Part journal, part hilarious graphic novel—think of Ellie McDoodle as Diary of a Wimpy Kid for the tween girl set. But while Wimpy Kid was born online, author/illustrator Ruth McNally Barshaw's popular series about budding pre-teen artist Ellie actually grew from a marriage of a sketchjournal she kept at a writers' conference and an essay on childhood memories. Conceived as a stand-alone title, the success of the first book, Ellie McDoodle: Have Pen, Will Travel(Bloomsbury, 2007)—and her publisher's request for more—came as a fabulous surprise to Barshaw.
In my April children's market column at Authorlink.com, Barshaw tells about writing and drawing the series' fourth installment, the newly released Most Valuable Player (Bloomsbury, 2012), which follows Ellie as she joins two teams—soccer, coached by her dad, and the creative problem-solving Journey of the Mind—and makes the most of both. Check it out, and be sure to stop by Barshaw's website, as well, www.ruthexpress.com.
Causes Susan VanHecke Supports
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators
National Trust For Historic Preservation