Featuring colorist Ronda Francis

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Open Pillow

I am illustrating a book with a friend, David Rowinski, and would like you to see a few of the drawings.

The book should be available in about a month.

It is a bedtime story for children of any age :)

I hope you like them.

XO Dea

Monday, April 30, 2012

Does Your Child's Name Prejudice How They Are Perceived?

My name is Dea.

Although it seems that every rhyme of this name is currently popular, Mia, Gia, Leah, Pia, and even Priya on the Big Bang Theory, when I was a kid no one had a name like mine.

Part of me loooved the name because it was different and kind of exotic sounding compared to the three Lisas in my class and the four Kathys.

But on the other side of the coin I don't think anyone pronounced my name correctly.  Ever.

People asked me what it meant, if it was a nickname, if it was short for Deanna, Deborah, or Deena.  My father-in-law called me Delia, Donna, and Deebrah (rhymes with zebra), but I have never heard him call me Dea--he calls me honey now.  I still don't think he knows my name.

My name is different and I cannot say I was ever considered ordinary--and I do think names can have an affect on the way we are perceived, and possibly the way we think of ourselves.

The dentists where I grew up were Dr. Payne (oh dear) and Dr. Gold (fillings?).

The music teacher in my grammar school was Mr. Musik!

And I'm sure there are times when the name does not represent you at ALL--like Madonna.

Certain names do carry specific connotations.  For instance Katherine is presumed to be more successful and possibly more wealthy than Brianna. And stars seem to corner the market on odd names.  Read about the study here:


Stars can also influence the popularity of names.

Right now the number one girl's name is Isabella, most certainly after the Twilight series, followed by Emma and Olivia.  Jacob, another Twilight character, is the most popular boys name, followed by Ethan, and the ever-popular Michael.

I have heard some interesting names over the years:  Moon Unit, Pilot Inspector, Dweezle, Apple, Hiawatha, Huckleberry, Minty, and Celery.  And the list goes on and on.

Dea is unusual, but I never thought it was bad.  I wonder how Blue Ivy, North West and Apple will feel about their names in a few years...I would love to ask them.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Charlotte's Web and Other Books Adults Love--But Do Kids?

I remember being in school and waiting with bated breath to find out the next book we would read.

Would it be Judy Blume?  Roald Dahl?

Nope.  It was E.B.White.  Our teacher told us about this special book, and it was SO special that we would not only read it, but we would go to Radio City Music Hall and see a movie about it.

I could not WAIT.  I was bursting at the seams. 

Charlotte's Web sounded fascinating!  We had never read a book about a spider in school.  We read about bad storms, fishing, sports, and war.  This was new, sounded a bit creepy, and had the potential to be fun.
I cried for a month.

It was not fun.

It was written to appeal to adults.

Beautifully written, the story tells of a clever spider who keeps her new friend Wilbur from the slaughter house.  And of course the spider dies at the end.


I am not saying every kids book needs to be filled with balloons, smiley-faces, and cookies, but they do not have to be like the early Disney movies where every child is an orphan, becomes an orphan, knows someone who becomes an orphan, experiences death, or is alone in the world.

I am also a bit befuddled why children's books are given more attention if they involve diseases, captivity against one's will, war, pain, or anything else that makes it exactly what a kid does not want to read.

I also think many of the so called "children's books" are not written with children in mind, but for adults to read who might be able to get them noticed for an award.

Gimme a break...
We stress that our children grow up too fast, yet we inundate them with endless situations in books that are flat-out depressing and harsh.

The librarian in my town recently told me that kids over five or six would think a book about a girl who believes in the Easter bunny is silly because they all know by this age that it is a fairy tale and they would not be interested.

Is this true?

If it is I feel a bit sad.

Maurice Sendack managed to take us to a dark and scary place filled with monsters, sharp pointy teeth, and moms that just don't understand in the book Where the Wild Things Are.  No one died or came close to dying.  The hero was not an orphan, and we did not weep at any point in the book.  Roald Dahl entranced us with his beautiful tale of a candy-filled world of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory.  He even had a family facing hard times, stress, and aging, but the reader is never engulfed in a misty fog of gloom that so many kid's book leave us wrapped in.
There is a wild one is us all.

Childhood is a time of wonder, when a dark summer evening chasing lightning bugs can transport a child to a fairy tale world of an enchanted forest and magic. 

Kids DO grow up so fast--I think we need more books that make kids smile and give them a sense of hope.

They will learn all about the dark stuff soon enough.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

J.K.Rowling, Books and Easter

Every time I read a Harry Potter book I felt as if I was on vacation--transported and taken to a wonderful place.  It was a holiday each time I read the book.  I cannot bring myself to read the last book in the series because to me, this way, it is not over, and I am still somewhere in the story.  Just like Christmas vacation or spring break--i will be very sad when it is all over.

With Easter upon us I cannot help but think how special the holidays become again when we have children.  Something magical happens, and we become the fairies and elves we so fondly remember reading about as children, and create, even for a short time, a happy, wondrous and magical place for them.

During Easter we decorate and hunt for eggs, get together with family for meals, and wait anxiously for our baskets.  This special time we spend with our kids is forever etched into their minds, and the tales of Peter Cotton Tail and the Easter bunny enchant them and fill them with excitement.

Although not Easter books, the tales of Beatrix Potter are a childhood favorite.


Easter books can be found with Disney characters, Spongebob, The Bernstein Bears or even Thomas the Tank Engine.


So find an Easter book and take your kids on a journey down the bunny trail--happy holidays :)


            Francine was lying in bed before school and she began to wonder what the Easter bunny would bring her this year.
She waited all year for Easter, the lovely holiday at the beginning of spring that was filled with jelly beans, chocolate and egg hunts. She was having a daydream that she would find all the eggs in the hunt, and inside the eggs would be more candy than she could ever eat in her life.She was looking up at the ceiling, lost in candy-filled Easter thoughts hoping for five packs of colorful marshmallow Cheeps, a solid chocolate Easter bunny that was two feet tall, and a Chicky-Poop toy that laid jelly bean Easter eggs when you pressed on its back. (Pic of candy dreams please)
She got out of bed and looked at herself in the mirror.
“I am doing fine in school, I volunteered to clean up Clark Park TWICE this year, and I baby sat my brother on the night everyone else went to see the new vampire movie, Dawn.  I am SURE I am going to get great things from the Easter bunny this year!” she said as she crossed her fingers.
Easter was Francine’s favorite holiday.  She liked it more than Halloween.  She even liked it more than Christmas.  Because Francine liked candy more than anything in the world.
She liked Fizzy Bits, the candy that felt like carbonated soda in your mouth.  She loved Chocolate Dogs because they tasted delicious and the wrapper barked when opened.  Her very favorite candy was Super-Sweetie Firecrackers.  This candy came in five flavors and when you bit into the crunchy, sugary outside, a tiny cloud of sweet and sour candy dust exploded inside your mouth.  Francine loved the exciting adventure of each new mystery flavor, but she did NOT like it when she got the mango flavor. Francine sometimes wished she could have all the candy in the world. She also wished she would never get the bad flavors. She did not understand why candy makers ever used pineapple, mango, coconut, or pear flavors in candy.  Yuck.
“Those flavors,” said Francine, ‘are NOT candy-worthy.
She tapped her chin as she thoughtfully stared out the window and proclaimed: “I wish there were candy rules….”
She took a deep breath and said loudly:
“Rule one.  ONLY the best flavors should be used in every bag or box of candy.
And rule two should be that every kid should be able to eat all the candy they want at Easter—and all their Easter wishes should come true.”



Thursday, March 22, 2012

Francine and the Super Pet Spy Bunny--Available Today on Amazon!!

I am thrilled to announce that my first book with Ted E. Beans Press is availabe in digital and book form through Amazon.  Just in time for Easter!!

Will Francine figure out where the six foot chocolate bunny in her room came from?

Is the Easter bunny running around in Lemon County?

Does Francine's crabby older sister actually like Hello Puppy! lip gloss?

All this and more in Francine and the Super Pet Spy Bunny!!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Out of This World Tales

Is your Easter basket from the Easter bunny--or a Super Spy Bunny that escaped from the Robots and Technology lab?

Can a spell be cast on a witch--by Merlin?

Where has Santa been--and why is he coated with glowing dust?

All these questions can be answered in OUT OF THIS WORLD TALES, a slightly supernatural, sometimes holiday themed, and always fun series of books for kids.  They are perfect for children who are six to nine years old and reading--but not quite ready for chapter books. 

Although not picture books, Out of This World Tales are sprinkled with whimsical drawings to enhance the interest of the story.

These books will take your child into space, into haunted houses, to the moon, and more.  Written to grab kid's attention and never let go, Out of This World Tales are fun, silly, and filled with adventure.

FRANCINE AND THE SUPER PET SPY BUNNY available at Amazon through Ted E. Beans Press on March 20.

Already on Amazon:  THE MOON IS NO PLACE FOR A GHOST--A story about ghostly friends who are looking for a home that is not haunted by people, and at the same time being chased by goblins who are trying to throw them in Otherworld Jail.  Read if their friend Penelope can help--or if they will spend eternity behind bars!