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Tuesday, September 20th, 2022


Ready? Set. Birthday!

Raymond and Roxy's New Book
is Out Today!

It’s Raymond and Roxy’s PUB day! The first book READY? SET. RAYMOND! was published in 2002! Now, twenty years later, Raymond and Roxy are back in a brand new adventure! But wait, Is Raymond still as fast as he was twenty years ago? YES, he wants his birthday to come as fast as he can. But when it finally gets here, Raymond wants everything to SLOOOOW down. He wants his special day to last as long as possible. READY? SET. BIRTHDAY! is in stores today!

 

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Tuesday, September 13th, 2022


Raymond

A NEW Raymond Book
is Coming September 20th!

Twenty years ago my first “official” book was published by Random House. It was a Step-Into-Reading book written by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson (I illustrated) called Ready? Set. Raymond! It’s about a boy who does everything really fast. The book has been a constant favorite over the years and Penguin Random House has decided to publish three more Raymond and Roxy books. The first is coming out on September 20th and is called Ready?Set. Birthday! We’ve updated the look of Raymond, his friend, Roxy, and the world they live in. It has been so much fun to revisit them all these years later. Raymond is still in a hurry. This boy doesn't know how to slow down! And he and Roxy haven’t aged a bit! Coming next week!

 

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Friday, August 26th, 2022


Derek Anderson at the Saint Paul Saints

Croc and Ally (and Derek)
at the Saint Paul Saints!

We had a great audience of kids and parents for a rollicking reading of Croc and Ally’s new book A Lot to Like! at the Saint Paul Saints game. It’s always fun to do readings at these games.

Croc and Ally

One of the players for the Saints came over and hung out with us during the reading. His name is Louie Varland, he’s a pitcher and one of the nicest baseball players you could meet.

Derek with Louie Varland

Thanks to Amy Baum at Mackin Educational Resources for inviting me to take part. And thanks to Max Schobel, intern extraordinaire at the Saints, for all of his excellent work organizing this.

 

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Friday, August 19th, 2022


Derek at Dog Eared Books

Croc + Ally + FUN
at Dog-Eared Books!

A couple short weeks ago we celebrated the new Croc and Ally books—A Lot to Like! and The Best in the World with an event at Dog-Eared Books on Main Street in Ames, Iowa. Readers and book lovers of all ages turned out for a fun afternoon.

Derek at Dog-Eared Books

Derek at Dog-Eared Books

Our friends at Dog-Eared Books sure know how to throw a party! They were making balloon alligators and crocodiles, they had special Croc and Ally cookies (The alligator cookies had Ally’s orange spots and the crocodiles had hats like Croc’s). There were tons of books, activity sheets and friends there to join in the fun.

Dog-Eared Books

I always do drawing demonstrations at book events. Here I am showing how to draw Mr. Chompers from my Benny McGee and the Shark chapter books.

Derek at Dog-Eared Books

Derek at Dog-Eared Books

Thanks to my new friends Amanda Lepper and Emily Riley at Dog-Eared Books for hosting and planning the terrific event. And thank you to all who came out for a fun afternoon to celebrate Croc, Ally and reading!

 

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Friday, August 12th, 2022


Derek Anderson

Derek standing outside the door of his second grade classroom
where his teacher, Jeannine Block, asked her students to draw their
own boats and then write stories about them. The school has been
converted to condominiums with great respect and care taken to
preserve the heritage of the school.

A Visit to my First School,
Roosevelt, in Ames, Iowa

While I was in Ames last week to celebrate the launch of my new Croc and Ally books, I was invited to visit The Roosevelt (formerly Roosevelt Elementary School) where I drew my first picture and wrote my first story. It was such a special experience to be back in those halls and rooms. The residents were so welcoming and generous to offer myself, my wife, my mother and mother-in-law a tour. I was going to post about it this week, but Ronna Faaborg at Ames Tribune wrote such a beautiful article about the experience, I will let her tell you about it.

Special thanks to N J Poklitar for organizing the visit. And huge thanks to Ronna Faaborg from Ames Tribune for documenting it with this excellent article and photos.

You can read the article by clicking HERE.

 

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Friday, July 29th, 2022


Croc and Ally

A Croc and Ally Event in Ames, Iowa!

A box of joy arrived yesterday! It’s always exciting to get author copies of my newest books. And there’s a fun event coming up to launch these new Croc and Ally books!

Ames, Iowa friends and readers:
I’m coming home to Ames to celebrate Croc and Ally and their TWO NEW books. You’re invited:


Saturday, August 6th
2:00pm
Dog Eared Books
203 Main Street
Ames



I will be reading the new Croc and Ally books, talking about The Shark Report (my early chapter book that was published in 2020 during the pandemic). And there will be a fun drawing demonstration! Come by and help us celebrate a goofy alligator, a grumpy crocodile, sharks and reading!

You can visit the Dog Eared Books website by clicking HERE.

 

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Tuesday, July 26th, 2022


Croc and Ally New Books

Croc and Ally Have TWO NEW BOOKS
Out Today!

Why is an alligator wearing a suit of armor, holding a flashlight and an umbrella? Well, I think that's obvious... when the alligator is Ally from the new Croc and Ally book, The Best in the World.

Croc and Ally

And why in the world is Ally talking to a sock puppet that looks exactly like his best friend, Croc?

Croc and Ally

What is going on? Find out the answers to these questions and so much more when you pick up copies of the new Croc and Ally books A Lot to Like! and The Best in the World. Out today!

You can find links to buy both NEW Croc and Ally books on the books page HERE.

 

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Friday, July 22nd, 2022


School Library Journal

SHARK FUN in School Library Journal

It’s always a fun surprise when my books get mentioned in magazines and newspapers. In honor of Shark Week, School Library Journal published an article this week recommending books for kids excited about sharks. The list includes Benny McGee and the Shark: The Shark Report for grades 1-3. Thanks to the staff at School Library Journal for the mention. Benny and Mr. Chompers thank you, too!

For the full article, please click HERE.

 

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Wednesday, July 20th, 2022


Croc and Ally

Coming Soon!

The guys are back and these stories are goofier than anything they’ve experienced so far. Join Croc and Ally for some silly reptile fun in TWO new books. Coming this Tuesday!

 

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Thursday, July 7th, 2022


Croc and Ally Gif

The Making of a
Croc and Ally Cover

Book covers are always fun and challenging to create. They must be engaging, lively and grab the reader's attention in a fraction of a second. If it's part of a series, it must feel distinctly different and yet familiar enough that it belongs with the others.

I always begin with a rough sketch (or we often call them thumbnails). Once I find a direction I like, I will do tighter sketches to explore the characters' poses and expressions. Then there’s a final sketch I will share with my publisher. Once the color artwork is finished, I send it to my publisher where a designer will do her magic with the title, byline and type treatments (In this case, it's the talented Julia Rosenfeld). It’s endlessly satisfying to make books. I love the surprises that come when I set out for one thing and then another, much better, idea finds it’s way into my studio and, ultimately, the book.

These are the progressive steps I took to create the cover of Croc and Ally: A Lot to Like! It's the third book in the Croc and Ally series and will be published by Penguin Workshop along with Croc and Ally: The Best in the World on July 26th.

 

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Friday, July 1st, 2022


Leo and Derek

From the Mailbag...

I received a pretty cool book in the mail recently. It’s by a boy named Leo who's in first grade and lives in Ramsey, New Jersey (where I visited schools in early May). The book is called Who is Derek Anderson and Leo Owen, and it’s about the time Leo and I met in the library after I visited his school. He even illustrated it (I'm only including a few of Leo's drawings). I always love meeting young readers, and I hope they remember the things I talk about when I visit their schools. Leo is one cool kid and he made the book all on his own. I’ve got the feeling he’s headed for BIG things. Go Leo!

Leo Book

 

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Wednesday, June 8th, 2022


Derek Anderson at Breck

My Last Visit of the School Year

My last school visit of the 2021-22 school year was in May at Breck here in the Twin Cities. These kids love reading and books! They’re beginning to write as well, so my presentation focused a bit more on stories, what they are and how I actually put them together.

This was my second visit to Breck. It’s funny, I’ve been in this business of writing, illustrating and speaking so long, that I often get asked back to speak at schools, libraries and events where I’ve presented before.

We had a great day at Breck!

Special thanks to Emily Jones for reaching out and inviting me back!

 

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Saturday, May 14th, 2022


Derek Anderson

My First In-Person School Visits
in Two Years!

I had my first in-person school visits in two years! I visited with students at Tisdale and Hubbard Elementary Schools in Ramsey, New Jersey. It was so much fun to actually be in a school with students again. And these boys and girls were ready for some author fun! I was greeted with such a warm welcome at both schools! There were PTO volunteers helping make our day run smoothly. At Tisdale I got to have lunch with teachers, and at Hubbard I had lunch with twelve third graders where we chatted about writing, creativity, fears and the books we love to read.

Derek Anderson

Derek Anderson

The teachers had used many of my books in the weeks leading up to my visit to discuss ideas, what students liked about a particular story and what they would do if they were in the same situation the character was in.

Benny McGee and the Shark at Tisdale

These were fun and funny to read. Some kids loved the idea of meeting a real, live shark like Mr. Chompers in my book Benny McGee and the Shark: The Shark Report.

Derek Anderson at Tisdale

And others, like Landon, would call the FBI. These are such terrific literacy exercises for students. It brings characters out of the books and into their lives.

Benny McGee and the Shark at Tisdale

Characters from nearly all of my books got to join in the fun!

Derek Anderson

DerekAnderson at Tisdale

Derek Anderson

I am never Derek or Mr. Anderson when I visit schools. I'm always Derek Anderson. "Hello, Derek Anderson." "Derek Anderson is it really you?" "Derek Anderson you are really tall!" "Derek Anderson can I have your autograph?"

Derek Anderson at Hubbard

One young girl came up to me at Hubbard Elementary after I'd finished speaking and asked, "Do you have feelings when you write stories?" I told her that I do. I try to make my characters have those feelings so that when kids read my stories, they feel those same feelings.

There was a very touching letter from a student hanging up at Hubbard Elementary.

Derek Anderson at Hubbard

Huge thanks to Erika Angely at Tisdale Elementary and Erica Lakind at Hubbard Elementary. I loved meeting and hanging out with both of you! And thanks, also, to the terrific PTO volunteers that helped at both Tisdale and Hubbard. Please know that your presence and help was greatly appreciated during the book signings, and it was so much fun chatting with all of you. You all helped make my time at Tisdale and Hubbard extra special!

 

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Saturday, April 2nd, 2022


Derek Anderson

Fun with School Visits!

I had such a great time speaking to the students and staff in the Linn-Mar school district in Marion, Iowa this past week. We decided to do the visits virtually so I spoke to first through fourth graders in seven schools over the course of the week.
And what a week it was!

Derek Anderson

The students had great questions! My favorite questions of the week were: "Do you like kids?" and "What is it like to be famous?" I do like kids, they are my people! Fame is hard to explain. I don't get recognized in the grocery store, because even if they've read my books, most people don't know what I look like. I started making books because I love creating stories and pictures, not because I wanted to be famous. But it's always fun when someone that loves my books comes up and says hello.

Derek Anderson

I love inspiring kids to go after what they want in this life. I show them how to draw my characters and sometimes those small victories, like doing something you didn't know you could do, is all you need to chart a new course and dream even bigger dreams.

Bowman Woods

When I do virtual visits from my studio, there's a tendency for sharks and alligators to gather in the corner after my drawing demonstrations...

Croc and Ally

And many times those same sharks and alligators show up in the schools. These were created by some of the amazing and talented students at Bowman Woods.

BowmanWoods

Huge thanks to Cynde, Krista, Tiffany, Melissa, Katie, Kaitlin and Carla for all of their excellent work planning and coordinating these very special visits in the Linn-Mar schools!

 

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Saturday, March 12th, 2022


Read! Read! Read!

I love it when people send me pictures of my books being enjoyed out in the world. Here are a couple I've gotten recently...

Jane reads Blue Burt and Wiggles

This is my friend, Jane Campbell, and her therapy dog, Sky, reading to a group of students at an elementary school in Nebraska last fall.

In honor of the fall season, she read Blue Burt and Wiggles, a book I wrote and illustrated about a blue bird and his best friend, an earthworm named Wiggles. When the weather turns cold, Blue Burt needs to fly south for the winter. He doesn't want to leave Wiggles, so they try to stop winter from coming. They paint the grass green again, tape the leaves back in the trees, and draw bright flowers on construction paper and place them around the woods. They even make a giant sun to hang up. But no matter what they try they can't stop winter from coming. In the end, Blue Burt has to pack his things and leave. But even the miles between them can't stop their friendship from continuing on.

Thanks to Jane and Sky for sharing this book (and this picture).


And this is my dear Aunt Judi reading Croc and Ally: Friends Forever with her grandson, Nate, in California. The Croc and Ally books have been some of my favorite books to make. Each book contains three short stories about a goofy, fun-loving alligator named Ally, his grumpy, curmudgeonly friend, Croc, and their silly adventures together.

 

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Monday, January 31st, 2022


Ready?Set.Raymond!

There are NEW Raymond Books on the Way!

We're excited to announce that we'll be creating three new books featuring Raymond from my very first book Ready? Set. Raymond! which was written by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson and published by Random House twenty years ago! The first of the new books will be published this fall. It will be so much fun to go back and visit Raymond, his family and Roxy to see what they're up to now!

 

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Thursday, January 27th, 2022


Ollie

Poodles Just Want to Have FUN!

Ollie does NOT like to miss out on fun. He always pauses on the landing on his way upstairs to see if there's anything better going on before he goes up the rest of the stairs. He is such a character!

 

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Saturday, January 1st, 2022


Hello 2022

Here's to NEW Beginnings!

We get to decide what kind of year it’s going to be. Anyone can change their life at any time by simply deciding they want to change and then taking steps in that direction. Steps. Even small ones. That's what it takes. Stop dreaming and go after what you want. Do what you can each day and then do it again tomorrow. That's how books are written. It's how paintings get finished. It's how you accomplish anything. And it's the only way to make dreams comes true. Here's to NEW beginnings!

 

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Wednesday, December 22nd, 2021


Holiday Card 2021

Wishing you all the best!

 

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Friday, December 10th, 2021


Croc and Ally

There's Something NEW Coming in 2022!

There are TWO NEW Croc and Ally books on the way! I've been busy in the studio this year working on sketches and paintings for A Lot to Like! and The Best in the World. The incomparably happy Ally and his grumpy best friend, Croc, are back in six new stories! These new books will both be published on July 26th. Stay tuned for some fun behind-the-scenes glimpses into Croc and Ally's new adventures.

 

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Tuesday, April 6th, 2021


The Today Show

HOT ROD HAMSTER on the Today Show!

Our speedy furball Hot Rod Hamster had a nice mention on the Today Show yesterday during a "Favorite Books" segment. An enthusiastic young reader named Ezra talked about why Hot Rod Hamster was his favorite book. You can see the full segment on my Facebook page.

Special thanks to Laura Ludwig Hamor for spotting this and sharing it with us!

 

 

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Friday, February 12th, 2021


Derek Anderson

Virtual FUN in Austin, Minnesota!

I did a virtual talk with students both at school and for families (as part of their family night celebration) in Austin, Minnesota last week. Austin is a very special city to me. Many years ago I was invited to speak at the Austin Public Library and they had a surprise for me that day—the mayor presented me with a key to the city.

Austin, Minnesota

It was such a special honor. When you’re given the key to a city, it means you are recognized as a trusted friend of that city. I’ve kept that key in my studio all these years along with awards and other special mementos from my travels and talks.

I had such a great time speaking to students about creativity and books again last week. Thanks to Jennifer Lawhead and Amy Goette for inviting me back and for their excellent hosting skills. It was so much fun to “virtually” hang out with both of them and with my many friends and readers in Austin!

 

 

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Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021


Croc and Ally

Fun with Student Art!

I had a terrific time speaking to students in the Los Angeles area on Friday. One of the things I love to do with student presentations is a drawing demonstration. During one session on Friday, I showed students how to draw Ally from my Croc and Ally early readers. One boy, Clark, who is six years old, not only drew Ally, but finished his drawing off in color. I love how he made it his own. There’s such courage and freedom in childrens' artwork. Keep drawing, Clark! And to all your classmates and students in the Rowland Unified School District, you can be anything! Go after what you want! Special thanks to Ashley McGrath for sending this my way.

 

 

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Thursday, January 28th, 2021


School Visits

My Checklist for Tomorrow’s
Virtual School Visit

I was just going over my checklist for a Virtual School Visit in Los Angeles tomorrow. It was a pretty easy list to make... I'm ready!

 

 

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Friday, January 8th, 2021


The Shark Report

Reading FUN with The Shark Report!

This young man is Trevor. I've heard Trevor LOVES books. Most recently he has been getting to know Benny McGee and Mr. Chompers in Benny McGee and the Shark: The Shark Report. This chapter book is about Benny McGee, whose fear of sharks prevents him from swimming during an afternoon at the beach with his family. But when a great white shark follows him home, everything Benny thinks he knows about sharks is put to the test. Enjoy your adventure with Benny McGee, Trevor!

Special thanks to my buddy, Patrick Lynch, for sending along this photo (posted with permission).

 

 

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Thursday, December 17th, 2020


Benny McGee and the Shark

The Gift of Story!

These two young ladies received an early holiday gift this year. Alexis (left) and her sister, Lily, got to meet Benny McGee and his shark friend, Mr. Chompers, in the chapter book Benny McGee and the Shark: The Shark Report.

Books make the perfect holiday gifts. When you give a book to a child, you're giving the gift of story. It could be the gift of adventure or silliness. It could be the gift of a new friend or a new adventure with an old friend. We all remember the books that we grew up with—the characters that touched our lives or made us giggle. Those characters and their stories stay with us.

Thanks to my friend, Anne Stoltman, for sharing this photo (posted with permission).

 

 

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Tuesday, December 8th, 2020


Holiday 2020

Wishing you the Very Best!

 

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Saturday, October 31st, 2020


Cat Painting

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

 

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Monday, October 26th, 2020


Derek Anderson Virtual Author Visit

Virtual School Visits Have Begun!

We are not going to let this year get in the way of school visit fun. I had a terrific virtual school visit on Friday with the staff and students at Creekside in Cincinnati, Ohio. This visit was supposed to take place (in person) last March, but was postponed because of the pandemic.

Special thanks to Katie Duh and Jennifer Ablordeppey for their excellent work arranging this. And thanks to the entire teaching staff and the PTO for helping to make this such a special day.

Thanks, also, to Principal Linda Pavlinac and our session facilitators Jami Fischer, Cynthia Shropshire and Charlotte Elia.

I made a lot of new friends in Ohio on Friday!

 

Black Pencil

Tuesday, October 6th, 2020


Ollie

Meet Oliver Bean!

My wife, Cheryl, and I would like to introduce you to our new furry friend, Oliver Bean. Ollie loves to play with toy monkeys, toy bears and toy ducks which makes sense because he’s a toy poodle. Judging from the reaction by the ladies at his new vet, we think Ollie might be the Robert Redford of the poodle world with his dashing blond locks. He has already stolen our hearts!

Ollie

 

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