PenguinArt by Kate Garchinsky

Tag: Kate Garchinsky


Upcoming Events
4/28 Philadelphia Science Festival Book Reading
  • What: Star Party Storytime at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum
  • When: Friday, April 28, 2017 at 7:30pm
  • Where: Visitor Center, USFWS John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum
    8601 Lindbergh Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA, 19153 MAP
  • Why: Come to storytime for a special nighttime reading of The Secret Life of the Red Fox by illustrator Kate Garchinsky. Join the biggest stargazing party in the region as area astronomers provide tours of the night sky that will unlock the wonders of the universe.
  • How much? FREE
  • Bring: Flashlights, bug spray, walking shoes, and kids… wear your PJs!
4/29 Book Reading and Nature Walk
  • What: Storytime and Local Nature Walk
  • When: Saturday, April 29, 2017 10am-12pm
  • Where: Big Blue Marble Bookstore 551 Carpenter Lane, Philadelphia, PA 19119 MAP
  • Why: Join local children’s author Anna Forrester (Bat Count) and illustrator Kate Garchinsky (The Secret Life of the Red Fox) for a special Earth Week storytime featuring local wildlife stories, followed by a nature walk in Carpenter’s Woods a few blocks away.
  • How much? FREE
  • Bring: walking shoes, and binoculars if you have them
5/12 Willistown Junior Birding Club Book Event
  • What: The Secret Life of the Red Fox Book Signing and Art Workshop
  • When: Friday, May 12, 2017 4:30-6:30pm
  • Where: Rushton Woods Preserve, 911 Rushton Woods Preserve, Delchester Rd, Newtown Square, PA 19355 MAP
  • Why: This charming children’s book gives a beautifully illustrated look into the lives of foxes. Illustrator, Kate Garchinsky, will give a drawing lesson at RWP, all kids will receive a signed copy of the book (to be included in registration fee). Must pre-register by April 28th with Blake Goll 610-353-2562, ext.20 or Or use the SignUp Genius website
  • How Much? FEE (info coming soon)
  • What’s the Junior Birding Club? Club Membership is $25/family for the year. Non-members pay on a per-program basis ($5 per child).

Tag: Kate Garchinsky

My first copy!

Please share! My The Secret Life of the Red Fox is being released tomorrow, and we’ve started celebrating. Join the virtual party! I’m putting together a few storytime/nature walk combo events in the coming weeks, with details coming soon.

If you’d like to host a brick-and-mortar book signing/nature/art event, or can recommend a bookstore or nature center for such a shindig, please email me: KateGarchinsky @

And please, pass it on!


Sharing my nature journal at the bird banding station at Rushton Woods, PA

Tag: Kate Garchinsky


It’s been months and months since I received my first copy of my first book in the mail. At long last I have two boxes of The Secret Life of the Red Fox to sell and give away as I see fit. I’m working on an idea for a blog giveaway, but in the meantime, signed copies are available in my Etsy shop. These copies come with a secret surprise while supplies last. From now until April 22 (Earth Day) use coupon code WUKWUKWUK2017 and receive 15% off orders of $20 or more.

Here’s a little background on how I got to illustrate this bushy-tailed book:

I’ve been working toward this accomplishment most of my adult life—to illustrate and publish my first children’s book. After years of studying the craft, following the industry, and attending SCBWI conferences, I was ready when serendipity called.

I met the author, Laurence “Larry” Pringle, at a nature writers’ retreat at the Highlights Foundation. He told me about his soon-to-be 116th children’s book, a narrative non-fiction book about foxes. He shared his frustration with me that the right illustrator had not yet been found after months of searching. I told Larry, “I can draw a fox.” I drew a little sketch in my nature journal to prove it. He liked it enough to refer me to his editor at Boyds Mills Press, a division of Highlights. I was encouraged to produce some sample illustrations to show how I imagined the story. The editor liked my samples so much, she hung them on the wall in her office. Soon after, I signed my first children’s book contract to illustrate The Secret Life of the Red Fox. My dream had finally come true.


Tag: Kate Garchinsky

RED FOX COVER A rich reading experience awaits those who pick up this title.”— School Library Journal, starred review

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 2017 Calkins Creek, an imprint of Highlights, is pleased to announce the March publication of THE SECRET LIFE OF THE RED FOX, written by renowned science author Laurence Pringle and illustrated by Kate Garchinsky. This non-fiction picture book, perfectly suited to young animal lovers, invites readers on a yearlong journey with a red fox named Vixen.

Delightful descriptions draw the reader into Vixen’s daily routine, as she finds food, hunts, escapes threats, finds a mate, and raises her kits—until the day that she and her mate watch the kits head off to lead their own secret lives. Stunning, realistic artwork by debut illustrator Kate Garchinsky celebrate the beauty of these mysterious creatures, while readers learn important facts about the animal through an engaging and fascinating story.

Children will be captivated by the intimate scenes and entertaining text as they explore this visually enchanting introduction to the red fox’s secret life.  The story is further enhanced with specialized vocabulary, identified by italics in the narrative and defined in a glossary in the back.

School Library Journal says in a starred review, “This intimate and personal view…is chronicled through a beautifully cohesive relationship between text and illustration. Facts and definitions are seamlessly woven into the narrative. …The art…convey(s) intensity and precision… (and) fuels the foxlike moments with emotion.”


Boyds Mills Press, an imprint of Highlights
Written by Laurence Pringle • Illustrated by Kate Garchinsky
March 2017 • 978-1-62979-260-6 • $16.95 U.S. • $21.99 CAN • Ages 6-9 • Grades 1-4


Tag: Kate Garchinsky


redstarPRINGLE, Laurence. The Secret Life of the Red Fox. illus. by Kate Garchinsky. 32p. further reading. glossary. Boyds Mills. Mar. 2017. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781629792606.

secret-life-of-red-foxGr 1-4 –Beginning on a snowy afternoon in February and ending in early autumn, this book centers on a fox named Vixen as she explores her habitat, hunts, runs from danger, and starts a family. This intimate and personal view into Vixen’s life is chronicled through a beautifully cohesive relationship between text and illustration. Facts and definitions are seamlessly woven into the narrative. When Vixen sniffs the air, readers learn that “a fox is a canine, related to dogs and wolves. Canines have super sensitive noses and ears. Vixen can smell faint odors and hear tiny sounds that a human would never hear.” Readers later witness a combination of Vixen’s senses put to use when she leaps and dives to capture a mouse hidden underneath a foot of snow. Conveying the intensity and precision of this specific hunt, the art, rendered with pastels and aqua crayons on sanded paper, also fuels the foxlike moments with emotion, from Vixen and her mate’s tender nuzzle to the curiosity and playfulness of her four kits. Additional facts are located in the back matter. VERDICT A rich reading experience awaits those who pick up this title about an animal that is not only currently trending in popular and kid lit culture (Disney’s Zootopia, Sara Pennypacker’s Pax) but is also a perennial favorite.–Joanna K. Fabicon, Los Angeles Public Library

This review was published in the School Library Journal January 2017 issue.

Tag: Kate Garchinsky

Osprey sketches for a children’s illustrated chapter book. Sketches are done, color to come.

All images ©2015 Kate Garchinsky. All rights reserved.

Tag: Kate Garchinsky

A new year. A blank slate. A chance to renew ourselves. To revisit our goals. 

This time last year I revisited my goal to be a working nature writer and illustrator. I had had enough of just-scraping-by doing work that taxed me, rather than rewarding me—mentally, physically, monetarily, and emotionally. I admit, turning 40 had something to do with it. A birthday of introspection. “What have I done with my life thusfar? How much time might I have left? What will I do with it?” I realized that I spent the past two decades doing work that satisfied others’ needs, but not my own. I skipped over the path that I felt drawn to, and settled for the “easier” one. The one that would pay the bills. Well, it used to.

Staying on this lackluster path had taken a toll on my body. Structural issues in my cervical spine flared up beyond tolerance. It was becoming impossible to draw and paint just for fun when I wasn’t doing graphic design work, because the computer work forced my body into positions that pinched nerves and caused muscles to continuously spasm. It was too much. I reached my limit.

The path grew darker as I imagined myself unable to draw or paint for the next 40 years of my life. Art is not just a hobby for me—it is an essential aspect of my identity. Who I am. From the time I could hold a crayon, I have been an artist. Without art, I am… nothing. That’s how it felt. If I could not create art, life would have no meaning. I would be forced to give up my dream of illustrating books and articles for children. I would lose my connection to my child self.

No! I could not allow this to happen.

With the support of my partner, Brian, and a heart full of hope, I made the decision NOT to take on work that forced me to lose my Artist identity, no matter what the purse. You would think that giving myself freedom to realize my dreams head-on would be liberating, right? Wrong. It was terrifying.

“What if I finally put 100% of my self into being an Artist… and then fail?” asked my nervous mind.

Not trying is giving up before you even start, answered my heart.

I realized that I had dillydallied on the easy path for so long for fear of failure. That is forgivable enough.

Forgiveness—another difficult challenge. I blame myself for everything, all the time. I’m always seeking forgiveness from people outside myself for things I didn’t actually do. Who do I really need forgiveness from? Me.

Sometimes the best way to do something seemingly unattainable is to pretend. Pretend you are what you want to be. Act like someone who has mastered what you want to master. Get a little theatrical if you have to. Eventually, you won’t be acting anymore. You’ll be doing it.

So I did a little bit of acting like someone who forgives herself and stopped apologizing to everyone but me. I tried on some boundaries. I said “no” to some design projects. I took some risks. I signed up for another workshop at the Highlights Foundation, because that’s what someone who was taking their career as a writer/illustrator for children very seriously would do. I crawled off the easy path, put on my bushwhacking gear, and started forging a new path. My own.

The result? I AM a working writer and illustrator. Birding magazine paid to publish my illustrations of Passenger Pigeons. I received an unsolicited scholarship to another workshop. Mentors appeared. So did followers. An ornithologist approached me about illustrating a children’s book. I received an award in a juried art show with the Valley Forge Audubon Society, who then invited me to exhibit with a select few established artists at the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove. I was invited to show my original Passenger Pigeon art at the Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin, where it will hang through July 2015—alongside works by the great Don Eckelberry. I applied for the Eckelberry Fellowship. I submitted a book that I wrote and illustrated to publishers. I have more stories in progress. I’ve got a Philly Nerd Nite presentation to prepare for February 4th.

The more risks I take, the greater the rewards. More than I could imagine (and I can be pretty imaginative)!

Turning 40 was really hard, but yesterday, I turned 41. I am one year closer to achieving my goals, rather than avoiding them. I’ve got mentors at my back, and the life I intended before me. It’s going to be a big year.

End note: the pain in my neck and arm is still an issue I deal with every day. I’m working on resolving the pain, every way I can. It may require taking risks. But so does doing nothing.

Tag: Kate Garchinsky

It’s bad form to go months without blogging. My only excuse is that I’ve been working hard on something greater. I knew that if I wandered off-course to talk about what I was doing, then I would no longer be doing it. I’d be digressing. As I am now. No time for that. No time!

I’m happy to report that I’ve officially finished my dummy for my picture book about the Passenger Pigeon. It’s in the hands of an editor who asked to see it. A solicited submission. I can’t even describe what a humongous deal this is for me. Up to this point I’ve only ever submitted illustration samples and portfolios—never with my own writing. I have long suffered an impostor complex when it comes to adding “author” to my illustrator name (a #TBT post for another time). Let’s just say that my inner poopynannyhead of a critic has been banished to sulk in the corner.

Such good things come from spending time at the Highlights Foundation in Honesdale, PA.

This time last year I spent a long weekend in a crash course led by the godfather of aspiring children’s authors, Harold Underdown. It was the first time I brought all my scraps and bits and pieces about Passenger Pigeons together, and laid them on a table for feedback. I came away from the workshop feeling nurtured, like someone important who knew better than most people actually believed in me. It gave me courage to take bigger baby steps in my writing. You might say I hatched from my protective shell that weekend.

Then, I applied for the Highlights Foundation Writing About Nature Retreat, to be held in May 2014. I was accepted, I attended, and gobbled up seeds of truth and wisdom like a hungry little squab. I grew quickly with the support of my own flock.

A few weeks later, I received a call from Kent Brown, inviting me to attend Chautauqua East in June. Well now, I wasn’t prepared for that! That’s like, one of those serious conferences for those really serious writers who have written and published a hundred thousand things, right? So I thought until I was invited. Honored, I packed my bags again and this time spent a glorious week in the barn in the field by the woodland stream. I wish I could impart just how much more knowledge, support, encouragement, confidence, belonging, and nurturing flowed through me during this magical, week-long adventure. In keeping with the bird analogy, here I fledged.

Fledgeling birds step out of the nest partially feathered, then flutter clumsily to a branch or lower elevation, while receiving continued meal deliveries and guidance from their parents. So it has been for me. I have private Facebook groups with my fellow attendees and faculty from each of these retreats where we keep track of each other, deliver morsels of encouragement, and celebrate each other’s baby giant steps. If I hadn’t experienced such love and validation from the people of the Highlights Foundation, I would likely still be sitting on this pigeon book idea, arguing with my inner poopynannyhead about my right to write it. Instead, I’ve taken my first flight into children’s publishing. I can’t wait to share what happens next.

Pigeon Art is Everywhere

Because I’m an author AND illustrator (yeah, that’s right!), I’ve been painting a lot of Passenger Pigeons. Almost every bird of mine has made it into the public eye at this point. In the May/June issue of Birding magazine, my Passenger Pigeon studies accompany an article by Joel Greenberg, author of A Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon’s Flight to Extinction, co-writer of the new documentary From Billions to None: The Passenger Pigeon’s Flight to Extinction, and founder of Project Passenger Pigeon. Joel connected me with the editor of Birding, as well as the curator of collections at the Woodson Art Museum, and the good folks at the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove. The Woodson took two of my earlier pigeon studies for inclusion in a special exhibit, titled: Legacy Lost and Saved: Extinct and Endangered Birds of North America, which opened the same day as their annual “Birds in Art” exhibit. I think the super-coolest part about this exhibit is that my paintings will hang in the same room as Ivory-Billed Woodpecker originals by the late, great Don Richard Eckelberry. I mean, for real. And they’ll hang there through July 2015.

The Plight of the Passenger Pigeon at the John James Audubon Center. Photo ©2014 Stephen Kacir.

My group exhibit at the John James Audubon house, The Plight of the Passenger Pigeon, opened this weekend on the second floor of John James’ childhood home in Audubon, PA. How about that. Five of my Passenger Pigeon-inspired originals share the room with bird art by other local artists and illustrators, including Michael Adams, Ponder Goembel, Mallary Johnson, Brigida Michopulos, and Lisa Lapoint Roese. There’s also a Passenger Pigeon specimen stuffed by J.J. himself. The show hangs through November 15, 2014.

Never before has my art enjoyed such bird spirited company. I haven’t quite wrapped my head around it.

I sincerely hope that with all these events, and some yet-to-be-announced events to come, I’ll give Martha and her flock of Passenger Pigeons some of the lost attention and remembrance they deserve.

Now if you’ll please excuse me, there’s a Carolina Parakeet named Incas tapping at my window sill.

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Tag: Kate Garchinsky

KING OF PRUSSIA, PA – The Eastern Pennsylvania (EPA) chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) has a new logo, designed and illustrated by Kate Garchinsky.

Adrienne Wright, Regional Illustration Coordinator for EPA, announced a logo re-design contest for the chapter’s logo on June 26, 2014. The online Call For Entry asked for a logo design that would “knock the socks off all the other chapter’s logos!”

Philadelphia author/illustrator Kate Garchinsky decided to enter the contest after hearing Wright’s announcement during the EPA’s Illustrator Day at the University of Pennsylvania.

Prizes included a free SCBWI membership renewal, entry to the upcoming “Sundaes With Editors!” ice cream social on August 17, and of course, exposure.

“I wanted to create a symbol that embodied the spirit of imagination. With the ‘Golden Kite’ as the SCBWI’s official icon, it made total sense to me to honor Benjamin Franklin as our mascot,” said Kate Garchinsky, referring to Franklin’s famous kite experiment. “As children’s authors and illustrators, we invent ways to capture electricity in our work, and share that energy with our readers.” 

The new logo was revealed at the Sundaes With Editors event, and on the chapter’s blog, EasternPennPoints.

Garchinsky’s logo will represent the chapter “indefinitely,” according to the organization’s website.

See the new logo on the SCBWI-EPA chapter’s website at

For more information about the SCBWI, visit

See more of Kate Garchinsky’s illustration at

Tag: Kate Garchinsky

AUDUBON, PA — Opening Reception on Saturday, September 13, 2014, 10:00 AM – NOON
Live book readings by Kate Garchinsky (10:30 am) and Ponder Goembel, Artist(11:00 am)
Show hangs through Saturday, November 15, 2014

This special exhibit, displayed in the historical childhood home of John James Audubon, will honor the life and loss of the Passenger Pigeon. Once the most numerous bird in North America and possibly the world, the Passenger Pigeon met its extinction at the Cincinnati Zoo on September 1, 2014. Not a “messenger pigeon,” “carrier pigeon,” or a “homing pigeon,” the Passenger Pigeon was a wild force of nature that mesmerized anyone who witnessed it, including John J. Audubon. Despite its abundance, in just a few short decades of the 19th century, the Passenger Pigeon was extinguished forever through the careless exploitation of humans. The centennial of its extinction is a teachable moment. Learn more at Project Passenger Pigeon.

The show features Kate Garchinsky’s new collection of children’s book illustrations in mixed media, plus sketches and studies of the Passenger Pigeon on paper. Her iPad drawings will be on display in a digital picture frame slideshow.

Michael Adams (
Kate Garchinsky (
Ponder Goembel (
Mallary Johnson
Brigida Michopulos
Lisa Lapoint Roese (

RSVP on the event’s Facebook Page.