New Beginnings…..again

Last night’s mid term election and all that went before has led me to think about ‘new beginnings.’  They are usually well intended! full of optimism and creative thought and intentions.  We had a ‘new beginning’ around September this year  this and every year…..along with the new box of crayons, a new outfit for first day, and hair sparkling clean and brushed!  We have ‘new beginnings’ Jan 1 each year…also full of fresh intention and goals.  We clean out our studios and organize ourselves to push ahead and expand our minds and body of work.  Then after tax season we have another sort of new start….with more business creativity and awareness.  Surely there is a birthday, or several, in between where we appreciate the past years, and plan, hope and prepare for the new one with positive enthusiasm. Then summer starts again with yet another ‘new beginning’, change of rhythm and plans to do better and be better.

Thank heaven for ‘new beginnings!’….. but lets remember that we NEED these.  We NEED to reassess, reexamine, reestablish ourselves, our portfolios, our intentions, our families, our communities and country, and our lives in general.  Thank God, or the fates, for this need!  Refreshment is a lovely feeling and act…. or should be.  I have to hope that THIS community’s creativeness will jump in now, no matter what your political leanings,  and try in any way possible to help make the changes needed to our mode of governing and caring for our country and its people.

Ah….. that new box of crayons….. that need to make a new bright, maybe surprising line on the white paper…. full of color, brightness and promise!

burris HelloSchool Visit Aug 12 Coloring Pic

thanks to Priscilla Burris’ school visit for these young hands and crayon marks!

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Active ideas for book visits…

Now that ‘BACK TO SCHOOL’ is actually back, it’s seems a perfect time for some fresh ideas for your school and bookstore author/illustrator visits!  The visits are a fun and hands on way to promote sales of your new and older books, give back to the community, connect with your audience,  and make a little money on the side.  All good.  It’s time well spent for artists and writers as well!

Priscilla Burris, as you probably know, is FULL of bright, fun, creative ideas for most everything, and has allowed me to share some images for activities from  her latest visits promoting her new book, also written by Priscilla, HELLO SCHOOL! from Nancy Paulsen books at Penguin Putnam.  (check out the book!) 

PriscillaBurris (3)photo

She is willing to share as she gets ideas also from other artists who share on Instagram and Pinterest as well, and then makes them her own by linking them to her books.  These activities make the kids very involved and engrossed in her book story, and then making the story their own with the projects.  This enhances their connection with the book(s) and the artist….always good for further sales and visits.  Priscilla notes that she brings the print-outs for everyone, and the school or bookstore provides the crayons and glue.

Take a look, borrow and enjoy!  Happy Fall and fresh beginnings all!

Priscilla brings the b/w basic page and lets the kids color, glue on little red 3D ‘apples,’ and do whatever they wish!

BURRIS Read & Count

another fun page of activity they can do there or take home to do! It relates to the book, characters and their general learning.

PBURRIS Art & Kids JULY 10there are so many ideas to do with the classroom environment…. here Priscilla uses cut-outs of the main characters from her book  HELLO SCHOOL!  in a way that makes them feel more like REAL school friends!

Thank you Priscilla for sharing your ideas …here’s to  happy school days for all!

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Sweet Monsters? book launch….

many of us have them in our homes….. “sweet monsters!”  but we encourage the ‘sweet’…. this week launched a book about parents who REALLY wanted to encourage the ‘monster’… but it just wasn’t working well for Maximillian Villainous, the main character in Running Press’s new release by Margaret Greanias and our ‘to the max’ artist Lesley Breen Withrow!  

Withrow MAX cover

Max is just tooooo kind! and he can’t seem to be mean…. a BIG disappointment to his family of Monsters!


The story is ingenious for commenting on being ones self and finding a way to please yourself and others while doing that!  Such a treat for ALL our little ” monsters” and their parents! Check it out for a good lesson and many laughs!

withrow 12_MAX_lowres copy

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surprise publicity punch!

Burris Mag

I just happened on this book magazine at our Fairfield Main Public Library yesterday.  Maybe it’s everywhere and always been, but I hadn’t seen it.  And what should the section for children’s books hold for me but a wonderful surprise !! It’s theme was about ‘back to school’ books.  I wondered ….. sure enough one of the three books it reviewed was Priscilla Burris’ new HELLO SCHOOL which she wrote and illustrated (a first really) for Nancy Paulsen Books, Penguin Random House!!

Burris Mag 2

SUCH a thrill!  as is the fun, sweet, very realistic visual story of those first few days and weeks of a new school.  The wee characters are darling and familiar I felt, and their discoveries have all been made by others from year to year….which is why it’s so so perfect a story.  It IS the small but important things and happenings in a youngster’s day that makes their memories… our memories!

Burris Mag 3

Made MY day…..

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I am most pleased to spread the word about what promises to be a wonderful semester class called CREATING THE PICTURE BOOK!  Author/illustrator Steve Henry and long time editor Barbara Lalicki have developed a course for Pratt that will help you bring your vision to life if you are an illustrator wishing to build your own stories.

FALL SEMESTER – 10 Sundays 9/30 – 12/16,  2-4:50,  at Pratt Manhattan (14th and 7th)

register at or by calling 877 551 7727

Course number is PMFA 451

We get so many ‘outside agency’ artists sending us their book ideas that we can tell just need a wee bit of editing and revision first.  As an agency, we only present ms/dummies from our own list of agency artist/writers, so we often can’t really help these other artists.  This course seems a wonderful possible answer for those able and interested!…. including our own CAT illustrators if they have interest! 😉


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A Highlights highlight!…Szalay!

AUG. 8, 2018 Highlights magazine has honored illustrator Dave Szalay of Richfield, Ohio, for his illustration of the verse titled “I Love Our Country”, which was published in the July 2018 issue. The illustration was named “Best of the Issue” by the editorial, art and production staff.

The verse was written by Eileen Spinelli

Christine Cully, Highlights for Children Editor in Chief, says that illustrators like Szalay “help us achieve our objective of bringing the most imaginative and original works to our readers.” In recognition of the achievement, he received an eight-inch pewter plate engraved with his name, the title of the winning work, and the issue in which it appeared. The pewter plates are handcrafted in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, the home of Highlights since its beginning in 1946.

Speaking of the illustration assignment, Szalay said, “I was contacted by Highlights Art Director Patrick Greenish to create this work. I work very well with Patrick as he understands my style and technique. He gave me a brief description and then I used my imagination to build an amalgamation of scenes I’ve experienced from our travels.”

Szalay is represented by Christy Tugeau Ewers at The CAT Agency and his clients include Pearson, McGraw-Hill, Harcourt-Mifflin, North-South of Zurich, Simon and Schuster, Charlesbridge, Cricket Media, Highlights for Children, and Jimmy Patterson at Little Brown.

He is a full-time Associate Professor of Art at The University of Akron and his work can be found in national editorial, advertising, and communications media.  His work has been recognized and awarded in several advertising and illustration competitions, including one of the SCBWI National Portfolio Showcase Honor Awards in 2018. His whimsical images are created in a vintage picture book-inspired technique using digital drawing and painting methods.

Szalay is based in Richfield where he lives with his wife Krista and three cats. He has two adult sons, Matt and Alex, and one grandchild.

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Launch for HELLO SCHOOL!

I know ….it’s summer and not school time!  But it will be very soon, and if you have a new child and/or a new school this book will be a BIG HIT!

HELLO SCHOOL Launch July 3 pic 3 new

Our own Priscilla Burris has written and illustrated this fun story of children learning to feel good and happy about their place in a new school….full of emotion and expression and laughter and a few  loving memories for all readers!

HELLO SCHOOL by Priscilla Burris and from Nancy Paulsen imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group.    And here’s a pic of the kids from this new class….and an actual piece done by Priscilla while IN KINDERGARTEN !  yup!  it was meant to be!

PBURRIS Art & Kids JULY 10

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