Thursday, May 12, 2022

GEMS Podcast


This morning I was interviewed by the lovely Genesis Amaris Kemp on her podcast, GEMS.

We talked about publishing, creativity, inspiration, and following your dreams... and even cures for writers block.

Click here to listen.

If you prefer to watch on YouTube, click here.

GEMS is a fun and inspiring podcast to follow. Whenever I listen, I feel like I'm having tea with friends. Make sure you subscribe!

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

The 500 Section Lounge Podcast

 https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-500-section-lounge-podcast/id1481244711





Hi, Everybody!

Yesterday, I was a guest on The 500 Section Lounge Podcast.




The 500 Section Lounge is a fun show, fresh and entertaining. The hosts—three dads who've been friends since high school—talk a lot of sports, so you may be thinking one of two things:

1) I want to hear three dads talk about sports and interview lots of cool sports personalities!

If that's you, no worries, settle down. All you have to do is click here, or use your Google machine. There are many ways to listen and subscribe.

2) What's a children's book illustrator doing on a podcast hosted by three dads?

 Well, let me tell you. The 500 Section Lounge podcast isn't just cool, it's super cool. There is something for everyone. Sam, Matt, and Richey talk to all kinds of people. In my favorite episode, they interview a beekeeper! Check it out, and make sure you subscribe.




The guys asked me all about what it's like to write and illustrate books for kids. They were completely gracious, their questions were insightful, and the experience was overwhelmingly positive. The only thing missing was pizza and beer. Or White Castle. (This is an inside joke... gotta listen to get it!)


I forgot to snap a screenshot during the pod, so this illustration will have to do. :o)


Click here to listen on Spotify... or just Google the show. There are tons of ways to hear it!


Saturday, April 2, 2022

Book-Fest Award for "Let's Be Friends"


I'm excited to announce that my latest book, Let's Be Friends, has won Book-Fest's first place award for multicultural children's books that celebrate diversity. Thank you, Book-Fest!


Click here to order your copy of Let's Be Friends, A Lift-the-Flap Book today.

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Hooray for "Babies Around the World"


The Best 100 Children's Books of All Time

Thank you, Reader's Digest, for ranking Babies Around the World fourth in your amazing list! Here is an excerpt, written by Molly Pennington, PhD:

4. Babies Around the World by Puck

Age: Baby to 4 years

Bonjour! Hola, amigos! In this adorable 2017 board book, babies from all around the world offer the simplest of greetings: hello. Toddlers and the littlest humans will not only learn how to greet people in other languages, but they’ll also discover the diverse world they’re living in. Cheerful, inclusive illustrations depict happy kiddos engaged in daily life.


Click here to read the entire article.

Click here to read why Babies Around the World is near and dear to my heart.

And click here to order your copy of Babies Around the World today.



Tuesday, May 25, 2021

CBI Kidlit Distancing Social


On May 18th, I had the pleasure of joining the amazing Laura Backes Bard, founder of Children's Book Insider, for a live Zoom chat focusing on board books.

Click here to watch the replay.


I told the crazy stories behind my two most recent books, Healthy, Healthy, Love, Love, Love and Let's Be Friends. As luck would have it, I was able to reveal the cover for Let's Be Friends, which will be released by HarperCollins in December. Laura also asked me about The Obamas, A Lift-the-Flap Book, which was released in 2019. 



Dreaming of Writing for Children?

If you want to get into the business of children's books, get to know Laura Backes and Jon Bard, the team behind Write4Kids.org and Children's Book Insider. The couple has spent decades collecting helpful information for children's book writers. If you have always wanted to write for children but aren't sure where to begin, try one of these:

CBI's YouTube channel is a great place to start! There are tons of topics from which to choose. I've listened to every interview, and have learned from all of them.

Write4Kids.org is chock full of helpful info, too. While you're there, sign up for the CBI newsletter, which is amazing! Priceless content, for the price of a cup of coffee.

If you're looking for a class, CBI has got you covered. Their Writing Blueprints are revolutionary self-paced online courses tailored to various genres, at a very reasonable rate. I'm about to begin my own journey with one of these blueprints, and will keep you posted!

Meanwhile, if you have any questions about board books, give a shout!


Links to More Good Stuff

Click here to read more about my experience with the CBI interview on my WordPress blog.

Want to order some board books? Click the titles to be redirected to the publishers' websites; or, better yet, order them from your local independent bookstore! :o)

The Obamas, A Lift-The-Flap Book

Healthy, Healthy, Love, Love, Love

Let's Be Friends (pre-order now; this book is coming in December!)

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Book Week

Covid put the kibosh on live author/illustrator events, which has been such a bummer. Visiting schools, bookstores and libraries used to be one of the joys of my life! 

Lucky for me, my husband works at Shattuck-St. Mary's Forest City International School in Johor, Malaysia. As the only author/illustrator in residence, I was the obvious choice to be the school's Book Week guest. Technically, I was probably the only option, thanks to Covid; but hey, let's not parse the details. I was so grateful to be invited, and Book Week at SSM-FC turned out to be spectacular!

Throughout the week I got to visit classrooms from PreK through 5th grade. The smaller children and I read books together—many of mine, but also, I got to read books that the kids have been writing. Wonderful!

Showing thumbnail sketches from The Obamas: A Lift-the-Flap Book to a 4th grade class.

For the older kids, I read from my books, but also explained the process of illustration.



The main event was a half-hour presentation to grades 6-12 in the school's auditorium. I spent a lot of time preparing for this, honing a PowerPoint to keep me on track and on time, as much as to provide visuals for the mostly bilingual student body. (Many ESL students in the masked, socially-distanced crowd!)


The upper school principal provided me with talking points, which I was careful to include. The resulting presentation is divided fairly evenly into three sections: the story of how I got into publishing, what my life as an author/illustrator is like, and a general description of the publishing industry.



Click here to watch the whole thing on YouTube. Hopefully some of you teachers can find a use for this in your classrooms. It's chock full of visuals. Enjoy!



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. 

Meanwhile...

...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.