Perfect Picture Book Friday: BENFORD DRAWS A BLANK Plus Critique Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends. I totally needed this book when I was a kid. I loved to draw…I had a big round cookie tin that was filled with broken crayons. I remember the day I got a new box of Crayola crayons…the big 64 color box with the SHARPENER…it was 1958 (that was the first year Crayola released the 64-crayon box with the sharpener) and I was 11 years old – and I felt like I had just gotten the best gift ever! But I didn’t have much confidence in my art – and most of the time, I colored in coloring books…allowing my creativity to be confined within the boundaries of the lines on the page. Danielle Dufayet’s newest book, BENFORD DRAWS A BLANK, is all about creativity and imagination and believing in oneself…and something many of us writers experience – not knowing where to begin! And before you begin reading this post, I want to let you know that the lovely Danielle is offering a fabulous giveaway: winner’s choice of either a signed copy of the book OR a Picture Book Critique! WOW!

BENFORD DRAWS A BLANK

Written by Danielle Dufayet

Illustrated by Katia Klein

Published by Capstone

Ages: 4-8

Themes: Imagination, be yourself, art

Synopsis: From Amazon:
Benford loves art, and his very first canvas is ready and waiting! But he can’t think of a single thing to paint. Not one! Nothing! His mind is completely BLANK! How will Benford break free from his painter’s block? Author Danielle Dufayet highlights the importance of silencing the inner critic by letting go of perfectionism and letting loose. See Benford’s final masterpiece where he adds the missing piece to get his painting “just right”.

Why I Love This Book:
1. We all get stuck – children and adults, writers and artists…I love that every child reader will be able to relate to Benford!
2. Wonderful text that takes the reader on Benford’s journey of discovery!
3. Fabulous illustrations that engage the reader and keep you turning the pages!

And guess what!!! Author Danielle Dufayet stopped by to chat and she’s sharing a little bit about the path to publication for this book…I always love to get an inside peek at the story behind the story.

DANIELLE: I was so torn as to what to paint after a long dry spell, but somehow, I started seeing blank canvases everywhere I went: once in Target just passing through the art supplies, once in my grandson’s school where they were getting ready to paint small canvases and a third time my friend called me to tell me she picked up a canvas for me at a garage sale for a really great price. All in the same day! I took it as a sign, but it did feel like blank canvases were stalking me! I definitely wanted to add that funny element to my story. I love how the illustrator gave it beady eyes!

ME: I love that, Danielle. It just goes to show how in tune we need to be with the Universe…which is always sending us ideas for stories!

RELATED ACTIVITIES:

Photo courtesy: https://artfulparent.com/how-to-encourage-drawing-skills-confidence-creativity-in-young-children/

Please visit this fabulous website and read this important post about how parents can encourage the artist that lives inside of every child. One of the most important tips is: DON’T DENIGRATE YOUR OWN ARTISTIC ABILITY! (I am definitely guilty of this…even when I do a school visit…I can hear myself saying…oh, the art in my book dummy is so bad. What I think I’m doing is letting the kids know that even though I don’t draw like a professional artist, I do it anyway…but perhaps there is a better way I can say it. It’s kind of like if a parent makes a face when spinach is served…kids clue into not only what we say, but they watch what we do…and then the kid doesn’t want to eat spinach either.

Before I sign off I want to remind you all to leave a comment for a chance to win the FABULOUS giveaway of a Picture Book Critique with author Danielle Dufayet OR a signed copy of BENFORD DRAWS A BLANK. And if you share on social media (which I hope you will), you get extra tickets in the giveaway hat.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!


113 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday: BENFORD DRAWS A BLANK Plus Critique Giveaway

  1. I love this book already. I think it will be read side-by-side with ISH to encourage kids who too early label themselves as bad at drawing. Thank you and congratulations!

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    • Thank you, Maria. We adults are truly role models. I was so lucky to have a great artist-mother role model. She showed me what creativity required -a lot of determination and self-discipline, for sure. She taught me that a “blank” was just an invitation.

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    • Thank you, Leslie. It’s easy to overthink whether it’s starting a new painting or book. We all want that amazing, finished product, but we can never get there if we are paralyzed with perfectionism. I hope my book reminds everyone to create without self-imposed limitations.

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  2. Staring at BLANK anything is intimidating! Sounds like a great book and I love how the illustrator made it funny with eyes! We often forget when we say something to children like the spinach they take it as golden! Lesson learned and thank you! Thank you for the opportunity

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fate does knock on my door once in a while, gently whispering. But today, with your email sent to my inbox, fate was breaking down the door. This is what I received before I clicked to go onto the actual site:
    Site logo image VIVIAN KIRKFIELD – Writer for Children
    Perfect Picture Book Friday: BENSON DRAWS A BLANK Plus Critique Giveaway.
    After reading the blog with the title, BENFORD DRAWS A BLANK, and about Danielle’s book, I discovered the answer to my new years writing resolution; the question of including, as a novice, illustrations into my toolbox. The original email misprint title says it all and Danielle’s book gave me permission to start. By the way, my name is really BENSON. (place Twilight Zone intro music here.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Rose. I truly hope my book reminds kids (and adults) to let go of perfectionism and find the pure joy in making art whether it’s writing, painting, or music -or anything creative for that matter.

      Like

  4. Thank you Vivian. I can’t wait to read Danielle’s book to see what Benford creates. I had a big box of broken crayons, too, as a kid! And those boxes of 64 with the sharpener!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Elise. I, too, love the cover and am so happy I got paired with the wonderful illustrator, Katia Klein. She did an amazing job…and the title, well, it was my wonderful critique partners that helped me come up with that one!

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  5. You kept me reading this post, Vivian, when you said “the 64-crayon box with the sharpener.” I had one, too, and thought it was THE OPTIMUM.As for Danielle’s book–congratulations! This book sounds like a block-breaker for all ages! I hope it’s a block-buster, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I too LOVED the 64-crayon box. Oh, the names of those 64 colors: sunflower, sienna … And oh, how I find the blank page/screen daunting! Danielle Dufayet’s book sounds like a perfect choice for all ages. I’m eager to read it. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This book is certainly getting a lot book love! Everywhere I turn I see a glowing review. It is a topic children and adults will relate to — I know writer’s block and staring at a blank page. Enjoyed the interview with Danielle and learning more about her journey. My grandkids would adore this book! They like funny!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Patricia, for your kind words. The creative block is something we all (or will) experience at one time or another (or a lot of the times). We need to make the “blank” our friend. I’ve learned to look at it as an invitation to express who you are and what you are passionate about.

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  8. This book is going to be so helpful and inspirational to read. I can’t wait to find out how it ends. Blank canvases and pages are so intimidating sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Marci! I’m so happy you loved Waiting Together. I loved writing it! I loved writing this one too. I guess I love writing, lol, but believe me, I struggle with the “blank” just like everyone else. I try to see the “blank” as an invitation -an opportunity- to create something I care about. But the only way to get into the creative zone is to let go of expectations. That’s when the magic happens -especially when I’m painting. If you’re interested, here’s my art website: https://www.danielledufayet.com

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for that! I agree, we stop ourselves even before we get a chance to start! That’s why I especially love abstract art. For me, it’s like dancing with creamy colors and seeing what wants to emerge. I love it when I’m pleasantly surprised.

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    • Thank you, Rebecca. Sometimes the creative process is a mystery, but I think it’s about letting go of expectations and experiencing the joy it is intended to bring. That doesn’t mean the creative process is not challenging and often difficult, but we must always remember that joy is an important part of the process.

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    • Thank you, Stefsennn. I hope my book inspires the writer/artist to just start with something, anything and see where it takes them. Sometimes, the page has to stay blank for a while until we’ve worked out what we want to express, subconsciously.

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  9. Letting go of perfection is something we all need to remember. And I do agree that every child/every person is artistic in some way. Having the encouragement to experiment and just try/make things is so important for little ones.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Marty. Yes, perfectionism is a creativity killer. Having fun and experiencing joy is what makes the creative process so enjoyable and satisfying, but it’s not easy to let go and trust the process, especially as we get older.

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  10. I am so excited to read your book, Danielle. It’s so relatable to adults and kids, and an important message that perfectionism and a great result aren’t the end goal, but letting go and letting your creativity fly is what is the fun part!!

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  11. This is so great! I already can relate to this! When things don’t come easy, children tend to label themselves as a bad (fill in the blank). I can’t wait to read this book to some kiddos I know. Congrats!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Ellen. I agree, we’re so quick to put ourselves down -ugh! We need to learn how to be our own best friend and cheerleader. That was my goal in Fantastic You. It’s so important how we talk to ourselves.

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    • Thank you, Donna. We are our own worst enemy because we tend to want to make something perfect or great the first go-around. Whether writing or painting, we just need to start. Sometimes we have a plan, but when we don’t, we shouldn’t quit. (But it is hard to see beyond that big, white blank sometimes!)

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  12. DANIELLE: OH, I AM SO IN LOVE with Benford–and his ADORABLE dog starring up at the canvas, expectantly! SWEET detail! And I LOVE the backstory to creating the story. Vivian’s right: we need to pay attention to what the universe is trying to tell us–then maybe our canvases won’t stare at us so blankly! THANK YOU for the INSPIRATION! I CAN’T WAIT to read this one–ESPECIALLY on days I need help facing my own blank canvases or computer screen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • OH, thank you so much, Natalie! Yes, I love Katia’s sweet dog who’s trying so hard to be Benford’s inspiration! And the cat… who couldn’t care less. Typical! Did you notice Benford added Van Gogh at the very end? Some see it, others, don’t. ๐Ÿ™‚ Good luck facing the blank. I know you can do it!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Oh my gosh! I can’t wait to read this book! Especially knowing the canvas has beady eyes! ๐Ÿ˜†
    I had a similar experience where I kept encountering the same thing again and again, until I finally sat down and wrote about it! Gotta listen to those signs!

    Like

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