"Reading Takes You Everywhere!" iREAD 2018 debut for ILA

I had the recent honor of being the featured speaker at the Youth Services Forum Author Breakfast for the Illinois Library Association convention.  The honor is reserved for the creator of their upcoming iREAD poster to promote summer reading, which in 2018, is me! See blog from July 5, 2017. I spoke of my influences, my youth, and the wonderful marriage of being a (part-time) youth services librarian as well as a children’s book illustrator.

photo courtesy of Jennifer Bueche

photo courtesy of Jennifer Bueche


I also had the opportunity to create characters from the poster that will make their way on to promo merchandise and to librarians in Illinois, California, and in USA military base libraries in 24 countries for their print and online use.

© Terri Murphy

© Terri Murphy

Afterward, many who heard my talk at the ILA conference breakfast said they loved that I showed my inked illustration technique, which I’ll show once again here via a youtube video:


The nicest surprise for me was the debut of the animated video based on the poster, created by iREAD to announce the theme for 2018, “Reading Takes You Everywhere!” 


Thank you for everything, ILA and iREAD!

Currently working on illustrations for feature story in Spider Magazine, Feb 2018 issue....work-in-progress below!




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.