Great Tips For Writing And Illustrating Children’s Picture Books

Tuesday Writing Tips – Somebody’s House – Writing and Illustrating a Picture Book

Today I’m pleased to welcome talented author, Katrina Germein and amazing illustrator, Anthea Stead to my blog.

To celebrate their new book, Somebody’s House, Katrina and Anthea have dropped in and generously agreed to share their tips on how they created their vibrant new story. And I’ll be reviewing it at the end of this post.



Katrina Germein is a best-selling Australian picture book author, published worldwide.

Her popular picture book, My Dad Thinks He’s Funny, was Highly Commended in the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards.

The sequel, My Dad STILL Thinks He’s Funny, will be published in 2013. Katrina’s work has been featured on children’s television programs such as Wurrawhy, Yamba’s Playtime and Play School and several of her titles have won Notable Book commendations from The Children’s Book Council of Australia. Read more here.

Author Highlight: Stacie Theis

Kristi’s Book Nook is sharing an exciting interview and book giveaway. Stop by and share in the fun with author and illustrator Stacie Theis.

Kristi’s Book Nook Presents:
Author and Illustrator Stacie Theis
Her new book teaches a lesson about being grateful for who you are and what you have.
Book Giveaway!
For a chance to win leave a comment with your name and email. 
Offer expires 6/22/13.

Book Tour: Author Tameka Fryer Brown

Meet author Tameka Fryer Brown. She has a new children’s picture book out and I want to share her writing experiences with you. She is proud to present her latest book for children titled “My Cold Plum Lemon Pie Bluesy Mood” and the colorful illustrations were created by Shane W. Evans. This delightful books rhythmic tones will have young readers bouncing along the pages with its main character Jamie. Read my review after her interview!

Tameka Fryer Brown

Join me for a Q&A with Tameka Fryer Brown

TNW: Your first book, Around Our Way On Neighbors’ Day came out in 2010. Your new book, My Cold Plum Lemon Pie, Bluesy Mood, will come out in March of this year. How long have you been writing?

TFBBesides the standard answer (“all my life”), I usually count when I joined SCBWI as the start of my “writing” career. That was in November of 2005, so about seven and a half years.

 TNW: As a mom, I am sure your children played a role in the genre you selected, but what else drives and motivates your writing?

TFBChildhood in general is something that motivates my literary creativity: my kids’, other people’s, and especially my own. I think we need to pay more attention to the social, educational, and moral needs of our children, and literature can play a great role in influencing each of those areas. I’m also inspired by my late grandmother. In some form or fashion, she shows up in many of my stories.

TNW: Who are some of your favorite authors?

TFBAs far as picture book authors, I love Jacqueline Woodson, Kevin Henkes, and Joyce Carol Thomas—just to name a few. Some writers for older children that I admire are Christopher Paul Curtis, Sharon Creech and Lisa Yee.

TNW: Your illustrations are colorful and fun. What was your experience like working with your illustrator?

TFB:  You know, I really didn’t have any interaction with them as they were working on my books, but I think I lucked out with two great illustrators.

My editors for both books did share with me sketches and finished artwork along the way. I remember being absolutely blown away by Shane Evans’ sketches for my latest book, MY COLD PLUM LEMON PIE BLUESY MOOD. I knew he was an awesome artist—he won the CSK Award for illustration in 2012—but even his sketches made my soul sing! His finished artwork is even more amazing.

TNW: The publishing world has changed drastically in the last few years. What advice do you have for new writers?

TFBHone your craft to the point of being better than good. Excellence is the goal. Open your heart and mind to constructive criticism. Strive to grow thicker and thicker skin. Write what YOU love, then expand the breadth of what you love. Some of those stories may not be marketable now, but the more topics and genres you write, the greater your odds of striking publishable oil.

And—as long as you still really want publication—don’t give up. During the down periods, self-reflect; if you decide publication is still something that’s important to you, re-group and press on!

TNW: Where do you feel your writing will take you in the next 5 years?

TFBI’d like to add novels to my writing portfolio, stating with middle grades.

Thanks so much for sharing your story with us. If you would like to learn more about Tameka please visit her site at Feel free to visit her at my other site Kristi’s Book Nook for a chance to win a copy of her book. 

Check out the blog tour at these other wonderful sites!

Online Book Tour Schedule:
1. Monday, March 4 – Laurie Edwards
2. Tuesday March 5 – Peter Salomon
3. Wednesday March 6 – Ann Eisenstein
4. Thursday March 7 — CYNSATIONS
5.  Friday March 8 – Kristi’s Book Nook
6.  Monday March 11 – The Brown Bookshelf
7.  Tuesday March 12 – Carol Baldwin
8.  Wednesday March 13 — The Neophyte Writer
9.  Thursday, March 14 – Of Thoughts & Words/Family Ship Stories

A fun book for kids!

Title: My Cold Plum Lemon Pie Bluesy Mood

Author: Tameka Fryer Brown

Illustrations: Shane W. Evans

Publisher: Penguin Group

ISBN: 9780670012855


What if you could turn the way you are feeling into colors? What colors would you choose? How about purple for when you’re happy, orange for when you feel sporty and brown for when you are ready to stand your ground.

Jamie loves to color, listen to music and hang out with his friends. But, he also has to deal with teasing brothers. When Jamie listens to music he bobs to the beat. This puts him in a purple kind of mood. When his younger sister asks him to draw her a dragon, this puts him in an easy green mood. When Jamie runs late because he was out with his friends, this puts him in a red mood.

Red! Run! Gotta get home! Fire-engine-roaring-down-the-street-hot-flames-shooting-from-my-feet-don’t-stop-to-take-a-breath-till-I-make-it-through-the-door-RED! Whew!

When Jamie battles his brothers his moody colors change from gray, to black and then brown because he won’t back down. Jamie has lots of colors for all of his moods, but the best one of all comes at the end of the story.

Brown has created a rhythmic bounce of colorful words. Vivid and fun illustrations bring young readers into the world of the character and how color affects his moods. The beat of the rhyme invites readers to feel the colorful moods shared by the main character. Parents and teachers can use this story to teach young readers about their feelings in a way they can relate to. This is a great book to get boys jumping into books.

Author Exposed: Dolores Mitchell

Children often question their purpose in life, especially if they are dealing with older siblings who take away attention from them. As a parent how do you talk with your little ones about this very sensitive subject? You could sit down and talk about what role they play in the family and how important they are to the family. Perhaps you could show them, after all actions speak louder than words. My guest is author Dolores Mitchell and she has created a wonderful story that points covers this topic in a simple way in which young readers will understand.

Why Am I Here?” is Dolores’s first children’s book that was published August 2011. The book is the first of a series. She wishes to encourage young children to embrace themselves and realize how special they are because they are born for a purpose.

Dolores Mitchell has always had a passion for children. Even as a young child, she loved and cared for the children in her neighborhood. Today she has a desire to effect children around the world with this little book. She wants our young children to realize their value early. Her message is simple, but profound “God Made Me Special.” Why Am I Here? has been honored as an Award Winning Finalist in the 2012 USA Best Book Awards.



TNW: How long have you been writing?

DM: I have been writing since my high school days, over 3 decades. I have written plays, poems and short stories. But “Why Am I Here?” is my first published work. I am proud to say that it is an Award Winning Finalist in the 2012 USA Best Book Award.

TNW: Have you always written for children?

DM: This is my first children’s book, but it will not be my only book for children. My desire is to write a series of children’s books promoting self-esteem and self acceptance.

TNW: What drives and motivates your writing?

DM: I have always had a passion for children. Touching young children and changing their lives in a positive manner is my motivation. My passion is driven by the look on children’s faces I see around my community and on the media around the world.

TNW: Do you feel it’s important for writers to use social media? How?

DM: In today’s society, the use of social media is a must. Writers must find an effective way to use this tool based on their audience. As a writer, I would like my book read by the masses. The different social medias is one way to reach potential readers.

TNW: Who are some of your favorite authors and why?

DM: I love Dr Seuss books because they are very entertaining for children. Also, all the Chicken Soup series by Jack Canfield and Mark Hansen. I love books that are motivational, encouraging, and life changing.

TNW: What writing books would you recommend to new writers?

DM: I am presently reading for a second time- A Heart of a Ready Scribe by Melanie Stiles. It is a book written to encourage writers to follow their passion and write what is in their hearts. It is very encouraging to me and it is also a motivational guide to help me stay focused.

TNW: What advice do you have for new writers? 

DM: My advice would be to write from your heart, your passion. You are never too old or too young to follow your passion and share your love, your experiences and your joy with the world. If you are being lead to write a story to change the world, to create a smile or encourage somebody; follow your heart and get the story out.

Thanks so much Dolores for sharing with us. To learn more about Dolores and her book stop by Kristi’s Book Nook and participate in the giveaway. You can also visit her website at

You can also find the book at:

Writing Credentials: Do You Have Any?


Writing (Photo credit: jjpacres)

I follow C. Hope Clark. She is the brains behind the newsletter Funds For Writers. She has been a helpful entity in regards to me learning more about the world of writing. Recently I read a post that actually made me chuckle out loud. It made me realize how far I have come in the writing process. This post talks about writers and what types of credible writing they have done. It also mentions that publishers and agents need to hear from writers who are actively pursuing a writing career. What made me chuckle was that I (years ago) never thought of mentioning when I submitted a manuscript that I am a technical writer. I did’t think that applied because I wanted to be a children’s author. So, I guess if you’ve written anything, published an article, won a contest, that qualifies as experience in writing. Check out the article. It’s short, sweet and to the point.

How would you reply if asked this question? Indignant? After all, everybody has to start somewhere, plus you’ve been writing various pieces for years.

Everybody has to write the first manuscript. But few of them need to publish that first manuscript.

If you went to the doctor, needing an operation, you might ask, “Have you done this sort of operation before?” What if the reply is, “No, but I’ve been studying how to do it.” You’d move on to another doctor, because no matter how long he’s read the books and tested on cadavers, he hasn’t proven himself. Read more here.