Christmas in August....for reals!

The Mailman is a pretty popular guy at our house. Small white and blue trucks, and big brown trucks usually bring my kids screaming to the front door with high hopes they will get something. Usually it's not for them, but this time it was.

And guess what he brought?

A Christmas Goodnight just came in the mail! The first sample copy was wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper by my editor (how she got some in August I have no idea) and looky-looky!

It's always a bit surreal, these moments. Children at Play fabric was such a was created fast and produced fast to make it in time for Spring Market. This book on the other hand, I started 2 years ago, exactly. I finished it a year ago, so getting my fingers on this is rather sweet. But honestly, seeing my children's reactions for the first time is precious.

This is a OH SO VERY candid moment of me reading it the first time. Precious. Not exactly promo material, but maybe this will give you an idea how little eyes see the book.

It was so magical and hilarious to witness their reactions. This lasted for like 12 minutes, but I love you all, and am only showing you 1 minute:) So sorry about the quality. I need to hire a movie-techie-elf. Someday.

But really you guys...I love this. I love illustrating. I LOVE the world of books, and I really, really hope to keep my hand in it. Working on this book was an amazing experience, one where I knew I was where I belonged!

But to keep illustrating books, I need your help:)

To give you a little scoop on the world of publishing, authors and illustrators get to publish more books based on how well their previous books have sold. Meaning, you could have a really awesome book, but if just your mom and your cousin purchase it, the chances of you getting another contract are really slim. Sad, but true. It's just how the publishing world works.

I'm not asking you to go buy millions of copies (although, that would be really cool, and I'd mail you some of the to-die-for Swiss chocolate my brother just brought home from a trip to Geneva). But, you can help your local libraries, bookstores and communities be aware of it so that they can buy it. I have a little PDF download here that my amazingly wonderful editor put together, and if you print it off and hand it to your librarian or local bookstore, you can make sure that your favorite local book places will be carrying it.

And if you DO want to get your hands on a copy, you can pre-order it here, here and here. Did you know that by pre-ordering it, it tells the Harper Collins Publishing elves that they need to get more out by Christmas? (And shhhhhh...secret: It's a steal of a price to pre-order online!)

So, print off this info sheet and make sure your library will have it, or local bookstore, etc. (I'd especially love to see us all supporting our local bookstores this Christmas!)

I'll be posting more about the making of the book, and other really fun facts as we get closer to the holidays. Although, right now, it's really feeling like Christmas!

To print A Christmas Goodnight info sheet for your local bookstore or library click here

To Pre-order on Amazon click here

To Pre-order on B&N click here

To pre-order at a local bookstore in the USA click here

Merry Christmas!



A Christmas Goodnight Cover Release

"On a quiet but wondrous Christmas Eve, the nativity story comes to life,

and families everywhere celebrate the miracle of Christmas.

Nola Buck’s simple poetic text and tender illustrations by Sarah Jane Wright

make this gentle holiday goodnight book a joy to read and share with those you love!"

So, this is quite early in the game. But I had to share! My first picture book, A Christmas Goodnight, won't be coming out until the fall, but this is the first time that I can actually start releasing some images! It's so intersting: I've been working on this since August of 2009, and it's only just now that I can show you what I've spent the past year of my life doing:)

I won't tell you too much right now...there's still quite a while until any of you will be thinking about Christmas again. But, since you are all friends...and friends just want to share....I thought you'd love to catch a glimpse of what A CHRISTMAS GOODNIGHT is about.

Really, this post should be about my husband, friends and family who supported me all along the way. This has been my dream illustrate children's books...and I never realized that illustrating a children's book while mothering young children would be so challenging. But I've learned so much a long the way, which I plan on sharing a little later.

But for now: it's official.

A Christmas Goodnight

By Nola Buck Illustrated by Sarah Jane Wright

Harper Collins Childrens Books

Oct. 1, 2011

Not available for Pre-order just yet...hold your horses.

Merry Christmas!

Or rather, Happy Ground Hog Day!

Christmas in August!

This week I made another normal trip to UPS to send my illustrations to Harper Collins like I have been for months now. But this was a special delivery.

The final art for Christmas Goodnight is in! DONE AND DONE!

Did you hear that? I have to keep pinching myself. For real? Have I really finished? Remember how this journey started a year ago? Yes. One year. And a great year at that. I have a completely new perspective of children's books now. I've always known in my head how much goes into a picture book, but it wasn't until I actually became an illustrator myself, have I fully understood the labor of love involved.

The actual final art took only about 6-8 weeks in the making. What takes so long is getting the vision, storyline and sketches just right.  Well, that and a whole bunch of big life events that I had to work around (having baby #3, moving twice and becoming a first time homeowner all while trying to make deadlines!) And though the book took longer than expected, it couldn't have worked out better. In that year's worth of work, I've also been given an education of a lifetime! For someone who kinda skipped the whole art school scene, this has been my Illustrating Children's Book Degree. You guys, the publishing world is SO COOL and the people that get the books out there on the shelves are SO SMART and TALENTED and just plain AMAZING. I've been so lucky to work with such gifted mentors. There is so much that goes into getting a book to be at it's best. I think I've gone through at least 15 revisions of just this short Christmas book. But getting the vision and the storyline just right, as well as all the visual details right takes patience and creativity, and I'm so glad I got to work with the kind of people that know creativity and ideas come when they come, and can't be forced.

I will for sure post more about the book and it's insides once it gets closer to publication. But, it's not going to be for a good while. I've sent the art to the big guys in New York and there are a lot of color scanning and adjustments that they do, and then it's off to press which takes several months all together.

So that's that! Now it's off to unpacking boxes and really moving into our house...and getting out some new art. Sorry guys...this blog hasn't been very artsy lately...but that's cause everything has been going to this book. Stay tuned for more art soon. There's a lot bubbling up that's needs to surface now that Christmas is over around here!

PS-If you are new to the blog, here's the info about the book:

A Christmas Goodnight written by Laura Godwin, illustrated by Sarah Jane Wright

Published with Katherine Tegan Books, an imprint of Harper Collins Children's

Coming to stores Fall 2011

He's really all that.

Dear Reader who wonders how I have time to do creative things,

What you need to know about being an Artist and a Mom and a Book Maker:

You will be absolutely lousy without help.

May I introduce you to man who  makes things happen around here? Oh, and have I mentioned he happens to be the most amazing man on the planet?

Say "Hi" to Kenneth. He's the love of my life. Not only has he been on kid duty while I finish up the book at full speed, but he's the King Gardener, Fixer-Upper, Royal Chef, Fort Maker, Grocery Shopper, and Make-Believe Player and even does the dishes. He is basically makes this whole book making process wonderful. That, and he is a writer and storyteller himself, so he understands how this all works...and enjoys it too! We don't live close to either of our parents, and with 3 young kids in the mix, having long stretches of time to do anything is out of the question. But thanks to my school-teacher husband who has the summer off to let me work, it's been amazing.  And on top of all that, he keeps things fun around here. He is the one that keeps me laughing when I get too stressed and knows how to have a good time when things are a bit crazy. I am seriously in love. I am so blessed to be married to my best friend. Like, really blessed.

The kids think so too.

So, when I look at my life and wonder why I haven't cracked yet, it's cause of him.

The end.



PS: New summertime art is in the shop today!

Sneak Peek.

When you put your life and soul into something, it's only natural to want to share it with the people you interact with. I mean....what mother can't keep her mouth shut about the cute thing her toddler said, or the sleepless night spent with a teething infant? It's just how we are made. We were meant to share things.

I for one, and not naturally a 'secret keeper.' I can keep a secret when there is a specific reason behind the this book I'm illustrating for instance...but any one who knows me, knows that I'm a rather transparent person. I wear my feelings and thoughts on my sleeve.

But...the book is getting closer. Closer and closer to being done! It's taken a bit longer than initially anticipated:  mostly due to my buying and selling and remodeling a house, having a baby and mothering 3 under school age children while trying to learn the industry of picture book making all at the same time. Whew! But thankfully I have the best editor in the entire universe (Yes, YOU Molly!) and I've been granted a lot of strength and help from my family...namely my incredible and good-lookin' husband.

I'll save all the thank-you's for when I'm actually finished with this baby. But it's been an AMAZING that I can't wait to share more of. I can't share it all now...I still have a bit more time before it goes to press.... but the lessons have been invaluable. I'm completely in love with the Children's Book industry, and illustrating picture books is the hardest yet most fulfilling and wonderful work! I feel so, so lucky. It's such an amazing opportunity and I am so humbled to be involved and learning!

A CHRISTMAS GOODNIGHT (Fall 2011) written by Laura Godwin and Published with Katherine Tegan Books, and imprint of Harper Collins Children's Books,  is a simple goodnight story which mixes the traditional Christmas story with the story we make for ourselves every season. It is a classic treasure!

Stay tuned for more!

Books You'll Love: Marilka

Children's books have more power in 32 pages than children even realize. It isn't until we are older than we find ourselves saying, "Mom, remember that book with the one page that had a dog in the bed, but he wasn't asleep...and then a tree at the end? What was it called again?It was my favorite book." Our memory of reading picture books can be as vivid as our real childhood memories, because imagination and reality are one and the same to kids.  The pages of picture books allow a child's' mind and senses to make sense of the world around them and give them freedom to explore new places and feelings in a very safe way. It's a beautiful art, and one that I hope to master some day. There is so much more that goes into a book than a simple "tree at the end" ending. But to affect the child in a positive way is the ultimate quest.

Marilka is one of those books to me. To be completely honest, my memories of reading this as a child have completely messed up my critical eye. This could be a lousy book (which it isn't) but because I loved it so much as a child, I love it now. Do you have those kind of books? Books that as you read now aren't that amazing, but to your 5 year old self they captivated you?

From the front flap:

"When Marilka's parents think she is lost, not only are they miserable, but everyone and everything in the neighborhood is afflicted too. When Marilka reappears, joy is unbounded, and she knows that she is the center of her parents' world. In gorgeous full-color pictures and playfully exaggerated text, Janina Domanska transforms a universal childhood experience into a work of art."

Marilka (I believe) is out of print (Macmillan 1970) and can only be found here or in your libraries.

Inspiration Board.

I'm in final art mode for A Christmas Goodnight (Fall 2011) and I thought I'd share with you some images I have in my studio to get the juices going. The book is full of wonderful color and texture, and though the characters in these images have nothing to do with the subject I am working with, the line and color inspires me.  It's so important for me to have visual inspiration for the projects I work on. It gets me right in the mood!

Image via Bibliodyssey

Image via Bibliodyssey

This has been in my files forever....can't find the reference! Let me know if you know!


Image from Kevin Henkes upcoming book via Greenwillow Press Blog.

Maurice Sendak, Moon Jumpers


Rosemary Wells, Original Art

And a little Van Gogh, Starry Night