11.04.2017

WORDSTOCK!

I'm super excited to be headed down to Portland, OR (where I was born and lived my first seven years) next weekend for WORDSTOCK Portland's Book Festival!


The extraordinary Emily Arrow (http://www.emilyarrow.com) will be hosting the children's stage where I will be sharing BOO WHO? at 9:50 am.


I will also be talking about graphic novels and creating worlds with Jeffrey Brown and Kate Ristau at 12:30 pm!


There are also oodles of other authors and illustrators that will be sharing their work at Wordstock including some of my favorites such as Vera Brosgol, Carson Ellis, Mac Barnett, Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket), Matthew Holm, and Rebecca Green. 

Hope to see you there!


10.17.2017

Vancouver Kidsbooks and Books by the Banks

I'm headed to Kidsbooks in Vancouver BC next week with Narwhal and Jelly! And then on to Books by the Banks in Cincinnati! Links and details below for any pod pals in or around Vancouver and Cincinnati. -----:)




9.09.2017

UPCOMING EVENTS

Mon, Sept 25 – Children’s Book World,
Philadelphia, 4:30 pm
Tues, Sept 26 – [words] Bookstore, 
Maplewood, New Jersey @ 4 pm
Sunday, Oct 8 – Barnes & Noble Store 2117,
Bozeman, MT @ 2 pm
CANCELED! SORRY!
Oct 14 – Washington State Books Awards, Seattle
Oct 24 - Kidsbooks, Vancouver, BC @ 7pm
2557 West Broadway

7.11.2017

COMING SOON!

A bunch of books coming out soon! Starting with . . .


I am super happy to report that Rex, Gizmo, Wild, and Sprinkles (the stars of my book REX WRECKS IT!) now have a second book . . . and perhaps also a new friend? 

Boo is new. And even if the other kids are welcoming, it can be scary being new, especially for a shy ghost who can’t play any of their games. ("You tagged me? Oh, sorry. I couldn’t feel it.") Can Boo find a way to fit in and make friends with the rest of the group? From the creator of Rex Wrecks It! comes a funny story about feeling invisible — and finding a way to be seen and appreciated for who you are.

Boo was actually going to be in the first book (REX WRECKS IT!), but didn't have a major role in it so was cut to add more focus to the main four characters. At the time I really didn't want to cut Boo, but now am happy that I did because it set up this new story. 

I imagine this book might get pegged as a Halloween title because of the cast and because of Boo in particular, but I think it is much more a beginning of school story. It is all about how difficult it can be to make new friends and find a sense of belonging. 

BOO WHO? comes out August 1st!

Also coming out soon are the first few titles I had the good fortune to help acquire in my role as editor-at-large for the Little Bigfoot imprint of Sasquatch Books. I joined the Little Bigfoot / Sasquatch team about two years ago and am super excited to see these first projects I helped edit come out

First up is a project I have dreamed about putting together for some time. DRAWN TO COLOR is a 64 page coloring book for the whole family. It features artwork with Pacific Northwest subjects by 22 Pacific Northwest illustrators (including me!). There is a huge variety in the book of both style and detail, so really a bit of something for everyone. 

DRAWN TO COLOR comes out August 22nd! For those in the Seattle area there will be a color / book launch party at the end of August at U Books in U District.


Here is a full list of the illustrators with pieces in DRAWN TO COLOR:
DANA ARNIM, AARON BAGLEY, JESSIXA BAGLEY, ERIK BROOKS, BEN CLANTON, FRIDA CLEMENTS, CAROLYN CONAHAN, BRANDON DORMAN, KATE ENDLE, ALISON FARRELL, STEVEN HENRY, AMY HEVRON, JUSTIN HILLGROVE, DOUG KEITH, JULIE KIM, CLAUDIA McGEHE, ANDY MUSSER, CARRIE O'NEILL, COREY R. TABOR, RICHARD JESSE WATSON, SEAN DAVID WILLIAMS, LIZ WONG

Next up is FRANK THE SEVEN-LEGGED SPIDER by Michaele Razi, which comes out Sept. 12th! Michaele has been a friend and critique pal of mine for somewhere around 6 years now and most of that time she has been steadily working on this book. It has been amazing to watch the evolution of Frank from first manuscript to what I've got to say is one of the funniest and best read-aloud books coming out this year. Here is a bit about the book:

Frank loves being a spider, especially the part that involves having eight glorious legs. But one morning Frank wakes up missing a leg. One of his friends exclaims, "I barely recognize him!" Another friend asks, "Are you still a spider, Frank?" Is he still a spider? Frank doesn't know. A funny and heartfelt quest filled with surprises ensues as Frank searches for his leg and the answer to his identity.



Hooray and congratulations to Michaele on her debut! And for FRANK who will catch you and stick with you in the best possible way.

And coming out October 3rd . . .


WHERE'S HALMOMI? is one of the most brilliant books I have ever encountered. Seriously, it is up there! And if I was on the Caldecott committee I would be pushing this book for the award. It is a 96 page picture book with graphic novel leanings, but I wish it was even longer. 

Beautifully illustrated and told by debut author Julie Kim, this picture book in a graphic-novel style follows a young Korean girl and boy whose search for their missing grandmother leads them into a world inspired by Korean folklore, complete with mischievous goblins (dokkebi), a greedy tiger, a clever rabbit, and a wily fox.
 
Two young children pay a visit to Halmoni (grandmother in Korean), only to discover she's not home. As they search for her, noticing animal tracks covering the floor, they discover a window, slightly ajar, new to their grandmother's home.  Their curiosity gets the best of them, and they crawl through and discover an unfamiliar fantastical world, and their adventure begins.  As they continue to search for their grandmother and solve the mystery of the tracks, they go deeper into a world of Korean folklore, meeting a number of characters who speak in Korean along the way, and learn more about their cultural heritage.  
 
This beautifully illustrated graphic picture book is filled with a number of Easter eggs for readers of all ages to discover, and is inspired by the Korean folktales that author and illustrator Julie Kim heard while growing up. Translations to Korean text in the story and more about the folktale-inspired characters are included at the end.


I actually have one more book that I wrote and illustrated coming out this year (ROT: THE CUTEST IN THE WORLD!), but I will wait to share more about that nearer to December. I will also share more about each of the books in this post when they come out. :)

Thanks for stopping by! 

4.23.2017

UPCOMING EVENTS

April 29th @ 11 AM - Story Time at the University Bookstore in Seattle, WA (326 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105)

May 7th @ 2 PM - SUPER NARWHAL AND JELLY JOLT Book Launch at Secret Garden Books in Ballard (2214 NW Market St, SeattleWA 98107)

"Narwhal and Jelly are back in action for a SUPER adventure! Join Super Narwhal and sidekick Jelly Jolt as they take on three SUPER new stories in this early graphic novel series."


3.21.2017

WE ARE THE DINOSAURS


WE ARE THE DINOSAURS by Laurie Berkner and illustrated by some guy called Ben Clanton is now in stores!

ABOUT THE BOOK:


Not familiar with the song? Or haven't seen the new music video for it? Check it out below!



I had oodles of fun illustrating this book! There are few things I enjoy drawing more than dinosaurs. Here are some of the first character drawings I made when brainstorming how the book would look:


Ernesto I think is my favorite. I like Ted a lot too but unfortunately Ted was cut from the book. I have the tendency despite my minimal style to want to introduce more characters in a book than what can reasonable fit in 32 or 40 pages (typical picture book length).


While I love to draw dinosaurs, illustrating this book proved to be a bit of a challenge (in a good way). I have illustrated other people's words before (the MAX books by Wiley Blevins and the Jasper John Dooley series by Caroline Anderson) but WE ARE THE DINOSAURS is a song that millions of people know and it has been around for 20 years now so there wasn't really a chance I could request changes to the wording to make it easier to illustrate. Also, the song doesn't have a clear story narrative. It involves lots of marching and romping and eating and sleeping and that sort of awesomeness, but the song lyrics are a bit light on plot. so it was up to me (and Laurie with the addition of the speech bubbles) to create one through the illustrations.

I wanted to stay true to the tone of the tune and what ended up coming to me was this group/troop of adventurous young dinos. I ended up pitching a number of different storylines to my editors at S&S and Laurie. We ended up going with one that centers around an expedition our young dino explorers make to check out a big mountain (which might just turn out to actually be a volcano). It was suggested that speech bubbles might help flesh out the story as well, which also meant the names I had made for the characters got to be in the book.

These are some of the first sketches I made for the book:




One of the other challenges I had when making this book was drawing more backgrounds than I typically do. Admittedly they are still very simple backgrounds!




And these are some of the final illustrations:



I think the illustration above of the dinos stomping and making the earth flat is my favorite in the book. I also particularly enjoyed painting the sunset images for the end of the book and also the endpapers (a map which changes at the end).

REVIEWS OF THE BOOK:

"Popular children’s musician Berkner (The Story of My Feelings) brings another of her songs to the picture book crowd with this vibrant adaptation. Berkner’s lyrics provide a rowdy framework for the story—“We are the dinosaurs,/ marching, marching./ We are the dinosaurs—/ whaddaya think of that?”—and Clanton’s (Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea) zippy cartoons create a parallel visual adventure that brings Berkner’s words to life.... Berkner’s fans and newcomers alike should find much to enjoy about in these boisterous, independent-minded dinosaurs’ adventure." (Publishers Weekly, January 2017)

"The lyrics to Berkner's 1997 dinosaur marching song are kitted out with a plotline, dialogue, additional sound effects, and big, very simply drawn prehistoric scenes...young audiences will have no trouble chiming in as they march about and roar in chorus." (Booklist, March 2017)

I will soon be illustrating another Laurie Berkner song! The next song happens to feature something I enjoy drawing even more than dinosaurs (yes, hard to believe) . . . monsters! Any Laurie Berkner fans know which song I'm talking about?

You can get the WE ARE THE DINOSAURS BOOK at your local bookstore or at one of these links:






PLUS, here are some coloring pages from scenes in the book:




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