Interview Alert: Jami Gigot

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Today is exactly 2 months until the release of my debut picture book The Peddler’s Bed on September 1! And I couldn’t be more thrilled! I can’t believe it’s been nearly 2 years since I submitted the manuscript to Ripple Grove Press; time sure flies! Last month, I interviewed Bong Redila, the illustrator of The Peddler’s Bed. This month, it’s my pleasure to share an interview I did with author/illustrator Jami Gigot. Jami’s picture book Mae and the Moon comes out September 8, also from Ripple Grove Press. It looks spectacular and I can’t wait to read it!

Please enjoy Jami’s fabulous interview! 

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Q. What inspired you to write your debut picture book Mae and the Moon?

After my kids were born, I wanted to capture these amazing fleeting moments of our lives and also started thinking a lot about my own memories as a child. I started to write and draw bits of memories, words, silly poems and stories, trying to see things from a child’s point of view. When my daughter Mae was a toddler she once told me that the moon was following us, and we would often (and still do!) spend time looking at the sky searching for it, so I wrote a poem one night that inspired this particular story. I have always wanted to pursue creating my own ideas and stories and have an incredible passion for picture books, so decided to give it a go! 

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Q. Have you always been a creative and artistic person? Besides writing and illustrating children’s books, in what ways have you used your creativity?

I would say so, yes. I’ve always kept journals full of random thoughts and drawings, but they have just been my personal little books, and focusing on illustration and writing to this level and sharing it in this way is quite new to me. I went to school for film and animation and have spent the last several years working on feature films as a visual effects artist, so I mostly work on the computer in a 3D environment, and in collaboration with many other talented folks. For a few years, I also ran a business called “The Grateful Thread” with my husband where we designed and sold rock n’ roll inspired soft toy guitars and monsters, which was good fun. I love the process of making things and I also love learning, so it’s not uncommon for me to have several projects on the go, from painting, to upholstery, to trying to learn the ukulele. There are just not enough hours in the day! 

Q. What part of the process did you like best when you created Mae and the Moon?

Really, I enjoyed the whole process very much. I love the moment when after staring into space and thinking so hard my brain hurts, I’ll get the little sparks of an exciting new idea that helps move the story along. My favorite part of illustrating is getting to the place where the image is really starting to work and I can envision more clearly where I would like it to go.  I spend a lot of time drawing, erasing, and redrawing trying to get the character expression and posing right, changing the composition, and exploring the color palette, so my drawings often look pretty messy, but I need to try things out to get it right. Once I feel like the composition and initial sketches are working then it’s all about building it up bit by bit. 

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Q. How did you hear about Ripple Grove Press and why did you decide to submit Mae and the Moon to them?

When I felt I had a dummy book in a state that was ready to send to publishers I did a lot of research into potential publishing houses. I don’t have an agent and most of the big name houses won’t accept unsolicited materials, so I targeted a few of the mid and smaller ones. I found Ripple Grove Press online. It is run by a married couple Rob and Amanda Broder, and having run a business with my husband before, I admire them for taking a risk and following their passion. I read an interview that Amanda had done and she mentioned a few of her favorite picture books, which really matched my personal taste, so it seemed like a good fit. 

Q. Do you have a favorite picture book, favorite picture book author, or favorite illustrator?

So many! I love everything by Arnold Lobel, Maurice Sendak, Shel Silverstein, and Roald Dahl. There are so many amazing illustrators there and I’m constantly discovering new artists.  Some of my long time favorites are Moebius, Mike Mignola, Hayao Miyazaki, Dave McKean, Tove Janson and Shaun Tan, and some more recent favorites include Daniel Salmieri, Jon Klassen, Mac Barnett, Julie Morstad, David Weisner, the list could go on and on. 

Q. Why do you feel picture books are important?

The time spent between adult and child connecting through a world of wonder, learning and imagination is incredibly precious. Picture books cross all sorts of different styles, mediums, and cultures; they inspire children and bring out the child in adults. 

Q. Where can fans connect with you online?

http://www.jamigigot.com

Twitter @jlgigot

and I occasionally blog on Tumblr  https://www.tumblr.com/blog/jamigigot

Q. Do you have any advice for aspiring picture book authors or illustrators who are trying to get published? 

Keep writing and/or drawing! The act of working itself will spawn more ideas and take you to new places. Experiment with your craft and push yourself to improve. Seek out advice and constructive criticism from individuals with more experience than you and don’t be afraid to change things.

Jami Gigot

Picture Books At The Library 21

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In my position as a technical processing assistant at the DeWitt Community Library, I catalog a lot of new picture books. Unfortunately, I cannot review them all, but I do read them all and have assigned a :) to my favorites. Finley Frog's favorite is marked with a 8). Below are a few I've cataloged recently. (Whenever possible, summaries have been taken directly from the books.)

In my position as a technical processing assistant at the DeWitt Community Library, I catalog a lot of new picture books. Unfortunately, I cannot review them all, but I do read them all and have assigned a :) to my favorites. Finley Frog’s favorite is marked with a 8). Below are a few I’ve cataloged recently. (Whenever possible, summaries have been taken directly from the books.)

Some of the kids in Marilyn’s class have monsters. Marilyn doesn’t have hers yet, but she can’t just go out and look for one. Your monster finds you. That’s just the way it works.

:) A vibrant celebration of feelings, in all their shapes and sizes.

Join in this sunny, funny celebration of being a toddler!

:) While thinking very hard about the perfect gift for her mother just before she falls asleep, Celeste is blown way up into the sky by the Wind, where she meets the Stars, the Moon, and the Sun, and when she awakens she finds exactly what she sought.

8) In the middle of a meadow, under a clump of dandelions, lives a curious and adventurous mouse–such a little mouse.

:) When her parents find a baby wolf on their doorstep and decide to raise him as their own, Dot is certain he will eat them all up until a surprising encounter with a bear brings them closer together.

:) Very strange noises that keep awakening the Wimbledon family one night have an even stranger source.

:) Rain comes down, flowers come up. The sun shines…Spring is a season of opposites!

An artist celebrates the many things he can do with a simple pen, and encourages the reader to do the same.

Felipe does not own any socks. Why own socks when the only shoes you wear are flip-flops? But once a week he needs all the socks he can find. Once a week he becomes the Sock Thief.

Everyone’s here to celebrate! Clap for the babies at the baby party!

Angels, Angels, Everywhere Book Tour

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I have always found angels fascinating. When I think of angels, I think of light in the darkness, comfort in times of sorrow, and guidance along the path of life. So when I was invited to join the Angels, Angels, Everywhere blog tour to help spread the word about author Michelle Beber’s angel-themed picture book, I hopped aboard. What could be better than a book for children all about angels and the joy, comfort, and unconditional love they bring?

Michelle’s written an article for Frog on a Blog about the year she had her “spiritual awakening”. It’s quite moving. But before we get to the article, let’s learn more about her special book, Angels, Angels, Everywhere.

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Title: Angels, Angels, Everywhere

Author: Michelle Beber

Publisher: Balboa Press

Pages: 30

Genre: Juvenile Fiction/Children’s Picture Book

Format: Paperback/Kindle/Nook

Angels, Angels, Everywhere is a non-denominational, multiracial book written in delightful rhythm and rhyme and accompanied by charming illustrations.  The themes of constant support and unconditional love are designed to help children deal with everyday experiences in life. 

By developing children’s faith in knowing that they are not alone and building their trust that they are consistently watched over, cared for, and loved, children will become empowered to deal with life’s challenges.  The book also lets children know that angels are there in good times as well, sharing in their joy.

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My Spiritual Awakening

by Michelle Beber

The year 2008 was the year of my “spiritual awakening”. That was the year I realized there was a lot more happening beyond our three-dimensional, physical world.

In February of 2008, I attended the Conscious Life Expo in Los Angeles to see Lisa Williams, the renowned British psychic medium, give readings to lucky audience members. I was a fan of Lisa’s television show, “Life Among the Dead”, and found solace in watching people receive comforting messages from loved ones who had died.

I knew there was a slim chance of receiving a reading in a room filled with hundreds of people, but I brought my mom’s photo with me in the hope it would help her come through. It must have worked because about halfway through the event, I became one of the lucky few who would receive the priceless gift of hearing from my mother who had passed away 22 years earlier.

Lisa had just completed a reading several rows behind me and started to walk toward the row and aisle seat where I was sitting. She stopped right next to me and said, “Shelly, I have a message for you from your mother.” I couldn’t believe it! I knew that was meant for me! Shelly was my childhood nickname. That was no coincidence. My heart started racing with excitement – my mom was there! But then, Lisa went on to do a reading for someone else. I figured if that was all I got, I would go home ecstatic, but my mom wasn’t done with Lisa.

Just as my heart rate had gone back to normal, Lisa walked to the front of the room and said, “I have Sylvie or Sylvia here.” I think I forgot to breathe for a moment because Sylvia was my mother’s name! My heart started racing again with anticipation when Lisa asked if anyone had lost someone with that name. I waited to see if anyone else had, but no one raised their hand. So, I raised my hand and said, “My mom’s name was Sylvia.” Lisa said, “Then, I’m with you. Your mom’s here.” I was trembling in disbelief and on the verge of tears.

Lisa started to describe my mom’s personality, and she was spot on. Then, she told me things only my mother would’ve known. There was no doubt in my mind it was really her. I had never recovered from my mom’s death and hadn’t been able to say goodbye to her. Lisa said, “Your mom wants you to know she’s okay. She says don’t commiserate, celebrate her!” That was my mom’s message for me, and she wasn’t about to let me leave without hearing it. She wanted me to know she was okay and to tell me to be happy and move forward with my life.

At the end of the reading, Lisa said, “She’s with you all the time. She says you’ll always be her little girl.” That was when I lost it. I started crying uncontrollable tears of joy knowing my mom was right there with me.

The reason I’m sharing this story is to let people know that there’s nothing to fear about contacting your loved ones on the other side. On the contrary, it’s one of the most comforting experiences you’ll ever have.

Lisa’s reading proved to me that our loved ones never really die. Their physical bodies may be gone, but their souls live on in spirit, and those spirits continue to watch over us, comforting us when we need it and celebrating with us as we achieve milestones in our lives. Love is what keeps us connected, and love never dies.

Michelle Beber

Michelle Beber

Michelle Beber has certifications as an Angel Intuitive and Angel Oracle Card Reader from renowned “angel lady”, Doreen Virtue, as well as certifications as a Spiritual Teacher and Archangel Life Coach from Doreen’s son, Charles Virtue.

In 2008, Michelle’s life changed when she attended a spiritual retreat and learned about angels and how they communicate through repetitive number sequences known as “angel numbers”. Little did she know that this insight would lead her on an amazing spiritual journey that would directly connect her with angels and result in the discovery of her life purpose.

Always grateful for the spiritual guidance she has received, Michelle looks forward to sharing the knowledge she has gained to inspire others, especially children. Michelle is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).

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Picture Books At The Library 20

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In my position as a technical processing assistant at the DeWitt Community Library, I catalog a lot of new picture books. Unfortunately, I cannot review them all, but I do read them all and have assigned a :) to my favorites. Finley Frog's favorite is marked with a 8). Below are a few I've cataloged recently. (Whenever possible, summaries have been taken directly from the books.)

In my position as a technical processing assistant at the DeWitt Community Library, I catalog a lot of new picture books. Unfortunately, I cannot review them all, but I do read them all and have assigned a :) to my favorites. Finley Frog’s favorite is marked with a 8). Below are a few I’ve cataloged recently. (Whenever possible, summaries have been taken directly from the books.)

Various young woodland animals describe, in their own unique ways, what they love most about hugs from their fathers.

Farmer has lots of chores to do–plowing, planting, mowing, and harvesting the crops.

Mr. and Mrs. Dullard move their family to a boring town to avoid any excitement in their lives.

:) In this story without words, a young boy carelessly mishandles a library book, while the other books try to rescue their friend.

At the beach, Pinkalicious and her brother help a tiny mermaid, a merminnie, to go back home.

It’s going to be a busy day down on Stanley’s farm! From plowing the field, to planting the seeds, to harvesting the wheat, Stanley and his friends Shamus and Little Woo have a lot to do.

A counting book in rhyme that presents various animals and their offspring that dwell in high mountain environments, from a mother llama and her “little cria one” to an emperor penguin, his hen, and their “little chicks ten”.

Bobbie’s room is so full of stuff, she and her best cousin Joanie can hardly find a place to play. But she loves all of it. So when her mom gives her two weeks to clear out the clutter, Bobbie needs a plan.

Jesse the dog is good at making all kinds of things. But he’s especially good at making a mess! One day, he makes a mess so big that he gets lost in it. His friends try to find him, but they get lost, too!

8) Welcome to the jungle! Bird is singing sweetly, Warthog is playing the drums, and Crocodile is tapping out a happy tune! But–oh, my!–what has that silly hippo been up to?

This little ball of yarn can’t resist the tug of adventure, the twists and turns of discovery, or the comfort of family and friends.

:) Rodeo Red and her hound dog, Rusty, are happy as can be until Sideswiping Slim comes to town and starts stirring up trouble for them, but when Slim steals Rusty, Red will do anything to get him back–even give up the birthday gift her Aunt Sal, a city slicker, sent.

:) Two good friends, Hare and Tortoise, race from Tel Aviv to the Dead Sea, enjoying the unique culture and geography of Israel along the way.

Over here, Dizzy! We’re behind you! Dizzy Dinosaur loves to have fun! But sometimes he’s a little bit silly. Uh-oh!

Daddy Elephant is as big and strong as a tractor. But he’s terrified of mice! So when a mischievous mouse tries to steal his cheese, Daddy doesn’t know what to do!

This is the story of two spirited bunnies, their tired Mama, a treasured book, and a bedtime routine that is nothing like it’s supposed to be.

:) A surrealist whodunit based on the science behind the way animals see…

Picture Books At The Library 19

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In my position as a technical processing assistant at the DeWitt Community Library, I catalog a lot of new picture books. Unfortunately, I cannot review them all, but I do read them all and have assigned a :) to my favorites. Finley Frog's favorite is marked with a 8). Below are a few I've cataloged recently. (Whenever possible, summaries have been taken directly from the books.)

In my position as a technical processing assistant at the DeWitt Community Library, I catalog a lot of new picture books. Unfortunately, I cannot review them all, but I do read them all and have assigned a :) to my favorites. Finley Frog’s favorite is marked with a 8). Below are a few I’ve cataloged recently. (Whenever possible, summaries have been taken directly from the books.)

When an elephant couple decides it is time to have a child, unexpected challenges arise but, at last, the pair’s deepest wish comes true.

8) Caroline Crocodile goes to a baby shop to see if she can exchange her drooly brother, but finds that the baby panda is a fussy eater, the baby elephant too squirty–and her brother has reason to drool.

:) Wouldn’t it be great to have a triceratops for a pet?

Max and his brothers drive to Shapeville and Count Town searching for problems, and are able to use their skills in arithmetic and sleuthing to help get things ready for a rocket launch.

Bear and a family of ducks try to find the perfect home to share, but what suits the bear does not suit the ducks, and what suits the ducks does not suit Bear.

:) The only thing Little Bird likes about rain is the puddles it leaves behind, but after flying through Manhattan to find the perfect puddle, his bath is interrupted again and again.

Annie and Lillemore are best friends for many reasons. Here are just a few: they are both seven, love the colors pink and purple and can speak two languages.

:) Illustrations and simple rhyming text reveal that hands, as they carry out ordinary tasks, are also showing love.

A young fly imitates his garden insect friends to try to figure out what he’s best at.

:) This is Bert’s big day. He is well prepared, mentally and physically. But he might need some encouragement.

Hey, Baby, Look! by Kate Shannon and Morgan Owens

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Title: Hey, Baby, Look!

Author: Kate Shannon

Illustrator: Morgan Owens

Publisher/Year: Blue Dream Books/ 2014

Format: Board Book

Description (from publisher’s website): An important board book addition to any little person’s first library, Hey, Baby, Look! is underpinned by brain research and whimsical creativity. Its sturdy pages are rich in color, beautifully illustrated, and full of rhyming fun!

First Page: Hey, Baby, Look! Where is the apple? How many are sweet? Where can you sit? Which can you eat?

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Hey, Baby, Look! is a highly interactive board book for children under 3 years of age. Batteries? You won’t need them. Finger pointing is all that’s required. Four colorful pictures and rhyming text on each spread invite finger-pointing action from child and caregiver (and book reviewer :) ). 

Hey, Baby, Look! is an excellent first introduction to concepts such as colors, numbers and counting, shapes, repetition, simple words, and object recognition. It’s all in there, but your toddler won’t know she’s learning, she’ll simply be having fun.

I don’t normally review board books on Frog on a Blog, though they are technically picture books for the youngest readers (0-3 years), but I made an exception in this case. I’m impressed with the well-written, engaging text and the bright, eye-catching illustrations. I’m also impressed with all of the awards this book has garnered. 

  • IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award (Gold Medal: Children’s Literature, 0-3)
  • Beverly Hills International Book Award (Gold Medal: Children’s Nonfiction)
  • Indie Reader Discovery Award (Gold Medal: Kids)
  • MIPA Midwest Book Awards (Three Silver Medals: Children’s Nonfiction, Children’s Picture Book, & Graphic Illustration)
  • National Indie Excellence Award (Silver Medal: Children’s Picture Books – Preschool)
  • Indie Book Awards (Silver Medal: Children’s/Juvenile Non-Fiction)
  • San Francisco Book Festival (Silver Medal: Children’s Books)

Blue Dream Books has made it its mission to “produce beautiful, educational, mindful, and impactful board books for little readers and the grown ups who love them.” With Hey, Baby, Look!, they have definitely succeeded. Look for more from this publisher in the near future. And to learn more about Blue Dream Books’ mission, vision, and core values, click here.

Finley Has a New Friend! Meet Irwin!

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Irwin Publicity (3)As you can see, Irwin is a frog. But he’s no ordinary frog. He likes to travel. He likes to read. And he’s also an author. He writes (with the help of his human companion Elaine) children’s books about cool things like visiting Paris, caring for the environment, and life in the Old West. Irwin even has his own website called Irwin Quagmire Wart (also his full name), filled with lots of fun stuff such as frog facts and frog jokes. You can also meet his family, view photos of his home swamp, and learn all about the frog holidays he celebrates. 

Finley and I wanted to find out more about Irwin and his books, so we invited him to write a guest post for Frog on a Blog. Irwin’s a pretty cool little froggy dude. Take a look!

Hi everyone!

My name is Irwin Quagmire Wart and I’m an author of fun-cational books for kids. I also happen to be a frog, like my new friend Finley. It’s an honor to be a guest writer here on his blog, and to have the opportunity to share with you a little about myself and my books. 

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Land of Lily Pad is the place I call home.  I live with my mother, father, and baby brother. I have lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins, too. Family is important to me. If you visit my website, you can learn about researching the history of your family, like I did. You’ll also find photos of me and all my relatives. We’re a colorful bunch! 

My website also has fun and educational facts about water conservation (that’s important for everyone, especially us frogs), a page of silly frog jokes and games, as well as my mom’s rules on “How to Behave in the Swamp”. They might be for frogs and tadpoles, but they work for human kids, too. But the “My Books” page is my favorite. 

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So far, I’ve written four and I’m busy working on my fifth one. Green Is Good is a kid’s guide to environmental stewardship. It’s packed with lots of interesting facts and fun activities that you can do to help the environment. Irwin Quagmire Wart Travels to Paris, France is a kid’s guide to the City of Lights. I spent 10 days there and you’ll get a frog’s eye view of this magical city. There are even some basic French lessons to help you get started. Perfectly Perfect is a short, rhyming book on why we need to embrace who we are, no matter what size or shape we might be. Irwin Quagmire Wart Travels Back in Time is another travel book. My dad and I took a trip to Texas and learned about life in Pioneer America. It’s filled with cool facts about the Old West and lots of pictures taken in an authentic replica of a pioneer town. 

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I had lots of fun writing these books and I think you’ll have fun reading them, too!

My website is www.irwinquagmirewart.com. I’m also on FaceBook, if you want to connect there, at www.facebook.com/IrwinQuagmireWartauthor.  Follow me on Twitter @IrwinQWart. 

Thanks for reading.  I hope to connect with you again soon!

“Ask not what your swamp can do for you. Ask what you can do for your swamp.”….Irwin Quagmire Wart (and maybe John F. Kennedy said something similar many years ago)

So nice to meet you, Irwin! Hop on by Frog on a Blog anytime; Finley would love to see you!

Finley says, "Rib-yup, rib-yup!"

Finley says, “Rib-yup, rib-yup!”

Picture Books At The Library 18

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In my position as a technical processing assistant at the DeWitt Community Library, I catalog a lot of new picture books. Unfortunately, I cannot review them all, but I do read them all and have assigned a :) to my favorites. Finley Frog's favorite is marked with a 8). Below are a few I've cataloged recently. (Whenever possible, summaries have been taken directly from the books.)

In my position as a technical processing assistant at the DeWitt Community Library, I catalog a lot of new picture books. Unfortunately, I cannot review them all, but I do read them all and have assigned a :) to my favorites. Finley Frog’s favorite is marked with a 8). Below are a few I’ve cataloged recently. (Whenever possible, summaries have been taken directly from the books.)

8) Monty loves his long, curly, magnificent mane. No one else has one quite like it, and there is nothing as important to Monty as his mane. Or is there?

:) Hoot Owl is no ordinary owl. He’s a master of disguise! And he will use his skill at camouflaging himself to trick his unsuspecting prey.

:) Baby Billy was born with a mustache. Though this is a bit unusual, his family loved him, and life was good. That is, until Baby Javier came to town…baby Javier and his BEARD.

:) A little girl goes on a long journey to deliver an elephant to her great aunt.

:) The reader is invited to count hungry crows as they hunt for savory snacks.

When the other baby animals laugh at Elephant for not being able to jump, he sets out to prove them wrong.

Cameron the capercaillie is the worst dancer in the Scottish Cairngorms, but maybe with the help of his new friend, Hazel the red squirrel, he’ll learn some great moves!

A young girl helps her father, the captain of a whale boat, on a whale-watching trip and relates how her ancestors hunted whales in the same waters.

It’s raining, and Ben is stuck inside with nothing to do. Then he comes up with a wonderful idea: he is going to build a fort!

Help Maisy find Mommy Hen’s missing chicks. Lift the flaps and count to ten.

Interview Alert: Illustrator Bong Redila

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Today is exactly three months until the release of my picture book, The Peddler’s Bed, on September 1, 2015But it’s not just my book. Creating a picture book is a collaborative effort between author, illustrator, and publisher (not to mention copy editor, art director, printer, and etc., depending on what processes the publisher does in-house and what may be outsourced). I am the author of The Peddler’s Bed, but without the support and resources of Rob and Amanda at Ripple Grove Press and the artistry of illustrator Bong Redila, the book never would have come together as beautifully as it did. And I can’t wait to share it with the world on September 1! 

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In the meantime, I thought now might be the perfect time to share the interview I did with Bong. Besides being an extremely talented and versatile artist (check out the galleries on his website), he’s a genuinely nice guy. We’ve never met in person, but have communicated via social media. I was delighted to learn more about him through his candid interview responses. Take a look!

Bong Redila in his studio.

Bong Redila in his studio.

Q. Did you know from a young age that you were going to be an artist? Did your parents encourage your talent?

As far as I can remember I was just a normal kid (at least I think so) doing normal kid’s stuff like draw and play outdoors. Lucky for us, back then our parents would let us play outside with the other kids without them watching us with no worries. I guess kids were a bit safer to roam and have an adventure by themselves back then. We’d go catch frogs, lizard hunting, go to the swamp, climb trees, play on a rainy day, made toy trucks using sardine cans. I’d say I’m fortunate enough to have experienced those things that made a big impact on who I am today.

One thing’s for sure though, my brother and I loved to draw.

My parents knew right from the get-go that we had a knack when using pencils and crayons, but I couldn’t remember them encouraging us NOR telling us not to become an artist. Maybe they did, I just forgot. But as far as I know, they did let us do what we wanted and I guess that was enough encouragement for me as a young lad with a bit of potential to exercise what I had that needed development.

Q. I’ve read that you are color blind; how did you find out and does being color blind affect the way you create art?

4 years ago, I remember driving one morning and was really fascinated with the bluish pink color of the sky. I thought it was breathtaking to behold. Then months had passed by, I was so busy I didn’t notice that every morning the sky looked like it was always ready to rain. It was so weird. Right then I began to notice some colors just gradually changed as days gone by. The leaves on the trees eventually became pink, the sky a greenish pink, the watercolor palette that I’ve been using became monotone. My ophthalmologist then told me that I have tritanopia, a rare color deficiency characterized by the vision’s lack of blues and yellows.

It does affect the way I do my art. Right now, I rely mostly on the color guide of my palette, that I wrote when I still had a normal vision, to know what color I am dipping my brush in. As for mixing, it’s just a matter of guessing and trying to recall what I learned when putting one particular color to another color and its outcome. It’s hard but I’m used to it.

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Q. When did you hear from Rob Broder at Ripple Grove Press about working on the illustrations for The Peddler’s Bed? What was your first meeting like?

Rob Broder, president and founder of Ripple Grove Press, saw my name at the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, emailed me and asked if I am interested in illustrating a book called The Peddler’s Bed. He showed me the manuscript, read it, and the message of the story just clicked on me, so I said ‘yes’.

Luckily for us both, Mr. Broder had been planning on visiting his brother who lives in Miami. So I set up a meeting at my favorite Brockway Library near our place. Cool gentleman. He arrived on a bicycle. The library was also a perfect place for us to meet. It was quiet and of course had a lot of sample books for the discussion. I just wish Amanda, his wife, and their daughter was there. I would have loved to meet them both as well.

Q. You’ve created such vivid and lively illustrations for The Peddler’s Bed. What paints and materials did you use? And can you describe your process of creating an illustration from beginning to end?

I used watercolor on a 300gsm watercolor paper for The Pedder’s Bed. For the most part, my process on making a piece, like other artists, starts with a lot of sketches, drawing the characters, repeatedly, with different expressions, gestures, angles, and situations. The repetition is essential on my part because it is somehow the time when the cast of characters and I are getting to know each other, the same manner as constantly hanging out with a new friend and knowing them enough that you’ve already memorized the shape of that person’s ears, how the person giggles, the person’s temperament and so on.

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Once I am comfortable with the characters, I then start with the sketches of scenes beginning with thumbnails for tonal value and composition.

Those thumbnails then had to be resketched on a larger piece of paper for details. After countless pencil sharpening and erasing, everything had to be redrawn, again, on a large watercolor paper or canvas before painting the final piece. It is the best part of the whole process, in my opinion, because at this time, while painting (I usually paint late hours at night), my mind would finally take a rest, at least from the book anyway. It’s very therapeutic for me when painting, while the whole world is sleeping. It’s also the time when my mind would create other stories for me to tell.

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I used to play around with color studies when doing details before I do the finalization of a piece on a watercolor paper or canvas. But those times are long gone for me.

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Q. What do you like most about creating books for children?

What do I love most about creating picture books for kids? I love picture books so much that when making one it’s like creating something for the child in me to read and own.

Q. What projects are you working on right now?

Right now I am working on developing a short comics that I made into a silent picture book. There is also this story I am working on planning to turn into a ‘picture book for grown-ups’.

Q. Where can fans connect with you online?

They can just go visit my blog and my tumblr site where I constantly update what’s keeping me busy.
www.bongredila.blogspot.com
www.bongredila.tumblr.com

Q. Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers about yourself, your art, or working on The Peddler’s Bed?

Buy the book. :)

And watch out for any reading and signing events from either Lauri and I.

Thank you, Bong!

More about Bong Redila (from his website www.bongredila.com): 

Born in 1971, one of Bong Redila’s earliest memories as an artist is the day, around mid 70’s, in the Philippines, when he and his older brother were being punished for using their aunt’s lipstick as a medium to draw cartoon characters on their parent’s bedroom wall.

By the early 90’s, they moved to the beautiful island of Guam and he spent the rest of his teen years mentoring with some of the finest artists in the Marianas – Christian Mahilum, Arman Germar, Boi Sibug, Jon Medina. He then went on to become the first, youngest member of the artists organization The Saturday Group of Guam. He joined numerous group exhibits and later on, opened his very own art exhibit called Stages.

Now living in Miami, Florida, with his beautiful and supportive wife, Arceli and their ever so charming daughter, Oneng, Bong is still a regular contributing artist for Guam’s newspaper Mabuhay News. Aside from his monthly editorial cartoons, he is the author and creator of the long-running comic strip “Bayani Cafe”.

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Picture Books At The Library 17

1 Comment

In my position as a technical processing assistant at the DeWitt Community Library, I catalog a lot of new picture books. Unfortunately, I cannot review them all, but I do read them all and have assigned a :) to my favorites. Finley Frog's favorite is marked with a 8). Below are a few I've cataloged recently. (Whenever possible, summaries have been taken directly from the books.)

In my position as a technical processing assistant at the DeWitt Community Library, I catalog a lot of new picture books. Unfortunately, I cannot review them all, but I do read them all and have assigned a :) to my favorites. Finley Frog’s favorite is marked with a 8). Below are a few I’ve cataloged recently. (Whenever possible, summaries have been taken directly from the books.)

An unexpected adventure with his friends and a kite convinces Penguin Blue that he is not built for flying, and that he belongs on solid ice.

Too excited to hibernate through his first winter, a bear cub tries to find spring.

:) While his life seems perfectly good as it is, Cardell, a young coyote, learns to tolerate–and even like–the coyote that is courting his mother.

:) A mother and baby have fun spending the day together as they play, work in the garden, visit the park, and more.

:) Illustrations and easy-to-read, rhyming text reveal that whether one is feeling frightened, grumpy, or shy, three special words can make things better.

:) Monkey and Duck enter a rhyming contest but there is one problem–Duck cannot rhyme and all he says is “quack”.

It’s always been just the two of them–daydreaming, having adventures, playing their special game. Until the day someone else asks, “Can I play?”

The lamb Sydney befriends the shepherd girl Zhi, as well as other animals of the Chinese lunar calendar, and demonstrates the qualities of a kind heart.

Can friendship bloom between a dog and a chick?

Otto the Owl doesn’t fit in because he would rather recite poetry than hunt mice.

8) Rex, a tyrannosaurus, finds an egg and loves it enough to save it from a volcano that is about to erupt, protecting it as he runs, falls, splashes, tumbles, and more on the way to his nest.

:) Glamourpuss loves being the center of attention. So when an unwelcome guest (a dog, no less!) steals the spotlight with some tasteless bow-wowing and undignified tail-wagging, Glamourpuss worries that she is going to fall out of fashion.

Eight wild bears–Moon Bear, Sun Bear, Sloth Bear, Brown Bear, Spectacled Bear, American Black Bear, Giant Panda and Polar Bear–all shown in their wild habitats in spectacular watercolor paintings.

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