The Headless Horseman

Made a visit to Hollins University on Halloween! (Click the image to watch him walk across campus.)
Does this sort of thing happen at other universities? I don't think so!!!

Friday Links List

And we're back!
I keep coming across interesting things that I want to share with you, so have a look at some of these interesting links!

PRH, WNDB Launch Freedom of Expression Award - in cooperation with #WeNeedDiverseBooks."which offers college scholarships of up to $10,000 each to five public U.S. high school seniors who are taking a stand against censorship. Applicants for the new award are asked to write about one banned book that changed their life and why."

There will be a memorial service for Caldecott Medalist Ed Young on December 3rd in Yonkers, N.Y.

I'm glad to hear that Scholastic has pulled back on their "opt-in" book fair plan that raised such a stink and rightly so.

During the fray, there was this wise commentary: "‘I Don’t Get to Opt-In to Be Black’: A Scholastic Author Speaks Out"

Author/Illustrator Sarah McIntyre collated a helpful list of links for budding authors and illustrators looking for advice.

We lost a great this week, Newbery author Susan Patron: read here.

Great article about Hollins University's own Michelle Jabés Corpora's Holly Hobbie horror book.

Halloween in Roanoke

As I'm exploring this awesome new city I now call home, I'm encountering some incredible Halloween decorations that I just have to share! For instance, I came across this alley near The Golden Cactus (a gathering place) that was over-the-top awesome!
I believe the creative geniuses behind it are Star City Styles - thank you for the smiles! There were the trapped pumpkins...
The climbing skeletons...
The so fun skeleton flowers...
The classic skeleton...
And, of course, the witch...
And just a little ways away, I came across this miniature village celebrating El dia de los muertos. You should be able to click this one to see it larger in a new window - there was so much fun stuff there!
I'll keep sharing as I make more discoveries!

Coloring Page Tuesday - Stack o' Pumpkins!

     I love seeing all the pumpkins for Halloween. This year, there seem to be lots of different kinds of pumpkins too - green ones, white ones, black ones, even turquoise!
CLICK HERE for more Halloween-themed coloring pages. By the way, if you're subscribed to my newsletter, you received this coloring page at the beginning of October! Subscribe here!
     Remember, I create my coloring pages to draw your attention to my books!

     Click the cover to learn about my Halloween picture book - Lula's Brew. She's a witch who would rather be a famous chef!
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     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.

It's Banned Books Week - Julia Patton gives us a new tool to talk about it!

It's THIS BOOK IS BANNED, written by Raj Haldar and my dear friend JULIA PATTON, published by Sourcebooks!!!
I asked Julia, "How much FUN was it to create this book and what do you hope people will take away from it? (Please do go on!)"
And she said...
This Book Is Banned was a blast to create. I’ve worked with the Editor & Creative Director from Sourcebooks before on a few books now. My Editor Kelly, saw the manuscript and mentioned my name to Raj, the author. Jordan, my Creative Director knew she wanted an artist who worked in mixed media collage to have ‘removed, erased, crumpled & rubbed out’ elements and thought of me right away. I trust their judgment entirely and so it was a firm yes from me. I was hooked by the premise and I knew I could add more than the text was suggesting with the character design, the textures and innovative ways of creating pages that brand borrowed* [from e: I didn't know this term, so Julie added an informative description - it's at the end of this post!] from diaries/journals/scrap books, etc. I was encouraged to be as creative as I wanted and sent through the first pencils within a week. Some of those initial, free and instinctive illustrations made it to the final art, which is a first for me and quite alarming for a perfectionist who has a tendency to overwork things. It was a liberating feeling and it seemed to fit the immediacy of the narrative and it felt 'right’. I’m in my element when creating with complete freedom and know I have the best team around me. I really indulged my initial response to the ’speak up and let your voice be heard’ aspect of Raj’s text and created the ‘protest pigs’ with picket signs and cut-out found typography. It was liberating to draw rebellious characters. Pencil power! The end papers were created in a few hours. (I did create another 'not-for-general-release' version to send to my Editor & Creative Director just for sheer naughtiness as I was getting a little bit carried away with spirit of it all.) It’s been a tremendous project to be involved with and it still thrills me to learn new things after 57+ books. Responding honestly to a manuscript with a sense of urgency demands that you create in a new way, which was a welcome gift from the whole experience. I hope this book reaches the right hands and creates enough noise to begin discussions on freedom of speech and the dangers of censorship.

Lavar Burton is also doing a fundraiser for Banned Books Week via

While you're doing all you can to support BANNED BOOKS WEEK, you might want to stop by your local library and ask your librarian how you can help. (Then give them a hug if they'll let you, because they are HEROES!!!!)

Oh, and color some of my I LOVE READING coloring pages - like this one!

More from Julie...
*To ‘brand-borrow' - appropriating the attributes from a secondary source. Utilising the power of a universally acknowledged value/identifying characteristic of a previously existing item/object. Exploit the commonly perceived, associated ideals of a product to promote & gather favour for another. Adopting an objects sense of familiarly, previous attachment, street value/kudos to gain a heightened level of comprehension to your product or idea. Also known as stealing, copyright infringement, intellectual property theft!

Scrap Book brand borrowing would be showing pasting cuttings & added physical mementoes, photos, tickets etc.and written accompanying notes.

Diary brand borrowing, would include dates, times and areas of hand-written text/doodles with exaggerations surrounding feelings or highlighted emotional moments.

One of my favourite ‘brand borrowing’ examples when lecturing: when one gathers ideas from multiple places one can be called a ‘creative magpie’. We all know (and without further explanation) associate a magpie with collecting shiny objects it’s attracted to.
Well, I just learned something! How about you?

Lovely Roanoke, Virginia!

I can't tell you how happy I am to be living in Virginia! Every time I crossed the state line I noticed the verdant greens and majectic mountains and it simply fills my soul! So, I'll share some of the lovely things I see as I experience awesome Roanoke. Like The Jefferson - a former high school and now public theater and events space.
Or the parade that just happened to be taking place when I had lunch downtown with a friend.
Or the gorgeous river I get to walk along every weekend.
It's part of the Greenaway - a public path that is a perfect 2.2 mile loop from my front porch.
I'll share more as I enjoy living in this lovely new home!