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New Year's Wishes January 4, 2016 21:36

Well here we are again – the start of a new year! I hope your holidays were joy-filled and restful and that your new year is off to a great, if not slow, (that first Monday is always the hardest, isn't it?) start!

I wanted to take a moment in the new year to wish you Strength to endure life's trials, Courage to pursue new endeavors, Focus to realize your goals, Love because that's all that really matters, and, of course, many, many Sparkles. 

Happy New Year! 


P.S. If you want to see more of what I've been up to lately, visit me on Instagram here: @wanartstudio!

PEEK-A-BOO FARM and Giveaway Time! August 25, 2015 17:54 56 Comments

**UPDATE** The giveaway is now closed.

My heart is so full after reading all the messages for the Peek-A-Boo book giveaway. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for entering the giveaway, for your support and your kind words. Every single entry was incredible and I was sad to pick only 3 so I decided to add 3 more bonus winners! YAY!

The 6 winners selected randomly from the 55 entries I received are:

Thanks again everyone for entering! I'll be contacting winners soon for their mailing address.



My latest board book PEEK-A-BOO FARM, a follow-up to PEEK-A-BOO ZOO, is out today! 

Lift the flaps and play peek-a-boo with animals at the farm! Join in on the classic game of peek-a-boo with a rooster, a cow, and more farm animals by lifting the flaps to reveal each cute creature's joyful face. A perfect board book read aloud with a simple interactive component babies and toddlers will love.

In case you missed the last post, the idea for this book came to me in 2013. I've always loved books with fun interactive elements which add an element of playfulness and surprise so I'm always thinking about books in that way. Here is the concept sketch that I submitted to my editor back in 2013.

Huge thanks to editors Jeffrey Salane (now at Simon & Schuster) and Celia Lee and designer Leslie Mechanic at Scholastic for helping me bring these books to life. Many thanks to my agent and friend Teresa Kietlinski of Prospect Agency for her unwavering help and support.

Here's a peek at two interior spreads from the book:

Where you can purchase:
Barnes & Nobles:

To celebrate the release of PEEK-A-BOO FARM I'm giving both books to three lucky winners! Leave a comment below and I'll pick three winners at random to receive a set of my PEEK-A-BOO books!

The giveaway ends Tuesday, September 8th at 8pm EST. Three (3) winners will be selected in a random drawing from among all entries received. Open to residents of U.S. only, please. Winners will be notified via e-mail. Prize winners must provide me with a physical address to which the prize will be mailed. If this information is not received, an alternate winner will be chosen by random drawing.


Peek-A-Boo Zoo is Here! June 30, 2015 16:03

HOORAY! My latest board book from Cartwheel Scholastic Peek-a-Boo Zoo is finally OUT TODAY (yes, there's glitter on the cover!). Lift the flaps and play peek-a-boo with animals at the zoo! Join in on the classic game of peek-a-boo with a lion, a bear, and more zoo animals by lifting the flaps to reveal each cute critter's joyful face. A perfect board book read aloud with a simple interactive component babies and toddlers will love.

The idea for this book came to me in 2013. I've always loved books with fun interactive elements and textures which add an element of playfulness and surprise so I'm always thinking about books in that way. Here is the concept sketch that I submitted to my editor back in 2013. It was too hard to choose which animals would be in the book so there will be a follow-up book out in August called, you guessed it, Peek-A-Boo Farm!

Here are two interior spreads from the book:

Here are a couple reviews (so far so good!):

From Publisher's Weekly: "Working in her characteristic aesthetic of rounded, chunky shapes, Wan assembles a cute-as-can-be cast that includes a penguin, hippo, and more. A fun addition to the book-as-game category."

From Kirkus: "The warm, round illustrations provide a soothing tone, making this a perfect late-afternoon read right before naptime."

I'm so excited to be sharing another book with you and I look forward to seeing where these little peek-a-boo critters go. Drop me a message if you have any stories about what your little ones think of any of my books - I love hearing from you all!


ps. Keep your eyes peeled for a giveaway soon!

The New York Times Reviews The Whale in My Swimming Pool June 2, 2015 14:32

I'm excited to announce that my latest picture book The Whale in My Swimming Pool was reviewed in last Sunday's New York Times. I was informed by my publisher that this was going to be in the paper a few weeks ago and was on pins and needles waiting to see what the review would say. I was relieved to see that it was very complimentary and positive! HOORAY!

Here's an excerpt:
"Her curvilinear and comforting style recalls Hello Kitty and other Japanese pop art in its fat dark lines and squat characters, but the hero has an antic physicality and a wide range of emotional expressions. Her world feels safe and joyful, even as the hero experiences anger and frustration." Read the full review here.


Book Launch Party Recap April 14, 2015 23:59 1 Comment

A WHALE of a time was had by all (including me!) at Saturday's book launch party! Thank you so much to those of you who came by. Seeing friends old and new, meeting all the cute little fans, reading and signing my new book The Whale in My Swimming Pool at Books Of Wonderit was truly the stuff that dreams are made of.

For those of you who couldn't make it, here's a brief recap in photos!

I wore the Ahoy Lizzie Dress from Sourpuss Clothing - it was lined, it stretched in all the right places, and it had POCKETS! (Girls you know what I'm talking about!) (Photo courtesy of Samantha Berger)

I shared one of my favorite quotes with the audience which I think sums up the book nicely: "You can't direct the wind, but you can adjust your sails."

Refreshments! Whale and heart shaped cookies from Old Time Favorites on Etsy - they were so cute AND so delicious! (Photo courtesy of Samantha Berger)

I signed a gazillion books. Apparently, you CAN hold a pen/pencil "wrong" your WHOLE life and still become a children's book illustrator. I must have been absent the day they taught the kids at school how to hold a pencil.

I'm still beaming from all the love I felt in that room that day. There are so many who have made a difference to me this past yearfamily, friends, and colleagues. People who matter to me. People who inspire me. People who have reached out to me. I am so blessed to have so many amazing people in my life who love me. People who I too love dearly.

I am truly thankful for all of you out there for supporting me on this journey and allowing me to share my journey with you.


ps. There's still time to enter my giveaway if you haven't yet!



Happy Book Birthday and a Whale of a Giveaway! April 8, 2015 23:41 31 Comments

Sound the horns! Toss the confetti! It's finally here!
This book has been a long time coming. I first came up with the idea for this book back in 2009. The idea came to me after spending the day with my six-year-old niece and nephew who were always engaging in a lot of silliness. I ending up dedicating the book to them because they always helped me (and still do) see the silly sides of things. I mocked up a sketch dummy and sent it to my agent Teresa Kietlinski at the end of 2010 with a note saying "I thought it was a fun idea when I first came up with it but I'm sort of unsure about it now." Luckily, Teresa was there to squash those negative voices in my head. She told me she loved it and she helped me work on the book a little more over the course of the year until a book dummy was ready for submission by the end of 2011. A book dummy usually contains sketches of every page in the book and 2-3 finished pieces so that the publisher can see what the final art would look like. In one of Teresa's messages to me during this time she wrote "I always know a picture book is successful when I can describe it in 3 short sentences. WHALE just works. :)" Isn't she just THE best?! I feel so blessed to have Teresa on my team! Here is the cover sketch of the original submission that went out to editors:

I wish I can say the submissions process went swimmingly. The book was rejected (nicely) by more than a half-dozen publishers. It actually got really close to being acquired by two different major publishing houses, making it all the way to acquisition meetings only to have them tell me later they had to pass for one reason or another. The submissions process can be such a roller coaster of emotions! In my heart I know it was for the best because the book found its perfect home at Farrar, Straus and Giroux, an imprint of Macmillan. My editor, Janine O'Malley, and art director, Anne Diebel, along with the entire FSG team has been an absolute dream to work with and the book turned out better than I could have hoped!

The book has already received positive reviews from both Kirkus and School Library Journal and is a Junior Library Guild Spring 2015 Selection.

To celebrate, I'm giving away a signed copy of The Whale In My Swimming Pool, a beach ball featuring The Whale, and a whale squirt toy perfect for bath time fun to THREE lucky winners! To enter, answer the following question in the comment section of this post: What are you looking forward to this summer?

The giveaway ends Wednesday, April 22nd at 8pm EST. Three (3) winners will be selected in a random drawing from among all entries received. Open to residents of U.S. only, please. Winners will be notified via e-mail. Prize winners must provide me with a physical address to which the prize will be mailed. If this information is not received, an alternate winner will be chosen by random drawing. Winners will be announced in a separate post following the drawing.

Cheers to The Whale In My Swimming Pool! Here's hoping this book swims its way into the hearts of children everywhere!


ps. If you're in the NYC area this Saturday, please come and celebrate the launch with me at Books of Wonder!

Come celebrate with me! March 24, 2015 18:00

If you and your young picture book lovers will be in the New York City area on April 11th, please join me as I celebrate the launch of my latest book The Whale in My Swimming Pool (which will be released into the wild on April 7th) at New York City's largest and oldest children's bookstore, Books of Wonder. I will be reading the book, answering questions, and signing books. I'll also have some fun whale and summer themed surprises in store for the launch. Come help me make this a SPLASH!

Details for the event are as follows:
Saturday, April 11, 2015
Books of Wonder
18 West 18th street (between 5th and 6th Avenues)
(212) 989-3270

Hope to see you there!

Year of the Sheep 2015 February 18, 2015 23:12 1 Comment

Happy New Year...again! February 19th marks the start of the Lunar New Year as well as the Year of the Sheep. It's also sometimes known as Year of the Goat but I choose Sheep because they are fluffier and cuter to me!  Although the holiday is also known as Chinese New Year, the Chinese aren't the only ones who observe it. The holiday is also celebrated in other Asian countries including Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, and Taiwan. The Lunar New Year is like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years rolled up into one giant celebration! For the Chinese in particular, the Lunar New Year is celebrated with big family dinners, the exchange of "lucky money" contained in red envelopes, and vibrant, lively festivals with lion dancing and firecrackers.

The lunar calendar is based upon the cycles of the moon and has 12 animals signs, one to represent each year of the cycle. The Sheep is the eighth sign of the Chinese Zodiac with the others being the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. Don't know what zodiac sign you are? Look it up on this fun printable color sheet and place mat I created here!

According to Chinese tradition, a person’s birth sign has a profound influence on personality and destiny. People born in the year of Sheep are tender, creative, clever, determined, and amicable. They have special sensitivity to art and beauty and are brimming with a strong sense of kindheartedness and justice. Sheep year people are also often worriers who can be moody, indecisive, and over-sensitive. Notable people born in the Year of the Sheep include Bill Gates, Mark Twain, Nicole Kidman, Mick Jagger, Whoopi Goldberg, Barbara Walters, Michelangelo, Robert De Niro, and Jane Austen.

I will be celebrating by having a special dinner with Husband Guy consisting of lucky foods to eat during the New Year such as whole fish for abundance, noodles for long life, and dumplings for prosperity. Do you celebrate the Lunar New Year? If so, how do you like to celebrate?

To celebrate here at Wanart, all orders over $10 placed on the website for the rest of February will receive FREE SHIPPING! (U.S. orders only.)

Here's to a New Year full of Happiness and Prosperity! CHEERS!



For your little Valentine... February 10, 2015 16:14

Books are always the perfect gift to show someone how much you care...
Get them by Valentine's Day here.


New Year - New Books - New Website! January 8, 2015 23:00 1 Comment

Happy New Year everyone! I'm so very pleased and excited for the launch of my new website! Technology changes at lightening speed these days and my website was in dire need of an overhaul. Please bear with me as I continue to add more goodies to the shop. I hope to keep it filled this year with fun, new things.

I hope you all had a fabulous New Years Eve however you spent it. Mine was quiet as DH and I spent the evening eating, drinking, and reflecting on the year gone by. As you may know, 2014 was a tough year for us but one of the major highlights was that we bought a new house and will be making Ridgewood, New Jersey our new home very soon! We are tackling with a gut renovation of the kitchen and bathrooms right now but I'm hoping to share with you some before-and-after pictures in a couple of months (if we survive the renovation- ha!).

If you follow me on social media, you may already know that I also celebrated the end of the year with the launch of my latest book with Scholastic: Are You My Mommy?

The book is filled with baby animals, die-cut surprises, cuddly cuteness, and lots of love! This book would make an adorable addition to any Easter gift basket this year. Here's a video I made to show all the fun little cut-outs in the book:

What's there to look forward to in 2015? The Year of the Sheep starts February 19th. My long anticipated picture book The Whale in My Swimming Pool launches April 7th. Who knows what else but that's why I just love New Years. It's like starting a fresh notebook. Empty pages full of possibilities.

Cheers to a Happy New Year to all of you. Let's end with some inspiring words from Neil Gaiman:
"May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”


Gratitude Giveaway Winner December 26, 2014 03:58 1 Comment

Wherever and however you spent your holidays, I hope they were filled with warmth, laughter, and love! It’s time to announce the winner of the Gratitude Giveaway for my 6 signed books. I had over 300 giveaway entries on the blog and Facebook combined! My heart is so full from reading through all of your comments and I can’t thank you enough for all of your encouragement and support. I truly wish I had copies to give to all of you!

The winner of the Gratitude Giveaway, selected at random, is... Pamela Landau Marietta who wrote:

I'm grateful for my 2-month old granddaughter Clara Jeane. I've had cancer two times and never dreamed I'd live long enough to see and hold a's so wonderful.


Because this was so much fun I've decided to select 5 ADDITIONAL WINNERS at random to receive a signed copy of SLEEPYHEADS! The 5 winners for this SURPRISE GIVEAWAY are:

Melanie Bowers who wrote: I'm grateful that everyday I get to help children grow. Books are everywhere in our classroom and these would be a great addition. Happy holidays and thanks for making someone's day a little brighter with this giveaway.

Dorothy Boucher who wrote: This holiday season I'm grateful for my family, friends, those all around.

Ande Davis who wrote: This holiday season, I’m most grateful for a break and a new baby (not necessarily coinciding).

Tanya who wrote: I’m most grateful for my 8 month old son Nicholas and my husband. Both of whom bring so much joy into my life and have given me the kind of love I never could have dreamed of.

Einstein Guu who wrote: happy and healthy, often stubborn, always demanding, sometimes attentive, perfect baby boy.

I will be contacting all of you shortly for your mailing address so I can send you your prize. Thanks again everybody! Here's to a New Year full of Blessings for us all! CHEERS!


Gratitude Giveaway: 6 Signed Books December 9, 2014 23:19 211 Comments

'Tis the season of gratitude and giving so let's have a giveaway shall we? Besides, I think a giveaway that includes my latest book Sleepyheads is long overdue! I'm also including signed copies of You Are My Cupcake, We Belong Together, Hug You Kiss You Love You, and My Lucky Little Dragon.

To make it even more exciting, I'm throwing in my YET-TO-BE-RELEASED board book due out December 30th, Are You My Mommy?!

To enter, simply finish this sentence in the comment section below.
This holiday season I'm most grateful for ______________________.

**BONUS! For an additional entry, share this giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media network and leave me a separate comment with the link. The giveaway ends Saturday, December 20th at 12PM EST. One (1) winner will be selected in a random drawing from among all entries received. (Open to residents of U.S. and Canada only, please.)

Good Luck!

FREE Event: Scholastic Reading Under the Covers Pajama Jam! October 7, 2014 15:29

New York area friends, an exciting event is coming up in a couple weeks. Scholastic, in partnership with EVEREADY, is hosting a Reading Under the Covers Pajama Jam! The FREE event begins with a concert by Tim and the Space Cadets, followed by a “pajama jam” complete with a DJ, magician, crafts, and an exclusive book signing by yours truly, for my book WE BELONG TOGETHER. I hear there will even be a CLIFFORD appearance! @_@ This event will be held on Saturday 10/18, from 4-7pm at THE GREENHOUSE which is a fabulous atrium space and auditorium on the rooftop of The Scholastic Store in Soho. Please RSVP at this link here: Come in your cutest PJ's! (I know I will.)

Hope to see you there!

Please Help Me Support Smile Train September 16, 2014 15:30

***UPDATE*** The draw-a-thon was a huge success. We raised over $12,000 to support Smile Train which is double the previous years fundraisers. THANK YOU to those of you who helped us support such an amazing cause. Because of you, dozens of children in developing countries will get a second chance at a better life. All of this GOOD that came out of something so heartbreaking has been healing and I really do appreciate all your support this past year. Here's a link to see some of the amazing art that was produced: ***

Some of you may know that in February of this year I gave birth to a beautiful little girl, Evelyn, who was born with a cleft lip and palette. Unfortunately, Evelyn passed away 6 weeks after she was born due to an undetected abdominal anomaly and she never had a chance to get her surgeries (the first of which would have occurred at 10 weeks old). I will be participating in a draw-a-thon that is being hosted by a friend who runs a design studio in Brooklyn called Orange You Glad. They host a draw-a-thon every year to support a good cause and she has helped raised thousands for a food bank in 2012 and a no-kill animal shelter in 2013. This year they will be supporting Smile Train in memory of Evelyn.

Donate ($25 or more), Tell us What Makes You Smile, and one of the amazing artists contributing their time and talents (I'll be drawing too!) will draw it for you on Friday, October 3rd. Get a lovely, little piece of original art while supporting a wonderful cause.

Donate here and be sure to include a note about What Makes You Smile:

Knowing that Evie's spirit will live on in the lives of these children who will get a chance for a better life is heartwarming and healing. Thank you for your continued support!

{Evelyn Audrey Hsu * 2.07.14 ~ 3.20.14 * forever in our hearts and memories}

My Writing Process - A Blog Tour! June 2, 2014 18:41 3 Comments

I'm delighted to participate in this blog tour that enables authors/illustrators to share their process and latest work by way of their blogs. It's kind of like a chain letter for authors/illustrators who blog, only much nicer and without creepy death threats for not participating!

Many thanks to my lovely and uber talented friend Samantha Berger for tagging me on her post and giving me the opportunity to share. Samantha is the author of over 70 (Yes, 70!) children's books including CRANKENSTEIN, MARTHA DOESN'T SAY SORRY, MARTHA DOESN'T SHARE, PRINCESS POTTY, PIRATE POTTY, and the upcoming WITCH SPA and SNOOZEFEST. I met Samantha at an SCBWI conference years ago (and here we are at the Black & White Ball at last year's SCBWI Summer Conference) and I've been in awe of her ingenuity, quick wit, and overall brilliance ever since. She's a tough act to follow, but I will certainly try my best! I’ll answer a few questions, then pass the baton to two others! Here goes:

What am I currently working on?
One of my favorite things about being an author/illustrator is that I get to wear many different hats so there's never a dull moment.

I'm constantly promoting my existing books with a current emphasis on the latest picture book that I illustrated, SLEEPYHEADS, written by Sandra J. Howatt and published by Beach Lane Books, Simon & Schuster. I recently finished the art for a picture book that I wrote called THE WHALE IN MY SWIMMING POOL that will be out next year from FSG, Macmillan. I'm working on two PEEK-A-BOO themed board books for Cartwheel, Scholastic. I will also be illustrating two picture books PEEP & EGG: I'M NOT HATCHING and PEEP & EGG: I'M NOT TRICK OR TREATING written by Laura Gehl for FSG and a third picture book PUG & PIG, written by Sue Gallion for Beach Lane Books. In between all of that I also run a stationery and gift company that I started way before I even got into publishing. In fact, it was through my stationery company that I got my foot in the door of publishing when I met my first publisher at the New York International Gift Show seven years ago!

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I'm often told that my work appeals to both children and adults. Young children love my bold, round, colorful shapes and adults appreciate and find joy in the clean lines and simple silhouettes that are inspired by Japanese pop art and Scandinavian design. I've also been told that my work is sweet but not overly saccharine. I'm always working on finding the perfect combination between simple, yet fetching art, and lively, playful text.

Why do I write what I write?
I am constantly drawn to creating books for very young children. It's such a privilege and so exciting for me to be right there at the start when young children are first discovering the joy of books and everything is new to them. At that age, books are also more about the joyful and loving connection between babies/toddlers and their grownups which means a lot to me. I believe that if you make reading time fun and special right from the start, your child will develop a lifelong love for reading and books. To me this is both fulfilling and meaningful work.

How does my individual writing/illustrating process work?
It varies depending on the type of project I'm working on. I'm usually bouncing between board books and picture books that I've written to illustrating other authors' picture book texts. A lot of my early book ideas were inspired by my greeting card designs. YOU ARE MY CUPCAKE is based on a line of my New Baby cards and WE BELONG TOGETHER off of a line of my Wedding cards. Even my latest board book, MY LUCKY LITTLE DRAGON, is inspired by a line of Zodiac cards. With my board books it usually starts as a concept with some simple text and doodles. Here is the concept sketch when I first came up with the idea for YOU ARE MY CUPCAKE back in 2009:


After this phase, I will do more detailed sketches to size, scan, and take it to finish. For picture books with a recurring character I may do character studies first like this one from THE WHALE IN MY SWIMMING POOL:


With picture books I also like to create a visual storyboard like this one from SLEEPYHEADS. This helps me plan the general layout of each page and text placement without having to worry too much about the details at this point. I also jot down any other ideas or questions I may have for each page.


Generally, the books that I write myself start with a concept, then I write the words, and then I draw the pictures. As I'm writing the words, I have pictures in my head. When I start drawing the pictures, the text may change. It's a constant dialogue back and forth between words and pictures. Sometimes, actually, most of the time, it feels like a chaotic process but somehow it all works out beautifully in the end!

Next up on the blog tour:

Melissa Guion
When I first came across Melissa Guion's art at the Society of Illustrators Original Art Show, my heart just melted. She is the author and illustrator of BABY PENGUINS EVERYWHERE and the follow-up to that book BABY PENGUINS LOVE THEIR MAMA. These are two of the sweetest picture books you will EVER see and in person she's as warm and funny as she is talented. You can follow Melissa on her website at, facebook, and twitter.

Trisha Speed Shaskan
Trisha Speed Shaskan is an award-winning author of over 40 books for children including SERIOUSLY, CINDERELLA IS SO ANNOYING! THE STORY OF CINDERELLA AS TOLD BY THE WICKED STEPMOTHER and HONESTLY, LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD WAS ROTTEN! THE STORY OF LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD AS TOLD BY THE WOLF both illustrated by Gerald Guerlais, TRULY WE BOTH LOVED BEAUTY DEARLY! THE STORY OF SLEEPING BEAUTY AS TOLD BY THE GOOD AND BAD FAIRIES illustrated by Amit Tayal, and the upcoming PUNK SKUNKS which will be illustrated by her husband Stephen Shaskan (what an incredible duo these two make!). Trisha is every bit as clever and fun as her books and I have been lucky enough to call her a friend ever since I met her at an SCBWI conference a few years ago. You can follow Trisha on her website at and facebook.

Melissa and Trisha will post answers to these questions about their work next week so be sure to check back on their blogs! Isn't this fun? Thanks for letting me share! xo-Joyce

Read Melissa's post here:
Read Trisha's post here:

SLEEPYHEADS is here! May 6, 2014 06:00

It's finally here! I am very excited to announce the official release of my latest book, Sleepyheads, a picture book I illustrated by debut author Sandra J. Howatt and published by Beach Lane Books/Simon & Schuster. I first received the wonderful manuscript for Sleepyheads back in June 2011. Sandra was writing and submitting it to publishers way before I even saw it so this has been a project years in the making. Originally, I was a little nervous about this book as I had decided to create the art in a style and medium that is different from a lot of my previous work. When I first read Sandra's rhythmic, rhyming text, I envisioned pictures that were soft and dreamy which I felt would be best achieved with a good old fashioned pencil and paper. I proceeded to create a world that was warm, inviting and cozy with characters that were round and cuddly. I wanted this to be a book that you just want to hug and I believe I succeeded. The book has been getting positive buzz everywhere including a starred review from Kirkus (and they are tough)!

Here's a sneak peak:


“Sleepyhead readers explore a hushed woodland at dusk, where they discover animals nestled in their cozy places at bedtime. Yawning little listeners will fall immediately and effortlessly into the rhetorical rhythms of this surefire good-night book. Gentle narration, soft exclamations and soothing “s” sounds surface again and again, streaming together sweetly. The earthy, mellow artwork, with its dusky greens and browns and thick linework, comforts too. . . . A superb execution of soporific shapes and sounds perfect for the bedside table.” — Kirkus Reviews, April 2014, *STARRED REVIEW

“Through rhyming text and cozy illustrations, readers are brought around the property of a farm and into a house at night to seek out all the sleepyheads. . . warm and inviting. A glowing crescent moon is visible with every page turn, and all the sleepyheads are endearing and cuddly. This book will make an excellent addition, especially where pajama storytime is popular.” — School Library Journal, April 2014

“Howatt debuts with a bedtime story that, true to its theme, is quiet and somnolent in tone…. The repetitive structure of Howatt’s sturdy rhymed couplets is soothing…. [Wan] portrays the animals in soft, rounded shapes to create an inviting and secure atmosphere.” — Publishers Weekly, March 2014

“As the rhythmic, rhyming text flows on, small children will enjoy naming the plump little animals depicted throughout the book…the repetitive sounds of the text and the dimly lit, rounded forms of sleeping animals have their own soothing, soporific effect. Good bedtime reading for young children.” — Booklist, May 2014

Hardcover and e-book editions with audio recording are available:
Barnes and Noble:

A teacher's guide for Sleepyheads is also available for download. The teacher's guide is designed for students in kindergarten through second grade and it offers activities to help teachers integrate Sleepyheads into English language arts (ELA), mathematics, science, and social studies curricula.

I also want to take a moment to thank you wholeheartedly for all your notes of love, sympathy and support I have received during our time of loss. It's been a really tough few weeks, but being able to create and share my art with you has given me so much to be grateful for and look forward to. I hope you and your little one enjoy the book as much as I enjoyed creating it for you! SWEET DREAMS!


Forever in Our Hearts & Memories April 7, 2014 18:13 5 Comments

Back in September of last year, I had announced on this blog that I was expecting my first child. Evelyn (we called her Evie) was born on February 7th, three weeks early, but passed away unexpectedly six weeks later on March 20th from an undetected intestinal abnormality. It's been a painful time for me and my husband but the love, strength, and prayers from family, friends, colleagues, and our church has really helped us cope with her death. My daughter Evie was also born with a cleft lip and palate. We had known about this since my 20-week ultrasound and had already been meeting with the surgical team that would be performing the repairs but the first surgery would not have been until she was at least 10 weeks old. For those of you who would like to help us honor her memory, we have set up a memorial in her name with Smile Train, an international children’s charity that provides free surgery to poor children suffering from cleft lip and cleft palate.


The response has been overwhelming and the memorial has raised over $12,000 to date. We have been so moved by people's support and generosity. Knowing that Evie's spirit lives on in the lives of these children who will get a second lease on life has been both heartwarming and healing for us. If you would like to see more pictures or know more about the time we had with Evie, I had been working on a personal digital scrapbook that I was planning to share with her one day. Sometimes life just doesn’t make sense but one thing that’s for sure is Evie has taught us to cherish each and every day with your loved ones as you never know if you'll have 60 years or just 6 weeks with them. It’s so easy to take people for granted but every day you have with them is truly a blessing. Thanks again for your prayers, condolences, and notes of sympathy and support.


Happy Year of the Horse 2014 January 30, 2014 07:38

January 31, 2014 marks the start of the Lunar New Year as well as the Year of the Horse.

Although the holiday is also known as Chinese New Year, the Chinese aren't the only ones who observe it. The holiday is also celebrated in other Asian countries including Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, and Taiwan. The Lunar New Year is like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years rolled up into one giant celebration. For the Chinese in particular, the Lunar New Year is celebrated with big family dinners, the exchange of "lucky money" contained in red envelopes, and vibrant, lively festivals with lion dancing and firecrackers. The lunar calendar is based upon the cycles of the moon and has 12 animals signs, one to represent each year of the cycle. The Horse is the seventh sign of the cycle, with the others being the Rat (I like to say Mouse ^_^), Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Horse, Sheep (or Goat), Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.

Don't know what zodiac sign you are? Look it up on this chart I created here. According to Chinese tradition, a person’s birth sign has a profound influence on personality, behavior, and destiny. Those born under this sign are hardworking, independent, resilient, and friendly. They are natural extroverts who love social gatherings with plenty of people. They are also known to be fickle, impulsive, and have a strong reckless streak. Adventurers at heart, their spirit is continually restless and searching. Famous Horses include James Dean, Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, Aretha Franklin, Paul McCartney, Janet Jackson, Sandra Day O’Connor, Nelson Mandela, Ang Lee, Chopin, Jerry Seinfeld, Muhammad Ali, Jennifer Lawrence, Oprah Winfrey, and Rembrandt.


Not only is the Year of the Horse my sign, this year is special to me as it marked the release of MY LUCKY LITTLE DRAGON, my latest book inspired by the animals of the zodiac. For all my friends in the New York area, come on down to the The Scholastic Store this Saturday, February 1st at 3PM to celebrate the Year of the Horse with a reading of MY LUCKY LITTLE DRAGON and some crafty fun. More info about this event here. Hope to see you there! May we gallop into prosperity as we welcome the Year of the Horse. Hoping this year brings good fortune to you all!


New Year, New Book, MY LUCKY LITTLE DRAGON is Here! (And Giveaway Time Too!) January 7, 2014 03:09 25 Comments

It all started with some lunch break doodling in 2003. Twelve little doodles of the zodiac animals to be exact. I was a few years out of college and had a full-time job at an architectural firm. I was just beginning to realize that a career in architecture was not really for me. I don't think I knew exactly what I wanted at the time but what I did know, and have always known, was I loved to draw and I wanted to draw for a living. Having no formal art training, I took a leap of faith as well as some continuing education courses at the School of Visual Arts. Eventually, those doodles became the very first designs I released when I launched my greeting card studio Wanart (and still some of my best-selling designs today). Now, over 10 years later I'm excited to announce the release of my latest book from Cartwheel/Scholastic, inspired by those zodiac animals, MY LUCKY LITTLE DRAGON.

My journey getting here has not been easy, but thinking back on those twelve little doodles in my sketch book many years ago and now holding this published book in my hands is a very proud and special moment for me. My life has come full circle and it has all been worth it. Here's a little sneak peak of the book:

What people are saying (click on links to see full review):

"Set against subtly patterned backgrounds, the bold, friendly animals pop off the page with energy."—Kirkus Reviews

"This is a delightful little board book with an unusually subtle underlying structure – one that will be clear to those familiar with the Chinese zodiac but obscure to others, who will nevertheless enjoy the sweet sentiments and delightful drawings."—

"Adorable read out loud book!"—Maria's Space

Find/order this book at your local bookstore, on, or Barnes & Nobles. As usual, I LOVE celebrating a book release with a giveaway! So, I’m giving away 3 signed copies of this book with a bunch of little Wanart goodies. Just leave a comment telling me your zodiac sign. If you need a little help you can look it up on this chart I've posted here. The giveaway ends a week from today, Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 11:59PM EST. Three winners will be chosen randomly and will be announced on the following Wednesday. Open to U.S. residents only, please. Good luck!


***UPDATE: The winners for the MY LUCKY LITTLE DRAGON giveaway are Andrea, Annie, and Linda! I've contacted the winners via email to claim their prize. Congratulations! *Throws confetti and blows horns* A huge heartfelt thank you to all of you who entered. I always love reading the comments and learning a little more about all of you. xo

Happy Book Birthday & Giveaway! November 26, 2013 13:37 25 Comments

I am excited to announce the release of my latest book from Cartwheel/Scholastic, HUG YOU KISS YOU LOVE YOU!

A new ode to the best emotion in the world—LOVE! With a glittery cover and bold, outlined illustrations throughout, celebrate the small joys and big wonders of parental love with a cast of endearing mommy and baby animals. I hug you, tickle you, sing to you softly, carry you, bathe you, kiss you always. Baby, this sweet board book is the perfect way to say I LOVE YOU! Here's a little sneak peek of the book:

What people are saying:

"The book maintains the chunky digital graphics of Wan’s previous titles, and clever visual details are everywhere, from thematically patterned backgrounds of bones, waves, and leaves to the recurring heart elements incorporated into the animals." -Publisher's Weekly

"Simple, boldly outlined art, rests atop bright, patterned backgrounds, and the type is large and playful. An affectionate little book for preschoolers—with glitter on the cover!" -Booklist

Find/order this book at your local bookstore, on, or To celebrate I'm giving away 3 signed copies of this book with a bunch of little Wanart goodies. Just leave a comment telling me your favorite thing about the holiday season. Giveaway ends a week from now Tuesday, December 3, 2013. Three winners will be chosen randomly and will be announced here. Open to U.S. residents only, please. Good luck! Happy Thanksgiving!


**UPDATE** I am pleased to announce the winners selected via for the book birthday giveaway are Margaret P., Jessica Perilla, and Kathy Rupff. Please email me at to provide me with your details and who you would like me to sign the book to. Thanks again everyone for entering the giveaway! It was truly a gift for me to read all your heartwarming answers. xoxo

Fall is in the Air: Festivals & Free Printables October 20, 2013 01:46

I love fall time. There's just this cozy feeling that fills the air. For me, it always brings back fond childhood memories in New England of picking apples, carving pumpkins, and watching the leaves change into a kaleidoscope of glorious colors. I also get excited about fall flavors especially the return of every pumpkin-flavored food, drink, and treat you can imagine. By the way, have any of you tried the pumpkin smoothie at Jamba Juice? With fall also comes book festivals galore! I participated in two this year—the Princeton Children's Book Festival and the Brooklyn Book Festival. Thanks to those of you who stopped by to say hello. I can't tell you how much I love meeting all the kids and their parents! At the Brooklyn Book Festival I even took silly drawing requests from the kids on the Children's Stage in a 'Draw-Off' with fellow author and illustrator David Ezra Stein. We had a blast fielding such requests as "a TV with spikes" and a "dragon made of candy in a garden with a rainbow". I just love the way kids' minds work. bookfestivals2013 Yes, a young girl even asked me to sign her pants. How cute is that? For the festivals, I created two new learn-how-to-draw printables based on my latest books Frog & Friends and Owl & Friends and figured I'd upload them here for your budding little artist as well! Click on the pictures below to download the PDF's or you can also always find free printables on my website here. DRAW-THE-OWL DRAW-THE-FROG owl&frog-bookbirthdaya Enjoy!!! xo-Joyce

Summer 2013 + MAJOR Happy News September 2, 2013 08:00 21 Comments

Maybe you've noticed it’s been a bit quiet over here this summer, but I have a good excuse, I promise! In addition to some MAJOR happy news that I'll share with you at the end of this post, here's a recap of my summer: njscbwi13b I attended the New Jersey SCBWI Annual Conference in Princeton where I also gave a workshop called WHAT IS YOUR BRAND?: Set Yourself APART With Branding. I made everyone switch gears for a bit—from the creative side to the business side of things—to think about their own marketing messages. I'm happy to say the workshop was well attended and ran smoothly (my top two fears!). For those of you interested in becoming an author or illustrator and don't know where to start, look up your SCBWI regional chapters here. See what's going on, get involved, and attend some events! sleepyheads-beara I turned in my final drawings for Sleepyheads, a picture book by Sandra Howatt for Beach Lane Books/Simon & Schuster that will be out Fall 2014. The book was drawn entirely in pencil and colored digitally in Photoshop which was a first for me! Above is a picture of one of the preliminary color proofs. I was nervous at first with the new technique but I'm really happy with the way it came out and I can't wait to share this book with you! owl&frog-bookbirthdaya I celebrated the release of two of my latest books published by PSS!/Penguin, Owl & Friends and Frog & Friends. These books got some awesome reviews here and here! lascbwi13b I had a fabulous, yet exhausting, time at the Annual SCBWI International Conference in Los Angeles. You know how much I love this conference as I've been attending for years and have blogged about it before here, here, and here! It was a cool summer in southern California and I attended a workshop given by Henry Winkler (aka The Fonz), need I say more? epcot-norway-family-a I conquered Disney's Magic Kingdom, Epcot Center, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom in 4 days with my in-laws and 4 kids (nieces & nephews) ages 5-8. The trip had its moments but I felt like I needed a vacation after the vacation, you know what I mean? The kids had a BLAST though and that's what's important. scholasticmeetinga I had a lovely brainstorming meeting at Scholastic and received advance copies of my two upcoming Cartwheel/Scholastic board books: Hug You, Kiss You, Love You (November 2013) and My Lucky Little Dragon (January 2014)! The books are adorned with glittery covers and absolutely adorable. They are available for pre-order on Amazon now. I can't wait to share these books with you too! And now for the BIG news! With today being Labor Day and all, I thought it would be the perfect day to announce that my DH and I are expecting our first child in February—a girl! We are SO excited and can't wait to welcome our very own little Cupcake to the world! joyce-pregnanta I can't say I've had the easiest first-trimester. I've been begrudgingly taking some time off (for anyone who knows me that may be hard to believe!) as I was hit pretty hard with that first-trimester ickiness that include nausea, fatigue, and strong food aversions. Having a job where I work for myself during this time has been both a blessing and a curse. I found it hard to get motivated some mornings and the temptation to take an afternoon nap was all too great on some days (ok, many days) that I gave in and did. Much to my relief, I'm FINALLY starting to feel like myself again and I'm ready to really get back to work! (I'm sure my Editors would be happy about that!) I hope you've all had a super lovely weekend, friends. Happy Labor Day! xo Joyce

Happy Book Birthday and Giveaway! June 27, 2013 05:55 14 Comments

I am excited to announce the release of my two latest books: owl&frog-bookbirthday-blog Cute chubby critters and surprise endings - what's there NOT to love? See a sneak peek of these books on the blog Design of the Picture Book! The highly esteemed Kirkus Reviews gave Frog & Friends a rave review calling it "An engaging riddle book with standout illustrations"! Squeee! Read the full review here. Find these and my other books at your local bookseller or on To celebrate I am giving away 2 autographed sets of these books! To enter, leave a comment with your favorite animal. Two people will be selected by random drawing. The giveaway ends on July 4th, 2013 at midnight EST. Two winners will be announced within two days of the end of the giveaway. The winners must provide their name and mailing address in order to receive the prize. If the winner does not respond within two weeks of winning, the prize is forfeited and an alternate winner will be selected.  (The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.) Happy Fourth! xo-Joyce **UPDATE** Using's True Random Number Generator, the winners of the Happy Book Birthday and Giveaway are Aurelia and Joanna! Many thanks to all those who entered - I loved reading your comments! (and I learned about a couple of new adorable animals too) Stay tuned for more giveaways soon! xo

Next BIG Thing: Blog Tour May 1, 2013 13:04 2 Comments

The Next Big Thing blog tour, which first started in Australia, brings awareness to authors and illustrators and their work by way of their blogs. Many thanks to the lovely and wonderfully talented author Trisha Speed Shaskan for inviting me to participate. Her latest book TRULY, WE BOTH LOVED BEAUTY DEARLY! THE STORY OF SLEEPING BEAUTY AS TOLD BY THE GOOD AND BAD FAIRIES illustrated by Amit Tayal will be published in August. I’ll answer some questions about my latest work, then pass it on to a few other authors/illustrators. Now, onto the questions! 1) What is the working title of your next book?
Owl&Friends-web-cover Frog&Friends-web-cover
My next two soon-to-be released books are Owl & Friends and Frog & Friends. They will be published by Price Stern Sloan in June 2013. 2) Where did the idea come from for the book? I really love wood grain textures and even offer a line of cards printed on actual birch wood veneer made from sustainably harvested trees. I wanted to incorporate scanned wood textures into my illustrations which led to the initial idea of some sort of tree book. I also love surprise endings in books (and movies for that matter!) and came up with a concept that put the two things together. 3) What genre does your book fall under? Board Book 4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? For these particular books I imagine animated shorts (they are board books after all) with Morgan Freeman's friendly, soothing voice over narration. That man could read a telephone book and I'd hang on every word! lol 5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? A board book series that introduces young children to the joys of nature's cutest creatures and their natural habitats. 6) Who is publishing your book? Price Stern Sloan, an imprint of Penguin Group. These are the same folks who publish the beloved Mad Libs series. Cool, eh? 7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? It's hard to say because the books were originally written as a single picture book and then was broken down into two board books. I would say the very first draft of the picture book version took about a couple of weeks. However, I'd like to add that I usually let ideas simmer in my head for months (if not years) before I actually put it down on paper. 8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? Board books are one of my favorite genres as a book lover and a sweet spot for me as an illustrator. A lot of the Eric Carle books teach practical lessons about nature in a fun and colorful way and there are also the "IN MY" series by Sara Gillingham and Lorena Siminovich that also deal with animals and their habitats. 9) Who or what inspired you to write this book? Children and nature - there is just SO much cuteness in both I can hardly stand it sometimes! 10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest? Each book contains a fold-out final page that reveals a fun surprise ending. Thank you so much for stopping by! The Next Big Thing Blog Tour continues with the following 2 wonderful authors/illustrators who are also represented by my extraordinary agent Teresa Kietlinski of Prospect Agency: Annie Bach will talk about her latest NIGHT-NIGHT, FOREST FRIENDS (Grosset & Dunlap/Penguin) FORESTFRIENDS               Brooke Boynton Hughes will talk about her upcoming BABY LOVE by Angela DiTerlizzi (Beach Lane Books/S&S) and CUPCAKE COUSINS by Kate Hannigan (Hyperion/Disney) BabySample_BBH           And last, but not least, Stefan Jolet will talk about his upcoming CINDERELLAPHANT by Dianne de las Casas (Pelican Publishing Co.): Ella-Cover                 xo-Joyce