2008 Decatur Book Festival - Saturday!

     It's Sunday morning and I have another big day ahead which I really need to wake up for...
     Saturday was HUGE. The crowds were unbelievable and constant.
     My talk at Mingei World Arts went great. They set me up under a tent on the sidewalk outside the store with chairs and stools which filled up quickly. And people wandering by stopped to enjoy Paco as well. It started out like this:

And grew:

And grew:

     I actually ended up with quite the crowd. Of course, these are the looks I shoot for, rapt attention:

There was also a bit of sombrero envy in the end:

     I want to tell you a cool thing about Mengei and the reason I was so excited to speak there ... They have partnered with Libros Para Pueblos to create children's libraries in Oaxaca, Mexico. In fact, they just returned from helping set up the latest one. While there, they commissioned local wood carvers to create creatures from local folklore reading books. They are wonderful and available for sale at the store. Money raised goes to help these libraries. How cool is that?

     Our CBAIS (Children's Book Authors and Illustrators of the South) is so perfectly located right in front of the children's stage and we remained packed with people throughout the day. We're giving away a free bag of books to a local school, so people were filling out raffle tickets like crazy. Teachers, Media Specialists and a Principal or two visited with LOTS of questions. Many asked how they could join. Others just bought books like crazy and had them signed if that author/illustrator was in the booth at the time. Comments of "Wow, he/she is local?" were heard throughout the day - our main purpose for organizing.

     The five of us who created CBAIS have been blown away by the attention our group is getting. We've obviously hit a nerve. I'll share more news about our future soon...
     And yes, that was our bubble machine that made it into the AJC along with fellow CBAIS member, Jamie Dodson's book cover in the background. (Click the image to see more DBF photos at the AJC website.)

     The best part of the day came later though. I had the great pleasure of having dinner with Adam Rex (The True Meaning of Smekday, Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich, etc.) and Tony DiTerlizzi (Spiderwick, etc.)! How often to you get to dine with your heroes? They were both so friendly and easy - a complete joy.
     Afterwards, Susan Spain and I headed over to the main Author shindig at the Court House where I once again hung out with Cheryl Klein, Kerry Madden, Adam Rex, Joe Davich (Georgia Center for the Book), and got to meet Rob Scotton (Splat the Cat and Russel the Sheep fame).
     It's so inspiring to hang out with fellow creatives and discover that while they are real/normal people, they are also true artists with completely fresh and different ways of looking at the world.
     Anyhow, I got home late, and I'm hurting now - I need more caffeine! So, until later...the DBF whirlwind continues!

Read Decatur Book Festival Kick-Off details here
Read about Friday here.
Read about Saturday here.
Read about Sunday here.

2008 Decatur Book Festival - Friday!

The whirlwind has begun!!
     This morning I had the pleasure of introducing Robert Sabuda and Matthew Rienhart (Paper Engineers extraordinaire), as well as Sarah Prineas (author of The Magic Thief) to scads of children who walked, trotted, ran from their schools to see them.
     Had lunch with Dave, owner of Little Shop of Stories, on the square while being serenaded by a nearby Saxaphone player. Ahhhh, the calm before the storm.
     Have I ever mentioned that if you eat outside of The Brick Store Pub, all of Decatur will walk by you within a matter of an hour?
     Well, sure enough, Daren Wang joined us (DBF organizer) as did Adam Rex (awesome illustrator/author). Had the pleasure of seeing Chris Raschka again.
     While grabbing my author packet at Lenz (they did all the DBF logo, identity, signage - good job guys!) I ran into Cheryl Klein (US editor for Harry Potter) and Sara Shepherd (author of Pretty Little Liars). Sarah Prineas caught up and we went back to the Brick for 2nd lunches - just like the Hobbits! (Okay, I only ate once.)
     This is what I love about this book festival. The energy is contagious and to hang out with fellow creators who I respect and admire is such fun. I thought I'd get home to do some work at some point, but no way. I'm back to drive Cheryl to her first event at 4:00, so have to zoom. And dinner with Kerry Madden (Gentle's Holler, etc.) and those listed above, then Deborah Wiles (Each Little Bird that Sings, etc.) will join us for Billy Collins - it just doesn't stop.
     I swear, I'm just going to pop a tent at our CBAIS booth and soak it all in, all weekend long. Hope you can make it by! I'll blog as I can...

Read Decatur Book Festival Kick-Off details here
Read about Friday here.
Read about Saturday here.
Read about Sunday here.

The 2008 Decatur Book Festival is coming!!

     I've had the great pleasure of participating in the Decatur Book Festival since it's inception and this year is no exception (read about 2006 and 2007).
     If you can make it to Decatur, Georgia this Saturday or Sunday, over 250 authors will be talking about their books, the creative process, sharing stories and illustrations in various venues around the square.
     I will be speaking twice, featuring Paco and the Giant Chile Plant and I sure hope to see you:

     Mingei World Arts (next to Java Monkey)
     Saturday, 11:30 am

     The Children's Main Stage
     Sunday, 5:00 pm

     I will also be manning the CBAIS - Children's Book Authors and Illustrators of the South booth right next to the Children's Stage much of the weekend. This is a brand new group of local, award-winning children's book creators. We hope to become a resource for teachers, media specialists and schools looking for speakers, as well as educate the public about the amazing talent we have right here in the South.

     If you love books and learning about the people who create them, it's going to be a wild, busy and fun weekend - hope you'll stop by!!

Read Decatur Book Festival Kick-Off details here
Read about Friday here.
Read about Saturday here.
Read about Sunday here.

Coloring Page Tuesday - Library Mouse

     Sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted and to view more coloring pages - click here!

     I'm still thinking school, which means reading, learning, and lots of books! I always started the school year excited by the possibilities, but my library mouse has mixed feelings . . .
     Click the image to open a .jpg to print and color. Send me your colored version (less than 1mb) to coloringpages@dulemba.com and I'll post it to my blog!
     For more coloring pages, go here.
     This image will be available as a RUBBER STAMP at The Greeting Farm as of December 1, 2009.

"Not just for Kids" - look at this awesome job Diane Ward did on coloring! Thanks Diane - he looks great!

     Learn about my bilingual picture book Paco and the Giant Chile Plant ~ Paco y la planta de chile gigante - click the cover.

Illustration Friday: Routine

     What is your morning routine? For Maya and her Dad, it's making peanut butter toast with banana slices shaped like smiley faces!
     This is from one of my latest picture books, Ready for the Day, part of the ParentSmart/KidHappy series created by Stacey Kaye. This book is an iParenting Media Award Winner for an Outstanding Product for 2008; and was named a Top Title for Back-to-School by the Association of Booksellers for Children!

Bigfoot Update!!

Oh no, they did not!!! Remember the Bigfoot story I talked about the other day?
     Well, they thawed out the body today and what do you think they found buried in that block of ice? . . . a Gorilla suit!! Yup!! A bona fide GORILLA SUIT!!
     Authorities are looking for the police officer involved to hand him his walkin' papers. He was on leave while recovering from a gunshot wound he acquired while breaking up a robbery at a local Krystal's. Apparently they can't find him right now.
     LOL!!! ROFL!!!
     I need a minute . . . .
     Man, you just can't make this stuff up! Gads, this does not help my lovely state of Georgia shake off its stereotypes.

Coloring Page Tuesday - Back To School Supplies

     Sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted and to view more coloring pages - click here!

     I guess y'all are back in the thick of school by now. Are you doing writing exercises? Teachers, a great book to use for creative writing exercises is Writing Smarts: A Girl's Guide to Writing Great Poetry, Stories, School Reports, and More! by Kerry Madden. I saw her use this book in a workshop and the results were amazing!
     Click the image to open a .jpg to print and color. Send me your colored version (less than 1mb) to coloringpages@dulemba.com and I'll post it to my blog!
     For more coloring pages, go here.

Learn about my good parenting picture books, Ready for Bed and Ready for the Day - click the covers!

Illustration Friday: Detach

     Oscar wants to be a badger, but that would mean detaching from his dachsund, Doodles. Dachsunds don't like badgers, so what is Oscar to do?
     This is an illustration from Oscar the Badger, written by Arianna Foosterdoodle (the Nom de Plume of an International Best-selling Author), illustrated by Yours Truly, MacAdam Cage Publishers. It will be released this November.

Bigfoot in Georgia??

     According to this article in the AJC (Atlanta Journal and Constitution), a Bigfoot body has been found and will be presented at a press conference in California later today.
     I have always loved these types of mysteries. I read books on all sorts of ghosts and creatures as a kid, and it always freaked me out to finally put my book down and realize it was 2 am and I was the only one awake in the house. Don't know why I kept doing it to myself.
          Three of my friends, Kelly Milner Halls, Rick Spears, and Roxyanne Young never stopped being fascinated and co-authored Tales of the Cryptids: Mysterious Creatures That May or May Not Exist. In fact, Rick is quoted in the AJC article as an expert on the subject!
     What did he have to say about this Bigfoot discovery? As he wrote to me:
     "The picture is real . . . it's a real picture of a fake bigfoot! It's a dead ringer (no pun) of a bigfoot costume you can buy online. From a more 'CSI' approach: apes are covered in hair (like us humans, only longer) not fur. The 'carcass' in the photo looks like a brown shag bath mat.
     All pictures of bigfoot in the wild are blurry, out of focus and grainy...
these guys have a dead bigfoot lying still in a freezer,
and their picture is STILL blurry, out of focus and grainy! Go figure."

     LOL! Here's Rick with Cryptids and four of his illustrations in our 1st SCBWI Southern Breeze Children's Book Illustrators' Gallery Show!

Gone! by Michael Grant

     Ooo, ooo! Look what the lovely FedEx dude dropped off at my house today!! I won the free copy giveaway on Cynthia Leitich Smith's blog Cynsations.
     I am so excited by the premise of this book:
"In the blink of an eye. Everyone disappears. Gone.

"Except for the young. Teens. Middle schoolers. Toddlers. But not one single adult. No teachers, no cops, no doctors, no parents. Just as suddenly, there are no phones, no Internet, no television. No way to get help. And no way to figure out what's happened.

"Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents—unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers—that grow stronger by the day.

"It's a terrifying new world. Sides are being chosen, a fight is shaping up. Townies against rich kids. Bullies against the weak. Powerful against powerless. And time is running out: On your birthday, you disappear just like everyone else..."

Thank you Cynthia!!! I'm going to curl up with it right now...

Update! Wowsa!! Couldn't put it down - read it in a day. It is definitely strong YA, not for sex (none) but for violence (quite graphic) - but what a storyline! Kind of "Lord of the Flies" meets "The X-men." It ends well, but leaves lots of questions for a sequel which I will definitely be reading. !!

Southern Breeze Portfolio Workshop

     I told y'all I am the new Illustrators' Coordinator for the Southern Breeze region of SCBWI? Well, I've planned a new event, the announcement went out to the board this morning:

Hi All,
     As the second activity as your new Illustrators' Coordinator, I've put together a Portfolio Workshop for all of you going to the Fall Conference on October 17th, hoping to show a portfolio, with no idea how best to do that. (You can come even if you're not going to the conference.)

     Loraine Joyner, Art Director of Peachtree Publishers has graciously agreed to give attendees pointers on what she typically receives and what she'd like to see in portfolios. Bring what you have, something slick, or works in progress, and Loraine will give public general critiques of several of the portfolios on hand so everybody can get an idea of what is or isn't effective (they will be presented in the order of sign ups, so sign up fast!). Then I'll talk about how to implement what she suggests - putting together a strong, working portfolio for the conference (or in general).

Where: Little Shop of Stories
     133 East Court Square
     Decatur, GA 30030

When: Saturday, October 4th, 3:00 - 5:00 pm

Cost: $35 per person - we need at least ten participants
     to make this workshop viable, so please sign up soon.

How: Email me at elizabeth at dulemba dot
     com and let me know you would like to attend.

Bonus: All attendees will receive coupons for discounts on
     portfolio supplies at Binders Art Supplies.

Hope you can join us for what promises to be an educational and fun get-together!
SCBWI Southern Breeze Illustration Coordinator

Welcome to the World Brady and Quinn!

     I have two new little twin cousins!! These two little boys were a true miracle. Completely identical, they actually shared the same amniotic sac (or whatever you call that thing). Their umbilical chords wrapped and wrapped around each other every time they moved, so when they started out, there wasn't a lot of hope. And there wasn't much their Mom could do about it. She was on bed-rest at the hospital over the last month to keep an eye on the little buggers, but truly, it was up to them to play nice in there.
     Well, they made it to a safe date to be removed (1 1/2 months early), but as you can see, they came out healthy and strong (albeit tiny). The top image is Brady - and the bottom one is of Quinn "snorkeling" (as his Mom puts it).
     The doctors were truly amazed the boys made it, and you can see why if you see how twisted their umbilical chords were. It's truly gross, but if you can handle it, click here.
     A miracle indeed. Welcome to the world Brady and Quinn!! Ironically, their Grandpa and his brother are also identical twins, so the tradition continues!

Coloring Page Tuesday - Back To School Time!

     Sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted and to view more coloring pages - click here!

     Bwrinnnngggg!! Time to go back to school and make your brain full!!
     Click the image to open a .jpg to print and color. Send me your colored version (less than 1mb) to coloringpages@dulemba.com and I'll post it to my blog!
     For more coloring pages, go here.

Learn about my good parenting picture books, Ready for Bed and Ready for the Day - click the covers!

Southern Arts Federation - Good news!!

     Wowsa, have I got good news!! Remember my write-up about our 1st Annual SCBWI Southern Breeze Illustrator's Show? And remember I said the Southern Arts Federation was interested in making it a traveling show all over the South for two years - they just had to run it by their constituents for funding support?
     Well, they've got it!
     Voting is in, and there was overwhelming support for our show to be selected to tour (against several other possibilities).
     I'm having lunch with the organizers this week to figure out how all this is done, so I'll keep you posted.
     Who knew it would ever come to this!? Our art may be traveling to your neck of the woods in the very near future!

Illustration Friday: Sail

     Okay, so it's not exactly sailing, but it is boating. And it's not exactly smooth ... boating at that, as it took Marco's Mom quite a bit of effort to get him into the tub, and now will take even more effort to get him out.
     Anyhow, this is from one of my latest, Ready for Bed, written by Stacey Kaye, illustrated by Yours Truly, Free Spirit Publishing.

Figs! a.k.a. Globes of Joy

     When hubbie and I moved into this house almost three years ago, I found a struggling potted twig abandoned in the back yard. It was barely alive, but I recognized the leaves immediately - it was a fig. A struggling, little fig tree.
     We'd moved from a different growing zone, but I still knew that even in this new home, we were borderline for growing figs. So, I planted it next to the chimney where the sun was strong, the bricks would hold the heat, and maybe the fireplace would radiate some heat in the winter. It worked.
     Two years later, the fig tree is taller than I am, and this summer it's producing like crazy. I pick several each morning to eat with my breakfast and I'm reminded of the fig tree at the beach, and buying figs from roadside stands as a kid. In fact, all my memories of figs are good. They make me happy.
     I love starting each day with these yummy little treasures.

Pete the Cat, I love my white shoes!

     Pete the Cat is starting to strut!!
     Last year I had the pleasure of working with two very talented guys who hired me to guide them through a book they were putting together, Pete the Cat, I love my white shoes.
     I don't think I've ever made my feelings towards self-publishing a secret, however I do recognize there are times when it is appropriate, and this was one of them.
     The author, Eric Litwin, a.k.a. "Mr. Eric," is a highly popular musician at schools and events for the younger crowd all over Atlanta. The artist, James Dean, is the creator of Pete the Cat, an icon in Decatur which has grown in popularity all over the country.
     They are local celebrities and both have loyal followings. They already visit schools, sell at festivals and are generally out there. Marketing for the book really isn't very different from what they already do.
     Add to that, the story, art, and music (on a CD included with the book) are absolutely wonderful and you have one of those rare exceptions - a darned good reason to self-publish.
     So, I was honored when they came to me for consulting advice to make their ideas into a picture book that really worked. They were kind enough to add me in their credits, and I have to say, I am so proud of this book. Eric and Pete have created a musical, urban, hip and funny book which I believe is going to really take off as a favorite read-aloud for families and schools.
     So, if you get the chance, check it out - it's all good!

Coloring Page Tuesday - Back To School Books

     Sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted and to view more coloring pages - click here!

     Wow, is it that time of year again already!? Y'all just couldn't wait to get back to school, could you? All that 'readin, 'ritin, 'rithmatic - who can stay away!?
     Click the image to open a .jpg to print and color. Send me your colored version (less than 1mb) to coloringpages@dulemba.com and I'll post it to my blog!
     For more coloring pages, go here.

Learn about good parenting techniques, Ready for Bed and Ready for the Day - click the covers!

Please follow my copyright policy when you use my images! And share your creation on the Coloring Page Tuesday facebook page!

"Creating Picture Books" at the John C. Campbell Folk School

     Twice a year I head to the mountains of North Carolina to teach weekend courses at the John C. Campbell Folk School. This was my second time to teach "Creating Picture Books" and I have to say, it was probably my favorite teaching gig ever, anywhere. I don't know if it was because I have teaching this class down pat now, or because I had the most amazing, talented, and serious students I've ever experienced. I'm inclined to think it's the latter.
     They came from as far away as South Florida and Indiana, and they all arrived with children's book manuscripts in hand - many pulled from drawers where they'd been hidden for years.
     We used them as hunks of clay which we molded and formed, cut, edited, and rewrote. Here was our view while we worked at picnic tables outside our studio (most of the mountain range isn't visible in this photograph).

     For one of the exercises, I had the students create mini fold-up books. The four pages were divided into: introduction of problem/desire/goal; obstacles faced, escalation; climax; and resolution. It helped show what was or wasn't working in a manuscript and made an adorable display item for the show and tell table during closing ceremonies.

     I taught the art of kind critiquing, typical pit-falls of new writers, and how to cut out any information that could be shared through illustrations. Most of the manuscripts were covered in red ink by mid-day when I gave the students a few hours to rewrite.
     That's when I got worried.
     With all they'd learned, they dove into their work with gusto . . . and frustration. Lots and lots of frustration. They all learned how hard it is to write a picture book, maybe a little too well.
     However, when we regrouped and reread the stories, the changes were amazing. Several of the stories were nearly ready to submit to publishing houses - something I honestly didn't expect out of a weekend-long class.
     I was so incredibly proud of the work my students did and happier still that they all seemed to leave with a real understanding of how writing picture books is so incredibly different from other types of writing. Best of all, I think they all left as better writers in general.
     Several of them expressed interest in pursuing their work further and may attend the SCBWI Southern Breeze Fall Conference this October (I'll be giving a talk on Self-Promotion for Illustrators), so I will probably see them again. How wonderful to feel that passion for picture books blooming in my students and know that I might have played a small part in feeding that fire.
     I adore teaching, but rarely does a class come together like this one did. What a thrill.

     I return to John C. in two weeks to teach Beginning Drawing!

Illustration Friday: Poof!

This is from my picture book dummy, "Lula's Brew."
When you create a dummy, you only end up rendering a few of the illustrations fully, so I end up with a lot of pencil drawings that I would love to color, but don't have time to unless the story sells. I hope this one does because boy would I love to color Lula failing at yet another attempt to make a proper potion - *POOF!!

Oprah Kids List!

Big news from PW Children's Bookshelf:
As of tomorrow, the Book Club section of Oprah Winfrey's Web site will offer a list of recommended children's titles, courtesy of the American Library Association's Quick Lists Consulting Committee. According to Diane Foote, executive director at the ALA's Association for Library Service to Children, the organization was contacted by Winfrey's staff in the spring about putting together such a list. "We were gratified they came to librarians to do so," Foote says.

The ALA compiled a list of 100 titles (including both recent and "classic" titles) in five age categories: infant to two, three to five, six to nine, 10 to 12 and 12 and up. The ALA's Quick Lists Consulting Committee has prepared recommended reading lists for numerous organizations in the past, including the PBS Kids Web site, Toon Disney and the National Endowment for the Humanities Bookshelf Grant Program.
Children's Books can finally be on Oprah!!