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

Monday
Sep052016

Poll results: People still love print books but many also read digital/audio books for convenience

Last week, I asked you:

"In the past year, how have you read books? Check all that apply."

424 people responded. I opted for a multiple choice rather than "which do you prefer" for this poll to cut out the need to decide on a preference, plus it gets complicated because I would need to include different categories of reading; someone may prefer picture books in print, for example, but opt for a digital version of a novel for older readers.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Sep032016

#BookADay: MiNRS 2 by Kevin Sylvester (Simon & Schuster, launching Oct/2016)

Just read Kevin Sylvester's MiNRS 2 in one sitting, on the train to Buffalo. Or almost one sitting: I had to stop reading for a few minutes at U.S. Customs to answer the standard border crossing questions (I did keep reading in line until the very last minute). We were all told to turn off all digital gadgets during the 1.5 hours at the border, including digital readers, but HA!!!! I had a PRINT book.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Aug292016

Behind-the-scenes: How new picture book PIRASAURS! was created, with insights from author Josh Funk and illustrator Michael Slack

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Back in May 2013, I posted an interview with Celia Lee, an editor at Cartwheel Books / Scholastic, and Celia invited Inkygirl readers to submit manuscripts for a limited time; apparently Celia received over a thousand submissions (!). A couple of years later, I met Josh Funk at nErDcampMI and found out that he had sold one of his picture book manuscripts to Celia as a result of my Inkygirl post, and it was being illustrated by Michael Slack.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Aug172016

PAY ATTENTION! Everything and everyone can be a source of wonder and inspiration.

It's been four years since my first children's book came out. One thing I've learned since then: to pay more attention to the people and things around me.

EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE can be a source of wonder and inspiration: a snippet of conversation, a secret smile, even someone's shoes. Ask yourself questions about the people and things you see around you, invent reasons why people look or act the way they do, what happened to them, why they chose to wear that particular piece of clothing today.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Aug092016

Comic: Comma Abuse

Saturday
Aug062016

Beautiful part of writing: you don't have to get it right the first time unlike, say, brain surgery. - R. Cormier

(Quote above & others available as free, print-ready posters for classrooms, libraries, bookstores and elsewhere: DebbieOhi.com/read)

Wednesday
Aug032016

#BookADay: THIS IS OUR BABY, BORN TODAY by Varsha Bajaj and Eliza Wheeler 

Just got back from the SCBWI Summer Conference in LA. My roommate was the amazing illustrator, Eliza Wheeler, and I had a chance to see her just-released picture book, THIS IS OUR BABY, BORN TODAY (Nancy Paulsen Books / Penguin).

So sweet! And of course, gorgeously illustrated. For ages 3-5.

Synopsis:

"A baby is born and the world rejoices! With a loving mama, a trumpeting herd, curious cousins, and even some dancing peacocks heralding this little one’s arrival, it is apparent that the joy and wonder a new baby brings is shared by all! Varsha Bajaj’s lilting prose and Eliza Wheeler’s enchanting scenes of a wide-eyed baby elephant and its smitten family celebrate the importance of family and community in every child’s life. Set in the lush wilds of India, this is an endearing, beautifully illustrated tribute to little ones getting their first warm welcome to the world."

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More info: Donalyn Miller's Summer Book-A-Day Challenge | Archives of my #BookADay posts

Monday
Jul252016

World is full of people w/ good ideas. Published authors are ones who sat down & got them written. - @JenniferFallon

"Write, write, write... The world is full of people with good ideas. The published authors are the ones who sat down and got them written." - Jennifer Fallon

Sunday
Jul242016

Book Journal: Just One More Way That Books Have Changed My Life

Tuesday
Jul192016

Are you an introvert who finds it hard to network? I posted some tips at KidLitArtists.com

Sunday
Jul172016

Nerds, Books, Education & Literacy: nErDcamp recap posts #nerdcampmi

I had a fabulous time at nErDcamp, and will post about my experience after I've had a chance to catch up with work. What a wonderful community! As author Ruth Spiro said, sometimes making a new friend is like meeting an old friend.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jul142016

Writing is a solitary endeavor, but trying to get published doesn’t have to be. 

"Writing is a solitary endeavor, but trying to get published doesn’t have to be." - Nancy Parish

Saturday
Jul092016

Story behind the dedication page in MITZI TULANE, PRESCHOOL DETECTIVE

The first MITZI TULANE, PRESCHOOL DETECTIVE picture book launches next Tuesday from Random House Children's! Here's some insider info from the dedication page: mine is for my mom, who died of cancer when I was in my 20s.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jul082016

Free creative brainstorming templates for picture book writers and illustrators

Reminder: For those of you who are writing and/or illustrating children's picture books: Feel free to download and use my picture book thumbnail templates during your early brainstorming.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jul072016

Be aware when research & prep becomes a crutch. At some point, you need to jump in & WRITE.

Tuesday
Jul052016

Poetry for kids, poetry resources for teachers

Last year, I discovered that I've been pronouncing the "poem" incorrectly all my life (!!!). I was pronouncing it as ONE syllable, which made me use it incorrectly in a haiku. I've fixed it now as well as my pronunciation.

I've updated the poem on my Poetry For Kids page, which includes poetry teaching resources.

Monday
Jul042016

#BookADay: HOW TO OUTFOX YOUR FRIENDS WHEN YOU DON'T HAVE A CLUE by Jess Keating (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky)

‪#‎BookADay‬: HOW TO OUTFOX YOUR FRIENDS WHEN YOU DON'T HAVE A CLUE by Jess Keating ( Sourcebooks Jabberwocky). I'm a fan of Jess's "My Life Is A Zoo" series for middle grade, and this third book in series totally lived up to the first two - I *lovelovelove* the main character's fresh, funny voice: clever without being mean-sarcastic, smart and quirky and original. There were SO many moments throughout this book where I thought, "dear lord, I so remember feeling EXACTLY LIKE THAT when I was that age."

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jul042016

#BookADay: RED, WHITE, AND BOOM! by Lee Wardlaw and Huy Voun Lee (Henry Holt)

‪#‎BookADay‬: RED, WHITE AND BOOM written by Lee Wardlaw, illustrated with amazing cut paper collage by Huy Voun Lee (Henry Holt).

From a starred review in School Library Journal: “Independence Day is brought to jubilant life in this striking picture book…simple, rhyming language rich in sensory imagery…rich in texture and beautiful patterns, the intricate collages depict a multicultural, multigenerational mosaic of people who gather in various ways to commemorate our nation’s founding freedoms…this title is made to order for the summer story hour crowd as well as quiet lapsits under a shady tree.”

More info about the book on the author's website.

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More info: Donalyn Miller's Summer Book-A-Day Challenge | Archives of my #BookADay posts

Thursday
Jun302016

Comparing yourself to others can suck joy out of creating. Find your own pace, savor the journey.

Tuesday
Jun282016

Comic: Serial Comma Killer