Monday, September 30, 2013

PENGUIN CHA-CHA coloring page

I've created coloring sheets and activities to go with my new picture book, PENGUIN CHA-CHA.

You can download a free Penguin Cha-Cha Storytime Kit to use with your child at home or with a whole group of kids in a bookstore, library, or classroom. The Storytime Kit contains the following:
• Event Invitation
• The Penguin Popsicle Game
• If You’re a Dancer and You Know It
• Penguin Props
• Penguin Family Portrait
• Make a Dancing Penguin Craft
• Coloring Sheet


Friday, September 20, 2013

Illustration Friday: Together

From the picture book, THE GOODBYE CANCER GARDEN,
written by Janna Matthies, illustrated by Kristi Valiant

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is coming up. Experts estimate that 1 out of every 8 women born today will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point during her life. Hug your little ones and favorite people, and spend your days wisely.

Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me.
-Psalm 23:4a

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Penguin Cha-Cha Book Launch

Today was the Book Launch Party for PENGUIN CHA-CHA at my local Barnes & Noble. What a toe-tapping, knee-knocking, rocking good time!

My dashing penguin companion made sure all was ready.
A wonderful local bakery, Fresh Baked by Tracy, made the cakes with my illustrations on them.

The cakes turned out adorable.
The books were set up and ready for readers.

I signed my first Penguin Cha-Cha book. Yay!

The line formed.
The stand-up cut-outs made by were a hit. 
Turn yourself into a dancing penguin!

I read the book to the kids.
We learned the basic cha-cha-cha step.
Then we learned how to hold our hands to make them into pretty Latin dancing hands.

Put the steps and arm motions together to cha-cha! 
A sweet group of friends.

A darling dancer.
Thank you to all who came and helped my penguins to dance into the hands of readers! And thank you to SCBWI for the marketing grant that made this super fun book launch possible!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

New Books!

Oh, how I love opening a box of new books that I've illustrated and getting to see and touch the real book in person!

WILLA BEAN TO THE RESCUE arrived and she's as funny as ever. 

Over the weekend, we hosted an SCBWI Picture Book Day here in Indiana at beautiful Turkey Run State Park. Our speakers were fabulous and even those of us who are already published learned a lot!  Left to right: Tammi Sauer (Author Keynote Speaker), Katie Mitschelen (Indiana ARA), Jenifer Heidorn (Coordinator), Jeffrey Salane (Scholastic editor), Melissa Manlove (Chronicle editor), and myself (Indiana RA). If you haven't read Tammi Sauer's books, get out there and buy some! They are delightful and hilarious!

My PENGUIN CHA-CHA Book Launch party is coming up this Saturday! You're invited, of course. And this adorable penguin will be there. My mom made this dashing fellow. Here are the details on the Book Launch:

Evansville Barnes & Noble
2:00 Book signing and cake
3:00 Reading, Cha-cha dance lesson for kids, a craft, coloring sheets, and more book signing to follow.

I'll also have a couple stand-up cut-outs of my dancing penguins that you can stick your head through to be a dancing penguin. You won't want to miss that.

If you can't come to the real life Book Launch (and even if you can), I've given some blog interviews lately and a couple even have giveaways that you can still enter by leaving a comment over on that interview:

Elizabeth Dulemba’s Blog:

Kathy Temean’s Blog:

Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)
The blog of author Tara Lazar:


Friday, September 06, 2013

Illustration Friday: Hidden

I illustrated this for the book, STAR BUBBLE TROUBLE, by Cecelia Galante, published by Random House. It's an early chapter book that has about 20 black & white illustrations inside the book plus a full color cover.

Chapter books are a lot of fun to illustrate, especially series like this one, because you get to draw the same characters over and over again and really get to know them. In this series, Willa Bean has such authentic, strong feelings and the way she reacts usually gets her into unintended trouble. She's funny and real and has a big heart. If you'd like to break into illustrating kid's books, you may want to try creating some chapter book illustrations for your portfolio.

Since my picture book, PENGUIN CHA-CHA, launched last week, I've been featured on a few blogs. There's a giveaway and interview on Elizabeth Dulemba's blog. Check out my guest post on the difference between illustrating someone else's text and illustrating my own text on Tara Lazar's blog. Then dance on over to the Celebri-DOTS blog to see my round penguin as a Celebri-DOT (inspired by Peter H Reynolds' picture book, THE DOT).