Category Archives: Illustrators


Posted by | July 24, 2014 | 1 Comment

We’re so excited to share with you I AM A WITCH’S CAT, available this week, written and illustrated by Harriet Muncaster.

I Am a Witch's Cat

We in the HCCB School & Library department are pretty huge fans of tiny things (dollhouse food, figurines, these amazing things . . . you name it), and we couldn’t be more delighted to have found a kindred spirit in Harriet Muncaster. Harriet’s book tells the story of a little girl who believes that her mother is a good witch and that she is a special witch’s cat, and it’s illustrated with photographs of handmade miniatures—characters, furniture, accessories, and details, all lovingly crafted and composed into scenes. We just love it to pieces.

Harriet was kind enough to give us a behind-the-scenes looks at her process for creating the fantastic art from I AM A WITCH’S CAT.

Harriet Muncaster:

I have always been fascinated by tiny things. When I was young I spent my time making miniature houses and clothes and writing minuscule fairy letters. That love of tiny things has never left me, and so, when I took illustration as my degree at university, it felt almost natural to start making my pictures in 3D. I create dollhouse-sized scenes (or sets, as I call them) out of cardboard and fabric and then photograph them to make a flat picture.

In these photos, you can see some of the process I go through to make the scenes. If it is a room, I usually start with a box-like shape and then put in the flooring and wallpaper. I either paint the wallpaper on or make it on the computer and stick it on as you would proper wallpaper (like in the bedroom scene below)!

Beginnings of the bedroom scene

Beginnings of the bedroom scene


The furniture is made from card stock. It gives me a lot of freedom to make everything from card because I can literally make it into any shape I like. I can use the card to make something really fancy or really plain and in whatever style I like.

I also like the way one can use lighting when creating a 3D picture. It is possible to really set the mood by using different sorts of atmospheric lighting. My favourite bit of lighting in the book is the scene where Witch’s Cat is saying goodbye to her Mom at the door and the coloured glass in the door is shining against the wall in a rainbow pattern. I got this effect by using coloured cellophane sweet wrappers and then shining a light behind them.


Experimenting with some lighting filters made from coloured cellophane chocolate wrappers as seen in the hallway scene


The hardest thing to make in the book was the trolley in the supermarket scenes. It took me absolutely ages and was extremely difficult and fiddly to make! It’s definitely the most delicate thing in the whole book.


The checkout scene in full, with trolley


One of my favourite things to make in the book was the patchwork quilt on the bed. I just love the colours in it, which are quite autumnal. I tried to incorporate a lot of autumnal colours into the room scenes, as it is a Halloween book.


Trying the mom character for size, with close-up of patchwork quilt


It feels very magical when a scene becomes finished and you can look right into it and touch it. It’s a real, tiny little world of its own with its own atmosphere and feel to it. I love how tangible it is!


Kitchen scene in the early stages


Food boxes all ready to be put into the scene.

Thank you so much, Harriet!

Check out Harriet’s great blog for a whole lot of miniature inspiration, including a post about how she created the cover art for I AM A WITCH’S CAT. And in case you haven’t quite had your fill of tiny for the day, here are some bonus photos:

Hallway wallpaper design

Hallway wallpaper design

Design for some of the the food boxes in the shopping scene ready to be printed, cut out and folded into 3d boxes

Design for some of the the food boxes in the shopping scene ready to be printed, cut out, and folded into 3D boxes

Mom character. Checking everything is good with her position and the way she is holding the vacuum cleaner

Mom character. Checking everything is good with her position and the way she is holding the vacuum cleaner

Characters, furniture and accessories all neatly boxed up to be transported for exhibition

Characters, furniture, and accessories all neatly boxed up to be transported for exhibition


Posted by | February 5, 2014 | No Comments

We’re so proud of our award-winning authors, and we’d love for you to be able to use these great books in your classroom right away (if you aren’t already, of course)! Read on for some teaching resources to help jump-start discussions and lessons centered around these stellar titles . . .

billy miller

penny and her

Here’s a downloadable Kevin Henkes Author Study that includes Common Core-aligned teaching guides for THE YEAR OF BILLY MILLER, PENNY AND HER MARBLE, and several more Kevin Henkes titles.


Here’s a downloadable Common Core-aligned discussion guide for Rita Williams-Garcia’s P.S. BE ELEVEN, and one for ONE CRAZY SUMMER, as well.

nelson mandela

Here are a handful of images from NELSON MANDELA that you can use as visual inspiration for lessons or projects on history, politics, biography, or even just to print and hang in your classroom or library.

Mandela image 1
Mandela image 2
Mandela image 3

Don’t forget to check out our Common Core Resources page for lots more teaching guides, discussion guides, lesson ideas, and more!


Posted by | January 30, 2014 | No Comments

Working in children’s books, there are few days that can compare to the Monday morning of the ALA Midwinter conference, when the ALA Youth Media Awards are announced.  Cheers and gasps follow the announcement of every award named, and hugs and happiness end the conference on the highest of notes. What a great day for authors, illustrators, librarians, teachers, publishing professionals, and book lovers all over the world! We are so honored that awards committees named the following HarperCollins Children’s Books titles amongst the best and the brightest this year:

ps beCoretta Scott King Author Award to Rita Williams-Garcia, for P.S. BE ELEVEN

billy millerNewbery Honor to Kevin Henkes, for THE YEAR OF BILLY MILLER.

handbookSchneider Family Book Award for Middle Grade to Merrie Haskell, for HANDBOOK FOR DRAGON SLAYERS

penny and herTheodor Seuss Geisel Honor to Kevin Henkes for PENNY AND HER MARBLE

dariusCoretta Scott King Author Honor to Walter Dean Myers, for DARIUS & TWIG

nelson mandelaCoretta Scott King Illustrator Honor to Kadir Nelson, for NELSON MANDELA

tito puentePura Belpre Illustrator Honor to Rafael Lopez for TITO PUENTE, MAMBO KING (written by Monica Brown)


We’re grateful to publish these books, written and illustrated by the most creative, dedicated folks we know, and put them into your hands, the teachers and librarians who give them to children and promote a life-long love of learning. What a fine day to do what we do!


Posted by | August 29, 2013 | No Comments

You’re invited to a live webcast with the one and only KEVIN HENKES!

Join us on Tuesday, September 17 at 2PM EST to hear Kevin talk about his work, his inspirations, and his upcoming novel THE YEAR OF BILLY MILLER—an acclaimed and irresistible story about friendship, siblings, and the perils of elementary school. There will also be an opportunity to ask him your questions!

The event will be broadcast live from Bank Street College of Education in New York City, and we encourage you to set up an assembly and invite kids, parents, and teachers to watch and participate.

Register HERE!

And don’t forget to keep an eye out for THE YEAR OF BILLY MILLER, which will be available September 17 and has been garnering rave reviews!

The Year of Billy Miller

“Funny and often poignant . . . Eager young readers will find this a great first chapter book to share or read solo.”—School Library Journal (starred)

 “Billy Miller’s second-grade year is quietly spectacular in a wonderfully ordinary way.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred)

 “A vivid yet secure portrait of a boy coming into his confidence . . . Nuanced and human.”—The Horn Book (starred)

“[Henkes has] created a character for the ages. . . . Absolutely remarkable.”—Elizabeth Bird, A Fuse #8 Production

“A story with a lot of heart.”—Booklist

“Smartly attuned to emerging readers.”—Publishers Weekly



Posted by | August 22, 2013 | 12 Comments

Looking for a fun, interactive picture book to use for story time (or any time)? Christie Matheson’s debut picture book, TAP THE MAGIC TREE, fits the bill perfectly. TAP THE MAGIC TREE combines the magic of the changing seasons with the magic of turning a page as the reader taps, pats, claps, and wiggles to make leaves grow, blossoms bloom, apples appear, and leaves swirl away with the autumn breeze.

Tap the Magic Tree
Here’s a little demo of how much fun can be had with one page turn!

You can have a sneak peek up-close at the first several pages here, and you can download a Common Core-aligned Teaching Guide here. Tap away and make magic happen!


Posted by | July 16, 2013 | No Comments

Take a walk down memory lane with us via this photo-dump of our very favorite ALA images…


Our booth was looking pretty snazzy.  This is before 26,000 people descended on the exhibit hall, so we still all had all of our fingers and toes…

alsc preconference

Were you lucky enough to attend this year’s ALSC Preconference, “A Wild Ride: 75 Years of the Caldecott Medal” at the Art Institute of Chicago? If so, we’re horribly jealous.


It takes a village to run a Veronica Roth signing– and we are happy to be that village!  It’s amazing to see how involved fans feel in Veronica’s world, and how highly they (and we) are anticipating the movie (coming out in 2014!) and ALLEGIANT (on sale 10.22.13).


A moment to pinch yourself and make sure you’re not dreaming: THREE Newbery medalists in our booth at the same time.  Katherine Patterson, Katherine Applegate, and Patricia McLachlan.  We might have gone a little paparazzi on these lovely ladies… but who can blame us?!

rainbow committee dinner

During our Newbery committee dinner celebrating THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN, a beautiful rainbow appeared in the sky over the city.

betsy bird caldecott outfit

Our very own (we can claim her as all ours since she wrote GIANT DANCE PARTY for Greenwillow Books) Betsy Bird, wearing our favorite ensemble of the Newbery-Caldecott-Wilder Banquet, which represented all 5 of this year’s Caldecott books.

kittens first full moon

This crew (Kevin Henkes, Laura Dronzek, Judy Zuckerman, and Virginia Duncan) all dressed up in honor of Kevin’s 2005 Caldecott-winning KITTEN’S FIRST FULL MOON.

jon and mac smilingAnd finally, a little storytime in the booth! Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen, genius and adorable duo, had us all smiling on the last day of exhibits (no easy feat).


A HUGE thank you to all who helped make this ALA one for the ages!



Posted by | June 25, 2013 | No Comments

ala annual 2013 logochicago

If you peeked into our offices today, you might be a little alarmed at the frantic packing and printing and prepping for ALA Annual in Chicago at the end of the week!  Chicago itself might be a little frantic today as well, considering that the Blackhawks won their 5th Stanley Cup last night! Full disclosure: Chicago gal here :) !

Will you be in the Windy City as well? If so, please come by our booth and say hello to our amazing group of absurdly talented authors and illustrators.  Can you believe this crew?  Too good!

All signings take place in Booth #2407:


6:00–7:00pm, Paul Zelinsky
6:00–7:00pm, Anne Ursu


9:30–10:00am, Betsy Bird
9:30–10:00am, Margaret McNamara
10:00–11:00am, emily m. danforth (Morris Award Finalist!)
11:00am–12:00pm, Mo Willems
12:00–1:00pm, Peter Lerangis
2:00–3:00pm, Veronica Roth (*limited, ticketed signing. Tickets will be available in our booth beginning Friday (6/28) at 5:30pm, while supplies last*)
4:00–5:00pm, Kadir Nelson


9:30–10:30am, Kevin Henkes
10:30–11:30am, Katherine Patterson (Wilder Award Winner!)
10:30–11:30am, Patricia McLachlan
10:30–11:30am, Katherine Applegate (Newbery Award Winner!)
12:30–1:30pm, Michael Grant
1:30–2:00pm, Jarrett Krosoczka
1:30–2:00pm, Francesca Lia Block
2:00–3:00pm, James Dean & Eric Litwin (Geisel Honorees!)
3:00–3:30pm, Melissa Sweet


9:30–11:00am, Katherine Applegate (Newbery Award Winner!)
11:00am–12:00pm, Jon Klassen (Caldecott Honoree!) & Mac Barnett


Hope to see you there!




Posted by | June 6, 2013 | 1 Comment

As you may have heard, 2013 marks 50 years of the beloved, mixed-up housekeeper Amelia Bedelia. Our celebration continues with this heartwarming video featuring Herman Parish, footage of Peggy Parish, illustrators Lynne Avril and Barbara Siebel Thomas, Gretchen Siebel, editor Susan Hirschman, and everyone’s favorite dressed chicken. Hear about the history and evolution of Amelia Bedelia from the people who created her and those who have continued her legacy, and reminisce about your favorite moments from the books. (Dressing the chicken? Stringing the beans? Hitting the road? It’s tough to choose, but our favorite might be the “surprise shower.”)

In case you’d like to share the video with students or others whose attention spans are more suited for brevity, here’s a shorter (but equally warm and fuzzy) version:

Don’t forget to download an Amelia Bedelia Party Kit and join the celebration! Here’s to 50 years of hilarity and delicious baked goods.


Posted by | April 16, 2013 | No Comments

Later this week we’re heading down to one of our very favorite states, Texas, with some star authors, to exhibit at the International Reading Association Annual Conference.

ira logoWill you be in San Antonio too? If so, come visit us at HarperCollins Children’s Books Booth #3451!  We’re going to be giving out oodles of galleys, teaching guides, bookmarks, and other materials– with lots aligned to the Common Core State Standards.

Here’s where you can find our authors:


SATURDAY, April 20th

2:00–3:00PM, JANE O’CONNOR, Anderson’s Booth #1003


SUNDAY, April 21st

1:00–2:00PM, WALTER DEAN MYERS, HarperCollins Children’s Books Booth #3451

1:00–2:00PM, JON SCIESZKA, Anderson’s Booth #1003

2:00–3:00PM, SEYMOUR SIMON, HarperCollins Children’s Books Booth #3451


MONDAY, April 22nd

MO WILLEMS IRA Closing Keynote:
“A Hippopotamus Wouldn’t Fit on the Page and Other Reasons that Mo Willems Writes About Pigeons”
Convention Center Exhibit Hall D
Book signing immediately following

12:00–1:00PM, MICHAEL HALL, HarperCollins Children’s Books Booth #3451


Come by our booth and say hello!


Posted by | March 29, 2013 | 1 Comment

As Women’s History Month draws to a close, we wanted to be sure that you haven’t missed BRAVE GIRL: CLARA AND THE SHIRTWAIST MAKERS’ STRIKE OF 1909 by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet.

brave girl

BRAVE GIRL tells the story of Clara Lemlich, a young immigrant girl who led the biggest strike of women workers in U.S. history. The book has received four (!) starred reviews and big praise in the New York Times Book Review, in which they say: “Many schoolchildren today learn about the Triangle shirtwaist factory fire, but they don’t often learn about what precipitated the disaster. Markel’s sympathetic, fact-filled and moving story of a garment worker with gumption rounds out the lesson.”  And we completely agree with their compliments for Melissa Sweet’s artwork: “With her distinctive mixed-media collages, she may have surpassed herself here. And with an inspiration like Lemlich — smart, ambitious, gutsy — it’s easy to see why.”

There are so many terrific topics, themes, and curricular tie-ins in this fantastic picture book. We created an educator guide aligned to the Common Core designed to help you start the discussion, available here.

And starting next week… April is Poetry Month!

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