Welcome to Inkygirl: Reading, Writing and Illustrating Children's Books (archive list here) which includes my Creating Picture Books series, Advice For Young Writers and IllustratorsWriter's and Illustrator's Guide To Twitter, interviews, my poetry for young readers, #BookADay, writing/publishing industry surveys, and 250, 500, 1000 Words/Day Writing Challenge. Also see my Inkygirl archives,  and comics for writers (including Keiko and Will Write For Chocolate). Also check out my Print-Ready Archives for Teachers, Librarians, Booksellers and Young Readers.

I tweet about the craft and business of writing and illustrating at @inkyelbows. If you're interested in my art or other projects, please do visit DebbieOhi.com. Thanks for visiting! -- Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Tuesday
May222018

SCBWI Success Story, Creative Process and Jen Betton's upcoming debut solo picture book, HEDGEHOG NEEDS A HUG (June 19, 2018)

I first met Jen Betton at the 2012 SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles when she came up to introduce herself. She said my blog post about getting an Illustration Mentorship Award at the Portfolio Showcase inspired her to attend (!). Thanks to Jen for answering questions about her process and her advice for young writers and illustrators.

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Monday
May212018

Anyone else feel like this when they're about to start reading a much-anticipated book?

Monday
May142018

Interview with Helaine Becker and Dow Phumiruk about COUNTING ON KATHERINE: HOW KATHERINE JOHNSON SAVED APOLLO 13 (Launches June 19)

I met Helaine Becker through Torkidlit and Dow Phumiruk through the SCBWI, and I was so excited when I found out that they were collaborating on a picture book: COUNTING ON KATHERINE: HOW KATHERINE JOHNSON SAVED APOLLO 13. Their book is geared toward ages 5-9, launches from Holt Books For Young Readers on June 19, 2018 and has already garnered praise from publications like Kirkus and the Junior Library Guild.

Helaine and Dow were kind enough to answer some questions for me about their new book.

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Wednesday
May092018

Writers & illustrators: Learning to handle rejection is an essential skill, before AND after publication.

Monday
May072018

"Don't be afraid to be weird." Advice for young writers from WEAVE A CIRCLE ROUND's debut author, Kari Maaren in a Three Questions interview

I met Kari Maaren through a filk music convention, and fell in love with her song Being Watson (which almost always makes teary-eyed). She also is cartoonist with a webcomic, West of Bathurst, and an active one, It Never Rains. After being a fan of her other work, I was VERY excited to find out she was writing a book.

Her debut novel for young readers, WEAVE A CIRCLE ROUND, is a thoroughly engaging read with an irresistible main character (I love 14-year-old Freddy Duchamp's voice, both inner and outer) in a fearless and original take on time travel and coming-of-age. If you want to know more about the book, you should read the Globe & Mail reviewthe starred Kirkus review, starred Publishers Weekly review, starred School Library Journal review.

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Saturday
May052018

HOW TO CODE A SANDCASTLE by Josh Funk and Sara Palacios - Highly recommended!

If you don't have time to read the rest of my post, that's fine. Here's a one sentence summary: I love everything about HOW TO CODE A SANDCASTLE by Josh Funk and Sara Palacios, and I can't wait until it launches from Viking Books For Young Readers and Girls Who Code on May 15, 2018!

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Saturday
May052018

Comic: The Explanation

Thanks to Paul Carroll (Twitter: @writeranonymous) for the caption!

Saturday
May052018

Summer reading, access to books and Donalyn Miller's post on the Nerdy Book Club

If you enjoy books for children and young adults, then I encourage you to go visit the Nerdy Book Club blog, if you haven't already. I enjoyed Donalyn Miller's recent post about how to increase book access for all children. Enjoyed it so much, in fact, that I was inspired to drawing the image above. Although the tips in the article are geared mainly toward educators, I found them informative and motivating for book creators as well.

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Tuesday
May012018

Interview: Kevin Sylvester on MINRS series, science and advice for young writers

A while back, I raved about how much I enjoyed Kevin Sylvester's first and second MiNRS books for middle grade. Here's my #BookADay post about the first MiNRS book

With the third book in the series coming, I asked Kevin to tell my readers about his MiNRS series as well as offer some advice for young writers. Thanks to Kevin for answering in the video above!

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Monday
Apr302018

"Be A Reading Ninja!" - Free, print-ready poster for schools, libraries and bookstores

Feel free to download my free, print-ready "Be A Reading Ninja!" poster, which prints on an 8.5 x 11" sheet of paper. You can find more free, print-ready posters, reading logs, activity sheets and other bonus material in my Print-Ready Archives.

This poster began with a cherry stain which inspired a drawing which inspired the poster above. :-)

Wednesday
Apr252018

Comic: The Paperless Office

Tuesday
Apr242018

Happy launch day to FAIRY SPELL: How Two Girls Convinced The World That Fairies Are Real - by Marc Tyler Nobleman and Eliza Wheeler (Clarion/HMH)

Monday
Apr232018

Are you ready for StoryADay May? A guest post from Julie Duffy

I met Julie Duffy when we both worked for the same company out in Philadelphia. Julie is a writer and the host of StoryADay.org, a creative writing challenge that happens each May (and yes, you're invited!). I asked Julie to tell us about StoryADay May, how it got started and how it works. I love the subtle placement of books in the background, heh (thanks, Julie!):

You can find Julie Duffy and StoryADay on Twitter at @StoryADayMay, StoryADay on Facebook and at StoryADay.org. Julie was also kind enough to write a guest post about StoryADay May:

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Tuesday
Apr172018

Writers and illustrators: Be aware when research/prep turns into procrastination.

Tuesday
Apr172018

If you love a book, write a nice review. It gives the author encouragement on days they want to take up scorpion petting. - @LianaBrooks on Twitter

Tuesday
Apr102018

Advice to writers/illustrators: Take the long way. Shortcuts rarely pay off. 

Tuesday
Apr102018

Video of how I created one of my broken crayon drawings

You never know what will come out of a broken crayon (#48 in series). I decided to take a video of how I created one of my broken crayon drawings, and I gave it away on Twitter - congrats to Ann Schimmoler, who won the final result (I am still waiting to hear from Ann so I can mail the doodle to her).

See my Broken Crayon Page for more art, resources for educators and info about my upcoming broken crayon book with Linda Sue Park and Simon & Schuster.

Monday
Apr092018

Advice For Young Writers, Embracing Magic & ENGINERDS: Three Questions With Jarrett Lerner

Jarrett Lerner writes books about farting robots, belching knights, and other serious matters. You can find him online at jarrettlerner.com and on Twitter at @Jarrett_Lerner. You can also often find him at the mgbookvillage.org, which he cofounded and helps run. He lives with his wife, his daughter, and a cat in Medford, Massachusetts.

I first encountered Jarrett on Twitter, where he is an enthusiastic champion of kidlit. When I asked him about ENGINERDS, I loved that he made sure to give credit to the illustrator, Serge Seidlitz, who did the cover and spot illustrations inside the book. Yay for authors who appreciate their illustrators!

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Wednesday
Apr042018

Comic: The Frog Prince, Revisited

Tuesday
Apr032018

Writing Advice, Indie Bookstores and Classroom Tour: Three Questions with Colby Sharp (THE CREATIVITY PROJECT)

Colby Sharp is a fifth grade teacher in Parma, Michigan. I first heard about him through the Nerdy Book Club (of which he is a co-founder) and Nerd Camp Michigan (ditto). He runs The Yarn podcast with his friend Travis Jonker. You can find Colby on his website, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

Thanks to Colby for answering Three Questions for me today!

I love Colby's classroom tour, especially hearing the stories behind some of the art! Did you know that Deborah Freedman created the header for The Nerdy Book Club?

Colby's advice for young writers: Start out by copying the people you love. Doing this can help you eventually find your own style and voice.

What he's excited about now: independent bookstores. Colby described the amazing things he sees indie bookstores doing and encourages us to make sure we use some of our book buying power to support these community bookshops.

Colby is one of the most positive and enthusiastic people I know, especially when it comes to helping kids find the books that help them fall in love with reading. I was honored to be one of the contributors to the just-released THE CREATIVITY PROJECT, published by Little, Brown Books For Young Readers

Synopsis of THE CREATIVITY PROJECT (Little Brown Books For Young Readers, 2018):

"Colby Sharp invited more than forty authors and illustrators to provide story starters for each other; photos, drawings, poems, prose, or anything they could dream up. When they received their prompts, they responded by transforming these seeds into any form of creative work they wanted to share. The result is a stunning collection of words, art, poetry, and stories by some of our most celebrated children book creators. A section of extra story starters by every contributor provides fresh inspiration for readers to create works of their own. Here is an innovative book that offers something for every kind of reader and creator!"

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For more interviews, see my Inkygirl Interview Archive.