Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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What people are saying about I'M BORED:

"Read I'M BORED to children's choir last evening. They have never, ever laughed aloud so much! Reading Success!" - Twitter post by Marjorie Bowman


I'm Bored Bonus Page
I'm Sad
I'm Worried
Broken Crayon Series

Flowers from I'M BORED readers

A while back, I received the wonderful photo above from Paula Speer White and her students in Arlington, TX, and they gave me permission to post it in my I'M BORED In The Wild gallery. Paula wrote:

This book is excellent for teaching verbal irony at the secondary level and self-efficacy at the elementary level~I give it a 10! Humorous, courageous, and witty!

In thanks, I sent them a signed copy of I'M BORED. Then THEY sent me these gorgeous flowers on the weekend:

Thank you for the thank you! :-D



I'M BORED, and Un-Boring Potatoes

Thanks to Amanda Socci for mentioning I'M BORED in her article for Going Veggie: "Un-Boring Potatoes (and Pomegranate Aioli Recipe)."


How does a picture book get translated into other languages? Simon & Schuster UK's Tracy Philips explains the process for I'M BORED

Just found out that the French version of I'M BORED is available for ordering online! Check out the cool cover above. I've been enjoying saying "Je m'ennuie" waaay too much since seeing this. I've probably been pronouncing it incorrectly, too...I'll have to find someone fluent in the language to teach me the proper pronunciation.

Anyway, that got me curious about how a picture book is translated into other languages. Tracy Philips, Co-editions & Rights Director at Simon & Schuster over in the UK, was kind enough to answer a few questions for me.


Above: The Translation Rights team at Simon & Schuster UK. From left to right: Ruth Middleton, Nino Tarkhan-Mouravi, Tracy Philips, Stephanie Purcell and Kim Van Berkel.

Q. What is the process for getting a picture book translated?

Tracy: The Rights team receives f&gs from the printer which feature the final text and art for each picture book on unbound sheets. We show these f&gs to our foreign publishers at book fair meetings talking through the text and illustrations and discussing what is right for each market – they are all so different!

The main fairs are: Frankfurt in October, Guadalajara in November, Bologna in March and London in April. We also travel to visit our publishers in their offices throughout the year and would show the f&gs during this visits to. This year, for example, the S&S rights team have travelled to: Brazil, Chile, France, Norway, China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Turkey and the US.

If a publisher expresses interest in the book we’ll send them an f&g or maybe even the book as a digtal pdf (which they can then forward to their own retailers to get feedback). If they decide to buy the book (which we really hope they will) they contact us to ask for prices and the negotiations begin!

Q. Are there any issues that writers and illustrators should be aware of when creating a picture book, in terms of potential translation?

Tracy: In terms of the text - a heavily rhyming text is hard to translate into other languages and, indeed, an Alphabet book is impossible as ‘c’ is not for cat in all languages! (it’s eine Katze in German …)

In terms of the illustrations, elements that are very culturally specific (such as red pillar boxes or London black cabs for picture books from the UK) sometimes make the book tougher to sell and featuring animals that are unfamiliar can be tricky too.

Having said all of that – I have sold many books with rhyming texts and unfamiliar pictures – if the book is really special and you have a great, free, translation then it will work everywhere!

Q. Is the translation done at Simon & Schuster? Or do publishers do the translations?

Tracy: Each publisher choses their own translator – they are much closer to their market than we are and know writers in their own language best able to do the work.

Often they choose children’s picture book authors or poets but most certainly have a group of their favourite professional translators who are best able to capture the essence of each work.


Thanks so much for this great info, Tracy!


Related links:

How to say "I'm Bored" in other languages (including Klingon! Part of the I'M BORED Bonus Page)

Je M'Ennuie on

I'M BORED Bonus page (which includes other how-to and behind-the-scenes material)


I'M BORED in Notable Children's Books Of 2012, The New York Times Sunday Book Review

Thanks to The New York Times for including I'M BORED in its list of Notable Children's Books Of 2012!

I'm about to head out to find a copy of the print version in Toronto in a few minutes, but wanted a post a thank you to editor/publisher Justin Chanda and Simon & Schuster Children's in my blog first.


Simon & Schuster Children's Trade Marketing as I'M BORED characters

Simon & Schuster Children's trade marketing group as I'm Bored characters, "looking bored as called for." From L to R: Nick Elliot (potato), Bernie Cruz (the flamingo), Chrissy Noh (the girl), and Annie Giovaniello Zafian (potato). Chrissy & Bernie designed & sewed the costumes with help from Nick. I LOVE THESE COSTUMES. Thanks to Anne for the photo!


Hazel Mitchell's Farmer Sketch with I'M BORED

Thanks to my Pixel Shavings pal Hazel Mitchell for giving me permission to post this illustration. I first saw this on Hazel's FB page, where she wrote: "Having a hard time getting back into a project I haven't touched since February, even though I really want to work on it while I have a couple of days. So decided to digital doodle. Like this farmer it's hard work digging those precious potatoes. I blame Debbie Ohi ..."


For more info about Hazel, see


I'M BORED In The Wild September winners picked by the author & illustrator


Thanks to all those who have submitted photos to the I'M BORED In The Wild reader photo gallery so far! Here are just a few:

I've mentioned that at the end of September, October, November and December, I'd be awarding PRIZES.

This month, I'm happy to announce that my co-judge is I'M BORED author, Michael Ian Black. We've chosen four winners, each of whom wins a hand-drawn doodle by me (Debbie Ridpath Ohi) plus an I'M BORED fridge magnet. Please note that judging criteria is shamelessly subjective. I'm also giving out one Special Geographic Award; see below for details.

THE WINNERS (in no particular order):


Michael chose the photo above. From Laurie Cheung, who contributed this photo: "I'm entertaining the potatoes. They are no longer bored!" :-D

Next was my choice:

Source: via Debbie on Pinterest


I melted when I saw this photo because it was the first photo of an adult reading I'M BORED to a child. Plus I loved the caption that went with the photo: "5-year-old when sharing I'M BORED with Dad: 'I'll be the potato. And the flamingo. You be the girl.'" Contributed by Kate Pohl Dopirak.

Next, another choice by Michael:

Source: via Debbie on Pinterest


Tina The Lizard with I'M BORED in NY. Photo contributed by John Brooks. Michael's comment: "How can you not love a lizard?"

My next choice:

Source: via Debbie on Pinterest


Above: A Boring Tea Party With A Potato In Arizona. I LOVE the expression on the girl's face, plus the setting is so fun.

And a Special Geographical Bonus Prize goes to Glen Rutland, whose Bored photo taken in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories is definitely the northernmost Gallery contribution!

Source: via Debbie on Pinterest


Congrats to all the winners! I'll be contacting each of you for snailmail info so I can mail you your prizes.

You can see the other photos in the I'M BORED In The Wild Gallery on Pinterest. I'll be giving out more prizes at the end of October; read the submission guidelines online.

If you want your own I'M BORED fridge magnet or other I'M BORED swag, do visit the I'M BORED shop on Zazzle. All profits will go to Breaking The Chain, a nonprofit literacy cause founded by Riley Carney. Breaking The Chain works to put new books in high-risk, high-need elementary and middle schools.


I'M BORED Launches Today, YAAAY!

Can't believe the day is finally here! It's been two years since a rejection turned into a book contract with Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers to illustrate Michael Ian Black's I'M BORED.

I've updated the I'M BORED In The Wild photo gallery with more reader photos! I invite you all to send in your own photos: here are the guidelines and info about how to submit.

I'm Bored Music Video (inspired by the new picture book from Simon & Schuster BFYR) from debsanderrol on Vimeo.



I'M BORED: A Junior Library Guild Selection!


I'M BORED Music Video: A Little Girl, A Potato and A BOOK

I'm Bored Music Video (inspired by the new picture book from Simon & Schuster BFYR) from debsanderrol on Vimeo.

Only 11 days until I'M BORED is available on the shelves! In celebration, my friend Errol Elumir and I cowrote a song inspired by the book, and turned the song into a music video. You can find out more about how the song and music video were created below. Note that the story in the picture book ends differently; to find out what REALLY happened to the potato, do buy the book.

ImBoredLaunchHeaderWithInfo 600

Making Of The I'M BORED Music Video


Errol Elumir's daughter does a great job at acting bored for the I'm Bored music video book trailer shoot.

As soon as I handed in the final art for I'M BORED, I was keen on writing an I'M BORED song. Happily, my friend Errol Elumir was crazy enough to volunteer to help me write it AND do a book-inspired music video. Errol is my creative doppelgänger, with multiple projects on the go: he's a writer, artist, songwriter, musician and (here's where I have zero knowledge) video editing guru. You should check out his comedy duo and daily comic at (a different Deb from me :-)).

Above: a short clip of Zoe practising her part before the I'M BORED music video book trailer shoot. Zoe is truly an amazing 7-year-old. Not only did she learn the song that Errol Elumir & I had written and study the character in the book, but she also helped set up the props, had useful suggestions throughout the shoot AND was willing to do a shot over and over again without complaint.


Scroll down to the bottom of this post to read the lyrics to this song.

Zoe being bored for the I'M BORED music video book trailer

I'M BORED music video trailer shoot

Zoe poses for the I'M BORED music video book trailer

Here are the lyrics for the song:

Words & music by Debbie Ridpath Ohi & Errol Elumir
Sung by Zoe & Errol Elumir - Keyboards by Errol (

Inspired by I'M BORED, a picture book written by Michael Ian Black
and illustrated by Debbie, coming out from Simon & Schuster Books
For Young Readers in Sept/2012.

VERSE 1 (sung by Zoe):
C Am
Can't believe, another hour is crawling by
C Am G F
Can't conceive how time is slow I think I'll die
G Am
Nothing to play with and nothing for me to see
My life is full of ennui.

VERSE 2 (sung by Zoe):
Can't believe, I totally don't know what to do
Can't conceive how other kids can make it through
mind-numbing woe & nowhere to go
and all I got is this….potato?

F G Am F
I'm Bored, really really really bored,
I'm bored, I'm BORED.

Potato: Can't believe
Zoe: Wait a sec, you can't be talking
C Am F
Potato: Can't conceive why I listen to your squawking
G Am
I'm stuck on this couch I should have hid
from this really boring kid. (Zoe yells: HEY!)


P: I'm Bored
Z: Hey Me Too!
P: I'm bored. Because of you. (Zoe: "WHAT!?")

Zoe: I'm Not Boring
Am G F
P: Sorry but kids kinda are
Zoe: Are NOT. We are lots of fun - We're AWESOME!

F G Am G F
P: boring I'm so bored
Z: I am not boring! Don't be so smug. You are just a silly spud.

Z: We're not boring
Z: Kids can do anything

Z: Know what I want now
P: A world without children?