We Worship God, ABC Christian Picture Book. Nancy Streza and Kayleen West

We Worship God: Nancy Streza & Kayleen West

We Worship God: Exploring the character of God through alphabetical devotion

I am so excited! I can now reveal that I’ll be celebrating my very FIRST United States publication this December – thanks to Xist Publishing. And what a beautiful picture book it is too! I thoroughly enjoyed and fondly illustrated We Worship God. I painted each illustration in watercolour…or should I write watercolor?

We Worship God, ABC Christian Picture Book. Nancy Streza and Kayleen West

We Worship God, ABC Christian Picture Book. ‘C’ page (comforter)

We Worship God is written by a very talented US author, Nancy Streza. We Worship God is not only an alphabetical story but a poetic dedication of praise – so clever! I can imagine this book will be recited by children. I fell hard for this one-it felt like an extension of Adoptive Father and my heart was immediately invested. Rainbows of love poured from my brush as I personally devoted each illustration to our amazing God.

We Worship God will be released in time for Christmas in eBook and softcover. I will be ordering a limited number of books for my local readers who want copies for Christmas.

I took several studio and work in progress photos so I’ll share more later on the making of the book. Perhaps even a video.

It is so good to finally get to share with you this gorgeous new picture book!

We Worship God, ABC Christian Picture Book. Nancy Streza and Kayleen West

We Worship God, ABC Christian Picture Book. Xist Publishing. December 2015 Publication

Albino children in Tanzania will soon receive Adoptive Father via Forget Me Not Ministries.

Gifts for albino children in Tanzania

How a childhood dream is now a special gift to albino children!

Rejection at 16…

At 16 I made my first picture book. I carefully hand bound the book covering it with flocked suede fabric. It was a bumpy ride publishing my first picture book.

Eager to illustrate stories, I marched my little picture book into my very first publishing interview at Penguin books almost 3 decades ago. The commissioning editor encouraged me to keep at it, but rejected my book. Looking at my little picture book today, I completely understand the rejection.

But God knew my heart…

In 2013, I finally publish my first picture book, Adoptive Father. At 16 I had a desire to publish and a desire to share a story but as a Christian, God showed me so much more! He gave me an impression that this book would be the beginning of something much bigger. I had been given a vision of great need, of broken hearts, and lost children who needed to find their way to their Heavenly Father. Also that faith was simple; it was all about the size of our hearts and not religiosity.

He told showed me the BIG picture…

Adoptive Father was an International agenda on God’s calendar. It was my assignment to spread the message of the story God gave me as far and wide as I could and witness how obedience produces His fruit. But I didn’t need to lead. I just needed to follow and be obedient to what He showed me and His timing. What overwhelms me with joy is the feedback that verifies the will of God on this book. The impact it is having on children worldwide has me regularly weeping happy tears — literally!

And did all the hard work for me…

I have limited resources and time so it is also fortunate that I have a manager, Jesus, who takes care of that and most other parts of publishing and distributing His book. It has been distributed to children in several countries now and the list grows. Children all over the world desperately need to know how valuable they are, how to everyone should care for one another, and how love we ALL are by our Heavenly Father. So, when the world around them tells some that they are any less, this book tells them the truth.

I cried with gratitude…

To know that I have been invited into something that is so impacting and in some way empowers children to grow in love, is a bigger reward than anything the world can offer and often makes me weep with gratitude. I also know what God anoints will be incredible and miraculous!

Look, look— look where a dream can travel!

There’s a lot happening behind the scenes in my studio office—it’s incredibly exciting! I can share this part now:

Tanie and Jacqueline Guy lead Forget Me Not Ministries in the United States and have embraced Adoptive Father as an important part of their missionary outreach. Their primary role is to be missionaries to missionaries and they are eager to transport these particular books to children within their reach. One of their missionaries, Claire, is caring for albino orphans in Tanzania!

The not so black but cherished albino child…

These precious children have more challenges than you can imagine! They live with the very real threat of abduction and horrific child sacrifice! Claire is protecting them and provide for their mental and ongoing physical health needs. These children have an incredible need to feel acceptance and the love of God. Can you imagine how they must feel about themselves knowing that other people think it is acceptable to use them as lucky charm slaughter? This murder is unimaginable! I am working with Jacqueline and Claire to get a shipments of the books to these children and as the numbers in Claire’s outreach grows. Then I will be working with this ministry to get books to children in the Ukraine. If support continues, we will work together as the needs arise in whatever country presents itself.

 

Albino children in Tanzania will soon receive Adoptive Father via Forget Me Not Ministries.

Albino children in Tanzania will soon receive Adoptive Father via Forget Me Not Ministries.

When I painted this spread in the book  I didn’t have albino children in mind, but am sure the error in God’s mind. This image raced into my head when Jacklin mentioned the albino children. Immediately I thought how this would speak acceptance to albinos. I got goosebumps when I realised how white God’s hand is painting that little girl. She may not be representative of a child in Tanzania, however Jacqueline agreed that this image is sure to speak to them.Even the words on the page are relevant.

Albino children in Tanzania will soon receive Adoptive Father via Forget Me Not Ministries.

Albino children in Tanzania will soon receive Adoptive Father via Forget Me Not Ministries.

Additional news is… with assistance from a ministry in Puerto Ricco we have translated Adoptive Father into Spanish. I am preparing the book for an e-version and possibilities of hard or soft copies for distribution. I am also in correspondence with a ministry in Bolivia with a possibility of creating a Latin American Spanish translation and distribution there.

Spanish translation for Christian picture book, Adoptive Father.

Spanish translation for Christian picture book, Adoptive Father.

Want to be involved?

Jacqueline has given permission to share this letter in the hope that it will speak to you. Please read the letter that explains the situation of these will be no children and their situation in more detail. If you can help cover the costs of shipping and printing please contact Jacqueline or myself. At present donations from either side can be arranged to help distribute these books. Jacqueline’s email is in the letter and mine is available fire my contact page on my website.

Download: Adoptive Father Thank You Letter

Little did my 16-year-old self, know what lie ahead for her first picture book! That it would reach to the ends of the earth and bring a smile to many a child living with incredible challenges. I feel so blessed to be using my life to help in this way, as I’m sure anyone else who comes alongside me in this journey feels also.

Thank God for the creation of story and illustration!

Focus Magazine, the Queensland Anglican church magazine reviews children's picture book, Better Than A Superhero.

Felicity’s Favourite Hug Illustration

Now this is the stuff dreams are made of! My author friend Nola Passmore wrote on her Facebook wall…

Great to see the book “Better than a Superhero”, illustrated by Kayleen West, reviewed in Focus magazine (Magazine for the Anglican church in Southern QLD). They quoted a four-year-old called Felicity who said “I really like the pictures, especially the picture where the mum is hugging the boy because she loves him so much.” Way to go Kayleen!

It made me all gooey inside 🙂 This is the image little Felicity is speaking about…

Mother and child hugging. Page spread from children's picture book, Better Than A Superhero.

Felicity’s favourite illustration from children’s picture book, Better Than A Superhero.

Thank you to Focus Magazine and Kristy Schaeffer for a wonderful review!

Focus Magazine, the Queensland Anglican church magazine reviews children's picture book, Better Than A Superhero.

Focus Magazine, the Queensland Anglican church magazine reviews children’s picture book, Better Than A Superhero. CLICK IMAGE TO READ

And last but not least, for Nola Passmore, who is always supporting her fellow authors any way she can, Thanks You Sunshine for the mailing copies of the review to me and the cute owl note! I think she knows I LOVE owls 🙂

Thank You Sunshine sticker badge

Literary Classics Seal of Approval. CLC Book Awards for children's literacy. Picture book Without Me.

Bling makes a writer smile.

Literary Classics Seal of Approval. CLC Book Awards for children's literacy. Picture book Without Me.

Literary Classics Seal of Approval. CLC Book Awards for children’s literacy. Picture book Without Me.

It is a scary thing to open your email account after a break away. Watching Outlook load with much trepidation. The counter spins, numbers getting higher and higher, 100…200…300…

I always think to myself, Ahrg, here goes the next day or two processing ALL these emails!

I read: Mega super sale! (delete)…you too can earn a zillion $$$ (report/block/delete) … newsletters (must read later)… donation request (!!!)…. please quote (noted – on list)…please add me to LinkedIn (under 2 minute task – do it now – done) … WAIT WHAT IS THIS?! …Congratulations! Your book, has earned our Seal of Approval… nah…more spam maybe?

After a four day conference in Sydney this certainly made scanning emails more pleasant. My book, Without Me? has earned the CLC seal of approval for Literary classics. Gee wiz – really? I checked and it is legit. My publisher submitted the book it and they reviewed it and approved it for their literacy seal.

The email reads:

Children’s Literary Classics is pleased to announce that the children’s picture book, Without Me, written and illustrated by Kayleen West, has been selected to receive the Children’s Literary Classics Seal of Approval. The CLC Seal of Approval is a designation reserved for those books which uphold the rigorous criteria set forth by the Children’s Literary Classics review committee, a team comprised of individuals with backgrounds in publishing, editing, writing, illustration and graphic design.

Without Me, is the whimsical tale of a young boy who decides to run away from home. But as he contemplates his departure, he begins to think of his pets and everyone in his family who needs him. One at a time, he counts down the list of people, pets and things he will need to bring along with him on his journey. Delightful illustrations depicting his exodus while joined by an ever-growing entourage are sure to incite a giggle or two as kids read along in this counting journey towards one boy’s discovery of being loved, wanted and needed.

Without Me is a is an excellent book for youngsters and would be a terrific selection for home and school libraries.

Children’s Literary Classics, an organization dedicated to furthering excellence in children’s literature, takes great pride in its role to help promote classic children’s literature which appeals to youth, while educating and encouraging positive values in the impressionable young minds of future generations.   To learn more about Children’s Literary Classics, you may visit their website at www.clcawards.org or www.childrensliteraryclassics.com

WITHOUT ME - Picture book by Kayleen West

Order you own copy WITHOUT ME – Picture book by Kayleen West

To be honest it is quite a thrill to add a little foil medals to your book. We writers are an insecure lot in a way and this little foil embossing somehow make you feel like a “real” writer and appreciated.  It isn’t the  Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards for Book Of The Year nor the international Hans Christian Andersen Award but still a thrill. It is nice to bling your covers and it is encouraging to receive approval from literacy judges in the industry. (The CL review of Without Me can be found here)

Oh boy *squeals* now I have two bling, blings!

Update: Without Me? won silver!

Lucky 13 Contemporary Exhibition of Children's' book illustrators. Hill of Content Bookshop Melbourne.Kim fleming, Vince Agostino, Kayleen West, Annie White, Ben Wood, Karen Erasmus, Sara Acton, Adam Carruthers, Mandy Foot, Rhiannon Mowat, Mitch Vane, Shane McGowan, Nicky Johnston

Contemporary Children’s Book Artists Melbourne Display

Children’s Book Illustration Exhibition

I will be joining the following illustrators in a display in July at the Hill of Content Bookshop where we will have our books and illustrations on display and for sale for 2 weeks only.

Illustrators: Kim fleming, Vince Agostino, Kayleen West, Annie White, Ben Wood, Karen Erasmus, Sara Acton, Adam Carruthers, Mandy Foot, Rhiannon Mowat, Mitch Vane, Shane McGowan, Nicky Johnston

Where?

Illustrators Australia’s Children’s Illustration Display
Hill of Content Bookshop, 86 Bourke Street Melbourne Victoria
Phone: 03 9662 9472
Monday 30th June for 2 weeks for the school holiday period.

Australian Society of Authors Professional Development Program cover 2014. Painted in watercolour.

Happy New Year – what a year it was!

I almost felt overwhelmed at the thought of my first post for 2014. I have so much news. So much has happened over the last few weeks so I will try to be brief…

ASA PROGRAM COVER
The Australian Society of Authors selected me to illustrate the 2014 Professional Development Program cover for 2014. What an honor! Over 7000 copies went out with my illustration on the front! I was very excited to have this exposure for my work and get paid for it.

The Australian Society of Authors have been so wonderful. They have featured my illustration on their home page, Facebook banner, and featured it in the newsletter. I am so appreciative – I really am!

Australian Society of Authors Professional Development Program cover 2014. Painted in watercolour.

Australian Society of Authors Professional Development Program cover 2014. Painted in watercolour.

LIVE WIRES PROGRAM
I was invited to entertain the kids at the Concern Australia’s Live Wires Program publishing event in December and it was the best fun. The kids and made a book during the year and was launching it that day. I was invited as the guest author. I read to the kids and as they play-role my book Without Me? (they had been reading an advanced copy) and we played squiggles drawing. They certainly put me through my paces with the most elaborate squiggles. I had to think on my feet!

Entertaining the children at Concern Australia LiveWires Program publishing event.

Entertaining the children at Concern Australia LiveWires Program publishing event.

BOOK LAUNCHED
Without Me? was launched in December also and there were were great too. I am discovering that the fun is not just in writing and illustrating. Best of all, playing with the kids is a real delight. They are always so engaged. This part of what I do tickles my heart bone…if I had one. Bookaburra was very enthusiastic to be at a book event and I was sure to give my special guest a big hug.

Book launch day for picture book, Without Me? Bookaburra and Kayleen West

Book launch day for picture book, Without Me? Bookaburra and Kayleen West

Family themed showbags for book launch - Without Me?

Family themed showbags for book launch – Without Me?

BOOK PUPPET
As well as the obvious preparations for Christmas in December I was also busy sewing my Without me? charter. I am not a seamstress in the least but I had a go. I think he could do with his eye lashes trimmed though.

Hand made author book character puppet - Without Me?

Hand made book character puppet for Without Me?

NEW PICTURE BOOK FOR 2014
Just as I was launching my new book Without Me? I was also secretly finishing off another book for this year. I will be publishing a new picture book called Better than a Superhero, written by debut author Belinda Francis and published by Even Before Publishing ( a subsidiary of Wombat Books) I am very excited about the illustrations in this book. It was super-fun to illustrate. This time the illustrations were watercolour. Each book (so far) has been illustrated in a different media to the others. I will sign any pre-orders of this new book ordered here before mailing.

Better than a superhero- children's books about Jesus

Better than a superhero- children’s books about Jesus

ILLUMINATION BOOK AWARD WIN
I was thrilled to receive news this week that I had won the Bronze medal for my picture book Adoptive Father in the Illumination Book Awards. This has been so encouraging. To first be a finalist for the Caleb Award late last year and then to pick up a medal this year for my first book is astounding. I feel very blessed that this book is so well received and being a new writer off to such a wonderful start. Someone said to me, “You are now an award winning author.” How cool is that!?
Better still, late last year Adoptive Father was also shipped into yet another territory – Cambodia!

At the heart of LOVE is adoption for one another. It's all about the HEART! Adoptive Father picture book shortlisted - Caleb Awards for faith inspired writing. Bronze Medal Winner - Illumination Book Awards for picture Book

At the heart of LOVE is adoption for one another. It’s all about the HEART! Adoptive Father picture book shortlisted – Caleb Awards for faith inspired writing. Bronze Medal Winner – Illumination Book Awards for picture Book

MORE CREATIVE CHALLENGES
My next post will be a 25 week illustration challenge. Why don’t you join me – kids included? You can view all posts so far for the 52 week challenge here

52 week illustration challenge. Gift card Challenge #illo52weeks

Gift card Challenge and #illo52weeks (52 week illustration challenge.)

Without Me? book launch at the Mt Evelyn Community Reading Room on 12th December

Book Launch of Without Me And Reading Event With Bookaburra!

I am so excited to officially launch my new book Without Me?
If you are anywhere in the and please come along and bring some kiddies for the free activities. We are excited to have Bookaburra there too! He is big fan of storytelling.

Without Me? book launch at the Mt Evelyn Community Reading Room on 12th December

Without Me? book launch at the Mt Evelyn Community Reading Room (CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE)

Radio interview YVFM with Author & Illustrator Kayleen West. Mission books.

Book Giveaway for Children’s Book Week

Who likes free books? Who would like one of mine to celebrate Children’s Book Week?

It is easy……

1. If you are on Twitter follow me @ArtKayleenWest and tweet this click to tweet:
#childrensbookweek giveaway, Picture Book-Adoptive Father! RT for a chance to win!

2. Comment below and tell me why you would want to win a copy Adoptive Father.

3. Share my giveaway post on Facebook and invite others to enter, and if your friend wins, you will too! That is potentially dozens of chances with a couple of click.

You can have multiple chances by entering on Twitter, Facebook and here!!!

Told you it is easy. Now go for it!

At the heart of LOVE is adoption for one another. It's all about the HEART!

At the heart of LOVE is adoption for one another. It’s all about the HEART!

The moth and the sun - children's picture book review. Gary Bernard

Book Review: THE MOTH AND THE SUN by Gary Bernard

The moth and the sun - children's picture book review. Gary Bernard

The moth and the sun - children's picture book review. Gary Bernard

The moth and the sun – Gary Bernard

Children’s Picture Book Review
Ages: 8-10

The Moth and the Sun, is a story in English, French and Spanish about a moth’s flight around Paris. As it flies, it struggles to realize its dream, while questioning and doubting itself.

Gary Bernard, the Philadelphia author and illustrator begins the book with an introductory fable that suggests the book may have magical power, unearthed and now passed on today.  The illustrations where created some 20 years ago and has an archival feel.

The book was created after Gary traveled different countries visiting classrooms and inviting children to write their own story to his illustrations. The author has put together a story based on these ideas. The story is deliberately left open-ended and the reader is invited to write their own ending; an educational and clever concept.

Illustrations and extras:

Gary’s black ink drawings are representational, but abstract in design.  I really liked them; however, they would definitely appeal to adults and older children more than the younger child. It may be different in Europe where they (appreciate) and are more familiar with the more arty picture books. The Moth And The Sun would be classified as one of those. I think Gary will have several adult buyers including appreciative teachers investing in this project.

Preliminary sketches from the illustrations are featured at the back of the book. This appealed to me and I assume would to teachers when used as teaching/writing tool (main intention I assume) but may be a little confusing when purchased as a story. The children may not understand why they are there or what they are for.

Quality and production:

It is evident by the quality of the draftsmanship and compositional design, Gary is a competent fine artist. If quality material is used, once in print, this book will be beautiful

I would suggest the background layer be varied to illuminate the Photoshop look and authenticate it more before printing. It was obvious to me that the book wasn’t real and the old pages looked the same throughout.

I received the review copy in PDF format so I cannot comment on publication quality of the printed version. On my iPad it require quite a bit of enlarging and shrinking to read and then view the related illustrations. I am not sure if I did in fact receive the final e-version though, as the book is a Kickstarter project.

About the author/illustrator:

This is Gary’s third children’s book. His other books “Pemba Sherpa” and “Ollie and Tugg”  both published by Odyssey Books are available online on Amazon

To support his Kickstarter project (almost half way to target as I write) and get a copy go to the project here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/658699367/the-moth-and-the-sun

Indulge Magazine feature article: The Father's Heart P22-23

Indulge Magazine Feature Article

My feature article in Indulge Magazine: The Father’s Heart; the story behind my picture book, Adoptive Father, and the Indian experience that influenced it.

Indulge Magazine feature article: The Father's Heart

Indulge Magazine feature article: The Father’s Heart- CLICK IMAGE TO READ

Indulge Magazine feature article: The Father's Heart P22-23

Indulge Magazine feature article: The Father’s Heart P22-23

Indulge Magazine feature article: The Father's Heart P20-21

Indulge Magazine feature article: The Father’s Heart P20-21

You can also listen to the radio interview on Yarra Valley FM 99.1 – Adoptive Father interview  on ‘Have a Little Faith’ – Yarra Valley FM 99.1

Radio interview YVFM with Author & Illustrator Kayleen West. Mission books.

Author Interview: Have a Little Faith Yarra Valley FM 99.1

Adoptive Father on Have a Little Faith Yarra Valley FM 99.1

I was invited for an interview by Greg Carrick, Have a Little Faith  Yarra Valley FM 99.1 to talk about Adoptive Father. Listen on  Youtube. No video (just a picture of me holding the book) but most of the entire interview.

This is a good indication on what motivated me to publish Adoptive Father, and begun the amazing journey of children’s books and happy child readers.