“You’re just like Piggy Pie Po…. only bubbles, head to toes.”

From Natalie Mikles (Tulsa Oklahoma)

Dear Audrey and Don,

Just had to let you know how much we love Piggy Pie Po. I have 2-year-old twin girls, and Piggy Pie Po is their favorite book. When it’s time to read stories, they say, “Pie Po! Pie Po!” I tell them to go get the book off their shelf, and they smile so big, so proud of themselves for finding their favorite book.

Our favorite part: “He ate a pepper. So hot! So red!” When we get to that line, I grab the girls’ hands and raise them up in the air. They love it.

When they take their bath, I tell them, “You’re just like Piggy Pie Po…. only bubbles, head to toes.”

When I write stories I often use a technique I have deveoloped to become empathic with my future readers   I imagine a circle of about six children and several adults who are listening to me  as I  create then edit story. Visualizing the audience I want to reach helps me in a mysterious, magical  way. First off it relaxes me, I am surrounded by wonderful ,attentive, supportive people who are happy to be a part of my writing process. . Even though this is an imaginary audience, this practice has proved very helpful. Basically when I sist down tio  write , I visualise my audience , seeing each one clearly both adult and child. Then I put them at the back of my mind as I set to work writing. As I write I can feel my audience  When fans share the experiences they have with our books, more imaginary readers are added to my circle.

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Blue Sky

The stars in the Hawaiian night sky where we live are often spectacular. We reside in a rural setting down a rough and lonely road rarely traveled by others. A few years back we built a simple, low to the ground, wood platform where we like to sit and observe the sky at night. We placed four chairs on it and dubbed it the “Star Platform.” We quickly discovered that the Star Platform was also the perfect setting for watching sunsets. The sun sets in behind the mountains, so we view our sunsets indirectly, not watching the sun go down but rather observing the parade of sunset colors illuminating the spectacular clouds that continually move across our skies.

Yesterday, after completing DUFFY TIME (due to be published Fall 2012), Don and I went outside to celebrate by watching the sunset clouds change colors. We sat down and, as usual, began to admire the various amazing cloud formations. Don gasped and pointed to the sky above our studio. A huge, perfect, symmetrical sunburst design made of streaks of pink tinged clouds emanated up from our studio, where we work on our books. The sunburst looked as if it had been painted by a master artist, each streak radiating in a perfect arch across the sky. The first thing that came to my mind was that perhaps the cloud star burst over our studio could be a good omen for both BLUE SKY and DUFFY TIME.

The many spectacular cloud formations which constantly form in the Hawaiian sky were at one time considered to be messages from The Divine. Priests, known as Kahunas, would observe cloud formations in the sky and “read” them like a newspaper to receive information on all subjects from births to the best time for their fleets to go fishing.

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Designing and illustrating children’s books takes longer than most people think. The process of creating my newest book, BLUE SKY, (Scholastic, Spring 20011) stretched into seven months of fun time. I used colored pencils on colorful pastel paper as the medium and I enjoyed every day.

Don Wood, my husband and partner in books, just finished illustrating DUFFY TIME, a story that I also wrote. Don chose to work in acrylic paint applying the medium in an oil painting technique. Yesterday we counted the months and discovered his illustration project took one entire year to complete. We believe that the the time it takes to illustrate a book is not important, but our dedication to quality and our commitment to excellence is of paramount importance. Our passion is to create entertaining and engaging books that both children and adults can enjoy equally. By the way, we have many adults who write us and report that although they do not have children in their lives, they enjoy collecting our books. Picture books are for all ages!

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Audrey Saves a Goose

Over the years I have rescued, rehabilitated and released hundreds of wild, injured birds from Hummingbirds to Hawks.  At present I am helping an injured wild gander whose wing was sprained by an impact with a car.  There are bird rescue groups in many communities.Watching a bird fly again is an exhilarating, gratifying experience.

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All IN Play

Today while crafting a poem I wrote 347 rhyming words on slips of paper and organized them into categories of adjectives, nouns and names.  I then began to play with the words by moving them around in groups and discovering which words sounded good together.  I have never done this before, I just thought it would be inspiring, it was!

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