The West Park Branch of the Cleveland Public Library, my neighborhood library growing up in Ohio. In the back of the children's room, sitting at her desk, is librarian Melania E. Maczkov. Miss Maczkov was one of my favorite grown-ups. She took an interest in me and understood that I was a visually oriented kid. She motivated me to read a wider span of books by introducing me to a variety of book illustrators. She knew if I loved the work of a particular illustrator, I would seek more books illustrated by that artist. For example, she showed me the wonderful scraggly black and white pen illustrations done by Joe and Beth Crush in Beverly Cleary's Emily's Run Away Imagination. Because I loved those drawings, I then read The Borrowers series,The All-of- a-Kind Family books, Gone-Away Lake, and Return to Gone-Away Lake. The magic of insightful, caring librarians!

The West Park Branch of the Cleveland Public Library, my neighborhood library growing up in Ohio. In the back of the children's room, sitting at her desk, is librarian Melania E. Maczkov. Miss Maczkov was one of my favorite grown-ups. She took an interest in me and understood that I was a visually oriented kid. She motivated me to read a wider span of books by introducing me to a variety of book illustrators. She knew if I loved the work of a particular illustrator, I would seek more books illustrated by that artist. For example, she showed me the wonderful scraggly black and white pen illustrations done by Joe and Beth Crush in Beverly Cleary's Emily's Run Away Imagination. Because I loved those drawings, I then read The Borrowers series,The All-of- a-Kind Family books, Gone-Away Lake, and Return to Gone-Away Lake. The magic of insightful, caring librarians!

Do you do school and library visits?

Yes, I love to work with kids! 

I offer interactive author and/or illustrator presentations for students of all ages. I also teach story elements and creative writing workshops and can tailor a presentation to meet the needs of preschool, elementary, or middle school students.

Please feel free to contact me at: marybrigidbarrett@comcast.net

What books would you recommend on writing and illustrating?

My favorite book about writing and the writing life is Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. I also found Stephen King's book On Writing both interesting and useful.

Other favorite books on writing are by poets: Blue Pastures, A Poetry Handbook, and Rules of the Dance, all by Mary Oliver; and On Poetry and Craft by Theodore Roethke.

I also highly recommend a collection of essays by Katherine Paterson--A Sense of Wonder: On Reading and Writing Books for Children.

The best book on writing and illustrating picture books is Writing With Pictures: How to Write and Illustrate Children's Books  by Uri Shulevitz.

I have written a children's book. How can I get it published? 

The Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators is an exemplary organization that will not only give you essential information to help you get published, it will also introduce you to colleagues and kindred spirits in your home state. The SCBWI hosts both national and regional conferences that will help you grow creatively and introduce you to children's publishing professionals. Learn more about the SCBWI at: http://www.scbwi.org 

In addition, you may find publishing consultant and editor Harold Underdown's website helpful, at: http://www.underdown.org/