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Q. How do you pronounce your last name? What are your pronouns? A. I pronounce my last name “Ohi” like “OH-wee” (rhymes with Chloe). However, some members of the Ohi clan pronounce it “oy” (rhymes with boy). My pronouns: She/her/hers.

Q. Where do you get your ideas? A. I get ideas from everything in the world around me. I read books and magazines, watch movies and shows, listen to people talking, remember my dreams and nightmares, look closely at everything around me, try not to take anything for granted. I keep idea notebooks with me all the time (paper and digital); you never know when inspiration will strike! I find it important to always carve out time where I can just THINK and IMAGINE — when I take walks, for example, I listen to music or audiobooks.

Q. Where were you born? A. I was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. My mother was born in Japan. My father was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and his parents were born in Japan. I know how to speak a little bit of Japanese, but unfortunately not much.

Q. How can I get your autograph? How do I get a signed bookplate? A. Feel free to write to me with your request and enclose a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope). Please note that because I live in Canada, the postage needs to be Canadian. You can find postage prices for shipping within or to Canada at the Canada Post website. Address:

Debbie Ridpath Ohi
PO Box 43501 Leaside
Toronto ON M4G 4G8

Q. How did you get started in the children’s book industry? A. I have always wanted to write for young people, but never assumed I could make a living at it, so worked as a computer programmer/systems analyst for two years before my husband convinced me to quit so I could pursue my creative dreams. I continued to work hard at improving my craft. After helping me improve my middle grade mss, children’s book author Lee Wardlaw introduced me to her agent, Ginger Knowlton. Ginger is now my agent! We sent out two middle grade mss but although the rejection letters became increasingly nicer (I could tell I was improving), they were still rejections. My friend Beckett Gladney convinced me (along with my sister and my husband) to enter the SCBWI Summer Conference Portfolio Showcase in 2010, and that’s where my art was “discovered” by Simon & Schuster’s Justin Chanda. Justin offered me my very first children’s picture book contract, illustrating a picture book called I’m Bored written by Michael Ian Black. You can read more about what happened in my KidLitArtists blog post.

Q. Any advice for someone who wants to write or illustrate children’s books someday?

Q. I just finished writing my picture book story. What should I do next? How do I find an illustrator?

Q. Where should I send my story? How can I get my story in front of an editor? Do I need an agent? How do I get an agent?

Q. May I offer your readers a guest post / infographic? At present, I am not seeking out guest posts or infographics for my blog.

Q. May I use/share your art? If you are just sharing one of my own social posts, it’s fine….as long as you do NOT crop out any identifying info or copyright. Otherwise see my Comic Use Policy.

Q. Will you help me promote my book on your Bookstagram? Or interview me on your Inkygirl blog? May I send you a copy of my book for review? A. I do not consider myself an Official Reviewer, but enjoy posting about books I have enjoyed reading, or helping to promote books by my kidlit friends. I am not doing book blurbs at present. Please do NOT put me on your promotion mailing list without permission. These days, my “to read” pile is massive, so I very rarely take on new commitments to read books by people I don’t know unless I am already a fan of their work. Picture books are easier for me to read/post about, especially when my own work schedule is busy.

Q. I am a children’s book publicist. May I put you on my mailing list? No, not without permission.

Q. I am a children’s book creator. May I put you on my mailing list? No, not without permission. As interested as I may be in you and your work, I lack the time these days to keep up with most email newsletters to which I’m already subscribed.

Q. I notice that you wrote a blog post about xxx. I happen to have a great online resource related to xxx. Could you please update your post to include my resource? I have written thousands of blog posts over the years, and lack the time to keep them updated, sorry.

Q. Your FAQ used to have so much more information! Where is it?
I’m gradually moving over updated FAQ entries from my old site, and appreciate your patience. For now, I encourage you to (1) check my Resources page, where I’m adding my most popular pages and resources, (2) using the Search (top right corner of this website) as well as a blog-specific search.


Debbie is available for virtual visits during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her presentations and workshops can be adjusted to suit all age levels, from kindergarten to college students to educators and other professionals.