Meeting Cindy

People are often surprised to find out that the writer and the illustrator of a children’s book don’t work together. Publishers match up the manuscript with the art, and coach writer and illustrator separately to weave the book together.

So I’d never met Cindy Jenson-Elliott (who wrote our book Weeds Find a Way) in person–until last week. 

Cindy lives in San Diego. I live in Calgary, Canada, but had gone south for a visit. So here we are together at last!
In the background: milkweed, which Cindy grows at her school to attract monarch butterflies.
Thank you, Cindy. I was thrilled to meet you!

From Cindy's school garden: a milkweed pod with my illustration of milkweed. And a monarch egg on the leaf! 

Weeds Find a Way Book Launch Party

More than seventy kids and grownups braved the snow to join the Weeds Find a Way book launch party! We brainstormed the protagonist for my next book: a butterfly-faced caribou-alligacheetahbird. We read Weeds Find a Way and acted out the life cycle of a plant. We traded weedy artist cards.

A great big thank you to everybody who came out! And to my helpers, Kait, Kathryn, Nikki and Sandy - bouquets of hawkweed and teasels. And sprigs of velvetleaf for Sue Hill of Monkeyshines. I love book launch parties!

Happy Book Birthday!

My new book, Weeds Find a Way, is finally out! Happy book birthday to me and to writer Cindy Jenson-Elliott and to the fine folks at Beach Lane Books who helped make this book happen.

I made this video trailer to give a sneak peek:

Weeds Find a Way, picture book trailer from Carolyn Fisher on Vimeo.

 Now that you've seen a little of the book, go to your favorite bookstore and buy it. If they don't have it, order it. When it arrives, covertly arrange all the copies face-out on the shelf. Thank you!

Picture Book Tag: The Next Big Thing

Picture book pal Danna Kessimakis Smith tagged me for The Next Big Thing blog tour. So I'll write a little about my Next Big Thing, then pass the Q+A to more writers and illustrators.

What is the title of your Next Big Thing?

My Next Big Thing: illustrations for a picture book entitled Weeds Find a Way, written by Cynthia Jenson-Elliott. It's a meditation on the beauty and tenacity of weeds.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

My wonderful editor at Beach Lane Books, Andrea Welch, sent me the manuscript! I'll have to ask Cyndi how she got the idea for the story. My lush crop of backyard weeds inspired my artwork.

When will the book be published?

Weeds Find a Way will be in bookstores in Spring 2014. I'm just now designing the cover and back matter spread. Stay tuned for updates!

Now it's time to play tag. Lauren Stringer, John Coy, and Natasha Deen, you're it!


Lauren Stringer

When Stravinsky Met Nijinsky: Two Artists, Their Ballet, and One Extraordinary Riot
Written and illustrated by Lauren Stringer
March 2013
Harcourt Children's Books


Natasha Deen

True Grime 2: Angel Maker
Written by Natasha Deen
September 2012
Blueberry Hill


John Coy 

Hoop Genius: How a Desperate Teacher and a Rowdy Class Invented Basketball
Written by John Coy 
March 2013
Carolrhoda Books


Here's a hint about Danna Kessimakis Smith's Next Big Thing.

What's your Next Big Thing? Share in the comments!


When I was growing up on the farm, we would occasionally leave some fields unplanted over the summer. The earth would rest, the moisture in the soil would increase, and the crop would yield a bigger harvest the next time it was planted. This practice is called summerfallow.

You know how farmers harvest day and night before winter hits? While I've been away from the blog this summer, I've been working like a farmer to finish the pictures for a new book, Weeds Find a Way. I submitted final art on Friday at 5pm. Whew!

Now for a break - at least until the editor's notes come back.

Summer's over, and in the back of my mind new ideas are sprouting. So now I'm ready to break out my sketchbook. Sketching bee, anyone?