Archive | Author Blog Posts

Each month, we ask one distinguished author or illustrator to write an original post that reveals insights about their process and craft.

Guest Blogger: Mélanie Watt

One day I vacuumed a fly—by accident! After realizing what had happened, I wondered what the bug was thinking. Did it know it had been vacuumed? Was it upset? Or was it just buzzing around inside the machine, without a care in the world? This is how the idea for Bug in a Vacuum (Tundra […]

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Guest blogger: Tomie dePaola

Look and Be Grateful (Holiday House 2015) is the most unusual project I’ve ever worked on in my 50 years as a children’s book illustrator/author. Usually, a book starts with an idea that I’ll turn over and over in my head, sometimes letting it pop-up when it wants to, other times, sitting down and forcing […]

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Guest Blogger: M.T. Anderson

For years, I heard bizarre, thrilling stories about Dmitri Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony; how it was written by the Soviet composer in the besieged city of Leningrad as the Nazis bombed the city; how it was performed there by a starving orchestra while the Red Army shelled the Germans to protect the concert hall; and how […]

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How to (Re)Tell a Story in Pictures

Drawing a graphic novel is a bit like making a film—on your own. The artist becomes the writer, director, production crew, costume designer, art director, location scout, cinematographer, the special effects team, the actors, and the editor. Unlike film, however, the images are static and time, motion, and sound must be implied through picture sequences, […]

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Guest Blogger: Cece Bell

The other day, I was speaking to a group about my book EL DEAFO (Abrams, 2014), an autobiographical graphic novel that chronicles my experiences growing up as a deaf kid with hearing aids. After my presentation, a man, who happened to be deaf, asked me what I thought was the single most important technological advancement […]

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Guest Blogger: Joe Cepeda

I’m not sure if it’s wise to admit it, but I rarely read a manuscript twice before I decide whether or not to illustrate it. If I’m laboring over the decision during that first reading, it generally means that the story is just not speaking to me the way I need it to. It’s like […]

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Guest Blogger: Charles R. Smith, Jr.

I remember sitting in my sixth grade class at Marian Anderson Elementary in Compton, California, when February rolled around and my teacher, Mr. Johnson, hung up the faces of Black History Month around the room. Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. surrounded us until early March. Each […]

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Guest Blogger: Francisco Jiménez

Over the years, I’ve received numerous letters and emails from readers telling me how much they enjoy reading my work; they have also expressed interest in knowing more about my family. And touring and presenting, the questions I’m most frequently asked include: How can you remember so many details about the past? When did you […]

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Guest Blogger: Christian Robinson

When I’m asked how I came to illustrate Patricia Hruby Powell’s Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker (Chronicle Books 2014), my most direct answer is that my agent Steven Malk shared the manuscript with me, after being approached by editors at Chronicle. The more magical response would be that Josephine Baker’s life was an […]

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Guest Blogger: Kathi Appelt

Not long after my dad died, just after Christmas in 1999, I found myself in the throes of intense grief. I had experienced loss before. Grandparents had passed away. Friends had left me, too. But I had never felt the kind of profound sadness that engulfed me when my father died. It caused my knees […]

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