ALLEANNA HARRIS: Will Write/Illustrate for Cookies PLUS Original Art Giveaway



Plate of Cookies







What an honor this is for me! Today I’m hosting the illustrator for one of my upcoming picture books…and I couldn’t be more thrilled with how she has brought the characters of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe to life. Every page turn sings…Alleanna has definitely made their voices be heard!

Alleanna Harris is a illustrator who has been drawing for as long as she can remember. As a little kid, she would draw on every page of her mom’s legal pads, doodle on her notebooks at school and on the programs at church.

She graduated from the University of Arts with a BFA in Animation with Honors, and it was during this time she realized her love for illustration.

She has illustrated several children’s books, including The Journey of York: The Unsung Hero of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, The Day Abuelo Got Lost, Making Their Voices Heard, and Patricia’s Vision.

Alleanna finds inspiration in the beauty in everyday things. Everything inspires her. In her work, she seeks to create images that are immersive, rich in color and have a sense of warmth. She lives in New Jersey.

Thank you so much, Alleanna! I really appreciate you stopping by to answer some questions. I know my readers are excited to find out more about you – and I just want to let them know that the giveaway today – thanks to your talent and generosity – is an original sketch…oh my goodness! One lucky person is going to win a piece of original art created by you! So, dear friends, make sure  you leave a comment below. But please don’t rush through the post to get to the comment section, because you are going to want to read Alleanna’s amazing Q&A.

ME: Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?

ALLEANNA: I loved Wendelin Van Draanen. I read every single book of her Sammy Keyes series. In terms of illustrators:

Garth Williams, who did the illustrations for Charlotte’s Web and the Little House books.

Eric Carle, because I loved the colored collage and cutouts.

Bill Watterson because I have a ton of Calvin and Hobbes books.

Pat Brady, because I used to love the comic Rose Is Rose in the Sunday newspaper.

cover 2

ME:What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started illustrating?

ALLEANNA: A schedule is key! Time management is everything. Deciding which illustrations to do, on which day, and which time of day according to how I work really makes my job easier.

ME: Where do you like to create – inside, outside, special room, laptop, pen and paper?

ALLEANNA: I have two main places: my room and the kitchen. In my room, I use a drawing desk that my mom got for me before college. It’s next to my bed and I can look out my window to the street. In the kitchen, I sit at the table where I can see out the kitchen window to my front yard and where I can see out the back door to the sun porch and backyard. I like being able to look out the window to daydream every once in a while.

alleanna workspace

For my rough illustrations, I like to use my iPad. I enjoy the ease of use, and it’s almost like pen and paper but it’s digital and portable. For my final illustrations, I use my laptop and Wacom drawing tablet.

ME: When do you create – early morning, late in the day, middle of the night, on schedule, as the muse strikes?

ALLEANNA: On weekdays during the school year, I wake up really early and I work until late afternoon with short breaks in between. Then I take a long break and I might work for a few hours at night. In the summer, I work anytime, but mostly at night.

ME: Why do you illustrate for children?

ALLEANNA: I illustrate for children because I love it. I want to help kids experience new stories and new people, and illustrating is my way of going about it. I want to help spark their imaginations and looking at illustrations offer a fast track to their imagination.

patricias vision


ME: Also, if you have any thoughts or advice for aspiring writers and/or illustrators, please share. 

ALLEANNA: For writers and illustrators: I’m not sure exactly where I heard this from, but make your things first, and then judge your things later. If you overthink too much, you won’t ever make anything. With than being said, I need to take my own advice!

york journey cover

ME: And this awesome sweetness is not over yet…here’s a special recipe from Alleanna.

ALLEANNA: Here’s a recipe that’s very close to a recipe that my grandma, Me-Me used to fix for a treat. It’s really simple and really tasty.


Mom’s Fried Apples

Total Time
Prep: 15 min.

Cook: 30 min.

Makes 8 servings


  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 6 medium unpeeled tart red apples, sliced
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  • Melt butter in a large cast-iron or other ovenproof skillet. Add apples and 1/2 cup sugar; stir to mix well. Cover and cook over low heat for 20 minutes or until apples are tender, stirring frequently.
    Add cinnamon and remaining sugar. Cook and stir over medium-high heat 5-10 minutes longer.

ME: What a perfect time for an apple recipe, Alleanna! I may have to go apple picking this weekend so that I will have fresh apples to try this yummy looking recipe.

Dear friends, I know we are all applauding for Alleanna – she is a illustrator rockstar – do you know that she has TWO picture books launching in January? YES! She is the illustrator for PATRICIA’S VISION: The Doctor Who Saved Sight by Michelle Lord (Sterling Books, January 7, 2020) and of course, MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe (Little Bee, January 14, 2020)

Folks…this is pretty spectacular! Two books in one month…and she is the ILLUSTRATOR, for goodness sake. This is one busy woman who knows how to prioritize her time. I’m so thrilled to be on her team. And one lucky winner will be thrilled with an original sketch by Alleanna because she is graciously offering that as our giveaway. So PLEASE, leave a comment below to be entered for a chance. And PLEASE, show her how much you love her work by buying her books, reviewing her books, telling friends about her books, and asking local libraries to purchase her books for their collections. And, to learn about Alleanna and her work, please visit her website:

By the way, did you know she has two books that JUST launched last week?  Again…two books that she illustrated in one month! This woman is amazing!!!! THE DAY ABUELO GOT LOST: Memory Loss of a Loved Grandfather by Diane de Anda (Albert Whitman, September 1, 2019).

abuelo cover

And the second book that launched last week is THE EXTRAORDINARY LIFE OF MARY SEACOLE (Puffin, September 5, 2019)

Seacole cover

33 thoughts on “ALLEANNA HARRIS: Will Write/Illustrate for Cookies PLUS Original Art Giveaway

  1. Congratulations Alleanna on your success. Your books look amazing. Thanks to you Vivian for showcasing Alleanna’s work. It’s so nice to learn about the illustrator’s journey.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The children’s book world is in good hands with your work Alleanna! Congratulations on your book launches and continued success! Thank you Vivian for bringing Alleanna to your blog for all of us.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. What a wonderful post and interview! Congratulations, Alleana, on your success and congratulations to you and Vivian on what I know is a fabulous book!!! Can’t wait to try the fried apples. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m always interested to read about the way writers and illustrate work, organize their time, and find inspiration. This was a wonderful post, and I’ll be visiting my library to check out more books illustrated by Alleanna. How exciting that you two teamed up to create the picture book, Making Their Voices Heard. I can’t wait to settle into my favorite chair to enjoy it.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Alleanna, your work is amazing! Your beautiful illustrations make picture books sing. I can’t wait to get my hands on them. Congratulations on your success! And thank you, Vivian, for this great interview. You two make a wonderful team!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Wow, this was such an enjoyable and energizing interview. The covers of these books are magnificent, and I can’t wait to read each and very one, not to mention her future books. The depth of color she aims for is evident, but I’m enthralled with the glowing light ineach one. And each story featured will,reveal some hidden history that will also benefit from the glow of her presentations. Thank yo for the interview, Vivian, and Alleanna.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Congratulations, Alleanna, on your many successes. I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing The Journey of York last January. Gorgeous! And I know your upcoming collaboration with Vivian will be gorgeous, too. Off to the library now to find your newly released picture books.


  8. Wonderful interview and gorgeous illustrations. Thankful for the time management tips and the encouragement to get things on paper and judge them later. Going to print that one out as a solid reminder to do just do the work and worry about finessing once it’s on the page.


  9. That really is quite impressive for an illustrator to have so much of her work launched in such a short period of time. Congratulations, Alleanna! I am looking forward to reading those books, especially the one written by Vivian.


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