Posted by: Kathy Temean | December 30, 2013

Kudos & Inspiration


Darlene Beck-Jacobson is excited!

She just received the cover art for her debut book –
WHEELS OF CHANGE, which is coming out later this year.

Congratulations, Darlene! I am excited, too!

Tracy Berglund had a couple of her illustrations appear in the travel section of the NYTimes.

Congratulations, Tracey!


After I posted on December 24th, I realized I should have included a picture of the winning Logo for the SCBWI New York Metro Chapter illustration by Elizabeth Baddeley (above).

Below is the story that I promised to post today. It is the one that won Barbara DiLorenzo a $1000 in the Atlantic Avenue BID Children’s Literature Contest.


(End papers show a bird’s eye view of Atlantic Avenue, including shops.
Opening illustration shows a little girl walking out of the “China Dragon” restaurant,
and into the accounting office next door. She walks by a newsstand, where every
magazine and newspaper announces, “Secret Tunnel Rediscovered in Brooklyn.”

“Excuse me, have you seen my dragon?”

“There are no dragons here, little girl. Can’t you see how serious we are? We add up big
numbers for big people.”

“My dragon is good at math. She could help you, if you asked politely”
(Art note: The
girl shows the accountant a crudely drawn portrait of her dragon.)

“Ha! We have enough trouble with humans. Ask at the gift shop next door.
(Art note: The girl walks into the gift shop, where the shopkeeper is reading an article
about the tunnel discovery.)

“Excuse me, have you seen my dragon?”

“Hmmmm? A dragon? I have just the dragon for you! He’s pure jade, and fits right on a

“My dragon is a girl. Also, she is blue. Not green.” (Art note: The girl shows the gift
shop owner the portrait of her dragon.)

“In that case, I’m sorry. I haven’t seen your dragon. Check the flower shop next door.”
(Art note: The girl walks into the flower shop, where the shopkeeper is also reading an
article about the abandoned tunnel.)

“Excuse me, have you seen my dragon?”

“Yes. We have the loveliest snapdragons! Would you like a bouquet or a potted plant?”

“No, my dragon is terribly allergic to flowers.” (Art note: The girl shows the flower shop
owner the portrait of her dragon.)

“Ah. Why don’t you try the pet shop next door?”
(Art note: The girl walks into the pet shop, where the shopkeeper is reading a comic book
about toxic monsters in underground sewers.)

“Excuse me, have you seen my dragon?”

“Bearded dragon? Crafty lizards… they love to escape.”

“She doesn’t have a beard! And she didn’t escape. I’m sure she had some shopping to do,
or a doctor’s appointment.” (Art note: The girl shows the pet-shop owner the portrait of
her dragon.)

“Of course she did. Feel free to look around, but I know we’re right out of girl dragons.”
(Art note: The clerk rolls his eyes, and returns to reading his comic book.)

(Art note: The girl sees a tour guide standing in front of an information booth outside. He
is holding a sign that says, “Atlantic Avenue Tours.”)

“Excuse me, have you seen my dragon?”

“The Lost and Found is over there, little girl.”

(Art note: The girl sees dragon scales on the ground near the Lost and Found. The trail
leads to a door in the side of a building.”

“Excuse me; where does that door lead?”

“Do not go through that door. It leads to an old train tunnel that hasn’t worked for a
century. People say you can still hear the whistles of the night trains. But they haven’t run
for 100 years! There are ghosts down there. (Art note: The girl gives the tour guide a
weird look. She backs away from him. When she tiptoes to the door, she discovers that the
outside lock has been burned off. The girl slips through the door, into the old tunnel and
sees an archway with the mosaic “Atlantic Avenue.” A big crowd of dragons has gathered
below the archway. The girl sees so many dragons that she decides to ask for help.)

“Excuse me, have you seen my dragon?”

“Look around, sister. How could you find anyone in this crowd?”

“I do have a picture.” (Art note: The girl shows the crudely drawn portrait to the dragon.)

“I see. She’s blue. And she looks quite smart, but also allergic to flowers?” (Art note: The
girl nods yes emphatically, glad that someone finally understands her drawing.)

“Well then, I think that’s her, over there, standing next to the teacher.” (Art note: The girl
waves to her dragon.)

“Susan! It’s me, Sophie” (Art note: Susan, the dragon, smiles and bounds toward

“Oh, Sophie – I forgot to tell you! I started dance class today.” (Art note: Sophie hugs
Susan. The teacher clears her throat to get everyone’s attention.)

“Attention class. Everyone hold hands with your partner. Count: 1, 2, 3…”
(Art note: Susan clasps hands with Sophie, and they begin to dance together.)
(Art note: The page is split with a view of all the dragons dancing in a conga line,
singing, “chugga-chugga, woo-woo” below the street – while above the street, the store
owners and tour guide listen to the “ghost train.”)

Author’s Note

The world’s oldest subway tunnel lies abandoned below Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, New  York. When trains stopped running through the tunnel over a hundred years ago, folks  forgot about its existence. Myths about the tunnel circulated for years. Some involved hidden pirate treasure or rats the size of cats. In 1980, engineering student Bob Diamond, searched for the tunnel and found it. He led tours through the abandoned  tunnel until it was deemed unsafe to do so. Today the tunnel is an official landmark on the National Register of Historic Places. People that live on Atlantic Avenue tell stories of  mysterious noises coming from the tunnel below – as if ghost trains continue to rumble
through. Perhaps there is a more simple explanation for these sounds. The tunnel has become a dragon dance studio.

Illustration Portfolio:

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Congratulations Darlene, Tracey and Barbara! Such wonderful news and a great post, Kathy!


  2. Thanks for the Kudos Kathy. I enjoyed the dragon story as well. Congrats to Tracey and Elizabeth!


  3. Darlene, how exciting! It looks great 😀

    And how cool is that, Tracey? The NY Times! I love your work!

    Love the glasses on Liberty, too 😉

    And Barbara, what an adorable, imaginative story! While reading, it reminded me of “Ghostbusters II” 🙂 I can see why it won!

    All great stuff! Thanks for posting, Kathy 😀


    • Thank you so much! Very fun that the story reminded you of Ghostbusters!


  4. Thank you so much for posting all this good news Kathy! You are so supportive and wonderful. Happy New Year!!


  5. Congrats, ladies. So much talent. I enjoyed the story and adding the art notes was great. 🙂


  6. Thanks for the kind words everyone. Congrats Darlene and Barbara and thank you Kathy! I’m in good company with all this talent! Happy New Year!


    • Tracey,

      It is quite an honor to have your artwork show up in the Times. You are following in the footsteps of some really great illustrators. I am proud to have you follow my blog.



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