Monday, August 14, 2017

Most People Book Release

In June 2016 just two days after the Orlando nightclub shooting I got an email from Jonathan at Tilbury with the manuscript for "Most People."  When I read it I teared up. It was exactly what I needed.  I wanted someone to to reminded me that most people aren't full of hatred.  I wanted someone to hold my hand and tell me is was going to be all right.  I wanted someone to tell me that there is still a lot of love in the world.  And of course I said yes I would be very happy to illustrate the book.

And here we are again.  More violence and killing in the streets.  Killing of perfect strangers not because of who they are but because of what they represent to these aggressors in their twisted view of the world.

I hope this book helps children navigate the world where acts of ugliness and hatred are blared across 24-hour news stations.  There are no easy answers. But I hope children will see past the anger.  I pray they will not meet violence with more violence.  I pray that they will be surrounded by love and by people who will love them no matter who they are and they will not grow up hating someone else because they are different.

"If you could line up all the people who want to be good and all the people who want to be bad. The good line would stretch from here to the tallest mountain.  All the people in the bad line could crowd together in a dark and gloomy room." - Most People by Michael Leannah

Most People 
by Michael Leannah

Friday, July 14, 2017

How to Draw a Chicken

Just in case you were wondering...

You can download a free PDF of this page and other "How To Draw" on my website.  Also check out the other activity pages for my latest picture book Little Red Rolls Away.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Author Event in Exeter NH

Little Red and I will be at the Water Street Bookstore in Exeter NH Thursday July 13th from 2:00 to 4:00.  The Exeter Farmers Market will be going on at the same time. So grab a book and also grab something yummy for dinner. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Little Red Barn Playhouse

When I saw an adorable playhouse on Pinterest I really wanted to make one. But since my kids are teenagers it seemed a little silly.

Then I illustrated an adorable book for Sleeping Bear Press called Little Red Rolls Away about a little barn who reluctantly has to move to a new home.  Ta da! I had a great excuse to make a kid's playhouse (or play barn)! Right?

This was a lot of fun to make.  I'll give you the basics of how I did it here.  If anyone is interested in more detail instructions email me or leave a comment.

I based my design off plans I found on
You can also buy the PVC elbows and other fittings you will need from your local hardware store or from  My local Home Depot didn't carry all the special elbow joints I needed so I had to order some of them.

I altered the Formufit design a little by adding more structure around the doorway and also adding 2 small bump outs to the roof line so it looks more like a barn.  You can see the front panel of the barn with the door and bump outs here...

If this was for home use you could just glue or screw all the joints together.  But I wanted to be able to travel to book events with my play barn so I wanted a way to make it break down easily but also make it so it wouldn't fall apart if a kid was playing inside.  

The front and the back panels of the frame are permanently assembled with screws.  The pipes that make up the left and right sides are removable. That way the whole thing lays flat in the back of my Subaru.  I struggled with a way to make sure the pipes didn't fall apart while the kids where playing.  The pipes fit snuggly together but I was afraid one might pull loose and someone might get bonked on the head. 

I tried a couple of different ideas, but these hitch pins work pretty well.  I found them at my local hardware store. They look like this.  I also found some online but they were listed under several names - hitch pins, safety pins, spring clips etc.  They come in lots of sizes so double check before ordering. Some of the ones I ordered were a too long so I cut them down to size with a hack saw.

I drilled fairly large holes through the PVC joints and the pipes (you can see where I made marks for alignment) and just slip the hitch pins through.  I also numbered all the joints to make sure I always assembled it the same way.  Otherwise my less-than-perfect holes wouldn't line up.

Hitch Pin connectors

Once the frame was done it was time for the fun part.  I made the cover out of craft felt.  You can by 60" wide yardage at JoAnn's.  It's easy to work with, comes in lots of colors and is fairly economical especially if you have a coupon.  Be careful when ironing though, I got it too hot and melted the red to my iron. (Luckily it all came off!)

To make the cover, I laid the framework down and traced it, making sure to leave room for seam allowances.

I added details like windows and flower boxes...

And of course the face so it looked like Little Red from the book.  I glued some Velcro (the prickly side) to the PVC around door way to keep the felt in position.  I sewed the fuzzy side of the Velcro to the felt but actually the felt sticks to the prickly side of the velcro already.

Of course we needed someone to live in the barn so I made a couple of these cute pool noodle ponies with the scrap felt and some yarn.  Meet Fettuccini!

For store events I have photo props so people can snap a pic with Little Red.

This was a lot of work but it was also a lot of fun the kids really seem to enjoy it.  Cheers!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Upcoming Book Events for Little Red Rolls Away

We have some Little Red Rolls Away book events scheduled this summer in New England. Join children's picture book illustrator Jennifer E. Morris for some down-on-the-farm fun. Check out the calendar to see if he will be making a stop near you. Check back regularly as more events will be added.  If you are on the west coast visit Linda Whalen's website to see appearances by the book's author in and around California.


Friday, April 14, 2017

Little Red Barn Paper Models

Just received the Little Red paper models from the printer.  And a friend was kind enough to assemble one as a test.  I'm really pleased with how they turned out.  So life-like! :)

I will be giving these out a local book events in the near future to stay tuned.  If you are not in the New England area but would like to make your own Little Red barn.  You can download a PDF version here.  And don't forget to check out "Little Red Rolls Away" written by Linda Whalen and published by Sleeping Bear Press.

Download this PDF

Friday, February 17, 2017

How to Cut Out Paper Shamrocks

Can't find a four-leaf clover?  That's ok you can make a whole forest of them by folding and cutting some green paper.  Download a PDF of the instructions here.  And don't forget to check out all the other crafts and coloring pages on my website.