Sunday, November 18, 2012

Author-illustrator Leeza Hernandez

I've never met author-illustrator Leeza Hernandez in person, but from my interactions with her online, I know she's super positive, generous, talented and hardworking. Her most recent picture book, Dog Gone!, was an instant hit with my kindergartners and first graders.  

Leeza agreed to finish my sentences about writing, illustrating, and school visits. I wrote the words in red, and she wrote the words in black. Thank you, Leeza! 

Dog Gone! tells the story of a naughty little pooch who is desperate to get his paws on his boy’s toy. Determined not to listen when warned, he takes the toy anyway and it ends up in shreds. Dog is scolded by the boy, so he high tails it out of the house and discovers that rash decisions can lead to great regret. I’d be giving it all away if I told you what happens next…

My “Color Me Happy” workshop teaches children that all colors have meaning that can vary from culture to culture, but more importantly are connected to our emotions. Children learn how to read color in the world around them, but also learn how to communicate their feelings using color. Those who have difficulty expressing themselves with words are encouraged to create a color dictionary or journal. (btw: Color plays an important role in Dog Gone!)

You'll want  to explore
I always invite students to open their eyes; never be afraid of being different; look after their imagination as if it were a best friend; write and draw every day and always find a way to be silly or laugh. Oh, and read more books of course!


Eat Your Math Homework is a tantalizing cook-book-math-book-picture-book-in-one, that can grow with children K through 5. It’s a mélange of mathematical theories cleverly disguised as yummy recipes, which is the point. Ann McCallum, the author, wrote this book because she struggled with math as a child. Today she works as a teacher and created the book to help serve up math to others who have difficulties with this subject in a fun, engaging way. If you’ve never eaten math before, I can attest to its deliciousness. 
I’m partial to the Fibonacci Snack Sticks myself. 

Watch out too, because Eat Your Science Homework is on the horizon for 2014, published by Charlesbridge.

Click here for a better look at these illustrations. 
My illustrations are my happy place. Whether doodling for fun, or working on a book for a deadline, it doesn’t matter—I love it. I can get lost for hours and sometimes not know what imagary will come out at the end.

Picture books are not only a vital source of visual literacy for young readers they are windows to brilliant worlds where life and imagination collide. Awesome … ‘nuff said!

Reading is like breathing. Our world would be pretty lifeless without it.

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me about the book I’m currently illustrating because I’m in the throws of my final art deadline. Never Play Music Right Next to the Zoo is written by John Lithgow, being published by Simon & Schuster and due out in 2013. I feel very blessed to work on this book (nervous too)—it’s a huge honor. And I can confirm that Mr. Lithgow is a friendly and fascinating man, and very tall. I’m also working on sketches for a companion book to Dog Gone! called Cat Napped. It’s due out in 2014 – meow!

Watch this video to see what three lucky readers will receive in the mail: 

The winner will also receive a signed mini monoprint. 

Rules for the Giveaway 

1. It will run from 11/18 to 11:59 p.m. on 11/21. 

2. You must be at least 13. 

3. Please pay it forward. 

Borrow Leeza's books from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops

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