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I hope you enjoy reading kid's picture books as much as I enjoy writing and illustrating them. See "Current Books" tab above for descriptions and sample pages. You can also get free coloring pages and puzzles to print out by signing up for my newsletter, Orangutans and More!  Please click on button below.


What info do I collect?

Email addresses only, no names, phone numbers, street addresses or personal information.


How are they collected?

Personal meetings at book fairs and events, or personal connections on social media, by subscribers entering a contest. No one is subscribed without their permission, and every subscriber is told that a children’s newsletter will be emailed.



The email addresses are used for a bi-monthly children’s newsletter, Orangutans and More, with free activities to print out, Fun Facts for kids about animals and nature, and updates on my picture books. No other subject matter, unrelated to children’s literature, will be emailed.


How are they stored?

I use Wix.com, a reputable email service provider. They store data on secure servers, behind a firewall.


What communication should you expect?

Orangutans and More, my children’s newsletter will be emailed twice a month, with kid-oriented news and information about wild animals and nature. It will include free coloring pages and activities to print out. I’ll also include updates and sample illustrations from the new books I’m writing and illustrating.


How do I opt-out if I’m no longer interested?

Click on the unsubscribe button at the bottom of each newsletter, and your email will be immediately and permanently removed.



One of my favorite activities is sketching animals, especially from life. While I have plenty of subjects among friends’ pets, I much prefer exotic animals, so you’ll find me frequently sitting on a folding camp chair, sketching at the zoo. My orangutan sketches morphed into a children’s picture book, Orangutan:  a Day in the Rainforest Canopy, and since one of my current work-in-progress books is about a rhinoceros, I’ve been stalking that habitat lately, too.

I was thrilled to learn a few weeks ago that the Phoenix Zoo had added a two-toed sloth, named Fernando, to its collection. Sloths are classified into either two-toed or Two toed slotthree-toed. Both have three toes on their hind legs, but the two-toed variety has two on each front leg. Any zoo resident sloths you’ll see are likely two-toed, as the three toed ones don’t do well in captivity. Sloths move so slowly that algae grow on their fur. Their birth rate is low anyway, usually one a year, sometimes hampered even further by the fact that the slow females may take longer than that to find a mate.

Although I’ve gotten used to quick gesture and character studies of his more fleet-footed neighbors, Fernando’s lethargic lifestyle will be more conducive to some detailed drawings. However, I can’t foresee writing an interesting picture book story about him, since he does nothing but sit in a tree branch all day long.

As I frequently do in these monthly blogs, I try to use the animal behavior of whatever muse I’m obsessed with at the moment in an analogy with some facet of writing, illustrating, marketing, story research, etc. Tough assignment this month, since as I may have mentioned, he’s sitting there doing absolutely nothing. Wait! There’s my segue after all!

After a holiday season of frazzled nerves, overeating, angst about what didn’t get done or done right, and running around with the grandkids, I’ve done some recent sitting around staring at a blank piece of paper with a pencil in my hand. I have dozens of New Years’ resolutions spiraling around in my mind, but actual movement, like Fernando, is limited to slowly scratching my head.

Perhaps I’ll learn something from my analogy. My usual tactic is coming up with a jumble of resolutions both for personal and professional growth. Then I dive in with equal enthusiasm for all, and within a few weeks they all fizzle out. How about if I come up with timetables, measureable increments, lists of resources and determined baby steps?

My first resolution is to polish my writing skills. I tend to focus more on illustration because it’s more fun, but in the coming months, I’m going to write a picture book in verse.

My second goal is to expand my marketing acumen, specifically to learn how to run a book launch and how to write good ads for Facebook.

My third is to get serious about consistency in my newsletter. Twice a month.

And that’s enough; slow and steady wins the race.



P.S.  You can see more of my blogs about unusual animals (and what we can learn from them) at


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Rita Goldner Books