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Some Recent Blog Posts

Red Sled

RED SLED has just been included on the Common Sense Media list of essential books for kids and teens!

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It joins some pretty good company in the age 2-6 category!

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BookPage

Thank you BookPage for including Flight School in your best of the 2014 list! What an honor to be in such company.

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Air and Space

Sometimes the year end "best of" lists are quite enjoyable! Smithsonian Air and Space, one of my favorite magazines, picked FLIGHT SCHOOL as one of the best aviation and space themed books for children!

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Flight School The Musical!

Fight School The Musical! If only I could go back in time and tell my little girl self when I was going to school in a small logging town -- that someday I'd have a book getting adapted into an off-Broadway musical for a children's theater in New York City! What miracles may come when you choose to believe in dreams! Thank you Vital Theatre for making Flight School The Musical a reality.

Flight School the Musical

Cynsations Interview

Please stop by and check out the lovely Cynthia Leitich Smith blog Cynsations. Here is a link to an interview I did for my newest book, Born in the Wild.

Lita Judge Born in the Wild

Taking Shape

Seeing a book begin to take shape after over a year of sketching and revising is exciting!

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Society of Illustrators Show

Just home from New York City -- what a great time at the Society of Illustrators Original Art show!! It was such an honor to be a part of this fantastic show and get to see so many wonderful friends and colleagues. It was a special treat!!

Society of Illustrators Original Art

Rooftops of Paris

Starting to paint after months sketching this book. My favorite kind of day!

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School Visits for 2014-15

I love back to school time - I'm looking forward to going into classrooms again this year! I get so inspired talking with the kids. As we head into the school year I thought I'd update my school brochure. To all my teacher friends, here is a link.

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Download my School Visit Info: Schools_2014-15.pdf

Born in the Wild

I'm so hopeful for my next book (out this fall)- two reviews are in and both are STARRED. Thank you School Library Journal and Kirkus!!

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Best Children’s Books of the Year

Thank you Bank Street College Center for Children's Literature for selecting HOW BIG WERE DINOSAURS? as a book of outstanding merit for The Best Children’s Books of the Year, 2014 Edition.

How Big Were Dinosaurs?

Link to the 2014 list of Best Children’s Books of the Year from the Bank Street College Center for Children's Literature.

Good Morning to ME!

I just finished the jacket art for my next book, Good Morning To ME! It's always a great feeling to bring a project to this stage. After more than a year of sketching, and revising, and re-sketching, then painting up a storm, at long last, the art and words are in place and the book is taking shape.

I've written a lot about how the animals I love and draw inspire my stories, but this story came directly from my household of critters, so I look forward especially to sharing it. A real team effort this one is!

Coloring pages for How Big Were Dinosaurs!

I'm woefully behind on providing an activity around my book, How Big were Dinosaurs?, but some dear young readers have inspired me. So I have just created coloring pages from the book. These can be downloaded as a pdf file from my website or from my pinterest site. I hope they offer a launching off point for activities in classrooms and at home with little ones who are interested in the topic of dinosaurs. I remember as a youngster, I drew and drew and drew, mostly dinosaurs. I believe this passion is what led me to take the plunge into a career as a writer and illustrator. So I plan to provide more activities in the future around my books, in hopes they foster creativity and imagination with my young readers.

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Download these new dinosaur coloring book pages for How Big Were Dinosaurs. Includes Velociraptor, Ankylosaurus and Stegosaurus.

Home and Studio: A Creative Space

I finally did it - I decided at long last to check out pinterest a few weeks ago and I have to say, I like it. It's a great way for artists to store reference and show creations. And even better, a place to discover the work of other artists. So I just thought I'd mention it here today. I just created a new board (here's my pinterest link) sharing some images of my home and studio and how I set about creating a space in which I find inspiration to work and live. I'm a novice at this new pinterest platform, but finding it fun.

Working from a studio connected to home presents both challenges and luxuries. The down side is that escaping work can be difficult, it's so easy to sneak into the studio at all hours of day and night and feel the pressing need to work on projects in progress. But it's also a luxury to go to work simply by trotting down the hall with your favorite birdie and puddy cat as companions. It means having a lot of discipline and focus to maintain sane hours, but I really love it and feel fortune to have worked from home most of my adult life. But I didn't always have such surroundings in which to paint. I spent years working on kitchen tables of cramped homes, painting in poorly lit spare bedrooms, or in the middle of living rooms. Our early house was cluttered with paintings, frames, easels, crates, panels, and the smell of wet oil paint stifled the air. The scent of baking bread never had a chance over turpentine. Now I'm spoiled, I have a spacious studio filled with light and beauty (and I dropped the toxic oil paints for the lovely soft scent of watercolors). I saved for years for this studio, feeling in my heart that creating a space to work in was an important part of the act of creating. And not just the space became meaningful, but all the totems and art objects that fill our home and studio. Today, as I start a board on pinterest that'll focus on the home and studio, I'll share a few photos of where I work and the art totems it holds.

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Beginnings

The beginning stage of creating a book is such a delightful time for me. Lots of unanswered questions of course, and yes, many doubts, but it's also the high octane exciting time of creating. Knowing which idea, from hundreds that occur to the one that becomes the main focus of a year's work, can be a bit of a mystery as well.

Some of my books have come from true life events that I wanted to record, or consider more deeply, or share with others. More and more my stories are completely fictional, growing out of my own imagination. But these still have true life experiences and emotions that rest close to the surface. I find for me the most important thing that allows me to "notice" or "grow" a story is just to be open to the beauty around me. To do this I carry a sketchbook just about everywhere, recording life through drawings and writing. I try never to judge the work when writing in a journal, just record. More often than not, I'm so completely overwhelmed by the beauty of the thing I'm recording, there's no time to judge. Later is the time for thoughtful contemplation and a "going over" of these ideas. That’s when the "one" rises to the top and becomes a full fledged story.

Notre Dame, Paris

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