Tag Archives: kidlit

The Grumpy Artist

 
grumpy kid hiding behind art

When I first started writing this a few weeks ago, I thought it would be about celebrating the one year birthday of my book, TUMBLE, sharing my new art, paintings, and summer plans. But, so much has happened in the land of social media and how it affects artists that I could not gloss over the chilling effect it has had on how I share my work.

The backstory: Meta (the parent company of Facebook and Instagram) has decided to scrape all existing images to train artificial intelligence engines (and probably resell it to users in the form of a new app or whatever). At the same time, Adobe (parent company of Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign) has also decided to scrape the usage data and art created by millions of its users industry-standard software to continue to train its own artificial intelligence engines. Adobe was/is likely already scraping our data. 

Last year, they rolled out Adobe Firefly, a generative A.I. tool where users could generate entire sections of their compositions using text prompts. I think most artists signed up to use the toolset that Adobe provides to make creative work and meet industry standards for design and illustration. I highly doubt any of us signed up for Adobe's subscription to feed some engine with our creative work, only to then have it regurgitated back to us for the low-low price of a monthly subscription fee. I've been thinking hard about whether I want to continue to share my art digitally and whether I want to use Adobe tools to make my work. It's a very hard pill to swallow after literally decades using and mastering these tools.

Jump here if you don't want the backstory. All of this artificial intelligence drama has affected how free I feel sharing my work on the internet. It has further solidified my own thinking that I should go back to blogging and dedicate more time to making in-person connections, doing school visits, and writing.

Whenever I start thinking too much about all of this, I just get really down. The solution tends to be making art by hand and "touching grass," as well as focusing on telling stories through my art and words. I guess that's what I'll be doing more of in the future.

Motivation: the look on a child's face when they read one of my books and it sparks curiosity or connection. That makes it worth it to me to keep going. Hope it does the same for you.

Nerd Camp CT 2024

I went to my first NErDCampCT in March over in West Hartford, CT. It was the first in-person one I'd been to, and I wanted to share my experience. I think this event is a really wonderful way for librarians to connect with each other as well as authors in the area.

The way it works is really up to the attendees. Upon arrival and registration, you mingle and together with the others present, create a schedule for the day. It is that informal!

It was such a whirlwind of information and connection with educators, librarians, and other authors and illustrators.

We (child and I) learned to make 'zines and learned about nonfiction books.


SCBWI Prairie IL Writer’s and Illustrator’s Day

 

thank you to prairie illinois SCBWI

I had my very first keynote speech earlier this month, and I am still buzzing! SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) has chapters all over the United States and the world. The Prairie Illinois chapter had an amazing lineup this year, and I'm not just tooting my own horn here. They had established authors as well as up-and-coming authors (<-- that's me!) in addition to publishing-industry professionals like my art director for TUMBLE. I was really humbled to be included in the lineup. 

Michael Leali was the first keynote speaker, and I am glad I didn't know that going in because my anxiety may have taken over. Leali is the author of the award-winning middle grade novel THE CIVIL WAR OF AMOS ABERNATHY, and his keynote speech was so very moving and inspiring. I was able to be a fly on the wall for a few of the sessions and learn new things.



At the faculty dinner, I finally met the lovely and personable Sarah Aronson who cross-marketed her book BRAND NEW BUBBE with my book ABUELITA AND I MAKE FLAN last year. I got to meet illustrator Denise Holmes, too! We've been internet friends since I started making my way back into the art and design world in 2016 or so! Natasha Tarpley shared a bench and some fresh air with me. Denise and Natasha, thanks for being great lunchtime buddies! 

I was even able to reconnect with my friend Beth Schneider who lives in the area. Beth and I exhibited  our surface pattern and illustration work at Blueprint and Surtex pre-pandemic. Feels like a lifetime ago.

The entire SCBWI IL team, faculty members, and membership were so incredibly welcoming. I couldn't have asked for a better first-time-faculty experience. November is shaping up to be quite a month!

(Please note: authors and illustrator names have been linked to their books via Amazon affiliate links)

How to Help Your Author and Illustrator Friends (for FREE!)


Confession time: I sometimes feel lost in the publishing industry. Even though I've been an artist and designer for decades, it wasn't until 2017 that I got serious about kidlit and 2022 that my first book as author-illustrator came out. Currently, I'm trying to make new work to sell another book while simultaneously marketing existing books, and it's a challenge!

Publishers shoulder some of the outreach responsibilities, but most titles on their lists do not get the kind of marketing that their "lead" titles do. Lead titles are the ones that get the big posters, cardboard cutouts, commercials, billboards, etc. And, as many authors will tell you, most books don't get the red carpet treatment and most books' marketing and outreach falls on the shoulders of the author.

But all is not lost. What can you do to help? I'm so glad you asked! There are things people like you, dear reader, can do to help a book succeed.

Here a few FREE ways that you can help get the word out about a book without spending a single penny. Here are just a few:

  1. Request any of my books from your local library.
  2. Recommend my books and/or me to your local school for an author-illustrator visit. I love inspiring kids to write and draw.
  3. Submit any of my books to your state book award! This state book awards list from Vanderbilt University is really well organized by region and is updated regularly.
  4. Add my books to your Goodreads "want to read" list and vote for my books if they make it on any of those lovely local lists.
  5. Suggest my books to your local bookstore share my information as a possible visitor or storytime author.
  6. Leave a positive review on any of the big sites like Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Here's the information you'll likely need to do any of those tasks (title, ISBN, ordering info)...

  • ABUELITA AND I MAKE FLAN, Adriana Hernández Bergstrom, ISBN 9781623542658
  • ABUELITA Y YO HACEMOS UN FLAN, Adriana Hernández Bergstrom, ISBN 9781623543990
  • TUMBLE, Adriana Hernández Bergstrom, ISBN 9781338828665
  • COUNTDOWN FOR NOCHEBUENA, Adriana Hernández Bergstrom, Hardcover ISBN 9780316467919, Board book ISBN 9780316467810

But all is not lost. What can you do to help? I'm so glad you asked! There are things people like you, dear reader, can do to help a book succeed.

Here a few FREE ways that you can help get the word out about a book without spending a single penny. Here are just a few:

  1. Request any of my books from your local library.
  2. Recommend my books and/or me to your local school for an author-illustrator visit. I love inspiring kids to write and draw.
  3. Submit any of my books to your state book award! This state book awards list from Vanderbilt University is really well organized by region and is updated regularly.
  4. Add my books to your Goodreads "want to read" list and vote for my books if they make it on any of those lovely local lists.
  5. Suggest my books to your local bookstore share my information as a possible visitor or storytime author.
  6. Leave a positive review on any of the big sites like Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Here's the information you'll likely need to do any of those tasks (title, ISBN, ordering info)...

  • ABUELITA AND I MAKE FLAN, Adriana Hernández Bergstrom, ISBN 9781623542658
  • ABUELITA Y YO HACEMOS UN FLAN, Adriana Hernández Bergstrom, ISBN 9781623543990
  • TUMBLE, Adriana Hernández Bergstrom, ISBN 9781338828665
  • COUNTDOWN FOR NOCHEBUENA, Adriana Hernández Bergstrom, Hardcover ISBN 9780316467919, Board book ISBN 9780316467810

TUMBLE! An origin story

There's just one more month until TUMBLE 'tumbles' onto bookshelves everywhere, and I am so proud of this little book! It received a Starred Kirkus Review and was positively received by many beta readers.

So where did the idea come from?

TUMBLE's origins are kind of sad, but it's a story of survival and so I'll share it with you. Rewind to Fall of 2020. COVID lockdowns. My family had traveled to be closer to my mom and stepdad who was in the final stages of cancer. As they were in home hospice at my stepsister's, we were doing the best we could e-learning at my mother's condo. Zoom school with first graders who had already missed half of the social skills from kindergarten was not easy. 

After e-learning one day, kiddo turned to me at the table wanting to write a story about "tumble." Tumble? I asked if he wanted me to write the words for him as I'd done previously, and with an emphatic "NO!" said he wanted to challenge me to a duel... a story duel! I don't know where he got the word from, but we got to work. He on his version. Me on mine... I started with some thumbnails that came quickly, and the words followed.

A bit later I brought it to my online critique group and they thought it was great. They were so encouraging! They helped me polish the text into the rhyming couplets you see in the final.

You can find the book here on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/61780003-tumble

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Tumble by Adriana Hernández Bergstrom

Tumble

by Adriana Hernández Bergstrom

Giveaway ends June 08, 2023.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Also, there's currently a giveaway for TUMBLE! Entries opened today and anyone in the U.S. can enter until it closes June 8. 

TUMBLE goes on sale June 6 wherever books are sold.

I hope you win!

From Sketch to Final Art: ABUELITA AND I MAKE FLAN

page from ABUELITA AND I MAKE FLAN by Adriana Hernandez Bergstrom

The story of ABUELITA AND I MAKE FLAN is a combination of several real-life events. I was inspired to capture a moment in time where it felt like everything was going wrong as a kid, but still able to find safety and love from my grandparents who accepted me as an imperfect child deserving of love. Anita, the main character, is a blend of real life people in my own family including myself. The Abuelita character was drawn from a combination of several real-life people including my great aunt, both my grandmas and their friends. 

What’s real-life inspiration and what’s not? I really did break a wedding dish, but it belonged to my mother, not my abuelita. The truth is my family did not bring much more than their suitcases with them from Cuba. I really did - and still do! - make a LOT of flan, but I helped my great-aunt, Marta, who had severe arthritis doing all the things Anita does in the book. In real life, I did more crafts like sewing, crochet, and cake decorating with my grandma. I chose flan because it’s delicious and it reminds me of our big family get-togethers which I miss very much.

I started work on ABUELITA AND I MAKE FLAN back in 2017. It was in large part thanks to SCBWI which connected me to a critique group which then led to a mentorship program at WNDB, critiques at SCBWI conferences, Highlights Foundation courses, Storyteller Academy and other educational resources and eventually my agent! Community has been pivotal for growth and feedback in the publishing world, and the success of this title making it to bookshelves everywhere.

Celebrating Progress

Eight years ago, I was still in Germany, sewing and knitting for my baby and myself. I started doing surface patterns and illustrations every now and again for knitting magazines. I still carted around all my art supplies with the thought I'd get back to that dream of illustrating children's books one day.


Five years ago, I still had zero books published, and was recently re-emigrated to the U.S. I was picking myself back up after missing my community and friends I'd made in Germany. I decided to dust off my paintbrushes and started painting whatever was in my head and start taking my art seriously. I started an art collective and together we worked on getting better at our craft.


But, goodness I was rusty! My first paintings were rough, but I needed to get through making a bunch of my 'okay' work to get to where I am today!



Then three years ago, I illustrated my first picture book! To me, it was a proof of concept. I could be a children's book illustrator. Look, here's the proof! That made me work even harder at refining my own stories.

And in a few weeks, my first book as author and illustrator will be hitting bookshelves near you!

When you hear 'progress not perfection' I hope you'll think of my journey. Every action you take toward your dreams is progress. Every painting you finish. Every drawing you refine. It's all progress.



image from ABUELITA AND I MAKE FLAN, Anita helps find ingredients
snippet from my upcoming book, ABUELITA AND I MAKE FLAN, Charlesbridge 2022








Adri Makes a Thing or Two 2020-11-23 15:14:00




This year is nothing if not unrelenting. I have had some great ups: Yay for book sale and art licenses! And my family and I have had some really difficult things to deal with. My uncle on my mom's side passed away very suddenly in July, and then my stepfather (my best father) died in September.

If you've been having a stressful year, you're not alone in your sorrows! Regardless of what this year brings to this last month and a half, I hope you are keeping hope alive. Perhaps this blog post brings a bit of light and warmth into your day.

Warm Holiday Wishes,


Adriana




Thanks to everyone for your feedback on my holiday cards (on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook), I put the favorites on the shop for presale. 

According to the printers, they should be at my studio 12/4 or earlier. I'll fold the cards, pack and ship pre-orders and they should go out by 12/4.
This is set #2 for the Latinx market (my friends and family!). The final favorites are now available to pre-order!
 yes on top of everything I also had a kidney stone this month.

Happy Holidays!

Follow my work!

I'm @adriprints on most social media platforms.
Website
Twitter
Instagram
Email