Tuesday, May 16, 2017


"A striking debut picture book celebrates the creative process... It would be a grave mistake 
not to pick up this picture book."   
-Kirkus, starred review

"At once philosophical and imbued with adventurousness, 
this picture book lifts to the level of the sublime the idea of putting one's slip-ups in perspective."   

It's here! 

The Book of Mistakes is out in the world! 

Signed copies are also available through Browsers Bookshop— you can order them here.

INTERVIEWS (learn about the making of The Book of Mistakes):


KIDLIT 411 (coming May 26th)



"The idea of setbacks being opportunities in disguise is no stranger to picture book pages, but rarely has it been illuminated with such style, imagination, and compassion."  
 -Publishers Weekly, starred review

"The juxtaposition of mistakes and opportunity is the through line of this original offering that gives children a new way to think about the creative process.  One thing's for sure: this will lead kids to see their own so-called mistakes in a new, more positive light."   
-Booklist, starred review

ABOUT The Book of Mistakes:

Zoom meets Beautiful Oops! in this memorable picture book debut about the creative process, and the way in which “mistakes” can blossom into inspiration

One eye was bigger than the other.  That was a mistake.
The weird  frog-cat-cow thing? It made an excellent bush.
And the inky smudges… they look as if they were always meant to be leaves floating gently across the sky.

As one artist incorporates accidental splotches, spots, and misshapen things into her art, she transforms her piece in quirky and unexpected ways, taking readers on a journey through her process. Told in minimal, playful text, this story shows readers that even the biggest “mistakes” can be the source of the brightest ideas—and that, at the end of the day, we are all works in progress, too.

Fans of Peter Reynolds’s Ish and Patrick McDonnell’s A Perfectly Messed-Up Story will love the funny, poignant, completely unique storytelling of The Book of Mistakes. And, like Oh, The Places You’ll Go!, it makes the perfect graduation gift, encouraging readers to have a positive outlook as they learn to face life’s obstacles.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

a song of its own

"Prior to becoming an author, I spent over twenty years working in the music business. Desmond Child, a songwriting mentor of mine, taught me that precision and economy of words create great impact, that rhythmic form makes art memorable. He was right. It might be difficult to recite a short passage of text from memory. But if a song plays on the radio---a song we haven't heard in years---why can we sing every single word? Rhythm and melody.

Rhythm and melody make prose memorable. I apply these musical principles to my writing. When I'm drafting a novel, I read my work aloud, listening for tempo and flow. If I stumble, I revise the sentence, pruning and subtracting until the melody is just right. Mind your rhythmic form.  If you do, the prose will live and breathe on the page, will linger in the reader's mind as a song of its own."

-Ruta Sepetys (
sharing her thoughts with the SCBWI Insight here.)

This is a wonderful reminder.  And one that I think this is true of illustration as well.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

common wisdom

"The common wisdom says that people are not reading as much literature 
as they used to. Do you believe it?"

"Yes, I keep coming across this “common wisdom” too. In fact, I keep reading it. Perhaps I should read less worrying “wisdom” and more literature, as literature makes me believe and common wisdom makes me worry."

-Daniel Handler, Lemony Snicket in this interview with Walter Ryce

A few new pieces here...

Thursday, May 12, 2016

the story that wants to be told

"It's that thing, always, of getting out of my own way.  
I feel like the story knows more than I do.  The story is smarter than I am.  
And wiser. And so I can't make the story conform to me because it would ruin the story.
The story shapes me.  

Every book that I've written has changed me and deepened me.  

So then I'm in different territory entirely than I anticipated.  But I've been doing it long enough now 
to know that I want to be in a different territory than I anticipated.  
Because that's where all the wisdom is, in this story that wants to be told, 
as opposed to me telling the story.  

I love this quote.  And I find it to be true with drawing as well.  Many of my favorite drawings seem to shape themselves.  They might begin with a familiar curve but they quickly wander off into unfamiliar territory.  They too, have a story to tell.  And my job, is to listen.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

what matters

"My work is loving the world.
Are my boots old?  Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be

-from Messenger by Mary Oliver

So this happened a while back, but a selection from my portfolio is now up on the Writers House Art Website.  It's hard to find words to describe the feeling of seeing my name there alongside the names of SO MANY of my Picture Book heroes.  So a picture instead—

And the Mary Oliver poem in its entirety here—


My work is loving the world.

Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird—

          equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?

Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
          keep my mind on what matters,

which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be

The phoebe, the delphinium.

The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.

Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,

which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart

          and these body-clothes,

a mouth with which to give shouts of joy

          to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,

telling them all, over and over, how it is

          that we live forever.

Monday, May 2, 2016



"Art requires time — there’s a reason it’s called a studio practice."

-Teresita Fernández

Sunday, February 14, 2016


"Telling our stories is the way we open the door
to giving our hearts away.  Giving my heart away
has been the secret to finding it."

Playing with a few new things here, all hearts...