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True Story Blog

5 Favorites from . . . Debbie Ridpath Ohi!

Author/Illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Debbie Ridpath Ohi is the author and illustrator of Where Are My Books? and Sam & Eva (Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers). Her illustrations also appear in books by Michael Ian Black, Judy Blume, Rob Sanders, Lauren McLaughlin, Aaron Reynolds and Colby Sharp. Debbie writes about reading, writing and illustrating books for young people at Inkygirl.com


So what are Debbie’s 5 Favorites?:


My favorite place to write:

My favorite place to write is in my basement office, with the door closed.

However, I make a point of regularly writing in other places as well, so I can still be productive when I'm on the road. For that reason, I try to do a lot of writing on my iPad Pro. Whenever possible, I take my sound-cancelling headphones so I can work anywhere and not get distracted.


My favorite mentor text:

I have sooooo many, both picture books and middle grade! One of my current favorites in middle grade: The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin. I love the storytelling format combining memories, facts about jellyfish and current action. Another is When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead because of the way the different story lines interconnect, the inclusion of small details that enhance reader experience, and the way pieces in the mystery gradually fall into place.


My favorite writing tip:

Instead of worrying about getting everything perfect the first time, get the first draft FINISHED. If there are detail-y bits you still need to work out, stick in placeholder text like "<something amazing here>" or "<xxx>" that you can search for later, if you need to. You will be revising later, but you can't revise

a blank page.


My favorite marketing tip:

Instead of doing hard-sell marketing ("My book is available for pre-order! Please buy!") when your book is about to come out, work on building relationships NOW. Support and get to know like-minded people in the kidlit community. Engage. Give good karma and it will come back to you.


My favorite book event of the year:

My favorite has always been nErDcamp Michigan. I always learn so much from the educators at the event, and I love that nErDcamp has always been focused on educators and their young readers rather than the authors, and am grateful to the behind-the-scenes volunteers to run the event.

To learn more about Debbie and her work, visit her website. (Picture-book writers—check out Debbie’s guides, free templates, and resources for Creating Picture Books!)

As always, if you have read any of the books discussed here, please consider writing a quick review using the links above.


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