Nia loves Alfie, her pet turtle. But he’s not very soft, he doesn’t do tricks, and he’s pretty quiet. Sometimes she forgets he’s even there! That is until the night before Nia’s seventh birthday, when Alfie disappears! Then, in an innovative switch in point of view, we hear Alfie’s side of the story. He didn’t leave Nia—he’s actually searching for the perfect birthday present for his dear friend. Can he find a gift and make it back in time for the big birthday party?
PRAISE FOR ALFIE
"With beautiful, expressive watercolor illustrations...Heder takes readers on a journey about what it means to be a child with a new pet who sometimes loses its luster but never its worthiness of love. A perfect companion for a young pet lover or pet owner-to-be." — Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Her watercolor spreads are carefully executed with few stylistic mannerisms; all the attention is directed toward the characters. It’s a treat watching Alfie deliver Nia the perfect birthday present." — Publishers Weekly
"Nia’s and Alfie’s first-person descriptive accounts are extended by lovely, intricately detailed ink-and-watercolor illustrations that artfully highlight the varying perspectives and amusing moments, as when Nia introduces Alfie to her toys...a charming story of the bond between child and pet." — Booklist
Sophie does not want to do her homework, a research report on polar bears. Bor-ing. They’re big. They eat things. They’re mean. What else is there to say about them anyway? As it turns out, plenty. And when a polar bear named Olafur swoops her away to the Arctic, she soon learns all about the playful bear’s habits and habitat—from glacier mice to the northern lights—and, despite her first reservations, she finds herself not just interested but excited about the Arctic. When the two are swept out to sea on an iceberg, Sophie’s new knowledge and knack for creative thinking pay off in a big way: she calls a whale to their aid! Inspired by her journey, she’s ready to return home and take another swing at her assignment, this time with gusto.
The Bear Report showcases the power of curiosity and imagination to fill any blank canvas, whether it’s an incomplete homework assignment or the Arctic ice.
PRAISE FOR THE BEAR REPORT
"Gorgeous to look at and a tummy tickler to read, this is a very fine book indeed." – Kirkus Reviews, starred review
It’s a great day to go to the zoo! As her family hustles to get out the door, Little T lags behind. She’s afraid to go back to the zoo; the only trouble is, she can’t remember why. As an ingenious solution to help her remember, her mom, dad, and sister construct homemade costumes and act out zoo animals—in alphabetical order, no less! The costumes and scenes grow increasingly elaborate and breathtakingly creative. An umbrella and bubble wrap magically transform into a jellyfish, bath towels and a can of soda become a parrot, and many, many more. At the end of the day, Little T has conquered her fear and no longer feels like a “fraidyzoo.” In this charming, witty picture book debut, Thyra Heder honors the bravery it takes to face your fears, and the loving people who help you do so.
2014 Texas 2x2 Reading Award List Notable Children's Books from ALSC 2014A
Junior Library Guild Selection
*"WARNING: Expect riotous buffoonery after reading this clever and original alphabet story, as kids will definitely want to “parrot” the examples." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
*"Debut talent Heder comes up with a wildly imaginative idea for an alphabet book/animal guessing game, elaborates it with smartly drafted ink-and-watercolor spreads, and seasons it with plenty of family warmth and hullaballoo." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Heder tells a child-relevant story about facing your fears with a light hand and zippy prose, but it’s her art that dials the zippiness up to 11, as her warm and humorously realistic figures gallivant alongside some remarkably envisioned handcrafted animal puppets." —Booklist
"Penny and Jelly are sure to warm the hearts of both future talent-show contestants and readers who have similarly close canine friends." —Kirkus Reviews
HMH Books For Young Readers, 2015
Penny & Jelly: Slumber Under the Stars
Written by Maria Gianferrari
“Following their introduction in The School Show (2015), Penny and Jelly face another crisis head-on, using their indelible friendship to solve a problem. … Another winning friendship tale from a lovable duo.” – Kirkus Reviews
HMH Books for Young Readers, 2016
Yes, I would love to share my books and my process at your school, library, or event and I would be VERY excited to brainstorm a successful workshop. Whether in front of a large assembly, in a classroom, or in a barn filled with cardboard, I look forward to working with you and building fun, dynamic presentations that fit any age audience.
Please contact Tessa Meischeid at email@example.com for fees and availability.
School Presentations for Kids can be scaled up or down depending on AV availability and audience size and run approximately 45 min. I share my path to becoming an author-illustrator, read of one of my books and share a behind the scenes look at the process of its creation. I discuss how I take inspiration from my real life, embrace my mistakes, and enrich my ideas through research. Presentations include interactive props (full-sized polar bear, anyone?), movement breaks and encouraged participation to keep kids interested and inspired. I end with a drawing demonstration focussing on the fun of drawing by scribbling first and worrying later, and a Q and A. I am happy to sign and personalize books at all appearances and encourage pre-ordering from your local independent bookstore.
Full Day School Visits include up to three 45 min-1 hr presentations, or two 1 hour Presentation/Simplified Workshop combos.
Fraidyzoo Costume Workshops are an exploration in costume/mask making using recycled materials. They encourage imagination and ingenuity, finding what you need in what you have and prioritize personal expression over perfection. Workshops can be organized in classrooms or event spaces, and adjusted for any age group depending on time, resources, and the mess tolerance of the working space. In classroom settings with ages 4 and up, we talk about shapes and materials. Using a shape-template I demonstrate how three simple steps transform a flat shape into a 3D horse head and they use this as a jumping off point towards their own ideas. Simple coloring tools, scissors, hole punch and yard is the minimum that is required. Workshops with older kids (8 and up) are more fun with more time and space, and include a larger variety of construction, coloring and transformation materials. Participants are encouraged to go completely wild.
Presentations for Teens and Adults are a deep dive into creative problem solving and the development of an idea through the sketch dummy process into the finished book. I share more from my experience as a storyboard artist for film and advertising and show how those skills are employed to break a story open. Presentations can be paired with workshops on storyboarding as the foundation of figuring out a visual story.