All posts filed under: Thoughts

Reviewing, reviewed.


For the longest time, I didn’t read children’s book reviews. I used to work for Junior Library Guild, which is a K-12 collection development service, so I read pretty much everything–six months to a year before it came out. By the time a book reached the buzz circuit, I already knew what I thought about it. It was my job to be a picky reader. JLG chooses one book per month for its various age […]

Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby: Picture Books and Doing It

Featured Books / Thoughts

Last week, out of the blue, my 4.5 year old asked me, ” but how does the baby get IN the mommy’s belly?” In a not-my-best-parenting moment I cheerily said, “Hmmm I forget! I’ll have to look it up and get back to you.” Up until this point we had gotten by with a great book called Amazing You. It’s a perfect first book on where babies come from and I recommend it, but it does […]

A Technique For Producing Ideas

Creativity / Process / Thoughts

My writer friends, Patrick and Cassie, have this sign hanging on the cork board of their home office. I asked Patrick where he got it, and it turns out it is an except from a classic book, A Technique for Producing Ideas, by advertising executive, James Webb Young. Young first presented the 5-step process in 1939 and he published a book about it in 1965. I love it. Especially the “Relax” part. Seriously! I find that […]

Why are all my favorite illustrators men?


Every so often, I’m asked to name my favorite illustrators: the ones who influence me, the ones whose work I hold up to my nose with my glasses off so I can study their every pen mark and brushstroke. Though it varies slightly with the seasons, the children’s book section of the list goes something like this: William Steig, Calef Brown, Quentin Blake, Roz Chast, Neal Layton, Blexbolex, Maira Kalman, Tomi Ungerer,* Jules Feiffer,* James […]

I just wrote a picture book. Will you illustrate it?


I get asked this question a lot by many lovely and well-meaning people. In fact, I’ve answered it so many times that I’ve thought about having a boilerplate answer. Unless your name is Arthur Yorinks or Daniel Pinkwater, here it is: Dear Friend/Cousin/Hairdresser/Friend’s cousin’s hairdresser, Thanks for thinking of me to illustrate your manuscript. Unfortunately, I have to reserve all my unpaid time for my own speculative and personal projects.* You actually don’t need to […]