I am now very pleased to announce the winners of our Special Delivery art raffle. Together we have raised over $5000 for children’s literacy campaigns worldwide (and a few dollars for The Elephant Sanctuary, too)! Over a dozen non-profits received unexpected donations this month thanks to your generosity. These non-profits ranged from Hawaii to Rwanda and pretty much everywhere else in between. I think I can speak for everyone here when I say, inscrutably, “Chugga, chugga, chugga…beans, beans, beans!”

I’ve been overwhelmed by the number of people that have chosen to participate by making a donation this month. I sincerely wish that we could send an original piece of art to every one of you. Please know, though, that even if your name has not been drawn you have still made an impact—both on me, and more importantly in the life of a child that you may never meet.

And now, drumroll please.

The first pick from the hat is…

1. KAREN ZARUBA who made a donation to my local non-profit, 826Michigan. Congratulations Karen!

The second pick from the hat is…

2. SARA HUDSON who took it upon herself to raise money from friends and colleagues in support of An Open Book and The Elephant Sanctuary. Congratulations Sara!

The third pick from the hat is…

3. CAROLYN VINSON BOU who made a donation to An Open Book which was, by the way, our top earning non-profit. Congratulations to both Carolyn and An Open Book.

The fourth pick from the hat is…

4. DARA LAPORTE who made a donation to An Open Book. Congratulations Dara!

And the fifth and final pick from the hat is…

5. LIZ FITHIAN who made a donation to First Book.

A NOTE TO THE WINNERS: We will be contacting you in the order that your names were drawn. Pick #1 will have first choice of artwork, Pick #2 will have second choice of artwork, and so on, and so forth.

And thus concludes our Special Delivery art raffle. Sigh.

Matt and I would like to thank all of you from the bottoms of our hearts for helping to make this fund drive so successful. Let’s all get together and do it again sometime!

Sincerely Yours,






Hello everyone! We’ve got just over a week to go in our Special Delivery original art raffle. If this is the first you’re hearing of it, please start by watching this short video for the quick details…

Last weekend you could double your chances to win by giving to one of my favorite non-profits, An Open Book. That promo went great, raising approximately $1500 in small donations. That $1500 will provide brand new books to six whole classrooms of children in the Washington D.C. area. For many of these children it will be the first book that they own.

From now until Friday, March 27th at midnight you can once again double your chances to win. Next weekend I’ll be competing in a ping pong tournament to benefit 826Michigan, my own local children’s literacy non-profit. Anyone willing to sponsor my team will have their chances doubled in the Special Delivery art raffle. Here are the two easy steps.

STEP ONE: Click this link and sponsor my team.

STEP TWO: Send an email to specialdeliverythebook@gmail.com and let me know your name and the amount that you’ve donated.

I’m hoping to raise a thousand dollars this week for 826Michigan. Every little bit will help them along on their goal to expand into the great city of Detroit in the coming year.

Will you help me help them (thereby helping yourself)?

I hope you will.

Read all the way through to find out how to DOUBLE your chances to win!

The headline says it all. We’re just over one week into the Special Delivery art raffle, and I’m pleased to say that we’ve been able to raise money for nearly a dozen different children’s literacy non-profits. Donations have been made at every level from the hyper-local (specific school libraries) to the global (scholarship funds for Rwandan teenagers). Every donation that comes in, small or large, really makes my day. We’ve even had classrooms of children raise money together to support their new favorite non-profits. How can you not get excited about that?

Have you considered entering our art raffle, but just haven’t found the time yet? No problem! We still have a couple weeks to go. Check out this video for the introductory details:

Hope to hear from you soon!

And now a BONUS OFFER! Double your chance to win!

For the next few days I’d like to drum up support for one of my favorite children’s literacy campaigns, An Open Book. Anyone making a donation to An Open Book prior to midnight, March 15, will automatically have their entry doubled in the raffle. For example, a $50 donation to An Open Book will earn you 10 chances!



Hello Everyone,

To help celebrate the March 3rd publication of our new book, Special Delivery, Matthew Cordell and I are teaming up to give away 5 original pieces of art. It’s true! For a quick introduction to how this will work just press play on the video below.

Ten bucks and an email—it’s as easy as that!

Q: But wait, how big is the art? 

A: Thanks for asking. Each work of art is 5.5 in. x 8.5 in, much bigger than a real stamp.

Q: Art media?

A: Pen, ink, and watercolor.

Q: Do I need to show you a receipt for my donation?

A: Nope, we are working on the honor system here. If you tell us that you’ve donated $1000, then we will take your word for it and drop your name into the hat 100 times.

Q: Can I really choose my own non-profit?

A: Absolutely! If you have a favorite local, national, or global children’s literacy non-profit then go for it We would love to hear about all the great organizations out there that people are supporting.

Q: When does the raffle close?

A: Anyone sending an email prior to midnight, March 30, will be eligible to win.

Q: If I win, do I get to pick which stamp I get?

A: Yes, sort of. If you win we will ask your preference. The first name drawn will be given first choice. Then the second name, etc., etc.

Q: Is that you playing the guitar so badly in the video?

A: Yup, that’s me!

Q: I’m still confused. May I ask a question?

A: Of course! Send your question to: specialdeliverythebook@gmail.com

Now, for a closer look at Matthew Cordell’s beautiful artwork, and the corresponding stamps upon which they were based…



stamp_monkey_hi StampMonkey


Fun fact: This is my favorite stamp in my whole collection. The back cover of my book, Hello, My Name Is Ruby, is based on this stamp.






Good luck everyone! And please keep an eye out for Special Delivery, on shelves March 3rd…





Hello out there,
I just wanted to pop in and let you know Philip and Erin have created a little blog called Number Five Bus Presents where they will host conversations with fellow “book people” as they say. So far they’ve talked with Eric Rohmann, Cece Bell, Rebecca Stead and Julie Danielson with many more interesting folks to follow soon.

If you’ve already landed here, I really think you might enjoy it there too. Click here to check it out.

Happy summering,
The Blog Thief

Hello again! Your local blog thief here.

It seems things are heating up around here and I have many exciting events to tell you about these days. This time, I’m here to let you know both Philip and Erin will be speaking at the Fifth Annual Storymakers Dinner here in Ann Arbor. The dinner benefits 826michigan which happens to be one of the Steads’ favorite institutions in town and will take place on April 24 at 6:30 p.m. at Zingerman’s Roadhouse. They hope you will be able to join them to help make the event a success.

Space is limited so be sure to get your tickets soon! And, just so you feel extra welcomed, below is the invitation to the event. I think 826michigan is cool with blog thieves inviting people too.

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Just wanted to pop in and let you know Philip and Erin will be at Literati Bookstore in Ann Arbor, Michigan on Friday, March 28 at 7 p.m. to help celebrate the store’s one year anniversary. (Hooray, Literati!)

The anniversary celebrations will continue all weekend and the Steads are very honored to be part of helping to celebrate books and independent bookstores. Beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday, the Steads will read and discuss many of their favorite obscure and semi-obscure children’s books which will also be made available for purchase by the store. Philip and Erin will also be happy to sign any of the books they have created should you wish to bring one along or pick one up at Literati.

Definitely stay updated with more information about Literati’s celebrations via their website and Facebook page. And, again, here is the information for Philip and Erin’s portion of the celebration:

Deep Cuts with Philip and Erin Stead
A night to celebrate little known children’s books that will make you laugh, cry, or scratch your head and wonder “Why?”

Friday, March 28, 2014
7 p.m.
Literati Bookstore
124 E. Washington Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

941330_182938581864394_1494886109_nphoto courtesy: Literati Bookstore

Hello and happy Friday to you! It’s a balmy 40ish degrees here in Michigan today which is downright warm compared to what we’re used to. In celebration, I bring you more sights from around the Steads’ studio.

Today, some progress Philip is making on his book! A blue horse:


A happy looking Wednesday:


The sun!


Some shapes (which I’m positive are much more useful and vital to this project than my irreverent declaration that they are “some shapes”):


And ducks!


Also, I have a feeling this handy little tool will get some good use in Phil’s book:


In Erin’s part of the studio, there are lots of colors (and I always think this looks like art all by itself):


And much anticipation for exciting college basketball games (yes, there is a calendar in the studio dedicated to college basketball):


Hope this finds you with something exciting to look forward to. Yours in peaceful blog thievery,

(The Blog Thief)

Hello out there,
I hope your year is off to a good start. Blog thievery has been a little slow so far this year because I didn’t want to take anything away from the Phildecott and Steadbery Award announcements. But I’ve been getting antsy so I’m back to take over.

There has been much happening around the studio and I had a feeling some of you might be interested in a few of the things I see and hear and (maybe sometimes) smell around here. So consider today the first of a not-so-regular-that-I-don’t-keep-you-on-your-toes series where I tell you about things happening in and around the studio.

Today, everyone was hard at work making art:

On most days – but especially days when Philip and Erin are strictly devoted to art-making – the music streams from morning to night. Oftentimes one artist or one album dominates the day but today there was a wide variety covered. At the moment I chose to photograph “the music”, the Beatles were playing which seemed pretty appropriate given all the hubbub lately.

You might wonder what a studio where much art is being made smells like. Well, I have a surprise for you. Today, it’s one part expected – the spray fixative on the left which Philip and Erin use to set their art once it’s finalized – and one part unexpected – the wintergreen essential oil on the right. Erin is using the oil for some transfer work on the book she is currently making and it’s been a delightful smell around the studio for the last few winter months. Think fresh trees during the part of winter where you’re still excited about winter smells.

Speaking of winter, most things are white and brown outside in Michigan but both Philip and Erin have been hard at work selecting colors for their books. Erin’s selections:

And Phil’s possibilities below. He was most excited about the yellow…said he wanted to frame just this Color-aid sample to contrast what’s going on outside. I have a feeling most of the country can relate, Phil.


And here are a few photos of Phil’s current projects. A complete storyboard of one book:


And some ideas coming together for another:


And, last, one of Erin’s spreads coming along nicely in the evening light:


Well, that’s all for today’s installment of studio sights and sounds and smells. I’ll be on the lookout for interesting things to share with you. In the meantime, I hope you can find some yellow in your lives to enjoy.

(The Blog Thief)