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<<April 2017>>
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Viewing Blog: Elizabeth O. Dulemba, Most Recent at Top
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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. Robyn Hood Black's artsyletters

Just in time for Christmas! I'm happy to feature a crafty friend who creates art, jewelry and the perfect gifts for the writer in your life. Introducing Robin Hood Black's artsyletters!

Guest blog post from Robyn Hood Black – artsyletters
(Click an item image to view it in Robyn's online store.)

      I’m honored to drop into E’s blog today, waving from my artsyletters studio in balmy Beaufort, South Carolina, on the Southeastern coast of the USA. I know our gracious host is covered up in reading, illustrating, and writing that Masters dissertation, so I’ll keep this short and sweet.
      Elizabeth and I have crossed paths many wonderful times over the years, initially+ through the Southern Breeze region of SCBWI and even being in the same critique group a few years back. While I miss having her in my corner of the world, I sure enjoy these virtual trips to beautiful Scotland, and I’m so proud of her passion and initiative. (You rock, e!)
      I’m here this week because she invited me to give a holiday shout-out about my gifts for readers and writers. As a poet and children’s author (you can read about that side of my life here – http://robynhoodblack.com ), I love making art that celebrates words, letters, books and writing. In 2012 I opened my Etsy shop and began filling it with original drawings, prints, mixed media collages, bookmarks, and note cards, all celebrating reading and writing. I also sold work at local art shows.
      In 2014 I moved to the SC Lowcountry and claimed for my studio an upstairs office space in an 1889 building smack in the middle of our charming little downtown, across the street from the Waterfront Park. Ahhhhh. Spanish moss dripping from live oaks, sea birds wheeling in the sky, and historic buildings around every corner. It’s heavenly.
      As I’ve become more involved in the poetry world, I’ve made more mixed media collages featuring found poems from clipped vintage texts. I also create typewriter key jewelry, and anything that strikes my fancy and fits my tagline of “literary art with a vintage vibe.” Each piece I make has its own story. It’s exciting and humbling to handle old books - or keys or watch parts or bits of hardware – and wonder who has touched them before? Where did that person live, and what was going on in the world at the time? I’m particularly drawn to Victorian and early 20th Century texts and treasures.
      My latest endeavors have included making glass cabochon jewelry with marbled endpapers from the mid-1800s. What stories those colorful swirls could tell! I’m always adding to my inventory, with more ideas and projects than there are hours in the day to complete them. If you drop by, please check back from time to time and see what’s new!
      Many thanks, e, for letting me come over to play today. Wishing everyone a holiday season filled with joy, and all your favorite things.

     In October, Robyn led a "Found Poem Makerspace Workshop" for participating poets and and the public in Bellingham, Washington, as part of Western Washington University's "Poetry Camp."
Thanks for sharing Robyn! Miss you!

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27. Friday Links List - 02 December 2016

From the New York Times: Notable Children's Books of 2016

At Fuse #8 - a new Walking and Talking Interview with Grace Lin - FABULOUS!

At Muddy Colors - Anita Kunz! Including a great video of her newest work

From The Federation of Children's Book Groups: NNFN: Illustrating innovative Non-Fiction - a guest post by Petr Horacek

From The Art Room Plant: Printing With Tissue Paper!

From 100 Scope Notes: The Ultimate Children's Literature Illustrator Gift Guide

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28. Hollins University has a new President!

Welcome to Pareena Lawrence named next Hollins University president, where I teach in the MFA in Children's Book Writing and Illustrating program each summer! We will sincerely miss outgoing President Nancy Gray, but Pareena looks to be a wonderful person to fill Ms. Gray's shoes. CLICK HERE or the image below to see the story at One News Page and learn more about our new President. Exciting!

And CLICK HERE to read the official letter of introduction from Hollins (PDF).

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29. Coloring Page Tuesday - Big Read

     I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the reading I have to do here at uni. Sort of like this mouse. He's trying this book on for size... looking at it sideways... I think he'll be fine, don't you? CLICK HERE for more coloring pages!
     CLICK HERE to 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 six 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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30. Dissertation Writing

It's a bit quiet on my blog this week because I'm in the middle of writing my Masters Dissertation (called a Thesis in the US). It will be 6,000 words on, "Comparing US and UK Picture Books: An Analysis of Cultural Contexts Between Medal-winning Titles" - or at least, that's what it is right now. I'm at 11,000 words with more to go and lots to cut.
     I'm also finishing up studio work for our December 6th semester deadline. So, please be patient with me while I get through this enormous hurdle. And know that this is indeed part of my Edinburgh adventure - just a very demanding part!
     Meanwhile, here are some random images and hints at my experiences right now. This first one is a sign I pass every morning on my way to buy a cup of tea from Mustafah.

My textiles workshop, in progress...

I'm still finding gloves on fence tines and recording them. This will turn into something, not sure what just yet. I have about thirty of them.

Best of all, the MAs are graduating right now. Lilly (peace sign) came by to say 'hi' to all of us who are still slogging it out. This will be us come the end of May. Lilly is an inspiration to us right now. This is me, Karin (also graduated), Boris, Lily and Nadee.

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31. VIDEO: How Wolves Changed Rivers

"How Wolves Changed Rivers" is an amazing accounting of how the reintroduction of wolves can positively affect their ecosystem in ways one might never have considered. Fascinating and beautiful. Click the image to watch the video on Youtube.

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32. Friday Links List - 25 November 2016

From The Federation of Children's Book Groups: NNFN: On illustrating non-fiction - a guest post by Anna Wright

Also from The Federation: The power of stories - A Guest post from Isabel Thomas

From the American Booksellers Association: Post-Election, Bookstores Offer Safe Spaces for Communities to Come Together

From Houzz: How to Help Others on #GiveingTuesday

From Kirkus: Their "Best Picture Books of 2016" list - click the logo to go see!

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One of my favorite publishing houses, Flying Eye, recently sent me a fabulous graphic novel for younger readers that I positively flipped over. Happily, the creator of ARTHUR AND THE GOLDEN ROPE, Joe Todd-Stanton is here today to tell us more about it.

e: What is your creative process, can you walk us through it?
The main thing I try and do is keep a sketchbook on me and draw whenever I get the chance. Living in London this means 99% of my sketches are done on buses and tubes, which I think are a great place for inspiration. My ideas pretty much always come out of these doodles and it's really rare for me to ever get an idea for a story or single illustration fully formed in my head. Once I have done a drawing that I like I will try and come up with an extra element or see if I can fit it into a bigger narrative. I will then obsessively draw it over and over again until I have developed it into something I want to take to final or never want to look at again. This means doing a final sketch and then scanning that in and doing the final line and colour work using my tablet.
e: What is your medium?
Very simple. Just a pencil, paper and Photoshop. I would love to branch out into other mediums but I am very non committal. I think these days Photoshop gives you the amazing ability to experiment with pretty much everything.
e: Your palette seems so strongly red and green - is that a conscious decision?
They are both colours I love a lot. Especially Turquoise, which is a colour I have to actively stop myself from using to much. One reason is probably that books like Where the Wild Thing's Are, which uses a similar dark colour scheme, had a massive influence on me. Also, up until my last year of University I had always worked in Black and White, so since then I think I have always felt more comfortable with a limited colour pallet.
e: What do you think makes an illustration magical, what I call "Heart Art” - the sort that makes a reader want to come back to look again and again? I’m looking for your definition of “Heart Art.”
That's a very hard question to answer! I think it's to what extent a book can inspire a kids imagination. When I was young, any book that gave me sense of a world beyond the pages would instantly have me hooked. Especially if that book gave me a sense of magic whilst still being somehow grounded in the real world so some part of me could feel like it was possible.
e: Is there a unique or funny story behind the creation of this story?
Well, it's not very funny but it did come out of an idea that was completely different. Originally, I wanted to make a book that documented different kinds of mythical creatures with a narrator that kept souvenirs from each discovery. It would have been much more information based and I wanted to do analytical cross sections of the creatures and their environments. This narrator ended up becoming professor Brownstone and then the rest of the story morphed around his character. I would still love to come back to the original idea one day.

e: What was your path to publication?
Three years ago when I finished university we had our final show at the Coningsby Gallery in London. Someone from Nobrow must have seen my work because the next day they contacted me asking if I had any ideas for a project. Then with the incredible help and patience of Sam and Harriet from Flying Eye it took nearly two years of on and off developing and changing my original idea to come up with a solid narrative.

e: What is your favorite or most challenging part of being a creator?
I think that like pretty much every artist I am my own worst critic so making anything that I am kind of happy with is always great. I also love coming up with an idea and then trying to push it as far is it can go, whether that is just one character's individual expression or the detail in a massive image. (Joe's studio...)
e: Is there something in particular about this story you hope readers will take away with them, perhaps something that isn’t immediately obvious?
I put a lot of emphasis on books in the story because they are a great way of having adventures in the comfort of your home. I think that amazing ability of being able to get lost in a book is something we shouldn't forget about passing on to the next generation. Although, I guess I would say that being an author!

e: What are you working on next or what would be your dream project?
I am currently just about to finish the art work on my second children's book, which is about a girl called Erin from a fishing town that discovers a secret. The story is based on an illustration I did back in university so it will be so amazing for me when I finally get to see it in print. In terms of dream jobs I would absolutely love to illustrate Peter Pan as it has always been my favourite story. So if any publishers are reading this!!

e: Thanks Joe! And I hope you'll come back to share Erin with us when she's ready for the world.

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34. Ellen and Delia's Fabulous Visit

Rather than rush around to see all the touristy things in Edinburgh at one time, Stan and I have been waiting for friends to come in town to see the main attractions. That way, we get to see them for the first time too, and with friends. So far, it's worked out great. And our friends are so varied and interesting, we have yet to duplicate anything!
     For example, recently Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman came to visit from New York. It was a whirlwind trip for them with book signings in Glasgow and London, finally landing with Terri Windling in Chagford (Devon) for some quiet writing time. We were lucky enough to have them in Edinburgh for a few days.
     As a thank you for lodging, they treated us to dinner at The Witchery. I had been eager to try this place and it's no wonder. It's right on the Royal Mile, just near the castle. In fact, our friend Dave B Mac was playing his slap guitar just up the street when I arrived. He jumped up to give me a hug. (I think he was just really cold!) We often go see him play at venues, and the Royal Mile is one of his regular spots during the day.

     Back to The Witchery... The interior exceeds expectations. Here's the dining room and us in it:

     Heck, even the ceiling was stunning!
     Ellen and Delia chose to see The Palace of Holyrood House as their big thing. This is where the Queen stays when she visits Scotland. Luckily, she wasn't in, so it was open to the public for tours.
You're not allowed to take pictures inside, so you'll have to settle for these exterior shots. But I think this will give you an idea of the grandeur.

The best thing about visiting the palace was seeing it with two history buffs who really know their subjects! We hung out in the portrait rooms (a.k.a. the Throne Room) while Ellen and Delia relayed fantastic stories about the people I was looking at and the scandals around them - awesome!

     It was dark when we left (4:00pm) and we'd been walking/standing all day. Ellen found us a lovely little tea shop where we could unwind.
     She loves catching candid shots of folks when they're not paying attention. Here are me and Delia sporting all our glorious grey locks.
Although sometimes she gets caught, like here at The Ox for dinner.
     Truly, we have been so fortunate to have such wonderful friends come to visit us. We feel spoiled and grateful and so happy to share our new adventure with those we love!

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35. Edinburgh Salon Thanksgiving

Once again, our friend Connie hosted her Edinburgh Salon at our flat for Thanksgiving. (This is a dining club that moves around each month.) Being the Americans in the bunch, with the recipes for all the 'strange' Thanksgiving food, it seems only natural. But our flat is a bit hard to find. So, Amandine came over early to help blow up balloons as signage.

While Connie set out the champagne glasses for the opening toast.
Decorations were provided from Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman who visited over the weekend from New York - more on their trip soon!
Once again, our flat held a lovely group of people. "Where interesting people meet for great food" is the salon's motto after all!

They waited patiently as Connie and Stan said a few words about the spread (although Amandine's expression relays how hard that must have been.

And then the carnage began!
Our flat filled up beautifully with happy people eating green bean casserole, sweet potatoes with marshmallows (that's the most talked-about dish), cornbread stuffing, and TURKEY!

Best of all, Connie made a gluten-free pumpkin pie just for me! Awwww! It was YUMMY!
I hope your Thanksgiving is as lovely as ours. Stan and I wish you a very Happy Holiday!

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36. VIDEO: Bamboo!

I love seeing the inventive and ingenious things that artisans around the world create, like these amazing bamboo structures in Bali created by Elora Hardy and her team. Click the image to learn more about them in a very cool TED Talk.

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37. Show and Tell

I often take photos of the work I've accomplished in a day to share with Stan when I get home. This time, I thought I'd share them with you too.
     You've seen the crosshatch pieces I've been creating. Well, Vivian showed me a picture book recently, John Brown, Rose and the Midnight Cat. The artwork was crosshatched and then colored, much like Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are. I wondered what my pieces would like like with color added. What do you think?

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What a nice surprise! My picture book, Soap, Soap, Soap has been chosen to be included in the monthly books delivered through BOOKCASE.CLUB for Kids. Click the image to learn more.

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39. Friday Links List - 18 November 2016

From PW: PRH Starts Student Loan Repayment Program

From BBC News: Top authors call for school libraries to be protected

From The Brown Bookshelf: A Declaration in Support of Children

From SLJ, Betsy Bird's Fuse #8: The Slush Pile Myth

From James Gurney: 72 Tips for Sharing Art on Social Media

From NPR: Colson Whitehead, Representative John Lewis Among National Book Award Winners

From The Guardian: Hundreds of US children's authors sign pledge to tackle racism and xenophobia

From Custom-Writing.org: 200 Powerful Words to Use Instead of "Good" (Infographic)

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40. Fiona Robinson's ADA'S IDEAS

Guest Post by Fiona Robinson

      When writing I try to gather as many facts about about a situation or person, then I let my imagination go! For Ada’s Ideas, my first non fiction storybook, I had to do a lot of research. I read a lot, but then also took trips to places: the Silk Museums at Macclesfield, the Science Museum in London, and the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester. It was fun but hard work!

For Ada’s Ideas my art process was as follows:
      With the art I wanted to try something new - 3 dimensional images, which I hoped would capture a little of the Victorian era, and the drama and theatricality of Ada’s life. This involved drawing out the images, then painting them with my favorite Japanese watercolors.
     I then cut out the images very carefully with a sharp blade. I used over 500 blades to produce all the cut images for the book!
     Once cut, I layered all the images for each spread to different heights using my son’s Lego bricks and glued them in place.

Heart art:
     I think what makes an illustration magical is imagination. Sometimes illustrations look good because they’re technically proficient. What I like to see and feel with my illustration is that I have poured my heart into it, that I’ve tried my best, and that I’ve created something that will draw readers in - that will connect with them somehow, make them think and feel wonder for the story.
     I first got into writing and illustrating children’s picture books about 10 years ago, though it’s something I wanted to do since I was about 6 years old!
     When I was young it made me so happy to listen to adults reading picture books. You had their undivided attention, and the picture books were made specifically for children, something primarily for us. Picture books can be many things to a child, but I think what drew me in most was how they seem to make sense of a complicated world. A picture book can not only tell a story, it can spark imagination, and be a friend.
     My favorite part of being a creator is that I spend a lot of time in my own world! Whilst it is a demanding job and not at all easy, it means I get to spend my hours being a child again, inhabiting a place where imagination roams free! I hope that with Ada’s Ideas, children and adults will get a sense that while hard study is good and a foundation for life, the most important thing is to have ideas, an imagination. With that you will soar!
Check out the book trailer on YouTube:

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41. Happy Birthday to Connie and Marta!

It's hard to believe we've been in Edinburgh long enough to be a part of annual traditions, but that's exactly what's happened! Our friends Connie and Marta celebrate their birthdays on the same day and Stan and I were lucky enough to be part of the festivities again this year. First we caught up with Connie at The Dome for her annual Birthday Bellini (after she had a lovely spa day).

The Dome is already beautifully decorated for Christmas so it was a festive kick-off to the evening. We then went to a Kurdish restaurant just off the Royal Mile for dinner. There we met up with Marta, Ash and Pedro.
On the way back down the mound, we were treated to an amazing fireworks display just under that caste. We joked it was for our friends' birthdays, but it turned out to be a celebration for Diwali. Crowds were stopped in clumps along the sidewalks to get a good view.

It was a beautiful evening, so we slowly meandered back to Stockbridge where a gorgeous cake awaited.
Connie and Marta made a wish and...
Magic things happen in Marta's dining room and it was so nice to be back there again. Time seems to stop when you're with good friends.
Happy birthday my lovelies and I hope we can help you celebrate many more!

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42. Coloring Page Tuesday - Hope Dove

“Hope” is the thing with feathers - (314)
By Emily Dickinson

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -

I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.

     CLICK HERE for more coloring pages.
     CLICK HERE to 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 six 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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43. Shaping the View

This past week, the University of Edinburgh hosted the symposium Shaping the View: Understanding Landscape through Illustration. For two days we were treated to lectures by expert illustrators and illustration academics talking about this year's theme. The CD project we did was part of the exhibit in honor of the symposium.

     Opening night was a blast - we MAs and MFAs 1 and 2 (I'm an MFA2, meaning 2nd-year) were the gang!
     The symposium had 42 speakers discussing topics from "Mythical Speech in Reportage Illustration" to "The Time Travelling Antiquarian: illustrated guide books to North Wales."
     That last topic was Desdemona McCannon's, which I sadly missed as I had other uni obligations (dissertation meeting). She is the symposium's organizer and an illustrator and illustration scholar from the Manchester School of Art at Manchester Metropolitan University. I met Desdemona when she came to speak to us last year and I kidnapped her for tea. She was extremely helpful in the early stages of putting together my PhD proposal so it was lovely to connect with her once again. Here she is introducing a speaker alongside my tutor (teacher), Jonathan Gibbs...
     who I also had to miss. However, I finally got to hear him play guitar at the Wee Red Bar on closing night. (Yes, my uni has a bar in the building.) He's extremely good - maybe I can get him to teach me guitar as well as art?
     I did get to enjoy several other wonderful speakers, such as children's book creators Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom.
     Printer Angie Lewin shared her linocut/screen printing process with us, which I was especially keen to see considering my recent linocut experiments.

     I was also able to meet the incredibly kind and talented Patrick Benson. He is the illustrator of such greats as Owl Babies and The Minpins.
     I put his work on the same level with the creators who made me want to become a children's book illustrator in the first place, such as Chris Van Allsburgh, Garth Williams and Paul O. Zelinsky. I mean, look at this!
     He shared his storyboard for The Minpins.
     I loved seeing all these work-in-progress slides!
     Here I am with my mentor and friend Vivian French and Patrick Benson - lucky me!
     I also ended up meeting several of the speakers, such as Catrin Morgan of Falmouth University (one of the schools I considered for my MFA). And since Stan and I were going out to dinner Friday evening after the symposium finished up anyway, we invited along some of the speakers who didn't have plans: Doug B. Dowd of Washington University in St. Louis, Robyn Phillips-Pendleton of the University of Delaware, and Sylvia ___ who I hope will email me so that I can give her proper credit.
     All said, it was one of those events wherein I'm reminded that I am a student at one of the most prestigious universities in the world. What a wonderful event to attend!

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44. The Littles Market with Vivian

The Fruitmarket Gallery has an annual gathering of book publishers and book creators to share the love of reading and stories with the little ones here in Edinburgh. It is appropriately called the LITTLES MARKET.

My friend and mentor, Vivian French made sure we all knew about it. Even better, she invited me to draw along with her story, Oliver's Vegetables. Lots of wee ones were in attendance and it was very fun.
Several publishing houses were also represented in the show area including Walker Books (Candlewick), Flying Eye, and a publishing house that is specializing in featuring creators from the middle east, Tiny Owl Publishing. I connected with them all and hope to share some of their lovely creations with you soon. What a lovely day!

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45. See Noise Project at ECA

Remember I told you about the CD cover I made for an illustration brief at the University of Edinburgh College of Art? Well, the project has really come together. All of the 25 students in the MA and MFA program came up with a CD case -

And then our tutor, Mike Windle, created a compilation of 30-second snippets of the music we had gathered from literally all over the world. I don't know if the video will stay live as there may be some copyright issues. But while you can, I think it's worth your time to have a look at all the various creations and sounds. Happily, the video begins with my piece created for Playing on the Planet's Muddy Road to Ducktown. Click the image below to watch on Youtube.

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46. Coloring Page Tuesday - VOTE!

     I'm all the way over in Scotland and I already voted! I'm betting your voting booth is a little closer than mine was, so no excuses. Get out and vote!CLICK HERE for more VOTING-THEMED coloring pages!
     CLICK HERE to 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 six 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.

Add a Comment

The Treasure of Barracuda is the latest mid-grade novel published by Little Pickle Press (their new imprint, Big Dill Stories) - the publisher of my own A Bird on Water Street - and it is marvelous! It was written by Llanos Campos, illustrated by Júlia Sardà and translated into English by Lawrence Schimel. It's a tribute to books and reading, cleverly disguised in a fantastically entertaining pirate story.
     Librarians and teachers - you need to check this one out - it will fill a need for you, PROMISE!!!!
     Happily, I sent some questions to Llanos and Lawrence translated them for us below, along with answering some questions himself about translating books - Groovy! Read on...

e: Llanos, I so enjoyed this story! It’s a tribute to reading, while keeping a rapid pace for readers. I couldn’t put it down!

      My life oscillates between theater and literature. This novel was born as a children's theater piece called SoloLeo that I put on with my company years ago, which is about reading, imagination and surprise. In this piece, a boy named Leo (who doesn't like to read--a joke since "leo" in Spanish means "I read") is so bored that one of the books in his room comes to life and starts to tell him a story about knights, dragons and battles. Another tells him a horror story, and another... one about pirates. I wrote the first chapter of THE TREASURE OF BARRACUDA for this theatrical piece, when the crew arrives on Kopra and finds the legendary treasure of Phineas Krane. Since the show was about literature, I thought it would be funny if the treasure they finally found were... a book. And that's where the story remained for almost a year. But I knew there was something more there. If the pirates were illiterate, what would they do with a book? If someone took so much effort to hide something as Phineas did with his "treasure", what would this book contained? The rest, I must admit, emerged with astonishing fluidity.
e: How did the story idea come to you? Did you begin with a pirate story in mind first, or a story about learning to read?

      It began as a story about pirates. This is a world that's fascinated me since I was a little girl. Living on board a ship, with no other law but the sea, no other ruler but your captain, traveling from port to port, from adventure to adventure... it seemed to me (and it still seems so now) the height of happiness. And it began there because I think that a story (novel, theater piece, film) whether for children or adults, must in my opinion be fun first of all (in many different ways). Especially if it's for children. What a child must learn first about reading is that it's FUN. And later everything else will follow without effort.
e: So many action stories can feel like they jump from scene to scene - all your scenes wove together perfectly. Was that difficult to achieve? Was it an issue at all?

      More than difficult, it was a challenge. And I like challenges. I must also say that perhaps because of my theater background I write thinking about the story almost as if it were a film, I see it clearly in my head, with clear images, being very aware of the rhythm of the action.
e: What has been your path to publication and your first novel in English?

      I can't complain. My path has been meteoric. I have devoted my whole life to writing theater. This is my first published novel. I never tried to write one before because it seemed to me to be tremendously difficult. When I finished it, aided by my lack of knowledge in this area, I dared to send it to the very prestigious "El barco de vapor prize" in Spain. In truth, I just wanted someone to read it, and I thought submitting it for the prize would guarantee that. And then I went and won it! No one was more surprised than I was! Not even the pirates in Kopra!
      From that moment, everything has been one joy after another. If someone would have told me two years ago that a novel by me (my first novel) would journey to South America, to Italy, to the Arab Emirates, that it would be translated into Persian, into English! I wouldn't have believed it. I still pinch myself every morning.
e: Will this be the first of a series, I hope? I want to know what happens next!

      It is already the first of a series. Another proof that I never really thought I'd win the problem was that I didn't even know if one could present a book that didn't end. This story is a series of three books. After THE TREASURE OF BARRACUDA comes BARRACUDA AT THE END OF THE WORLD (already in Spanish bookstores) and at the beginning of next year the third part will be published, BARRACUDA, THE DEAD KING OF TORTUGA, both full of adventures and enormous surprises.
      And I must admit that it's been very sad for me to say goodbye to my pirates.

### Now for Lawrence!

e: Lawrence, what was your initial reaction to the story?

      I knew this story was going to be great fun to work on from the very start. I was asked by the original publisher to do a sample of the first few chapters, for them to use to show to foreign publishers who don't read in Spanish. And I really hoped that an English-language publisher would pick up this project because I really wanted to continue translating the adventures of Sparks and the crew of the Barracuda! I'm so glad that Little Pickle Stories did just that, and then asked me to continue translating the rest of the book.

e: Do you have to love a story to translate it?

      I think that as a literary translator, having an affinity for the work you're translating is really important. Literary translation isn't just a matter of substituting a word in one language for the definition of that word in another. I think that not loving a story you're working on makes it so much harder to do the work, and the end result might feel flat–it isn't fair to the original author, the story, or yourself as a translator (working on the "wrong" story for you can feel like having your teeth pulled).

e: Did the humor translate easily between languages, or was it a struggle?

      Pirates and reading are both subjects that kids (and I) love, so there were a lot of similarities between the original and the English, or ways to re-create the jokes in English. I think the trickiest bit was the word play when the pirates are still just learning to read and make mistakes with words that look almost identical but have one letter different–and of course, they mean very different things. In those cases, the wordplay was more important than trying to reproduce the literal sentence in the original, so the trick was to convey the liveliness and the fun of the original.

e: Thanks you Llanos and Lawrence! I hope we get to read lots more about Sparks and the crew of the Barracuda!

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48. Friday Links List - 11 November 2016

From BoingBoing: Noir and horror for your kindergartner (Chronicle's Melissa Manlove on Jon Klassen's I Want My Hat Back and This is Not My Hat.)

From The Toast: Children's Stories Made Horrific (a carryover from Halloween)

From 99U: Essential Steps to Making a Killer Portfolio

From Brightly: 10 of the Best Dragon Books for Kids :)

From The New York Times: The New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books of 2016

At a loss - Make Good Art (Zenpencils.com)

From The Federation of Children's Book Groups: Michael Morpurgo receives the prestigious Action For Children’s Arts J M Barrie Award

From SLJ's 100 Scope Notes, Travis Jonker brings us The Children’s Literature Community Responds to the 2016 Presidential Election

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49. A bike for Stan

If you've followed me for a while, you know that my husband is a wheels kind of guy. Bicycles, motorcycles, cars - it doesn't matter. The man is better on wheels than on his own feet. Which is why it's pretty exciting that we've finally gotten him some wheels to explore Edinburgh. Here's his new bicycle.

Edinburgh is riddled with former train tracks that have been turned into pathways for walkers, joggers and bicyclists. The best maps of bike-safe trails is from Spokes. The purple lines are the trails.
So, Stan headed out this morning to begin his adventuring. And he's sending me incredible photos.
It's good for the soul. I'm so happy for him!

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50. Delia at Comic Con

My friends Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman are coming to visit this week - I can't wait to see them! And I can't wait to help share Delia's awesome new novel, The Evil Wizard Smallbone. She talked to Rocco Staino about it when she was at Comic Con in New York recently. Click on the image to watch on Youtube.

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