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


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 ...


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).


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.


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!


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


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.


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.


Comic: Punctuation Breakup


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 ...


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 ...


Comic: Hamster Writers


Comic: Bibliophile Breakup



Quickie Anonymous Poll For Agents, Editors and Art Directors


To agents, editors and art directors out there: please take a few minutes to answer a short anonymous poll to help up-and-coming writers and illustrators?

Results will be discussed at the SCBWI-Florida Regional Conference, SCBWI Metro NY Chapter (Feb event) and SCBWI-LA Writer's Day as well as summarized in later this year.

For editors and art directors, I'm looking for those who are involved in the decision-making process re: book contracts or initial talent-scouting. Thank you SO MUCH!

You can find results to previous surveys in my Inkygirl Survey Archives.


A comic for parents who work from home


Comic: New Year's Resolutions (or not)

I have actually broken my resolution not to make resolutions and am going to make a resolution! See my blog post on New Year's Resolutions and Realistic Goal-Setting For Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

Happy New Year's, everyone!


In memory of Debbie Alvarez, The Styling Librarian

Deeply saddened to hear that teacher/librarian Debbie Alvarez has lost her battle with cancer. Though we don't know each other in person, Debbie and I have emailed each other as well interacting on social media. She has been so generous in her support of me and work on her blog, including a post just last week

Click to read more ...


Advice For Young Writers, Minecraft Books and Cute Office Dogs: Three Questions With Danica Davidson

Danica Davidson started writing at age three and never stopped. Before selling her first book, she wrote for such places as MTV, CNN, The Onion and Los Angeles Times. Among other publications, she was recently featured by Forbes for her Minecraft writing. She’s represented by the James Fitzgerald Agency. Attack Of The Overworld is the second book in Danica's Minecraft series, which is geared toward ages 7-12.

Click to read more ...


Comic: The Writer and Santa


Comic: Snowman Writer Resolution


Book-combo holiday gift idea: THE TRUTH ABOUT TWINKIE PIE by Kat Yeh

Rereading my friend Kat Yeh's debut middle grade book THE TRUTH ABOUT TWINKIE PIE makes me think how great a holiday gift this book would be. Twinkie Pie is my favorite kind of book: a wonderful voice, characters I care about and an unexpected but thoroughly satisfying ending. See my interview with Kat on Inkygirl earlier this year.

Anyway, here are a few fun gift packaging ideas:

- Combine this book with the ingredients for one of the many excellent recipes in this book for a middle grader who likes to cook/bake.

- Great hostess gift for your favorite librarian or kidlit book lover: a copy of this book along with a a yummy baked Twinkie Pie (or No-Peek Chicken, Maybe Even Better Soup, Madder'n Heck Smashed Potatoes, Special-Occasion Fancy Sandwiches, Pull-Aparts, Easier-Than-Pie Pudding, Impossible Pie, Tangled-Up Pie, Heartbreak On Toast, Pick Me Up, Cherries In The Snow or one of the other recipes)

- Other combo gift items you could include: baking or cooking utensils or tools, a cookbook, Twinkies :-))

You can find out more about The Truth About Twinkie Pie and Kat Yeh on her website.