'How to talk to an Autistic Kid' takes a gold!

While I was at ALA in Anaheim this weekend I was ecstatic to find out that the book I illustrated last year for Freespirit Publishing ' How to Talk to an Autistic Kid' won a gold in the Foreward Reviews Book of the Year Awards, announced at ALA. And I didn't realize till I got home!


Congratulations to Daniel Stefanski .. awesome autistic author!

In other news I found a box o' books awaiting me when I got back to Maine. Love the colours! This is the 4th in the series of Anastasia Suen's 'All Star Cheerleaders' published by Kane Miller.  

And here we are together at ALA getting ready to sign like crazy! 100 in an hour and I drew a cheerleader in EVERY one ... what was I thinking??

 More on my exploits at ALA Anaheim in another post ... it was exhausting and fun and exhausting and FUN!

Right now I have to finish a cover.


Books for a Better Life

Monday came round quick this week. (Only 6 days since the last one). Thanksgiving is thundering toward us totally out of control, no doubt bringing snow and Christmas in it's wake. I am looking at my things-I-want-to-do-before-the-end-of-the-year list, and wondering just how many are achievable.

High on my list is to send another publisher's mail-out. This time I have a postcard featuring my 'Dandelion Fairy'. I would love to work up a dummy around her adventures with her little bunny ... but I also have other dummies that need work - and they have been waiting a good while for some attention. So 'Dandelion Fairy' will be scribbled on a post it note and stuck up on the window frame with the other titles.

Let me know if you would like a postcard! Email your address to hazel-mitchell@hotmail.com .

Exciting news this week for Daniel Stefanski, Freespirit Publishing and the book I illustrated earlier this year 'How to Talk to an Autistic Kid.' It's a finalist in the relationship category of 'Books for a Better Life', an award sponsored by The Southern New York Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society. The award ceremony is in March at The New York Times Centre. Very much hoping to go and hoping that the book wins! What an awesome thing this would be for Daniel Stefanski, who is 15 and suffers from autism. Fingers Crossed please.


The rest of this week is going to be busy. Putting to bed 'The Naughty Grandmother' for a private client, and working on an education pdf project for 'Reading A-Z'. Friday I am goign on an OUTING, but can't tell you where yet. Saturday I am doing signing at Pittsfield Library, Maine with 'All Star Cheerleaders: Tick Tock, Taylor.' Fun!

Let's hope my computer behaves ... complete rebuild this weekend, caused by a power unit failure and possible dodgy memory chip. I did, however, learn a valuable lesson when the power unit messed up my hard drive a couple of weeks ago ... now have a server I back up to every night. Thank goodness 'im indoors is a techie!

Toodles and thanks for popping in!


On the bedside table:

The Story of Charlotte's Web - Michael Sims
A Ball for Daisy - Chris Raschka
Me ... Jane  Patrick McDonnell
Pavement Chalk Artist - Julian Beever

Spring is Sprung

At last - birds, grass, decent temperatures. Things are looking UP in Maine. Put the fence up over on the big field (in winter the snowmobile path goes across it) and turned out our horses. There was galloping and bucking and BIG farts. (They do that when they are happy). Me, I just do the galloping and bucking bit.

Last weekend I trotted off to Boston with some girl friends. We had a blast, the sun shone and it was 50 or so degrees. Even the daffs were flowering! Stayed at a lovely little hotel (John Jeffries House on Beacon Hill.) It was good to get away from the studio, see some sights and people, eat (too much) at nice restaurants and browse in galleries. One of the fun things is getting on the DownEaster Train in Portland and cruising to Boston North Station. Nice not to drive, kick back and relax, have a drink ;-).

Saturday night we went to the Opera House and saw Mary Poppins, the Broadway cast. Just stunning! Great set, singing and an escape from reality. I particularly enjoyed the sets, which were very illustrative and made to work like a doll's house. Of course Disney always but on a great show, love' em or hate 'em. Well I loved it and took some inspiration from it.

More inspiration on Sunday - Boston Museum of Fine Arts. One afternoon is far too little time to do it properly - and viewing fatigue sets in after a while. It was good to sit and contemplate amongst old masters, the paintings old friends from books and posters, from essays written at college and lectures received. So I mused among the Impressionists and spent a while with John Singer Sargent and his beautiful brushwork. Roamed in the Egyptian room and pootled in the new Art of the Americas wing. Totally missed the musical instruments and costume though. Rats.

And in breathing the atmosphere it reminds you that this is still just paint on canvas, one brush stroke, one observation at a time. Take that home and recall that what you do is not so much different.

Meanwhile back in my real life ... still trying to throw off the kidney stone episode with has left me pretty exhausted. I am deep in to the compositions for 'Hidden New Jersey' for Charlesbridge. There is a lot of detail and research for each spread ... they are packed cock-a-hoop full of history. Hopefully I can share them here soon. There's a lot of work to do before then though!

Good news also this week - 'How to Talk to an Autistic Kid' goes on sale from Free Spirit Publishing. I received my copy and it looks fab! You can buy it now on Amazon If you have a child who is in contact with an Autistic child, perhaps at school, or just to educate them that an Autistic child acts a little differently but is highly intelligent, this is a great book. Also if your feeling generous, purchase a copy for your school or library. If you would like a signed copy, please let me know and I will try to arrange it.

Lastly, really pleased to find out that Corinna Elementary School (about 10 miles from me in Maine) has received a grant enabling me to work with 4th graders in the next several weeks to produce a book. Hopefully we will publish through Lulu and put it on Amazon ... watch out for that! More chances to spend $$!

I hope Spring is with you now where ever you are and you are looking forward to a beautiful year.

Ta Ta For Now

The Wacky Brit

On the bedside table -
Writing Magic - Gail Carson Levine
When I Grow Up - Al Yankovic and Wes Hargis