Search the Site

The story behind my upcoming Broken Crayons picture book with Linda Sue Park for Simon & Schuster BFYR!!!

EDITED: Our Broken Crayon book is scheduled for Aug.25, 2020.

I am THRILLED and HONOURED to announce that I will be illustrating a picture book by Linda Sue Park. The announcement appeared Publishers Weekly Children’s Bookshelf last week while I was out of town:

( October 8, 2018: Please note that publication changed to Aug 2020. )

As some of you already know, I’ve been posting “You never know what comes out of a broken crayon” found object doodles for a while now. You can see my full Broken Crayon Gallery so far here and more info about my Broken Crayon art in general (and my Broken Crayon Book!) here. If you’re on Facebook, I encourage you to follow my new “You never know what will come out of a broken crayon” FB Page.

I’ve been approached by a number of people in the industry about collaborating on a broken crayon children’s book, but my intention had always been to write and illustrate my own story….and I didn’t want to rush the process. I came up with a lot of ideas and made several attempts, but I couldn’t come up with a story that I would be excited about illustrating.

Fast forward to SCBWI Northern Ohio conference, where both Linda Sue and I were on faculty:

At the faculty dinner, I found myself sitting between Linda Sue and her husband, Ben. Although Linda Sue and I had exchanged brief greetings in the past (usually during SCBWI conferences in the hallways when we were both each hurrying somewhere), we had never had a chance to have a real conversation. An aside: A big THANK YOU to Mike DeSantis for inviting me to be a speaker at the SCBWI Northern Ohio conference and giving us the opportunity to actually talk. 🙂 

Linda Sue told me she loved my broken crayon art. Months before, she had asked me if she could buy a print of my grey robot Broken Crayon:

I had been so excited that LINDA SUE PARK had been noticing my art! I’ve been a fan ever since reading her Newbery Medal winning book, A Single Shard.

During our conversation at that SCBWI Northern Ohio conference, Linda Sue said she assumed I was already working on a broken crayon story, and I confessed that I was having problems coming up with one that I wanted to illustrate. We talked about this some more, and did a sort of dance around the idea of working together. I use the term “dance” because neither of us wanted to be pushy or make assumptions. It’s actually one of the aspects that really appealed to me about working with LSP — she has SUCH great respect for illustrators in general, and that was clear in the way she approached our potential collab.

Shortly after the conference, Linda Sue emailed me and said that after they had driven home, she woke up in the middle of the night with a potential story idea for the book. It was in rough outline form, and she encouraged me to Brutally Honest, to not feel pressured into saying yes if it didn’t appeal to me.

LOVED HER STORY IDEA. Lovedlovedloved. 

It was a story idea that I could never have come up with myself, and one that would be fun to illustrate with broken crayons.

Linda Sue and I looped in our Curtis Brown Ltd agent, Ginger Knowlton (we both adore Ginger), and we worked on a proposal and sent it to Justin Chanda, my editor at Simon & Schuster Children’s. HE SAID YES!!!

I am SOOOOO EXCITED about this book for so many reasons! Thanks to everyone who has Liked or shared my Broken Crayon art, especially those educators and librarians who have been using broken crayon art with their students after seeing mine (you can see some examples on this page). I’ll be starting work on illustrating Linda Sue’s story later this year, and am delighted to be working with Laurent Linn and Justin Chanda again for Simon & Schuster. Our broken crayon book is scheduled for publication in Fall 2019.


And again, if you’re on Facebook and am a fan of my Broken Crayon art, I encourage you to follow my new Broken Crayon Facebook Page for broken crayon art, broken crayon ideas for the classroom, and updates about our upcoming book. Thank you!