Archive for October 2018

And the Answer Is …

October 25, 2018

Where was I last week?

I was in New London, NH, having a conversation with a very well-known author/illustrator. That’s another clue for you. But, before I reveal who I had the pleasure of spending quality time with, here are a few more clues.

This gentleman

is amazing,

loves wearing scarves,

has won a Caldecott Honor Award and a Newbery Honor Award, to name only a few of his  many awards,

and his newest picture book is on the New York Times Best Sellers list at #8.

Are you ready?

QUIET and listen up.

The answer is…


Tomie dePaola

Tomie dePaola is a multi-talented, author/illustrator/teacher, and winner of many prestigious awards. At 84 years young, Tomie continues to work on numerous projects in his studio – a 200-year-old renovated barn.





Besides illustrating books, Tomie’s many artistic projects also include liturgical art. He is in the process of working on a mural for a chapel dear to his heart. He is also co-writing and illustrating the Andy & Sandy easy-to-read picture book series, will be giving his artistic touch to two Little Free Libraries, and has enough other projects to keep him busy for years.

Little Free Libraries Waiting for Tomie’s Magic Touch


Tomie’s creative process begins with the story which he writes in longhand. When it comes to illustrating, Tomie prefers the tried and true method. He uses line drawing, a paint brush, and acrylic paints. He says he likes “feeling the paper/feeling the brush.”

Coming from an Irish/Italian background, many of his books are written from that perspective. Tomie’s favorite book is Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs. It’s an autobiographical story of his Irish great-grandmother and Irish grandmother. His close family ties could be seen and felt when he spoke about the day he ran to Nana Upstairs’ room and found her bed empty. He remembers exactly how the room looked and how he felt when he learned his great-grandma had passed away. He recreated that moment in his picture book.

In his studio, there is a special area where Tomie spends meditative time each morning. It’s a place where he can slowly breathe in and breathe out, be prayerful and appreciate the world around him.


While visiting, I also had the privilege of touring his home. It’s filled with collections of Native American and early American folk art. Throughout his home, you’ll also find numerous candles, religious art, and artifacts. Everything is in perfect order. A newer addition to Tomie’s house, which he dubbed the Mercer Room, is light and bright and filled with colorful art from Mexico and his own paintings.

The Mercer Room




Tomie has a particular connection with the story of Juan Diego and Our Lady Of Guadalupe. Images of Our Lady of Guadalupe can be found in almost every room of his home and studio.


More Art and Artifacts


Tomie also enjoys eating, cooking, and entertaining.

How’s this for a well-appointed kitchen?

My time with Tomie dePaola was an incredible experience. He is a kind, gentle man who makes you feel like you’ve known him forever. He respects others, works hard, and has a great sense of humor. No matter who you are, Tomie dePaola readily welcomes you into his extraordinary world. I was lucky to be a part of it!

Quiet is a perfect book to share with young and old in our fast-paced world.


Quiet written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, October 2018.



October 18, 2018

Guess where I am today?

Here are some clues.


A studio library filled with art books.


An authentic pizza oven!


Scarves for every occasion.


Art supplies galore used by a multi-talented, award-winning author/illustrator!


Can you guess who answered the door when I knocked?


Tune in next week to find out and for more exciting information.



When a House Is No Longer a Home

October 11, 2018

As someone who has always been curious about interesting houses and the people who live in them, I found A HOUSE THAT ONCE WAS to be fascinating.

a house

Julie Fogliano masterfully tells the story of two children who discover a house deep in the woods. A house that is abandoned. “A house that once was but now isn’t a home.” A house that is slowly falling apart and being taken over by the forest vegetation and animals. A house that invites the curious children inside. They respectfully explore the interior, taking note of objects left behind wondering and imagining what the people and animals were like who once inhabited the house. Who were they? What did they do? Where did they go? Where are they now?  So many questions! So many things to think about! As the children leave to return to their cozy and warm home, they wonder if the house is waiting for the owners to return … waiting to become a home again.

Julie Fogliano’s lyrical language and rhyme whisper to the reader to come and explore with the children. Her text combined with Lane Smith‘s whimsical and enchanting illustrations will encourage readers to examine every detail and enjoy their adventure.

This book sparks the imagination and begs to be read over and over.





What’s in a Name?

October 4, 2018

Have you ever wondered why you have the name you do? If you have, you’re not alone. Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela wonders how she got her name. In her opinion, her name is much too long. In the book, Alma and How She Got Her Name written and illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal, Alma learns the significance of her name and why it fits her.


Alma’s father explains that each part of Alma’s name was given to her for a special reason. They are all names of relatives – two grandmothers, a great-grandmother, a grandfather, and a great-aunt. As Alma listens to her father, she begins to see that each name has a story to tell and how much in common she has with her relatives. The illustrations have a muted tone and are done with print transfers on handmade textured paper, graphite and colored pencils. The text and engaging illustrations come together to create a sweet story of family names, special talents, and love.

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