Tag Archives: deborah marcero

cover reveal! Rosie & Crayon by Deborah Marcero

You might remember my post on Deborah Marcero‘s first picture book, Ursa’s Light, a shining debut. (There were Ursa cookies from Kellie at The Kaleidoscope!)

I’m a big fan of Deborah’s textured illustrations and the insight with which she tells and talks about stories.

Today, I’m delighted to present you with a first glimpse of the cover of her next picture book, Rosie & Crayon!


Through rich illustrations and language to match, this story of love and loss explores the way a dear pet can add every color of the seasons to your life. The way everything can seem to turn gray if you lose that pet. The way a heart, with time and just the right nudge, can open again to something new, something different but just as dear.

Look for the book’s release in early April! Just wait ’til you see the spreads inside!


Here’s what Deborah Marcero had to say about creating that sweet cover:

The idea for the cover came initially from an interior sketch. I wanted to showcase Rosie and Crayon embracing to highlight the love and connection between them. I also wanted to include a part of the setting important to the story, and decided to use the forest in the background. “R + C” carved into one of the trees also symbolizes how love can make its mark on our lives in a way that endures. The message of this story is meant to show children how when a loved one or pet is no longer with us, our lives are changed, bigger and more beautiful because of having known them. In coloring Rosie’s life, Crayon becomes part of her story. In this way, the ones we lose live on in us because of how they touched our lives and helped make us who we are.

My process initially involved lots of pencil work. I would draw and re-draw to get the proportions, scale, type, character designs, and emotional expressions just right. After those were set, I used a light table and inked over the lines with a brush and India ink onto a fresh piece of paper. I then chose a color palette using my two favorite media: watercolor and gouache. Since this book in many ways is also about color and the seasons, for the cover I wanted to focus on a spring palette – not only because the book is a spring release – but also in the end, I hope the reader is left with a renewed sense of hope and resilience.


Deborah Marcero grew up in Michigan where from a very young age drawing, writing, and reading filled her time. After teaching in Chicago Public Schools as a Literacy Specialist, Deborah realized that writing and creating books for kids was how she wanted to spend her life. So far Deborah has worked with Peter Pauper Press, Greenwillow (HarperCollins), and G.P. Putnam’s Sons (Penguin).

To see more of what Deborah is up to, find her on Twitter or Instagram.



You might want to check out This Picture Book Life’s earlier post on Ursa’s Light by Deborah Marcero too!








ursa’s light + cookies from kellie at the kaleidoscope

UrsasLight-CVR-72Ursa’s Light (2016) by Deborah Marcero.


This picture book is out this month, coincidentally the same time of year the Ursa Major constellation is most visible in the night sky. And a bear who shines is another way of describing this main character. A gleaming debut all around!




URSAp2-3_72“There were all the bears. And then, there was Ursa.” Ursa is different. Just look at her lying in the green grass, rainbow sweater-adorned. She’s a dreamer. Even on the first spread, she’s already looking at the sky.


URSAp10-11_72Ursa goes big and thinks out of the box with every undertaking. When her focus turns skyward again, she decides she wants to fly! She applies all her other attributes—observing, making, trying—to the dream of flight.



There are many fantastic details in this book. Ursa’s little sibling who serves as sidekick, for example, whose shirt says what’s on big sister’s mind. Ursa’s own spirited outfits. And I love how her name reminds us of the bear constellations, how it brings us immediately to the clouds and stars above.

I also love the illustrations. Aren’t they delightfully engaging? The book alternates from dark spreads to light, spanning all the times of day in beautiful ways. And the texture of the dark bits, including the night sky and the bears own faces has a speckled quality that gets me thinking immediately of stars in the city.


URSAp18-19_72Ursa takes cues from pigeons, dandelion seeds, and bats, all fly-ers. But it’s only when she finds her own medium, her own opportunity, that she truly learns to soar in her own way.


URSAp24-25_72I’ll let you read the book to find out what that is! And as Deborah Marcero reminded me when we talked about this post, there’s always a “feeling of ‘flying’ when you do something that’s totally YOU and you do it well.” That’s it’s own kind of flying as well and sometimes, as in Ursa’s case, it takes some trial and error to get there. Which makes the feat that much sweeter.

I think you’ll want to read Deborah’s blog post about the process of creating the artwork in this book. She has a lot in common with Ursa herself!


Big thanks to Peter Pauper Press for images!



We are so lucky to have Kellie as crafter in the picture book kitchen today! She’s an artist and book lover I admire. You may already follow her on Instagram, but if not, I highly recommend her delightful feed: The Kaleidoscope. (She made some fantastic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland cookies too!)

Over to Kellie!



With four little boys, reading and snacking go hand in hand. Thanks to Danielle, I am excited to share a fun little project inspired by Ursa’s Light.

Ursa is a unique little bear. I didn’t think my regular bear face cutter would do her justice, so I sketeched a little picture of her onto a heavy card stock paper. After cutting her out, I used this recipe for the cookie dough.

glo-star-cookiesWhile the dough was setting in the fridge, I decided to make salt dough stars. I used this recipe and a small star cookie cutter. I used a paper straw to make holes in the dough for stringing after.  By the time I had finished baking the stars, my cookie dough was ready to roll out.

Once you have rolled out your cookie dough, I used a butter knife to cut along the paper shape.

For painting the cookies, I used icing sugar, a splash of milk and the most important part is cream of tarter, which helps it set. I used a paintbrush, just small plastic brushes you can get at any dollar store. The most important part of painting your cookies is waiting for the icing to dry before you add on details. I started with my base coat, in this case it was black and red. Once the icing has set, you can add the eyes, and pink for the ears and nose.


After the stars had cooled, and while I waited for my icing to set, I painted the dried stars with some glow in the dark paint and strung them together with some bakers twine.

We hung them above the bed, and it’s the perfect inspiration for reading and dreaming about how we can dream big like Ursa.

About Kellie:

In University, she studied children’s literature, minored in child development, and went on to complete her fine arts degree. She is fond of picture books and painting. She’s always sharing her love of books in her community and through the online community (where we were lucky enough to meet!).


Thank you, Kellie for these Ursa cookies! I’m in heaven gazing at them! 



viva-frida-kahlo-dollYou may want to check out Kellie’s Frida Kahlo peg doll from last year’s Viva Frida post too!