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 archives, 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


Interview with book creator couple Sarah McGuire (THE FLIGHT OF SWANS, Oct.1st) and Fred Koehler (GARBAGE ISLAND, Oct.9th)

Sarah McGuire and Fred Koehler were once both awkward teenagers who mostly grew out of it. Each draws on their unfortunate adolescence to write stories for young readers. They met at a writers conference and decided to get married. In common they share: love of travel and adventure, dogs over cats, and sci-fi movies. They most often disagree about Oxford commas, whether or not Florida has hills, and who gets the fuzzy blanket. You can find out more about Sarah at her website and Twitter, and more about Fred at his website and Twitter.

Sarah and Fred are not only both children's book creators with middle grade books coming out this month, but they're a married couple (they got married last year on St. Patrick's Day)! Here's some info about their new books, and the pros and cons of being book creator couple.

Click to read more ...


Free, print-ready Masquerade Mask template for Oct.29 Canadian Kidlit Masquerade (or classroom activity)

I was thrilled and deeply honoured that SAM & EVA has been nominated for a Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award this year in the CCBC Book Awards. After the invite-only event for winners and nominees, some of the Toronto area kidlit/YA authors are throwing an public Unofficial After-Party Canadian Kidlit Masquerade Ball on Oct.29th, 2018 from 7 pm - 2 am at the Lula Lounge not only to celebrate writers, illustrators, editors and publishers who create awesome stories for kids and teens, but also to raise funds for Books With No Bounds. Children's/teen writers, illustrators, editors, publishers, booksellers, teachers and librarians are all welcome!

Click to read more ...


Advice For Young Writers: Three Questions for Nancy Tupper Ling and Andrea Offermann (THE YIN-YANG SISTERS & THE DRAGON FRIGHTFUL)

Thanks to Nancy Tupper Ling and Andrea Offermann for answering Three Questions for me today! Their picture book, The Yin-Yang Sisters And The Dragon Frightful, comes out on Sept. 18th from G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers. Synopsis: "When a fearsome dragon takes over their village bridge, twin sisters Mei and Wei have opposing views of how to fix the problem. Wei wants nothing more than to confront that stinky old dragon head on, but Mei favors a more thoughtful approach... an empowering sibling story about celebrating differences."

Click to read more ...


A canned ampersand in the sand (in honour of Ampersand Day)

Sept. 8th was Ampersand Day, so I celebrated with a canned ampersand in the sand.


SAM & EVA is nominated for the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award!

I was incredibly honoured to find out that SAM & EVA (Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers) has been nominated for The Canadian Children's Book Centre Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award. I am especially honoured, considering the other finalists in the same category. For more info about each of these books as well as other finalists in the CCBC Book Awards, see this press release from the Canadian Children's Book Centre.

Click to read more ...


My biggest piece of creativity advice for writers & illustrators (all ages): make time to PLAY.

No matter how busy I am, I always try to carve out a few minutes every day to do some art and writing purely for the fun of it. No pressure to show anyone or have anything be perfect....just to PLAY.

I find if I don't make regular time to just play and experiment, then I slip into a rut, not pushing myself to try the new and different, and I also start losing the joy.


Make time to play.


Writers & illustrators: Develop a thick skin. To succeed (and survive) in this business, you need to be able to take criticism.

Rejection and criticism are part of publishing process, before AND after publication. Work on developing a thick skin early on and you'll not only enjoy the journey more but also increase your chances of longterm success.


Comic: Life with a writer


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


Reminder to everyone out there: DO YOU BACKUPS! (and make sure they're working)


Comic: Plot Crisis


Comic: Book Purge Angst

Gah. I have (once again) reached the point where there is no more room on my office bookshelves for new books, so I've been piling my "to read" books on the floor -- but these are starting to get tippy.

I know I need to give away older books I'll likely never read again, at least in physical form, but.....BUT IT'S SO HARD!


Writers: Take regular breaks away from the keyboard. HERE'S WHY.


Writers: don't be ceremonious. When time's available, WRITE. - Cory Doctorow

Writers: don't be ceremonious. When time's available, WRITE.

- Cory Doctorow, in Locus ("Writing In An Age Of Distraction")


Happy Canada Day weekend to fellow Canucks and Canadians-at-heart!



Writers & illustrators: Focus on enjoying your own journey instead of comparing yourself to others. You may be luckier than you think.


Comic: Life with a Scrabble addict



Every journey to publication is different. Resist comparing yourself to others. Find your own path & pace.

Every journey to publication is different. Resist comparing yourself to others. Find your own path & pace.


I'M SAD launches June 5th! My own feelings about our new picture book from Simon & Schuster BFYR

I am SUPER-excited about the upcoming launch of I'M SAD, a new picture book written by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by yours truly, published by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers! I'm leaving tomorrow to visit schools and bookstores from June 5-11, and author Michael Ian Black will be joining me for part of the tour! You can see a list of scheduled events on our I'M SAD Book Tour page.

I'm delighted by the press and feedback so far! Kirkus says our books is "Bibliotherapy done right....Happy to see such a well-done feelings book." I'M SAD is on the Kids' Indie Next list: "....A funny and surprisingly sweet examination of those days when you wake up and just aren't at your most cheerful."

I love Michael Ian Black's story so much. I cried when I first received the manuscript from my S&S editor (because of what was going in my life at the time). It was a good kind of cry. I also laughed out loud (also much needed). My hope is that our book helps kids understand that emotions can sometimes be complicated and hard to express, and to help them acknowledge their emotions....even the negative ones. Something I'm still learning, as a grown-up!

John Schumacher (aka Mr. Schu) asked Michael what inspired him to write I'M SAD. Michael's answer:

"So often, when our kids (or our friends or co-workers or whomever) are sad, our instinct is to try to make them feel better instead of just being there for them in a supportive way without necessarily trying to 'solve' their sadness. We all feel sad sometimes, and when we do, it’s good to know we have people (or potatoes) in our lives who won’t think any less of us for feeling the way we feel and who will still love us no matter what."

And here's a great video about I'M SAD from teacher Colby Sharp:

You can find a Teacher's Guide, bonus info and resources, print-ready resources and the I'M SAD Bonus Page.

*** GIVEAWAY: I am giving away copies of both I'M BORED and I'M SAD as well as some original art! ENTER HERE. ***

Thank you so much for your support of me and my work! I so appreciate it.

Also, I understand that picture books are expensive and not everyone can afford to buy them. If you'd like to support me (or others who have books coming out), there are so many other ways you can show your support.

THANK YOU again, and I look forward to seeing some of you in person June 5-11th!


#BookADay: BECOMING MADELEINE by Léna Roy and Charlotte Jones Voiklis 

Where you can find out more about BECOMING MADELEINE:

Becoming Madeleine book page on Macmillan's site

Becoming Madeleine audiobook (which is how I read the book)


More info: Donalyn Miller's #BookADay Challenge - My #BookADay Archives (also see my visual #BookADay archive on Padlet).

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