HENRYHERZ.COM → KidLit, Fantasy & Sci-Fi

By Henry, Josh & Harrison Herz

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Crocheted Game of Thrones Characters

From Anamaria Androne and the mad geniuses at Bored Panda.

“I am Anamaria Androne, the founder & craft artist at the online shop & blog Merique Crochet. I have a formal education in Architecture and Urban Planning in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, the experience that helped me to have a correct and special perspective over shape, space and proportions. I am also a freelance artist (traditional painting, digital painting and graphic design), a talent that offered me the possibility of exercising my sense of color and composition. During my years as an architecture student, I gained important skills in model making and my passion for crafts soon emerged.

In 2010, I fell in love with crochet and the Japanese technique amigurumi and I have been crocheting ever since. I first saw a little amigurumi chick on a popular portfolio website and fell in love with it – How can I make one of my very own? Soon enough, I had a crochet hook in my hand and I started learning the technique from on-line sites.

I am usually inspired by famous and beloved characters in cartoons, T.V. shows, animations, but I also love to experiment with my own ideas and bring them to “life”. I mostly love crocheting little characters, but I occasionally make accesiories of all kinds, but with a cute twist.

All I do, I do it for the love of crochet, the love of craft, and most of all to bring a little bit of sunshine in your day and warmth in your heart, by making cute little “creatures” with my own two hands and transcend the limits of my imagination – a small piece of my soul in your hands. The main message of my work – share the love and make the heart smile. My creations are not very big – they are no taller than 20 cm, and most of all, they are more than toys. They are collectibles, gestures of care, love, and happiness.”

Game Of Thrones

Daenerys Tagaryen

Viserion | Drogon | Rhaegal

White Walker

Khal Drogo & Daenerys

Khal Drogo



John Snow


Samwell Tarly

Tyrion Lannister

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Wonderful Wet Gaithersburg Book Festival

The drizzling rain did not dampen anyone’s spirits at the Gaithersburg Book Festival (#GBF). This small town that few may have heard of is a suburb of Washington, DC. So, there were plenty of big name authors in attendance.

20160521_094939Laura Gehl – picture book author of PEEP AND EGG: I’M NOT HATCHING and ONE BIG PAIR OF UNDERWEAR

20160521_095428David Lubar – middle grade and young adult author of WEENIES and CHARACTER, DRIVEN.

20160521_100426Steve Light (left) – picture book author/illustrator of SWAP and HAVE YOU SEEN MY DRAGON, and Timothy Young (right), fellow @Schiffer author/illustrator of DO NOT OPEN THE BOX.

20160521_110718Aaron Reynolds – picture book author of PRESIDENT SQUID and CREEPY CARROTS, and Cece Bell, graphic novel and Newbery Honoree picture book author/illustrator of EL DEFO and THE SOCK MONKEY.

20160521_111334John Parra – Golden Kite winning author/illustrator of MARVELOUS CORNELIUS.

20160521_111641Sidney Blumenthal – Hillary Clinton advisor and author of A SELF-MADE MAN: THE POLITICAL LIFE OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

20160521_120409Jennifer Satler – picture book author/illustrator of SYLVIE and CHICK’N’ PUG.

20160521_123715Juan Williams – Fox News political analyst.

20160521_131050Ann Ann McCallum – picture book author.

Sadly, I had to catch a flight, and did not have a chance to meet up with Paul Cjazak or Matthew Winner.😦

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Interview with picture book author/illustrator Toni Yuly

Toni Yuly recently quit her job of over 30 years as a librarian with the King County Library System, to work full-time as an author/illustrator. She was born in Seattle, WA and has a BFA in painting from the University of Washington where she studied with the great American painter, Jacob Lawrence. She spent a year in Japan as an exchange student where she ate a lot of ramen in addition to falling in love with Asian, artistic sensibilities. Toni is represented by Lori Kilkelly of RODEEN LITERARY MANAGEMENT.


For what age audience do you write?

0-5 year olds are my sweet spot audience. I am an author/illustrator and love writing and illustrating picture books but would also love to write for older children and even adults one day…

Henry: Interesting that you started with zero. I write, but do not illustrate – at least not well. Only children still in the womb don’t object to my illustrations.

Tell us about your latest book.

My latest book is, CAT NAP. It is the third book in a set of three companion books for the very young. (The first is, EARLY BIRD and the second, NIGHT OWL.) CAT NAP is the funniest of the three and is about a cat who wants to nap, a kitten who wants to play, and a mouse who follows them around. I also really love the colors in this book.

Henry: Dog gone! I like the idea of idioms as picture book titles!

What do you hope readers will get from reading that book?

A smile and some giggles, and I hope it will pique readers overall curiosity as well. A nap after reading would be an awesome bonus as well!

What aspect of writing or illustrating do you find most challenging?

The creative process of writing can be quite challenging to me. It requires a lot of time sitting with pain. I can work out visual challenges more easily it seems. It is the writing challenges that usually take a lot of time for me.

What is a powerful lesson you’ve learned from being a writer or illustrator?

Sitting with pain is ok and probably a good thing, creatively speaking. I have learned that if I can just learn to accept that creating is difficult and sometimes painful it helps me also remember that by doing the work and experiencing the pain, it almost always does get good results. I have also learned to bounce back from difficulties!

Henry: We authors certainly have to be tenacious and thick-skinned. But the vast riches and wild adulation of the crowd makes it all worthwhile.:)

What has been a memorable experience that you never would have had if you had not been a writer/illustrator?

Sharing my books with kids and seeing their reactions. Interacting with kids while reading my books blows my mind! It always feels magical to me when a small child “gets” and even loves my books. Also, sharing my books with my friends and family who have supported me for such a long time has been wonderful.

Henry: I agree. Seeing a kid excited about reading is the sweet spot!

What advice would you give to aspiring authors or illustrators?

Get to work!! And also, Never give up! And… it is never too late! I would also tell anyone that it helps to start small. Just make a card or create a character and have fun…Most of all…keep playing!

Henry: Right. You can’t get published if you stop writing and submitting. My creative writing began at age 50. I suspect the life experience of writing when older is actually beneficial.

Do you have any favorite quotes?

I love quotes and there are SO many great ones…The wonderful author/illustrator, Nikki McClure told me when I was first starting out… “Keep working it until it works.” I wrote that down and hung it over my computer and it helped me keep going.

The painter Georges Braque… “There is only one valuable thing in art…the thing you cannot explain.”

And I love Leonard Cohen…especially his song, Anthem…”The birds they sang, at the break of day…start again, I heard them say…”

Henry: “The early bird gets the worm. But the second mouse gets the cheese.”

Do you have any strange rituals that you observe when you work?

On good days I start with some Qigong and meditation, but on bad days I go straight to my dark chocolate! Most days I tend to snack a lot and always have a pot of tea brewing close by…

Henry: No one would argue with chocolate as a lifestyle choice. Whenever I read “Qigong”, I immediately think of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s master, Qui-Gon Jinn. Does Qigong involve lightsabers?

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

I would love to have the superpower to heal the human heart and replace hate with love in all people’s hearts. The world could use more heart healing superpowers!

Henry: That’s both a heartwarming and slightly terrifying superpower. Well played.

If you could have three authors over for dinner, who would it be, and why?

Ruth Kraus – A Hole is To Dig, I’ll Be you and You Be Me, The Carrot Seed. Need I say more?
Joseph Campbell – Brilliant, deep thinker. Maybe he could explain the secrets of the universe to me.
Mother Goose – Wait, is she a real person? I love fun rhyme.

Henry: Hey doblin, doblin. The gnome and the goblin.
The centaur ran through the lawn.
The minotaur laughed to see such sport,
And the imp ran away with the faun.

What is your favorite creature that exists only in literature?

Hello Kitty and Miffy. Because they are adorable creatures and everyone loves them.

Henry: True, but I’m more of a fantasy/sci-fi guy. Let’s compromise


What do you like to do when you’re not working?

Walk, listen to music, talk with friends and work in the garden.

What would you like it to say on your tombstone?

I don’t plan on having a tombstone… but if I did, it would possibly be a quote from Leonard Cohen’s Anthem…

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

Where can readers find your work?


Henry: Thanks for spending time with us, Toni. This article can also be read on the San Diego Children’s Books Examiner.

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Illustrated Versions of Mental Illnesses

There’s nothing funny about mental illness. These monstrous illustrations of mental illnesses by Toby Allen at Bored Panda are remarkable works of art.

“From anxiety to depression to body dismorphic disorder, Toby Allen intended by this artwork particularly to give these intangible mental illnesses some substance and make them appear more manageable as physical entities.

“The project originated from imagining my own anxieties as monsters and finding it to be a cathartic and healing process to draw them,” Allen told The Huffington Post. “It made them feel weaker and I was able to look at my own anxiety in a comical way.”

“It made them feel weaker and I was able to look at my own anxiety in a comical way”

“I hope it helps [people] see their illness in a different light, make it appear more manageable”


Interview with picture book author/illustrator & Caldecott Honoree David Ezra Stein

Children’s book historian Leonard S. Marcus, writing in The Horn Book, called author and illustrator David Ezra Stein “One of the most gifted younger artists working today.”

David was born in Brooklyn, NY. By the time he was one-and-a-half, he was asking adults, “Wanna come to my room? Read books?” This love of reading grew into a love of telling stories, and then, writing.

David Ezra Stein’s INTERRUPTING CHICKEN was awarded a 2011 Caldecott Honor, as well as many state awards. His picture book LEAVES won the Ezra Jack Keats award and was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, a Kirkus Reviews Editor’s Choice, and a School Library Journal Best Book.


For what age audience do you write?

To date, I have written for ages birth to 7 or 8. In other words, picture book age. But I include many levels to my picture books, such that an adult will enjoy reading them just as much.

Henry: I love multi-layered picture books. I’m working on one now with fruit and vegetable characters, but there’s an entire layer of word play on top that is for the benefit of older readers.

Tell us about your latest book.

TAD AND DAD is the story of a fast-growing little tadpole who loves his dad so much that he won’t be separated from him, even at night. As Tad gains new skills, Dad cheers him on during the day and endures sleepless nights of his little one jumping on his head.

Henry: There is a lot of humor and love in that story.

What do you hope readers will get from reading that book?

The book is a love letter to dads, and points to the complexities of a dad’s relationship with his kids. I hope dads will curl up with their kids and share lots of warm moments together reading the book.

Henry: But by reading this book, do dads risk encouraging their young kids to jump on their heads at night?

What aspect of writing do you find most challenging?

All the procrastination and avoidance techniques we writers build up. I think the better you get, the more wily your self interference can become. This also goes for beginners; they are even more accustomed to believing in their reasons to not start writing. Just write, and the rest will come.

Henry: “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.”

What is a powerful lesson you’ve learned from being a writer?

On the flip side of just writing, you can’t live only on the page. You need to lead a full life and a happy life to be productive. And everything you do in that life, every failing, or quirk, or wish, or experience can be used by you in your work.

Henry: Plus, if you like eating food, wearing clothes, and having a roof over your head, you should probably have a day job.

What has been a memorable experience that you never would have had if you had not been a writer?

Watching school kids put on skits based on my first book, COWBOY NED & ANDY. They even had actors to play fictionalized versions of me and my wife.

Henry: Fun!

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

See above. Just write. Learn to turn off the inner critic and learn to be your own best supporter.

Henry: While I agree, writers must turn off their inner critic, it is absolutely essential to use critiques from fellow writers to hone your craft and illuminate your writing blind spots.

Do you have any favorite quotes?

“There’s nothing to it but to do it.”

Henry: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” – Winston Churchill

And: “There are only two ways to do something: The right way, and the wrong way.”

Henry: “There are only two ways to do something: My wife’s way, and the wrong way.” – Unknown

Do you have any strange rituals that you observe when you write?

I put my doubts and fears into a box. Julia Cameron calls it “the god box.” You put them in there, and let god handle ‘em. It really frees you up to do your work.

Henry: Available at a big box store near you.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

Flying. Because I’ve done it so many times in my dreams; I know I’d love it. The speed, the new perspective. The wind. The freedom.

Henry: People rarely think through the ramifications of superpowers. For example, flying would be awesome, but it would have to be done low and slow. I have a fake interview with Edna Mode (from The Incredibles movie) to explain why.

If you could have three authors (dead or alive) over for dinner, who would it be?

I first have to answer this question by saying, Alive. Because I don’t enjoy having dead people over for dinner. Then, to answer the question for real: P.G. Wodehouse, James Marshall, and Arnold Lobel. I’d be afraid to talk to Wodehouse, but I’d just like to observe him, watch how he drinks his tea. I feel like James Marshall would have a good, big laugh. And I’d ask Arnold Lobel to doodle on a napkin for me.


Henry: Good point, though the dead eat less. Arnold Lobel, of course, is the Caldecott and Newbery Honor winning author/illustrator behind FROG & TOAD. Wikipedia helpfully adds:

“Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, KBE (1881 – 1975) was an English author and one of the most widely read humorists of the 20th century. His early novels were mostly school stories, but he later switched to comic fiction, creating several regular characters who became familiar to the public over the years. They include the feather-brained Bertie Wooster and his sagacious valet, Jeeves; the immaculate and loquacious Psmith; the feeble-minded Lord Emsworth and the Blandings Castle set; the loquacious Oldest Member, with stories about golf; and the equally loquacious Mr Mulliner, with tall tales on subjects ranging from bibulous bishops to megalomaniac movie moguls.

James Edward Marshall (1942 – 1992) was an American illustrator and writer of children’s books, probably best known for the George and Martha series of picture books (1972–1988). He illustrated books exclusively as James Marshall; when he created both text and illustrations he sometimes wrote as Edward Marshall. In 2007 the U.S. professional librarians posthumously awarded him the biennial Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal for “substantial and lasting contribution” to American children’s literature.”

What is your favorite creature that exists only in literature?

Gurgi from the Taran books by Lloyd Alexander. Because he was so dirty and loveable and needy and just seems like he SHOULD exist.

Henry: Wow, what an interesting choice. Many people favor the more dramatic dragon. I loved how Gurgi spoke: “Crunchings and munchings.” But I fear he struck me as somewhat derivative of Gollum. That said, I thought Alexander’s creation of an oracular pig (and making his protagonist an assistant pig-keeper) was pure genius.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Swim, run, cook, go out oil painting, sing in a choir.

Henry: But not all at the same time. Oil paints mess up the swimming pool.

What would you like it to say on your tombstone?

He died laughing.

Henry: OK, then I’m not telling any more jokes to you on Facebook.

Where can readers find your work?

All indie bookstores and sometimes even in Barnes & Noble. Go figure!

Henry: Thanks for visiting with us, David. This interview is also posted on the San Diego Children’s Books Examiner.

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Adding Star Wars to Thomas Kincade Paintings

Genius Jeff Bennett has realized that Thomas Kincade’s famous landscapes needed a little sci-fi kick. Here is some of his terrific work, thanks to the mad geniuses at Laughing Squid. Oh, why couldn’t I be so talented?


Star Wars Characters Reimagined as Winnie the Pooh and Friends

Illustrations by James Hance, published by Bored Panda.

Florida based illustrator and artist James Hance just combined Star Wars with Winnie the Pooh. Titled “Wookie the Chew,” Hance’s illustrations reimagine Chewbacca as Pooh Bear and Eeyore as an Imperial Walker, along other crossovers.

But that’s not all. Hance has also just released an audio book of the story! Be sure to check out his website to see more of his work, or Etsy, where you can buy some of these unique, “Wookie the Chew” prints.


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