Posted by: Kathy Temean | July 3, 2022

Book Giveaway: DODOS ARE NOT EXTINCT by Paddy Donnelly

Paddy Donnelly has written and Illustrated a new picture book, DODOS ARE EXTINCT, published by Yeehoo Press.  They have agreed to send a copy to the one lucky winner in the US.

Just leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Let me know other things you did to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Paddy.

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. If you want to make sure you don’t miss seeing that you won, please click “Notify Me of Follow-Up Comments By Email” box. I will leave a comment in reply if you win the book. Thanks!

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Dodos Are Not Extinct

Psst! Hey you! Can you keep a secret? Dodos are NOT extinct! In fact, if you look extra closely, you might be able to spot other extinct animals . . . like woolly mammoths, sabertoothed tigers, and even dinosaurs! These famous creatures are in disguise everywhere, so keep your eyes peeled! You never know who might be right under your nose…

A hilarious, engaging primer on famous extinct (but never forgotten) animals that will keep kids giggling and guessing on every page, perfect for fans of Brendan Wenzel’s Hello Hello and Mo Willems’ Edwina.

Author-illustrator Paddy Donnelly delivers a silly, animal-filled read that is perfect for story time sharing at home or for the classroom. Nonfiction back matter jam-packed with facts about the endangered and extinct animals featured in the story makes this creative book as educational as it is fun.

BOOK JOURNEY:

The idea for the book

There’s something fascinating and mysterious about extinct animals. I always had that slight feeling of disappointment when I was a child as I realised that I would never see a dinosaur, or mammoth, or dodo in my garden. But wait, what if they weren’t extinct? Whatif they were just in disguise? That was the basis for the idea – that the animals weren’t 100% gone, they’d just come up with genius (or not so genius) ways to hide among us.

As with my first book, The Vanishing Lake, I wanted to play with that blurry line between imagination, reality and the magic of the natural world. Luckily enough, the publisher for my first author illustrated picture book, Yeehoo Press, also wanted to publish this one! It’s been released in English and Chinese so far, with perhaps some more languages to come…

Funny vs serious

As climate change, extinction and endangered animals are of course serious topics, I did consider whether I wanted this book to have a serious tone, or have a strong message atthe end. However, I decided that I would go in the opposite direction and make it a completely silly tale. And what could be sillier than having saner-toothed tigers with moustaches, mammoths shaving their hair off and dodos dressed as ostriches! I wanted this book to be a really fun introduction to the world of extinct animals, and get kids excited about the natural world. There are many ways to have kids connect with nature, and I went for the silly approach. Once kids have that appreciation for nature, then that will hopefully stay with them to adulthood when they can make a bigger difference to the natural world.

I did fill the back pages with lots of scientific facts about the real animals featured in the book. There’s a long timeline listing when each species went extinct, and what caused it. And there’s also some helpful tips on what kids can do themselves to help further animals from becoming endangered.

The artwork style

As this book is quite a funny one, and very different to my other book, The Vanishing Lake, it called for a completely different style. The characters themselves all have quite huge eyes, always looking around as if they’re about to get caught out. The colours are quite bold, and in general the style is a more cartoony.
It was lots of fun to write in the first person as the dodo who is letting kids into the secret of extinct animal disguises. You feel as if you’re really speaking directly with the kids who will be reading the story.
Another thing to notice in this book, is that all the kids in the illustrations have their suspicions and can spot something fishy about these disguised animals, but the adults are always busy in their own world and looking the other way. Kids are of course always better at spotting the details!

If your kids are into extinct animals, or the natural world in general, then this should be a fun one for them. Plenty to spot in the illustrations, and hopefully there will be a few new species for them to discover!

PADDY’S BIO:

Paddy Donnelly is a picture book author-illustrator from Ireland, who has been living in Belgium for the last 13 years. His background is in web and graphic design, and has been writing and illustrating picture books for the past four years. He also has created the cover artwork for middle grade books.

His books include Dodos Are Not Extinct, Hom, Here Be Dragonsand The Vanishing Lake. His work has achieved international acclaim as he was nominated for the Kate Greenaway Medal 2022 and shortlisted for The World Illustration Awards in 2018. Paddy’s first book as both author and illustrator, The Vanishing Lake, was awarded the gold medal in the picture book category of the IPPY Awards.

He particularly loves to illustrate animals, however extinct animals are his absolute favourite. He says, “Ever since I was a kid I’ve been obsessed with them, and now I get to write and illustrate stories about them!”

You can see more of Paddy illustration work using the links below:

Website: https://lefft.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/paddy/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/paddydonnelly

Agency: https://thebrightagency.com/us/childrens-illustration/artists/paddy-donnelly

Paddy, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. Your illustrations are so much fun. They really are perfect for this hilarious story. I love how you found a wonderful way to get children to really look at the wildlife around them. The seek and find disguises and hiding places on every page will keep children wanting to turn each page. Also, teachers and parents will love how this book encourages kids to observe and promote kids thinking outside of the box. Plus the back matter is great addition. Good luck with the book.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

 

Posted by: Kathy Temean | July 2, 2022

Illustrator Saturday – Beach and Water Fun

Since no one’s around this weekend for Illustrator Saturday, I thought I would show off some of our Illustrator Saturday Illustrators. Enjoy!

JAIME KIM: Featured on Illustrator Saturday

LIZ GOULET DUBOIS: Featured on Illustrator Saturday

LIZ GOULET DUBOIS: Featured on Illustrator Saturday

WENDY LEACH: Featured on Illustrator Saturday

KIMBERLY BARNES: Featured on Illustrator Saturday

MATT SCHU: Featured on Illustrator Saturday

SIMONA CECCARELLI: Featured on Illustrator Saturday

SKYLAAR AMANN: Featured on Illustrator Saturday

JENNIFER MERZ: Featured on Illustrator Saturday

ANDY LEIMONTAS: Featured on Illustrator Saturday

OLIVIA CHIN MUELLER: Featured on Illustrator Saturday

CYTHNIA KREMSNER: Featured on Illustrator Saturday

JENNIFER ZIVION: Featured on Illustrator Saturday

KIRBI FAGAN: Featured on Illustrator Saturday

COLLEEN KOSINSKI: Featured on Illustrator Saturday

SIMONA CECCARELLI: Featured on Illustrator Saturday

JAIME KIM: Featured on Illustrator Saturday

ROCIO DENARMEN: Featured on Illustrator Saturday

CLAUDIA RAVALLI: Featured on Illustrator Saturday

TERESA WILES: Featured on Illustrator Saturday

GABRIELLA VAGNOLI: Featured on Illustrator Saturday

KIRBI FAGAN: Featured on Illustrator Saturday

SHANE CRAMPTON: Featured on Illustrator Saturday

MAITHILI JOSHI: Featured on Illustrator Saturday

DEVON HOLZWARTH: Featured on Illustrator Saturday 

HONEE JANG: Featured on Illustrator Saturday

Enjoy your weekend,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | July 1, 2022

June Agent of the Month – First Page Results

ANNOUNCING JUNE’S AGENT OF THE MONTH

REGINA A. BERNARD-CARRENO

MARTIN LITERARY MANAGEMENT

Regina A. Bernard-Carreno , Literary Agent and Manager

Regina is a literary manager currently accepting queries for true crime, memoirs, picture books, middle grade, young adult, graphic novels, cookbooks, and lifestyle artisan books.

Regina joined Martin Literary Management in 2021. She holds a PhD in Education from the Graduate and University Center at the City University of New York, and graduate degrees in African American Studies from Columbia University and Philosophy from the Graduate Center (CUNY). She holds other degrees in Criminal Justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY). Alongside writing and teaching, Regina facilitates Reader Discussion Groups, Private Reading groups and has served as a reader and sometimes editor for both literary and academic journals. She has published widely in academia as well as in trade magazines. The work she hopes to accomplish as a literary manager is to help writers, as well as author-illustrators, think through their projects, see multiple opportunities where perhaps they don’t readily exist and help shape their work into successful books. Ultimately, she looks forward to championing great ideas.

Below is what Regina is looking for:

Picture Books: Regina is looking for picture books that deal with a little magical realism, immigrant stories, bilingual picture books, and stories that deal with children and their relationship to animals, earth, and the environment. She’d love to see folktales from a wide variety of places reimagined, especially from authors-illustrators.

Middle Grade: Regina is seeking chapter books and middle-grade novels dealing especially with adventures, solving mysteries, and facing/overcoming hardships and developing friendships.

Graphic Novels: Regina is looking for Middle Grade, Young Adult, and adult graphic novels. She’d love to see more writers of color telling stories of MG & YA and has her eye out for BIPOC creators in this genre. For adult graphic novels, Regina is interested in projects in the vein of Marjane Satrapi’s work and projects in that spirit telling of immigrant stories.

Young Adults: Regina would love to receive rom coms of all kinds. Think Hallmark cards and movies geared towards young adults, complete with heartbreak, friendships, and triumph.

Non-Fiction: In non-fiction, she’s open to seeing true crime projects (No crimes against children or graphic gore against women/children) as well as memoir. Regina also loves cookbooks that help the reader travel to new places. She wants to see cookbooks that have personal narratives tied to them, whether that’s a personal story woven throughout, cultural traditions and practices, and/or dishes that tie together cultural memories. She is also accepting submissions for artisanal projects such as crafting (think knitting, sewing, crafting, home-gardening/homesteading, apothecary/healing, and alternative health practices).

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BELOW ARE THE FOUR FIRST PAGES WITH REGINA’S COMMENTS:

THE BAD FEELING by Kerry Hansen – Contemporary, Upper-Middle-Grade Ghost Story

The second our tires crunch up the gravel driveway, I want to turn around and drive back to Chicago. Dad parks instead.

Traitor.

“We’re here, Finn!” Mom cheers, and my stomach lurches around the lukewarm string cheese I ate ten minutes ago.

Swallowing a lump of dread, I glance out the windshield. At the end of the driveway, surrounded by weeds taller than my knees, looms our new house. And by new I mean reeeeeally old. Like horse-and-buggy old.

I admit the house itself is kind of pretty, made of tan bricks and topped with a dark-green roof, but “pretty” isn’t enough to compensate for the rest of it. Black speckles of mold creep up the corners by the rusty drain spouts, and the wrap-around porch is doing more collapsing than wrapping. We get out of the car, and I half expect a family of pioneers to stream out the front door and start churning butter.

“Smell that fresh country air,” Mom says. “Brings back memories.”

My parents close their eyes and inhale, as if they’re absorbing a mocha latte through their pores. Neither mentions that the fresh country air is less fresh and all country—as in, manure. Their happy memories of growing up in Wisconsin must be clouding their sense of smell.

“Retirement looks good on you,” Dad croons and drapes an arm around Mom.

“You too, Mr. Silver Fox.” She runs her fingers through the grays at his temples.

“I’m right here.” I groan.

Who are these people and what did they do to my parents?

HERE IS REGINA:

The fact that this is a ghost story is particularly exciting because of the way the beginning is written. Everything feels so “regular” and “everyday slice of life kind of thing. It makes me want to keep reading to find the spooky parts and how that develops. I really like this play on ideas: looms our new house. And by new I mean reeeeeally old. Like horse-and-buggy old. It gives precusors as to what we can imagine as coming in the future. A great set up for a haunted house (even if that’s not the case).

The actual description of the house is also well done. I think it could use a description of the neighborhood or the block just to give it some extra description as the house is centered in this new place.

A great start!

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Suzanne Morrone,  If Wishes Were Horses , Contemporary YA

Sadie knows she looks ridiculous waving to the car that’s already out of sight, but she can’t seem to stop. One last look at the house behind her, the place she could run to when things got out of hand at home. Annalise was her best friend, but the house had been her sanctuary. Now for sale. A new family moving in. And Sadie’s hopes for her future vanishing just like the Uber did, on its way to the airport.

She has to stop at the corner store on her way home. She better get moving.

Sadie leans over a homeless man blocking the antique iron gates to her apartment. She almost bumps him with the heavy grocery bag she’s carrying. He’s breathing, so she steps over him. The gate’s familiar screech mimics the mounting anxiety she feels every time she enters the courtyard.

The bougainvillea’s neon flowers drip over the arch of the stairway, and hummingbirds dart everywhere sipping from the riot of plants lining the stone walkways. The scent of baking chocolate mingles with the flower’s perfume and Sadie pauses, closes her eyes and searches for the gratitude she knows she should feel. At least the homeless man isn’t dead, and neither is Rose. She can hear her singing even from down here. A wave of sorrow rushes over her. It’s pointless to wish for the impossible, but Rose’s voice is pretty. Sadie longs for the time when Rose could focus enough to play her guitar as she sang.

The muscles tighten in her neck, her head pounding. Today has already been a shit-show. Why would anything be different at home, this afternoon? Is it ever? Mom’s either here, drinking, or working at the bar (and drinking), and her much older sister, who used to look out for her, is, well, Rose.

Sadie trudges up the stairs, the grocery bag and her heavy backpack weighting her down. Instead of turning left to head for the northern arm of their U-shaped apartment house, she turns

HERE IS REGINA:

There is a very beautiful feeling to this piece as it opens. The visual language is done quite well. The biggest area that could use some further work is the pacing. In the first paragraph we learn of Sadie waving to a car, her best friend has left and their house is up for sale and a new family is moving on. After re-reading it a couple of times I realized it was Annalise her best friend leaving (in the uber?) and headed to the airport. This just needs some more stretching out so we get the sense of the loss Sadie is feeling for this person she’s just said goodbye to.

The narrator tells us that Sadie has to stop at the store but by the end of this short sample, she’s trudging up the stairs back home with her grocery bags. It would be great to see this teased out with some more detail used throughout this scene. Maybe she feels lonely, or is feeling the loss of her best friend. This is a great time to share that moment with your reader. We walk to walk with Sadie and feel what she feels/experience what she’s experiencing.

It might also be worth considering to place Rose’s introduction earlier. We first learn that Sadie misses her and then we learn that she’s Sadie’s sister but you could save some room teasing this out by just telling us that she misses her sister, Rose.

Overall, I think this is a great start to what will be an interesting story. If attention is paid to pacing, the reader will be more invested in wanting to keep reading. Having just the right speed in a YA is important and taking time to develop the characters is also important. With the combination of beautiful, descriptive language that is evident here, plus, the use of a slowed-down/illustrative pace, this will be a great first introduction to the story.

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VERA*SIMILITUDE by “VERA” (PD Webb) – YA/Contemporary

DAY ONE: FELONIOUS STUPIDITY

I should be arrested for being so ignorant. Why did I say yes to something that I can’t possibly commit to?

Why?
Because I am an extra credit junkie.

The lure of an “A” has often caused me to do things I regret later. Out of all my extra credit pursuits I

have done though, I haven’t ever gone so far as to sign up to write what amounts to a four page essay every

day for thirty days. Forget about being arrested for committing a crime of stupidity, I should just be committed.

So what did I sign up for? National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo,or NaNo for short. Mrs. X must

have been channeling her inner creative writing teacher when she announced, “If any of you are willing to go the

distance of thirty days, writing at least 30,000 words, and receive a certificate of completion, it’s worth fifty points.”

We were all stunned. She never hands out that much extra credit. That’s the value of a unit assessment,

which would definitely boost my lackluster “C+” up to a possible “A.”  I didn’t allow reason to have any voice

when I signed up. Oh, yes. She made us sign up and post it on the bulletin board for the entire class to witness.

As an added incentive she said we will get an extra fifty points if we create a blog. One hundred points of EC?

I’m in.

HERE IS REGINA:

How fun! This piece really packs a lot of excitement into the first few paragraphs and clearly presents the problem very early on. I’d love to get a sense of the protagonist and who they are, who the teacher is, what the school is like/the classroom/the usual day the student would normally experience before this contest is announced. I think that could be done in a few sentences and doesn’t have to take up too much space.

I want to feel the narrator’s expression or what they are feeling in the classroom just before the announcement. Also, a lot of readers know what the contest is about but I think the introduction could stand a little more about it, both giving the reader some clarity (readers who might never have heard of it) or readers who want to feel connected because they DO know about it.

Also, the piece mentions a C+ average but also being an extra credit junkie… so is it that the extra credit is never enough? Or the character never gets full credit?

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IMPROVISANDO by Wendy Parciak – Genre: MG

Chapter 1. The Conquest

You have to attack that first note. The B. It hints of everything to come. Quasi improvisando, the music says. Put your life into it, Brook reminds me every time. Show that you can be wild, fanciful, dramatic, free.

Basically, everything I’m not.

Velvet curtains clung to my shoulders in the musty backstage darkness. The music was wrong. So was Brook.

I hurried toward my dressing room. Cello would be waiting for me, ready to help me win—and keep my twin brother close. Even if Brook refused to settle on a path to perfection in two days with the rest of this year’s new teenagers, I’d be able to reserve him as my assistant. He wouldn’t be assigned to work the dirty, dangerous Perimeter Patrol like other scatterbrained kids. He’d be protected forever.

“She’s just a baby,” one of the failed contestants whispered. She mustn’t have realized how easily sound traveled through stale backstage air. “How’d she make it to Finals?”

“She has big hands,” another one said, clearly not caring what I overheard. “Look at the length of her fingers.”

I wrapped my fingers around the dressing room door handle. Not abnormal. Merely the perfect length for playing a tricky piece on a huge slab of wood. I slipped inside the small windowless space and hurried to my instrument. The silky back of its neck warmed to my touch. Thank you for waiting, Cello. My best friend always knew how to calm me.

Master Musician Loyola tapped on the door and strutted inside with my bouquet of laboratory-grown magenta roses, their heads as large as cello scrolls. Sickly sweetness coated my nostrils.

HERE IS REGINA:

What an interesting beginning.

We get the sense of the impending anxiety over a performance and this feels palpable and real. I think this was done really well. What could be worked on a little more is the way in which the information is presented. Even if this is an early chapter or will be the introduction to the book – the reader will want to get a firm grip on who people are, where they are and these two things tied into the setting.

This part felt a little unclear (and if part of her anxiety, then that’s okay but it still needs to be ironed out some) and keep my twin brother close. Even if Brook refused to settle on a path to perfection in two days with the rest of this year’s new teenagers, I’d be able to reserve him as my assistant. He wouldn’t be assigned to work the dirty, dangerous Perimeter Patrol like other scatterbrained kids. He’d be protected forever.

I don’t get a clear understanding of what she’s referring to here and is this an audition, contest and how does her win make this a pathway for her brother?

Overally, small explanations or just flattening this early chapter a little more will help the reader on the journey with this protagonist even through an early chapter. It’ll keep everyone reading!

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Regina, thank you for sharing your time and expertise with us. We really appreciated you reading the four first pages. We can all learn from your thoughts. Keep in touch. Thanks again!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 30, 2022

Book Giveaway: BRAINSTORM by Rebecca Gardyn Levington

Rebecca Gardyn Levington has a new picture book, BRAINSTORM, illustrated by Kate Kroneif and published by Sleeping Bear Kids. They have agreed to send a copy to the one lucky winner in the US.

Just leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Let me know other things you did to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Rebecca and Kate.

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. If you want to make sure you don’t miss seeing that you won, please click “Notify Me of Follow-Up Comments By Email” box. I will leave a comment in reply if you win the book. Thanks!

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

When it’s time to write in class, one child feels like she has absolutely nothing to say. But suddenly–ker-plink–one drop, one tiny thought, hits her. And before long she’s caught in a shower of funny phrases, a whirlwind of adjectives and verbs, a downpour of huge ideas. Boom, CRASH! A regular brainstorm of creativity for her to soak up and play in! With writing prompts and a glossary in the back matter, this is a story to inspire imagination and ingenuity in all readers.

BRAINSTORM! is a rhyming concept picture book that begins with a little girl sitting in a classroom, frustrated because she can’t think of anything to write about. As she stares at the storm brewing outside – kerplink! – a tiny thought falls from the sky! The girl gradually finds herself engulfed in a whirlwind of words, pictures, and ideas swirling all around her, eventually becoming caught up in a happy downpour of her own creativity.

BOOK JOURNEY:

Kathy, I’ve been a long-time fan of your blog! Thank you so much for inviting me to share the journey of my debut picture book, BRAINSTORM! with your readers.

It all began one rainy late October day in 2019 when, much like the little girl in my story, I had a terrible case of writer’s block. I was doing my best to keep my B.I.C. (“Butt In Chair”), but my brain felt like the weather — cloudy, gloomy and gray. Instead of staring at the blank page, I found myself staring at the rain outside my window when I felt the drop of an idea…

What if…IDEAS poured down from the sky?… Like a… …rain storm?…

No! Wait!

Like a…. BRAINstorm!

I immediately began writing what I originally thought would remain a short little poem.

That poem sat on my computer for a couple of months, but it kept calling to me. I wondered: what if it wasn’t just IDEAS that fell from the sky, but WORDS… VERBS and NOUNS, and ADJECTIVES….and maybe even PHRASES and SENTENCES and CHARACTERS and PLOTS…. Suddenly, I found myself enveloped in this amazing world where images and stories drizzled down and swirled all around us. I kept tinkering and tinkering until I felt like I had a publishable version.

To explain BRAINSTORM!’s road to publication, I have to back up a little. So, in the summer 2019, the incredible rhyme writer Lori Degman chose me as one of her three #PBChat Mentees. Lori is an all-around amazing person (now good friend) and at the end of the 3-month-long mentorship, she very generously offered to ask a few of the editors with whom she’d worked if they’d be willing to look at a submission from me. One of those editors was Sarah Rockett at Sleeping Bear Press.

(But if you think it was “just that easy!” read on….)

In December, with Lori’s blessing and encouragement, I sent Sarah my favorite manuscript at the time (not BRAINSTORM!). Sarah passed on that one, but said she liked my rhythm and rhyme and asked to see more. I immediately sent her two more manuscripts (again, not BRAINSTORM!) and heard only crickets — for months.

Meanwhile, during those months, I had polished up BRAINSTORM! and felt it was pretty strong. I debated whether I should send Sarah a third manuscript while she was still considering the other two, but I wasn’t agented at the time and my opportunities to submit were few and far between. I knew Sarah liked my writing, so I said “what the heck?!” And sent it off.

That was March 2020 (about a week before we all went into quarantine!) and so, naturally, I didn’t hear anything for a long time. Finally, in May, I followed up. Sarah kindly apologized for the delay and told me that while they were passing on the two previous manuscripts I’d sent (Whomp. Whomp.), she loved BRAINSTORM! and wanted to bring it to their next acquisitions meeting. (WHOOHOO!) Thanks to pandemic delays that acquisitions meeting didn’t happen until August. And then, at the very end of the summer, I FINALLY got the email that Sleeping Bear wanted to acquire it for their 2022 list!

(As they say, this business is a marathon, NOT a sprint!)

Kate Kronreif did an incredible job illustrating what I realize now was an extremely difficult manuscript to illustrate. I mean, how does someone illustrate a line like: “An easy breeze becomes a blast/of funny phrases flying past?” Thank goodness both Sarah and Kate had an incredible vision for the book and really took it to the next level!

Thank you again, Kathy, for letting me share BRAINSTORM!’s journey. I hope this book inspires all writers to embrace their creative storms and have fun playing in ALL their puddles of possibility!

REBECCA’S BIO:

Rebecca Gardyn Levington is a children’s book author, poet, and journalist with a particular penchant for penning both playful and poignant picture books and poems – primarily in rhyme.

Her debut picture book Brainstorm! (Sleeping Bear Press, 2022) hits bookshelves this summer. She has four more rhyming picture books being published in the next two years, including the inspirational I Will Always Be… (HarperCollins, 2024).

Rebecca’s poems have been or are scheduled to be published in Spider Magazine, Highlights High Five, The Caterpillar, Honeycake: The Jewish Magazine for Creative Kids, as well as Countdown, Blast Off and Launchpad (publications of The School Magazine). Her poems have also appeared in the anthologies Hop To It: Poems To Get You Moving, Imperfect II: Poems About Perspective–An Anthology for Middle Schoolers, and Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Magic of Cats. Her poem, “Lemons!” originally published in Countdown, won the 2021 SCBWI Magazine Merit Award for poetry from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

She lives in the suburban jungles of New Jersey with her husband and two boisterous boys and is represented by Kaitlyn Sanchez at Context Literary.

To read Rebecca’s latest poems, learn more about her writing journey, and sign up for her newsletter, visit her website at http://www.RebeccaGardynLevington.com and follow her on Twitter at @WriterRebeccaGL.

KATE’S BIO:

Kate is a British illustrator living in Vienna, Austria with her husband and two children.

She studied Fine Art before going on to work as a graphic designer and then making the move into illustration. Kate works mostly with pencil, paper and Procreate and is inspired by all that is lovely and things that make her laugh.

Rebecca, thank you for sharing your book and journey. I love how you thought of a way to help children learn how to shape and sharpen their idea-generation and storytelling skills. The back matter is fun, too, with writing prompts like, “Cloudy With A Chance of Ideas.” Even the glossary has a fun title, “A Tornado of Terminology.” Kate did a fabulous job creating the illustrations. Kids, parents and educators will will make a big splash with their kids by showing them how playing with their ideas can be fun.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 29, 2022

Book Winners – Kudos – Book Trailer

BOOK WINNERS

Carol Baldwin won CEDRIC’S TAIL by Amani Uduman

Rosi Hollinback won Piper and Purpa Forever! by Susan Lendroth

Jessica Milo won Who is it, Whoodini? by Roman Yasiejko

Winners please send me your addresses. Thanks!

OPPORTUNITY: 

ILLUSTRATORS/ANIMATORS: Please contact me at kathy.temean(at)hotmail.com if you are interested in animating a .jpg for on an agent’s website.

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CONGRATULATIONS: Author Ame Dyckman for her new book DON’T BLOW YOUR TOP, about a Big Volcano that helps a frustrated Little Volcano with some self-calming techniques to prevent an explosive outburst (maybe) to Ken Geist at Orchard for publication in fall 2023. Agent Scott Treimel at Scott Treimel NY put together the deal for Ame, The picture book will be illustrated by Abhi Alwar. Agent Alexandra Levick at Writers House brought together the deal for the illustrator.

CONGRATULATIONS: Newbery Honor winner Rajani LaRocca’s THE SOUND OF MAGIC, a middle grade fantasy about a girl who battles the lasting effects of colonialism and greed to save her homeland, for publication in winter 2024; NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH, a YA reimagining of Sita’s story from The Ramayana, for publication in 2025; MYSTERY PARTY, a middle grade novel in which six middle schoolers are invited to a reclusive billionaire’s mansion but must solve the mystery of his unexpected disappearance, for publication in 2026; and CHEMISTRY LESSONS, a YA rom-com pitched as inspired by Jane Austen’s Emma that explores the true nature of beauty, for publication in 2027, to Alexandra Cooper at Quill Tree, in a major deal, in an exclusive submission, by Brent Taylor at TriadaUS Literary Agency (world English).

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Thought you would enjoy this Animated Read Aloud : MY HANDS MAKE THE WORLD by Amaila Hoffman

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NEW Imprint:

Allida Books

Harper Children’s and Clarion Books have launched Allida Books, led by Newbery Medal-winning author Linda Sue Park and Clarion vp, editorial director Anne Hoppe. The imprint, “named for the Korean word that means to inform, announce, or make known,” will launch in early 2023 and has the mission “to encourage marginalized writers and artists to explore the stories they are most passionate about and to craft narratives that defy expectations,” a release states.

Allida’s first title will be You Are Here: Connecting Flights, edited by Ellen Oh, “a middle grade exploration of contemporary Asian American identity told through interwoven stories set in a busy Chicago airport.” Other upcoming titles are the debut YA novel-in-verse An Impossible Thing to Say by playwright and rapper Arya Shahi, and the middle grade graphic novel Secrets, by Cindy Chang.

INDUSTRY CHANGES:

Courtney Carbone has rejoined Random House Childrens as editor. She was previously editor at Scholastic.

Angela Jun has joined Hachette Book Group as art director.

Sarah Boecher has joined Sourcebooks Kids as children’s art director.

CONGRATULATIONS EVERYONE!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 28, 2022

Book Giveaway: THE LONG RIDE HOME by Stephanie Graegin

Author/illustrator Stephanie Graegin has a new picture book titled, THE LONG RIDE HOME, ipublished by Random House. They has agreed to share a book with one lucky winner. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Stephanie!

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

A tender picture book that celebrates memories and friendship about a young koala and a friend who has moved away.

Little Koala has a long ride home, and every place her mother passes invokes a memory of her best friend: the ice cream shop where they giggled uncontrollably; the hill in the park where they crashed their bikes (that memory also lives on as a little scar on Koala’s knee), the library where they borrowed their favorite book again and again.

Koala’s friendship blooms beautifully on the page, seamlessly interwoven with the ride home, and soon we learn just why these memories are so important: Koala’s friend has moved away. The story ends on a lovely note of hope: Koala and her friend are still close, despite the distance.

The Long Ride Home is a universal and broadly appealing friendship story that explores the power of memory with tenderness, warmth, and heart. Stephanie Graegin expertly balances the bittersweet sensations of cherishing a moment long past with artwork that is rendered in soft, sepia hues in a way that only she can.

BOOK JOURNEY:

The Long Ride Home came about at the height of the pandemic, during a time when we hadn’t left our neighborhood for several months. Like everyone, I was missing family and friends and wanting some return to normalcy.

The idea for the book started from thinking about how places evoke memory. Passing by places you have been to, or have a connection to, can instantly bring you back in time. This also happens with particular songs, or smells, or the feel of a breeze. Memories are like a tangible connection to a previous time and place . A personal collection of all the important people and experiences in our lives.

I worked to convey the power of memories and how they connect us to the people we love. It seemed fitting that the memories should be tied to the best friend of the main character, one who no longer lives in the same city. Koala navigates through her feelings, connecting her memories with her reality. This story is also reflexive of my own experiences. As a child, I myself moved around. An upsetting pattern, to be sure, but I’ve kept a strong connection to my childhood best friend. We still regularly exchange long letters and even longer phone calls.

To me, the book is a letter composed by Koala on this car ride. As she travels, the places that slip by her window bring up thoughts she’d like to share with her friend. I picture her, after the book ends, sitting down and physically writing this letter, much like you see her friend writing (to her) at the end.

For the art, I wanted the color to serve two functions: to mark the passage of time on the car ride, and to create a distinction between memory and reality.  We start with the golden hues of the morning, the sepias of the midday and to the pinks and inky browns of the evening; with memories being the more vivid, cleaner, colors Also, the car, being an implicit character, needed to be traceable throughout the book, which is why it’s this brand of bright blue…it allows the reader to keep tabs on it throughout its journey.

STEPHANIE’S BIO:

Stephanie Graegin is the author and illustrator of Fern and Otto, A Story About Two Best Friends and Little Fox in the Forest which garnered four starred reviews and appeared on many Best of the Year lists. She is also the illustrator of over a dozen books for children, including You Were the First by Patricia MacLachlan; Super Manny Stands Up! by Kelly Dipucchio; Water in the Park by Emily Jenkins, which received three starred reviews; and Peace Is an Offering by Annette LeBox. Stephanie lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Born during a blizzard on Groundhog’s Day in Chicago, Illinois, Stephanie spent her childhood drawing and collecting fauna in Fort Wayne, Indiana and Houston, Texas. She received her BFA in Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland. She later attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, obtaining a Master of Fine Arts in Printmaking. Stephanie now lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she writes and illustrates children’s books.

Clients include: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Beach Lane Books, Candlewick Press, Carus Publishing, Dial Books for Young Readers, Disney Hyperion, eeBoo, Farrar Straus and Giroux, Google, Little Brown for Young Readers, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, Random House Studio, Roaring Brook Press, Schwartz and Wade, Simon & Schuster and Sterling Publishing.

Visit her at graegin.com.

Thank you, Rebecca for sharing your book and journey with us.

Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 27, 2022

Agent Sydnie Thornton Irene Goodman Literary Agency

AGENT SYDNIE THORNTON AT IRENE GOODMAN LITERARY AGENCY

IS JOINING

WRITING AND ILLUSTRATING’S 2022 FALL VIRTUAL WRITER’S RETREAT.

A native Memphian, Sydnie majored in English Literature at Rhodes College. Every summer, she escaped the Memphis heat to intern at various NYC agencies and eventually joined IGLA in 2021. She does not miss the humidity. She does miss her dog. On the weekends, you can find her baking or curled up with hot chocolate and a good book. She’s taking on select co-agenting projects with Barbara Poelle.

Sydnie is interested in YA across all genres: fantasy, historical fiction, contemporary that leans literary, as well as thrillers with upmarket qualities and distinctive characterization. As for the adult side, Sydnie is actively looking for transportive, complex historical fiction and whimsical contemporary fantasy. Regardless of genre, she’s very likely to connect with manuscripts that bridge the YA/Adult divide. She’s also eager to champion any book that prominently features disability representation.

CLICK LINK AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE TO READ ABOUT THE VIRTUAL RETREAT. 

Here is how to submit a query letter to Sydnie directly at Irene Goodman Literary Agency:

For fiction, please include a query letter and the first ten sample pages of your manuscript in the body of your email. For nonfiction, simply send a polished query letter, and we will request a proposal if we are interested. We do not open attachments unless we have requested further material.

Please include “query” or “submission” somewhere in the subject of your email, and please only query one project at a time unless otherwise requested. If we request material, please send it along as a word document or PDF attachment.

Submit: sydnie.queries@irenegoodman.com

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Farren Phillips has written and illustrated a new non-fiction picture book, THE SECOND IN THE WORLD TO SAIL THE GLOBE: Sir Francis Drake, published by Yeehoo Press. Yeehoo Press has agreed to send a copy to the one lucky winner in the US.

Just leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Let me know other things you did to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Farren.

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. If you want to make sure you don’t miss seeing that you won, please click “Notify Me of Follow-Up Comments By Email” box. I will leave a comment in reply if you win the book. Thanks!

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

An engaging illustrated biography about Sir Francis Drake: famous explorer, feared pirate, and the second person to ever sail around the world.

Sir Francis Drake may not have been the first person to sail around the globe, but he still made history as the second. Along the way, he stole a lot of treasure, lost a few ships in battle and bad weather, and made an enemy of King Phillip II of Spain. Learn all about the life and exploits of this 16th century privateer and explorer in this exciting book packed full of fun facts, vibrant illustrations, and interactive activities.

BOOK JOURNEY:

As a child I always loved non-fiction books; the excitement of going to the library and filling a bookbag to learn about anything and everything from dinosaurs to pirates to robots to the Romans. I had never really dreamed I’d be making those very books someday for the next generation of knowledge hungry children to enjoy!

After previously only working on picturebooks it’s been quite a dramatic learning curve to be working on fact-based books for slightly older children, as it turns out; there’s a lot more extremely in-depth research that goes into the preparation of these books than is shown in the finished result. The amount of history books, papers, and journals stacked on my desk is now taller than me! This is certainly the longest project I’ve worked on to date too – Second in the World to Sail the Globe; Sir Francis Drake took me at least a few months to research, write and illustrate; and that’s before counting the several months of editing, re-writing and changing designs.

The concept for Second in the World was actually suggested by my publisher Yeehoo Press; they were interested in perhaps producing some books covering lesser-known historical characters. While I was listing out pages of interesting historical figures I thought could work, they took a particular interest in Sir Francis Drake; a 16th century privateer working for the Queen of England, who was the second person to sail the entire circumference of the globe after Ferdinand Magellan, (but was actually the first person to make the journey and survive the entire thing). From this we worked together to come up with the idea of producing a series of books on famous seconds- historical figures who did significant things but aren’t remembered for being the first. I enjoy the concept as much as the content; not only is it pretty fascinating to learn about characters you may have never heard of, but it’s a nice message to send to children that just because you don’t succeed in coming first doesn’t mean you won’t still make the history books with your achievements!

When starting out writing about Francis Drake, I gathered every article and book on him I could find to see how others had approached telling his story. One thing that immediately stood out to me was that in the few books about him aimed at young adults or children; his story is very censored. Drake is often written to be a war hero, a great man who saved England from the Spanish soldiers and lead a ship and crew on epic journeys, while blatantly skipping over facts about him starting out as a slave trader, being a murderer, and an all-out vile man; even the Horrible Historys books smooth over the cracks and leave out a lot of important details about the cruel deeds of his character.

This inspired me to take a different direction than initially intended with the story- instead of writing Drake as a hero, I wanted to create a truer re-telling (which comes with some big challenges when writing for children). In the end, there were still parts of Drakes story I couldn’t include that were considered too violent to visualise for younger readers, but I did manage to include many important historical aspects which I think are important to discuss with children rather than glaze over especially in the current economic climate.

I enjoyed narrating Drakes life; his successes, his failings, his incredible feats, and his horrible deeds, the good the bad and the ugly, showing children that he isn’t the hero they might have been told (more the villain), but that doesn’t mean there still isn’t a lot to learn from his story.

My favourite part of the whole process was illustrating some of the wackier scenes; things like Drake and his crew feasting on Great Auks, having their bottoms well and truly handed to them by the great Mapuche warriors, and dumping their treasures in the ocean to free themselves from a sticky situation. Sometimes the illustrations even ended up enhancing the facts; there is section about Drake and his crew stealing tons of gold, silver and jewels from a Spanish treasure ship and I felt it would be fun to illustrate the quantities of treasure weighed up against other things to help children better visualise just how HUGE the amount was. Instead of just drawing stacks of treasures I drew out weighing scales and spent many hours researching, doing math, and even weighing obscene amounts of fruit in my kitchen, and I think the finished result is definitely a lot funnier and more visually understandable.

One part of the book that was a new experience for me as an illustrator was making the puzzles and activities. The publisher really wanted the story to have fun interactive elements to give it a similar vibe to an activity book and to keep the reader more engaged especially in areas with heavier text. Puzzles are, I’ve found, surprisingly difficult to create from scratch, especially things like mazes. For someone like me who doesn’t have the most mathematical mind it took a few attempts to draw up a maze that was difficult enough to be entertaining but that actually worked!

This has been such an enjoyable experience to work on, and throughout the project (alongside an unbelievable amount of 16th century history) I’ve learned something important. That pure desire to learn about everything and anything you have as a child, the unadulterated fascination with the world and everything in it, while it might get buried over time by the societal pressure to focus on only what’s ‘important’, never really goes away. Once you delve into a topic and re-find that passion, it all comes flooding back and it’s just like being a child again cracking open a book on Ancient Egypt or the Industrial Revolution and being excited to fill your mind with facts to share with everyone you know, all over again. I hope this book not only excites and inspires some younger readers, but maybe even ignites the interest of parents and teachers too.

FARREN’S BIO:

Farren is an Author and Illustrator from the UK who has always had a passion for creating funny stories and spreading smiles. Over the past few years after graduating from her masters degree in Children’s Illustration at Cambridge School of Art, she has had four hilarious picturebooks published internationally, and currently has three new nonfiction books making their debut this year.

When not working on books or doing Storytime events and school visits, Farren can be usually be found spending far too many hours in the local library, killing many plants in an attempt to keep a garden, or fruitlessly trying to stop her cat Gordon from stealing her underwear.

Farren, thank you for sharing your book an journey with us. There is so much to love about this book. Pirates, adventure on the high seas, looking for treasure, finding new lands. You have made it so much fun to learn about history and life in the 16th Century. Kids will love this book. Your illustrations and activities will keep children opening the book over and over again. I enjoyed reading the book and discovered things I did not know. Love the acitivities and how you presented all the information. Good luck with the book!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

 

Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 25, 2022

Illustrator Saturday – Devon Holzwarth

Devon Holzwarth is a picture book illustrator, author, and painter. Born in Washington D.C., Devon grew up in Panama surrounded by nature and her dad’s art supplies, and has lived in many other places over the years. She currently lives in Germany with her family including her husband, two kids, a galgo dog from Spain and a little dachshund from Romania.

Devon earned her BFA in 2000 from the Rhode Island School of Design focusing on screen printing and painting. She has written & illustrated two picture books: FOUND YOU and SOPHIE’S STORIES, with Alison Green Books/Scholastic UK. She has a number of picture books publishing in 2022, including “Tia Fortuna’s New Home” (Knopf Books, English & Spanish language versions), “Listen” (Dial Books and Penguin UK), and “Everywhere With You” (Walker Books US and Walker Books UK).

HERE IS DEVON DISCUSSING HER PROCESS:

My first rough sketch done on the ipad (actually there was one before this but it was just a scribble)…this is the sketch that got approved to go to final art.

I  always do color mockups now before starting. Even if I change my mind about color later, at least I’ll have a guide to start with.

I print my sketches in very light color on the final art paper, then paint directly on them.

First washes with a mix of watercolor and gouache (and salt).

Adding in  some darker colors.

More color washes are going in. I used to do washes to start for skin tones like this example, but now I go straight to gouache.

More color, more detail.

Color pencil is added and other bits of paint where needed. At this point, I scanned the art and moved to Procreate on the ipad. Lately, I try to get much more accomplished on paper before scanning.

The final version after playing around with it in Procreate and tweaking levels in Photoshop. This is what you’ll find in the book (“Everywhere with You” – Walker Books 2022)

INTERVIEW WITH DEVON HOLZWORTH:

Was it your father who encouraged you to paint?

Growing up, my dad’s drafting table was always set up somewhere with a project on it, along with messy bits of things throughout the house and outside. Not everything was necessarily arty, much of it practical like a piece of wood my dad would be turning to replace a broken cabinet leg. I don’t remember my dad encouraging me to make art (though my mom did), but I had a natural interest and the materials and books were always at my fingertips. My uncle was very well known in Panama for his painting and did so full time, while my dad just had time on the weekends. I realized later on how many artists are in our family, and in my teens I met my Austrian cousins who are jewelry designers!

You were born in Washington, DC. What made your parents move to Panama?

I was born in D.C. and lived there for about a year before my parents moved back to Panama. They had grown up in Panama as part of the Canal Zone – an American community of three or so generations who had originally moved there to work for the Panama Canal. My NYC grandparents arrived in the 30’s, and around the same time my California grandfather and Costa Rican grandmother met there when he had to suddenly get off a ship and find work. My parents then actually grew up knowing each other, and still today there is a Canal Zone reunion held in Florida every year. It was a beautiful place to grow up and still inspires me.

How did you end up choosing to leave Panama to attend Rhode Island School of Design?

I never considered staying in Panama for college as there was only a 2 year program with American accreditation, so I applied to all kinds of colleges in the US. I wasn’t completely sure what I wanted to do and was considering creative writing. My art teacher was not encouraging, but I was used to tuning him out and didn’t trust his advice. I had sent applications to UNC Chapel Hill and to Rhode Island School of Design and when I got rejected from UNC it sort of pushed me the way of art school. I was just really excited to be accepted. My parents were totally supportive about me going into art/design.

Did you do any freelance artwork while at RISD?

While at RISD they kept our schedules so full, and I had small jobs on campus as well which kept me busy. I had majored in textile design and adored making large scale paintings, learning about color theory and various screen printing techniques. I didn’t love weaving as much then (required classes in that department!) and I knew I didn’t want to work at a mill or a design studio. My favorite teacher at RISD encouraged me to go into film but I couldn’t see that connection then. There were so many possibilities!

Right now, you are living in Germany. What was your journey to get from USA to Germany?

We live in the medieval city of Aachen, Germany, right next to the Netherlands and Belgium. We’ve been here for 10 years actually. My husband was offered a position with a company here in 2012 and we spontaneously said yes. We were living in CA and had two little kids, one a newborn, and I was often frustrated not having time to make art (I had had a mural/fine art business for the years up to my daughter being born). I figured it would make life more interesting, and it was only a 2 or 3 year commitment. Obviously we liked it so much we’ve stayed much longer!

What was the first book you illustrated.

My first book was FOUND YOU – written and illustrated by me, and published with Alison Green Books/Scholastic UK in 2020. I get so confused with the dates because the journey of that book was winding, and then Covid arrived right before we published. It actually started back in 2018 when I made a dummy for a totally different story and gave it to an art director at the Bologna Book Fair (we had met through a class and she is amazing). She thought it had promise and asked me to write two more stories and then she would submit them to an editor she knew (Alison!). I got an offer for the story that turned into FOUND YOU late 2018, and I wrapped up the art mid-2019. It published in August 2020 in the UK and ended up on Waterstone’s best children’s book prize short list! It so far has not been published in the US, but it would be nice (there is a Turkish edition, but I don’t yet have a copy).

In 2021 ALISON GREEN BOOKS/SCHOLASTIC UK published another one of the books you wrote and illustrated SOPHIE’S STORIES.  It looks like they have printed the book in other languages. How many other languages have been printed?

My second book with Alison Green – SOPHIE’S STORIES (2021) – has co-editions in France and Canada which is really lovely and it’s exciting to see your book in different languages. The art for SOPHIE’S STORIES won a gold medal this year at the Society of Illustrators. I wish I had been able to attend the opening!

Have you used any of the screen printing you learn at RISD in the picture books you have illustrated?

I haven’t! Maybe someday…though I’d prefer a less complicated process instead like maybe gelli printing or a mix of print making and painting.

When did you decide you wanted to make a career how of illustrating and writing children’s books?

In 2016 I started to take some online illustration classes. At that point my younger child was at the kindergarten for more than a couple hours a day and I was ready to jump back into…something. I was doing the Lilla Roger’s MATS classes, going through them but not really seeing a path for myself. Then I took their new children’s book course and had a moment of visualizing myself in the future, working on stories and painting again. It was a little spark. So I took the course again twice to get myself prepared, then planned a trip to the Bologna Children’s Book Fair (a small jump from here) and from there made steps for myself to see if I could turn that spark into something real. I definitely felt overwhelmed and intimidated after the fair, but I was motivated to keep going. I wrote a couple of stories, and turned one into a book dummy about a boy and a bee and brought it to the next fair.

When and how did you connect with Nicole at Tugeau2?

After the fair, and getting some interest in my work and the dummy book, I decided to try and find an agent. I knew about T2 from friends of friends and so I sent an email to Nicole. We had a great chat and I just really liked her as a person (still do), and happily, she welcomed me into the agency. I should mention that I didn’t hear back from two agencies I was also interested in, and got a very nice no from another. I was prepared for that though, and didn’t let it get me down.

PAPA, DADDY & RILEY by Seamus Kirst and published by Magination Press May 2020. This was at the height of the Pandemic. Did Covid-19 have any effect on the book? Did Magination consider delaying the pub. date?

It’s amazing that every book I’ve worked on thus far has been during Covid one way or another! I worked on Papa, Daddy, & Riley in the fall of 2019 and there wasn’t discussion about pushing back the pub date as far as I know. This was the first project I worked on for a US publisher (and had gotten through my agency) and I’m so proud of our book.

You started out 2022 with KNOPF BOOKS, TÍA FORTUNA’S NEW HOME by Ruth Behar how long did it take from signing the contract to being published?

It was at the beginning of 2020 that I got the first emails for Tia Fortuna’s New Home. I was thrilled to work with such a poetic author like Ruth, and loved the story. I’m not sure when I actually started work on the art but I’m pretty sure it was all wrapped up early-mid 2021, and then our pub date was January 2022.

In April I featured Dial Books LISTEN written by Shannon Stocker on Writing and Illustrating. I haven’t seen many picture books also available in audio. Was this always part the publishing plan?

Thanks for the feature! 🙂 Yes, I think Dial/Penguin had this idea in the works from early on as it lends itself so well to the book. I haven’t yet heard the audio version but I’m sure it’s wonderful.

Your latest book EVERYWHERE WITH YOU by Carlie Sorosiak just came out at the end May with WALKER BOOKS. Were you illustrating other books while working on this?

Yes, I ended up in a difficult situation in Fall 2020 where I had art for three picture books due around the same time. I had planned to have more time but with Covid, everything got compressed and I felt like the time evaporated. Both my kids were home and one of them needed a lot of help with school. I really had to focus super hard and streamline my process to make it through those months! It was around then that I got an A3 scanner to cut down the amount of time I was spending scanning each piece of art 5 times! I was looking for everything that would help me to meet deadlines, but was also able to get a little more time from the publishers when necessary (an extra two weeks I think). Also, it was such a needed escape from the pandemic drudgery to be able to work on those projects.

All That Is You written by Alyssa Satin Capucilli and published by Henry Holt & Co. is hitting book shelves in Aug 2022. How long did your publisher give you to illustrated this book?

I’m not sure of the exact timeline but I know I signed on to All That is You in March of 2020, but the final art wasn’t due till the following year based on the schedule I had already set up with Tia Fortuna, Listen, and Everywhere with You. It was definitely tight finishing up final art for Tia Fortuna then jumping straight into rough sketches for ATIY!

Have you finished illustrating ALL THAT IS YOU?

Yes, I wrapped up the art in March or April of 2021.

Do you have any books that have not been published in English?

The co-editions of my author/illustrator books are in French and Turkish, and I’m crossing my fingers for others (I would love to see a book of mine in German). Tia Fortuna’s New Home has a lovely Spanish translated version that published simultaneously with the English language version.

How hard was it to illustrate 7 books (2 that you wrote and illustrated) in two years? Did you manage to have any free time?

It was more like 3+ years, but it does feel like it’s been a lot. Maybe if Covid hadn’t come into play it would have been a little easier. But I had always planned to work really hard at this so I could reach a place where things felt more manageable.

What book do you think was your biggest success?  

This is a difficult question actually! I love everything I’ve worked on for different reasons and it’s too hard to choose (and maybe too early to know) which book has been the most successful. I will say that I love how FOUND YOU has touched so many kids (especially those shy ones like me).

Do you take research pictures before you start a project? 

Before starting a project, I typically make a pinterest board for inspiration with everything from vintage to contemporary illustrations, patterns, color inspirations, and often poses/angles that I’m interested in portraying. I also have a huge collection of new and old children’s books which help me decide on the vibe I want to go for. I’ll often spend a lot of time gathering inspiration, but then forget all about it later…I think this is actually a good thing (and not a waste of time). It’s a process at least for me to understand how I want the book to feel and look and once I have that in mind, I can just go from there. There’s definitely times I’ll also just ask my kids to do a certain pose so I can figure it out.

Do you use Photoshop with any of your work?

Photoshop comes into play for me when I’m scanning my painted work and making sure color is balanced. I also use it at the end of my process to make sure everything is good and ready to go. But I hardly do any actual drawing in Photoshop especially since I started using an ipad.

Do you have and use a graphic tablet?

I used to have a Cintiq but really disliked the pen and feel of the system. I was so happy to discover Procreate app and use my ipad pro for any digital work.

Would you be willing to work with a self-publisher picture book writer on a project?

Yes possibly, if the project was especially meaningful to me, or depending on other factors.

Has any of your work appeared in magazines?

I did illustrations for a feature in Highlight’s magazine a couple years ago.

Do you have a studio in your house?

My studio is at home, in a really lovely attic space (super hot right now). I’m so grateful to be back in here after months of trying to fix a leaky roof. I had had to move everything out earlier this year to deal with the problem and then it just wasn’t getting resolved. After the roofing company gave up, my husband ended up climbing on the roof and finally fixed the problem (he’s the best). I was working in a tiny space with barely room to turn around and was really motivated to get the new drywall up and get everything sanded and painted (this took me forever!). I’ve slowly been moving back in and setting up in between work and hope to have it looking nice again soon.

Is there anything in your studio, other than paint and brushes that you couldn’t live without?

My dad gifted me an old drafting table he found at a flea market and beautifully refurbished. It’s my favorite thing in here and gets used daily!

Do you follow any type of routine to attain your career goals?

I tend to just go towards what’s in front of me, but I’m trying to find a bit more focus and a more manageable day to day life. I suppose one thing that’s really helped me I started a few months ago is writing out the week ahead on paper. I’ll sit down sometime on a Sunday and write down everything I have to do that week, and inevitably will remember things that I’ve wanted to get to. It helps me to see what I can accomplish when I have just a few minutes and is a perfect place for a brain dump so I can stop stressing over certain tasks floating around in my head. I also have a wonderful group of illustrator friends that I meet with regularly on Slack and we actively encourage each other with this type of thing. It’s great to have that kind of support.

Any exciting projects on the horizon?

Yes! I’ve got a few picture books coming up for this year and next that I’m thrilled to work on.

Do you think the Internet has opened any doors for you?

Oh yes, definitely. Having a presence online is super important.

What are your career goals?

I love the idea of working to live (as opposed to “live to work”) and want to keep doing what I’m doing in a sustainable way. I’d love to bring more fine art into my day to day, possibly do workshops, and connect with more like minded people. I’d like to write more stories for kids (I have one in the works!) and of course continue illustrating meaningful children’s books.

What are you working on now?

Right now I’m wrapping up the final art for a picture book with Athenaeum called “The Story of a Book”. It’s been such a lovely project and I’ve been able to try some new techniques and ways to work with color. Can’t wait to see it in print next year!

Are there any painting tips (materials, paper, etc.) you can share that work well for you?

My favorite materials are Hahnemühle hot press watercolor paper (I also like Fabriano brand) for when I’m making final art. For day to day drawing I’m currently enjoying sketchbooks from the Mossery. When you finish the pages, you can take them out and insert a replacement. I like to use acryla gouache from Holbein, watercolors and gouache from Schmincke. I’ve recently started experimenting with oils but that’s far off in the future!

Technique tips? See my blog, illustration fixation.

I only work standing. The only time I sit for work is on my ipad, and for email or scanning. I think it’s helped me to avoid neck issues.

Any words of wisdom you can share with the illustrators who are trying to develop their career?

I think the advice I’ve heard that really rings true for me is to make work that you enjoy (and don’t put anything out there that you don’t!).

Devon, thank you for taking the time to answer the interview questions and showing us your process. Please let me know about your future books and successes so I can share them with everyone.

You can visit Devon using the following links:

WEBSITE: www.devonholzwarth.com

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/devonholzwarth

LINKEDIN: https://www.linkedin.com/in/devon-holzwarth-31aa0a1/

FACBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/KidsBookReview/posts/meet-the-illustrator-devon-holzwarth/

AGENCY: https://tugeau2.com/devon-holzwarth

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

ANNOUNCING JUNE’S AGENT OF THE MONTH

REGINA A. BERNARD-CARRENO

MARTIN LITERARY MANAGEMENT

Regina A. Bernard-Carreno , Literary Agent and Manager

Regina is a literary manager currently accepting queries for true crime, memoirs, picture books, middle grade, young adult, graphic novels, cookbooks, and lifestyle artisan books.

Regina joined Martin Literary Management in 2021. She holds a PhD in Education from the Graduate and University Center at the City University of New York, and graduate degrees in African American Studies from Columbia University and Philosophy from the Graduate Center (CUNY). She holds other degrees in Criminal Justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY). Alongside writing and teaching, Regina facilitates Reader Discussion Groups, Private Reading groups and has served as a reader and sometimes editor for both literary and academic journals. She has published widely in academia as well as in trade magazines. The work she hopes to accomplish as a literary manager is to help writers, as well as author-illustrators, think through their projects, see multiple opportunities where perhaps they don’t readily exist and help shape their work into successful books. Ultimately, she looks forward to championing great ideas.

Below is what Regina is looking for:

Picture Books: Regina is looking for picture books that deal with a little magical realism, immigrant stories, bilingual picture books, and stories that deal with children and their relationship to animals, earth, and the environment. She’d love to see folktales from a wide variety of places reimagined, especially from authors-illustrators.

Middle Grade: Regina is seeking chapter books and middle-grade novels dealing especially with adventures, solving mysteries, and facing/overcoming hardships and developing friendships.

Graphic Novels: Regina is looking for Middle Grade, Young Adult, and adult graphic novels. She’d love to see more writers of color telling stories of MG & YA and has her eye out for BIPOC creators in this genre. For adult graphic novels, Regina is interested in projects in the vein of Marjane Satrapi’s work and projects in that spirit telling of immigrant stories.

Young Adults: Regina would love to receive rom coms of all kinds. Think Hallmark cards and movies geared towards young adults, complete with heartbreak, friendships, and triumph.

Non-Fiction: In non-fiction, she’s open to seeing true crime projects (No crimes against children or graphic gore against women/children) as well as memoir. Regina also loves cookbooks that help the reader travel to new places. She wants to see cookbooks that have personal narratives tied to them, whether that’s a personal story woven throughout, cultural traditions and practices, and/or dishes that tie together cultural memories. She is also accepting submissions for artisanal projects such as crafting (think knitting, sewing, crafting, home-gardening/homesteading, apothecary/healing, and alternative health practices).

*******

HERE IS PART THREE OF MY INTERVIEW WITH REGINA:

How do you like to communicate (email vs. phone)?

I do both when the occasion calls for it.

Once you submit a manuscript to a publisher, how often do you communicate with your client during the submission process? 

It depends on the client. Some clients want to hear every response and some would rather not deal with rejections and only want to hear a yes. I follow their lead.

What happens if you don’t sell a book and the author wants to self-publish a book? Would you be okay with that?

Then this means they likely don’t need an agent to do this.

Do you seek help from other agents at your agency to get suggestions on editors and/or publishers to submit to for the clients you sign up to represent?

Yes, we do share information across the team.

Would you ever send a manuscript to another agent at Martin Literary Management if it was good, but not what you want to represent?

Sure! It might be a treasure for a colleague.

What do you think of digital and audio books? Are they part of every sale these days?

I definitely think there is a market for digital and audio books.

Do you handle your own foreign/film rights contracts or does your firm have someone else who handles those contracts? 

We have a wonderful foreign rights agent.

Do you see any new trends building in the industry?

I see a need for more authentic voices.

Any words of wisdom on how a writer can improve their writing, secure an agent, and get published?

To improve your writing…write all the time and spend lots of time continuing to read as well.

To secure an agent, write a stellar query, join networks, communicate with others and have them review your work, then make sure you’re querying the right agent for you and your work.

Would you like to attend other conferences, workshops writer’s retreats?

Always happy to be present when I can!

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BELOW ARE THE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES FOR JUNE 2022 FIRST PAGE CRITIQUES:

In the subject line, please write “JUNE 2022 FIRST PAGE CRITIQUE” Example: Paste the text in the email, plus attached it as a Word document to the email. Please make sure you put your name, the title of the piece, and genre: a picture book, chapter book, middle grade, or young adult, Non-fiction, contemporary, historical, Sci-fi, fantasy, etc. at the top on both the email and the Word document (Make sure you include your name with the title of your book, when you save the first page).

PLEASE name the Word document file by putting 2022 JUNE  – Your Name – Title of first page. Thank you.

REMEMBER: ATTACH THE WORD DOCUMENT AND NOT GET ELIMINATED! Your First Page Word document should be formatted using one inch margins and 12 point New Times Roman font – double space – no more than 23 lines – only one page.

Send to: kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com.

PLEASE FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES.

DEADLINE: June 24TH. – noon EST

RESULTS: July 1ST.

PLEASE CHECK BACK NEXT FRIDAY FOR REGINA’S FIRST PAGE CRITIQUES.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

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