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Some Recent Blog Posts

The Corner on Character

FLIGHT SCHOOL was recently mentioned in Barbara Gruener's lovely blog, The Corner on Character, and has been included in this year's Character Case at her school in Friendswood, Texas. Here's a link to the article.

case

Here's a small section from the article:

As we head into this year's dash, don't our little birds deserve to see their potential as eagles, not their limitations as penguins? We must take our role as flight instructors to assist and support them with "the technical parts" seriously.

Summer Events

Reading Flight School and making penguins with new friends at the Norwich library last weekend. That was fun. Thanks also to the Eric Carle Museum for hosting me at their storytime!

Norwich Public Library

Norwich Public Library

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!!

born-in-the-wild_500s

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.

Flight School

Oh the joy and expectation of a new book soon to be released! I live a quiet life tucked in the NH woods, crafting stories each day with pencil and paint. But then a bright sunny day of expectation comes bolting toward me on the calendar, when a new character will soon join my family of book characters I've been fortunate enough to create.

Here's a sneak peak.

Flight School will be released on April 15th!

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.

how-big_500

HowBigColoringPages1

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.

Click here to see more...

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

Click here to see more...

Flight School F&Gs

It feels like forever since I started the book that will be my next release – Flight School. But at last, the F&G's are here!!

I can't remember looking forward to the release of a book more than this little one! The idea for Flight School sparked when I learned dear friends were expecting their first child. Everyday, I wished for this little one to be born healthy and strong. But what I wished most for her was that she be blessed with a sense that life was full of wonder and dreams and that she could make any future she envisioned for herself come true. This story started as a prayer for her before she was even born. She'll be 2 when the book is out next spring, and I hope she loves the story!!

It's also an homage to teachers. I’ve had some remarkable teachers throughout my life, people who have cared enough to offer up their talent, wisdom and heart so that others, including me, could realize their dreams. Flight School is a thank you to anyone who works each day to help kids become the best they can be.

It always feels like a long wait after I finish a book until its release, but slowly the months on the calendar pass by. Now it feels like the release is coming up soon enough – next April. Still feels like a long time. But of course I'll stay busy working on painting and writing the next book.