Wednesday is my last NYC reading of Baby Penguins Everywhere!

11:00 a.m., 2/27 @ the St. Agnes Library (Upper West Side).

I read & draw. You draw. Everyone gets stickers. It's the best.

P.S. If you don't like to draw, come anyway and see what a $9.8 million-dollar facelift looks like. The building, not me.

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The deadline for my second baby penguins book is a few weeks away! I'm taking a break from freaking out to share some news:

I just visited my old school in Baltimore to show off my first book.

On the way there, I dropped in at Children's Book World in Haverford, PA, which turns out to be a major BPE stronghold.

I've added some big events to my calendar (in NYC, NJ & Westchester)

The NYPL (the library, not the cops) just featured me on their tumblr.

That's it for now. I leave you with some snowy goodness as the blizzard hits. Stay warm!

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Today I paid a visit to one of my favorite NYPL branches, the Fort Washington Library.
One of 39 original Carnegie branches, it has served patrons including Lou Gehrig, Maria Callas, Ralph Ellison, Marianne Moore, and Jacob Javits. No pressure!

This was my branch library when I lived in the Heights. It was renovated while I lived there and now has one of the loveliest children's rooms in NYC. It's always in use.

(OK, there are no kids in the last pic. I waited for them to exit because...permissions.)

A flock of bitties from toddlers to middle schoolers showed up for BABY PENGUINS EVERYWHERE! It's always interesting to read to a wide age range. One kid is eating your crayon while another wants to talk about the themes of your book, or your drawing technique.

Library manager Jennifer Zarr gave a lovely introduction; after we read the book, I shared some original artwork and sketches. The kids liked feeling the weight of the watercolor paper. I told them my paintings were sent to China to be copied and bound into a book, which was shipped back to the US on a boat, then carried by truck to bookstores and libraries. It seemed just as bonkers to them as it does to me.

Next we we all drew and colored penguins (except for one kid who was set on drawing Power Rangers, but that's cool.)

They were good collaborators.

I was touched by how many kids made pictures for their siblings.

It was such a pleasure to do an author activity at a library where I used to take my own newborn daughter. Thank you so much, Fort Washington, for having me!

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Brooklyn Public Library

Wednesday morning at 10:30am, the Brooklyn Public Library is having me over for a private story hour at the temple of books that is its central location.

Thanks to an endowment, the library is generously giving away signed copies of BABY PENGUINS EVERYWHERE! to the schoolchildren who attend. In 2012 alone, this program allowed BPL to give away 32,000 books to local schoolkids.

It should be a great morning!

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Got the winter blahs? Join me for a Baby Penguins story time and activity!

Saturday 1/12 @ 11am, at Greenlight Bookstore (Fort Greene)

Wednesday 1/23 @ 10:30am, at Brooklyn Central Library (Grand Army Plaza)

Saturday 1/26 @ 2pm, at Fort Washington Library (Washington Heights)

Sunday 1/27 @ 11:30am, at the new powerHouse on 8th (Park Slope)

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My December blog tour starts today! Pop over to Nerdy Book Club (where I get nerdy about Roald Dahl), then check in as I waddle along. I'll be visiting established kidslit favorites and sparkly new upstarts; we'll talk about my drawing process, a favorite book, how I got my agent...And of course we'll give away books!

Dec 4 - NERDY BOOK CLUB
Dec 9 - 7 IMPOSSIBLE THINGS BEFORE BREAKFAST
Dec 10 - CYNSATIONS, CREATIVE TIMES
Dec 11 - WRITER'S DIGEST GUIDE TO LITERARY AGENTS
Dec 15 - PEN & OINK

 

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Dear NYC: My book will be published December 6th, but I'm reading at two local events before the book comes out. Come get your signed copies early! We will eat goodies and get our pictures taken with Santa (at the first event anyway). I've always wanted to meet him!

December 2, 3pm
powerHouse Arena Kids Holiday Party
(with Carin Berger)
37 Main Street, DUMBO, Brooklyn

December 3, 2pm
JCC Holiday Book Fair
(with Ame Dyckman, Michael Leviton, and Jeanne C. Blackmore)
344 Amsterdam Ave. (@ 76th St.), Manhattan

powerHouse Kids Holiday Party

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Welcome to the first day of Picture Book Month! And for new subscribers, welcome to my blog!

Sandy delayed this post a week, but I'm not complaining! Being unable to blog is nothing compared to what others are dealing with. I'm going to be offering one of my penguin paintings for sale to raise funds for NYC storm recovery efforts; watch this space for details.

Original Art Crowd

Last Thursday night was the opening of The Original Art 2012 at the Society of Illustrators. The Original Art is an annual exhibition of artwork from the year’s best children’s books, as determined by a jury of art directors, editors, publishers and illustrators.

Gianna Marino and Melissa Guion

Illustrator friends new and old were selected: Brian Biggs, Matthew Meyers, and of course Jon Klassen, who accepted the Silver Medal for This is Not My Hat. Christian Robinson came all the way from California, as did Gianna Marino.

Kelly Light

Kelly Light was there, too: we have a visual on that. (P.S. My heart goes out to Kelly, whose town on the South Shore of Long Island was devastated by the storm a few days later.)

I always swore that if I met Paul O. Zelinsky I would tell him how much I love The Story of Mrs. Lovewright And Purrless Her Cat. Well, I forgot.

My spot on the wall

My good friends Laure and Jennifer helped me find my picture in the sea of illustration goodness. It hangs below a beautiful piece by my friend Carson Ellis, and opposite paintings by Lifetime Achievement Award-winners Tomie de Paola and Richard Scarry.

Richard Scarry Gives Me Butterflies

If it's not clear from my face, I Am A Bunny is one of my favorite children's books. Sharing a gallery wall with little Nicholas and those butterflies is like being in a dream.

It was also an honor to be selected in the same year as author/illustrator Jeanette Winter. Eight years ago, when I was an aspiring illustrator, Jeanette and her husband Roger took me to see my first Original Art show. Sadly, we didn't cross paths on this night (like my art director Semadar Megged, they were smart enough to come early). Happily, I ran into my former teacher, the professional heckler Sergio Ruzzier.

Sergio Ruzzier and Melissa Guion

The show is at The Society of Illustrators until December 22, 2012. Getting to East 63rd St. in Manhattan may pose a challenge in coming days. If you can manage in coming weeks, I think it's worth it. And when you go, tell me, I'll join you. I want to see it again!

Original Art Books

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Big thanks to all who came out to 440 Gallery this weekend.  It was great to read my book in public for the first time (with my trusty studio assistant by my side)!

I also led a workshop to show how I made the book. First we looked at source material.

(Someone asked how penguins sound, so we listened to them, too.)

I shared a handful of the hundreds of sketches I made while inventing the look of the penguins and their world. Even grown illustrators use trial and error!

Next I painted a penguin to show how easy it is if you're like me and don't worry about staying in the lines. (As you can see, I was passion in motion, never still long enough for a clear photo):

Finally we turned the kids loose on the art supplies!

At this age, process is more important than product. That said, the results were nothing short of spectacular!

What a great day.  Kids, go make your own books!

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This Sunday is the last day of the "Mice to Monsters" show, and I'll be teaching how I draw and paint penguins. The child who masters my technique gets to illustrate the sequel to BABY PENGUINS EVERYWHERE!!

Snacks will be served.  The air-conditioning will be on.  And the magic hat will be in attendance...

Sunday, July 22 4:40 pm 440 Gallery 440 Sixth Avenue, Brooklyn

(Stick around for workshops with Bill Zeman and Mariko Suzuki-Bertocci! Or cross the street to Patisserie Colson for ice cream!)

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