Happy Earth Day!

I recently took a trip to Mexico for a little break from the rain. I had never been to Mexico before, but the part that I was in was in Baja, on the Pacific side. I made an effort to go out of my way, and my comfort zone and chat with locals, ask them about art, and the environment.

Environmentalism isn’t just an idea that belongs to one country, color of skin, or socioeconomic class. The desire to protect what belongs to us all exists cross culturally. And the possibility to be affected by lack of protections exists cross culturally as well, although, sadly, this burden does rest more squarely on people in lower socioeconomic classes. I was visiting a country which was largely poorer than my own, and I wanted to hear their thoughts and opinions on sustainability, at least as far as our language barrier would allow. (more…)

Beautiful and Healthy: How We Can Begin To Develop Self Confidence in Girls

I can’t speak for every girl or woman’s experience, but growing up I got the message a lot that I should be, or should want to be beautiful or pretty, and that my value as a person was tied to that. I didn’t feel particularly beautiful, but I also didn’t feel like that should make me less important or less valuable, although I did feel like that was a message that I got a lot. I noticed that when strangers met me and my younger brother together, and they were trying to be nice, they would say to me “Aren’t you just a pretty little girl!” and to him they would say “Aren’t you a strong little man!” or some variation. Extended family used to do the same, but I was a very “O is for Outspoken” advocate for myself with them, and I would tell them I was the smartest kid in my class, and the fastest runner in our neighborhood. I didn’t want to be called prettyClimber

As an adult I don’t mind being called beautiful or pretty. (more…)

Illustrating Diversity and Inclusion

In working on the ABC Girls book, I’ve worked hard to show diverse groups of women and girls; socially diverse, economically diverse, ethnically diverse, etc. The books we read, and the pictures we see as children really stick with us through our lives, and form the groundwork for our understanding of the world. They help form the framework that be build our ideas, and opinions on. If we can only access limited media, than our framework is incomplete. Without realizing it, our understanding of the world is incomplete from the start. We are limited in the ways we are able to understand the things we started out missing. That is why I have been working so hard to include diverse portrayals of women and girls. When I was young, the perception in toys, books, and cartoons was very simplistic. Girls wore dresses and liked pink. That was the idea femininity that was presented to me and my peers from a young age. When we encountered anyone who fell outside that, they were outside of our limited world view, and were perceived as strange. It took until I was an adult to dismantle and rebuilt that scaffolding. I’m sure there are parts I have missed. What I want to do, is to start children off with a better, more accurate picture than I had, of the inclusive diverse society we live in. The idea of feminine is so much more than pink and skirts. It’s even so much more than XX chromosomes. (more…)

There is No Away and Earth Day

April begins the time of year where people really start spending time outside. Spring! At the end of April is one of my favorite holidays, Earth Day! I released “There is No Away” when I did so that it would be out and available in time for people to have for Earth Day. I wanted families, teachers, and libraries to be able to have this book available on a day where we focus on how we can take care of our home. It’s a great book for that. There is a little boy who learns about what happens when we “throw things away”, and how he can make a change so that he isn’t just making a giant pile of garbage somewhere. He thinks of ideas. We can do those things too!

1) Give Things We Don’t Use to Someone Who Will Use Them

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ABC Girls Book!

I just realized I haven’t even talked on the blog about the book project that has been getting all my attention lately. My friend Eden, who was my teacher in High School, and an absolute inspiration who helped make me the person I am today, recently emailed me with a great book idea she came up with when she was pregnant with her first daughter. She wanted me to illustrate and collaborate on it. It’s a book which flips a lot of negative societal ideas and images about girls and women on their heads, and portrays “Girly” and “Like a Girl” as things that are honest and genuine, and lets little girls be proud of who they are. It also is an alphabet book, and because of this, it will teach the power of literacy. Not only that, (more…)