Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Duyvis creates a humdinger of an adventure that contains the agony of loyalty, the allure of magic, and, most gratifyingly, the element of surprise.”
--The Horn Book Magazine

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5. COVER REVEAL: Emperor Pickletine Rides the Bus: An Origami Yoda Book

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6. CBS Sunday Morning: Rube Goldberg

CBS Sunday Morning featured an incredible 7 minute segment on Rube Goldberg yesterday.

The book was mentioned and the cover was shown.

Watch it here

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7. The Art of Rube Goldberg: HOW THE COVER WORKS and more

The Art of Rube Goldberg (A) Inventive (B) Cartoon (C) Genius 

  Today's the day: After 7 years in the making, we're so excited to announce the release of The Art of Rube Goldberg! We're thrilled with the result, and we're sure you'll love it, too. Check out exclusive images, videos, cover details + more great features from the book on our blog #TheArtofRube #rubegoldberg

The Art of Rube Goldberg: HOW THE COVER WORKS

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8. COVER REVEALED: Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue!

Wonderful news!

This morning, USAToday.com (UVM: 22 million!) revealed the cover of the next book in the bestselling Origami Yoda series, Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue!

“Origami Yoda is back in all its folded, evil-fighting glory.”
Read the full story online and be sure to share it—tag @abramskids @origamiyoda

Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue! An Origami Yoda Book by Tom Angleberger, $13.95; MARCH 4, 2014; 978-1-4197-1052-0
Oct 17                  USAToday.com – cover reveal

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9. I am now on TUMBLR

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10. Getting to Know Salem Hyde

About the book
Salem Hyde just isn’t like other kids. For one thing, she’s stubborn, independent, and impulsive. For another, she’s a witch. Salem acts first and thinks later—which means most of her thinking involves coming up with excuses!
Good thing she’s been assigned an animal companion, Lord Percival J. Whamsford III. This over-anxious cat doesn’t like Salem calling him “Whammy,” and Salem doesn’t like listening to his long-winded explanations as to why she shouldn’t do something . . . like enter the class spelling bee.
Salem knows she can beat all her classmates at spells, no problem. Too late, she realizes the competition is about spelling words, not magic. And there’s nothing like a misspelled spell to cause all kinds of havoc! 

Praise for The Misadventures of Salem Hyde: Book One
"A fledgling witch receives necessary guidance from a talking cat in this utterly adorable page-turner… A delightful buddy story and an auspicious series opener; be sure to make room on shelves for Salem and Whammy."
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

About the author
Frank Cammuso is an Eisner-nominated cartoonist, the creator of the popular middle school graphic novel series Knights of the Lunch Table, and the illustrator of several beginning reader graphic books, including Otto’s Orange Day. He lives in Syracuse, New York.

October 5th         River’s End Bookstore, Oswego, NY
October 10th       NY Comic-Con
October 18th       B&N Dewitt
October 26th       League of Extraordinary Readers, Oblong Books, Rhinebeck, NY
Nov 10th               New Brunswick School, Greenwich, CT
Nov 16th               The Rochester Children’s Book Festival 

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11. Cover revealed: Dairy of a Wimpy Kid 8: Hard Luck

Cover revealed: Dairy of a Wimpy Kid 8: Hard Luck 

It's HARD LUCK being a Wimpy Kid. 


USA Today
http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/books/2013/08/08/wimpy-kid-"eff Kinney says that in his next "novel in cartoons,"Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck (due Nov. 5), his wisecracking, self-centered, middle-school narrator, Greg Heffley, will try "to reinvent himself."
In his first interview about Hard Luck (its cover is revealed here for the first time), Kinney says Greg isn't aging or maturing but continues to find new comic challenges. It's the eighth book in the wildly popular series, written and illustrated by Kinney for readers 8 and up.
Kinney says Greg's best friend, Rowley, "has a girlfriend. Greg is on his own. He realizes the choices he's made haven't been the best, so he decides to turn his decisions over to chance, using an 8 Ball."hard-luck-jeff-kinney/2628639/"

 Will Greg Heffley's luck ever change?

Find out . . .


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12. UNCOVER THE COLOR of WIMPY KID 8 Tomorrow morning

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13. The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett is now on sale!!

TODAY, August 6, is the on-sale date for The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppettthe next episode in the bestselling Origami Yoda series! 

Be sure to take pictures of the Origami Yoda books
and post to your social media:
tag @abramskids and @origamiyoda

Redesigned website!

The home base for the Origami Yoda books, origamiyoda.com has been completely redesigned and launches on Monday 8/5.
See below for screenshot and take a look on Mon when it goes live: www.origamiyoda.com

Where in the world is Tom Angleberger?
Tom Angleberger embarks on a 10-city tour on Tuesday 8/6.
Follow @abramskids @origamiyoda for updates.

Tuesday, August 6
Barnes & Noble
8029 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37919
1660 Memorial Blvd, Murfreesboro, TN 37130

Wednesday, August 7
Booksellers @ Laurelwood, Memphis
387 Perkins Extd, Memphis, TN 38117

1315 S Caraway Rd, Jonesboro, AR 72401
Thursday, August 8

Left Bank Books
321 N 10th St, St Louis, MO 63101

Barnes & Noble
3111 South Veterans Pkwy, Springfield, IL 62704

Friday, August 9
4 Kids Books
4450 Weston Pointe Dr, Zionsville, IN 46077

Blue Manatee Children’s Bookstore
3054 Madison Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45209

Saturday, August 10
Blue Marble Children’s Bookstore
1356 S Ft Thomas Ave, Fort Thomas, KY 41075
Joseph-Beth Booksellers
161 Lexington Green Cir B1, Lexington, KY 40503

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14. Jacket proof for SICK arrived

Production Genius Kathy Lovisolo delivers the Jacket proofs for SICK

A nice gritty matte jacket

About the book
Brian and his friends are not part of the cool crowd. They’re the misfits and the troublemakers—the ones who jump their high school’s fence to skip class regularly. So when a deadly virus breaks out, they’re the only ones with a chance of surviving.
The virus turns Brian’s classmates and teachers into bloodthirsty attackers who don’t die easily. The whole school goes on lockdown, but Brian and his best friend, Chad, are safe (and stuck) in the theater department—far from Brian’s sister, Kenzie, and his ex-girlfriend with a panic attack problem, Laura. Brian and Chad, along with some of the theater kids Brian had never given the time of day before, decide to find the girls and bring them to the safety of the theater. But it won’t be easy, and it will test everything they thought they knew about themselves and their classmates.

Praise for SICK
"The gore and action will leave enthralled readers thrilled and then sated with each kill on either side."

About the author
Tom Leveen is the author of PartyZero, and manicpixiedreamgirlZero was named to YALSA’s list of Best Fiction for Young Adults. This is his first foray into the horror genre. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

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15. Cover Evolution of A Greyhound of a Girl—Hardcover & Paperback

Art for both the hardcover and Paperback versions of 
A Greyhound of a Girl was made by Karl Kwasny

1st color attempt
Fully rendered bottom character

Back to a silo character
Now with more arm movement!

One last thing. Adding white to the type for the final design.

Paperback Redesign

Final Paperback Version

About the book
Mary O’Hara is a sharp and cheeky 12-year-old Dublin schoolgirl who is bravely facing the fact that her beloved Granny is dying. But Granny can’t let go of life, and when a mysterious young woman turns up in Mary’s street with a message for her Granny, Mary gets pulled into an unlikely adventure. The woman is the ghost of Granny’s own mother, who has come to help her daughter say good-bye to her loved ones and guide her safely out of this world. She needs the help of Mary and her mother, Scarlett, who embark on a road trip to the past. Four generations of women travel on a midnight car journey. One of them is dead, one of them is dying, one of them is driving, and one of them is just starting out.

Praise for A Greyhound of a Girl
“A warm, witty, exquisitely nuanced multigenerational story.”
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“This elegantly constructed yet beautifully simple story, set in Ireland and spun with affection by Booker Prize–winner Doyle, will be something different for YA readers. These four lilting voices will linger long after the book is closed.”
Booklist, starred review

"Written mostly in dialogue, at which Doyle excels, and populated with a charming foursome of Irish women, this lovely tale is as much about overcoming the fear of death as it is about death itself."
Publishers Weekly, starred review

"In this moving and artfully structured ghost tale, four generations of Irish women come together. A big part of the pleasure here is the rhythm of the language and the contrasting voices of the generations. Any opportunity to read it aloud would be a treat."
Horn Book

"For children grieving the death of a parent or grandparent, this book provides comfort."
Library Media Connection

Capitol Choices 2013 - Noteworthy Titles for Children and Teens
Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) Choices 2013 list - Young Adult Fiction

About the author
Roddy Doyle is the author of nine novels. He won the Man Booker Prize in 1993 for Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha. His novels have been made into popular films, including The Commitmentsand The Snapper. He lives and works in Dublin, Ireland.

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17. Cover sketches for UNDERTOWN by Jon Foster

Jon Foster

About the book
In this fast-paced adventure story, Timothy and Jessamyn are towed through the streets of Manhattan riding in Timothy’s family’s sailboat, on their way to the Long Island shore, when the boat comes unhitched from its truck. The teens “sail” backward down a hill in Upper Manhattan, then fall down a huge construction site hole and into the vast sewer system below.
Thrust into an amazing adventure, the kids navigate waterfalls and rapids as they travel through the rain sewers. They meet a graffiti artist their own age, a homeless person named You, and rats the size of large dogs. They fall into the hands of a gangster who claims the sewers as her kingdom and the homeless as her subjects, and acts as a fence for luxury goods! Will she feed Timothy and Jessamyn to the rats?

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18. Cover sketches for Genie Wishes

About the book
This sweet, funny novel follows fifth-grader Genie Kunkle through a tumultuous year. From the first day of school, Genie knows there will be good, bad, and in-between. The good? She’s in homeroom with her best friend, Sarah. The bad? Sarah’s friend from camp, Blair, is a new student at their school, and is itching to take Genie’s place as Sarah’s BFF. The in-between? Genie is excited to be elected to write her class’s blog, where she’s tasked with tracking the wishes and dreams of her class. But expressing her opinion in public can be scary—especially when her opinion might make the rest of her class upset.
Elisabeth Dahl authentically captures the ups and downs of a tween girl’s life, and the dramas—both little and big—that fill the scary transition between childhood and adolescence.

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19. Bazooka Joe and His Gang

Bazooka Joe and His Gang
by The Topps Company, Preface by Talley Morse, Introduction by Nancy Morse and Kirk Taylor, Essays by Len Brown, R. Sikoryak, and Bhob Stewart; Afterword by Jay Lynch, Selected by and from the collection of Jeff Shepherd.
We have been working with Kirk Taylor to publish some excellent guest blog posts — read them at the Abrams ComicArts blog:

Our Tumblr post:

Connect with Kirk, Nancy, R. Sikoryak and Bhob Stewart:
Kirk Taylor
Nancy Morse
R. Sikoryak
Bhob Stewart

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Dark times have fallen on McQuarrie Middle School. When Principal Rabbski cancels art, music, and other elective classes to make time for a new program called FunTime, which is intended to raise standardized test scores, the students form a Rebel Alliance with the help of Origami Yoda. United, can they defeat the FunTime Menace and cope with a surprise attack from Jabba the Puppett?

New York, NY, April 16, 2013—Amulet Books, an imprint of ABRAMS, announced today that wildly popular Star Wars™ bad guy Jabba the Hutt, transformed into origami star Jabba the Puppett, will be the lead character in Tom Angleberger’s next book in the bestselling Origami Yoda series. One of the biggest book releases of 2013, THE SURPRISE ATTACK OF JABBA THE PUPPETT has an announced first printing of 500,000 copies and will have a national one-day laydown on Tuesday, August 6, 2013. It follows the March 26, 2013, release of ART2-D2’s Guide to Folding and Doodling, which debuted on national bestseller lists its first week on sale. With more than 4.1 million copies of the books in print, this series is quickly folding its way into the hearts and halls of middle schools across the galaxy.
“We have a very surprising cover star this time,” says bestselling author Tom Angleberger. “Jabba the Hutt wasn’t the lead character I was expecting. But I think once fans read the book, they will agree that it’s hard to say no to him!”

An extensive marketing and publicity campaign for the series will last throughout 2013. In addition to a planned
15-city tour, Tom Angleberger will be featured at the International Reading Association Annual Convention (San Antonio) and at the Texas Library Association Annual Conference (Fort Worth). The promotions—including a national consumer contest, national publicity, book trailers, origami video instructions, online events, trade and consumer advertising, additional appearances at national educational and library conferences, and a big social media push—will continue into the summer until August 6, when the book releases.
About the Origami Yoda series: The Strange Case of Origami Yoda was published in spring 2010, followed by Darth Paper Strikes Back, in summer 2011. Upon the publication of the third book, The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee, which appeared in August 2012, the series debuted on the New York Times series bestseller list. Art2-D2’s Guide to Folding and Doodling, an interactive companion book to the series, came out in March 2013. The books have also appeared on the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Indie Bound, and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda won the Association of Booksellers for Children’s 2011 E. B. White Read-Aloud award, was named a 2011 Notable Children’s Book by the Association for Library Service to Children, and has been nominated and won numerous state children’s awards across the country. There are more than 4.1 million books in print of all the books in the series.
The illustrations depicting Yoda and any and all other Star Wars properties are copyright © 2010-2013 Lucasfilm Ltd & TM. Title and character and place names protected by all applicable trademark laws. All rights reserved. Used under authorization.

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21. Abrams ComicArts and SelfMadeHero received a total of SIX Eisner nominations this year!

Fantastic News!!!

Abrams ComicArts and SelfMadeHero received a total of SIX Eisner nominations this year! 

For Abrams ComicArts:

Best Comic Related Book –

For SelfMadeHero:
Best Reality Based Work - A Chinese Life
Best Adaptation from Another Medium - Chico and Rita
Best U.S. Edition of International Material – Asia - A Chinese Life

The Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards are prizes given for creative achievement in comic books, and are the comic world's equivalent of the Academy Awards. Voting for the awards is held online, and the ballot will be available soon online, and we will send out another email when that happens. 

All professionals in the comic book industry are eligible to vote. The results of the voting will be announced in a gala awards ceremony on the evening of Friday, July 19 at Comic-Con International.

Congratulations to everyone involved!!!

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22. A for Abrams from Daniel Kirk

Illustrator Daniel Kirk has gone above and beyond and found and amazing selection of A's for  @abramskids #aforabrams campgain.

If you would like to join in hashtag your A's #aforabrams on Twitter and Instagram. Don't for get to let @abramskids and @abramsbooks know about your A's


Be sure to Follow me @chadwbecks and ABRAMS Kids @abramskids on Twitter and Instagram


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23. I was a Communication Arts Judge for there Illustration Annual!

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24. Bill Haverchuck

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25. Origami Yoda says: Get pencils ready, you must. It's time to doodle–Star Wars style.

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