Hey! This book, written by Colin with illustrations by me, comes out on October 24th! It's a middle grade novel about a kid named Charlie Fisher and his adventures with an international gang of child pickpockets in 1960s Marseille, France. We're proud of it! Come say hello and see us read/talk about/sign this book if we'll be in your town.
I thought this was so pretty that I ought to share it with the world.
The Whiz Mob and the Grenadine Kid! A standalone middle grade novel, set in Marseille in 1961. By Colin with art by me. Coming to a fine independent bookstore near you October 24th. Stay tuned for more info regarding tour, etc.
It’s been quite a week. The good news is that I spent the past 5 days in LA with family and friends I love, some of whom are pregnant and one of whom is my beautiful baby nephew, Felix. The bad news is political and too much to list here. But can I go back to a week ago today, when I found out Du Iz Tak had been awarded a Caldecott Honor? Will you humor me? Because I never really took the opportunity to say how much that meant to me or to thank the people that need thanking.
Suffice it to say, that disorienting 4 am phone call from a room full of librarians last Monday was one of the best moments of my life. I’ve been a lover, collector, and student of picture books since I was a teenager and I can’t overstate how much it means to me to be recognized this way. Thank you so much, Caldecott Committee!
Thanks also to Steve Malk for so many years of friendship, support, and impeccable guidance.
Thanks to my intrepid editor Liz Bicknell for understanding and embracing Du Iz Tak when it was an inscrutable manuscript without a single sketch to accompany it.
Thanks to Candlewick for all your hard work! Especially Erika Denn, Kristen Nobles, and Gregg Hammerquist who ever-so-patiently pieced this book together while I looked uselessly over his shoulder.
Thanks to Mac Barnett, Maile Meloy, Jon Klassen, and Colin Meloy for so much good advice about how to best tell this story.
Thanks to Colin for too many things to mention here, but especially for supporting me as an artist for 20 years, through thick and thin and parenthood. It's probably never easy when two artists raise kids together and - don't worry - we do our fair share of fighting over who should do what. But I couldn’t have made this book if I wasn't married to a guy who shares that responsibility equally and takes my art as seriously as he does his own.
Thanks to my parents and to my mother-in-law.
Thanks to the KBK!
And thanks to the kids book universe: the librarians, the booksellers, the agents, the people who work in publishing, the people who write the books, the people who make the pictures. It’s a very big crew and such a good one to be a part of. I feel so lucky to have landed among you all.
Some of you might remember that I was originally illustrating this book and may be wondering why I’m not anymore. The truth is that I struggled mightily with it for the better part of a year. I couldn’t figure out the right direction for it or the way in. It wasn't for lack or love of Pete, who is one of my great heroes, or for Colin, who is my favorite person on Earth, or for the book’s manuscript which is totally beautiful. I just couldn’t figure out how to illustrate this book. If you know me well you probably know how much trouble I had because I lamented it to anyone who would listen, including Nikki who always has lots of good advice. But eventually I threw in the towel. It was a big deal! I cried! A lot! It wasn’t a decision I made lightly.
Anyway, Nikki took over. She promptly started making perfect illustrations for this book and I realized that I just hadn’t been the right person for the job. That happens, I guess. All’s well that ends well and now I can’t wait for you all to see this stunning, timely picture book.
Every year I design a holiday card for my family. Past cards have celebrated the joy and magic of the season but man, these are dark days and right now I’m just focused on fighting for a better future.
I made a screenprinted poster of this design to benefit The ACLU and you guys bought out the first run in a flash! I don’t have the numbers yet but I know we've raised upwards of a $5k donation so far. THANK YOU! As for these cards, the ones I didn’t use are for sale in my shop and I’ll donate all the proceeds from these to Planned Parenthood, an organization that I couldn’t have lived without in my younger, broker years and one that needs all of our support right now. If you order them, they probably won’t get to you in time for Christmas/Hanukkah but they will make good thank you cards and also good LET’S FIGHT FOR A BETTER FUTURE cards.
May at Nationale will be reprinting that poster too - sometime in January it sounds like - and the proceeds will continue the benefit the ACLU. To inquire about the poster, email Nationale. To buy cards, visit my webshop.
ONWARD, LADY KNIGHTS.
A couple of weeks ago I made an illustration for this piece in the New York Times by Arthur C. Brooks about gratitude. It was in the paper the Sunday before last. Since then a lot of people have asked to buy a print of it and a few people have inquired about buying the original painting.
I'm very grateful this holiday season. For one, I feel profoundly lucky to be able to make a living as an artist. It's not a thing I ever expected to be able to swing and I don't take it lightly. So thanks very much to those of you interested in what I'm up to creatively. But even more acute is my gratitude for the health and happiness of my family. I think about this a lot. I try my best not to take it for granted. Which is why my heart aches so much for those who don't have what we have: food, shelter, safety.
Anyway, I am planning to make some prints of this painting. I'm pretty sure they'll be available in time for the holidays. Stay tuned. But! I'm also going to auction off the original painting and donate 100% of the proceeds to Mercy Corps, an organization that works to help people in need and to save lives every day. So, if you love this painting or if you want to help or ideally BOTH, you can bid on it HERE.
I'll be visiting a few bookstores in the Boston area next week. Come say hi if you're in the neighborhood.
Friday, December 4th at 4pm
An Unlikely Story Bookstore and Café
Saturday, December 5th at 4pm
Sunday, December 6th at 2pm
Wordstock, Portland's book festival, is back! This year it'll take place at the Portland Art Museum which is great news. Anyway, I'll be there on Saturday the 7th, reading Home and probably drawing and talking, etc. at noon. Then I'll be joining Maile and Colin Meloy, my talented sister-in-law and husband respectively, for something they're calling "The Meloy Family Hour", a conversation for OPB's State of Wonder, at 5:00. Then we'll be signing some books. Okay! See you there!
P.S. I found this photo on the internet. Thank you for taking it, somebody.
UPDATE: Here's a link to the interview we did for OPB.
Check out this book published by 826Michigan and featuring the work of top notch illustrators (Jon Klassen, Greg Pizzoli, Adam Rex, Dan Santat, Lisa Brown, so many more) providing art for short stories by student writers. Buy the book! Support 826 and writing programs for kids! Here's my illustration for "You're Fired, Alex!" by 14 year old Isaac Cochran.
Poa Cafe in Portland will be displaying original illustrations from Home through the month of August. I love this place: it's bright and pretty with good food and play areas for kids which include a reading nook and a little children's book library. I'll be signing copies of Home there on Saturday, August 1st from 3:00-6:00. I think they'll be for sale at the cafe? Pretty sure? Anyway, come by and say hi.
And on a related note, Nationale still has some very limited edition prints of selected illustrations from the book. Drop them a line for more info.
Thanks for the nice video, WeMake people.
Speaking of Yvonne and WeMake, I did a sketchXchange with them at Tillamook Station last month. I shared process work and sketchbooks with an audience, answered questions, and drank beer. It was a good time. Go here for a recap of the event and an interview I did with Britt Appleton from WeMake.