Happy December!

     This is my December Hedge a gram.     We're just settling in after our book tour.   Thank you for coming to my book signings.  As I look out at bookstores filled with people, especially children, I think how books have brought us all together.  My publisher sent 5 books to each signing to be given away to the local library of the bookstore's choosing.  When I met the librarians I could sense how connected they were to their communities.  Some had long time friends that had visited their library over many years.  They greeted older kids who had been at their story hours years ago.
   I told them that when I was little, our town's library was a big yellow Victorian house.  It smelled great, like books.   Since I was horse crazy, I appreciated the fact that horse books at our library had a horse head seal on the spine.  There was also a spyglass seal for mysteries, and a dog head for dog stories.  We rode our bikes to the library and the limit was 12 books.  You could keep them out for two weeks.  Every librarian I met on tour told me they had no limit on how many books you could take out.        
     Later, when I was older and working hard to become an illustrator, the children's librarian, Mrs. Lindsay was very helpful.  The children's section was a treasure trove.  I still rode my bike, but I had my little daughter on a bike seat.  When I was first published, my library held programs for the writers and artists in our town.  My good friend, Joan Drescher, illustrator of many books and Marc Brown who wrote about Arthur the Aardvark welcomed me.  So you know why I'm grateful to our library.  Maybe you have a library story of your own.  One of the librarians I met on my tour told me about how she personalizes her storytelling.  She reads a dragon book, she didn't say which one, and from the front she looks like a well dressed lady in a long skirt.  But when she finishes reading the book and walks off to put the book away, a long dragon tail slithers behind her skirt!
     Usually I tell what I'm doing artistically in my hedge a gram, but this month, I'd rather tell you about the amazing artwork that children showed me on the tour.  One boy, who was 7, came with his father.  His drawings were so detailed and descriptive that it took my breath away.  His style was already recognizable.   I could tell he absorbed the images around him in a unique way.  This boy, I know will be a famous artist.
    There was also a little girl who handed me a most amazing drawing.  The drawing was unlike anything I've ever seen.   It was the background that was so unusual.
    I drew a hedgehog during my short presentation at the bookstores and often kids drew along with me.  Usually the children's drawings had more personality, were fresher, and more characterful than mine!  I was admiring of these children that expressed themselves so well.  I'm still in a good mood about it.  Hooray for the creativity of kids!
    I hope all of you reading this will do just one little thing.  Take an hour to draw a picture.  Parents love their children's drawings and drawings would be a good present for the Holidays, please consider this.  "Take time to draw" is my motto!  If someone asks you what you'd like for a present, say "art supplies."  If I were you, I'd ask for a set of colored pencils, a pack of copier paper, and an electric pencil sharpener.  Colored pencils are very versatile and the sharpener helps keep the points sharp for details.
    Good luck with your drawings.  You are the future!
                                  Your friend,

                                      Jan Brett