Three cheers for Charlesbridge! I buzzed down to Boston on Wednesday with fellow island illustrator and diva, Annie O’Brien, to celebrate our favorite publisher’s 20th anniversary. We shared good parking karma all day, and schmoozed with a bevy of creators, staff, and bookhounds.

I’m not new to illustration (egads, almost 30 years!) but am relatively new to this children’s book world. It was a surprise to encounter some familiar faces from my distant early days, such as Leslie Evans, Robin Brickman, David Biedrzycki, and former student (from my brief chapter teaching at the Art Institute of Boston) Shennen Bersani.

Here I am butting into chat between David and Shennan.

Annie O’Brien is excited about her latest book, After Ghandi, which Charlesbridge published this spring. She gave a reading recently with her son and co-author, Perry.

We both brought original art for display, and there was an amazing show of art all over the office. I was thrilled to see the proofs for my latest project,
Nest, Nook, and Cranny by Susan Blackaby.

Coincidentally, I received this delightful surprise from Susan Blackaby recently.

It is THE MOST adorable little book, and is my first-ever handmade thank you from an author. Everybody assumes that authors pick illustrators. In fact, publishers pick the manuscript, then they pick the illustrator, and rarely do the two meet during the production process. Sometimes after publication. Sometimes never.

Kudos go out to Susan Sherman, who as a Charlesbridge art director, knows how to pick ’em. The trust she bestows on her illustrators is a wonderful thing. I’m grateful to have been matched with Mitali Perkins for Rickshaw Girl, which keeps winning awards.
Here she is, chatting with illustrator, Anna Alter.

Congratulations, Charlesbridge, for matching talents, making great books, connecting stories, art, and readers with inspiration and dedication. And for making the best cupcakes!

Thanks to Susan Blackaby for this sweet keepsake of our book, which comes out in February 2010. Yay!

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