Opening the Box
The boxes arrived on Friday afternoon, but we were too busy packing for a weekend away to give them the attention they deserved. And so we piled the kids and blankets and toothbrushes and dog food (and dog) into the car and left the boxes behind. We relaxed a little,...
BOOK US TO SPEAK, PUT ON A WORKSHOP OR DO A SHORT TERM RESIDENCY AT YOUR CONFERENCE, COLLEGE, COMPANY OR KINDERGARTEN
Pretty much everything we do, we do together, and all of it involves the combination of pictures and words.
We live and work together in the hayloft of an old barn on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, while occasionally providing meals for our four small children.
These days, we spend most of our time making books with our friends at Macmillan Kids, including the critically acclaimed middle grade series The Real McCoys and our picture books Babies Ruin Everything, Everywhere, Wonder, and Sunrise Summer (June 2020).
We’re also busy working on a new project with the folks at Penguin Random House—a series called Cookie Chronicles, about a boy named Ben who takes the advice he reads in fortune cookies way too seriously. Books 1 and 2 will come out the summer of 2021.
Signed, dedicated, dated, and stamped with a shiny silver seal, Barn Editions of any and all of our commercial books can be purchased through our online shop.
When we’re not making books, we’re traveling the country, sharing what we’ve learned with anyone who cares to listen. We do school visits, give talks, and offer short-term residencies at conferences, elementary schools, colleges, libraries, companies, and communes. We also enjoy visiting classrooms via iChat or Skype.
Before breaking into commercial publishing, we spent a decade running two small presses—Idiots’Books, which publishes “odd, commercially nonviable picture books for adults,” and Bobbledy Books, which publishes picture books and music for kids. Most of our 70-or-so self-published books are available through our online shop.
One of our self-published volumes, a mix-and-match book for adults called Ten Thousand Stories, had the honor of being picked up and published in a gorgeous hardcover edition by the estimable Chronicle Books and written about in smart and glowing terms by the estimable book critic Michael Dirda of the Washington Post.
Oh, and we also spend our summers on the Alaskan tundra running a small, shore-based commercial salmon fishing operation while living in a cabin with no electricity, toilet, shower, or hot water heater. Robbi has spent every summer there since she was 18 months old. Our forthcoming picture book Sunrise Summer tells the story of our own daughter’s first summer as a member of the fishing crew.
Our life together has been an unexpected journey. In 2006, we quit our jobs, sold our house, gave up our health insurance, and moved across the Chesapeake Bay to make books for a year until we ran out of money. It was a recipe for certain financial ruin.
But somehow, we didn’t run out of money. We just kept making stuff together and somehow, the word kept spreading.
Thirteen years later, we’re still going strong. We don’t sleep much, and we get a lot of papercuts, but somehow, improbably, our job is getting up in the morning and making stuff together.
We wouldn’t have it any other way.
To get to know us better, please check out our blog and our store, or join our mailing list. And let us know if you’re interested in booking us for a school visit, talk or other event.
For now, we’re getting back to it.