Here’s my Perfect Picture Book selection for the week:

Written and Illustrated by Leslie Ann Clark
Harper, 2012

Suitable for: Ages 4 and up (per Amazon, but I think it’s great for the toddler age group)

Theme/Topic: Determination, Animals, Exploration

Opening: One sunny morning, Peepsqueak popped out of his shell. All the other baby chicks were stretching and yawning. But not Peepsqueak! Because why?

He was on the move!

Brief Synopsis: Peepsqueak wants to fly high, but all the other animals tell him not to try and “You can’t fly!” Peepsqueak keeps trying and well, you’ll see what he can do at the end of the story.

Link to resources: Learning to Fly (a picture book I previously added to PPBF) to see another take on the wanting to fly adventure. Here’s a Baby Chick jigsaw puzzle online. Some cute baby chick crafts, so you could try and make your own Peepsqueak!

Why I chose the book: I heard Leslie Ann Clark share her story about how she evolved over the years as an artist and how Peepsqueak hatched into a book at the Rocky Mountain Region SCBWI conference last weekend in Denver. She was inspirational.

As an illustrator, she developed her Peepsqueak character first. At a licensing show (where artists attempt to sell their work to different companies to use on their fabrics, gift items, etc.), Clark’s Peepsqueak was discovered by a publisher. She was asked to write the story.  I poked around Leslie’s blog and well this one shows what a nice person she is: New Every Morning. The Peepsqueak adventure continues with the release of a second book in 2013.

12 x 12 in 2012

I also “called” Peepsqueak! for Perfect Picture Book Friday when I saw Penny looking at it in the bookstore area. I’ve mentioned before the need to do a book review fast, before someone else posts it.

What can I say about meeting fellow 12 x 12 in 2012 participants? Beyond awesome. I met some of the 12xers online like Penny, Julie Rowan-Zoch and our fearless leader Julie Hedlund. Then, at the conference I met them plus more participants like Beth Thaler. It was like instant friends — just add a conference (well, a little water too as it’s dry here in Colorado)!

Julie Rowan-Zoch and I talked and talked and talked at the end of a day filled with author speeches and workshops. She may never want to be my roommate again.

Julie Rowan-Zoch, Megan Halsey and Me

Julie and I both attended the Under the Creative Umbrella workshop by artist Megan Halsey. She shared her personal art, children’s picture book illustration, editorial art, giftware products and licensing work. Her presentation was both inspiring and refreshing. It was a wonderful reminder that markets — for books and magazines — can change. Megan has reinvented and branded herself in several markets as a result.

Megan mentioned she uses photos from conferences to post on her Facebook wall, etc. So, I grabbed roommate Julie and we had our photo taken together. We may wind up on a Facebook wall near you.

I’m still catching up after the weekend conference. I’m checking off items on my to-do list, so I can apply the tips and techniques I learned in workshops.

The Pikes Peak Writer’s group blog Writing from the Peak is letting me contribute a monthly post. I’ll share some tips from the SCBWI conference there. I’ll let you know when it gets posted.

Jenny Lee Sulpizio interviewed me for her Write on, Mom! series. You can read why I’m on my iPhone a lot — it’s not just all Facebook, Twitter and email. Sometimes, I’m … well, you can read about it here.