Ten writers for children. All with something to say.


Donna Erickson, creative parenting wizard

For many years, before her column began using photographs instead of artwork, I drew illustrations for Donna Erickson's nationally syndicated newspaper column on creative parenting. When I checked my files, I discovered I had illustrated over 800 columns, as well as eight of her books. Whew! Homemade Silly Putty, clever ways to wrap gifts, fun and unique kitchen recipes, I had the fun challenge of illustrating them all. I drew things I never expected to draw (empty walnut shell pilgrim-ship table name cards) and things I never thought I could draw (step-by-step folding instructions for turning a used greeting card into a miniature gift box). It was a wonderful opportunity for me, and one of my first illustrating experiences when I began my career.

Although I don't have any children of my own, Donna's creative parenting ideas made their way into my own life. When my best friend and I took long car trips, I'd use Donna's idea of making Travel Bags (sacks with fun, silly surprises to be opened along the trip) to relieve the monotony of dull stretches of travel. On New Year's Eve, I used Donna's idea of making homemade "cracker" party favors for my book club, filling empty bathroom tissue tubes with candy, lottery tickets, and personalized fortunes. Who says you have to be a parent to have playful fun?

It has been several years since I've illustrated her column, but this past week Donna featured my new book 1 + 1 = 5 and Other Unlikely Equations in her column. It was terrific exposure, and a nice way to make an appearance in her column again, not as an illustrator, but this time as an author. It also brought back good memories of Travel Bags and homemade face paint. Thanks, Donna!


Library Jewel said...

What great ways to use her ideas for grown-up fun, David! I've kept those books (not having known you when I bought them to use with the boys) and will revisit them. I would love to see the files of 800 column illustrations!

Stephanie said...

That is so cool. And those are some great ideas, I bet parents love them.

Christy said...

David=playful fun. Madeleine L'Engle says "you are every age you've ever been." There is a very lively child in you. Lucky us!

Such a nice turn of events for you to be the author featured in that column. Congrats!

Edie Hemingway said...

You certainly have had a varied career--all of them chuck full of fun! Thanks for introducing us to Donna Erickson's column.

Lauren said...

I love Donna's column and never put your illustrations together with you-- how wonderful to know the illustrator! And now to be featured as an author is wonderful!