Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Hiking in New Hampshire

and I saw an amazing little purple jewel of a mushroom.

Friday, August 01, 2014

NYC Beach Day on 5th Ave

in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, tucked between the hotdog venders and the taxis:
(not my idea of where I would like to relax!)

After seeing the Garry Winogrand exhibition how can you not take some photographs!
The show is on until September 21. I especially enjoyed the photos taken in NYC in the 60's.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Ludwig Bemelmans' MADELINE

 Having fun at the New York Historical Society's MADELINE exhibition:

I organized a visit with my SVA students, followed by a picnic across the street in Central Park. We were a dozen or so.

 "In an old house in Paris
That was covered with vines
Lived twelve little girls
In two straight lines."
 A quote I wrote down from Mr Bemelmans: "I sketch with facility and speed. The drawing has to sit on the paper as if you smacked a spoon of whipped cream on a plate."

The exhibition was an inspiration for us all.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A taste of Paris

at Maison Kayser. Some days there are reasons for such things. The cassis eclair was delicious!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Zoe by Lydia

My city cat by my city daughter

Thursday, April 03, 2014

PIZZA and SCHOOL go together

When I wrote and illustrated my book PIZZA AT SALLY'S I didn't know there was a famous Sally making pizza in New Haven, Connecticut. But as soon as the book was published I started hearing about it and finally this past week I had the chance to visit - and eat some of the BEST pizza ever!

Sally's Pizzeria has been on Wooster Street since 1938 and when you step through the door, you step back in time.

And out of the coal-fired oven comes the pizza with the most delicious thin crispy crust. 

This was all part of a school visit the next day to Hamden, close to New Haven.

I was told that I was the first author and illustrator to ever visit the school. The children were super excited about me coming. It was a very busy and very special day. Here is one of nine K-2 classes I spent time with talking about books:


And afterwards I was so happy to receive this note via one of the teachers: "Thank you for bringing the Author to the classroom..(My daughter) now is inspired to be a writer herself..it's good to see the light bulb go on for why learning is so key to life to be able to achieve your goals and dreams."

Wow! This is what it is all about! Thank you!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Mona Lisa? The Scream? Art in NIGHT HOUSE BRIGHT HOUSE?

I have been asked about this by readers. Yes, in "Night House Bright House", sprinkled through the various rooms, are miniature versions of some of my favorite famous paintings and sculpture.

Here are images of the artworks with museum links

(And in the the studio there is also another painting by Matisse: the Dream but it is a private collection)


 There are also mentions of artwork in my other books: Crepes by Suzette, Night City, and Squeaking of Art. I'll post about those another time, In the meantime, hope you have some fun playing "I spy"!

You can find NIGHT HOUSE BRIGHT Find and Color here at Dover Publications,


Tuesday, December 03, 2013


Night House Bright House is available again! It's an activity book! 
First published in 1997 but out-of-print for the last few years (except for some book club editions) I'm happy to announce that it is back - in a new form!

10 mice and one cat run around the house all night creating havoc and everything in each room comes alive with fun rhymes, such as:

"Get ready" said the spaghetti.
"Ziggity-zag," said the bag.
"Gobbledygook," said the book.
"Spells trouble," said the bubble.
"You rock," said the polka-dot sock.

Plus, for those who know the original book, you will notice I added some new rooms and new rhymes. I hope readers get out their color pencils and crayons and have fun with this one.

Here is the link to Dover where you can find it, as well as my Color and Cook series of coloring books with favorite recipes!

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Do I really live in New York City?

It doesn't feel like it when I'm in Central Park. Wandering amongst the beautiful fall leaves, all for research. Feeling so lucky!

Good news: Just south of Central Park (on Broadway around the corner from 59th st) and close to Lincoln Center, my favorite bakery from Paris, Maison Kayser, has opened a new branch. (Loved that summer of living on rue Monge)

Planning on having a patisserie while I watch the new show about New York City Ballet online- AGAIN!
There are 12 "episodes" each 5 or 6 minutes long. Watched as a whole it takes about an hour or so. I spotted my dancing daughter here and there! Avoiding the drama of a reality show, it is closer to a documentary, but still loaded with behind-the-scenes interest. I would have liked some Balanchine dancing and Stravinsky music, but can't have everything!


Friday, November 01, 2013

COLORS FOR ZENA (and more) giveaway!

O-MAZING giveaway and review of some of my books HERE And I love the yoga suggestions that go along with this all!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Starting with children:

Children are the best reviewers!
 COLORS FOR ZENA was reviewed at: CityBookReview
"I love this book. I want to read it again and again and again." Coming from a 2 year old, this means so much to me! Thank you for 5 stars!

And mom reviewers are great too! Read here at MomColoredGlasses

I'm hoping to meet lots of families at the Princeton Children's Book Festival this Saturday, September 21st. I will be there along with something like 80 other authors and illustrators!!!

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

A Brooklyn Day of Books and Art

After reading my new book COLORS FOR ZENA at Book Court here we are mixing colors with my paints, brushes and paper I brought along. It was fun and not too messy at all!

Then later I had the great pleasure of going to an exhibition of illustrations by Ruth Chan, Sandra Javera and Violet Paek, all former students in my SVA Class.
I would say rush to go see their show but it was a one day event only. So instead, take a look at the websites of these talented artists:
Ruth Chan 
Violet Paek
Sandra Javera

And I was thrilled to see Tori Corn, also from class: Congratulations on the recent publication of her first book, What Will It Be, Penelope!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

COLOR for ZENA updates

Book event at Book Court in Brooklyn on Saturday August 3 at 11am!

Reading, signing, and painting with COLOR!

Nice review from Booklist for Colors for Zena:

"An energetic introduction to primary colors—red, blue, and yellow—and what happens when they are mixed. Minimal line drawing places the emphasis on color, which is boldly shown on every page once Zena, accompanied by her puppy, races off a subdued page of black and white and shades of gray to find out where the colors have gone. Encountering yellow in a school bus, taxi, sun, and building design, she next sees red and combines them into orange. A blue experience of water and sky combines with yellow to create green. These combinations continue until the secondary colors are created, reflected both in the landscapes and friendly animals whose faces appear on pages of the book in surprising ways. Zena’s initial bland bedroom is replaced at the conclusion with an abundance of colors and animal friends everywhere. Added to this charming introduction are endnotes that explain the color wheel and provide suggestions for activities related to color."

And a blog interview at Robin Newman Books

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Next Big Thing (Blog Tour) continues:

 with several illustrators who I all know from my SVA Class:

Selina Alko  discusses her next book, A Case for Loving; The Fight for Interracial Marriage. She is working on it together with her husband, Sean Qualls. It will be a beautiful collaboration - I love this sample picture!

Mike Herrod  has a new book, Hiccup! Congratulations - this looks like a lot of fun!

And here is a link to Melissa Iwai  who previously did the blog tour about Truck Stop

and Susanna Pitzer and Rebecca Solow did the blog tour about their new projects.
Such talented people from SVA!

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

My Next Big Thing: COLORS FOR ZENA

The Next Big Thing is a global blog tour, started in Australia, to showcase authors and illustrators and their current work. I was tagged by the talented Rebecca Solow (I teach at SVA and she was in my class a little while ago). It is great to see what she has been up to here. I'll answer some questions about my newest book, then pass the Q & A along to several others (who were all in my SVA class at one time or another!) They will continue the tour on their blogs - so stay tuned!

What is the working title of your next book?
Who is publishing your book?

Colors for Zena” is my newest book, out this July. My publisher is Dial, a division of Penguin. (My previous publisher, Dutton and Dial combined into one and now Penguin and Random House have combined into one - Lots of changes!)

In what genre does your book fall?

Zena is a picturebook for young children (age 2-6)

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Zena's black and white world becomes more and more colorful as she discovers how colors work.
And the longer summary: A little girl named Zena has a big imagination. She has an adventure with her dog and her toy animals to discover the three primary colors and how they mix together to make all the colors in the world. She first seems to see the world through a yellow lens. Next she turns the corner and sees her world through a red lens. This monochrome world looks strange and she wants more colors. Her toy lion shows her how red and yellow mix together to make orange. And so the discovery of colors continues with the green frog and the purple monster. And at the end there is a way Zena brings all the colors together in her own creative way!
Where did the idea come from for the book?
Who or what inspired you to write this book?

When my daughter was little we played color games. Walking down the street, we would pick out everything that we saw that was red, and then blue, and so on. When we were in London one summer she loved spotting the red double decker buses for example. (Actually she made up her own word for red - “decker decker”. Back in New York she continued to say “decker decker” instead of red and it even caught on with her friends at preschool! I remember a mother was confused as to why her daughter was no longer identifying red correctly and was saying “decker decker”. I can explain, I said!) It was fun to focus in on different colors and to notice how there were so many shades of each one. Was that blue or was that purple, we would ask? At home we always had many different art materials and my daughter loved mixing and discovering for herself how colors worked.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? 

I love dance so much that my dream would be for my book to be acted out by dancers! And since my daughter inspired the book and is a ballet dancer, who better than her and her friends at New York City Ballet! I would love to see what movements they would come up with for Zena and the various creatures in the book.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I usually start a book visually, with ideas of pictures I want to paint. I start making sketches and then try to write a first draft. Both the pictures and words go through many revisions, and I am often still working on the words after I finish the pictures. From start to finish, from first idea to sketches, revisions, and final art and manuscript, Zena took about 1 ½ years.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? 

The Color Kittens by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by two of my favorite illustrators: Alice and Martin Provensen

What else about the book might pique the reader's interest? 

At the end of the book, on the last page there is a color wheel and suggestions of some fun things to do with color. I hope readers will be inspired to be creative and paint colorful pictures themselves!

I'd like to end with the first question again!
What is the working title of your next book?
The book that I'm currently working on is about a little girl collecting leaves in the fall. I've been working on the sketches for awhile but I don't have a title yet - sometimes that is the last thing!

A BIG Congratulations to Mike Herrod on his new book Hiccup! He continues the blog tour here.

Selina Alko  discusses here her next book, A Case for Loving; The Fight for Interracial Marriage. 

I was just getting ready to ask Susanna Pitzer - who was once in SVA class and author of Not Afraid of Dogs - to do the interview when I saw she did the blog tour in April: here is her interview. She came to my SVA class as a guest speaker last term and here are her wise words!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

CREPES BY SUZETTE progress report!

I'm getting my photos ready for my Crepes by Suzette APP project.
I'm missing Paris!

Monday, April 08, 2013

NYCB in Copenhagen

My daughter is dancing in Copenhagen and took this picture.
Wishing I was there!

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

A trip to DC included cupcakes and...

A short but perfect trip to Washington DC included NYCBallet at the Kennedy Center,  the Pre-Raphaelites at the National Gallery, Degas at the Phillips Collection ...

...and cupcakes at Georgetown Cupcakes...

My selection, Lemon Blossom, was excellent!
And a good book, Facts and Fancies by Paul Taylor, made the bus ride home go a lot quicker!

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Love when I hear from a friend that she has made a book sighting, especially when books by both of us are there: Fran Manushkin's  The TUSHY Book and my Mr COOKIE Baker. Love West Side Kids at Amsterdam and 84th St here in NYC!

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Spring Dance

I'm missing NYCB - the winter season ended just a week ago. Here is a picture of some of the Sleeping Beauty Fairies that my daughter sent me. (She is amongst them!) Spring season doesn't start up until the beginning of May. In the meantime I've got a few things I'm excited about dance-wise:

First - Paul Taylor at Lincoln Center from March 5- 27. I love Esplanade and Company B, and Le Sacre du Printemps is on my list to see. Schedule: http://www.ptdc.org/nyc

At the same time I will be reading Paul Taylor's book, Fact and Fancies, which has just been published - perfect timing! Info: http://www.delphiniumbooks.com/factsandfancies.html

Next - Dance Theater of Harlem at the Rose Theater (at Columbus Circle) from April 10-14. Here is one reason I'm very much looking forward to going:

"The Lark Ascending"  Dancers: Gabrielle Salvatto, Fredrick Davis
Schedule: http://www.dancetheatreofharlem.org/company/ny-season

On April 4th previews start for a new play at Lincoln Center,  "Nikolai and the Others",  the "others" including Balanchine, Stravinsky, and Maria Tallchief, and Nicholas Magallanes. It sounds intriguing: http://www.lct.org/showMain.htm?id=216

Spring is in the air!