December Hedge a gram

Happy December! This is my December hedge a gram - the time I take to reconnect with my website visitors. I relate what's going on in my life as an artist so that aspiring illustrators and writers can gain a little insight on what it's like to have children's book author/illustrator as one's job.
In November, I spent eleven days traveling on my tour bus, going to bookstores for booksignings. Thank you so much if you came to one of my signings. It's so gratifying and hopeful to see so many people that love books and read to their children. I love to see a child holding their book like its a treasured possession. I remember how much my books meant to me. When I was a kid, I had an un-quenchable thirst to learn about horses. Besides my best friend, Marla, the only people who understood my intensity were people in books. So I feel pure happiness that the little ones still make their books part of their serious interests. Sometimes when a child attaches themselves to a particular book, it is an insight into the person they will become, a scientist, animal lover, adventurer, or world traveler.
Every year on the book tour, I am filled with admiration for the teachers and librarians who after spending a day on their feet teaching, will stand in line to have their book signed. I think they know what an impact they make on their students, who may or may not have been read to at home. I would like to say again thank you for our children.
On our day off I got to visit my little grandchild who is two months old, and read to her from Tomie DePaola's MOTHER GOOSE. It's both soothing and stimulating to read babies those short curious rhymes with Tomie's perfect illustrations. I am now on the look out for the annotated MOTHER GOOSE that gives the history of the rhymes. I'll also be going to the Boston Symphony shop to buy her some CD's. My daughter and her husband have a lot of CD's in her room of crashing waves, woodland soundscapes and at their request, my grand daughter now will also have PETER AND THE WOLF by Prokofiev, EINE KLEINE NACHT MUSIK by Mozart, PEER GYNT by Grieg, and THE FIREBIRD by Stravinsky. And that's just the beginning.
Since it is holiday time, I can't resist trumpeting some of the book treasures I found at bookstore during my trip. First there are the EXTRAORDINARY CHICKEN calendars with photographs of birds by Stephen Green Armytage I bought for me and friends. (Actually the first copy I received was a gift from our tour driver Rich Flood.) Then I bought multiple copies of the huge coffee table size book of exquisite photographs of birds by Andrew Zuckerman called BIRD. The jacket is a head shot of a favorite bird I've seen in Africa, the African Crowned Crane. We saw three or four in a highland meadow in a town called Wakkerstroom in South Africa. Another book I rejoiced in finding was PREHISTORIC LIFE published by DK Publishing. It has the most amazing illustrations of extinct reptiles, plants and mammals. Its one of those books I wish I could give to every child and adult too in America!
Back to my working life...I just designed a carry bag for my 3 LITTLE DASSIES book. It will be used for promotions and we'll give some away in our contest. I'm hard at work finishing THE 3 LITTLE DASSIES. Its definitely the most fun part, because I've done the planning and I paint from morning until midnight. There are deadlines to be met, so I'm curtailing all my other activities, except for a week that I'm taking off to go to Iceland for my sixtieth birthday, just Joe and me. There is a lot of folklore from that part of the world that I'm interested in, mainly trolls. I am eager to visit the folk museums and the troll forest. There will also be time to get to know the Icelandic horses.
As Holiday time rolls around, I hope you'll join me in finding books for the important people in your life. When I receive a book from someone, that has been thoughtfully chosen, I feel such a happy bond. There are places on earth I feel like I know although I've never been there, and people who have long since passed away I feel I know because I've read their memoirs. It's fulfilling to add to one's frame of reference.
Happy reading! Happy drawing! Let's be creative!

Your friend,

Jan Brett