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

Entries in reading (27)


“If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” - StephenKing

“If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” - Stephen King

Related: How To Find Time To Read More Books In 2019.


Comic: The Angst Of Reading A Good Book


How To Find Time To Read More Books In 2019

Now that my eyes are fixed (woohoo!), I have started reading print books again, in addition to other formats. I'm also reevaluating my reading habits. I love to read but sometimes I find that reading gets put on the back burner more often while other activities take priority. Sometimes these activities, especially family-related and work-related, NEED to take priority, but I find there are still ways to find more time to read.

I've updated my post below in case one or more tips might help others. You might also want to check out what parents suggested in my "Finding Time To Write (Even If You Have Kids)" survey.

1. I have multiple print books on the go, and keep them around the house. I usually have print books that I'm in the midst of reading in our bedroom, my office, living room, dining room, etc. Print books have the advantage over ebooks here in that just SEEING them reminds me to read them.

2. I read books on my iPhone. Yes, the screen is small but I enlarge the text to make reading comfortable. This is super-handy for reading when I may only have a few minutes, like when I'm in a line-up or waiting for someone. Or when I'm in a super-crowded subway train and am holding onto a support pole with one hand....but I can easily reach into my purse, pull out my iPhone and flip through pages with my other hand.

3. I read books on my iPad. I have an iPad Pro and find it a bit too heavy to hold for reading unless it's propped up somehow, but I find that using a pillow or my knees works fine. I prefer print books for the esthetic experience (turning print pages, feel of of a physical book etc.) but I do find that the backlit screen on my iPad enables me to read even in places with dim lighting. Some are ebooks I've bought, some are borrowed from the Toronto Public Library.

4. I read books on my Kindle. Because the Kindle is lightweight and loaded up with a lot of my ebooks, I can avoid angsting over what book to take on out-of-town trips ("I'm 3/4 of way through this book so if I finish it on the plane, what do I read next? Should I bring an extra just in case? But I'm trying to travel with just carry-on augh" etc.), I just take my Kindle and I have access to many books-on-the-go.

5. I listen to audiobooks. I remember avoiding audiobooks in the beginning because I never considered it REAL reading, plus I didn't think I could really enjoy a book by just listening to it. Then my husband played an audiobook (I can't remember the title...something about divers and scavenging in deep waters) on a long car trip and I was surprised to find it an immersive reading experience. The narration is important, though -- a bad narrator will totally turn me off a book, so I make it a habit of always listening to a sample first. I have an Audible subscription but I also borrow audiobooks from the Toronto Public Library. Whenever I'm at certain stages in book illustration, I listening to audiobooks as I draw.


As long as the story is good, I am willing to read it in any format. I do make a point of buying books from indie bookstores but I have found that my appetite for reading makes it impractical (from a budget standpoint) to buy all my reading material. The Toronto Public Library is a wonderful resource, with print and ebook and audiobooks available.

Also, I squeeze in reading whenever I can. While I'd love to save my reading stints for when I have an entire afternoon to curl up on the couch with a good book, reality is that if I always waited for The Perfect Reading Day, I wouldn't be reading nearly as many books as I do now. Before my recent eye surgery, I also found it a challenge to read a regular print book.

And as summer approaches, consider participating in Donalyn Miller's #BookADay Challenge!


11 Ways Busy People Make Time To Read - by Eva Lantsoght on Lifehack.org

How To Read Even More In 2019 by Strand bookstore

5 Ways To Find More Time To Read - by Kristin Wong on Mentalfloss.com

25 Expert Tips To Reading WAY More Books This Year - by John Rampton on Inc.com



“If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” - Stephen King


Any one else purposely slow down near the end of a really good book because they DON'T WANT IT TO END?


Kidlit Restaurant Library


Donalyn Miller's 9th Annual Summer #BookADay Challenge and how I'm using it this summer

Yay, it's time for Donalyn Miller's annual summer #BookADay Challenge!

I do read all year round, but I find the #BookADay event a fun extra excuse to do some extra reading, plus I love the community aspect. 

Here's where you can find more info about #Bookaday:

Click to read more ...


Win this tiny "I Love To Read" doodle!

I enjoy creating tiny doodles! This one is only 9 cm x 5.5 cm (about the size of a business card) and created with my new Platinum Preppy fountain pen with a fine point nib using a Carbon Black Ink cartridge, my Winsor & Newton portable watercolor set and a water brush.

You can enter this week's giveaway HERE.

Congrats to Janet Coburn, who won my Peppermint Tea Fish found object doodle last week!

Entries accepted until 11:59 pm on Sun. December 18th, 2016 and a randomly selected winner will be announced on Mon. Dec. 19th, 2016.. Click here for official contest rules.


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


How I'm Finding Ways To Read More Books This Summer

One of the reasons I love Donalyn Miller's Annual Summer #BookADay Challenge is because it always forces me to reevaluate my reading habits. I love to read but sometimes I find that reading gets put on the back burner more often while other activities take priority. Sometimes these activities, especially family-related and work-related, NEED to take priority, but I find there are still ways to find more time to read. I'm sharing these here in case one or more might help others.

Click to read more ...


There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them. - Ray Bradbury


The Freedom To Read: Free, print-ready poster of one of my favorite Judy Blume quotes #BannedBooksWeek



In honor of Banned Books Week, I've illustrated one of my favorite Judy Blume quotes:

"Having the freedom to read and the freedom to choose is one of the best gifts my parents ever gave me."

I was lucky that way, too. My father used to take the whole family to our local public library every week, and we kids could choose whatever books we wanted. My parents never questioned my choices, and I will always be grateful to them for that trust.

You can download a free, print-ready poster here.

Also see my Print-Ready Archives as well as my Illustrating Judy Blume resource.


Free, print-ready poster: "Reading Lets Your Imagination Soar"

Added to my For The Love Of Reading resource for teachers, librarians, booksellers and young readers: a free, print-ready "Reading Lets Your Imagination Soar" poster. For all my free, print-ready material, please see Debbie's Print-Ready Archive.

Click to read more ...


Free print-ready poster: Tim Federle quote about books

I've added a new print-ready poster to my For The Love Of Reading page:

You can download the poster here.

For more free print-ready literacy posters, activity sheets, bookmarks and more, see For The Love Of Reading. You can also browse my full Print-Ready Archive for teachers, librarians and young readers.


Free print-ready poster: "Be A Reading Ninja!"


I've added a new print-ready poster to my For The Love Of Reading page: "Be A Reading Ninja!" It prints on an 8.5 x 11" sheet of paper.

Download it here. This is also now available as a "Be A Reading Ninja!" greeting card.

You can find ALL my free, print-ready bonus material in my print-ready archives.



Pernille Ripp's Reading Myth #1: "This is a girl/boy book"

I was so inspired by Pernille Ripp's talk at Nerd Camp earlier this year and just discovered (duh, why didn't I look for this earlier?) that she has a blog! I was inspired to illustrate a quote from her recent piece, "Stop Feeding The Beast - The Reading Myths We Pass On As Truth."

You can find out mroe about Pernille at PernilleSRipp.com, on Twitter at @pernilleripp and on Facebook at Passionate Learners.


Keiko: Wild Rumpus

For more Keiko, see my Keiko comic archives.


KEIKO: The First Time

Anyone else purposely slow down near the end of a really, really good book?

Also see my previous Keiko comics.


Books About Town, Narnia BookBench, and giving credit to Pauline Baynes

EDITED 9:49 AM: Books About Town just tweeted to me: "So pleased you like the concept of Books about Town. We’ve now added the credit to the bench page. Thanks for highlighting!" Wow, thanks to the organizers for their quick response! Do check out their website for more info about their public art event.

If I were able to visit London right now, I would SO be checking out as many BookBenches as I could find. Books About Town on display in London from July 2 - September 15, 2014. What a wonderful celebration of London's literary heritage and reading for enjoyment!

I was especially delighted to see a bench devoted to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (see above). I clearly remember receiving this book as a Christmas gift from my Aunt Agnes when I was nine years old. I LOVED this book and immediately read all the other books in the series. 

The illustrations were a big part of the story experience for me, as I’m sure it was for many other young readers.

Anyway, the Narnia BookBench had lovely art by Mandii Pope, but I do wish the BookBench description had also given credit to the illustrator of the original book edition, Pauline Baynes, since the BookBench art was clearly an homage to the original.

Pauline baynes

Above: Photo from the 2008 obituary for Ms. Baynes in The Independent.

Did you know that Pauline Baynes illustrated some of Tolkien’s early work, and that he had hoped she would illustrate The Lord Of The Rings? The project ended up being too huge to include illustrations, but she did create beautifully drawn and coloured versions of Tolkien’s maps for a later edition of LOTR.

C.S. Lewis was a friend of Tolkien’s, and Baynes became the illustrator of the Narnia books. I love her diary entry for one of only two meetings that she had with C.S. Lewis:

“Met C.S. Lewis. Came home. Made rock cakes."

You can read more about Pauline Baynes on Wikipedia and in The Independent obituary.

And you can find out more about Books About Town on their website, on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.


Making time to read (and a new Will Write For Chocolate)

Updated Will Write For Chocolate.

My life has gotten progressively busier over the past few years, and I'm finding it more necessarily to actually schedule in pleasure reading time. Sounds stuffy and formal, I know! But if I don't do that, my reading time gets cut way down.

By "pleasure reading," I mean reading just for the joy of it. Not because the books are written by people I know (even though it's likely I'll love those books, too) or books I've promised to review or books to improve my craft or business. I mean stories that I'm reading JUST FOR FUN.

And I'm thinking it's time for another of my own Secret Dates very soon. Happily, my husband understand. :-)