New England made

Posted by on Mar 27, 2013 in Charlesbridge Publishing, Here Come the Humpbacks | 2 comments

Complaining about the weather is a perennial sport for New Englanders, but I wouldn’t trade the four seasons for anything. These natural shifts are important to my rhythm, and provide endless inspiration. As seasons come and go, spring is definite marker of time. Everybody’s wondering, are we DONE with winter yet?

As the snow recedes once again I’m aware how winter has narrowed my hunched and huddled orbits. I noticed a bench in the woods for the first time.


It overlooks a small pond, but the path is very hidden. Sitting there, I recalled an early illustration that set my current career in children’s books in motion.


Prompted by seeing an upholstered couch in the middle of the island woods, I imagined a dreamy child on it, surrounded by silent deer, a metaphor for the place a good story can take us. My illustration caught the eye of art director Susan Sherman at Charlesbridge Publishing back in 2005. I need to pinch myself that 8 years later, I have illustrated seven books, 4 of them with Charlesbridge.

With pleasure, I signed copies of my latest, Here Come the Humpbacks! at their booth at the New England Made Gift Show.


Rave reviews have come in from very expert sources. Mary Ann Cappiello, professor of Languages and Literacy at Lesley University’s Graduate School of Education wrote on the Classroom Shelf blog : “This book is an excellent opportunity to introduce the study of whales, explore effective science writing, and consider the impacts that humans have on ocean life.” What’s more she goes on to list teaching ideas for K – 8, and specifically grades 6 – 8, with numerous links and a suggested book list. WHOA. Read it all here.

The National Science Teachers Association says: “This book stands out among books about whales because of its personal, interactive text, its rich, expressive illustrations, and its detailed, scientific information.” Read more here.

Meeting folks who buy children’s books was a blast; people who know they sell for good reason. Kids’ books take us to places real and imagined. After all, Einstein said, “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”

I browsed around a bit and spied my husband Marty’s illustration here, for the Lobsterman’s Balm booth.


And I ran into a Peaks Island neighbor, Charlie Friedman, founder of Flowfold, here on the right in his cool booth, with products made from recycled sail cloth. Islanders, we don’t waste a thing.


Today it’s back to the drawing board. I’m working on a delicious pile of variety: set designs for a local children’s theater, illustrating nesting dolls for an invitational show at Pinecone & Chickadee, and creating a mural of hairstyles for Salon Burke.

The big question still: are we getting more snow? Does it matter?


The lights will burn bright in my studio, no matter what.


  1. I remember that postcard as it was my sweet intro to you as well. It (as part of the original Blueberries & Moose poster) hangs beside my desk. Metaphor. Story. You bring it all out in your pastels.

  2. Hey Jamie,

    I am so glad you could make it to the show! It is always nice to catch up with you. Cheers, Kim

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