You Go, Jo!

In case you did not know this, I am a member of SCBWI, otherwise known as The Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. Foolishly I have never been very involved in SCBWI the way I am with CANSCAIP (Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators & Performers), because I’ve always been rather intimidated by this stellar organisation. But that is going to change, because I’m attending my first US Conference next year in New York! And yes, I’m terrified. But I’ve done things that have scared me before (flying to Nunavut, performing in front of people), so somehow I’ll manage (I hope).

Something else that I’ve done to get more involved in SCBWI is to enter their annual Tomie dePaola Art Award! I have chosen to illustrate a scene from Little Women (confession: I’ve yet to read the book. Have seen the movie with Katharine Hepburn, though). Here’s the text that I chose to illustrate:

Every few weeks she would shut herself up in her room, put on her scribbling suit, and “fall into a vortex,” as she expressed it, writing away at her novel with all her heart and soul, for till that was finished she could find no peace. Her “scribbling suit” consisted of a black pinafore on which she could wipe her pen at will, and a cap of the same material, adorned with a cheerful red bow, into which she bundled her hair when the decks were cleared for action. This cap was a beacon to the inquiring eyes of her family, who, during these periods, kept their distance, merely popping in their heads semi-occasionally, to ask, “Does genius burn, Jo?” They did not always venture even to ask this question, but took an observation of the cap, and judged accordingly. If this expressive article of dress was drawn low upon the forehead, it was a sign that hard work was going on; in exciting moments it was pushed rakishly askew, and when despair seized the author it was plucked wholly off, and cast upon the floor.

You can see some of the other entries here, at the Unofficial Gallery.

Pirates & Penguins in the Land of OZ!

I just found out that The Pirate and the Penguin is now selling in Australia, thanks to Macmillan Australia! Woot! What’s not to love about pirates & penguins in the land of Oz? Seems like a perfect fit to me! So c’mon you lovely Aussies – Christmas is just around the corner, mate!

One more, but no monster in sight…

Cute, contrite children. Why are they contrite? Could it have something to do with a cute monster? Who is Lucy? Bwa ha ha ha ha…


Here’s a little bit of some new stuff I’ve been working on lately. And no, you don’t get to see the monster. Not yet, anyway. But I can assure you, she is uber cute. Don’t trust this crazy guy.

Life Story

“And, now it is your life story and it is you who play the leading role. The stage is set. The time is now. In the place, wherever you are. Each passing second, a new link in the endless chain of time. The drama of life is a continuous story. Ever new, ever changing and ever wondrous to behold.”

– from Life Story, written and illustrated by Virginia Lee Burton.

Happy Hallowe’en!

Have a ghostie good night with the ones you love!

Random Penguins in a Storm

It’s a blustery world out there right now, what with Hurricane Sandy, and the news of Random House merging with Penguin. And so during these stressful times, I am fortunate that as an artist, I can express myself. And of course, any chance I can get to draw penguins, well – how can I say no?


Little Girl in the Big City

In Each Life…

…some rain must fall. Sometimes it falls pretty darn hard on some folk. And sometimes we create our own rain, even when it’s sunny. That’s what friends are for. To help us see the sun again.

How do you say Yippee! in Korean?

I’m thrilled to announce that my picture book, The Pirate and the Penguin is now in Korean!! It’s being published by the company Korea Schweitzer. Yippee! I was so thrilled when I received my copy in the mail that I ran down the street to our corner store, which is run by a very friendly Korean couple. I’ve never really been able to communicate very well with the wife who works at the cash most of the time, because her English is so limited. And of course, my Korean is non-existent. But we like each other (and she adores my husband), so our greetings are always enjoyable. But this time, it was a little bit different, a little bit magical. I showed her my book, and standing there in the tiny store, she read my story, laughed and chattered in Korean, trying to explain to me what the words meant, and at the same time, overjoyed that I had written and illustrated this book. Now she knows a little bit more about me, I know that she likes pirates and penguins, and once again I am reminded of the beauty of connecting through the marvelous world of books.

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