Friday, September 11, 2015

Flight of the Birdy

And now we come to our smallest wildebeest.

I remember those tiny, newborn fists curling out of a green blanket.
I made it five summers ago out of fabric so soft it felt like clouds, 
with the hope it could keep out the world's roughness as long as possible.

Ergo, in the nature of a true youngest child,
Birdy scrambles up trees and leaps from the highest branches,
tumbles headfirst into high winds,
and rakes up her knees better than all the others.
She is so ready for this.

Always looking to make art,
I decided to make flashcards - heaps of them. 

I think I'll do a weekly series of the collection on my art blog.
They're for learning sight words, one of the ways to catch on to reading.

I guess this is my gift to her, like the green cloud blanket.
A way to say:
"When you want me, if you want help, I'm here. I love you."
Maybe it's proof. 
And maybe every parent offering,
every bowl of oatmeal we cook up,
every lunch we pack, every book read aloud,
every tuck-in at night
is us, saying:
  "You precious small people, you are loved."

   "Even though we got grouchy about the muddy footprints,
     or the scrabbly big mess in your rooms,
     you are loved." 

And maybe, it is proof for us as well.
Maybe these offerings to our small ones are gifts we keep close
as our birds wing the nest,
as our hair grays and our skin weathers,
knowing that in all our human roughness,
we have loved.

Friends, may you find love all around you,
and gifts in the giving.



I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson's Blackboard - Jennifer Mann
Orange Pear Apple Bear - Emily Gravett
Owl Babies - Martin Waddell, Patrick Benson

18490544A Year Down Yonder (A Long Way from Chicago, #2)

Bo at Iditarod Creek - Kirkpatrick Hill
The Mighty Miss Malone - Christopher Paul Curtis
The War That Saved My Life - Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
A Year Down Yonder - Richard Peck

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Mermaid sightings

The twins are fast approaching ten!
"Tween twins!" Winnie reminds me.
"Double digits, doubled!"

And just like that, a decade ebbs. 
Having soaked up the Emily Windsnap books lately, 
they want to be mermaids. 
So, I've been making art.
Mermaidy tattoos!
Painted shells. 
Waves of seaweed.
Glowy lights.  
Cupcakes + art = yummy.   

Mermaids, this way. Your party awaits.


The Tail of Emily Windsnap (Emily Windsnap, #1)

132391 18048914
The Mermaid and the Shoe by K. G. Campbell
The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler
The Little Mermaid - Hans Christian Anderson, ill. by Lisbeth Zwerger 
Breathe - Scott Magoon
The Forgotten Sisters - Shannon Hale
Three Times Lucky - Sheila Turnage
Secrets at Sea - Richard Peck 
Listen, Slowly - Thanhha Lai

Down, Down, Down: A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea - Steve Jenkins
The Storm Whale - Benji Davies
Plastic Ahoy! Investigating the great Pacific Garbage Patch - Patricia Newman
Shackleton's Journey - William Grill

Friday, April 17, 2015

Art and Starlings

I'm bubbling about the SCBWI conference today.
This is the weekend children's book illustrators and writers in my region gather like starlings.
I go for the coffee and the courage. 
For inspiration and advice.
A break!
To find out about thrilling new books. 
To hug and high-five friends and peers.
To gain wisdom about crafting words and art.
My heart flies high. 

I'm bringing new art. More here. 

Art grown out of Joy Chu's UCSD Thinking in Pictures class. 
What a class!
Here's a peek at one of my projects:

Adventure awaits!
If you are one of my writer or artist buddies, I hope to see you there! 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Hearts and Hoots

I know. 
It's been entire lifetimes in elephant years since my last post.
Entire oceans of whales have migrated North and South. 
The ducks are returning to our backyard pond. 
And I have been studying hard 
for an illustration class at UCSD, with art director/genius/professor Joy Chu.
Learning how to find the essence of a story,
learning how to write through art.

After the feathers fly and the dust settles,
I will look for more words to share. 

For now, 
enjoy each new page 
and soar, my friends!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Of Rafts and Feasts

In remembrance, 
       I find thanksgiving.
In remembrance, I find a feast.

It's in big things, like remembering
rough stones that have lined my journey,
and seeing them smooth some of my sharp edges.
Like the poets, I count the ways.

I count that it's been over one year since I had a stroke
and heart surgery,
and here I am,
heart-strong and feet-steady.
Playing soccer.
When I remember, there are skeins of thanksgiving
woven into this heart.

Six months since Winnie’s leg, the worrisome spot,
the relieving news, the surgery. 
There are not enough words for this kind of thanksgiving.

This is life. There will be stormy days for all of us.
But remembrance is my feast.
thankfulness is my life raft.

I find thankfulness indeed when I count the big things.
And I find joy in the small.
Like when the wind pulls umbrellas
and makes us think, just for a moment, that we might fly.

Or in gathering leaves.
Reading books.
Lighting candles.
Twirling till we’re dizzy.

Holding hands.
Happy Thanksgiving, my friends.
I am thankful for you.
Thankful that we share this earth,
with all of our colorful, quirky differences.
What a feast!


Brother Sun, Sister Moon by Katherine Paterson, ill. by Pamela Dalton
Pilgrim Cat by Carol Antoinette Peacock, ill. by Doris Ettlinger
The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee
The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis
Psalm 23 illustrated by Richard Jesse Watson


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