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Little Elliot Around the World

Little Elliot is going to be making his way to shelves all over the world! You’ll be able to find Little Elliot, Big City sometime in the future in these countries! Meanwhile, check out my US Tour dates to see if I’m coming to a town near you!

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Translated Books

Mandarin (China)
publisher: Dolphin

German (Germany/Austria/Switzerland/Luxembourg/Liechtenstein)
publisher: Fischer Verlage 

Hebrew (Israel)
publisher: Kinneret

Italian (Italy)
publisher: Il Castoro

Korean (South Korea)
publisher: Froebel

Catalan (Spain)
publisher: Ediciones B

Available in English

publisher: Five Mile Press
Australia
India
Ireland
New Zealand
South Africa
UK

publisher: Henry Holt Books for Young Readers
Canada
USA

Stay tuned for specific release dates! 

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Little Elliot's Neighborhood, Mikesville

Little Elliot Blog Tour Recap

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In case you missed the Little Elliot Blog Tour, here are links to all the sites I visited!

Librarian in Cute Shoes 
Find out why I chose the city as the backdrop for Elliot’s world.

Teach Mentor Texts
Read about all the historical research that went into the making of the book.

Read. Write. Reflect. 
Check out what my studio looks like!

Kit Lit Frenzy
I talk a little bit about what inspired the story of Little Elliot, Big City.

Daddy Mojo
Find out who that cute little girl is who sees Elliot in the crowd.

The Trifecta:
Sharp Reads – Mr. Sharp shares 5 reasons why he’s reading  Little Elliot, Big City to his class.
Watch. Connect. Read. –  I finish Mr. Schu’s famous sentence starters (find out where Elliot lives!).
Nerdy Book Club – I talk about my reading journey, with all of its highs and lows.

Miss Print
Find out what my favorite illustration from the book is!


 

Also, these fine folks weren’t part of the official tour, but are some of my favorite interviews and reviews:

Let’s Get Busy Podcast
Matthew Winner and I talk about the book and my road to publication.

7 Impossible Things Before Breakfast
What don’t we talk about in this interview???

Librarian’s Quest
Ms. Meyers gives the sweetest review, and talks about how she relates to Elliot.

Celebridot
I was invited to create my own dot!

 

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Little Elliot's Neighborhood

Little Elliot, BIG TOUR!!!

Now that Little Elliot has finally made it to the shelf (YAY!), I’ll be hopping around the country to promote the book! I’ll be doing school visits and in-store events, as well as a few independent bookseller conferences. I’ll be reading Little Elliot, Big City, doing a drawing demo, and talking a little about my process. There might even be some Elliot swag at the in-store events ;) Hope to see you there!

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Here’s a list of public events and conferences:

9/19 Norfolk, VA
SIBA (Southern Independent Booksellers Association):
Meet Louise, Elliott, Pout Pout & The Stick Panel

9/21 Arlington, VA
NAIBA (New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association):
Discover New Authors Moveable Feast

9/22 Seattle, WA
Third Place Books (Ravenna) at 7PM

9/23 Bellingham, WA
Village Books  at 11AM

9/26 Petaluma, CA
Copperfield’s Books at 4PM

9/27 Portland, OR
Powell’s Books
11AM at Powell’s City of Books on Burnside
12:30PM at Cedar Hill’s Crossing

9/27 Tacoma, WA
PNBA (Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association):
Sweet & Greet

9/29 Washington, MO
Washington Public Library at 6PM

9/30 Naperville, IL
Anderson’s Bookshop at 7PM

10/4 Southern Pines, NC
Country Bookshop at 12PM

 

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Illustration Station, Little Elliot's Neighborhood, Mikesville

Today, I Have a Book

Today is the day that I have everything I’ve ever wanted. Who knew it was possible? There was a time I didn’t think it was.

I’m back in Seattle this week, celebrating my book release at Elliot Bay Books, going to my friends’ wedding, and spending some much needed time with old friends who I haven’t seen in a long while. I was having dinner with one friend, who is amidst a life-changing project. She relayed to me how tumultuous it’s been since she made the decision to really commit to her dream, how one minute she experiences euphoric highs, and the next she’s weeping in the pits of doubt. Her story sounded very familiar to me.

It wasn’t long ago that I had a full time job in graphic design, a career I was proud of that paid the bills and also served as a creative outlet. But it wasn’t my dream. I was telling other people’s stories through branding, but not my own. It didn’t fill me up the way creating a drawing did. What was I making that spoke my own truth? What would I leave behind? How on earth could I get a deal making a picture book, the one thing that gleamed like a beacon in my daydreams, when the odds seamed so slim.

blizzardI was a failure. I would try to make a painting, and it didn’t come out how I wanted it to. Or I would start and never finish. Or I would write down ideas and never start. Or I wouldn’t do anything but sit and stare into space and think about how it was all totally impossible. I prepared myself to accept that it probably would never happen for me. That being a grown up meant facing realities. That it was vain to put faith in one’s talent. That it was folly to think you could live up to your heroes. How arrogant. How stupid.

But amidst it all, there was Elliot, a friendly face that I would doodle in my sketch book. He was so kind and forgiving. He did not judge these hostile feelings. His heart was so pure that he glowed in my darkness. He was the innocent part of myself that I managed to protect, the vulnerable child that didn’t quite fit in. He was so little, but pressed on. Into Elliot, I poured my empathy, love and hope. I couldn’t deny him these things. When I finally started to create finished drawings of him, I felt as though I was fighting for my life. He was the key to keeping my dreams alive. I would give him my hands and eyes and heart. I would make something just for me, something that made me happy.

In hindsight, it’s all quite clear. When faced with the prospect of real happiness, our inner demons are unleashed. The saboteur whispers in your ear, “no, you can’t.” But what it’s really saying is: “No, you can’t try to be happy because what if you fail? We will never recover.” But those are convenient lies. I did try, and I did fail, but it didn’t break me. I tried and tried and tried and tried, because what’s the use in giving up? Eventually, I tried and I won. I’m not even talking about my book deal. I’m talking about the magical day that I finished a drawing of Elliot and I was proud. I felt transported to a time when I was little, just making drawings to give to my Mom. It felt easy, and made me smile. I loved Elliot so much. He felt alive, and that meant my dreams were alive. And yes, I decided then that I would muster the audacity of pursuing my dream, because if I didn’t, then why was I even here?

Today, I have a book. It’s about my friend Elliot, whose little spots and big heart saved my life. He means so much to me, and I hope that you all take very good care of him.

xoxo
Mike

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Little Elliot's Neighborhood

Little Elliot, BIG WINDOW

 

BOW_windowYesterday was the culmination of many weeks of preparing. I installed a window display at Books of Wonder, a fantasy-land of children’s literature located in Manhattan on 18th between 5th & 6th Avenues. I was asked to create a display for my impending book release (August 26th!), book release party (September 5th!), and author panel (September 7th!). It was such an honor to be asked to create a window display at such a well known and beloved store. I was kind of freaking out about what to do, especially after seeing some pretty amazing displays. Then I had a little idea that turned into a big project: What if I recreated Elliot’s apartment/world in the window? In 3-D? With cupcakes??? Here is the original sketch.

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Once I confirmed that everyone was OK with that idea, I started to recruit people who actually knew what they were doing. I hadn’t made anything out of paper mache since grade school. My friend Les St. Leon worked on various sets for Universal Studios, Disney, and zoos in multiple cities, so I thought he might be a good person to check in with. Les helped me build the foundation for Little Elliot, which is what terrified me the most. Here’s how he started out!

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We used an old lamp to create a weighted base. The torso is made of foamcore circles wrapped in chicken wire. Then we covered everything in masking tape.

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Les in the zone

The legs are also made out of chicken wire. The trunk is chicken wire and crumpled paper. The arms are crumpled paper. The head is a styrofoam ball. The ears are bristol and crumpled paper. Everything is covered in masking tape. Then, the next day my lovely illustration friends came over to finish taping and to start the paper mache madness.

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Misa and Ruth mix the goop.

 

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Isabel infuses Elliot with happy thoughts.

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Elliot’s Angels: (left to right) Misa Saburi, Ruth Chan, & Isabel Roxas

I don’t know what I would have done without Misa Saburi, Ruth Chan, & Isabel Roxas. We got tons of work done in a few hours, instead of me sitting there covered in gunk for days. Check out their sites. You will be enchanted.

This one is just to prove that I actually did some work aside from taking photos.

This one is just to prove that I actually did some work aside from taking photos.

 

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Naturally, my favorite aspect of the paper mache process was that my studio smelled like baked goods from all the flour and water. Meanwhile, I had to make my own “baked goods” out of Model Magic. I balled up some newsprint and taped it tight, then attached the cupcake tops (there’s a Seinfeld joke in there somewhere), and placed each in a baking cup. I also made Mouse the same way.

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I needed to find a way to make a blue poofy tail for Elliot. I found these creepy dolls at a 99 cent store, who generously donated their hair for the cause.

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To get a sense for being in the big city, I drew some windows for Elliot’s apartment with a New York skyline. Conveniently, a neon sign with the name of the book was located right across the street. After I finished this, it went off to the printer. I also went fabric shopping for something that could pose as wallpaper for the backdrop.

 

DSC_0004sand – gesso – sand -add a mouth and eyes with Model Magic – hot glue the scary cracks that form in the jaw the next day – sand – gesso – sand

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Add paint and polka dots: one cute elephant and mouse friend to order! Elliot had come to life in our home! Three guesses what he made a beeline to…

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“OK, Mouse, now help me get it down!”

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“Let’s start with this strawberry one!”

Elliot likes petting Kimbo. "Good puppy!"

Elliot likes petting Kimbo. “Good puppy!”

Pick out a story for bedtime, Elliot.

Pick out a story for bedtime, Elliot.

"Hey! That's me!"

“Hey! That’s me!”

Brush your teeth, Elliot! Sugar causes cavities.

Brush your teeth, Elliot! Sugar causes cavities.

Elliot and I tried to get to sleep, but we were too excited for the next day.

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Mom and Dad drove down to help me schlep Elliot, Mouse, and furniture (from some very kind friends with good taste) to the store. Isabel returned to offer a hand. Finally, Elliot was in his natural habitat: a bookstore.

Elliot feels right at home.

Elliot feels right at home.

Mouse gets the best view in the house!

Mouse gets the best view in the house!

Well, that’s all for now! The window display will be up until at least September 7th. Little Elliot, Big City goes on sale in 8 days. Head over to Books of Wonder, or your local bookstore and get your copy on August 26th!

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Uncategorized

Announcing the Little Elliot Blog Tour!

Happy Friendship Day! 

Even though every day is friendship day for Elliot, it’s good to have a special day to tell your friends how much you like them. My new friend Terry Shay invited me to make a Celebridot on his awesome blog, so here’s what I made in honor of Friendship Day!

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Meanwhile, Elliot and I have been lucky enough to make a bunch of new friends who are super excited about Little Elliot, Big City. Some of them happen to be some pretty awesome bloggers who are each going to have a special Elliot post the week of the book release, August 26th! Not only will you learn some cool stuff about Elliot’s journey to your bookshelf, you might even win a free give-away! Be sure to check out the blogs on the dates below to find out how you can get a free copy of Little Elliot, Big City, a limited edition tote bag, and stickers! I’ll also be announcing my official Little Elliot Book Tour soon, so stay tuned!

Little Elliot Giveaway

LITTLE ELLIOT BLOG TOUR

Tuesday, August 26           Librarian in Cute Shoes | @utalaniz

Wednesday, August 27     Teach Mentor Texts | @mentortexts

Thursday, August 28         Read. Write. Reflect. | @katsok

Friday, August 29               Kit Lit Frenzy | @alybee930

Saturday, August 30          Daddy Mojo | @daddymojo

Sunday, August 31             The Trifecta:

Sharp Reads | @colbysharp

Watch. Connect. Read. | @mrschureads

Nerdy Book Club | @nerdybookclub

Monday, September 1      Miss Print | @miss_print

Also, be sure to tune into the Let’s Get Busy podcast on August 26th for a full hour-long interview!!

Check out www.LittleElliotBigCity.com to see where you can preorder your copy of Little Elliot, Big City, available August 26th!

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Little Elliot's Neighborhood, Uncategorized

The Countdown!!!

We are now just a MONTH away from Little Elliot, Big City’s release, and it is consuming my every waking moment. “August 26, 2014″ has been flashing in my head like a Las Vegas casino sign for months. This is just a brief little post to air out some of the excitement that has been percolating. It has been 2 YEARS since I signed with Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, and over a year since I finished the artwork for Big City. I’ve had moments where it has felt like the book will never actually be published, that it will always be in this limbo of being done but unseen. And now, finally, the big day is just weeks away. In an effort to keep my sanity, I have started a countdown via social media to get me through each slow-as-molasses day. Every image features a little sneak peek of art from the book! Here is today’s:

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Man, I could really use that red velvet cupcake about now too. The good news is that there will be cupcakes at both of my release parties! Come celebrate with me on August 28th at Elliott Bay Bookstore in Seattle, or on September 5th at Books of Wonder in New York City!

Also, if you’re not following me on social media yet, please like my Facebook page and follow me on Twitter so that you can countdown with me! I will be doing a blog tour in August that you won’t want to miss, and that will be a great way to keep up!

Most importantly, check out www.LittleElliotBigCity.com for info on how to pre-order the book.

29 DAYS!!!!

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