Monday, April 27, 2020

Hello, New House: Pre-Order

I'm absolutely thrilled to share that my NEW picture with publisher Albert Whitman & Company, HELLO, NEW HOUSE, is now available for pre-order from your favorite bookstores:

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Shooting Heart

It's a shooting heart—make a wish! • © Jane Smith

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Super Star Children's Book Reviews: Future President

Welcome to the monthly children’s book review feature with a focus on diverse books here at Bird Meets Worm! My team of reviewers—Joan Charles, Laurie Young, Sarah Orgill—and I are so excited to be championing books celebrating everything from gender diversity, people of color, the LGBTQ community to ethnic, cultural and religious minorities, people with disabilities and developmental challenges to controversial topics, unique family situations and anything and everything I did not include. It is to say we take a rightfully broad view of diversity! We aim to shine a light on books that bring both familiar experiences to those who do not often see themselves represented in books and new experiences to those looking to expand their worldview. Here at Bird Meets Worm we believe in the power of story to build empathy and thus a better world for you and me and everyone. Look for a new review on the second Wednesday of every month.

Written By Lori Alexander • Illustrated by Allison Black
Board Book (ages 0-3) • 20 pages
Published by Scholastic • 2020
ISBN 978-1-338-31224-9

The latest title in the Future Careers board book series, Future President, is a playful first look at the powerful career of being President of the United States. A surprisingly timely board book, Future President compares the life and behavior of baby to that of the President with delightful insight. By the end, it is easy to see that every baby has the foundational skills to get the job done.

Black’s artwork is a win with a presidential palette of red, blue and gold. The bright, clean, graphic images are an easy read for babies and the pleasingly modern design will attract parents. The artwork also features a wonderfully diverse cast of varying babies and Presidents that will allow anyone to see themselves in the Oval Office.

Additional bonus: a final non-fiction spread full of fun facts that are beautifully illustrated and easy to digest.

Let start the year off right—vote for Future President!

Buy this book:

Barnes & Noble

Independent Bookstores

Reviewed by: Jane Smith

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

A Rainbow Hello from Me to You

©Jane Smith • A Rainbow Hello from Me to You

Super Star Interviews: Eunice & Sabrina Moyle of Hello!Lucky

Welcome to my monthly interview feature! I’m so excited to be interviewing all the fabulous artists, illustrators and designers I’ve meet over the years (both personally and virtually!) and sharing their artwork and experiences here on Bird Meets Worm. Look for a new interview on the first Tuesday of every month.

This month I’m pleased as pink lemonade punch to be chatting it up with the talented dynamic duo, Eunice & Sabrina Moyle of the award-winning design studio, Hello!Lucky! I’m a big, long-time fan of their of bright, bold designs and cheerful aesthetic! The sister team produced their first collection of letterpress-printed greeting cards in 2003. Since then, they have expanded to design bedding, ceramics, socks, stationery, custom photo albums, bestselling children's books and more. Eunice lives in France, and Sabrina lives in San Francisco. You can view more of their artwork here.

The dynamic sister duo!

Q: Your two brand NEW, fabulously bright & funny board books, ABC Dance! and Good Night, Baboon!, just released this Spring from Workman Publishing! Congratulations! Give us the full scoop on these new titles—including how they came to be & your process for creating them.

A: Thank you so much! We are super excited about these titles. ABC Dance! is a fun, rhyming romp through the alphabet featuring a dazzling array of dancing animals. Goodnight, Baboon! is a light-hearted and silly countdown to sleep in which a cheeky little baboon wants to do everything BUT go to sleep; the book counts down from 10 big baboons to 1 big hug!

The original idea for these two titles came from our editor at Workman Publishing, Traci Todd. She felt like there was a need in the marketplace for a countdown to sleep book, as well as a fresh alphabet book. We loved her ideas and dove right in!

For our ABC book, we decided it would be funny to show animals engaged in over-the-top activities, and eventually landed on dance as a unifying focus, because it could build from aardvarks arriving to a full-on dance party! Sabrina wrote the manuscript and consulted with Eunice on which animals would be most fun and funny to illustrate. Then, Eunice went to town on the illustrations!

We first imagined Goodnight, Baboon! as a story about magical creatures dreamily counting down to sleep. As we wrote, though, we realized that it just wasn’t funny! So we went back to the drawing board with a focus on humor and arrived at Goodnight, Baboon!

NEW board book super stars!

Q: Your gorgeous work— ABC Dance! and Good Night, Baboon! included—is consistently characterized by 1) amazing color, 2) humor and 3) delightful character design. Dish with us about each of these distinctive characteristics and how you develop them in your work.

A: Aw, thanks for your kind words! We agree that these are three elements that are very important to us. We think that humor is the number-one way to connect with kids, so we always lead with that. We also love bright, on-trend colors to make them appealing to both kids and adults and to further amplify our positive messages and humor.

The character designs are inspired by our own kids, our memories from childhood, and the comic genius of illustrators like Bill Watterson of Calvin & Hobbes and writers like Roald Dahl and David Walliams. Typically, we start with a funny setup. Then, we imagine the characters’ personalities, and Eunice brings them to life in specific comic scenarios with her signature flair. She sometimes starts by doing online research for poses and expressions, but once she sketches a character, it takes on a life of its own!

Go, Gorillas! Go, Gorillas! Work it, Hedgehogs!

Q: You are a unique sister team, collaborating on a wide variety of projects from books to greeting cards to gift products under your studio name of Hello!Lucky. Tell us a bit about both the challenges and rewards of being in business together.

A: We love working together! We feel lucky to have such complementary skills and a lifetime of shared experiences. We can often read each other’s minds and see the world in the same way. This makes it incredibly easy and efficient to collaborate—this year alone, we are publishing seven books!

In terms of challenges, early on in the life of our business, we both had to grow out of our traditional sibling roles. For example, Eunice realized that in addition to being an artist, she could be a savvy business person. Sabrina realized that in addition to being a business person, she could be an art director and writer. Any fixed roles we used to play as sisters have been completely transformed by 17 years of running a creative business together!

Seven bright, bold & hilarious books to enjoy!

Q: As sisters, you grew up together in Asia and now live in San Francisco. How have each of these distinct places influenced and shaped your artwork and business?

A: Asia—especially Taiwanese and Japanese pop culture and exaggerated and silly Chinese humor—definitely influenced our cute yet absurd and funny aesthetic. Growing up outside of the US, we also idolized American 80's pop culture—hence our love of neon! Our humor comes in large part from our Midwestern Dad, who is very dry and funny, as well as the many absurd situations, misunderstandings, and faux-pas that often came with living in a cross-cultural environment. 
We also grew up in very international communities and traveled all over the world, so we have a wide range of influences—we especially appreciate British humor and Eunice became a Francophile early on and takes a lot of inspiration from French design and fashion. 

Living in San Francisco for the past 20 years, we’ve been influenced by the hipster culture and trends here—minimalism, hand-lettering and hand-drawn illustrations, pastels and neons, and European influences. 

Sweet dreams! Sleep tight! Don't let the bedbugs bite!

Q: Service as both action and product is a meaningful part of your business. Dish with us about what you are doing now and what aspirations you have for this side of Hello!Lucky.

Currently, in response to COVID-19, we’ve been using Instagram to disseminate PSAs and to read nightly bedtime stories (7:30pm PST for anyone who is interested) on our Instagram story to help give parents a break and help keep kids entertained. We’re also doing a spoof of ABC Dance! called ABC Distance!, in which we are writing and illustrating ABCs in quarantine times with our online community to help us all find humor and connection in this extremely challenging time. 
We’ve also been offering free printables inspired by our books as a resource for parents. Finally, we’ve teamed up with other small businesses to create Together (Apart), a small-business alliance of businesses supporting businesses, giving customers 20% off and giving 5% to Feeding America.

Our future aspirations are to continue to inspire people through our children’s books, greeting cards, and products and to use our writing and design skills to amplify social messages and causes we believe in. We hope to continue our collaboration with Boon Supply, which offers family-friendly products that give back 40% to the charity of your choice—our current products include Family Conversation Cards and a Chore Chart that encourages financial responsibility, kindness, giving to charity—both are useful while staying at home! We also hope to inspire and support kids and families through the children’s TV show we are developing with The Jim Henson Company, called Hello Magic!

Cutie pie chameleons!

Q: Describe your most perfect Sunday.

A: Eunice—Baking or cooking a leisurely meal, working on a craft or sewing project, and going for a walk with my kids.

Sabrina—Sitting by a pool reading a great book or writing in my journal, while my kids swim and play, while sipping a cool drink and eating chips and salsa. And, a long afternoon nap!

Thank you SO much, Eunice & Sabrina, for chatting it up with us here at Bird Meets Worm! We think you two are rock stars!