Thursday, February 11, 2021

Chinese New Year | Healthy, Healthy, Love, Love, Love

Celebrating a New Book!

Healthy, Healthy, Love, Love, Love

Healthy, Healthy, Love, Love, Love
was released around the world on Oct 15, 2020.

In this vibrant board book, love triumphs over germs. Concise text and bold illustrations show little ones how to stay healthy in a germy world...

...and how to respond with love when germs win.

Celebrating Chinese New Year!

(The Backstory)

In early 2020, our family of three was living in China when my son experienced an unexpected health crisis. He made a complete and super speedy recovery, thank goodness! I lived with him in the hospital for a week as he recovered from two surgeries. 

He was released on Saturday, Jan 25, Chinese New Year, two days after we first heard about a dangerous new virus that had appeared in Wuhan, 500 miles away. 


...the world bristled as the U.S. President insisted on calling Covid-19 "the China virus."

A few pages from my sketch journal. I wrote down stuff that my son said as well as my prayers for him, and many other observations.

Wanting to find a way to channel our experience into a book—perhaps a middle grade chapter book or a graphic novel— I sent a few sketches to my agent. 

Her diplomatic reply steered me back to my wheelhouse. "I think you should stick with what you do best… young and maybe a board-book?  Maybe how to be safe book mixed with tolerance?"

Less than a week later I was able to send her a completely sketched dummy for "Healthy, Healthy: Love, Love, Love." Apparently it's the book I've been training for ever since my baby brought home his first germ from Sunday school. :o)

Our son was scheduled to fly to New Zealand to begin university, but borders began closing all over the world. It was crazy stressful, but he got out, and because of the crazy situation, we went with him.

Working on notes for the book during the flight, on the only scrap of paper I had—an old grocery list. 

The book taking shape as my husband and I floated around New Zealand staying in various AirBNBs.

An early sketch for a title page, which ultimately didn't make it into the book.

With wonderful feedback from HarperCollins's Tamar Mays, the book took shape and was eventually added to Harper Festival's Fall 20 lineup. By the time it was released in October, my husband and I had moved to Malaysia where he is now working.

Goodbye, Year of the Rat...

...hello, Year of the Ox! Happy Lunar New Year, everyone. Sending you lots of love and hope for a wonderful 2021.


Healthy, Healthy Love, Love, Love

written and illustrated by Violet Lemay

edited by Tamar Mays

designed by Rick Farley

published by HarperCollins/Harper Festival 2020

Click here for a list of purchasing options.


Click here to read about the making of the book trailer video on my other blog, Illustories.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Happy News for "TummyTime™: Happy Baby"

TummyTime™: Happy Baby has been making a bit of a splash lately, with two new honors.

babydocbox Review

Dr. Alison Scott, founder of subscription box babydocbox has written a great endorsement for duopress's TummyTime™ series, which currently includes books illustrated by Jannie Ho, Violet Lemay, and Hsping Pang.
When searching for an interactive mirror activity for babydocbox's 4-6 month box, we found the perfect item with duopress's TummyTime™ series. This attenion grabbing book allows babies to practive tunny time and engage visually with morrors—a favorite passtime for babies this age!  ~ Alison H. Scott, MD, FAAP, Founder/CEO of babydocbox.

Across the Avenue

TummyTime™: Happy Baby is included in Across the Avenue's 2020 Holiday Guide. Hooray!

Big thanks to CJ Keller of Across the Avenue, not only for the kind words, but also for the lovely photos.

Follow the link below to be redirected to Across the Avenue. :-)

Across the Avenue: 2020 Holiday Gift Guide: Give the Gift of Reading!...: Children's books are at the top of our gift list every holiday season. It's a tradition we hope to pass on through generations as a ...

Sunday, December 6, 2020

That Time John Oliver Used my Illustration in a Bit

Pringles Update: 

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

(Web Exclusive)

Yes, it's true. My husband Fred and I were lounging on the couch watching clips from our favorite US late-night shows one night, and John Oliver got to wondering about the Pringles guy; specifically, what his body looks like.

Joe Biden had just been announced as the winner of the 2020 presidential election, and John was feeling good. Earlier in the show he dedicated 30 entire seconds to the marvels of the octopus. It was glorious.

So as we sat there enjoying all of this, my mind got to wondering about the Pringles guy, and somehow put it together with the octopus footage we'd just seen. I sat down to draw an octopus but then thought, Oh wait, I drew one of those for duopress's 2015 book "Hello, Ocean Friends!". I found the art, pasted a Pringle head from the internet over the octopus's body, and voila: the Pringlepus was born. It was gloriously easy.

Five minutes after tweeting the thing to Mr. Oliver, I was alseep. 

I woke to frantic e-mails from my agent, Mela. "Where are you? John Oliver wants to use this image! Is that okay?"

Is that okay? Oh, yes. How fun!!

Thanks so much, John Oliver. Not only for using my art in your clip, but also for your wisdom and clarity. Fred and I are huge fans. Love the show.

All best,


Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Chicago Public Library's Best Books of 2020!!


Happy to report that LIBRARY BABIES has been selected as one of the Chicago Public Library's Best Books of 2020!!

Click here to see the full list.

And click here to order your copy of Library Babies today! 

The Best of the Best lists represents the library’s choices for the year’s most outstanding titles, books of exceptional quality for a diverse, city-wide readership. The list is widely promoted throughout Chicago, including local news coverage. Extra copies of these books are ordered in various formats to be promoted throughout the city, give them special labels, and to be featured in branch displays and in the catalog and web site. Titles are also presented to staff as great reading suggestions to promote to patrons.

Written by Puck and illustrated by Violet Lemay, designed by Jeff Shake, Library Babies was published by duopress in the spring of 2020.

Friday, October 16, 2020


I know that Covid-19 has made voting more difficult, and I totally get it. I sent in my absentee ballot from New Zealand last time around, and this time will vote from Malaysia. Living overseas complicates voting in US elections, but with some effort and perseverance, it's possible—and is more than worth the effort. 

Wherever you are, my fellow Americans, please do cast your votes... and please be safe in the process.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Doña Rosa

Doña Rosa, a bilingual story series written by Ana Galán that I've had the pleasure of illustrating for the past five years, comes to a close in the latest issue of Highlights High Five. 

As new issues of Doña Rosa have been released over the years, friends have often shared photos of their children are enjoying the stories. I will miss that.
When this illustration project was first assigned to me, I was living in upstate New York. Since then, Doña Rosa has traveled the globe with me. I've drawn her in New Zealand, China, and even Fiji! 

The above photo was taken at a hotel bar in Fiji, where I was sipping coffee (not cocktails) while finishing up art for the 2019 holiday issue.

Thanks for the memories, Doña Rosa

Thank you to Ana Galán for writing the stories, thank you to Highlights High Five for including me in this cool project, and thanks to both Kelley Lanuto and Yvonne for all of their great art direction.

To read more about the process of creating all of the Doña Rosa illustrations, click here.


Click here to check out Doña Rosa and tons of other cool content in old issues of Highlights High Five

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

I Can Be Like...

I'm pleased to announce the release of I Can Be Like... A Book of Masks of Inspiring Women, by duopress labs, illustrated by Yours Truly, Violet Lemay.

Book, or Mask?

I Can Be Like... is an innovative book that opens up into a mask. Turn the pages to reveal the entire collection of six cool masks, each with a tiny bit of biographical text on the left, and a quote on the right. 

Hold the open book up to your face to pretend to be Greta Thunberg, Megan Rapinoe, Frida Kahlo, Michelle Obama, Emma Watson, or Malala Yousafzai.

I Can Be Like... A Book of Masks of Inspiring Women

by duopress labs
illustrated by Violet Lemay
Available everywhere books are sold. Click here to order your copy today!