Diwali Weekend at The Carle

Diwali Weekend at The Carle

A few weeks ago brought some incredible moments for the Bharat Babies team. So much to be excited about! First of all Raakhee Mirchandani Singh was in town. Not enough for ya? (That's crazy.) Oh, also, Bharat Babies spent the day at The Carle celebrating Diwali and our favorite superhero! (Ooops, this post is a couple weeks late!)

Happy Diwali at the MFA!

Happy Diwali at the MFA!

This week brought a really special night. Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts Celebrated Diwali in the most fantastic ways! Dance, art, exhibits, storytelling.

Bharat Babies hosted a couple of storytelling/drawing sessions of the guests. I’m not gonna lie. It was kind of amazing to be drawing for a small audience in one of the countries most amazing art spaces. The MFA is gorgeous and historic and a place I’ve loved since I was a kid! (And I’m not gonna lie. seeing my name and bio on very official MFA signage…I giggle. So exciting!!!

Bharat Babies CEO and Founder, Sailaja Joshi most beautifully read out book “Let’s Celebrate Diwali” for audiences of children and their families on such a special day. When it was my turn, I drew our original hero and star, Harini enjoying the Festival of Lights.

Full disclosure…it had been a really stressful week. I had no idea how I was going to fit this commitment into my schedule. But when it came time, and I settled in…there as no place in the world I’d rather have been. It was incredible to be celebrating with such a beautiful community of people and sharing stories and art with kids. I guess this is why we do it. ugh a magical night.



Last weekend, the Super Satya love reached all the way to Cambridge, MA...all the way to The World's Only Curious George Store. Seriously, have you guys been there? Nostalgia overload. And for you young people, cuteness for DAYS!!!!

Asia Society!

Asia Society!

Another beautiful day in Satyaland! Raakhee Mirchandani SinghRosena Sammi and I had a wonderful afternoon at the coolest young ones for a special story time at the GORGEOUS Asia Society New York! It's hard to imagine that Raakhee and I collborated on this book remotely for so many months and just this week met for the first time...in person, that is. But, today, I FINALLY got to meet the real star! Satya! 

Thanks to the museum and to Rosena! We had a lovely afternoon!

When Lightening Strikes

When Lightening Strikes

So, in the past couple of weeks since Satya touched down, be cause author Raakhee Mirchandani is a lightening bolt, the book has bee receiving the most WONDERFUL attention!

Here are rundown of some amazing highlights!

Today! (that day)

Today! (that day)

After a wonderfully busy couple of weeks, I’m finally catching up with the blogspace! It was, gosh, about 2 weeks ago that Super Satya Saves the Day officially landed!

As a book illustrator and art director, there are times when work is about more than emails, deadlines, manuscripts and schedules. I’m so touched and honored to be part of this special project with these amazing people. Satya, RaakheeAgan, and Bharat Babies…Thanks for making me part of this. I loved drawing this story! Woo hoo!!!!
You guys! Click on the image below to catch Satya's story on the Today show!

Satya! Landing soon!

Satya! Landing soon!

Ok, so Super Satya Saves the Day has already landed. Catching up with some posts after a Busy September. After illustrating and designing the book, it was time for me to help get the word out! Our Author, Raakhee Mirchandani is a publicity MACHINE! But we still needed a book trailer. I created the trailer last month…a few weeks ahead of the launch! Here it is!

Written by Raakhee Mirchandani and Illustrated by Tim Palin. Super Satya is ready to have a super day, including finally conquering the tallest slide in Hoboken. But her day takes a not-so-super turn when she realizes her superhero cape is stuck at the dry cleaner.



Today, Aretha Franklin passed...and it sucks. I'm sad. I'm a lifelong fan feeling what a lot of people are feeling today. Aretha was always there. We didn't think about it, she just was. We took it for granted because she was just so familiar. 

We know all the music. We've seen the performances. We know the Kennedy Center You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman moment for Carole King. We know Amazing Grace before President Obama. We love her Precious Lord at Martin Luther King Jr's funeral. We love those grainy black and white performances that we Youtube now, where we strain our eyes to make out her face . . . but we watch the whole thing and are better music lovers for it. We ALL know the words to Respect. We know the hairstyles and the fur coats. We know the gowns and the strong elegance with which she wore them. We know the Gyvenchy purse on the piano.

By the way, I'd never heard the reason for the purse on the piano (which she did even recently). Back when she started in the business, black singers in the south would often get stiffed on their payment for a performance. So she started demanding the cash up front, stuffed it in her purse, and kept it in her eyeline throughout the whole show. It was her money, she was gonna leave with it. For the rest of her career, if you look carefully, you can see that purse on stage...on the piano, under the piano. It's there.


In 1986, I might have been the only high school freshman on my bus listening to Sam Cooke and The Supremes and SUPER obscure Ike & Tina Turner music. Sidenote: it was my parents that turned me on to Ike & Tina. And my Dad handed me my first Supremes collection . . . the bluest blue cover with three records and collectible portraits of each of the ladies.). Thank you, guys!  Hopefully, I wasn't the only one listening to Aretha. She showed up on my radar with a new, contemporary song "Freeway of Love", which was part of a resurgence of her radio-play career. It didn't take long for me to make the connection, "ooohhh, she's the Respect lady". And that was it, I went in head first in to the deep, deep archives . . . starting with the "30 Greatest Hits" album. That was all I needed for a good long time. Baby, I Love You. I Never Loved a Man. I Say a Little Prayer. I loved it all.  I was certainly into her new, current, pop album. But, the "old stuff" was IT.

It wasn't until my adult years that I realized that she wasn't just a singer that made me feel things. And I felt a lot of things (chief among these was that I didn't care what was popular then, "THIS is GOOOOOOLDEN"). But I realized that she wasn't just a singer, she was a figure . . . a notable figure . . . an important figure. She was a part of some of the most important events of the civil rights movement. She was paying underpaid musicians their worth when no one else was. She created music that no one knew we needed until she gave it to us. She was respected across the globe more than I could have ever imagined. That's when I realized that one of my favorite singers was one of the greatest performers in history. One of the coolest, most elegant, most talented, most badass women that we'll ever know. I never took her for granted after that.

She’s gone today, but she's not . . . really.

Cover Concepts

One of the most fun parts of my A.D. role at Cantata Learning is conceiving the cover image before handing off the briefing to the artists. The process is simple. I devour the manuscript and try to "see" images from the book, that also WON'T appear in the book already. (For few seasons, we using interior art to fashion a cover. Onc ewe expanded the scope of work for the artists to include the cover, we had a real opportunity to create something special for every book.) I share my sketches with myths Editor and we discuss if this image is the right "face of the book". sometimes, I'll go back and resketch a couple times to get it just right. From there, I hand it off tot he artist along with the manuscript handsome production guidelines. We work with such amazing artists that I always encourage them to take me concept and play with it. "My sketch is just a road map."

Here are some examples of the Fall 2018 cover concept sketches with their final covers!

@Cantata Learning

illustrated by Marco Guadalupi

Illustrated by Joanie Stone

Illustrated by Tanja Stevanovic

Illustrated by Flavia Sorrentino

Illustrated by Glenn Thomas

Illustrated by Sara Torretta


illustrated by Aviel Basil

Sample Day!

Sample Day!

After 9 seasons making books for Cantata Learning, I STILL get super excited for the day the samples arrive. The Fall 2018 books showed up last week! Art directing (working with insanely talented illustrators) and designing* the books as well is such a labor of love. So cool to have these books in hand!

*This season, Shawn Biner joined in on the fun. While I directed the art and design for the new Cantata bilingual series (illustrated this season by Suzie Mason), Shawn was in the trenches designing these books. Thanks, Shawn!

They're here!   @cantatalearning 

They're here!   @cantatalearning 

Check out this season's titles!



When you're on a family vacation and your brother tells you that his dog is obsessed with the pelican in their backyard...you HAVE to draw it. #ArtFromTheRoad

Being You...THE BOOK!

We just wrapped production on this labor of love! Written by Alexs Pate and illustrated by Soud, Being You (published by Capstone Publishing) is a beautiful moment of a book that empowers young people to define themselves. These pages deliver a message of hope and self-discovery in a time of uncertainty in our world. With an authentic voice, Being You’s poetic message of love and optimism for the future speaks directly to today’s children. Being You helps us to see the wonder and light within each of us.

Being You

You guys! A thing I did! Here's the trailer I created for the book I'm also Art Directing and Designing. "Being You" (written by Alexs Pate, Illustrated by Soud and pub'ing in August by Capstone) encourages children to be seen for who they really are—not just who they’re told to be—and challenges adults to respond with clear eyes. It's been a labour of love for everyone involved. We can't wait to share it with you!

When you're a kid, it can be hard to be who you really are. In the picture book, Being You, two kids learn that they have a choice about how the world sees them. They can accept the labels that others put on them, or they can let their inner selves shine.

A VERY Special Day at The Carle

A VERY Special Day at The Carle

Last weekend was incredible!!! The Bharat Babies team and I had a very special story time and book signing at one of my most favorite places in the world...the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art! Book signings are fun, but this was especially moving for me. The Carle is such an inspiring place with so many of my illustration heroes on the gallery walls and the bookshelves. I was a lucky guys this weekend to be part of it.

It's so crazy exciting to see my books in this gift shop!!!

The Reading Library! Author extraordinaire, Amy Maranville read our first Bharat Babies book, Hanuman and the Orange Sun. As BB's flagship book and my first illustration project with the indie publisher, this book is INCREDIBLY special. I couldn't have been more proud to see the kids' excited faces as the pages turned! 

As an added little surprise (to the kids and to me), I did a little drawing demo. Luckily, I'd brought some drawing sheets for the kids to follow along! I'll confess, I was little nervous. But I think it went well. More than well, actually. It was a really special moment to watch the kids drawing along. Nothing is more sweet than kids making art. There's video...but it 's not gonna happen on this post. ;-)

The one and only OJO drawing her pal Hanuman! Ssshhhh, Ojo, MAY have been the inspiration for the Bharat Babies first main character, Harini.

After we were all drawn out, it was book signing time!

Another surprise that still has me a little emotional was "The Caterpillar Book". Our amazing hosts at the Carle asked us to sign "the book". The Caterpillar Book has been signed by all the authors and illustrators that have been to the Carle. This book (Volume 6, so far) has been signed and drawn in by some of my personal heroes. It was incredibly humbling and exciting and wonderful. With a shaking hand, I left a mark of my name and Hanuman Dada's handsome mug!. (Even typing this part of the post is getting me a little misty. Seriously, an incredible moment!

The Caterpillar Book!

The day was magic...and not just for the fun of book signing and being a part of something so sweet. To be with the Bharat Babies team, my husband, my Dad and friends who totally surprised me when they walked in the door (The Carle is a pretty good drive from home) made it all the better. So much love and inspiration on one little ol' Saturday afternoon.

A few "Bharat Babies": Me, Sailaje Joshi (our fearless leader and the visionary making books with diversity happen, Amy Maranville (The brilliant author), and Megan Boshuyzen (The one that make so much happen)

That thing where your Dad (a.k.a. "Big Time") endures many hours on the highway and wears one of school ties to come to your book signing.

The Husband

Surprise guest stars, JoJo and Bren!

The day was not without a few extra special moments, too!

He doesn't know I snapped this pic. But seeing my Dad in the Carle gallery made my heart swell!

Oh, did I not mention this? The day started with a couple of legends! Just before our story time and book signing, we had the insane pleasure of attending a talk with Phantom Tollbooth geniuses Norton Juster (R) and Jules Feiffer (L). I can't tell you how crazy it was to follow this act! They were hilarious and inspiring and completely wonderful!!!!!

Today was Super!


Today was Super!

What a SUPER Monday!

Today is the launch of my latest book illustration project! I'm thrilled to be working with Bharat Babies on another exciting title. Super Satya Saves the Day, written by Raakhee Mirchandani, is officially available for pre-order today.  Check it out!

But, wait! It gets better!

What better way to celebrate this than with a little fun with Kathie Lee and Hoda!? Our book was featured this morning on the Today Show as one of this week's "Kathie Lee and Hoda's Favorite Things"!  CHECK IT OUT HERE!

One last WONDERFUL thing!

Our brilliant author stopped in for some satellite radio fun with Hoda today. Thanks to Raakhee and Hoda for the photo!!! Hooray!

Hoda and the Raakstar!


Recommended! Yay!

This was some super fun news! Completely delighted to see that the Midwest Book Review Children's Book watch recommends my learn-to-draw book I illustrated and created with Blake Hoena for Cantata Learning!!!!! I love this series and this book was one of my favorites! 

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