Thursday, September 01, 2011


I am very excited about the latest illustrated book I did with Katherine and John Paterson. It's not often that you get to illustrate a book for the National Ambassador of Children's Literature. I ended up doing about 60 paintings for this book.
I am happy to say that it has received starred reviews from Kirkus, School Library Journal and Publishers Weekly. . It goes on sale September 27.

Also, another middle grade novel I have illustrated, The Hunter Chronicles: Return to Exile, will hit stores on September 5. There is a website for the book. If you like Rick Riordan or Eoin Colfer, you will like E.J. Patten. He has written a really fun, scary book about teenage kids who fight incredible inventive monsters with weapons that they make from garbage.

There is also a very nice interview I did over at 7imps which has a ton of never before seen artwork and detailed discussions about my process.

and my daughter Alaya wanted to type something too. Here it is:


Thursday, May 19, 2011

"A SPECIAL SUMMER NIGHT"-Great review in BookPage!

John Rocco takes a child’s-eye view of one special summer night in Blackout. At first glance, this captivating picture book seems to offer a straightforward view of a night when a family is forced to move away from their electronic life to a simpler time, a time when families played board games and enjoyed each other’s company. Taking a closer look at the illustrations does for the reader just what the blackout does for the family in the story, allowing us to slow down and appreciate the moment all the more.

Let’s start with the very first image—even before the title page. Here is the main character, a little girl with a screen flickering behind her. Given her dour expression, it appears that the screen isn’t bringing her much joy. Moving to the first pages of the book, we see a busy street in Brooklyn, beneath the bridge. Careful observers will recognize that same girl again in a brownstone window. In other tiny windows, we spot four of the main characters, busy with their work and too busy for the little girl, who wants to play a board game.

In a beautiful moment, the lights of the city slowly dim, prompting the startled child to summon help with a cry of “MOM!” The family adjourns to the roof for a joyous time with neighbors under the starry night (which looks a lot like the Van Gogh painting of the same name). Then it’s back to the street for free ice cream from the ice cream vendor. As the story unfolds, astute readers will note slight changes in perspective and light that let the reader observe the passage of time, but in a slowed-down world without electricity.

Adults know that a power outage can be a pain in the neck, but to a child, it is just another adventure. In Rocco’s beautifully told story, a blackout brings one family together and allows a child to see her city in a whole new light . . . a flashlight

-Robin Smith

Here is the link

Friday, April 29, 2011


Blackout, my new picture book with Disney•Hyperion is getting some nice attention! Starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Kirkus as well as being selected for the Indiebound Kids Next List for Summer 2011. I am very thrilled.
I will be signing copies of Blackout at 3pm at Book Expo America, and we also had some nifty posters made. Also, at 10pm Katherine Paterson will be signing galleys of our book, The Flint Heart, so check that out too!

I have a bunch of book signings in N.J. and Brooklyn coming up and you can check out the dates and times in the calendar section of my website.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The latest covers

Here are some jpgs of more final covers for "Return to Exile" and "The Throne of Fire".