Chapbooks: Goody Two Shoes

Have you ever been called a "Goody Two Shoes?" The phrase goes back to one of the first stories available to children. Goody was a term short for 'Goodwoman' - like saying Miss or Mrs. today. And the two shoes came from one of her first stories. She and her brother were poor orphans, so poor that Goody only had one shoe. When a rich philanthropist bought her a proper pair, she was so excited, she showed them off to everyone. Hence, her nickname, 'Good Two Shoes.'
     Her real name was Margery Meanwell and lots of people wrote about her. (Attribution and copyrights were not yet a big deal when these works were published.) The tales were wildly popular, although quite didactic as was the trend of the day. They were also written through the prejudices of colonial thinking, so anyone considered 'other' is typically shown in an unflattering or diminutive way. These books are sometimes a reminder of how far we've come, although we still have lots farther to go.
The story begins:
ALL the world must have heard of Goody Two-Shoes: so renowned did this little girl become, that her life has been written by more than one author, and her story has been told differently by different writers.
     The father of Goody Two-Shoes was born in England; and every body knows, that, in this happy country, the poor are to the full as much protected by our excellent laws, as are the highest and the richest nobles in the land; and the humblest cottager enjoys an equal share of the blessings of English liberty with the sons of the King themselves.
     The stories are also a peek into the social structures of the time, although, perhaps it doesn't seem all that different from today, really.
     The pages still hold the impressions of the type, and the illustrations are mini masterpieces in engraving—truly lovely.
     Not only are these stories an interesting window into the common life and moral beliefs of the time (Goody marries well in the end), I don't think I'll ever cease to be amazed that over a century later, 'Goody Two Shoes' is still a part of our common terminology. That little girl and her two shoes really stuck with us!

To read more about Glasgow's collection of Chapbooks, visit Read more about the Toy Books in particular at

CROW NOT CROW Talk and Gallery Show!

I'm happy to announce that I will be giving a talk about the making of my new picture book CROW NOT CROW on 2 November. It will be the launch of a three-week-long gallery show of my original work in the University of Glasgow St Andrews Building, 5th floor. All are welcome, although you do need to register on Eventbrite. Hope to see you there!

Anna Levine and Chiara Pasqualotto's ALL EYES ON ALEXANDRA

Anna Levine visited my blog quite a while back with her novel Freefall. Well, she has a new picture book out, ALL EYES ON ALEXANDRA about a migrating crane for Kar-Ben Publishing, and this time I get to talk to her illustrator Chiara Pasqualotto. (You'll want to check out her super-interesting blog!) I'm sure you'll love her gorgeous watercolors as much as I do!
e: I love your abstract approach to creating atmosphere, sky, and land - it’s so ethereal and yet it really works! How did this method come to you and how do you go about creating it?
Well, when I start working on a new book I usually look for real pictures in internet or copy scenes from real life -animals, people and landscapes- I make a folder in my PC and then I start sketching.
Then I start to work on the storyboard and actually only at that point I really choose how to draw the images and their composition. So, maybe you are right when you say that it is a process of abstraction: I start from 'our' reality to create the book reality :)
I learnt this way of bilding up a book starting from real life from one of my teachers, the Spanish illustrator Arcadio Lobato, who was at first a biologist and has a realistic approach to illustration. I was in a couple of Summer intensive courses with him in the North-West of Italy many years ago: with the class we went around rice fields with our sketchbooks for drawing the landscape and farm animals from real life. It was such a great experience... even if we were devoured by mosquitoes!
e: What do you think makes an illustration magical, what I call "Heart Art” - the sort that makes a reader want to come back to look again and again?
I think you should 'feel' what you are illustrating. Sometimes when you have commissions it is not always easy to, as you have deadlines and not so much time to 'enter' in the book. And sometimes you may not like the subject too much. So you have to find a way to love what you are illustrating anyway. More books you make, more fluid becomes the process. And when I draw animals -like in this book- it comes really easy to me!
e: How do you advertise yourself?
I have a blog ( and each time a new book comes out I create a page for it in my Facebook. I like to promote my books with interviews (blogs and radios, but not TV!) if it happens, and also with presentations in bookshops and libraries. When I present the book the librarians or bookshop vendors sometimes organize workshops for children where I teach them how to draw animals. I love book-signing and children questions!
Besides this, every year I go to Bologna Children Book Fair in order to find new contacts or to meet publishers that I already know.
Up to February I also had been collaborating with an American Agent for three years, and now I am looking for a new one.
e: What is your favorite or most challenging part of being a creator?
I love the fact that in making illustrations you create a new reality, where a bear can plant his flowers in his garden and a raccoon can sadly find that her fridge is empty. And after that you have drawn it, it becomes real.
e: What are you working on next or what would be your dream project?
I am going to start a very nice project with a French publisher, but it is really at the beginning and I cannot say much yet (I just have the text and some sketches done).
 &nsp;  &bnsp; In the future I would really love to make a book with etchings; I have been attending a two-year intaglio school and I really love the whole process, so I'd love to find a publisher who appreciates the quality of hand-made work and doesn't make me rush, but this is very rare: some sometimes are even complaining that I do everything by hand!

Inktober: Howl's Moving Castle

There's an interesting competition over at the House of Illustration to win a chance to illustrate Diana Wynne Jones' Howl's Moving Castle. So, I thought I'd do an ink drawing of the castle for #Inktober! (This image is available for sale in MY ETSY SHOP.)

Follow along on my Instagram Page: DulembaDraws or on Twitter at @dulemba!

Coloring Page Tuesday - Junior Witch

      Here's a wee little witchie-in-training for Halloween!
CLICK HERE for more Halloween-themed coloring pages.
If you use my coloring pages often, please...

Just love this one image? Consider a one-time donation...

CLICK HERE to sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week.

     I create my coloring pages to draw your attention to my books! For instance...
my latest picture book, Crow Not Crow - written by New York Times Best-selling author Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple.
     Kirkus calls it "a solid choice for introducing the hobby [birdwatching] to younger readers."
      Also, A Bird on Water Street is now available in Chinese!
     I create my coloring pages for teachers, librarians, booksellers, and parents to enjoy for free with their children, but you can also purchase rights to an image for commercial use, please contact me. If you have questions about usage, please visit my Angel Policy page.

Chapbooks: Baron Munchausen

One of the groovy discoveries I made when researching Chapbooks at the University of Glasgow's Special Collections archives was this little treasure - a chapbook of The Suprising Adventures, Miraculous Escapes, and Wonderful Travels of the Renowned Baron Munchausen, who was carried on the back of an Eagle over France to Gibraltar, etc, etc. What a title!
Remember the movie made from this story back in 1988? (Well, I do anyhow.)
      Authors of Chapbooks were often a mystery, but according to Wikipedia, the Baron is "a fictional German nobleman created by the German writer Rudolf Erich Raspe in his 1785 book Baron Munchausen's Narrative of his Marvellous Travels and Campaigns in Russia. The character is loosely based on a real baron, Hieronymus Karl Friedrich, Freiherr von Münchhausen (German: 1720–1797)."
     I don't know that you'll be able to read it, but I thought I'd share at any rate. Click each image below to open a larger version in a new window to read.

To read more about Glasgow's collection of Chapbooks, visit Read more about the Toy Books in particular at

VIDEO: How To Do Inktober

The creator of Inktober, Jake Parker, made a video about how to participate in the annual challenge. I think it's a good one. Click the image to watch on the official Inktober website.

Inktober - chicken

I'm still having a go at Inktober. Here's "Chicken".
Follow along on my Instagram Page: DulembaDraws!

Friday Links List - 5 October 2018

From The Bookseller: Playwright Alan Pollock Pens Picture Book About WW2 Bear - this is the bear who is featured in the Princes Street Garden (I talked about him HERE).

From Brightly: 10 Nonfiction Books About Activism for Teens

From The Horn Book: All A-Board: Why the Hell Hasn't a Board Book Won the Caldecott!?

From SLJs Fuse #8: Down Syndrome and the Great Gaping (Longstanding) Children's Book Gap

From SLJ: Little Free Libraries: Pet Projects or Literacy Tools?

From The New York Post: This is where 'Wild Things' author Maurice Sendak created his magic

From BBC: Sir Quentin Blake reimagines Matilda 30 years on

From On the BookShelf: Sedbergh Book Shelter - awesome!

From BBC: Amazon raises wages amid criticism

From CILIP: Books and libraries bring illumination, hope and opportunity:Independently chaired Diversity Review sees actions taken to ensure greater diversity and representation in the country's oldest book awards for children and young people

Heidi Stemple and Robin Clover's COUNTING BIRDS

2018 is the YEAR OF THE BIRD! Hence, the plethera of new bird books including Heidi Stemple's new COUNTING BIRDS illustrated by Clover Robin. I just adore this book and the gorgeous illustrations. Happily, Heidi and Clover are here to talk about it...
Heidi E.Y. Stemple and Clover Robin
Counting Birds
Published by Quarto

      Counting Birds begins “Frank Chapman loved birds,” but it might as well say “Heidi Stemple loves birds.” Because I do.
      I was raised by a bird watcher. I began participating in the Audubon Christmas Bird Count with my father. We would get up at midnight and head out into the cold dark night to count owls. We did it for science, but, also I did it because it was something I could do with my Dad. One year I got the car stuck in a snow bank chasing a fox. One year, we broke the record of the most owls counted in our area. I believe that number was 34. My dad is gone now and I have a crew who owls with me. We call ourselves the OMG and we consist of KidLit writers, a professor, two photographers, and two teachers. OMG stands for Owl Moon Gang because, even before you knew me or my work, you may have known my story. I’m the little girl in the book Owl Moon which was written by my mother, author Jane Yolen.
In our best year, the OMG called down 67 owls. That year, we stood in a snow-covered field listening to duetting screech owls and a great horned hooting in the distance while the sky erupted in shooting stars. It was magical.
Counting Owls in Hatfield
(First Published in Compass Roads)
If we cared about cold,
we could feel it in our bones.
But, the count is on.
I push play
and a screech owl calls loudly
from the speaker hung around my neck.
We stand silently
in the middle of a snow-packed field
by the bend in the big river
where I used to swim across to Hadley.
We listen.
We listen.
We tilt our ears towards a sound
that might be owl,
but might be just a rustle of wind,
a scratch of dried leaf on bark.
A ghostly whinny finds its way
through the dark tangled wood.
I call to the screech owl
like my dad taught me
before we had recordings.
Back and forth we converse, the owl and I.
And suddenly, it’s as if
we are there alone—
not for science, but as old friends.
The sky explodes
in a thousand shooting stars.
Silently, I thank my father for this perfect moment.
Still, there are more owls to count.
We jump in the car and move on.
      I toyed with the idea of writing the story of the Audubon Christmas Bird Count for years. But, I didn’t know how to tell it. I tried a bunch of different ways until I realized this was Frank Chapman’s story, not mine. Mine has been told already! So, I sat down for three days in a small cabin in the woods (thank you Highlights Foundation) and wrote that first draft.
About a million revisions later, Quarto thought it would make a fine book, so they bought it. It was the editor, the amazing Josalyn Moran, who chose Clover Robin (yes, that is her real name, I asked) to illustrate. I’ve never met Clover, but, I got to ask her some questions via email.
Heidi: When Quarto sent me the link for your Etsy page, I think I actually danced around my kitchen with excitement. (I might have cried a little.) With a nonfiction book, I worried that it would be less quirky, wonderful art. So, I was thrilled that Quarto chose you. Is this your first nonfiction book?
Clover: Ahh, lovely to hear, thank you! I have illustrated a few educational books for younger children all about nature, which I loved, but nothing that was told as a story or with as much detail. This was a departure from my usual projects so a bit of a challenge. I loved weaving the story together visually with your words and learning so much about Counting Birds in the process!
Heidi: What is your process like?
Clover: Pretty lengthy! I think I’m a crafter first and foremost, with a passion for illustration, so I’m very keen to keep that aesthetic when I’m working on various projects. I start by sketching out roughs for the scenes and then gather collage material for the spreads, this can be scraps from papers and magazines, old envelopes etc... and LOTS of hand painted papers. Then I start snipping all the elements. With a book like this I have to be able to make significant changes to aspects and compositions of the spreads so snip everything individually and then compose in photoshop, this involves a lot of scanning! I’m cautious to keep any digital modifications to an absolute minimum as I think the joy from my work comes from the unique cutouts and unexpected shapes, plus I am much happier when I’m working freely then sitting at a computer.
Heidi: Your birds are magnificent. You told me "if it's nature, I'm in!" My connection to nature (and the Bird Count) is pretty clearly laid out in the backmatter of the book. What is yours?
Clover: I think it comes from a childhood of living very close to the seaside and countryside. My dad is extremely fond of the outdoors and I think that is a passion that has resonated with all of my siblings and I. There is nothing that makes me feel more relaxed or clear headed then a long walk away from the hustle and bustle of the city, with no mobile signal and the promise of a picturesque picnic or pub lunch at the end of it.
Heidi: Do you have other books you would like me to mention? Actually, I am really just asking this so I can buy all your books. I'm already stalking your Etsy shop for holiday gifts (and not all for myself).
Clover: Ha! You’re lovely. I have just written a book called Cut Paper Pictures, which is a sort of ‘how to collage’ book, filled with tons of inspiration about creating your own artworks (link below). This has just been published and a massive labour of love. I’ve got some other lovely nature-y inspired pop up books coming out with Little Tiger books in October, and another couple out early next year too!

Cut Paper Pictures by Clover Robin

Other bird-related books by Heidi E.Y. Stemple:
You Nest Here With Me
Fly With Me


One of the groovy things about living overseas is that I get to vote by absentee ballot - early!!!!
     So, I VOTED TODAY!!!!
     What did I vote for?
     I voted for kindness, care for all of our fellow humans, welcoming borders, healthcare that more closely resembles the fantastic healthcare I experience here in the UK, higher taxes on those who have more than they could ever need to help those who don't have enough to meet their most basic needs, fair wages, lessening of a class divisive business system, libraries, teachers, free higher education, women's rights, LGBTQ rights, diversity, fewer guns, the environment, and a world that considers the needs of everybody rather than the wants of the richest individuals.
     Because I believe that raising one, raises all, and that we are only as strong as the weakest among us. I don't believe in dominoes raining down. I believe in strength rising UP from the roots.
     THAT is what I voted for today, and for that, I am a PROUD AMERICAN.

Click the image above to buy it on a t-shirt!