Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Thoughts about this journey; and How Do You Say I Love You? By Hannah Eliot, Little Simon - and a giveaway!

Hello everyone!
Warning, this is a bit of a long post..thank you for your patience! Or scroll to the bottom for a chance to win at this giveaway...
My thoughts and wishes for swift containment of all the Southern California fires are top of mind today, with my eldest nearby in Santa Barbara, I am anxious. She is thankfully safe, but I continue to worry about friends and family. It's awful to see so much devastation first in Northern CA (Sonoma), and now Southern Cal. 
With so much going on in the world and right down south, it seems strange to post happy news today, but I wanted to share a story to those in the kidlit community and beyond about keeping at it (your craft), staying strong, working hard, and staying true to yourself. The journey of an artist is long & winding, frustrating, and tough. It's something that most choose as a second option, or third, or fourth. I found this to be true in my career, choosing graphic design with a concentration in illustration, over straight illustration. I feared how I could make a living in this industry. With many years in the design industry, with a partnership through the many years of marriage and now two big kids (one's 18!), and a community that has supported my work throughout the blog days of, to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, I found the courage to work on my art..and through the years, I have aged (definitely!), but have also grown and have become more comfortable and patient with myself. I've been able to work on some pretty darned awesome projects thanks to many people who I have admired for so long; advice from close friends; people willing to take a chance on me, and agents who have shared my work with others. I am grateful more than you know (and you all know who you are :) )THANK YOU!

One day, back in July, 2016, I was taken aback with sadness from the shooting of police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana..I painted..for that was what I needed to do, and the piece, 'Grow Peace', came about. 
I wrote: So many very tragic and sad things have occurred all over the planet and today, I again, woke up to another shooting, this time of police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It's time for peace. It's time for a change to the light. It's time for humanity, compassion, rational and open dialog, and our ability to think beyond what we feel is not fixable, but work towards a better tomorrow. I'm worried about the future our children and their children will inherit.

If we could all in our own way, move towards the positive, and share our love and light, we can keep the darkness short, grow peace. Wishing you all well, my friends!

It seems timely still today, perhaps even more. I share this because this little illustration, borne out of hope, was shared by my wonderful agent, Nicole Tugeau, on a trip back east to publishers, and a year and a half later, the illo sparked the possibility of illustrating this sweet board book, How Do You Say I Love You?, by Hannah Eliot, published by Little Simon (Simon & Schuster). 
Our very well-loved Snowman. : )
In Japan, we say "Daisuki desu"...

Inspiration can be found everywhere.
My littlest would love sneaking into Zsöfi's sleeping bag when she was young.
In Spain, it's "Te Amo"
In Germany, it's "Ich Liebe Dich"...
Zsöfi approved. ; )
How Do You Say I Love You? By Hannah Eliot
I am honored to have illustrated such a lovely book, celebrating the diverse languages of love while learning how to say, "I Love You" in ten new ways. Gratefully, I'm posting this post to say thank you to all of you who have been on this journey with me. For those who are on their creative journeys, keep going and ENJOY what you do each day. We're lucky to be able to create something that might resonate with others and it truly is a gift that I appreciate whenver I see work from all of you. I am constantly inspired by so many and am glad that there is art in the world, thank goodness. (sending best wishes to the Getty Museum!).

To celebrate the journey, I'm giving away a copy of this sweet board book, so if you'd like a chance, please leave a comment below by midnight 12/11 PST.
Happiest of holidays to all! Shirley
If you'd like to order a copy, please visit: 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

"Grateful and Full, 2017" and it's inspiration...

This piece is titled "Grateful and Full, 2017" in honor of the 2017 National Dog Show Non-sporting group winner: French bulldog, GCHS Haloridge's Cruisin The Open Sea of Arnold, Md. He pretty much stole the show for me at  this year’s event, and I thought I’d paint him resting after a hard day’s work. :)

This piece was inspired by last year's painting of my "Grateful & Full" little corgi.
Hope you are all well and I wish you a wonderful holiday season!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Presenting: I'm Not a Scaredy-Cat, by Max Lucado! And a BOOK GIVEAWAY..enter by 10/15 midnight PST

It's a pleasure to present to you, my most recent illustrated book, 

I'm Not A Scaredy-Cat

A Prayer For When You Wish You Were Brave
By Max Lucado
Published by Thomas Nelson

From New York Times bestselling author Max Lucado, comes I'm Not A Scaredy-Cat, a hilarious new picture book to help kids manage their fears and worries and learn to trust God. Laugh-out-loud funny, yet filled with an important message that God is near so there's no need to fear, kids will learn to put into perspective those things that frighten or worry them.

Thank you to the fabulous people at Thomas Nelson, and to my awesome agent, Nicole Tugeau for this wonderful opportunity, as it's such an honor to illustrate this book! Working with the team to create Scaredy-Cat was a great experience as I tried to create a character that was scared (but not too scared or scary), dealing with his fears throughout the book. It was quite a lively and fun manuscript to work from, and some of my favorite scenes are of Scaredy-Cat battling his fear at the playground, and at the pool. I took some time to make myself laugh a bit with extra details in the pool and newspaper scenes. Some of the articles on the crumpled sheet of newspaper dealt with "Feline Feelings" and "Cats Who Comfort". I hope that these little details bring a smile to the reader.

One of the challenges I had for the cover was that my editor was particular about making that pink doughnut as pink and large as possible, and to make those sprinkles shine. To my delight, the hardcover books with beautiful slipcovers come complete with spot-gloss varnished & embossed Title, and shiny spot-gloss varnished SPRINKLES! SO fun!

I'm hopeful that the story of Scaredy-Cat's ability to maneuver his fears with the help of God's words is helpful and useful to many young readers.

For a chance to win either a hardcopy book or a board book, please leave a comment below before 12/15/17, midnight PST and I'll announce the winners on Monday.

For links to purchase the hardcover and/or board books:

 Also, here's a link to view the author, Mr. Max Lucado, sharing the book in his own words!
(scroll to "Product Media"and view video)

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Take Your Pet to School Day

Hope everyone's enjoying the Fall so far!
A quick update: Congratulations to Julissa Mora, winner of my previous post's book giveaway. I hope you enjoy A Feel Better Book for Little Worriers, and thank you all for supporting the giveaway and the book. :)

I wanted to share this latest piece completed for my agent, - it's "Take Your Pet to School Day" and I had a great time creating this piece envisioning how much fun it would be to bring your pet duck, or hamsters to school. I

My thoughts today are with my eldest, who started at UCSB today - her first day in college, and we are so very proud. Wishing you all the best to spread your wings, Sierra!

Hope you are all's been a busy year for me, and I will share what I've been working on hopefully more steadily in the future, I've so neglected this ol' blog!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

It's a book giveaway! Happy book birthday to...

A Feel Better Book for Little Worriers

by Heather Brochmann and Leah Bowen

Published by: Magination Press, American Psychological Assocation



From Magination Press: Worries can feel like a BIG problem to a LITTLE kid!
A Feel Better Book for Little Worriers assures kids that having some worries is normal—
everyone has them, even adults! The rhyming narration helps kids to identify a worry and where it might come from, as well as provides them with helpful tools to reduce and cope with worries.

Includes a Note to Parents and Caregivers with more information on how you can help your little worrier stay calm.

I'm so grateful to have been able to work on the first in this new series by Magination Press. Many thanks to the kind folks at the APA, Magination Press, my agent, Nicole Tugeau, and the sweet author/sisters, the @bsistersbooks, Holly & Leah! 

If you'd like a chance to win a copy of this book, 
please leave a comment below, 
or find me on Facebook or Twitter (@shirleysillos) 
and add a comment there by midnight, 8/10 PST. 

Or if you'd like to purchase a copy, here's the APA's link for the book
Thanks so much for stopping by! I've been working steadily on six new books this year, and will be back up and running socially (I've taken a bit of a break for the summer) in late September. I hope everyone's taking good care of themselves and enjoying August so far! ~ Shirley

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement today: #Act on Climate

I completely disagree with @potus re: the Paris Agreement, and made this to #actonclimate. In my opinion, The PA was a start and our withdrawal from it signifies the US's yielding to others in terms of technology, jobs, innovation & climate health for our future generations. I'll continue to fight for the only planet we've got.

Apologies for leaving this blog so dusty..I have been preoccupied by life, which has had it's ups and downs. Very grateful for the blessings I see each day in my family, friends, work, the beauty of nature, and a great community such as this. Thank you. I hope you've all been well and enjoy June ahead. Wow! We are blasting through 2017, aren't we?! Many thanks for your visit!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Project Popcorn By Laura Driscoll, Illustrated by me :) / Kane Press

Woohoooooo! I'm shouting it to the rooftops!

Yipppee! The smell of fresh books on a sunshiney day....

 I'm so excited and happy to share with you my most recent book project,
Project Popcorn by Laura Driscoll
with the very awesome people at Kane Press!

So why am I so excited and happy? Well, truth be told, it's because this book was the result of a wish. A year ago at this time, I was steadily working on my portfolio pieces, some very new pieces built on a focus of "story" and adding a narrative to my personal pieces. I was working like a madwoman over the holidays, steadily trying to get my portfolio to a point where I could share it with the world as I was getting ready for my very first SCBWI New York Conference. I had bitten the bullet and was looking forward to my solo trip back east in super freezing temps. This post shared my experience there.

So in prepping for the event, we were able to bring our portfolios and I believe up to 100 postcards to leave with our portfolios at the "Portfolio Showcase", which was a closed viewing of over 200 portfolios for the publishing industry representatives.

Long story short, one of my postcards was picked up by a Kane Press author, and about a week later, turned into this wonderful book project. I can't ask for any better to come from an event which completely blew me away, both inspirationally and motivationally. It was the cherry on top, and I am so honored.

What's even better than the cherry on top? If it were me, a side of truffle fries, or something equally delicious! And if that were translated to working relationships, well, working with the awesome Juliana and Edward at KP, are the truffle fries of clients. Thanks very much to Juliana, Edward, and my dear agent, Nicole Tugeau at for making this all's been a delight!
Ed did a great job adding touches like the popcorn on the frames..thanks Ed!

Here's a little about the book and series:
Project Popcorn
by Laura Driscoll; illustrated by Shirley Ng-Benitez
The Community Champs have an extra-special fundraiser this year—donating Thanksgiving dinners to families in need. With three weeks to go, can William and Lizzie sell more popcorn than ever before?

Math Matters is one of Kane Press' wonderful reading series, focused on math concepts while extending reading and math skills.
Here's a link to order


Share a story or give a shoutout

to an awesome volunteer (maybe it's you?!)

in your community

for a chance to WIN A COPY!

 I'll be picking a winner on February 1, 2017, 12noon PST, and will share swing on back!