Tara Lazar and James Burks – Picture Book Month

Tara and James 2

Click here if you missed our first spotlight!


Today’s entry in our Author/Illustrator spotlights (in honor of “Picture Book Month“) features debut author Tara Lazar and illustrator James Burks.




Tara Lazar is best known for founding PiBoIdMo (Pie-Beau-Id-Moe), otherwise known as “Picture Book Idea Month” back in 2008, and is now in it’s 6th year!


PiBoIdMo was created as a challenge to NaNoWriMo, aka “National Novel Writing Month” to give authors and/or illustrators of picture books an event to call their own!


But while both challenges are a month long. the similarities end there, for while NaNoWriMo’s goal is to draft a whole novel in a month, PiBoIdMo’s about generating 30 ideas for picture books.


While your lit. rat’s primarily a novelist, I do want to jump into the world of picture books, and last year was my first year taking part in the challenge and I got my 30 ideas.



I’m taking part again this year and while I’m not at 30 ideas yet, I will make some headway this final week of November!




Anyway, while Tara was building community through her PiBoIdMo challenge, she was working away on picture books of her own, and is now beginning her path as a published author-


The Monstore

Her debut picture book, “The MonStore” (Illustrated by James Burks) was published on June 4th, 2013 by Aladdin, and T.A.A. will be reviewing it soon!



Her second picture book “I thought This Was A Bear Book” (illustrated by Benji Davies) will be published by Aladdin in August 2015.


Learn More about Tara, her books, and PiBoIdMo, at her official website: http://www.taralazar.com 


Also, check out her interviews on

“Brain Burps About Books” the #1 podcast about the business and craft of Children’s Publishing, founded and hosted by author-illustrator Katie Davis


Ep. #201 (How To Get Ideas For Your Picture Book | Picture Book Idea Month)


Ep. #68 (Picture Book Month)


She’s Also on Twitter via @taralazar



Illustrator James Burks first began his career working in animation, his best known film being  “The Iron Giant” (Released August 6th, 1999) which is celebrating it’s 15th Anniversary in 2014, and later began his foray into illustrating children’s books-

James Burks Books

In addition to illustrating Tara Lazar’s debut “The MonStore” and “Open Wide!” (written by Stephen Krensky), James also writes and illustrates his own books: From the “Bird Squirrel” graphic novel series, to picture books such as “Gabby and Gator” (Coming out in Paperback February 2015!) and “Beep and Bah”


Learn more about James at his OFFICIAL website: http://www.jamesburks.com


He’s also on Twitter via @jamesburksart 


Also, don’t forget to check out his interview on

“Brain Burps About Books”


(Ep. #204:Tips for Illustrators with James Burks | Celebrating Picture Book Month)










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  • Thank you so much! I hope you enjoy THE MONSTORE!

  • Good luck with the rest of your 30 ideas!