Yolanda Ridge

Children's Author

Painting in the Dark

97819434311441Title: Painting in the Dark: Esref Armagan, Blind Artist

Author: Rachelle Burk

Illustrator: Claudia Gadotti

Publisher: TumbleHome Learning

Reviewer: Yolanda Ridge

ISBN: 987-1-943431-15-1

This nonfiction picture book, aimed at 8 to 12 year-olds, introduces readers to Esref Armagan, a blind artist from Turkey. In typical biography style, author Rachelle Burk outlines Esref’s life chronologically, which is well laid out and researched. What makes this book special is the focus on how the artist developed his ability to paint things he’d never actually seen.

Accompanying the text are a few samples of Esref’s work, incorporated into vibrant illustrations by Claudia Gadotti. Unfortunately, some of the text, which changes color to stand out against the corresponding background, is often obscured by the illustrations.

This will not in any way prevent readers from being touched by Esref’s story. Reading about all the obstacles he faced in becoming an artist will inspired people of all ages, regardless of the type of limitations they must personally overcome. Artists in particular will enjoy learning how he continually improved his paintings by learning to add elements like shadow and perspective.

Making Painting in the Dark  even more powerful is the fact that Esref Armagan is still alive and he is not world famous or rich. He has struggled and continues to persevere.  I could not think of a better person to feature in a biography for young readers. Highly recommended for the school library.

Addendum: According to the publisher and author, the text issue has been addressed in a new printing of the book. Good News!

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The view of Thompson Rivers University from the window of my workshop classroom:

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A great conference with so many creative and talented young writers. My thanks to the amazing organizers and wonderful participants. I hope to return to Kamloops soon!

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Young Authors’ Conference

I am thrilled to be participating in the Young Authors’ Conference hosted by School District No. 73 and held at the the Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops.YoungAuthors_logo_no_date_small

I will be presenting a workshop titled He Said, She Said: It’s all about PERSPECTIVE. Using The Three Little Pigs as an example, we’ll discuss how telling a story from a different character’s perspective can change it entirely. From there, we will review different points of view and how to choose which one to use for your story. We will end with a fun writing exercise and leave with a better understanding of voice.

There will be lots of laughs (and funny videos) to get participants inspired. I’m really excited about this opportunity to meet with aspiring young authors from this part of the province. I am also thrilled to be working with six other talented authors who are also presenting workshops for grades 4-7 and three authors who are presenting workshops for grades 8-12.

I will be reporting back in early May and adding this workshop to my author visit page in hopes of bringing it to other schools and conferences in the future!

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Road Block… Rossland Style


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Authors for Indies

imagesTomorrow is Authors for Indies Day! Rossland’s fantastic independent locally owned bookstore, New Edition Café Books, is hosting local authors Almeda Glenn Miller (10:30-12:00), Jennifer Ellis (presenting a workshop on Indie and Hybrid Publishing from 1:30-3:00), and Rosa Jordan (3:00-5:00). Unfortunately, due to prior commitments I am not able to participate but I have donated some books for a door prize. Come out to talk books and support your local bookstore!

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google doc II

Road Block is now a google doc too.

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google doc

Trouble in the Trees is now a google doc. Not sure about the significance of this but if you want to read it as a pdf, it’s out there in the public domain for downloading.  Good or bad?  You tell me.

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Trouble in the Trees… Rossland Style


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Happy Earth Day!


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Dear Lucky Agent

My WIP (which has been “in progress” for almost three years) is finally ready to query!  I’m in the process of gathering a list of potential agents (fingers crossed) and came across this lucky agent contest with Writer’s Digest.

So I’m throwing my hat in the ring (or ring in the hat, as I told my husband) and hoping the logline and first 200 words of Inside Hudson Pickle will appeal to Christa Heschke of McIntosh & Otis Literary Agency.

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