Friday, May 22, 2020

Hello New House Picture Book Trailer

I'm absolutely thrilled to pieces to share the book trailer for HELLO NEW HOUSE, my new picture book releasing in October 2020 with publisher Albert Whitman & Company!!! Pre-order today at your favorite bookstore! XO

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Super Star Children's Book Reviews: The Girl Who Speaks Bear

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 Sophie Anderson
Middle Grade (ages 8-12) • 304 pages
Published by Scholastic Press • 2020
ISBN: 9781338580839

Twelve-year-old Yanka is frightened by the disturbing changes she’s experiencing. Always a bit strange, and seen as an outsider in her small Russian village, she has grown freakishly large almost overnight. She’s even convinced that birds are talking to her! Yanka keeps her fears locked inside, not even confiding in her best friend, Sasha, or her loving foster mother, Mamochka.

After being injured in an accident during the winter festival, Yanka wakens to a nightmare world where she is no longer completely herself. She can’t help thinking that her present troubles are rooted in her strange past. She knows the answers to her problems lie buried deep in the Snow Forest and despite Mamochka’s warnings, she must venture into the wild in search of her true self.

Along the way she encounters a rich cast of characters who help in her battle to learn the truth about her origins. Yanka’s adventure turns into an epic quest that tests her strength, her beliefs and her ideas of family.

Sophie Anderson has written a wonderful, engaging fairy tale filled with magic and whimsy, laced with profound truths about acceptance, embracing our true selves, and the everlasting importance of family and friendships.

Buy this book:

Reviewed by: Joan Charles

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Read, Dream, Share: Celebrate Children's Book Week

Celebrate Children's Book Week with Chloe Zoe, Mary Margaret, George & their families!
Read together & enjoy free, printable Chloe Zoe activity pages available here!

Super Star Interviews: Sam Wedelich

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 tickled spring sun-shiny yellow to be chatting it up with cartoonist/illustrator/designer Sam Wedelich! Sam's fabulously stylish and very relevant debut picture book, which she wrote & illustrated, is releasing next month and we are talking all about it! Sam enjoys painting, drawing, reading, knitting, sewing, biking, dancing and seeking beauty, while raising two kids with her husband in the Bronx, New York. You can view more of her artwork hereAnd you can follow her on Instagram here!

Ooo! Chicken Little is the cutest!

Q: Your brand NEW picture book, Chicken Little: The Real & Totally True Tale, releases next month in June! (Congratulations! That’s VERY super star!) Give us the full scoop on this title: how you came to be writing & illustrating it, your working relationship with your publisher & your process for creating the project.

A: I am the luckiest person, in that I got this opportunity, when a different project fell through and my editor and art director at Scholastic still wanted to work together! They gave me a chance to take on an author/illustrator project and Chicken Little was born! We had a great brainstorm session and talked a lot about retelling classic tales...Chicken Little felt ripe for a freshen-up.

In a world of fast-paced news cycles, opinions-presented-as-truth and fear, it felt so current...and that’s just thinking about the grown-ups! For kids, it’s a classic tale about fear, panic and rumor...and teaches an important lesson about pausing and gathering information before reacting. Add a dash of humor to keep it fun and fast moving, and you get a rollicking barnyard romp with important themes at the core.

(Psst! You can shop Chicken Little: The Real & Totally True Tale here & here:)

Ahh, the mind of a creative! I recommend drawing more of Chicken Little! ;D

Q: I absolutely love your expressive, graphic art style and dynamic hand-lettering! Dish with us a bit about your creative influences & inspirations: the who/what/where.

A: Thank you! I’ve been drawing and doodling for years, often in times/places when I really shouldn’t have. I love mid-century illustration so much. Advertisements, Better Homes and Garden Guides, the sketches and storyboarding of Disney greats like Mary Blair and Eyvind Earle. I love the color and shape play of Alexander Girard. The line work of Ben Shahn has always captivated me. Oh, and Barry McGee. As a kid, I always had a Calvin and Hobbes on hand.

I’m also crazy lucky to live in NYC. When it’s not on shutdown with a global pandemic, it’s a literal gold-mine of inspiration—from street art to museums there’s always something to get the juices flowing.

Oh, no! That's gotta hurt! Poor Chicken Little!

Q: As a cartoonist, author-illustrator and window display designer, you’ve worked on a wide variety of unique and exciting projects! Chat with us a bit about your MOST favorite creative projects: one from the past and one from the present.

A: Opening the flagship Free People store in Rockefeller Center was a huge personal accomplishment. I worked with a design team at our home office, and spent months preparing displays for every aspect of the store, from large-scale installation pieces that had that WOW-factor to intimate signage that had a bespoke feel.

More recently, working on the Chicken Little books (YES, there’s another title coming in 2021!) has been an incredible journey and artistic challenge. I’ve combined skills from various parts of my life and gained new skills in learning the picture book form. Perhaps the MOST fun part was getting to be funny—something I’d kept on a back burner vocationally.

Any guesses? You'll have to read it to find out!

Q: Tell us about your typical workday as a creative professional—routines, rituals & practical practices. Set the scene for us, too—what does your creative workspace look & feel like?

A: Well, everything is a bit topsy-turvy right now, as I’m sure everyone reading this can relate to. I have two young children and a husband working from home. We are on day 50 of staying in our apartment to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

My current routine involves getting up before everyone to have a few minutes to myself to journal/draw. (Big fan of Julia Cameron’s daily artist pages!) After that, I help my children with remote learning. On good days, we are done with school before lunch and they have free time in the afternoon, when I get to work. Sometimes, I can tackle odds and ends between school things in the morning, but I save anything that needs a deep-dive for this afternoon time.

Lastly, I try and sweat almost daily. Before quarantine, I walked a LOT and movement is a big part of my mental health balance. If I’m feeling foggy, a workout of some sort usually helps.

Ooo! This is where is magic happens!

Q: To celebrate Chicken Little, you’ve made activity pages and videos available on your new site to engage & entertain all of Chicken Little’s new friends sheltering at home. Tell us all about them! And what overriding message during these unusual times would you like to send out to kids and their families?

A: I wanted to find a way to introduce Chicken Little to everyone while we are stuck inside, so I thought some different types of activities would help. I was thankful to be invited to do a read aloud and branched out from there! I added some “how-to” drawing videos and a “feelings check” activity sheet.

Chicken Little experiences a range of emotions in the book and offering kids (and grown ups!) a chance to do a feelings check activity felt like the perfect play on parts of the book, while providing a platform for families to share how they’re coping and feeling in this unprecedented time of global pandemic.

Aww! You're welcome! Yay!

Q: Describe your most perfect Sunday.

A: Ah… well, I’d start by sleeping in a bit and then a good breakfast with my family. We’d do something fun outdoors, like the Zoo or Botanical Gardens. After that, I’d have some alone time in my studio to work. In the evening, I’d get to sing gospel music at the Episcopal church I attend with my family in NYC. When we got home, we’d order food from one of our favorite restaurants and tuck in for the night.

Thanks so much, Sam, for chatting it up with us here at Bird Meets Worm!! Congrats on your fabulous new book! Hooray!