Many thanks to the Peaks Island Branch Library for hosting our Prickly Picture Book Program on Saturday morning.


I couldn’t resist making something sweet and prickly, too. (Do try this at home, a pile of warm brownies pierced with toothpicks is a very fun sculpture to make and then eat!)


It was a pleasure to have Lyn Smith, the author of A Porcupine’s Promenade visit Peaks Island.


As a reading specialist, Lyn enjoys reading aloud.  She makes these porcupine noises that I just cannot fathom how.


I talked a bit before making a visual presentation, about how I came to illustrate this book.


We can thank Maine Authors Publishing for bringing us together. I shared some of my process, such as drawing the first porcupine close-up. I had to imagine one without all it’s quills first, a prickle-less Priscilla. My sharp strokes had to be precise and in the right direction. I am quite sure I procrastinated at this point, and went for a walk.


I also shared some of the rough sketch ideas for the book jacket. This was an early favorite that did not become the cover.


I brought some pastel pencils, paper, and some nature objects for those inclined to draw.


In the sweetest of gestures, two artists gave me one of their drawings. This is Avery’s cheerful mountain of gratitude.


Here is Louise’s vivid sunset. She is also wearing some pastel, which often happens to me while I work with color dust!


After book signing, Lyn got our two-cent tour of the island, which includes driving past the ocean and through the many woods, still shrouded in snow. All too quickly, she left for home, warmed by making new island friends.


Marty Braun, Jamie Hogan, and Lyn Smith photo © Anne Dennison

During this National Library Week, I am SO grateful for the support of our island library. These two, Rose Ann Walsh and Priscilla Webster, contribute greatly to our book-loving community. I begin any project by going there, and they always find things I didn’t know I was looking for. When I was illustrating Island Birthday, I even got them to model for me for a scene that takes place in a post office. Here is a detail.


As author Neil Gaiman has said, “Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.”

Thanks to my community for coming to learn about our book, you make my heart sing!







  1. Fabulous Jamie!! You & Lyn are a dynamic duo. What a lovely book with great illustrations and it is obvious you both are having a great time with it. Kudos for sharing your joy with the kids of Peaks Island in their favorite library and it’s fabulous keepers. Great job!!! XO

    • Thanks, Peg! You of all people know how fabulous our wee island library is!

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