Three Questions For Children's Book Writers and Illustrators

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 Thanks for visiting! -- Debbie Ridpath Ohi


Comic: Writer Health Tip Of The Day

OHI0155 WriterHealthTipArms

I'm posting some of my older comics here as I catalog and tag them in prep for a print book compilation. You can find my comics for writers on Inkygirl (, Tumblr ( and Pinterest (


NaNoWriMo Comic Archives (Part 1)

As my friend Errol Elumir and I start ramping up for NaNoToons this year, I'm going to start posting some older NaNoWriMo comics from previous years, starting with 2008:

OHI0151 NaNo 2008Nov01


OHI0152 NaNo 2008Nov02

OHI0153 NaNo 2008Nov03

OHI0154 NaNo 2008Nov10

To see more NaNoToons, please do Like the NaNoToons Facebook Page!

And speaking of NaNoWriMo, the first official trailer for the NaNoWriMo Musical is online. I was an extra, and you can see me briefly in the background in the dancing clip near the end :-) :


Comic: Autumn Procrastination

OHI0072 AutumnProcrastination

I'm posting some of my older comics here as I catalog and tag them in prep for a print book compilation. You can find my comics for writers on Inkygirl (, Tumblr ( and Pinterest (


I'M BORED into its second printing, yay!

And speaking of other cool snailmail I've received recently...

The note from Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing reads:

"Congratulations! Your book has been reprinted! Please find a sample copy enclosed. Best wishes, Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers."


Look what the SCBWI Head Office sent me by snail mail...


As some of you already know, I've been hugely grateful to the SCBWI for the career-changing opportunities that have come my way as a result of attending their events.

I sent them a thank you letter back in May, and SCBWI President Stephen Mooser replied as follows:

 Hi Debbie—Wow and Congratulations—we keep a file and a posting of SCBWI Success Stories, and not only is yours one of the best, but it may also be the most entertaining of all time---you have made our day and we are so happy for your well deserved success—looking forward to seeing you again soon—all best wishes from all of us here at the office, Steve

Then in mid-September, The New York Times Sunday Book Review ran a very nice review of I'M BORED, and I sent out a public request for extra copies of the review, if anyone had it. 

Today I came home from the cottage to find a copy of the review and a nice note from Steve on behalf of the SCBWI waiting for me.


I continue to be so grateful to the SCBWI for its continuing support of children's book writers and illustrators. THANK YOU, SCBWI!!


To fellow Canadian writers out there: Happy Thanksgiving weekend!


Nominations Open For The 2012 Cybils

Screen Shot 2012 10 04 at 8 37 33 AM

Nominations are open for 2012 Cybils, the seventh annual Children's And YA Bloggers' Literary Awards:

Here's info about how you can nominate.



LovedLOVED this book. I had expected an entertaining kid-focused superhero story, but it was so much more than that. Mike Jung has added a wonderful twist on the typical superhero theme. His writing is fresh and truly funny, with sweet/touching moments as well. An entertaining and thoroughly satisfying read.


Age level: 8 and up - Hardcover: 320 pages - ISBN-10: 0545335485 - ISBN-13: 978-0545335485


You can see my other Micro and Graphic Book Reviews on Inkygirl. Please note that I review books on whim and for the pure fun of it, so please do not ask me to review your book. Thanks. :-)


Survey Results: Print vs Digital Purchase?

For a list of all survey results as well as current surveys still in progress, see my Inkygirl Survey Archives.

Thanks to all those who responded to my most recent survey, which asked:

Q. When making a book purchase, do you prefer ebook or print format?

Of 129 responses, 60% said they preferred print. 25% preferred ebook/digital.

Of the remaining responses ("Other"), here are some of the comments:

Ebook to get it fast for YA, but print book for picture books, & when I really love a book I want both. - @CherylRainfield

I do both. It varies with price and format. Some picture books don't look so great on the Kindle. They look better on the iPad. - @StacySJensen

Print if I plan to share with my students. (so MG books) E if I'd like to be able to read it anywhere (love having selection on my device) E if it is MY copy of a book I'm using with a reading group (love the notes features on my device and I don't lose my notes that way) Print if I already own part of the series or it's a series I think I will loan to family or friends (it's complicated!) - @Mselke01

I prefer print for fiction or anything pictorial, but I like ebooks for quick access to information

It depends. For a quick read, ebook. For things I want to save and reread or refer to often, print. - @bexdk

It depends on the book. For most, I prefer ebook. But there are some I want a print copy for my bookshelves. Usually, they are by favorite authors or friends.

I like print for children's books, ebook for adult (pleasure) print for how to book's...

Depends on the book and the price..and where I'll be reading. For travel, I prefer e-books. For home or camping, I prefer print. - Julie Chilton

Ebook for fiction, print for non-fiction. - @crazywritinfool

Both. I can't really separate the two because I usually end up buying the book in print even if I have it on my Kindle/iPad. I can't give up my books. I also will buy books for Kindle that I already own in print simply because it is easier to take on a trip or read in bed (for example: "War & Peace"). - @InkyTwig

Both! I love having both formats for different situations. - @wickedagrarian

Depends on the book. If it's something I want straight away, ebook, if it's more of a collectable - print.

E-book for texts I'll read linearly (novels, short stories). Print for reference materials, anything with graphics, anything I expect to consult arbitrary sections of. Also print for books with more "staying power", ones I'll want to have for years and years, 'cause who knows what'll happen to digital content over time?

Depends on the format & purpose: print = illustrated books e = reference books a = audiobooks, which is the only format I consume for fun. Ebooks, unless there are many illustrations or photos. In that case, I prefer print.

It depends. If I need something right now, I'll order a Kindle version, but for a nice slow read, I'll order print. If I want something to take on the plane, I order a Kindle; if I want to read it while taking a bath, I'll order print. For study and writing in the margins I'll order print because I don't care for the annotation function in electronic devices. Even the markup function in Word is annoying even though it's industry standard. - @suelange

I only buy drm-free ebooks and so my selection is limited, but I'm quickly coming to prefer digital over print. - @limako

Depends on the book. Picture Book, Easy Reader - Print (love to look at the color illustrations and for studying page turns) MG, YA Fiction - Ebook (convenience of being able to take it anywhere easily) - @darshanakhiani

Digital for novels, print for picture books.

Whichever is cheapest, naturally! (which at the moment is nearly ALWAYS print) - @readitdaddy


Next survey: Book Trailers - Do They Work? (3 multiple choice questions + optional comments)

Do you have a suggestion for a future survey question? Please let me know!


Happy National Punctuation Day!

Yes, it's that time of year again: National Punctuation Day!


My informal surveys about writing, reading & publishing

I currently have over 21,000 followers in Twitter, and I've noticed that whenever I ask a question of interest to writers, I get quite a few great answers. Unless everyone uses the same hashtag, however, only I see replies. To help others benefit and exchange helpful info, I've decided to start up a series of informal surveys to do with writing, reading and publishing.

I'm using an upgraded Surveymonkey service, did a test run a while back, and am pleased with the interface/security. My test question: Do you own an ebook reader? 73% said yes.

Feel free to suggest survey questions, but please note that I am only interested in questions whose answers will ultimately help writers in their craft or business or knowledge of the industry, NOT for a specific project or promo.

Here's the first official survey: When making a book purchase, do you prefer digital or print? Please answer here. Anyone who answers will see the aggregate results. I'll post a more detailed summary in an upcoming Inkygirl post.

And if you have suggestions for future survey questions, please do post them below or use this form. Thanks!


Comic: Pirate Plagiarism (in honor of Talk Like A Pirate Day)

I'm posting some of my older comics here as I catalog and tag them in prep for a print book compilation. You can find my comics for writers on Inkygirl (, Tumblr ( and Pinterest (


I'M BORED reviewed by The New York Times today!


Interview with TYPE Books owner + I'M BORED launch info

If you haven't seen it already, check out this wonderful stop-motion video that Sean Ohlenkamp (Lowe Roche) created, called "The Joy Of Books", with the help of 25 volunteers over four nights:

Thanks SO much to Type Books for hosting my illustrator I'M BORED Book Launch. The launch will take place this coming Tuesday: Sept. 18th, 6-8 pm at TYPE's Queen St. location (883 Queen St. W., 416-366-8973). You can find out more info and RSVP at the Facebook event page for the I'M BORED Launch. To Michael Ian Black fans: please note that the author will NOT be there -- it'll just be me. :-)

 Type Books owner, Joanne Saul, was kind enough to answer a few questions for me about the bookstore.

Q. How did TYPE Books get its start?

TYPE was started in 2006 by my partner Samara Walbohm and myself. We met doing our PhDs in CanLit at the University of Toronto. We would often daydream in the stacks at Robarts library about what we might do if we didn't go the academic route. TYPE was one of those dreams.

We call ourselves a friendly neighbourhood bookstore and we mean it. We stock local authors' books. We launch them too. We host events for local writers. We have strong relationships with local publishers. We have a gallery in our basement where we show the artwork of neighbourhood artists. We have a storytime for neighbourhood kids. We host a love of reading and writing program in our basement called "Word-Play." We have kids from four local schools come to the store twice a week for a full program. We're very proud of the work it does.

Type 883 Queen West

What's the best part of of being a bookstore owner? What's the most challenging?

The best part of being a bookstore owner is meeting new people and establishing relationships with customers (and authors and publishers). I love interacting with my regular customers and talking about what they're reading.

I love the feeling of community in both the stores. It's a true joy to be able to put the right book in the right person's hands.

The worst part of owning a bookstore is paying the bills.

March Madness Window

Other than the I'M BORED launch :-), are there any other upcoming events and news you'd like to share?

We're so excited about the I'm Bored launch! We can't wait. It's a fabulous book - beautiful and funny too. My son just changed daycares and "I'm Bored" was his going away gift to his old centre! I'm also really thrilled to be part of the launch for Andrea Curtis' book, "What's For Lunch" at the end of the month. It's a fascinating look at what kids eat for lunch around the world. Andrea's event at TYPE: September 30th, 3-5.

Facebook Event Page for the I'M BORED Book Launch (Illustrator)

Where to find more info about TYPE:

Their website:

On Twitter:

On Flickr:


I'M BORED interviews, guest posts a podcast (and many giveaways of the book!)

TodaysParent Adele

It's been an exciting and whirlwind week since I'M BORED launched on bookstore shelves last week!

Thanks so much for those of you who have been helping me promote the book online and offline. I've compiled a list of interviews, guest posts and other places online where you can find related posts, and most of these still are or were holding random draws for copies of the book.

*NEW* I am also going to be sending hand-drawn doodles to each of the book giveaway winners for I'M BORED. This applies to any blog who is doing an I'M BORED giveaway in the near fuure.


Wed. Sept. 12, 2012 (online): Interview by Christina Farley on Chocolate For Inspiration.

I'll also be giving a talk tonight at the monthly CANSCAIP meeting about my I'M BORED experience, the benefit of conferences like Packaging Your Imagination and SCBWI, as well as how to get the most out of these kinds of events.


Today's Parent and Parenting magazines featured I'M BORED (Today's Parent photo at the top right of this post courtesy Adele Maclean)

I was Featured Artist on

July 27, 2012 (online): Toasted Cheese interview with me about I'm Bored - by Erin Bellavia

August 20, 2012 (online): For Young Readers: Most Anticipated Books Of Fall 2012 (49th Shelf)

August 27, 2012 (online): At The Desk: Debbie Ridpath Ohi on Open Book Toronto

Tue. Sept. 4, 2012 (online): I'm Bored Releases Today! - by Christina Farley

AndreaMack PotatoCelebration

Tue. September 4, 2012: A MiG Writer Book Birthday Series: Happy Book Birthday To I'M BORED, by Christina Farley - A Fun Potato Recipe from Carmella Van Vleet - A Boring School Challenge, by Kate Fall - I'm Bored Potato Celebration, by Andrea Mack

Wed. Sept. 5, 2012 (online) - Miss Marple's Musings. Interviewer: Joanna Marple.

Wed. Sept. 5, 2012 (online) - I'M BORED contest announcement by Andrea Mack.

Fri. Sept. 7, 2012 (online) - Perfect Picture Book Friday, with Beth Stilborn.

Fri. Sept. 7, 2012 (online) - I'M BORED review by Greg Leitich Smith. "With expressive illustrations and a hilarious point-counterpoint, a little girl demonstrates that children are less boring than potatoes. And there are waterfowl, too. Really."

October issue of TODAY'S PARENT (print): I'M BORED feature mention

Sun. Sept. 9, 2012 (online) - New Voice & Giveaway: Debbie Ridpath Ohi on Cynsations. Interviewer: Lena Coakley.

WildPhotoCollage v01 600

Above: selection of photos from my I'M BORED In The Wild gallery of readers with the book.

Mon. Sept. 10, 2012 (online) - The Other Side Of The Story - podcast interview by Matt Mylusch

Mon. Sept. 10, 2012 (online) - It's Worth The Wait: My guest post on Beth Stillborn's blog, By Word Of Beth, about the waiting process between the offer and when the book finally appears on the shelves.

Tue. Sept. 11, 2012 (online): I'M BORED Trifecta with Mr. Schu and Colby Sharp:

-- My guest post on Nerdy Book Club: In The End, It's The Story That Matters (A defence of so-called celebrity books)

-- Mr. Schu's post about the I'M BORED book music video, his interview with Zoe (w/ help from Zoe's Dad)

-- Colby Sharp shares his 4th grader's favorite moments from I'M BORED on Sharpreads


You can find these and other press links on my Debbie's Interviews, Appearances, Guest Blog Posts and Other Cool Press Page.


I'M BORED (my first children's book!) launches TODAY

Can't believe the day is finally here! It's been two years since a rejection turned into a book contract with Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers to illustrate Michael Ian Black's I'M BORED.

I've updated the I'M BORED In The Wild photo gallery with more reader photos! I invite you all to send in your own photos: here are the guidelines and info about how to submit.

You can find more info about the book, related resources for teachers and librarians, photos, sketches of the book in progress, tips for young writers and illustrators, an I'M BORED In The Wild photo challenge, comics and much more: I'M BORED Scrapbook.

I'm Bored Music Video (inspired by the new picture book from Simon & Schuster BFYR) from debsanderrol on Vimeo.



Comic: Alphabet Soup

OHI0026 WRI AlphabetSoupOpening sm

I'm posting some of my older comics here as I catalog and tag them in prep for a print book compilation. You can find my comics for writers on Inkygirl (, Tumblr ( and Pinterest (


Seeking I'M BORED "In The Wild" photos

ImBoredWildHeader flat600

I'm creating a gallery of photos featuring people reading I'M BORED in fun places and situations, and I welcome submissions! Photo below is an example: I'm reading I'M BORED on the Toronto Transit system. :-)

Debbie TTC ImBored

If you're interested in submitting a photo (hey, you may win a PRIZE), read the details here.

Photo below: Shara Alexa, Children's Sales Manager at Simon & Schuster Canada:


I'M BORED is A Junior Library Guild Selection!

Last week, I was tickled to get a package from  Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers that contained a letter of congratulations from the Junior Library Guild (see bottom of post) as well as a certificate….

JuniorLibraryGuildCertificate 500

... and a cool lapel pin:

Closeup JLG LapelPinsm

I had seen "A Junior Library Guild Selection" on book covers before but confess that up to now, I didn't know that much about the designation. So in addition to asking my editor and publisher (Justin Chanda at Simon & Schuster Children's), I also did some research online.

What I found: Having your book selected by the Junior Library Guild  is a BIG DEAL.

Apparently the JLG editorial team reviews thousands of new titles each year, in manuscript or prepublication stage, and end up choosing what they say is "the best of the best."  According to the Junior Library Guild website, nearly 95 percent of their selections go on to receive awards and/or favorable reviews. 

JLG's mission: to help libraries wade through the mass of books published every season and pick what’s best for their collections. You can read about different ways that schools and libraries have been using JLG to cope with staff and budget cuts, etc.

What does all this mean for an author and illustrator? Good things. It means that JLG orders a bulk quantity of your book from your publisher, then includes your book in their recommend lists…and these lists are used by schools and libraries. When I posted the announcement on my personal Facebook Wall, one friend said:

"Excellent! That means that there is a high probability that my school district will buy it for all of our elementary schools; they rely on the JLG lists for purchases!"

Yay! :-)

ScannedJLGCongratsLetter 600

In summary:

I am absolutely thrilled to have I'M BORED chosen as A Junior Library Selection, and am grateful to the JLG for the honor.

More more info about the Junior Library Guild:

Junior Library Guild website

On Twitter:

On Facebook:

Wikipedia entry on Junior Library Guild


Fun "Call me Maybe" video by Pilot bookstore, newspaper & magazine

What a great promo video for The County Bookshop and its sibling entities. You can read how the video was made here.

Thanks to Shelf Awareness for the link!