For Immediate Release: Writing with Pictures

Escondido, California — :

The Museum at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido proudly presents the multi-media exhibition Writing with Pictures. The upcoming exhibit colorfully tells the story behind the creation of the picture book, why we love them, and their widening audience and role in the 21st century. Curated by Joy Chu, Writing with Pictures will be open in The Museum from July 11 – September 13, 2015. The exhibition, the first of its kind in San Diego, features original published artwork from local illustrators, and from artists working with local writers. For additional information, please visit

Children’s picture books are all about the art of visual storytelling. It begins with the author’s words. The illustrator, in turn, is tasked with fleshing out the story, beyond what words are unable to convey. In the best examples, a wholly new dimension is created when the reader brings their own perspective into the mix. Books with less than 200 words — some with none — are at the forefront, alongside the hybrid graphic novel. As wordless picture books grow in popularity, we see that illustrations alone can tell a compelling story. These stories are often provided by an author.

With an increased emphasis on the visual in books in recent years, as opposed to words and length, Southern California is fertile with children’s book storytelling activity. Writing with Pictures celebrates many of these creators and the stories behind their creations. In an age of increased digital dependence, parents are once again placing importance on connecting with their children through reading picture books.

Joy Chu, the art director and designer of numerous picture books, and instructor of “Illustrating Children’s Books” at UC San Diego Extension, comments, “This is an exciting time for the picture book genre. While initially aimed at young children, adults are drawn to them by virtue of being parents, teachers, or librarians. We have grown to expect image driven storytelling in the 21st century. I’m pleased to bring together a cross-section of artists and writers who are pushing the boundaries, many from the San Diego and Los Angeles regions, and beyond. Unlike other such group shows, ours share their process — the inspiration, the outtakes and re-dos. Viewers will experience the thrill of story, and the stories behind them.”

Among the award-winning artists and authors are two-time Caldecott Medal honoree Marla Frazee (illustrator, Is Mommy? The Farmer and the Clown, All The World, A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever!), Caldecott Medal honoree Antointette Portis (writer and illustrator, Wait, Froodle, Not A Box), and 2012 Caldecott Honor winner John Rocco (writer and illustrator, Beep! Beep! Go to Sleep!, Blackout, Blizzard).

“Reading Rainbow” advocate and actor/director LeVar Burton brings his first published children’s book, The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm, in collaboration with San Diegans Susan Schaefer Bernardo and Courtenay Fletcher, to our distinguished group of picture book creators.

Additional notable San Diego writers featured include Kathleen Krull (author, Beatles Were Fab, and They Were Funny, Fartiste, Lives of the Explorers, ”M” is for Music), winner of The Children’s Book Guild’s “Nonfiction Award” for her body of work; Cindy Jenson-Elliott (Weeds Find a Way, an ALA 2015 Notable Book Selection); Edith Hope Fine (Sleepytime Me, Armando and the Blue Tarp School, Cryptomania); Marcie Wessels (Pirate’s Lulluby); and Marcia Berneger (Buster The Little Garbage Truck).

Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist and U-T San Diego political cartoonist Steve Breen is also among the
San Diego group, with his books Big Bad Baby (by Los Angeles author Bruce Hale), Pug & Doug, and Violet the Pilot.
For a comprehensive list of participating writers and illustrators, please see below.

For the third consecutive summer, the Center celebrates the artwork of students in all grades currently enrolled in any public, private, charter, or home study program in the Juried Student Competition. This competition will feature student work on display in conjunction with the exhibition of published work. Student artists are invited to explore storytelling through illustrations. Submissions are open through Monday, June 22, 2015. All work must be original in concept and appropriate for family viewing.

Selected entrants are invited to attend the awards reception, and may be asked to share their talents by talking about their work with museum patrons doing demonstrations or participating in group and/or panel discussions. Awards for excellence will be presented in two groups: Grades K-8 and Grades 9-12 at the “Opening Reception” at The Center on Friday, July 10, 2015.

Criteria for judging will include: creativity/originality, technical merit, successful storytelling, humor (if appropriate), written
description, and viewer’s choice (to be awarded at the closing of the exhibition). Contact Education Coordinator Kirsten Vega at with questions.

The Museum at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido is an inviting 9,000-square-foot exhibition space boasting three galleries, a sculpture court, secure collections storage, and a museum store. During the exhibition, The Museum is open Thursday – Saturday (10 am – 5 pm), and Sunday (1 pm – 5 pm). Tickets are $8; members, children under 12, and military get in free. Senior (60+) and student discounts are available for $5.

Additional works featured in Writing with Pictures include:
*A Boy and a Jaguar (Writer: Alan Rabinowitz, Illustrator: Cátia Chien)
*A Morning with Gong Gong (Writer: Sylvia Liu, Illustrator: Christina Forshay)
*A Solitary Secret (Writer: Patricia Hermes, jacket illustrator: Denise Hilton-Campbell)
*Albert Einstein: Biography Series for National Geographic (Illustrator: Joe Rocco)
*Anansi (Writer: Patricia C. McKissack, Illustrator: Jennifer Hewitson)
*Aunt Bertha’s National Geographic Kid’s Ultimate Road Trip Series (Illustrator: Joe Rocco)
*Beatles Were Fab (and They Were Funny) (Writers: Kathleen Krull & Paul Brewer, Illustrator: Stacy Innerst)
*Beep! Beep! Go To Sleep! (Writer: Todd Tarpley, Illustrator: John Rocco)
*Big Bad Baby (Writer: Bruce Hale, Illustrator: Steve Breen)
*Bird & Squirrel (Writer & Illustrator: James Burks)
*Blackout (Writer & Illustrator: John Rocco)
*Blizzard (Writer & Illustrator: John Rocco)
*Brother Rabbit (Writers: Minfong Ho & Saphan Ros, Illustrator: Jennifer Hewitson)
*Buster the Very Shy Dog Finds a Kitten (Writer and Illustrator: Lisze Bechtold)
*Buster the Little Garbage Truck (Writer: Marcia Berneger, Illustrator: Kevin Zimmer)
*Busy Little Dinosaurs (Writers: Betty Schwartz & Lynn Seresin, Illustrator: Luciana Navarro Powell)
*Castle: Medieval Days and Knights (Writer: Kyle Olmon, Pop-Up Artists: Robert Sabuda & Matthew Reinart, Illustrator:
Tracy Sabin)
*Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred (Writer: Samantha R. Vamos, Illustrator: Rafael López)
*Colors of Me (Writer: Brynne Barnes, Illustrator: Annika Nelson)
*Crickwing (Writer & Illustrator: Janell Cannon)
¿Cuantos Cruces? (Illustrator: Tracy Sabin)
*Cub’s Big World (Writer: Sarah L. Thomson, Illustrator: Joe Cepeda)
*Different Just Like Me (Writer & Illustrator: Lori Mitchell)
*Digger Man (Writers & Illustrators: Andrea Zimmerman and David Clemesha)
*The Dodsworth Series (Writer & Illustrator: Tim Egan)
*Drum Dream Girl (Writer: Margarita Engle, Illustrator: Rafael López; pictured above)
*Fartiste (Writers: Kathleen Krull & Paul Brewer, Illustrator: Boris Kulikov)
*Fire Engine Man (Writers & Illustrators: Andrea Zimmerman and David Clemesha)
*Fish Story (Writer: Katherine Andres, Illustrator: Deloss McGraw)
*Found (Writer and Illustrator: Salina Yoon)
*Froodle (Writer & Illustrator: Antoinette Portis)
*Gallaudet Children’s Dictionary of American Sign Language (Writers: Jean M. Gordon and Editors of The Gallaudet
University Press, Illustrators: Debbie Tilley, Peggy Swartzel Lott, Daniel Renner, and Rob Hills)
*Good Night Baseball (Writer: Michael Dahl, Illustrator: Christina Forshay)
*Good Night Hockey (Writer: Michael Dahl, Illustrator: Christina Forshay)
*Hey Little Ant (Writers: Phillip M. Hoose & Hannah Hoose, Illustrator: Debbie Tilley)
*Holly Bloom’s Garden (Writers: Sarah Ashman & Nancy Parent, Illustrator: Lori Mitchell)
*Hooray for Hat! (Writer and Illustrator: Brian Won)
*Is Mommy? (Writer: Victoria Chang, Illustrator: Marla Frazee)
*In The Waves (Writers: Lennon Stella & Maisy Stella, Illustrator: Steve Bjorkman)
*Itty Bitty Kitty (Writer: Joan Holub, Illustrator: James Burks)
*Little Yau (Writer & Illustrator: Janell Cannon)
*Lives of the Explorers (Writer: Kathleen Krull, Illustrator: Kathryn Hewitt)
*”M” is for Music (Writer: Kathleen Krull, Illustrator: Stacy Innerst)
*Mice & Beans (Writer: Pam Munoz Ryan, Illustrator: Joe Cepeda)
*Monk & Crock (Illustrator: Tracy Sabin)
*Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes (Writers: Henry Herz, Josh Herz, and Harrison Herz, Illustrator: Abigail Larson)
*Mozart, Biography Series for National Geographic (Illustrator: Joe Rocco)
*Mummy Cat (Writer: Marcus Ewert, Illustrator: Lisa Brown)
*My Blue is Happy (Writer: Jessica Young, Illustrator: Cátia Chien)
*My Dad is the Best Playground (Writer & Illustrator: Luciana Navarro Powell)
*No Yeti Yet (Writer & Illustrator: Mary Ann Fraser)
*Not A Box (Writer & Illustrator: Antoinette Portis)
*Ogg & Bob (Writer: Ian Fraser, Illustrator: Mary Ann Fraser)
*Our California (Writer: Pam Munoz Ryan, Illustrator: Rafael López)
*Outer Space Bedtime Race (Writer: Rob Sanders, Illustrator: Brian Won)
*Paper Son: Lee’s Journey to America (Writers: Dr. Virginia Loh Hagan and Helen Foster James, Illustrator: Wilson Ong)
*Percy Jackson & the Olympians Series (Illustrator: John Rocco)
*Piggies in the Pumpkin Patch (Writer: Jennifer Rofé, Illustrator: Mary Peterson)
*Pinduli (Writer & Illustrator: Janell Cannon)
*Pirate’s Lullaby: Mutiny at Bedtime (Writer: Marcie Wessels, Illustrator: Tim Bowers)
*Pirates vs. Cowboys (Writer: Aaron Reynolds, Illustrator: David Barneda)
*Puddle Pug (Writer: Kim Norman, Illustrator: Keika Yamaguchi)
*Pug & Doug (Writer & Illustrator: Steve Breen)
*The Rainbow Hand (Writer: Janet Wong, Illustrator: Jennifer Hewitson)
*The Rhino Who Swallowed a Rainstorm (Writers: LeVar Burton & Susan Schaefer Bernardo, Illustrator: Courtenay
*Sacagawea, Biography Series for National Geographic (Illustrator: Joe Rocco)
*Sadako’s Message of Peace (Illustrator: Tracy Sabin)
*Sally and the Purple Socks (Writer & Illustrator: Lisze Bechtold)
*The Sea Serpent and Me (Writer: Dashka Slater, Illustrator: Cátia Chien)
*Sleepytime Me (Writer: Edith Hope Fine, Illustrator: Christopher Denise)
*Snowbots (Writer: Aaron Reynolds, Illustrator: David Barneda)
*Stellaluna (Writer & Illustrator: Janell Cannon)
*The Tickle Monster Is Coming! (Writer: James Otis Thach, Illustrator: David Barneda)
*Train Man (Writers & Illustrators: Andrea Zimmerman and David Clemesha)
*Trupp (Writer & Illustrator: Janell Cannon)
*Two Bunny Buddies (Writer: Kathryn O. Galbraith, Illustrator: Joe Cepeda)
*Verdi (Writer & Illustrator: Janell Cannon)
*Violet the Pilot (Illustrator: Steve Breen)
*Wait (Writer & Illustrator: Antoinette Portis)
*Weeds Find a Way (Writer: Cindy Jenson-Elliott, Illustrator: Carolyn Fisher)
*What About Moose? (Writer: Corey Rosen Shwartz, Illustrators: Keika Yamaguchi & Rebecca J. Gomez)
*What Will Hatch? (Writer: Jennifer Ward, Illustrator: Susie Ghahremani)
*Wherever You Go (Writer: Pat Zietlow Miller, Illustrator, Eliza Wheeler)
*Wolf Camp (Writer & Illustrator: Andrea Zuill)
*Woody & Peep (Writer: Cynthea Liu, Illustrator: Mary Peterson).

About Joy Chu
Joy Chu, BFA has art directed and designed hundreds of books for more than 20 publishers all over the country, working with distinguished illustrators including Ed Young, Gerald McDermott, Chris Demarest, Barry Moser, Trina Schart Hyman, Frané Lessac, Jeanette Winter, Debra Fraser, Margot Zemach, David McPhail, Richard Jesse Watson, Don and Audrey Wood, among others. Prior to running her own studio, she was art director at Harcourt Publishers in San Diego; and in-house designer at Holt, T.Y. Crowell and Knopf, all in New York City.

She recently completed work on the art direction, layout, and production of a definitive American Sign Language dictionary for children, in collaboration with a team of illustrators and editors, for Gallaudet University Press. Her work has been cited by the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA); the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI); the American Library Association (ALA); Bookbuilders West; the National Book Awards; Print, Step-by-Step Graphic, and Publisher’s Weekly magazines.



About the California Center for the Arts, Escondido 

A 501(c)3 charitable organization, the Center’s creation was sparked by a civic vision—one that recognized the vital role that the arts play in strengthening and uniting the community. Our commitment to enriching lives and improving access to the arts, especially for low-income individuals and families, is exemplified through our extensive educational programming and robust series of free community events. The Center is guided by an enthusiastic Board of Trustees and passionate staff who are dedicated to furthering arts education and access, and to creating programs that provide cultural enrichment for residents of North County and beyond.

You can join this inspiring mission by becoming a donor.  Visit or email to start a conversation about how you or your company can make a difference right here and right now in your arts community.


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