October Hedge a gram
     October is the month I'll be traveling all over the United States from one bookstore to another.  When I meet people there is a bit of a surprised feeling about signing their book.  Ever since I was little I wanted to be a children's book illustrator, but I never imagined that going on a book tour would be part of my job, especially on a big blue bus covered with scenes from The Umbrella.  That's one reason I write this monthly letter, so aspiring illustrators will have a glimpse about what it's like to have a job like mine.
     Most people who know me wonder what I do with my animals when my husband Joe and I leave on our trip.  It's one of the hardest parts about leaving.  Luckily I have a friend who loves my chickens and ducks and takes good care of them.  She even sends me email reports on who's been good and who's been....well a challenge.  It's also hard to leave my artwork for the book I'm working on now, Honey, Honey, Honey, because I work many hours each day on it and suddenly it will be out of sight.  I will bring the finished pages to my editor, Margaret and my art director, Cecilia to look at while I'm off signing books.  I'm excited for them to see it, but also worried they'll see something I haven't thought out.  What ever happens, I know my book will be looked at with loving and wise eyes!
     When I arrive at the bookstores I'll bring 100 signed posters for the first people who arrive.  I have fancy tickets that I've designed just for this tour, along with extra signed bookplates so everyone will have a signature for all of their books, even the ones that they bring from home.  We'll be handing out my letter to kids that I call my all about letter.  It tells about how I created my book The Umbrella and our travels to Costa Rica.  It has a page for coloring which pictures some of the rain forest animals.  There is a town on the way to the Monteverde Cloud Forest that is known for its colorful carts.  The carts are painted with bright designs which were so characterful that I bought a small one to take home.  I'm bringing it with me all across the country for people to see.
     If you come to my signing, you'll see a backdrop of the cloud forest that I put behind me.  If you bring your camera we can have our photograph taken together with the Monte Verde Cloud forest in the background.
    At the beginning of the signing, I'll talk a few minutes about The Umbrella and I'll draw a picture.  I have a few tidbits about drawing that might help you with your work.  On the other hand, if you bring me one of your pictures for me to see, I'll be inspired and learn something too.  At each signing, I'll start with a big grin because Hedgie will there to greet everyone.  He adds to the festive atmosphere.   Wait till you see him.
     It's a rewarding experience to meet people all across our country who loves books and reading and I can't wait.
     Happy Reading  - see you soon!
                                  Your friend,

                                      Jan Brett