December 2013 Hedge a gram

ANIMAL_SANTA_Page_28_29 Animals Santa Bunnies sketch

Happy December!

This is Jan Brett with my monthly update on my book illustrating I call my hedge a gram after my favorite animal the hedgehog. I’ve just come back from my national two and a half week book tour. If you joined me on one of my stops, thank you from the bottom of my heart for being there. I so enjoyed my interactions with all of the dedicated teachers and librarians as well as the families that came and brought their children. I have a very isolated profession, and I spend hours and hours working on my books. Our children are grown, so it is a great pleasure to see so many children excited by books and love drawing and writing. I’m always stunned by the explosion of incredible artwork I see on my tours. When children bring me their drawings, I’m often in awe about our innate artistic ability. I hope that when I do my drawing lesson at the signings, everyone goes home feeling they would also like to draw and color. This tour was a little different because I brought four of my chickens, ones that starred in the book I was signing, CINDERS. They were on TV four times! Cinders, my silver Phoenix pullet jumped right out of her box when it was time to present her to the assembly! She really like showing off! It was fun having the chickens on the bus. When Joe and I finished our evening signing, we would stop to buy a takeout dinner, which we would eat on the bus, and then Cinders would come out of her box and socialize. There is nothing like riding on a beautiful bus with a cozy chicken riding on your shoulder. They had an exercise pen so they had nice outings on green grass almost every day.
I’m back to working on my book set in northern Canada, THE ANIMAL’S SANTA, although I’m doing it in an unexpected place, Thailand. We are visiting with our daughter, her husband, and two grandchildren who live in Okinawa Japan. Our Thailand trip is our holiday time to be with them, although I will work on my book every day. I’m on the last few spreads of my book which is due in January. The jacket art has been completed, but we are in talks with my publisher’s art designer and my editor about the display type. The display type is the sometimes fancy lettering that forms the book title, and is done, not by me but by a very talented designer who works at my publisher.
I’m also thinking about next year’s book. I may do a gingerbread baby story, unofficially called THE GINGERBREAD DANCE, in which I give the wiley gingerbread baby another chance to outwit his arch enemy, the hungry fox. Or, I may retell THE TURNIP, a Russian folktale that I have always loved.
My thoughts return again and again in appreciation to all of you who have come to my signings. I’ve had the rare opportunity to see children from many parts of the US with their amazing artwork in tow. It is especially electrifying to not just to see ability and talent, but some of the children bought their unique vision to their art work which is like a miracle of creativity to me. My dearest wish is that children experiment and enjoy their creative skills, and make it a habit that will stay with them their whole lives.

Happy Creating,

Jan Brett

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