This ten-minute video is an origin story from both Mags DeRoma and me on how to To Make came to be. The notebook where I first wrote and doodled the story and why “Keep making” is its essential message; behind-the-scenes of Mags’s beautiful studio and materials she used to make the art; and a peek at our individual creative processes plus how our collaboration got its start.
May this be of use in your own creative endeavors and to show kids so they can dive into how one picture book has come to be!
It was also such a treat to have it up on School Library Journal courtesy of Travis M. Jonker at 100 Scope Notes right here!
“Mr. P and Mrs. A aren’t the only ones. There are myriad teachers like them who do this every hour in classrooms and at desks and while sitting on beanbag chairs. Teachers make readers. Teachers make writers. They make worlds and possibility. And they made me.”
I’ve got some TO MAKE events on the books to share with you in hopes you may be able to join—I’d be thrilled if you can make one!
First up, a virtual launch with me and illustrator, Mags DeRoma June 7th at very favorite Brave + Kind Bookshop! It’ll be a storytime, a chat, and an activity to take with you so you can make something too! Free registration here.
Makers Mess in Downtown LA is hosting us for an in-person celebration, “Everyone is a Maker” on July 17th from 2-4pm. Stay tuned for more details on that special time!
June 25th I’ll be at kids craft and magical space, Collage Collage in Vancouver BC, making something neat together after a storytime.
It’s getting close! To Make is almost here! May 31st is our publication date. And you can pre-order now! (Pre-order sales really help authors and illustrators. They’re kind of a big deal!)
Here’s the neat news: if you’re one of the first 40 people to order our book through the wonderful Brave+Kind Bookshop, you’ll get a thank you in the form of this 11 x 17 poster of a very special theme-containing spread with words by me and dreamy, beautiful pictures by Mags DeRoma!
We’re so lucky that Brave+Kind has partnered in this way and will be hosting our virtual launch on June 7th if you’d like to save the date.
Big thanks to this stellar bookshop created and run by a marvelous person!
I’m thrilled to offer another online picture book revision workshop, this one a special one morning event! It’s three and a half hours and it’s supportive, interactive, and will help you revise your manuscript, reflect on your writing journey, receive inspiration, and revitalize YOUR storytelling—all in one sitting! Well, there will be a few breaks sprinkled in.
This is truly a meaningful revision method that focuses on you as a writer and your picture book manuscript in a unique way that will have a lasting impact on your story—and your vision of yourself as an artist! Writers and writer-illustrators welcome. (I use this method myself for every project.)
Saturday, February 26th, 2022
9 am Pacific (noon Eastern) to 12:30pm Pacific
You can sign up immediately via that PayPal button below (Pay $175)! If you have any questions or would like to sign up for a full scholarship—there are three available for creators with marginalized/underrepresented voices in publishing—please do drop me a line! I’d love to have you join, and those spots will go fast!
Within 48 hours of payment, you should get an email confirmation directly from me after I’ve had a chance to log your sign-up (please reach out if you don’t hear from me in a couple of days as that means there was a snafu).
Here are some testimonials from past workshop series I’ve offered
that are a little different as they include four sessions and peer critiques.
Last thing! If you are part of the workshop and would like a one-hour video critique of your revision by April 15th, you can schedule with me after the event at a discount. (Critique would be $100; normally $150; critiques arranged via email.)
I danced when I first saw it because this joyful stunner feels so right. It captures the spirit of this picture book. Its heart. Because TO MAKE is a manual to inspire kids to do just that, make something their own. To celebrate the process, the perseverance of any creative act. To encourage everyone who reads it to “keep making.” And look at those kids embarking in that direction! This cover feels like an invitation, full of possibility. Look at how they are dancing too!
You can read an interview I did with Mags about the cover and her process of making all the art for To Make on This Picture Book Life here.
We both are also full of thanks for:
Mabel Hsu, our incredible and truly dream editor at Katherine Tegen Books; Hannah Mann, who boldly and affectionately agented this book for us both; Amy Ryan, ace art director at Harper; Molly Fehr, gifted designer at Harper. This team has worked diligently on and cared deeply for this book from the jump. Thank you.
Another round of my online picture book revision workshop is right around the corner! Starts August 7th for four special Saturday sessions to support you as you REVISE a PB manuscript according to your voice and vision, RECEIVE encouragement and inspiration from me and the small group, and REVITALIZE your writing process.
Two scholarships are available at a significant discount for creators with underrepresented/marginalized voices in publishing—your voices are vital to our field and to children.
One cool change this round is that instead of written letters after your second revision, it’ll be a more collaborative one-on-one video call to talk about feedback, buoying, and direction instead! Please email me for more info or to sign up!
And I’ve got some testimonials I’m delighted to share as well!
“By developing their own process and their own writer’s life, [kids] can solidify a practice that will serve them now and later by absorbing narrative components, honing writing techniques, and, perhaps most importantly, nurturing the ability to channel their feelings and experiences into creativity and stories— a meaningful practice they can lean on their whole lives.”
“Story Breath: Inspiration for Plot and Pace in Picture Books!”
And check out that tender, dreamy, hopeful magazine cover by my friend, Maple Lam!
This piece encapsulates my view of what makes the form so special and how to inspire your particular story’s unique energy and movement. (And the accompanying darling dragon sketch is by illustrator Faith Pray.)
“…picture books are different. Special. Distinct…Just like breath, each [one] has its own flow, rhythms, patterns.”
I offer a rationale for the metaphor of breath for plot and pace as well as six common “breath beats” from inhale to held breath to gasp.
Plus, there are examples of those “breath beats” from all the wonderful picture books in the image below!
Big thanks to SCBWI for the opportunity to have my work in a publication I’ve been reading and enjoying for so many years.
The first “Revise, Receive, Revitalize” workshop series was truly special and such a rewarding experience of empowering other writers, I’m offering another! It’ll start February 27th for a total of four consecutive Saturday mornings from 10 – 12:30 (Pacific). This is a space for camaraderie, discovery, and encouragement as you develop your unique voice, deepen your understanding of the form, and meaningfully revise one picture book manuscript. Please reach out if you’d like more information, to secure a scholarship, or to sign up!
I'm coming to Toronto! Crying Out Loud is hosting a neat story, craft, and play time at Bok Play Space. RSVP for tickets here.
Online Picture Book Revision Workshop: A Meaningful Method for your work in progress
Saturday, September 24th 9am to 12:30pm PST
A supportive, interactive online workshop to help you revise your manuscript, reflect on your writing journey, receive inspiration, and revitalize YOUR storytelling. All writers and writer-illustrators welcome. Get in touch to find out more.