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 DebbieOhi.com. Thanks for visiting! -- Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Monday
Mar072016

TELL ME A TATTOO STORY by Alison McGhee and Eliza Wheeler (Chronicle Books)

I was excited to receive a copy of TELL ME A TATTOO STORY, a new picture book written by Alison McGhee and illustrated by my friend Eliza Wheeler (Chronicle Books, April/2016). What a deeply moving, tender story, and soooo much for young and not-so-young picture book readers to appreciate.  I teared up over many of the (beautifully illustrated) spreads as the father told his young son the story behind each of his tattoos. *snif*

Do check out Julie Danielson's Seven Impossible Things post where she shares some of the wonderful art from the book as well as sketches from Eliza. Also see Julie's post about the book on Kirkus Reviews.

You can find out more info about Eliza Wheeler at Wheelerstudio.com and more about Alison McGhee at AlisonMcGhee.com.

Synopsis of the book from the Chronicle Books website:

"A bestselling author-illustrator duo join forces to create a modern father-son love story. The father tells his little son the story behind each of his tattoos, and together they go on a beautiful journey through family history. There's a tattoo from a favorite book his mother used to read him, one from something his father used to tell him, and one from the longest trip he ever took. And there is a little heart with numbers inside—which might be the best tattoo of them all. Tender pictures by New York Times bestselling illustrator Eliza Wheeler complement this lovely ode to all that's indelible—ink and love."

Thursday
Mar032016

THE NIGHT GARDENER: gorgeously illustrated debut picture book by The Fan Brothers

Love the utterly *gorgeous* art in THE NIGHT GARDENER, a debut picture book by Eric Fan and Terry Fan (Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers). Every time I read through it, I notice something new. Beautiful details (just noticed the lovely illustrations on the cover beneath the paper jacket!), stunning illustrations, magical atmosphere throughout. Highly recommended.

Find out more about The Night Gardener on the Simon & Schuster website.

Wednesday
Mar022016

Comic: Font Nerds

Tuesday
Feb232016

Advice For Young Writers, Wonder Woman and PUNK SKUNKS: Three Questions with Trisha Speed Shaskan

Trisha Speed Shaskan has written over thirty books for children, including her latest picture book, Punk Skunks. Trisha has an MFA in creative writing. She’s been a bookseller, educator, and youth worker. Trisha lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her husband Stephen, and their cat Eartha, and dog, Bea. 

Punk Skunks is written by Trisha Speed Shaskan, illustrated by her husband Stephen Shaskan, and was published on February 9, 2016 by HarperCollins Children’s Books.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Feb102016

On Libraries and Bicycles

"My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. Both move people forward without wasting anything." - Peter Golkin.

Wednesday
Feb102016

The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Just finished THE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, loved it. This  historical fiction novel for middle grade is such a satisfying read, full of adventure and heartbreak and compassion. I loved the characters in this book SO MUCH, and desperately want a sequel.

I confess that I held off reading this book because its premise sounded too depressing but I am soooooooooo glad that I got over this and strongly encourage others who have held off for the same reason to get over it as well. Highly recommended.

Find out more about Kimberly Brubaker Bradley at her website.

More about the book on the Penguin Random House site.

Tuesday
Feb092016

Tips for SCBWI conference newbies, second-timers, plus a CHALLENGE for the many-timers

The SCBWI Winter Conference starts in a couple of days! Even if you're not attending, you can follow the livetweet action via the hashtag #NY16SCBWI on Twitter.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Feb092016

Valentine's Rejection

I'm heading for NYC for the SCBWI Winter Conference and meetings. If you're on Twitter, you can follow the action via the #NYC16SCBWI hashtag. If you see me there, please do say hi!

Happy writing and illustrating, all!

Saturday
Feb062016

Free, print-ready poster of Tim Federle quote about books

"One thing that books teach us is that if your life sucks right now, you just haven't gotten to the good part." - Tim Federle, author of the Better Nate Than Ever. His new YA, The Great American Whatever, comes out from Simon & Schuster in March. More info about Tim at TimFederle.com.

The above image ia also available as a free, print-ready poster for schools, libraries, bookstores and anywhere else where the message would be appreciated.

Friday
Feb052016

On writing success and intelligent persistence

As Ellen Jackson said, success as a writer or illustrator depends depends more on intelligent persistence than raw talent.

Excerpt from Ellen's excellent advice:

"By 'intelligent persistence' I mean the ability to learn from mistakes, to figure out what you’re doing wrong, and then to change it. I know a talented writer who gave up after one rejection from one editor. I know another writer–with very little natural writing ability--who writes and rewrites and gets rejected over and over. The first writer has never been published. The second writer has published more than thirty children’s books. As James Michener said: 'Character consists of what you do on the third or fourth tries.'"

Wednesday
Feb032016

Poll Results: 60% of you skip ahead to read the ending of a book

Thanks to all who responded to my most recent poll, which asked "While you're reading a book, have you EVER skipped ahead to read the ending?"

Out of 126 respondents, 60% (or rather 59.52, rounded up) of you replied YES, with the remaining 40% saying NO.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Feb022016

The difference between writing and brain surgery

I keep reminding myself of the above as I'm working on the first draft of my middle grade novel.

If you like the image above, I've made it available as a free print-ready PDF in my For The Love Of Reading resource (where you can find lots of other print-ready posters and activity sheets).

Saturday
Jan302016

Quickie anonymous poll: Have you ever skipped ahead in a book to read the ending?

A quickie anonymou survey: Have you ever skipped ahead in a book to read the ending? If you'd like your answers including in the final tally, please answer Yes/No in this survey link.

Saturday
Jan302016

Great MG nonfiction book, whether or not you're a baseball fan: BASEBALLOGY by Kevin Sylvester

At the Ontario Library Association Super Conference, the OLA Best Bets Committee said that Kevin Sylvester's middle grade non-fiction book BASEBALLOGY: SUPERCOOL FACTS YOU NEVER KNEW (Annick Press) was a fascinating read, whether or not you're a fan of baseball. "...This book pulls you in as it shares a wealth of historical facts, scientific explanations, and general information on anything and everything baseball. Sylvester delivers non-fiction material in his signature compelling, storytelling style."

I confess I'm not a huge baseball fan, but the rave review during the presentation has convinced me that I need to check this book out!

More info about BASEBALLOGY on the Annick Press site.

More info about Kevin Sylvester and his books.

Side note: to those who heard my keynote at the SCBWI-Florida Regional Conference, Kevin is also the MINRS author I mentioned, who advises that you need to be ready when lightning does strike.

The OLA Best Bets lists were just announced yesterday. Full lists should be online at the Ontario Library Association website soon. I was super-honoured that Where Are My Books? was chosen for their Top Ten Picture Books list!

Thursday
Jan282016

Trying to make room for new books on my shelf by purging old ones but it's HARD. Here's how I feel.

Wednesday
Jan272016

A comic for Harry Potter fans

Some days I wish I hadn't read the Harry Potter books already just so I could read them again for the first time.

Tuesday
Jan262016

Looking for a writing/revising challenge but short on time? Try this.

To writers out there who never have trouble finding time to write or revise: pls ignore the rest of this post.

To those who are always putting their own projects on the back burner because of bill-paying work taking priority, family obligations, favors for other people, insecurity or fear, procrastination or a zillion other reasons, feel free to check out the Inkygirl Daily Writing Challenge. 

More info on this webpage, plus there's an Inkygirl Daily Writing Challenge FB Page where I sometimes post tips and comics.

I've also added a bunch of time goal badges for those who think that way instead of wordcount.

Monday
Jan252016

Comic: Punctuation Breakup

Monday
Jan252016

Advice For Young Writers, Patience, ELLA AND PENGUIN STICK TOGETHER: Three Questions with Megan Maynor

Megan Maynor is a former advertising copywriter and author of picture books ELLA AND PENGUIN STICK TOGETHER and ELLA AND PENGUIN: A PERFECT MATCH (coming 2017), both from HarperCollins Children’s Books. She lives in Minnesota with her husband and three children.

ELLA AND PENGUIN is a new picture book written by Megan Maynor, illustrated by Rosalinde Bonnet, published by HarperCollins Children's Books in January 2016. You can see reviews in Kirkus and Publishers Weekly.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan222016

Zebo Ludvicek's KITE picture book dummy missing after SCBWI-Florida Regional Conference

I had a fantastic time at the SCBWI-Florida Regional Conference this past week; you can see my photos on Facebook and Flickr. I co-ran the Illustrator Comprehensive with Pat Cummings, and one of the attendees was the mega-talented Zebo Ludvicek. Side note: Zebo's debut picture book, MOUSE, will be published by Jennifer Besser at Putnam!

Anyway, Zebo brought a gorgeous wordless picture book dummy to the session....and it somehow disappeared. Here's one of the interior illustrations:

Click to read more ...