Postcards Sendouts

I’ve finally felt comfortable enough with my work to send out postcards to art directors in the children’s book publishing industry.

That is another crossed milestone for me.

To begin my regular quarterly send outs , I’ve chosen to mail postcards to uk art directors and publishers only. It was inspired by my little boy and the fact that he is currently imitating everything he sees and repeats everything he hears.

I’ve chosen to send something minimalistic showcasing my skills at illustrating little children and little animals, and as its halloween, I themed it accordingly. Here it is. What do you think? Will they like it? Will they not?

I certainly hope they like it !




Pictures at Play Launch Event – Pictures

Thank you to all those who came to the Pictures at Play Launch Event on Thursday 28th September at the Half Moon Theater Gallery. It was a great evening altogether and I will remember this day forever. Such a huge milestone for me. Here are a few photographs of the place and the evening for those of you who couldn’t make it.

And here is me with my contribution!

Critique Group Guidelines

I’ve recently volunteered to help a friend run a picture book event. It was not something I had planned and it certainly didn’t come at the best of times, but it gave me an additional purpose for a little while, and it felt good.

I helped her out with a few things. Things I hadn’t done in a while. I prepared an online survey for participants requesting a critique group as well as prepared a guidelines document on critique group best practice. I thought I’d share it here with you in case some of you might find it useful.

These guidelines were written for the purpose of the challenge but I believe they are applicable for most any critique groups out there. Let me know in the comments if you have more tips or advice for best practice.

Critique Group Guidelines

  • Introduce yourself ( name, country or city, writing style, illustration level, age of preferred target audience, published or unpublished and anything else you think of value)
  • Explain what you hope to achieve with the Challenge
  • What is your manuscript about ( Synopsis in 50 words or less)
  • Assign an admin for the group: That is someone that will make sure everyone gets to submit their work in equal number or turns, someone that will be reminding everyone to post their critiques, and that will make sure everyone remains polite and constructive throughout the process. It’s usually best if someone volunteers to take on this extra responsibility. Otherwise, we would recommend that this “facilitator” person be someone with previous critique group experience.
  • Critique Schedule: When you will critique (everyday so that everyone can get a turn more often, twice a week, only on the weekends…)
  • What you will critique ( writing or illustration or both)
  • How you will share your work ( in the group as attachments or files or photographs, or by email , or any other means… )


  • Good critique is constructive
  • Be sensitive towards other people’s work
  • The purpose of joining a critique group is to receive not only praise, but also feedback that will make your work greater than it already is.
  • Different perspectives from different people is usually a good way for you to find out what would represent you and what wouldn’t, whilst challenging you to keep an open mind about other possible alternatives you might not have thought about. You don’t have to take everyone’s opinion on board, just listen to what is being said, and say thank you.
  • If you feel like you cannot offer any constructive critique elements, then don’t.


  • If someone is being a bully, warn them once, then if they pursue with their behaviour, kick them out of the group ( that would also be the admin’s responsibility)
  • You can leave the group if you don’t feel like you are a match with the other members.

A critique group is an experience that is supposed to be instructive, supportive and fun. 

Part 2: Postcards (a “webinar” blog)

Today, I thought I’d share a very well written and detailled article about postcards, written by a friend I met on the so popular Facebook platform. We are very far away from one another in terms of location, but we found each other through our common passion: picture books.

And since I am getting ready to send out some postcards, her post came in very handy indeed. Enjoy! And be sure to follow her and her adventures.

Jena Benton

I know writers will automatically think this is a post only for illustrators and that’s not true.  I also know that some already published and professional illustrators will think this only applies to newbies, but I’ve got something for the PALs here too.  This post will have a little something for everyone: writers, illustrators, newbies and those already published.  I promise!

First, let me address the Part 2 in the title.  I know many of you will be wondering why this is Part 2, when there was no Part 1.  I will explain.

You see, as writers (W) and illustrators (I) interested in publication, we all know that there are some things we need to get into the business (or keep in business) of children’s books.  You need the following list of things:

  1. A physical manifestation of your work: a manuscript (Writers), a portfolio (Illustrators), a dummy (Author-Illustrators), or a…

View original post 3,018 more words

A beautiful summer holiday discovery

We were on holiday for the last couple of weeks, visiting the in-laws in the South West of France and whilst there, we attended a village fair in their main square. ( Oh my, that rhymes!)

We stumbled across this used books stall, and as you know, I love everything book related, so i had to stop and browse. Whilst my loving husband managed the toddler roaming around, I went through all the picture books on display and then found one that has been on my wish list for a while now. And what a great find!

I’ve been looking at it and marvelling at it since we came back.

I’ll be sharing a more in depth review of this book on shortly but for now, I just wanted to share the cover and one of my favourite spreads of this amazing piece of art.

Photo on 13 Sep 2017, 08_46_25Photo on 13 Sep 2017, 08_47_43

Smart Dummies

My contribution to this year’s Dani Duck’s Smart Dummies Challenge has been up for a few days now, but I haven’t had a chance to share it on here since we were on holiday abroad.

You can read the whole post here:

It’s now a bit late to ask for a critique group, but you can still try to catch up with the challenge, add the participant badge to your blog, website or Facebook page.

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Pictures at Play Exhibition

Fancy a trip to East London to see some beautiful children’s book illustrations? Read on!

As some of you might already know, since I have already mentioned it somewhere here and on my Facebook page, I am one of the illustrators selected for the Pictures at Play Biennial Exhibition. This will be the first time ever that my work is exhibited anywhere.

This event is exclusive to SCBWI ( Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators)  British Isles members and features some of the best illustrators of the region. I am so honoured to be featured amongst them. It’s a huge milestone for me.

To find out more about the event go to:

You can also get more insight on :

Briefly what you need to know about the event is:

  • There will be a grand opening and an SCBWI talk for the exhibiting artists and industry professionals (28 September 2017).
  • There will be a sale of prints and books by the selected exhibitors
  • There will be workshops and events for children and families
  • And there will be a Christmas public arts and crafts fair on December 2nd 2017.

You can go see those beautiful pieces of artwork starting today, the 6th of September. The exhibition will close on the 3rd of January 2018.

Half Moon Theatre , 43 White Horse Road – London,

And don’t forget to find my contribution to this event!

Pictures at Play - "Peekaboo !" Leila Nabih 2017

Pictures at Play – “Peekaboo !” Leila Nabih 2017


Smart Dummies Challenge

This year, I am flattered to be an official guest on Dani Duck’s Smart Dummies September Challenge.

Along with other people from the children’s books industry, we will be sharing a few thoughts and insights on our process and what not, to encourage people participating to try to start and finish a dummy book during the month. Only a dummy, not the whole picture book. It takes much longer to start and finish making a picture book as most of you probably already know.

Interested? Have a look at Dani’s Blog :  Smart Dummies 2017

Don’t forget to join her Facebook group, request a critique group and have a story ready. And of course, add the participant badge to your blog, website or Facebook page.

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Dummy Book

My agents has recently shared online one of my dummy books for publishers and people interested to request. You can find it on their website or directly on here.

He has been making rounds to publishing houses and we are waiting for replies but any help spreading the word around would be greatly appreciated.

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Book Reviews Update

It’s been a while since I wrote anything so I just thought I’d drop in a line to let you all know that I had to take a two months break from writing book reviews due to personal reasons.

But I’m now back!

I have started again since last friday with the fabulous and unique “There is a Bear in my Chair” by Ross Collins. Which I highly recommend by the way.

Next Friday we have another book by one of my favourite author illustrators Emily Gravett. And its no other than “Monkey and Me”. So don’t forget to sign up for those reviews at Reading to Baby

There is a Bear in My Chair  by Ross Collins

There is a Bear in My Chair by Ross Collins

Monkey and Me by Emily Gravett

Monkey and Me by Emily Gravett