Bologna Children's Book Fair 2017, submission

A mind tends to wander in the moment of color-mixing and brushstrokes. This thought came to me one day: everyone does the best they can. And much of that is influenced by the circumstances of one’s birth.  Geography, economics, special challenges, the family culture are all part of the cards we are dealt.

(Terri Murphy, 2017 Bologna Book Fair submissions)

(Terri Murphy, 2017 Bologna Book Fair submissions)

So, “what if” I thought, I illustrated children that were hyper-aware of their situations and challenges, and had the innocent inherent wisdom to use it to its best advantage? What if they were the agents of change not despite their hardships but because of them? Certain phrases have stuck with me all my life, such as “to see beyond the bend of midnight trees” or “do not forget why you came here.”  More recently a dream about tornadoes informed my choice. Frantic people were running for safety, but children knew to lean into the wind, with spectacular results.

So I conjured up illustrations to these phrases, posting one each Friday on social media.  And the funny thing is, once you’re on that trajectory, your mind bends that way.  Creativity happens in the moment of doing….one cannot intellectualize it beforehand.   After 13 weeks, I had 5 good ones to submit to a juried competition for The Bologna Children's Book Fair in Italy.  I am excited to send these children, these agents of change and goodwill who came to me and through me, out into the world representing the U.S.A.

For the 3rd consecutive year, with fingers crossed for acceptance into The Bologna's Children's Book Fair 2017, I ask, “Italy...will she call my name?"  Time will tell…but that’s never been the goal anyway. I’ve done the best I can. I’ve already been richly rewarded.




One way I get to travel is when I follow my artwork.  So far it’s lead me to New York and Texas.  Now I’ve just shipped off 5 themed illustrations for consideration to Bolognafiere 2012, held in Bologna, Italy.  It’s the “Sundance” for children’s illustrators.  Last year, no one from the United States was chosen.  But if these make the cut, I’ll go to Italy.  I’ll go! Terri Murphy

Those with generous overflowing imaginations and heart, can you picture them there?