Hello Good People What's good?
I have been on a tour for my new book Just Like Me with Random House and Knoff books.
I am so very excited to share this wonderful book with you all.
It is a book of poems about the things that children or girls go through growing up.
We had such fun putting this book together. It made us think about our own
childhoods and how we wanted to put into words and pictures what it looked like
to us. I didn't have a clue how this book would effect the readers. It has been
overwhelmingly sweet and touching. Every single child has shared something about
how this book has touched them and I am so blessed to hear each of them
Here are so pictures from one of my visits. It was with Embrace Girls in Miami
Florida with Velma Lawerence who runs this awesome after school program for girls.
It is fabulous. This women should receive every award afforded. She gives from
the heart to these young ladies and teaches them so much about how to care for
themselves spiritually, emotionally and physically. It's amazing to watch them.
I learned so much. I wanted to share with you.
I have new book coming out in few days called,"Just Like Me". It is my very first book of poems for children.
While the book focuses on girl as the subject it is not just a book for girls, but all children.
I think that children of every age and culture will find themselves in any of these poems.
My book birthday is January 14th, 2020
I can't wait to share it with you all.
Well, Happy New Year Good Peoples!
I'm back and I am so glad to be cause I miss you all
so much and Wix wasn't working for me and I was missing
comments and such and I really wanted to get back into
blogging this year. Posting a little more and getting
to interact with the community and visit your beautiful
blogs and share what is going on in my studio and
do some tutorials and craft project here as well.
A few years back this blog was really busy with visits
from everyone and everywhere. I had fun making friends
and visiting other peoples blogs. We nurtured and made
wonderful relationships and a lot of the artist and illustrators
that came to visit here have now become published illustrators,
designers and artist and crafters and I am so happy about
I am wanting to come back to share and encourage and show up.
My desire is to share what really goes on in my illustrative
world. To tell you about the good, the bad, creative and mad.
Hopefully leaving you inspired to try something new. For you
to share what you have learnt as well. Social Media is a beast.
We know this. I want to create a safe place for people to come
and be inpsired, uplifted, filled up and encourage to spread
your wings and fly. ALL and I do mean all are welcomed.
Kindness and only kindness is shared here.
So if you are looking for something to make you smile,
create, sing out loud or even dance a little bit, keep coming
Big Hugs to you all and Happy New Year!
Hello Wonderful Peoples!
Hope that you all are doing well and getting along wonderfully
if not... I hope it gets better.
I am finding that sometimes when things are crazy and just messy
it can sometimes be God or the universe telling us to move.
We can be such creatures of comfort. Not wanting to move from
a familiar or comfortable place cause we don't know what may
out there. It's scary, but sometimes we can stay in a place
to long to our own disservice and detriment. Sometimes I am
afraid to move. I don't want to make a mistake. I don't want to
mess up. What if I fall? But then, What if I fly? That is
the real question. Fear comes to keep us safe. That is the
purpose for it, but sometimes we have to do it afraid,
scared, shaking in our boots. You will never ever know
the greatness that is waiting for you if you never jump!
No, jumping is not easy, but it is necessary if you are
ever going to do something great! With that I am jumping
from this blog. I have been running Oohlaladesignstudio.
blogspot for almost ten years now and I need to jump
and do something different. It's been so very wonderful
and sweet being here and I look forward to sharing with you
on my new blog page at Vanessabrantleynewton.com. Yeah,
" It's about time V!" some of you are saying LOL!
Yes I have a new website and I will continue my blogging
over there so please come and visit when you have a moment.
I would like to personally thank all of my blogger friends,family
and followers for your awesome support and I do hope that you all
will come and visit my new space. Where there will be
videos and interviews and yes illustrations and stories and
fun stuff. I love you guys so much.... I really do.
Thanks so much,
I just loved Colorforms when I was kid!! Oh my goodness they where the most awesome things in the world. I have been hunting down manufactures all day to now create my own clingies!! This is the first of my collection!! She will be placed onto the same laminated chipboard and will have cling pieces to dress her with. Can't wait to see her all packaged and such! She won't be in time for Christmas, but something fresh for the New Year! Okay going back to play now! Later good peoples!
They came bearing gifts. Not just toys and food, but they came sharing their love, community, unity and such. Stuff that can't be brought with money. They came with open hearts and plenty of hugs. They came with laughter and songs. They came and everything changed. The gift without the giver is bare.
Are you finding it harder to find the joy these days?
With the elections and the shootings and the killings
and just the very air of the world right now? It can
be so very overwhelming to the mind, body and soul of
a person. So many questions. So many why's. It can
drain the life out of you. Joy is not about happiness
or prefection. Joy, is an emotion. It is
a choice. A choice to turn off the news or deciding
to extend kindness to others. It is smiling at someone
even if they don't smile back at you. If you are looking for prefection
you will never find it in this world. It's filled
with imperfect people at every turn. I often find joy in music.
Music is so very important to me. I couldn't do what I do or even
make it through the day without a song. Music is very powerful
and can bring the heart joy. I find songs that lift me
and help me get through the day. Find a song to fill your heart.
Wishing your heart joy and music!
ROCK ON GOOD PEOPLE!!
It is so very important that every child gets to see
themselves beautifully illustrated in picture books.
I never saw myself in picture books until I saw the
"Snowy Day" by Ezra Jack Keats. I didn't see myself
on tv or in magazines as a child. I thought that I was
invisible for a very long time. Is is now my desire
to illustrate every child. Show them that they are
special and unique. I want little brown girls and
boys to see themselves as princes and princesses
Kings and queens. This is a little project that
am working on. A Very Brown Princess and the green
the Pigeon pea! It's a little Spanish and a little
African and a whole lotta Gullah
with just a touch of Crucian!
It's all to funny as well.
Wishing you all a very Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving!
I am so looking forward to the movie, " Hidden Figures".
It inspired this little piece for the cover of the fall issue of
SCBWI. The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.
SCBWI.org. If you are interested in learning about how to write or how illustrate children's books you want to start here.
Sometimes we live life just waiting for the other shoe to drop.
We expect bad things to happen to us most of the time. I use to
think like this. Recently I just went through one of the roughest
seasons in my life and people had lots to say. I find that some
folks just like to hear themselves talk. They don't want truth
they just want to have their ears tickled with negativity and then
want to spread it everywhere they go, but what if those same
person lived with expectancy? Expect some joy, peace, creativity,
laughter and love. What if they went to their mailboxes and found
some good news or a check? What if they expected good news on the
daily news? What if they looked for it in every situation?
Disappointment shows up because you expected it too.
Doubt, hurt and fear showed up because you expected it too.
It had to show up so that you won't think you are crazy.
My challenge for you today is to EXPECT something WONDERFUL
to SHOW UP TODAY! Just for today!
Quietly singing, " He's Got The Whole World In His Hands" and He does. I know it doesn't look like it to some. I know that the world feels like it's vibe is slipping off it's axis, and that people are loosing their minds, but none of this is catching the Creator off guard. He is still in control and even if you don't believe in Him, He believes in you. Sometimes we dim our lights so that we don't stand out, but now is the time to let the light of love, kindness, understanding, brotherhood and community come forth like never before. God, I know your listening. We need you right now. We need YOU!
Lost my Cousin Sharonda Coleman=Singleton and Ms. Sally Jackson.
Just two of the Charleston 9.
It feels like yesterday and it was just a few days ago
49 Beautiful people lost their lives in yet another shooting.
This evil wants to take my breathe away. I am angry, but
yet I forgive. Not because other people need it so badly
or even want it from me, but
because I need to love and live my best life and continue
to be a vehicle of love to anyone and everyone who might
need it. I try so hard to put love on everyday, but sometimes
I forget a sock, or jacket and it only makes me want to try
harder. So easy to hate people. People that don't even care
that you hate them. The best way to get back at them is
for us, you, me is to keep living and loving to the best of
our ability. LOVE always WINS.
Sometimes you have to be willing to unplug from the negative and
plug in the positive. It's a choice. Unplugging from the negative
and plugging into the positivity of hope, peace, love and joy.
Again, it is a choice.
Sometimes you have to see it before you SEE it!
I have this idea for my character,"Lil' V.
She is me at 5 years old. I had the biggest
imagination ever and pretended all the time.
Didn't have a clue as to how powerful all of
that daydreaming and imagination was at the
time. Now as a grown woman, it's so hard
sometimes to imagine the good and the positive.
Constantly having to change the records of
the subconscious mind because what we think
about we bring about and I remember so vividly
having adults tell me to stop daydreaming and
get your head out of the clouds and somehow,
they taught me to doubt myself and to think
that others where better than me. That
others deserved beauty, hope, joy, creativity,
love and peace more than me. This is the
rebooting of Vanessa Brantley-Newton.
I go back now and I get to speak to my
5 year old self and I tell her to dream big
babygirl and after you have dreamt big, dream
even bigger. So big that when it actually happens
you will know that it was something greater
that brought you too it! I tell her that
no one is better than you and even when
they come against you and say all manner
of evil about you, you have to know yourself
and love yourself. Embrace the you that you
are. That she is not the failure or the lack,
or the disappointments that have come in her
life. That these are some of the ingredients
that were needed to make big Vanessa into
who she needed to be for life. That there will be awesome
people like Bella SinclairEric Barclay, ShellNita Jo, Melissa
KJ and a host of others who come to visit this little blog. I am so blessed.
One day this little book is going to find it's way into the world of children's books.
It's gonna hit the shelves and speak very loudly to another little
5 year old who has a dream! Sometimes you have to see it before you see it!
Her Grandmama was gone, but she remembered the powerful
words that she shared, "Baby!", she said,
" Your words have power to create your reality so speak life,
love and abundance. Speak well of others even when they don't
speak well of you for in doing so, good will come back to YOU."
And so, I speak life, love and abundance as often
and as fast as I can creating my reality. Thank you Mama.
"Once the Pink Lady faced her fears she became stronger, wiser and more yes, fashionable!" Thanks so much Kate Thacker!
Facing your fears helps you to move forward with strength, courage and wisdom. It's been inside of you all along! Working on myself and my dreams. It may be a while, but know that I'm thinking of you all!! Be good!
If they can see themselves then they can free themselves!
Ari dared to be awesome because he was awesome already.
He went running and flying into his destiny! Okay, now it's your
turn. See your inner wild child. Love him or her and then free
yourself to run to your destiny! Gotta fly!!! See you later good
Hey Blogger Family!! Just popped in to say, "Hello and I miss my Beautiful Peeps!" Life has been interesting and full of surprises! I want to say Thank You to ALL of you who emailed, called, and encouraged me. Thanks so much for your kind words and support it meant the world to me. I appreciate it so very much! I'm still standing and I'm still here quietly watching and listening. Learning that we are so much stronger, bigger and better then we even know and it's not what people say about us, but what we believe about ourselves! Our situations should never define who we are and it's not what people call us, but what we answer too. Not asking, "Why me?", but rather, "How does this serve me?" Not feeling sorry for myself, but understanding that there is a bigger picture and plan and what doesn't kill you fattens you for the rest of the journey and the journey is great! All things are working for my good because God is intentional never failing and still I rise and still I move forward and still I live in abundance, joy, peace and love. Nobody and nothing can take that away from us! My joy, peace and love belong to me. It's easy to dance in the sunshine of praise, but can you still do the same dance in the storm? I've learn that I can dance in the storm, lift my hands to the sky and smile with tears streaming down my face, because I am loved and I love me some Y'ALL! I don't dwell on the negative cause it just doesn't serve me. If you live long enough there will be some rough patches, but know this, nobody get to tell you when you can speak, dance, rejoice, or smile! ONLY you get to do that. So I will keep it moving and I will keep smiling! Thanks again you Bella Sinclair, KJ, Shell, Michelle,and so many other wonderful and beautiful people who have encouraged me and supported me. Love to you all!
Here's the thing about that children's book, "A Birthday Cake For George Washington": I can't imagine a sane, rational, reasonably intelligent African American approving a story that depicts slaves as happy. What I can certainly see, though, is the nuance of the lives our people lived during a time when our folk were in bondage. I haven't read the book; only accounts of what's in the pages, mostly from people who haven't read the book and have no idea who its editor and illustrator are. I can tell you, though, as an author of 23 books, five of which were edited by Scholastic's Andrea Davis-Pinkney: nuance, track record and dedication to our children MUST count for something. Andrea is the award-winning children's book author who, as a writer, filled bookshelves with almost two dozen children's books featuring Black characters we treasure and love, and, as an editor, opened doors for many Black authors whose sole wish was to chronicle the lives of Black folk for brown babies, including treasures like Walter Dean Meyers, Derrick Barnes and yes, me. Without her, our shelves would be that much more barren. The same goes for the illustrator extraordinaire, Vanessa Brantley Newton, whose illustrations have graced countless books showing the joy and wonder of beautiful Black children and families. Both of these sisters are dedicated to showing the beauty of us, and as a colleague, writer, parenting expert, mother and lover and collector of Black children's books, I do think both Andrea and Vanessa deserve the benefit of the doubt--at least an airing that extends far beyond calling them Klansmen, racists, ignorant, clueless and whatever other insult I've seen lobbed their way. I read Andrea's explanation for publishing the book and, while I cannot say I could get behind a book about happy House Negroes, I can appreciate the nuance for which Andrea, Vanessa and the author were reaching. Perhaps it is the same nuance that found its way into, say, "Life Is Beautiful," the award-winning film about a father who fools his child into believing that Auschwitz is a "fun" camp full of wonder, even as he understands their impending doom. Of course, this we'll never know. The book has been pulled. We'll never know if there was room there for the tough, nuanced discussions we could have had with that book on the shelves. I will say this, though: I do hope that moving forward, all the people coming for Andrea and Vanessa's necks could consider actually supporting the Black children's books that have gone out of their way to shine a lovely light for our babies. I hope, too, that after all the ruckus dies down, the publishing world considers easing up on the slave, Civil Rights and Black icon narratives and instead focuses on a new kind of Black children's book, one that considers the everyday wonders of Black children's humanity. Bring on the stories of Black babies pushing past the first-day-of-school jitters. Let's see books about Black children enjoying family get-togethers, going to church, making friends in the park, bonding with grandparents, taking care of their dogs, using their big, beautiful imaginations. (I'm actually working on a project myself that I hope helps to fill some of this void--stay tuned.) Let's use this as an opportunity to celebrate us, rather than mindlessly tear us down. Andrea and Vanessa deserve that much. So do brown babies.
Denene Millner of My Brown Baby.