Archive for the ‘MY BOOKS’ Category

Christmas Cuts

I was reorganizing some drawers today, and took the time to notice all my drafts from A CHRISTMAS GOODNIGHT.

It’s always so interesting to go back and look at the process of such a big project. I had forgotten how much work went into illustrating 28 pages.

Gosh. seriously, I have 2 drawers full of sketches, drafts, final art, etc. that never even made it into the book. Or, rather, served as the rough drafts to what later became the book. The text of the book is so simple, and really lends itself to so many visual options. I was given some narrative guidelines, and then asked to submit rounds of art. And there were many rounds:)

For instance, I knew I wanted the sky to be something magical. But I didn’t know what, or how I was going to achieve that. This is a close up of a gouache painting that I attempted to see how it would look. It was a nice try, but not what the book needed. Close though.

This image, was going to be the opener, and I think I went through at least 8 versions of the opener. Maybe 9. 10? 11?

When I send in drafts, I get them back in print, with notes like this. Here is an image I wanted to use for the dedication page. I ended up tweaking it a bit, and if you’ve seen the picture, you’ll know how.

Anyways, it’s always so interesting for me to look back and relive what I was thinking and feeling during this kind of process.

And speaking of cuts, I stabbed myself pretty bad today. Ever wondered what would happen if you stepped off a stall stool onto a freshly sharpened jar of colored pencils? Well, let’s just say I had a little jousting match in the studio today, and while it left 3 holes in my foot, it was rather funny. Poor Ella, wondering why I was meddling with her little art supplies I keep for her on the floor while I work.

Art is a dangerous business, folks. You’ve got to be pretty crazy to do this stuff. For. Sure.

 

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CHRISTMAS GOODNIGHT GIVEAWAY

 

GIVEAWAY TIME!!!

This time last year was super exciting, as I was debuting my first picture book. It’s a labor of love to illustrate a picture book….one that I consider awesome and amazing and something I’d do again and again and again.

Today, I’m giving away THREE signed copies of A CHRISTMAS GOODNIGHT!

 

This sweet story was written in the style of Goodnight Moon, where the reader is saying goodnight to all the Nativity characters….first to the real life story, and then to his own Christmas surroundings.

It’s a sweet, simple lullaby text, not complex and narrative, but one that makes for a perfect bedtime story.

You can read reviews HERE

 

 

FOR THE GIVEAWAY: 

1) Leave a comment below

2) Make sure you enter your email address in the location asked in the comment box

3) Giveaway Closes THURSDAY at 10pm EST

4) I’ll announce the THREE winners Friday

OPTIONAL EXTRA ENTRIES:

1) Like my facebook page here, and then comment below to tell me

2) Sign up for my newsletter (on the sidebar) and comment below to tell me

3) Follow my Pinterest page, and comment below to tell me

4) Commit to reading as many Holiday books to your children this season! (no extra comments here…just a good idea :) 

 

 

Good luck!

CLOSED: 

Congrats to Freja, Janet & Michelle! Winners have all been contacted. Thanks so much!

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Spring Giveaway #3: French Kids Eat Everything

I don’t have to introduce this one too much, do I?

I’ve written about it here and here, but if you are a new reader today, let’s just say that FRENCH KIDS EAT EVERYTHING is a gold nugget in parenting books. I was so honored to illustrate it, and I have been so pleased with how well it’s done in the couple weeks that it has been out.

In an effort to reveal how certain cultures teach their children about food….both directly and indirectly….Karen le Billon guides us through how to help our families slow down and notice our ways of eating and thinking about food, and how to help our children have happier and healthier eating habits. From focusing on whole foods, quality family dinner time, why we eat what we do and how, Karen makes the argument that at least in the French culture, children have a much different relationship to food than the average American child.

“A wonderful—and important—book. One family’s topsy-turvy culinary transformation becomes an in-depth exploration of the habits that have kept French kids loving food (and eating spinach) for centuries.” (Elizabeth Bard, author of Lunch in Paris )

I loved illustrating this book, and how happy it was to do! Karen’s approach to the book is witty, humorous and fresh…which was so fun to illustrate!

 

Today, I’m giving away 1 signed (by me) copy of the book!

Here’s the scoop:

1) Leave as many as 4 comment below: one regular comment, and 3 with the information about your facebook/Pinterest activity:

2) LIKE Karen’s Facebook page and leave another comment with the update

3) LIKE my giveaway post on FACEBOOK and come back here to comment with the update

4) REPIN or PIN this image on PINTEREST and then come back and comment about your PIN (My pinterest account here)

2) Entries will be closed at midnight Eastern Standard time

3) Check back tomorrow to see who the winner is

4) And, if you can right click one more time, spread the word the best way you know how: Twitter, Facebook, Good Reads, Like it on Amazon, tell your kid’s school teacher…Let’s keep the book industry stay alive, shall we? It’s a struggling world out there on many levels, and books haven’t been spared. Sharing the love, even just with a click, can make such a difference!

**only comments on this post will be counted, so make sure to comment about your other activity….thanks!**

Good luck!

 

**COMMENTS CLOSED** Congrats to Janey #90!

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Sneaky Peeky

Hello! I feel like it’s been forever since I posted (ok…a week!) The trouble about blogging and working as I do,  is that most of what I do all day is stuff that I can’t talk about! It’s the nature of producing things that take  a long time to mature and get out the door. Books for instance take a ba-jillion years (well, it feels like it!) and that goes with fabric, products, etc.

But I want to give you a little sneak peek into what’s happening oh so soon….

Sneaky Peek #1:

CHILDREN AT PLAY PAPER LINE!

First let’s talk PAPER!

Making Memories was in touch with me earlier last year about turning the Children at Play fabric line into a children’s paper line. Um…ya! That was an exciting YES!! But I didn’t want it to be just ANY paper line. This one has the same feeling as the fabric…playful, and creative. Paper Pinwheel kits, banner kits…even…(eeek!) Paper dolls with clothing that sports the fabric design…etc. Oh! And not to mention paper, paper, paper! (For wallpapering dollhouses of course:)

I won’t go too much into detail now (there is so much more to show you!) because it won’t be available for another month or so….but I just had to give you a heads up.

You can see more images here on the website if you want! But stay tuned for better photos and DIY’s when it becomes more available!

 

Sneaky Peek #2:

MORE BOOKS!

A new Non-fiction I’ve been working on with Harper Collins…a Fantastic book! So lucky to have been a part of it.

FRENCH KIDS EAT EVERYTHING is such a fantastic book, I had to force myself to illustrate it because all I wanted to do was underline every other line and really read it slowly. It’s the story of a Super-Mom (Karen Le Billon) who moved to her husband’s native Northern France with her 2 small girls, and emerses herself into the foreign culture of French eating habits. Why do children there eat everything? They stay at the table for long hours! They don’t snack?! They aren’t afraid to eat new foods and their children are expected to eat it all?  Etc, etc. Principles my husband and I have tried to adopt since we started parenting, we found to be well and alive in the French culture.  And Karen Le Billion outlines how she turned her 2 incredibly picky eaters into food connoisseurs over her year of delving and applying the unspoken rules of French eating. A Brilliant read, and will really make you think about how you feed your family!!! I can’t say enough…so i’ll share more when it comes out in April. But you can pre-order here and hop on over to Karen’s blog here.

So…I highly recommend this book if:

1) You have desires to have a better eating experiences with your children (i.e. no food wars, healthy eating & overall happy experience)

2) If you are fascinated with the idea that there are other cultures in the world where cooking, eating, grocery shopping, and feeding your children are central (and very pleasurable) parts of the day

3) Love the growing trends of “slow food” and “real food” but don’t know how to bring that down to a family level

4) Want to know more about the WHY behind the often stereotypical French habits with food &  why they make for very happy, healthy children.

FRENCH KIDS EAT EVERYTHING is available for pre-order here.

So, I know none of these will be available until around March-ish….but I had to give you a little peek into what’s coming! I have more to share on both accounts, so stay tuned!

Eek! It feels like Christmas in February (February??? Already?) Maybe I’m the only one who’s excited here…but I’m just tickled to have been part of some really awesome projects. More soon!

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Christmas Goodnight activities & GIVEAWAY!

Making paper puppets is a wee bit too much fun. Maybe it’s because it’s when I really get to see my art come alive with my kids! That’s also probably why I love illustrating books and fabric so much, because I get to see children handling and playing with the art.

For A Christmas Goodnight, I’ve made some fun coloring pages and paper puppets to go with the story. I think you’ll have fun making up all sorts of uses for these!

A Christmas Goodnight tells the simple story of a little boy saying “Goodnight” to all the characters in the Nativity…

 

Goodnight to the Baby in the hay

Goodnight to the doves, coo-coo

Goodnight to the sleepy Mother

Goodnight to Joseph too

 

But you don’t realize it’s the little boy saying goodnight until the very end, and it’s just a charming read.

 

COLORING PAGES

Download here.

So, what I did, was create 2 pages of characters and objects from the book, so you can create your own interactions and say “goodnight” as well! Some ideas for you:

1) Color in each character as you read the story

2) Make your own ornaments, and hang on the tree as you read the story to your children

2) Back with felt and make a felt board scene.

3) Make your own Christmas Goodnight scene and glue the pictures to the “Starry Night” backdrop I made for the puppet theater.

4) Play a “Find and Seek” game and while you read, have your child go seek the cut out character from around the room, to place on the tree, or in a scene.

 

 

DOWNLOAD THE COLORING PAGES HERE

 

Nativity Puppet Theater

Download here.

 

The Puppet Theater is simple, but really fun to set up!

In the book, I designed a very starry sky for that magical Christmas night.  We usually imagine that night with the ONE new star  in the sky. But while that star is the brightest, I imagined that if I were a star, I’d want to shine the brightest for Baby Jesus too! So, it’s a starry night…full of stars that all want to shine their best!

This little scene is perfect for acting out and can even be added too with the coloring page characters, if you want to add more!

 

DOWNLOAD THE PUPPET THEATER HERE.

 

But right now…I really just want to say thank you!!

Thank you for all your sweet email, comments, notes and support. I’ve loved hearing how you have wrapped this up under the tree….or that you’ve already read it to your little children. Creating my very first book around the best story ever told, was such a wonderful challenge! Wonderful because best story ever told, but challenging because it also the most TOLD story ever told. How do you illustrate a story that EVERYONE knows, and loves? It was very daunting and very intimidating for much of the process. But in the end, I just feel honored to have illustrated this story! It’s simple and unassuming…yet warm and magical. All how that night must have been.

And to say Thank You,

I thought we could have a little GIVEAWAY!!

All you need to do, is leave a comment below, and I’ll choose THREE winners to get  a signed copy of the book, as well as  the “For Unto You” print, unframed. Or, any print of your choice. But I thought these would go well together!

 

TO ENTER:

1) Leave one comment below (making sure to leave your email in the comment form)

2) Like this giveaway on Facebook here.

3) Tweet about the giveaway or book using #christmasgoodnight  My twitter is here.

4) Comments will be closed Monday night at midnight (EST)

5) USA and International welcome!

6) I’ll total up the number of tweets, comments and facebook likes to randomly select the winner.

7) But in the mean time…print off these coloring pages and have some fun this weekend!

Enjoy!

 

Thanks again! I hope you are all getting into the Christmas Spirit! Love to you all!!

xo

sarah

 

 COMMENTS CLOSED!

 

 

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Peek into A Christmas Goodnight

I’ve made a book trailer that I think really gets to the core of what this book is about. Creating activity pages for children to play with goes right along with the themes of children interacting with the Christmas Story, and so I hope you enjoy!

You can purchase the book here.

More information on the book here.

You can download FREE PDF printables that go with the book in tomorrow’s post.

I’m feeling more like Christmas than ever before. This book was so, so special to make, and finally enjoying the book with children has sealed the deal. I love this work.

xo

sarah

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In Review

When you put a book out in the world, it’s only natural for you to hope people like it. I mean, it’s a labor of love, and you get really close to your work, and you really have no idea how it will be received out in the big (critical) world out there.

I finished this book a year and a half ago. Can you believe that? I started it when Ella was born. It’s a weird idea to promote something that people are seeing as fresh and new, but really it’s something that is a part of your soul….from 2009. I know it’s part of the industry that I’m in, but I still can’t get used to it:)

So finding out that A Christmas Goodnight has received some warm praises, is such a highlight. This is my first experience with having my name in papers, and online reviews, so you can imagine how I’d be a little shy about hearing what people have to say. I’m just so glad that readers are finding it a classic and special way to bring in the Christmas Season!

Yesterday, A Chrismtas Goodnight was featured in the NEW YORK TIMES Book Review section, which is pretty neat. And I realized, that I haven’t really shared any reviews with you! Here you go:

 

“…a debut for Wright, the illustrator, “A Christmas Goodnight” features sweet faced children and animals and an especially cosy looking manger, which work well with Buck’s graceful rhymes.”

The New York Times

 

“Buck and debut illustrator Wright produce a book that deserves special status, to be kept off-season with other holiday decorations and then brought out each year at Christmas. Great for grandparents to give.”

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

 

“Quietly charming. A fine read-aloud for a group of little ones, but also a cozy choice as a December bedtime story. A terrific introduction for preschoolers who are just learning about the Nativity story.”

Kirkus Reviews

 

“The soothing rhyming text and soft palette of the illustrations is ideal for bedtime read-alouds while also serving as a straightforward introduction to the important characters in the story of that first Christmas. ”

The Horn Book

The most important reviews are the ones from the kids though. I love getting your emails sharing with me your children’s reactions….their favorites little characters (everyone loves either the little tiny bunny or the baby lamb) and it’s so special for me to hear that! Reactions from the children are the most important. I’m a newbie here in the publishing world, but I’m already working on more books…and if you have a review to share, I’d love it if you could post one online.

Last week, Kenneth and I took the kids out for a little family date night (ice cream cones and a trip to Barnes and Noble) and as we walked into the children’s section, guess what we saw for the first time! Addie and Ian had the cutest faces. The face that says: “No way! This store has the same book that mom made?” Ian was sure to hurry and point out the little hidden secrets in the book that he loves to see

Happy Monday! I’ve got tons of fun downloads and activities and Christmas play things to show you in conjunction with the book and with Christmas. I feel like a Christmas Elf!

Thanks all of you who have shared your wonderful emails and comments about the book. It’s a sweet, simple, uncomplicated book…the way the Christmas Story should be. It’s the kind of book that you have to read slow and feel. And I’ve loved reading your comments:)

And just a reminder…there are just a few more days (Dec. 10th internationally and Dec. 15th within in the U.S.) that you can get autographed bookplates from me that I’d be happy to sign and write a message on. You can get them here.

Happy Monday!!

xo

sarah

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On the doorstep.

I know I know….

 

It’s not even Christmas, but I need to take your time this morning and say…..

MY  DEBUT PICTURE BOOK IS RELEASED TODAY!

There I said it. I’m done now.

Well, maybe not. I really do want to say a little bit more, but honestly, I get a little shy. Isn’t that silly? It’s like stage fright. My fabric line was such a whirlwind release, and the art I create in the shop is usually the same. There was no time to be nervous.

But books are slow. Created fast and with crazy deadlines, but then you wait. And wait. And wait.

And the waiting has made me a little timid. Like, I want to say, “Are you still there? Do you still care? I made this book for you over a year ago….do you still want to read it?”

(Insert pigeon toes and flushed cheeks here)

Regardless, today it’s happening. All pre-ordered books are being delivered by white and brown trucks all over the country today. They will be (oh so gently laid) onto little doorsteps where a man in uniform will place brown cardboard boxes filled with art that I made in my basement studio, while listening to Christmas Choir music in July. A book with magic in the text that had gave me goosebumps the moment my editor read it to me over the phone for the first time. A book about Jesus and the light He brings to all the world. A book that still has my children begging to read it, even though it’s not even Halloween. A book that I’ve placed little secrets into that no one but myself and my children really know.

 

A book that was illustrated while moving twice, pregnant, going on partial bed rest, having a baby, buying a house, wading through financial difficulties and struggling through post partum, all while trusting in God to pull us through. It was quite literally a miracle in and of itself to be patiently wading through the “stuff” life brings, and then to illustrate the Christmas Story at night. I don’t think there could have been a better release for those emotions…I needed God, and I got to draw my emotions on paper.  This was my place to put in my feelings of my Savior, the miracle of His birth, and all the relationships that were formed around that miracle.

And now you get to be a part of that.

 

I actually didn’t pre-order any. Looking back maybe I should have! But I will have the honor of hand delivering copies to some very special people. And that will make for quite the perfect day.

I won’t post about this any more until the air is a little crisper and colder…but I just had to share a special moment. A life goal. A day that won’t ever come again.

I think I’ll go kiss a little lamb:)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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