Speaker Profile - Ruth McNally Barshaw

Illustrator, Other, and Writer

Region: Michigan
Age Levels: 5-10, 11-13, and 14-17
Will Travel: Anywhere in the world
Skype Visit: Yes
SCBWI Profile: Member Profile
Speaker Email: cjbarshaw523@aol.com

I'm an author-illustrator with a compelling journey-to-publishing story. After 25 years in advertising, I switched to creating children's books. I joined SCBWI, took classes, dissected successful books, and attended conferences. In Fall '04 Tomie dePaola suggested I attend the 2005 SCBWI Conference in NY. I went, sketched, then put my entire 180-page trip journal on my website. It went viral -- 1000 emails urged me to create a book in my sketch-journal style. Ellie McDoodle was born. I signed with Erin Murphy Literary and she sold the book right away. The first Ellie McDoodle book came out in 2007 with Bloomsbury, followed by 5 more books. Ellie is sold in 8 languages -- I get fan mail from around the world! My 7th book is Leopold is Lost (Sleeping Bear Press, 2015) with Denise Brennan-Nelson's writing and my art. My life is a Cinderella story -- which makes SCBWI my fairy godmother. ;)

Presentation Description:
My presentations are described on my website, www.ruthexpress.com
I draw with the audience, I educate them about the author life, and I create a story which is brainstormed by the audience and drawn by me as they watch. 
Together we form a character and decide on personality traits for it, and we plop the character into a highly-entertaining set of circumstances and turn it into a story.
The audience laughs while they learn about conflict, rising tension, the story arc, and other writer tools.

Of course all of the pages of art generated during my events are left with the host school/library, to use as they wish.
My writer-husband Charlie travels with me and keeps the presentations on schedule. (He has many stories published with Amazon Rapids, a digital reading app for children)
Our home is in Lansing, Michigan, but we've traveled to Houston, Texas, and to Mount Desert, Maine, for school visits. We'll go anywhere!
Contact Charlie Barshaw at cjbarshaw523@aol.com to set up a visit.