Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mondays with Mira - Picture Book Love

I'm very excited to be launching my Monday's with Mira series today.

Each week I will read and show the pictures from a wonderful picture book using my "First seduction - then deconstruction" technique - meaning we go along for a wonderful ride and then return to see what makes it so wonderful or maybe if there's something that could use improving. I am hoping this series will be really helpful for aspiring children's book authors and illustrators, parents, and teachers.

If your book has been published by an established publisher (ie not self-published or vanity press) and you would like me to consider it for Monday's with Mira, please jot me a line at

Meanwhile, kick back, relax, and let's have a look at My Colors, My World by my wonderful friend Maya Gonzalez!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Monday's with Mira - Pleasurable Picture Book Reviews

Am finally launching Mondays with Mira, my series of pleasurable video reviews where we practice First Seduction then Deconstruction. This week we'll be looking at Maya Gonzalez's My Colors, My World, where you'll learn about some of the the ways that authors and illustrators sometimes subtly embed deeper meaning into what may seem at first just like sweet simple stories (and art). You'll also learn about "second stories," and how Maya makes her language luscious among other things. I hope you enjoy and will be a little tolerant for this first video in my series. I'm hoping it will be super helpful for children's picture book authors and illustrators, teachers, and parents, and even kids who need to do book reports. And do come back next week for when we look at one of my all time favorite picture books Voices in the Park for more Seduction then Deconstruction. Yours in Picture Book Love ~ Mira

Just uploaded this and it looks pretty bad so click below for the better quality YouTube video which Blogger couldn't find so that I could link to it. Anyone know what I'm doing wrong? Hopefully will have it figured out by next week.

Finally, if you're in the Northern California area May 19th 2012 and would like to attend a fantastic picture book conference... I'm one of our Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators North California Central Illustrator Coordinators along with Kris Aro McLeod and we've put together with our regional advisors an incredible day for BOTH authors and illustrators.

We have Rotem Moscovitch from Disney Hyperion, a normally closed house, and we got her because we were repeatedly told how brilliant she is (and fun too) and it's quite a scoop. And Ashley Wolff who has published a ridiculous number of picture books as both an author and illustrator including the best selling Miss Bindergarten series, and Mary Kole NY literary agent for the Andrea Brown Literary Agency who is also super smart and looking for good work.

It''s fantastic value in an intimate setting. I really hope you can make it. Just click on over here
Or as my Auntie Gertie used to say - "What are you waiting for?" : )

Thank you for hanging in with me and I hope you'll come back as I get better at this.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Exciting Announcements - Free movies and more

Don't know about you but life seems to be going a wee bit too fast. Reminder - must return to my temporary spiritual leader - the sloth.

Some super exciting news. I'm starting a series of movie picture book reviews called "Mondays with Mira" created with the structure of, "first seduction then deconstruction!" First, I encourage you to sit back and enjoy while I read the book out and show the pictures, then I go back and point out what makes this book work, or on the rare occasion when it doesn't - why! What a fun way to get to use my super expensive education! Mostly I want it to be a positive experience where folks learn from my years in the field about what makes picture books work. And for our very 1st book, I'll be sharing my extraordinary friend Maya Gonzalez's very own My Colors, My World. Yay! So grab a cup of tea or coffee, settle down on Monday and tune in : )

And if you have a traditionally published picture book that you would like me to review - please contact me at miraguy AT : ) This is going to be an exciting part of my blog from now on!

Here's an unfinished portrait that I did of Maya ages ago.

Speaking of Maya - she has some fantastic events coming up including a mini-conference on self-publishing and the political act of self-sourcing children's picture books as well as some fabulous classes including this one on Ink and Brush as Teacher that I'll be attending

And then there's my own Hero's Art Journey e-course which we are in the midst of right now and it's going beautifully. Every day I read my students words and go "Oh wow!" I'm so moved by what they write and express in both their comments and their art. Sometimes it's hilarious and that's wonderful too.

I've started working with the fabulous Beth Barany who is teaching me more about social media and not underpricing myself along with the Hello Soul Hello Business course that I'm taking so am on quite the learning curve in many ways (along with most of you reading this : ). She is encouraging me to let people know more about the benefits of the course and the special that I'm running for the next one starting July 9th. Here's the link  I've been madly making new buttons and ornaments including my new newsletter one at the top and this sweet flower which got a bit big here. Let me know what you think.

But then when I started this one, I realized it was time to stop.

I was definitely getting way too trippy! But then I remembered one last piece of news that I wanted to share with you and that is that the amazing Marissa Moss is starting a new West Coast children's book publishing house that will be fantastic. She's brilliant. I've signed on to help. Hope you will too.  Great rewards too.

Just looked at my lovely little newsletter signup button at the top and it doesn't look nearlyas good as it does on the Hero's Art Journey. Back to the drawing board. But not tonight : )

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Contest for the 12x12x12 Challenge and Beginning The Hero's Art Journey

For picture book people in the 12x12x12 challenge, I've offered a free one hour consultation to help you with your picture book manuscript starting March 5th and lasting until March 30th (the winner will be announced April 2nd). To enter visit Julie Hedlund's blog where I have a VERY helpful post on March 5th about the 4Ps of getting your picture book published. After reading it - do come back here and post a comment below about which of the 4 Ps is most challenging and how you might address it. Good luck and do join in. As April Chu - remember her name and where you heard it first, (one of my recent picture book consultation clients) said, "Mira, you should bottle your talent and sell it. You really are the Picture Book Whisperer" : ) Of course it made me happy. Looking forward to reading your comments.

For artists, those with a creative spark in their hearts who would like to explore art, picture book authors and illustrators, therapists and teachers, I wanted to give you a glimpse at tomorrow's introduction: "In the beginning" for the Hero's Art Journey e-course. The course will never be this inexpensive again nor will it have this magical combination of people or a FREE major value e-book of course content combined with a 100% money back guarantee if you don't find it fantastic value. Fortunately, enrollment doesn't close until Sunday March 11th as it's easy to catch up  but if you can start on the 5th - do! Here's an easy link to sign up with for only 99.00 (when you take the course - you'll see how underpriced this is) - you don't need PayPal - simply click the link, then click on the link that says Don't have a PayPal account? and then go to the 2nd panel on the right that says, Don't have a PayPal account? and use your credit card. Easy peasy.

And here's a glimpse at some of our incredible contributors.

In the beginning
When I first created the Hero's Art Journey e-course, I used Joseph Campbell's work on the archetypal hero's journey from Hero with a Thousand Faces as a conceptual frame or structure to create a course that would empower and nurture students to work through "stuff," build art skills, learn more about how stories and narrative work, and promote a sense of adventure to access or deepen creativity.

I wanted the course to help very beginners to professional artists, and left brain folks to learn to play with their right brain, and picture book people to deepen their understanding of, and skills with, art and narrative. I also wanted it to be helpful for teachers, and therapists to use with their students and clients as well.

Because of my passion for multiculturalism, mythology, and different forms of spirituality, I wanted to integrate these as well, so Campbell's Hero's Journey formed a perfect structure. As a former university professor who hated all the BS of academia but loved treaching, I also wanted to integrate art history, contemporary art, and some theoretical knowledge about the connections between art, history, and politics AKA cultural studies so I did. Being a loving extrovert, I drew some of my wonderful fine artist and children's book friends into the course, some of whom will be participating, and interviewed them about techniques and ideas related to the projects that I had created inspired by Cambell's idea. Because the course is only 5 weeks long (with content available another 3 weeks), I narrowed it down to 5 projects with a couple of bonus projects for those that have the time to play with or do later. I condensed some of Campbell's  steps and omitted others, so the course is not a purist approach to his work but rather a launching pad for experimentation, growth, fun, community and deepening of art skills.

In the Resources section you'll find lots of step by step pdfs, elements and principles worksheets, lesson plans, and other goodies. Do as much or as little as you are up for. If you've never taken an art class before these will be especially helpful for you. I'd like to take a moment here to introduce Marge who you can meet in the About section. Marge has been invaluable in helping me create this course and will be appearing all over the place. She was my intern and is now my friend and occasional employee. I know you'll love Marge as much as I do.

Last year I came across Valerie Frankel's From Girl to Goddess: The Heroine's Journey and it blew me away. I am so grateful that she agreed to be interviewed for the course, sharing her encyclopedic knowledge of mythology and how it relates to women. The podcast is a little over half an hour long and if you are interested in learning about narrative, folk tales and fairy tales, kids' books and how Campbell's research into the masculine hero's journey diverges from what Valerie's research found about the heroine's journey -  push the arrow key and find out.

In this case - it's click the link 
You won't regret it : )

And here's a glimpse of me wearing one of Maya Gonzalez's delightful necklaces. Photo by Marge : )

Finally, I've been lucky enough to receive some mentoring from Beth Barany (as well as the wonderful Steff Green in the current home page story). Beth suggested that folks might want to know what they leave the course with in a more succinct way so here's some of what participating heroes will receive :

By the end of your Hero's Art Journey you’ll have a wonderful portfolio of art, improved self-awareness with wonderful self-care strategies, knowledge about diverse cultures and mythology, a big old bag of art tricks and techniques, and a wonderful community of fellow heroes.

In this interactive online 5-week course, you'll receive guidance from Dr. Mira Reisberg, and a wide range of successful picture book professionals and fine artists to:
Uncover the archetypal story that so many plot driven stories are based on in your own life
Discover your animal allies or totem animals, your inner gods, goddesses or guardian angels and much more in super playful and practical ways and create either adult process or experimental art or fabulous children’s portfolio pieces
Learn about art history and contemporary art, multicultural art, mythology, and spirituality, and children’s picture books
Gain skills and confidence in your life and work
Achieve extraordinary things in ways that you never imagined in a safe and welcoming environment


Sounds so good - I think I'll sign up myself : )