Welcome to author and illustrator Nina Laden's website. Click around and stay awhile.
NEW UPDATE FOR 2018
Life continues to be too busy to keep up with things like my website! I promise that one of these days I'll get things going better. This past year, 2017 was one of the most insane years in the level of stress in my life. We moved out of our Seattle house in April after just shy of twenty years and began the process to clean it up to sell, which we did in August. In June, my brother had a massive heart attack and I spent the rest of the Spring, Summer, and into the Fall being his caregiver and advocate. He had open-heart surgery on October 3rd in Seattle, and that night my husband had a heart attack, so I drove from one hospital to the other. Booth had a procedure, and now both of them are recovering. I still care for my father, too. He just turned 86.
Somehow I still manage to make books. IF I HAD A LITTLE DREAM came out in February of 2017. PEEK-A MOO! came out in March of 2017. The PEEK-A WHO BOXED SET came out in May 2017.
In 2018 YELLOW KAYAK, my second book with amazing illustrator Melissa Castrillon comes out on January 23rd in the US and February 28 in the UK with Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster. It has already sold foreign rights to Korea, Russia, Italy and France.
In March a new PEEK-A WHO spin-off, adorable PEEK-A WHO STROLLER CARDS are coming out.
I am working on new books, as always, and I am hoping that this year will be a year devoted to art and writing and my family will stay healthy!
Things have still been difficult on the home front, but I keep weathering the storms and working on new books. At the end of 2013 I lost my sweet cat, Cali, the calico, but in March of 2014 I rescued Marley, a Siberian cat, who followed me home. She was living on the street. Now she has two homes and goes back and forth between Seattle and Lummi Island. We think she turned five years old in the Fall of 2015.
In 2015 I also had to rescue my father, who is very mentally ill. I have been working on his behalf non-stop for the past seven months. He is doing much better and I will continue to help. On September 1, 2015 we lost Booth's mom, Sally. She was 87, and on December 28th we lost our sister-in-law, Ann, who was 57 and had breast cancer. It has been a hard year.
I am eternally grateful for my creativity and although I don't have the time and freedom I'd like, I've kept working on making exciting and fun new books. Because "Peek-a Who?"
has now sold over one million copies and I have two new "Peek-a Books" coming out and one that just published. "Peek-a Boo!"
came out last fall and was on the Indie Bestseller list. "Peek-a Choo-Choo!" will be coming out August 1, 2016, and I am working on "Peek-a Moo!" right now.
On March 1, 2016 my next picture book, "ARE WE THERE YET?"
publishes. I wrote and conceptualized this book, and it was digitally illustrated by Adam McCauley. I came up with the idea in June 2006 on a drive to my island home and sketched the whole book concept a day after the drive. I waited a while to submit it, though. Some things sit on my back burner for longer periods.
Speaking of my back burner: there are many books on it waiting for me to sketch and submit. I also have a picture book coming out in 2017 from Paula Wiseman Books at Simon & Schuster called "If I Had A Little Dream." It is a poem/lullaby that I wrote and it is being illustrated by UK illustrator Melissa Castrillon.
As things have been slowly improving, I am looking forward to creating new books, writing poems, making jewelry, visiting schools, walking on the beach, cooking great meals, and sharing time with friends, family and of course my sweet girl, Marley, who shows gratitude for being rescued by kissing me daily.
UPDATE FROM 2014:
It has been almost seven years since I last updated this site. A lot has happened since then! You can now find me on Facebook at Nina Laden Books. Please "like" my page. I also have a blog with a nice archive of essays, posts and recipes, too. My blog is called THE NIGHT I FOLLOWED THE BLOG. I haven't started Tweeting or Tumbling or Instagraming or Flickering yet, but you never know...
Back-to-back and over-lapping family crises kept me under the radar for a while. There were no books out since 2008 while I paddled some turbulent waters in my personal life. That doesn't mean I wasn't working. I actually wrote an adult novel in those years. It is called "Jacked." I have not sold it yet. I do hope to someday. I also wrote a first draft of a middle grade novel, which I'll be revising. I also wrote many picture books, board books and poems. Finally, I have new books coming out, a toy, and soon, a game. For the most recent news check my Nina Laden Books page on Facebook!
I'm very excited to announce that my next picture book, ONCE UPON A MEMORY came out on December 3, 2013 from publisher Little, Brown Books For Young Readers.
This book started from a poem that I wrote during the worst time in my life, a few years back. It started on a beach walk when I found an eagle feather and wondered, "does a feather remember it once was a bird?" The poem took off, literally, and I explored connections, transformations and memories. I submitted it and my new editor, Connie, who happens to have the same birthday as me, came to the conclusion that my illustration style was not "right" for my text. This will be the first book that I have not illustrated. The incredible Renata Liwska
, who illustrated "The Quiet Book
," has created incredible illustrations for it. The book has already received a "Starred Review" from Kirkus.
Two new board books are now in production at Chronicle Books. Both "PEEK-A ZOO!"
and "DADDY WRONG LEGS"
publish on March 4, 2014. "PEEK-A ZOO!"
is a long-awaited sequel to my very popular book, "PEEK-A ZOO!"
Kids will have a blast guessing the animal peeking through the openings, and of course there is a mirror at the end so your "little animal" can see themselves!
"DADDY WRONG LEGS"
was born in my imagination when I was working in my garden and watching a daddy longlegs spider. The name "Daddy Wrong Legs" came to me in a flash and I wrote a poem of all sorts of daddies with all kinds of legs. The key was that you could "PLAY" the book- so this book SPLITS IN HALF and you can change the Daddy Tops and Bottoms! It will bring laughs and smiles to kids of all ages.
There are other books in the works, too. "PEEK-A BOOO!"
will be the next book in the "PEEK-A SERIES."
Of course it will have a Halloween theme. I have also sold another picture book, "ARE WE THERE YET?"
that I will not be illustrating. Stay tuned and I'll update when I know more.
E-ventually I knew it would happen. I have E-Books available on all the major devices. Chronicle Books has converted some of my books so far, and others will be converted in the near future. Right now you can purchase and download "ROBERTO THE INSECT ARCHITECT," "ROMEOW & DROOLIET" and "READY, SET, GO!" on your Kindle, Nook, Google-thingy... etc... I downloaded "ROBERTO THE INSECT ARCHITECT" on my "Kindle for iPad" and it looks fabulous. (and yes, I bought my own E-book.)
TOYS & GAMES, OH MY!
Due to the amazing success of my book "PEEK-A WHO?" which has now sold almost one million copies, I am jumping for joy over the debut of my first plush toy! I worked with Merry Makers, Inc. to bring the PEEK-A WHO OWL to life.
The Owl is soft and absolutely adorable. I am launching a new public Facebook page called "PEEK-A WHO OWL SPOTTED"
so that people can post photos of their owl wherever they take it in the world. I would love to see OWL SPOTTED everywhere!
Next up: PEEK-A WHO MATCHING CARD GAME will be coming in Fall 2014 from Chronicle Books. This will be a super fun and very educational game where kids play a game to turn cards over and match them. The images are all (almost- there are a few new fun paintings) from my board books- and teachers: they are all the "oo" sound! Everything will be bright and beautifully designed, and there will even be "mirror cards!"
There is none! I still have the rights to all of my titles. Maybe someday my books, "THE NIGHT I FOLLOWED THE DOG,"
"PRIVATE I. GUANA," "WHEN PIGASSO MET MOOTISSE,"
"ROBERTO THE INSECT ARCHITECT,"
"ROMEOW & DROOLIET," and others will be brought to life on the big screen. For now they are doing great as books and living in so many imaginations, and for that I am grateful and happy. Thank you all for supporting my books for the past (almost) twenty years!