Posted by: Kathy Temean | December 26, 2018


DARLENE BECK JACOBSON won I’M DONE by Gretchen Brandenburg McLellan



Please send addresses!

Illustrator Nicole Tadgell has a new picture book titled, FOLLOW ME DOWN TO NICODEMUS TOWN. It is available in bookstores now. Nicole 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 Nicole!


When Dede sees a notice offering land to black people in Kansas, her family decides to give up their life of sharecropping to become homesteading pioneers in the Midwest. Inspired by the true story of Nicodemus, Kansas, a town founded in the late 1870s by Exodusters—former slaves leaving the Jim Crow South in search of a new beginning—this fictional story follows Dede and her parents as they set out to stake and secure a claim, finally allowing them to have a home to call their own.


I’ve been fascinated with the Great Plains and frontier life in the 1800’s since about 8 years old. I read voraciously as a child, and felt an affinity to Laura Ingalls Wilder; the second daughter in a family of girls, moving around frequently, having adventures outdoors. I enjoyed sewing and cooking, calico dresses, As I grew older, my interest in that time period grew to exploring Native american life and culture.

My process follows three phases: Rough pencils, final pencils, final color. Research and lots of deep thinking are at the core from the start. With this book, I am grateful that I was free to travel to the Nicodemus National Historical site to see the land with my own eyes! Trip planning is often stressful, so to alleviate that I decided to just get out there and not have plans other than just see the site. I was lucky enough to meet descendants of the original settlers, including local historian, author, artist, and all-around creative force Angela Bates! She also is an amazing chef and runs Ernestine’s just up the road from the historic site. They have an enormous family reunion – homecoming – every year in June. I did just miss it as my trip was in August!

I got an iPad pro to draw on, and some of the sketches I did on the iPad, rough thumbnail sketches only, the finals were are hand-drawn. After the drawings are completed and approved with editorial, I scan and print them directly onto watercolor paper. That way, if I make a mistake painting, I can simply print it again and don’t have to redraw. This helps keep everything loose and experimental. After I’m satisfied with the paintings, I make high resolution scans with my scanner and upload them.


Nicole Tadgell was born in Detroit, Michigan. Frequent moves increased her shyness; sometimes the only black kid in the class or even the whole grade drew Nicole further into her own created worlds on paper, art was both fun and an escape.

While studying studio art at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, she recalled how much fun it was to draw her own stories – illustrating children’s books could be the right path. Today, Nicole has over twenty books. “I love working on children’s books,” Nicole says. “Sometimes I pretend I’m the kid in the book, and do what they do in the story, really getting a feel for each book.”  Nicole also visits schools, gives lectures and conducts workshops.

Nicole’s work has been honored with the Children’s Africana Book Award, the Americas Award, the Arkansas Diamond Primary Book Award, and the Growing Good Kids Award. Many of her books are among: the Bank Street Best College of Education, the Smithsonian Notable Books for Children, Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choices Annual List, New York Public Library’s Best 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing, Eastern Washington University Excellent Choice, Maine’s A Capital Read, and Rutgers University Top 5.

Nicole, Thank you for sharing your book, your journey, and illustrations with us. Your artwork is beautiful. A La Faye is very lucky to have gotten you to illustrate her book.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Congratulations, Nicole! Your illustrations look beautiful.


  2. What a beautiful and much needed book. My 4th graders will love this one. I’m also tweeting this and posting on Facebook.


  3. The illustrations are beautiful! Thanks for sharing this lovely book.


  4. So excited to win! Congratulations to all the other winners.


  5. I absolutely love the idea and the look of this book. I think it has all the earmarks of a potential classic, don’t you? Thanks very much for the chance to win a copy!
    I tweeted a link to this post:, and pinned an image with a link on Pinterest:
    Thanks again! Have a great week and an even greater 2019!!


  6. What a beautiful book. I will be looking for this one. Thanks for an interesting post.


  7. Your illustrations are lovely. Perfect for the book!


  8. Love Nicole’s art! And this is a part of history I know next to nothing about so I’m eager to find out more with this book. 🙂


  9. Looks so cool and interesting. I shared on Pinterest, FB, and twitter. thanks


  10. Stunning illustrations!


  11. Nicole’s work is beautiful! That last spread above is amazing. Congrats!


  12. This is a gorgeous book and an important story that I’d love to share with my students.


  13. This art is GORgeous! 😀


  14. Thank you, everyone for your kind words! Deepest gratitude to Kathy for featuring our book on your amazing blog!


  15. I love Nicole’s art – and am lucky she’s illustrating my book about Frederick Douglass! Can’t wait to get this masterpiece, too!


  16. This story and Nicole’s art are amazing. Can’t wait to read it.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Oh my God these illustrations are TRULY beautiful! It’s a MUST SHARE ♡

    Liked by 1 person

  18. This looks lovely! I also shared on facebook.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. thank you!!


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