Happy November!

     Every month I enjoy giving a progress report on my current book and my comings and goings as a children's book author and illustrator. I meet children and adults who enjoy making books and telling stories, and I hope my musings will interest them.
    I am hard at work on my current book THE MERMAID. It is the Goldilocks story told with a mermaid representing the Goldilocks character and octopuses taking the places of the three bears.  Ive set my story in the coral reefs of Okinawa, Japan where we have visited off and on over a period of 20 years. My husband and I have visited Japan over 30 times. To the main islands, where Tokyo is capital, with my husband who plays in the Boston Symphony, and to the tropical island of Okinawa where my daughter and husband were stationed as Marines. I was able to experience the cultures, art and flora and fauna both in Northern Japan and in the Ryokan Island of Okinawa.
     If you could see my workspace, you would see it is strewn with beautiful shells and coral that I collected in Okinawa from the beaches. On top of my giant basket of shells are three realistic plastic octopus models. Octopuses are very hard to draw and I can twist and turn them in space in order to get the proportions right. What you cannot see is all my wonderful memories of being underwater seeing the sea creatures, including a baby octopus (which was very cute). I was able to interact with a live giant Pacific octopus at the New England Aquarium in September. The Octopus's name is Sy and she left an indelible impression on me. If you are at all interested in these highly intelligent otherworldly creatures I highly recommend Sy Montgomery's non-fiction award winning book, THE SOUL OF AN OCTOPUS. She has also written a children's nonfiction book titled THE OCTOPUS HUNTERS. After absorbing as much information as I could about the under water setting I like to release it into my imagination so it becomes part of my story.
      Im about to go on my book tour across the country on our decorated tour bus. At every stop I will not just sign books, but I will give a drawing lesson from my easel and describe this fun process. I will tell all about my new book, GINGERBREAD CHRISTMAS, Hedgie the character will be there and the little rooster Elf who pulls the sleigh carrying the Gingerbread band.  It is not a one way street though, because I am very inspired by the book lovers that attend the signings. My favorite part is when children bring me their drawings to admire.

     Happy creating, your friend, Jan Brett