Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Meet Mique Moriuchi, Illustrator for FRESH DELICIOUS

Today is the official release day for FRESH DELICIOUS: Poems from the Farmers' Market. Yay!

Special thanks to my blogger-poet-friends who have already shared about this book:

Jama at Jama's Alphabet Soup, where you can find the most adorable pictures of bookpages and blueberries ever!

Linda at Write Time, where you can find some of my specific word choices and get a feel for the playfulness of this collection.

Michelle at Today's Little Ditty, where there's a picture of my Granddaddy's amazing garden and also the two corn poems "Corn" and "About Corn" that appear in the book.

Linda at TeacherDance, where you can find ways to use this book to help kids create their own poems, and also ideas about how to connect this book with other ares of the curriculum, like science and art and health and more!


I feel so very fortunate to share this book with illustrator Mique Moriuchi, whose collage art is so whimsical and creative... and I'm grateful to WordSong/Boyds Mills Press -- particularly Rebecca Davis -- for seeing something in these poems, helping me further shape them, and for late thinking of Mique, and now for being our partner in delivering this book to the world!

To celebrate, I'm delighted to share with you an interview with Mique Moriuchi! Mique is a busy mom to two young boys, so I'm sure you can appreciate the gift these words are. :)

Welcome, Mique!

1. What makes you say YES to a manuscript?

I love a text which is open to interpretation and possibilities, which isn't too restrictive, where characters are allowed to develop and grow. I love it when I can picture it in my mind straight away and feel excited about it. I love humour and a good message too :)

2. FRESH DELICIOUS features animals instead of people. How did you decide which animals to feature?

I love illustrating animals! There's so much variety in size, colour and pattern, and somehow putting them in a human situation really tickles me. I like to imagine and question everything, which helps me make decisions about a picture. My partner is quite used to me asking questions like: If a mouse was wearing trousers or a skirt, where would its tail be? What musical instrument would a giraffe play? I do have my favourite go-to animals, but I guess the decisions I make are ultimately down to composition and colour.

3. Which spread presented the biggest challenge for you?

I do everything by hand. I cut, stick and paint very tiny things sometimes! The piles of fruits and vegetables in "Farmers' Market" were challenging, and I remember working and reworking the background for "Blueberries" for aaaaages! 
I tend to make things up as I go so I make a lot of mistakes, and I am indecisive - but these things help build up the layers and textures so it's all good...I think!

It's hard to see what's what when I'm in the midst of a project, and it's often the case when I look at the artwork months later I see all the mistakes and think, arrrgh I should have done this or that. It's rare that I am 100% happy with a picture.

4. Which spread is your favorite, and why?

I like the simplicity of "Lettuce" and the busyness of "Closing time". 

5. Do you visit a farmers' market? What fruit or vegetable is your favorite to buy? Which is your favorite it eat?

We moved home a year ago and in our new town where we live there is a fruit  and vegetable market twice a week. It's not a farmers' market, but we get most of our fresh produce there. I love the bunches of carrots, kale and beetroot we find there - seeing them in their natural glory rather than all trimmed and packaged like you see in a supermarket. I love taking our boys there, for the colours, the lively atmosphere and the shouting sellers. It's good fun! 

6. You are the mother of two small children. How do you make time for your creative life in the midst of intense childrearing?

By sacrificing sleep. It's the only way. And neglecting house work.

I'm not able to do very much at the moment, as I rely on our younger boy's naps to do anything, and that is as unpredictable as the British weather! But even if I am unable to create, I am always taking notes and thinking, keeping my mind ticking over.

I find inspiration daily in my children; their words, questions, thoughts and observations; seeing the world through their eyes. I am constantly jotting things down, and I hope to turn these observations into pictures once I find some time to myself again.

7. What's next?

I'll be illustrating the cover for the July issue of a great local cultural free newspaper. 
There's a whole back log of personal illustrations I want to make too, based on our 2 boys and my experiences of motherhood, as well as some family portraits. Just the small matter of finding the time...

Thank you, Mique! Who needs sleep? Or a clean house? :) I know this: the world NEEDS your art. Thanks so much for sharing a little bit of your life with us.

And thank YOU, readers! None of this would mean anything without YOU. xo


  1. I adore this book and is perfect marriage between words and artwork. So many happy birthday wishes to both of you, two artists each with a fine and careful eye for bringing beauty and whimsy to our world. Here's to putting art first! *Cheers!* x

  2. Happy book birthday, Irene and Mique! I will celebrate with fresh salad and a delicious fruit tart. :D Thank you, Irene, for the opportunity to learn more about Mique and her delightful artwork. You two make a fabulous team!

  3. Happy Book Birthday, Irene and Mique. What a beautiful collaboration you two managed in bringing the joy of a farmer's market to life. I enjoy the book very much, find little details every time I read it, and now I get to have the fun of reading it with my two young granddaughters. Soon we'll get to a market & see what we see that connects to the book! Thanks for sharing more about Mique, Irene. I hope you both are having a wonderful day!

  4. Well I'm far from an expert on poetry or illustrations but I'm a very good reader... I love love love the happiness this book projects from the cover to the back page My favorite poem and picture is the Watermelon... it made me smile before I read the poem and the poem is exactly what watermelon lovers (ME) feel when we crack open that perfect gem.

    Mique, I think I love that elephant the best because of the ears... it add a whole different dimension to that character.

  5. This looks wonderful! Lovely interview--can't wait to read this book. Congratulations, Irene!

  6. I'm a sower, we plant the Seeds; I am an artist, we write the Words.

    Find-out where we went on our journey far, far away, like the synonyMOUSE metaphors which shall creeep stealthily across thy brain bringing U.S. together.

    And see if you cannot 'read-between-the-lines' -or- VERBUM SAT SAPIENTI (Latin: words to the wise): here's summore symbiotically-explosive-coolness done in four, sardonic satires when we passed-away:

    Here's what the prolific, exquisite GODy sed: 'the more you shall honor Me, the more I shall bless you' -the Infant Jesus of Prague.

    Go git'm, girl. You're incredible.
    See you Upstairs...

  7. Dear Irene! The interview's splendid, the poems and artwork are delicious! My sister's passion is farmers markets ~ can't wait to share this book with her!

  8. Dear Irene! The interview's splendid, the poems and artwork are delicious! My sister's passion is farmers markets ~ can't wait to share this book with her!

  9. Thank you so much for the behind the scenes look. I always find the illustrators perspective fascinating.

  10. Appreciations for this hop across the Big Pond to meet the creator of the fabulous collage's in FRESH DELICIOUS, Monique Moriuchi.
    It's as much fun as shopping at a fresh market, to learn how she "shops"for her materials, ideas & such.
    I adore this book.
    Brava! to you both!

  11. It was such a pleasure to work with you and your words Irene! Thank you for the interview and your kind words. So lovely to read through everyone's comments too. It means a lot! Thank you :)


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