Monday, December 14, 2009


I am so pleased that GRANDMOTHER, HAVE THE ANGELS COME? Has been included on the Reading Is Fundamental 2009 Multicultural Library Booklist. Thanks to the generous support of Macy's, RIF will donate more than 400 mulitcultural book collections to elementary school classrooms in low-income communities throughout the US.

The complete list of books included in the collection can be seen here:

More info on RIF is here:

Including information about the multicultural campaign:

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Favorite Things...

These are a few of my favorite things… This week I was forced to empty my studio. (Not something one would do voluntarily) During the re-org I’ve decided to allocate a designated space for all those books that can not be re-shelved because I NEED them available, within reach, at all times. Hopefully this will free up my floor, corners, chairs, and light box; hopefully.

The list includes a bunch of books on History, Art History, Writing, and Fiction. So, as a tribute to facebook lists, here's a portion of my can't-put-away-books... this week.

The Bad Beginning - Book 1 of A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket (I Looooove the design of this book)

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and Dave Mckean

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh by Robert C. O'Brien (all time favorite MG Novel)

The Tartar Khan's Englishman by Gabriel Ronay

Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino

The Lives of Shadows: An Illustrated Novel by Barbara Hodgson (OK anything by Barbara Hodgson

Opium: A History by Martin Booth (current obsession)

Hong Kong Apothecary - Paperback (Jun 30, 2003) by various and Simon Go (another current obsession)

Holes by Louis Sachar

The Old Man Mad About Drawing: A Tale of Hokusai by Francois Place (Place is brilliant)

and oh so many more....

Friday, October 30, 2009

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Duke, The Artist, and Fred

As a student, I spent a year studying English Country Houses at the University of Hull in England. During that time I ran across the slightly obscure, somewhat formulaic portrait of the Duke of Arundel by Daniel Mytens the Elder. It shows the Duke in front of a red drape, showing off his treasured collection of antique statuary. When I returned to the states I took an American Art History class and was was introduced to the self-portrait of yet another obscure historical figure, Charles Wilson Peale. C.W. would have, I argued in my term paper, been familiar with the Mytens, and had chosen his pose deliberatly hoping to associate himself with the Duke, who like him, spent fortunes in collecting. Apparently I wasn’t all that convincing, I believe I received a C. (That professor never did like me) But, years later, the images still stick. So to honor the Duke and Mr. Peale, here’s me and Fred. (I don’t have a fortune so collect neither art nor botanic speicimans, just characters)

Layers of Meaning

When I visit schools, I like to point out to students how many layers of meaning that kid’s books sometimes have. Art, whatever the genre, often references outside sources and imagery to add another dimension of meaning. In the book GRANDMOTHER HAVE THE ANGELS COME? Written by Denise Vega, the text shows a grandmother reassuring her granddaughter about the aging process. When I’d received the manuscript the line that stood out most for me was just after the child has asked the grandmother if the angels have come and covered her ears. “Yes, my darling granddaughter they have quieted the sounds so I may hear even the sigh of a butterfly.” For me, and in most cultures, the butterfly symbolizes rebirth. I’d known that in Mexico, the butterfly is often referenced in celebrations of as the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the dead). They are seen as a symbolic of departed loved ones souls. The famous monarch migration to Mexico is at about the same time as the holiday. I thought all these references tied in very nicely with Denise’s text, and was in line with my interpretation of her story. I set the book during the migrations and added butterflies to every spread, hoping to emphasize the imagery; it also has the added bonus of and giving children something to look for in each spread. For me these layers of meaning are important. Kids do pick them up, even if only subconsciously, often faster than the adults reading to them.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Happy 75th Birthday Tomie dePaola!

Three Kisses: a tribute to Tomie dePaola
On the occasion of Tomie dePaola's 75th birthday, the children's book community honors this living legend who has had 45 years in the business. Whether we grew up with his work or have worked alongside him, Tomie is an inspiration to us all.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


One of the last jobs I had this past winter with long time art reps Tugeau 2 was a spread in LADYBUG for the poem , BEAT THE HEAT by Patricia Toht. I'd forgotten about the assignment, so was pleased when my daughter recognized it at the bookstore. It's appropriate too, considering the heat in Los Angeles this week.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

SCBWI National Conference

I’ve returned to work after spending the weekend at the SCBWI National Conference It was a particularly good list of speakers this year, including the delightful Jennifer Hunt, literary genius Sherman Alexie, illustrators David Wiesner and Dan Yaccarino, agents Steven Malk and Sarah Davies, who gave insightful presentations, as well as many, many other writers, editors, and others, talking craft and business. For a complete blow by blow check out Paula Yoo’s blog

Anna Webman -Literary Agent

I am thrilled to announce that this past month I signed with literary agent extraordinaire Anna Webman at Curtis, Brown, Ltd. For more information about Anna see Curtis, Brown’s website: and for the interview with Anna that originally inspired my submission to her, see the QUERYTRACKER blog:

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Grandmother Have the Angels Come? Book Trailer

Denise made a book trailer for Grandmother Have the Angels Come? (2009 Little, Brown)
by Denise Vega, Illustrated by erin eitter kono

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Joshua G. Squirrel

Recently I've been working on some projects with a ground squirrel named Joshua whom I met while visiting Palm Springs. He lives in the Mohave Desert, west of Vegas and is in possession of an i-phone. We've been communicating via e-mail, etc. and he's just started a blog. Apparently he is also tweeting. You can see his blog at

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

PUNK WIG Honored

PUNK WIG has been selected by Bank Street College of Education's Children's Book Commitee as a "Best book of the Year" and will be included in the 100th anniversary edition of THE BEST CHILDREN'S BOOKS OF THE YEAR to be published in September, 2009

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Monday, March 30, 2009

Young Writers' Conference -Alta Vista

I enjoyed a wonderful school visit this past Friday at Alta Vista Elementary School with the Young Writers' conference. The conference (they do many throughout the year at southland schools) is exceptional because it is run in the same format as an adult writer’s conference. The kids pick break out sessions with professional writers who specialize in everything from screenplays, novels, blogging, technical, music, children’s and more. I did presentations to third graders, talking about imagery, symbolism, and the creative process. I than gave them an illustration to inspire their writing. Their work was amazing! Some wrote in poetic, brief, almost haiku form, others wrote two pages with complex plots, (Obviously the novelists in the group) others were very serious critiques of the image. What I found most fascinating is how willing all of the kids were to stand up in front of the group and share their work. They were all so proud. It was a such pleasure!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Kiki by Janie Bynum

Janie Bynum has a trailer for her new book KIKI up on YouTube...check it out:

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tickle Monster Mitts rock!

I'm a huge fan (and for full disclosure, friend) of Kevan Atteberry. His latest book, Tickle Monster written by Josie Bisset, is delightful. Even more so when coupled with the companion tickle mitts. If anyone is looking for a baby gift, I've found the both to be a huge hit and recommend them highly.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Grandmother Have the Angels Come? In stores.

Grandmother Have the Angles Come? by Denise Vega, is out Feb. 1st

"The affection that pours from the pages is strong and believable" -Publishers Weekly

Little Brown has made coloring sheets available for free download at Print and Enjoy!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Full Moon

Tonight is apparently going to be the largest full moon of 2009. In Japan they celebrate the full moon with moon viewing parties where friends sit in beautiful pagodas and compose haiku. So, in honor of the moon here is a famous poem by Hashimoto Takako (1899-1963),
tsuki ichirin tôko ichirin hikariau

the disk moon
the disk frozen lake
reflecting each other
Another thing to celebrate is the wonderful post by Jama Rattigan who featured Hula Lullaby on her Alphabet Soup blog. Her review notes many of the cultural references and symbolism that inspired the book, and I'm very pleased.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Small Graces: A Painting a Month for the FCB

Grace Lin, famed children's book author and illustrator will be auctioning original paintings once a month through eBay with 100% of the proceeds to benefit the Foundation of Children's Books, a small non-profit organization in Boston that is making a big difference in the lives of young readers by bringing children's book authors and illustrators into under-served schools in Boston for visits and residencies.

This is everyone's chance to own original work by one of this generations most beloved artists.

To find out more see Grace's Blog: