Last week, I visited the kindergartners at Friends Seminary in Manhattan for a reading of A BIG SURPRISE FOR LITTLE CARD and a bit of crafting. It's so fun to see where kids will take my "Make Your Own Little Card" activity. After they'd colored and assembled their masterpieces—with many holding Wide Card's glass of lemonade—a few kids drew scenes for their Little Cards. How great is that? And I got a big hug from one little boy while on my way out. Many thanks to their teacher Christine Cincotta for hosting me!
This fall, Boyds-Mills Press will publish YOU ARE NOT A CAT, the first picture book by multiple award-wining author Sharon G. Flake. In short, it's the story of a duck who wants to let his freak flag fly, and a cat who doesn't quite get it. This book was expertly edited by Mary Colgan, and gorgeously art-directed and designed by the great Sara Gillingham. A few weeks ago, an advance copy arrived in my mailbox, and before I reveal any interior art, I thought it might be fun to share one of my favorite secret things about this book here. Okay, not so secret…but if you don't take off the jacket, you might never know…
YOU ARE NOT A CAT will be officially out in the world on October 4th, but you can pre-order it here.
If that wasn't enough to ramp up your excitement, today (April 12th) I'm also offering up something special through my Twitter account. I've painted 3 small mixed media portraits of LITTLE CARD that I'm raffling off. Here's the link to the tweet. All you need to do is retweet my post by 6PM today EST. (NOTE: The raffle has ended and the winners have been notified. Thanks everyone for joining in!)
And in other news, it's been an exciting couple of weeks as I've taken two new books around for readings and signings. It's always so wonderful to get kids' books in front of their intended audience. Last weekend, legendary children's bookstore Books of Wonder here in New York City hosted a bunch of bookmakers as we presented our work at their April Picture Book Bonanza. Since I was lucky enough to share A BIG SURPRISE FOR LITTLE CARD and THE WRONG SIDE OF THE BED, I got to wear two different costumes: a tiny party hat, and one pink bunny slipper. It was a great thrill to share the stage with my buddy Steve Light, the legendary Anne Rockwell, Melissa Iwai and Paulette Bogan.
I had a terrific time sharing A BIG SURPRISE FOR LITTLE CARD and THE WRONG SIDE OF THE BED with kids in two bookstores this weekend. And a big shoutout of thanks for all the hospitality to Watching Booksellers in Montclair, NJ and powerHouse on 8th in Brooklyn, NY for hosting me and my pink bunny slipper. Illustrating can be a very isolating experience, so nothing compares to sharing a book you've labored over for months...years!...with its intended audience. And these kids were great!
It's a book! A box full of copies of The Wrong Side of the Bed by Lisa M. Bakos (and me) arrived on my doorstep from Penguin Random House today. It's always a thrill—after months and months of hard work—to receive finished, bound books, with your name on them…for real! The Wrong Side of the Bed will be in stores on March 8th, but if you'd like to pre-order a copy, you can do so here.
Thanks to everyone who came to Little Card's party at BookCourt in Brooklyn on Sunday! We read, sang (well, I did briefly), made Little Cards and ate cookies—not a bad way to spend the afternoon.
Today, teacher-librarian Mr. Schu (aka John Schumacher) unveiled the cover of YOU ARE NOT A CAT on his blog "Watch. Connect. Read." alongside a short interview with author Sharon G. Flake and me. It's obvious that we're both pretty excited about this book, due out in the fall from Boyd Mills Press. And if you are too, it's already available for pre-order.
A few weeks ago, Charise Harper and I were interviewed by school librarian extraordinaire, and All the Wonders co-founder, Matthew Winner for his "Let's Get Busy" podcast. We discussed our collaboration for A BIG SURPRISE FOR LITTLE CARD, how the story developed and changed, giving a behind-the-scenes peek at our work processes. Since we live on opposite coasts, Charise and I have yet to meet, so this was the closest we've come. If you've never listened to the podcast before, there's a great archive of interviews with a huge assortment of kidlit folks at All the Wonders.
And as a big surprise for Anna Raff, my friend, the amazing illustrator Lori Richmond drew some of her graphic notes while she listened to the podcast! Lori's first picture book, A Hop is Up will be published by Bloomsbury later this year. Just look at this thing...it's incredible!
Today is the day A BIG SURPRISE FOR LITTLE CARD is officially out in the world. Written by Charise Harper and published by Candlewick Press, it tells the story of a rectangular fellow who is sent to birthday card school, only to discover it was all a big mistake. As Kirkus Reviews said, "Check it out!"
If you'd like to meet me and Little Card in person, I have some events scheduled over the next few months. The first one will be at one of my favorite local bookstores, BookCourt in Brooklyn on Sunday, February 21st at 2PM. In addition to reading the story, we're going to get crafty. Everyone will get a chance to make their own Little Card to color, decorate, and take home. There will also be buttons (custom-made by my esteemed author Charise), singing (yikes—that means me—but just briefly, thank goodness!), and cookies.
If you haven't seen it yet, I made a trailer for Little Card a few months ago—but don't worry, it doesn't give away much of the story. Making trailers has become one of my favorite parts of the publishing process. Since my "production" usually takes place long after my illustrations have been delivered for print, it's a nice way to revisit a story, and figure out a way to best share it with readers...without really sharing it. The Booklist Reader had some nice things to say, "As if the book wasn't lively enough…"
Okay, well it's time to party, or at least ask Little Card if he's willing to share some of that yummy-looking cupcake. He's a super nice guy, so I think my chances are good.
I'm thrilled to be part of an exhibition at the School of Visual Arts this month. "Women in Illustration" features the work of nine graduates of the Illustration as Visual Essay program who have authored or illustrated books in the past year. If you look at this list of talent, you'll understand why I'm pinching myself at being included: Dasha Tolstikova, Joana Avillez, Lisel Ashlock, Cecilia Ruiz, Sara Varon, Lauren Redniss, Natalya Balnova, and Yuko Shimizu.
Please join us for the opening reception Wednesday, February 10th at 6PM, at the SVA Gramercy Gallery, 209 East 23rd Street, New York, NY. If that's not convenient, the show is up from February 6th through March 3rd. For more information, please click here.
Wow, Little Card feels like a movie star today with the red carpet treatment on All The Wonders! They're hosting the premiere of his book trailer for A BIG SURPRISE FOR LITTLE CARD, a new book by Charise Mericle Harper and me, published by the lovely folks at Candlewick Press which will be in stores on February 9th. There's also a short interview with us with a few behind-the-scenes tidbits.
If you've never visited All The Wonders before, you're in for a real treat. They've got all sorts of great information about everything going on in children's literature: interviews, crafts, videos, and so much more. Special thanks to Matthew Winner and Blake Hamilton for hosting Little Card for his big close up!
Wishing you and yours a happy holiday season and a terrific 2016!
There's a special kind of jubilation an illustrator feels when they deliver final art for a book. And after months of churning out work on an accelerated schedule, I can finally unchain myself from my desk. Okay, so I was promptly slammed by a bad cold, but nevertheless I turned in illustrations this week for something I'm really excited about.
YOU ARE NOT A CAT! to be published late next year, is the first picture book written by Coretta Scott King Honor Award winner Sharon G. Flake, author of The Skin I'm In, and several other young adult novels. And it's hilarious! Of course, I can't show much of anything at this time, but if you've been following my Instagram, you might have seen an occasional tidbit.
I posted an image of the pattern above that I thought would be the endpapers, but in the end chose something else. So if you'd like some wallpaper or gift wrap, hit me up—this thing is available. :^)
So now I'm off to join the world of the living or at least find myself some chicken soup.
The review from Kirkus of A BIG SURPRISE FOR LITTLE CARD is in, and it's worth jumping for joy:
"Harper’s addition to the intro-to-library canon, with its anthropomorphic card cast, is a goofy winner. Raff’s mixed-media collages, digitally colored, are a bright, perfect match for Little Card’s excitement about all things library. . . .Check it out!"
For more information about LITTLE CARD and where you can get a copy, click here.
Welcome to the new annaraff.com. I hope you find it fresh, crispy, and user-friendly. We all need a makeover every once in a while, and my site was long overdue. I have a couple of picture books coming out in early 2016, so it seemed like the right time. Right off the bat, you might notice a few organizational changes:
-BOOKS are all now in one section.
-I've expanded the section devoted to PERSONAL WORK.
-My editorial and institutional illustrations are now combined under PROJECTS.
-And welcome to my new NEWS blog (formerly on blogspot), now found here on this very page, to keep you up to date on what's happening on my drawing board.
I'm hoping you'll take the time to explore the site, and if you experience any bugs, or miss something that was on the old site, please let me know.