Oscar Winner - The Lost Thing

Shaun Tan - one of our own - won an Oscar last night for his animated short film, THE LOST THING. You can click the image to go learn more and see the short.

Making Books is fun! (to watch)

Here is a very interesting old video of how books used to be made. Wow, what a painstaking process! But it explains where a lot of the terms come that may not seem so obvious today. It's a little slow, but truly fascinating:

Thanks to Patrick Girouard for the link!

Free Spirit Spheres

Last time I posted about some groovy treeforts (the Treehotel in Sweden), Cathy June Arneson asked me if I'd heard of these - Free Spirt Spheres. They're little one room dwellings in Vancouver Island, Canada. You can rent one to stay overnight, or order parts to build one of your own. But either way - you'll be in the trees. How nice... Thanks for sharing Cathy! :)

Springmingle 2011!

This weekend is our 2011 Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Southern Breeze regional conference (covering Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi). I'll have a full wrap-up of the weekend's events next week!

ABC Bookshelf

It's an ABC Bookshelf! I'm not sure how many books this would hold, but it's still a cool idea. I bet it would make a good educational tool as well. Think of it, "You keep bear-bear in the 'Q' because it's just the right height to reach."
Thanks to YA Everyday for the link via Fuse #8.

Magic Bookcase

Do your books do this when you're not looking? I think they do... Magic!

Thanks to SwissMiss for the heads up!

Picture Book Reviews in the New York Times!

Picture Book Reviews are BACK in the New York Times online! Starting TODAY: Arts Beat/The Culture at Large: Introducing Children's Book Reviews Online. Great article, great points, Great news!

Caboodle Ranch

Have you heard of the Caboodle Ranch? A kind-hearted soul in Florida, Craig Grant, has made an entire village for rescue cats. And I tell ya, they are living in style now! I wouldn't mind moving into the blue bungalow on the left...
Know a cat lover? They have a bunch of kittie inspired merchandise that helps fund this enormous endeavor.
Thanks to Cute Overload for the meow's up!

Coloring Page Tuesday - Poorly hedgehog

Sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and/or click here to view more coloring pages!

     It's cold and flu season! I was recently reminded that not all of my followers are feeling chipper. In fact, some of them have yucky colds. How could I not have an "I'm sorry you're not feeling good" or "Get better soon!" imgae? Well, let me remedy that with my poorly hedgehog. The little guy is not feeling too good. But some chicken noodle soup and hugs (can you hug a hedgehog?) will have him better in no time!
     Click here to view the entire Coloring Page Tuesday collection.
     Click the image to open a .jpg to print and color. Send your colored image (less than 1mb) to coloringpages@dulemba.com and I'll post it to my blog! Click here to find more coloring pages.

     Click the covers to learn about my picture book, Soap, soap, soap and Soap, soap, soap ~ Jabón, jabón, jabón. It makes for a great lesson on hygiene to avoid catching colds in the first place!

TOC 2011: Margaret Atwood

The O'Reilly Tools of Change Conference wrapped up recently. A highlight was Margaret Atwood's talk "The Publishing Pie: An Author's View." (Where's my cheese sammie?)

Want more? As they do every year, most of the speakers were recorded and are available on their O'Reilly YouTube channel. Awesome!

The Gruffalo!

The picture book, The Gruffalo written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, has been made into an Academy Award®-nominated short film! We'll know if it wins during the Oscars on February 27th. Meanwhile, get a load...

But even better - here's a "Making of" which I just adore...

How awesome for this story to have this new life...
Per the press info:
The film tells the magical tale of a mouse who takes a walk though the woods in search of a nut. Featuring a top-notch voice cast including Helena Bonham Carter, James Corden, Tom Wilkinson, John Hurt, Rob Brydon and Robbie Coltrane, Axel Scheffler’s classic artwork is brought to life with a unique mixture of computer animation shot on physical sets. Directed by Jakob Schuh and Max Lang and and animated at the award-winning Studio Soi in Ludwigsburg, Germany, the film was originated and produced by Michael Rose and Martin Pope of London based Magic Light Pictures.

The book the film was based on celebrated its 10th anniversary last year and has been translated into 40 different languages selling over 4 million copies worldwide. It is currently being distributed in the U.S. by Penguin Books, and will be re-promoted in the Fall of 2011.

Miss your Borders? Rediscover your Indies!

Edward Champion has made a list of nearby independent booksellers for every Borders that's going out of business in America. It's never good news when a bookstore closes - any bookstore - so let's treasure the ones we still have. Go visit List of Independent Alternatives to Closed Borders Bookstores and find your local indies!
Thanks to Jo Knowles for the link!

Would the Bard Have Survived the Web?

There's an important article in the New York Times everybody should read (you may have to register with a free account - please do!): "Would the Bard Have Survived the Web?" by Scott Turow, Paul Aiken and James Shapiro. The article talks about the importance of copyright protection and how its invention basically allowed the creative explosion of playwrites in Shakespeare's time. (It's a very interesting read.)
     However, with the advent of the internet and easy access, copyright protections have come under attack. To quote:
They [file-sharers] ... ignores centuries of scientific and technological progress based on the principle that a creative person should have some assurance of being rewarded for his innovative work.
     Sadly, this has become more and more of an issue for me as I've had to be diligent making sure my coloring pages are used fairly. While I offer them for free for personal or non-commercial use, I often find companies using my images for logos, business promotions, or including them in public correspondence, etc.
     It's often my awesome followers who alert me to the infringements (thank you!) and I do indeed go after the infringers (twice just this week).
     Most of the time people use my images out of ignorance over copyright laws and I use the infringement as an opportunity to educate. Others respond as if I'm a big meanie, and they haven't done anything wrong. Those are... disappointing.
     My art is how I make my living after all, and if somebody uses my art in a commercial way without compensating me, well, they're basically keeping food off my table. That ain't cool. Again to quote the article:
As with much else, literary talent often remains undeveloped unless markets reward it.
A rich culture demands contributions from authors and artists who devote thousands of hours to a work and a lifetime to their craft.
     Bottom line - artists deserve to be compensated for their work. Otherwise, we won't have time to create the works society craves. We'll be too busy working 'regular' jobs.
     Which, by the way, I work longer hours as a free-lancer than I ever did with my 9 to 5 jobs. The key to remember is artists don't get paid to show up to work every day (and boy do I miss that sometimes). We make our living when people pay to use our creations.
     What do you think? Will you help protect my ability to create? Spread the good word about copyright protection!

Note: Click my angel above to read more about my copyright guidelines
Thanks to Claudia Pearson for the article link.

How Does a Dinosaur Deal With Rejection

With permission from the fabulous Jane Yolen, I share the poem she posted on her facebook page recently:

How does a dinosaur deal with rejection?
By kicking the table, a slight misdirection?
By taking a shower and shouting in pain,
and cursing the editors, each one by name?
No, a dinosaur reads each critique with great care,
and figures out which one's the one she should share.
Courageous, she smiles and she says nothing rash,
than rips up the thing, throws it into the trash.

My job here is done.
©2011 Jane Yolen All Rights Reserved

Children Come First

Prince George's County Public School District is in trouble. The Superintendent has proposed a budget that would cut 90 media specialists from the school system. As Media Specialist Pamela Thomas said, that would amount to more than $20 million of underutilized materials sitting unattended. Not to mention the impact on the district's children.
     Learn more at School Library Journal. Join the appeal to keep the funding at the Maryland Library Association facebook page. There, they urge people to contact their legislators, the governor and lieutenant governor to ask them not to follow through with this devastating budget.
     So, with libraries everywhere facing similar issues, why am I so upset about this one? It just happens to be where I was born. (Although we moved to Georgia shortly afterward.)
     Feel free to use my 'Save the Library' coloring page in your correspondence:

Coloring Page Tuesday - Kissing Chameleons

Sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and/or click here to view more coloring pages!

     I'm still on a love theme after Valentine's Day. And yup - the caption is obvious. Everybody say it with me, "You don't have to change for me, sweetie!"
     This one was a request from Seu Jane. Hi Seu!
     Click here to view the entire Coloring Page Tuesday collection.
     Click the image to open a .jpg to print and color. Send your colored image (less than 1mb) to coloringpages@dulemba.com and I'll post it to my blog! Click here to find more coloring pages.

     Learn about my Cinderella story picture book, The Prince's Diary, click the cover.

Happy Valentine's Day!

The history of Valentine's Day:

Want some great ideas, crafts, facts, and silly related ideas? Go to Semicolon for 100 Valentine Celebration Ideas!

New Look for dulemba.com and sponsors...

Did you notice dulemba.com has a new look? (If you subscribe via RSS, stop by and check it out at dulemba.com.)
     I've been meaning to make my design wider for some time now as that seems to be the trend of most computer monitors these days. But I'm also trying out something new. First, some background...
     Did you know I've been creating my coloring pages since May of 2007? That's almost four years now that I've been creating a new image every single Tuesday for you to download - for FREE. I love creating them for you and am thrilled you guys appreciate them so much! Thank you for all your wonderful comments, creations and support!
     I'm happy to say, Coloring Page Tuesdays has grown ridiculously popular. Here are some numbers:
over 1.5 million page loads in 2010
over 130,000 page loads per month
over 80,000 unique visitors per month
over 4,000 page views per day
over 2,500 subscribers to the weekly newsletter
     Can you believe it? Me neither!
     With numbers like that, sooo many people have asked me 'how much money do you make from your website'? (Pardon me while I clean up my spit-out milk...) It became obvious it was time to... monetize.
     That means I am going to start accepting gracious sponsors to host ads on dulemba.com for products and services you all use during your card-making, class time, parent time, and reading time anyway. You may notice a few white boxes around the site where they will hopefully go, like at the bottom of this post. (For any potential sponsors out there - click on a box to learn more or click the "sponsor" link on my nav bar above.)
     Don't worry - I still don't and won't share your names and/or email subscriptions with anybody (that's just wrong). But I hope you won't mind a few ads when you come by to visit.
     More than anything, I'd love to know what you think, both about the new design as well as my new endeavor. Please leave your thoughts in a comment below!! And thanks so much for your continued support!

What to do with a sleeping baby...

These images, called "Mila's Lovely Dream World" by Adele Enerson, are brilliant! You've got to see the entire collection at The Design Inspiration as it was nearly impossible to pick a favorite, so of course I went with a reading theme.
Thanks to June Goulding for the heads up.

I am a Child (children in art history)

I've been following a beautiful blog lately called I am a Child (children in art history). It's the creation of one "Marco" although I can't seem to find more information than that. He's posting classic paintings through history - all featuring children.
     It's fascinating to see not only the beautiful paintings, but how the children are rendered, era clothing, their activities, etc. Definitely inspiration material for our own children's book illustration work!
     The painting above is by Fredierick Morgan (1847 - 1927). It's called Bob Apple. Isn't it lovely?

Coloring Page Tuesday - Love chickens!

Sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and/or click here to view more coloring pages!

     Valentines Day is next Monday. Here's hoping you have a love chicken to ruffle feathers with!
     Click here to view the entire Coloring Page Tuesday collection.
     Click the image to open a .jpg to print and color. Send your colored image (less than 1mb) to coloringpages@dulemba.com and I'll post it to my blog! Click here to find more coloring pages.

     Learn about my Cinderella story picture book, The Prince's Diary, click the cover.

Good news for children's BOOKS!

PW recently had an article, "What Do Children's Book Consumers Want?" It summarizes surveys done by some of the top publishing houses in the country.
     In this rush towards a digital age, the findings were somewhat surprising. For instance "books ranked number one over all other media for the youngest ages." Yay! And 68% of children's get the books they read for fun from their school library and 64% from public libraries. (And yet our libraries are facing closes all over the country???)
     Even more good news - 58% of children 0-6 read for fun. Granted, that goes down as they get older - 39% by the time they hit their teens. But even so, we're talking Print books - not eBooks.
     Yes, the future of eBooks is HUGE, but it's heartening to read that our beloved print books are still going strong as well.

Seriously cool masks

These amazing leather masks are by artist Donovan Soland and are available for sale in his Etsy store Wing and Talon Leather Works. I am seriously liking this amazing raven mask. Wish I had a ball to wear it to!
     No surprise his gallery is a "World of Froud Best" for 2007. Y'know, Brian Froud. The guy who defined my childhood with his classics "Gnomes" and "Faeries"? Yeah, that guy.

Inappropriate Story Pitch Nightmares...

Wedding and Funerals and Everywhere in Between. Go have a read of this hilarious article at Publishers Weekly. But be sure not to drink anything while reading as you don't want to spit it all over your computer screen. Nobody in this business is safe. I've learned to be rather zip-lipped about what I do because everybody has a children's book in them, and they're dying to tell you about it. Sadly I can especially relate to the doctor scenarios. Dentist, gyno, you name it - it ain't pretty.
Thanks to Kristin O'Donnell Tubb for the link.

Apps vs. eBooks

I originally posted this article on the new e is for book blog. In case you haven't discovered it yet, here's a preview of the type of topics we cover there...

     There's a lot of confusion between Apps and eBooks. Despite the lump term of this being the "eBook revolution," Apps and eBooks are not the same thing.
     While eBooks can mean anything from a .pdf to other formats (click here for a comparison of eBook formats on Wikipedia), they often use what is called ePub format. Text flows within a 'frame.' Controls allow the reader to change the font, increase or decrease font size, etc. within that frame. A vignette image, video or sound bite can be embedded in the flowing text, but images cannot run off edge (bleed*) or be locked into a certain layout (because of the ability to resize text). Full illustrations as double page spreads cannot be supported, although single page images can (within the frame) as a single image or screen shot, which is the current move towards placing picture books into the ePub format. However, currently, those page shots are in black and white (on the Kindle, although not always on the iPad). The text is not adjustable. Pages are small and hard to read. So, as of this writing, ePub doesn't truly support picture books.
     Apps are a completely different animal. Apps are like mini-programs, which basically means, the sky is the limit. That's where all the interactivity can come in, with touch screen controls, sound, full bleed images, etc. Picture book apps have been called eBooks, interactive storybook apps, story apps, or children's book apps. But whatever the term used, they're awesome.
     So why aren't all books apps? Because currently, most eReaders run primarily via ePub. And it makes sense when you compare the size of what is basically a text document to the size of an interactive app. The iPhone/iTouch/iPad put apps on the map. However, even within apple, the iBookstore only represents eBooks - not apps (which is another can of worms I'll talk about later).
     That may not seem fair, but technology is changing rapidly and the two technologies are slowly meeting in the middle. They're not there yet, but give it a little time. And I do mean a 'little' - the eBook revolution is moving fast!
     Need an example? My picture book, Lula's Brew, is an app available on the iPhone/iTouch/iPad (check the version), but it is not an eBook.

*Note: As of December 15th, iBooks 1.2 now allows full bleed, double page spread layouts with zoom - a true picture book experience online. Not many exist yet, and it's not on the Kindle, but if you search for "Tron: the Movie Storybook" in iPad's iBooks, you can download a free sample. It still can't read to you, and has no interactivity like apps do, but it really is the closest thing to a traditional picture book that I've seen on an eReader so far. Bottom line - this changes everything.

The Illustrated Section

The Illustrated Section is the brain child of illustrator, Dani Jones. It's a place for creators of digital picture books, graphic novels, and illustration advice books to gather and sell their wares - and some pretty impressive wares they are!
     Dani's series "My Sister the Freak" is so well done, and Thomas James' (of Escape from Illustration Island) "15 Steps to Freelance Illustration" is a great resource for those trying to break into the business.
     All the files are in .pdf format, so if you can access the internet on your reading device, you can download one of these great books. Check it out!

Groundhog Day!

It's Groundhog Day! The day when all those cute little critters poke their noses out of their burrows to see if Spring is on its way.
     I love 'groundhog spotting' whenever we go on road trips - the fuzzy cuddlies seem to love steep embankments that run along highways. Of course, when you see one, you have to yell out in your best Bill Murray imitation, "Groundhog!"
     And the most famous groundhog of them all is Punxsutawney Phil. Go check out his official website at Groundhog.org!

PS - Want some silliness on Groundhog Day? Check out Fuse #8 where you'll find "Punxsutawney Phil Pudding Pops!" (Recipe via a link there.)

Coloring Page Tuesday - Groundhog Day!

Sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and/or click here to view more coloring pages!

     Groundhog Day is tomorrow - February 2nd. Will Puxsutawney Phil see his shadow? (He's the official National Groundhog.) I LOVE Groundhogs and love looking for them when I drive to the mountains. How about you?
     Click here to view the entire Coloring Page Tuesday collection.
     Click the image to open a .jpg to print and color. Send your colored image (less than 1mb) to coloringpages@dulemba.com and I'll post it to my blog! Click here to find more coloring pages.

     Click the covers to learn about my picture book, Soap, soap, soap in both English and bilingual versions!