Studio Snapshots: Jessica Love

Today we’re visiting author and illustrator, Jessica Love! Her debut picture book, Julián is a Mermaid (Candlewick, 2018), is the story of a young boy who loves mermaids and dresses up like one. And, under the loving acceptance of his Abuela, joins others in a costumed parade. Gorgeously illustrated, the book was a 2019 recipient of the Stonewall Book Awards, sponsored by the Rainbow Round Table of the American Library Association.

Her newest book is the radiant Julián at the Wedding (Candlewick, 2020). You can visit Jessica’s Instagram and webpage  (and make sure to check out the custom murals she did)!


My fiancé and I moved to this piece of property just as the lockdown was kicking into gear. We are both artists (Daniel is a furniture maker) and had been looking for some land with buildings we could both work on for years.

When we found this place it had an old barn for his woodshop, and a one room schoolhouse which we would convert into my studio. The schoolhouse was not insulated, had no running water or electricity and was the place of residence of three, 6 foot long black snakes.

Schoolhouse Snake_2Over the course of several months, Daniel transformed the place–he put in windows, did the electrical wiring, and even some ad-hoc plumbing so I could have a functioning sink. He built custom cabinetry, insulated the whole building, hung drywall on the ceiling and made beautiful maple plywood wall finishes, with custom paneling.

Schoolhouse 8_1The result is that every surface in my work studio was lovingly hand-made. I get to work inside a present.

Schoolhouse 10_1The snakes still live around the building, but we respect each other, and keep our distance. I consider them my co-workers.


Images courtesy of Jessica Love

From Folklore to Fantasy

Recently, the Cotsen Children’s Library was delighted to co-host a live Zoom webinar with talented authors Sanyantani DasGupta (the Kiranmala series, Scholastic) and Roshani Chokshi (the Aru Shah series, Rick Riordan Presents). My co-host was Vineet Chander from Princeton University’s Office of Religious Life, Hindu Life Program. Additional sponsors included the Princeton Public Library, Labyrinth Books, and jaZams.

The discussion concluded with a lively Q&A from our enthusiastic young attendees, including the answer to the burning question: Skittles or M&Ms???


If you would like to check out additional author, illustrator, and artist interviews, visit our BiblioFiles archive. And many thanks to everyone who particioated in this amazing event!


Images courtesy of the authors

Studio Snapshots: Peter Brown

Today we’re visiting Caldecott Honor winning author and illustrator, Peter Brown! Peter has been featured on our blog multiple times (see The Curious Garden, Creepy Carrots, and Creepy Underwear). His other books include The Wild Robot, My Teacher is a Monster!, Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, and Children Make Terrible Pets.

His newest book, the sweet and funny Fred Gets Dressed (Little, Brown, 2021) was released this month, and you can check out more of his works, collaborations, and free coloring pages (woot!) on his website.


Photo 1: Each morning, my wife and I leave our house in Philadelphia and start walking south through the city, with our dog. We end up at a big, old building, that was once a technical high school, but is now an office building filled with artist studios and small businesses and non-profits. We enter the building, go up two flights of stairs, and then walk past the old high school lockers to the end of the hall. When we open the door to our studio, this is what we see. This room used to be a science classroom, and it still has quite a few of the original details.

Photo 2: My wife, Susan Fang, is also an artist, and to make the most of our shared space, we hired a carpenter to build us a large worktable, along with a simple white wall to separate our desk areas. I do most of my drawing at the big table, and then I go over to my computer to do my digital work.

Photo 3: We spend a lot of time in our studio, so we had to make it comfortable for everyone, especially our dog.

Photo 4: To publicize my new picture book, Fred Gets Dressed, the publisher arranged my very first virtual book tour. I sat in this spot and stared at my laptop and spoke to readers all across the country. I discussed the book and read from it and gave drawing demonstrations. It was great that I could speak with so many people, in so many different places, all from my studio. But I’m really looking forward to doing in-person book events again.


Images courtesy of Peter Brown