Friday, December 21, 2018

See you in January!

I could not have asked for a nicer or more inspiring way to end my HEY, KIDDO book tour than by sitting down with Jacqueline Woodson to talk about family, writing memoir, kidlit, and pets. Thank you for making this space for us, Brooklyn Public Library. Photo by Sammy Juliano.

It has been such a wild and intense few months, which follows a few years of vigorous studio work. Book touring for HEY, KIDDO was exhausting yet invigorating with equal parts filled with anxiety and elation. I can’t thank you enough for all of the kind missives sent over social media. I am grateful to every person who attended my readings—old friends from every corner of my life mixed in with readers who grew up with my work or were new to it. My author pals lifted me up at each event, engaged in conversation, leaving me inspired. To the readers who have walked a similar path and either shared those stories or gave me a knowing look—thank you. Nothing more profound I can muster but a heartfelt sense of gratitude for you.
And now I am taking a leave of absence from this social media machine. I want to have quiet moments with my family. I want to write, draw, create. I have a pile of books I’m eager to read.
So with that, I wish you the very best this holiday season. And I’ll see you at the end of January! ?

Chicken Talk!

I’m about to take a substantial break from social media to focus on writing but before I sign off, I want to let you know about CHICKEN TALK. It‘s a new picture book written by Patricia MacLachlan, an absolute LEGEND! What a thrill it was to illustrate a book for her. It publishes on January 15th, and I hope that you’ll consider picking it up. It’s Patty’s dry wit at its best. And it has chickens. Chickens who learn to read and write and protest their standard arugula meals... January 15th! Chicken Talk!

Etsy Order Sendoff

Thank you to everyone who ordered a commission on Etsy! Your art will be with you soon. With any luck, I will be able to open the Etsy store back up at some point in 2019.‬

Sketch-a-Thon 2018!

Did you miss the Live Sketch-a-Thon? The video has been edited down and archived at:‬‬. Or you can watch it above! 
Look for cameos by Lisa Yee and Mo Willems!

All Aboard!

Gina and I love volunteering to help with Santa’s train displays at Look Park. As the conductor, here’s my annual schtick: Elves give visiting children a magic ticket. I then question the validity of the ticket before punching it. Did they get this ticket from a reputable source? There has been a ring of elves running counterfeit tickets, after all. Then I punch a few dozen holes in their ticket, leaving behind a pile of confetti, and tell the kids that Santa has been patiently waiting for them...
It’s a good gig.


#ThrowbackThursday to that time Dan Santat and I were just chilling at the airport, trying to read our Bone comics, when this creeper kept hovering around behind us... ‬

International Museum of World War II

If you find yourself near the Natick Mall in Eastern Mass, try and make time to visit the The International Museum of World War II. It’s a treasure trove of artifacts and can be found in a very nondescript building. I visited while researching HEY, KIDDO because I wanted to know more about what my grandfather’s time in the navy was like. The place is astounding—filled with uniforms, vehicles, posters, and just about any piece they could collect to help tell the story of WW II.

In the beginning...

You just need one person to open that door for you. In the fall of 1999, Tracy Gates was an editor at Knopf Books for Young Readers at Random House. One of my promotional postcards landed on her desk, and it piqued her interest, so she followed the URL listed on the card to my website. Now, in the late 90s, that was a commitment—those portfolio images took a long time to download. That same day, I fired up my dial-up modem to check my email, and there was an email from Tracy—inviting me in to show my work, wondering if I had written any stories. From that meeting came GOOD NIGHT, MONKEY BOY, published on June 12, 2001. Tracy also edited two of my other early picture books—BAGHEAD and BUBBLE BATH PIRATES. What a thrill it was to see her at last week’s reading of HEY, KIDDO in Brooklyn.

Revenge of the Sis Interview

Head on over to to get the latest on the Jedi Academy book that I made with Amy Ignatow. Based on our vantage here, I think we should start a 70’s style variety show. Click here to read!

A Night at the Nutcracker!

Another year as Mothah Gingah. ✔️‬
So much fun to be a part of the Nutcracker show with my kids. ‬
Glitter beard for dayssss. I mean literally for idea how I’m going to get this stuff out....‬

My 3rd annual Nutcracker sketchbook. 
Gesture sketches made as an audience member and backstage as a Mother Ginger. 
Congratulations to everyone at Pioneer Valley Ballet on their 40th run of The Nutcracker!

Hey, Kiddo Press Roundup pt. 5

So psyched (and honored) to be a finalist for the YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award! Congratulations to my fellow finalists Elizabeth Partridge, John Hendrix, Don Brown and Justice Sonia Sotomayor!

The New York Times has released its list of notable books of 2018, and Hey, Kiddo is on it. Never in a gazillion years did I think this book would be received as it has been.
So very thankful.

So psyched to have an ad for HEY, KIDDO in Entertainment Weekly. Also so excited to see the upcoming Mary Poppins Returns—it looks incredible!

What message would I send out to the grandparents raising grandkids because of the opioid epidemic—and what would I say to those grandkids?‬ Listen to the full Radio Boston interview here.

In case you missed today’s Today Show...HEY, KIDDO received a major shout out from BuzzFeeds Isaac Fitzgerald! ??? Watch here: 24 best books to give this holiday season, according to best-selling authors.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Holiday Etsy Orders!

I’ll have a small window to give my Etsy shop a reprise! So I’ll take orders now and then execute and ship them in a few weeks: 

When you order, please see the instructions that will come in the auto-reply. My studio assistant, Sam, will help you from there! Thanks!

Annual Sketch-a-Thon!

I’ll be LIVE in the studio for five hours drawing my heart out to raise money for art education. Please mark your calendars for December 12. I’ll stream this here at and also (hopefully) at All of the art that I make will be immediately put up on eBay for auction. And perhaps some of my illustrative neighbors will pop in, too!

Hey, Kiddo in Chicago

I was in Chicago for HEY, KIDDO book tour. And you damn well better believe I was wearing my National Book Awards Finalist medal!

That thing where you are up late at the National Book Award Gala in NYC but you have a previously scheduled visit to schools and libraries in Chicago, so you wake up super early and fly out there, you get to the school, set up & there’s a fire alarm. And it’s snowing. 

Thank you, firefighters!! 🔥

National Book Award Photos

What a night! My book will forever have a silver sticker on its cover, and I’ll forever have this love on my arm. Thrilled to be a part of this whole thing that is the National Book Awards. What an exhilarating couple of days. Thank you all for the love and support!

SO many congratulations to Elizabeth Acevedo! Her POET X is brilliant, as is she. Her speech was moving and inspiring—which should come as no surprise to anyone who has had the opportunity to hear her. So if you have yet to read POET X—get on that!

It’s in the details! My editor, David Levithan, and art director, Phil Falco, surprised me with touches of burnt orange. David with his tie and cummerbund, Phil with his pocket square and socks. (Plus, Phil’s tux was navy blue.) Pure book love and support. 

In the fall of 1999, when I was schlepping my portfolio around to publishers, I wandered into Books Of Wonder. What hope it gave me. I signed a few books for them at last night’s event for the National Book Award Finalists…

From readings in hallowed venues all across to a celebration at Scholastic to the red carpet. WOW! What a trip to be a National Book Award Finalist. Here are a whole mess of photos from my experience. Honored to be there with Leslie, Tobin, Eugene, Liz, and CPC.