Sneaky Art: Crafty Surprises to Hide in Plain Sight by Marthe Jocelyn - Blog Tour

Monday, December 09, 2013
& giveaway contest!

When was the last time you happened upon a surprise that made you laugh aloud and brought a smile to your face each time you thought of it? The truth is, we probably think we don’t have time for surprises as we hurry from place to place trying to fit everything into our busy lives. But what is a life without surprises? Today’s author, Marthe Joceyln, wants families to put some surprises out there in the world and enjoy watching others stumble across them.

For young artists, tricksters, and crafters, Sneaky Art: Crafty Surprises to Hide in Plain Sight is a hip, friendly how-to manual for creating removable and shareable art projects from easily found materials. The sneaky part is in the installation! Each work of art is custom-created for display in public places—a tiny cork-bottomed boat in a public fountain, a plate of tiny paper cupcakes on your teacher’s desk, a penny left on the ground for a stranger, a funny message left on your mother’s bathroom mirror, and more. This utterly unique guide—part craft book, part art-philosophy—offers a stylish and sweet "made-you-look-twice" spirit of fun meant to put a smile on the faces of strangers and loved ones alike.

Hardcover: 64 pages
Publisher: Candlewick (March 26, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0763656488
ISBN-13: 978-0763656485

Twitter hashtag: #SneakyArt

Sneaky Art is available as a print book at AmazonBarnes and Noble, and IndieBound, as well as at your local bookstore.

Book Giveaway Contest:

To win a copy of Sneaky Art: Crafty Surprises to Hide in Plain Sight, please enter using the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of this post. The giveaway contest closes this Friday, December 13 at 12:00 AM EST. We will announce the winner the same day in the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!

About the Author:

Marthe Jocelyn spent her childhood in Toronto reading books and putting on plays and circuses in her backyard. Marthe has a long string of jobs: theatre usher, cookie seller, waitress, photo stylist, even toy designer before she finally settled on writer. And once she decided to be an author she went forward full steam ahead and now has over two dozen books to her credit. Marthe lives in Ontario with her daughters Nell and Hannah but still visits her old hometown, New York City, where she and her daughter were inspired to begin creating Sneaky Art.

Find out more about the author by visiting her online:

Twitter: @SneakyArtStudio and @scissorhouse


-----Interview by Jodi Webb

WOW: Marthe, visiting your website made me green with envy! So many books, so many genres. My count has it at 26 books: craft books, picture books, board books, historical fiction, YA, chapter books, non-fiction, short stories and anthologies. Tell us how it all began. What was your first book?

Marthe: My first published book was a chapter book called The Invisible Day, the first volume of what turned out to be a trilogy about a girl who finds a makeup kit in Central Park and uses the powder inside to become invisible. I was living in New York with my husband and daughters, owner of a small toy design company. I'd started making picture books just for the girls, about their own lives and adventures.

My then nine-year-old daughter asked one day if she could start walking to school by herself. "HA!" I said. "Maybe if you were invisible..." And PING! I had the idea to write a story in the tradition of Edward Eager (one of my childhood favorites) about real-life kids stumbling over magic in an urban setting. So I wrote the first few chapters, took a writing-for-children class and finished the book.

WOW: And you were off and running (actually, writing). So many authors specialize in one type of book. Why did you branch out into so many different types of books?

Marthe: I have a cluttered mind, which is reflected in my studio. I get a LOT of ideas, most of which evaporate quickly. But ideas come to me in different sizes and shapes, meaning that each one takes me to a different place. I made a vow quite early on that I would try to write a book in every genre of children's book. Having experience as a toy designer meant that although I am completely untrained as an artist—clumsy and not confident—I knew how to cut things out of paper and glue them together. That's how some of the books have my own pictures done in collage.

The non-fiction books are actually the real surprise to me. I never finished high school, but here I am—driven by curiosity more than scholarship—creating work with bibliographies!

WOW: How ambitious! So how close are you to your goal? Let's see: picture book, board book, chapter book, YA book, non-fiction, historical about middle reader, science fiction? I suppose they're still on your "to-do" list?

Marthe: I still need to do an Easy/Early reader, a science fiction, a fantasy, a mystery... maybe a contemporary middle reader, though I consider a couple of the historical novels to be good middle graders. I'd like to come up with a Picture STORY book—all mine are concept books. A novel written in verse. A graphic novel. The list goes on and on!

WOW: Do you have a favorite type of writing or do you love them all equally? All of your books are for children. Are you a teacher?

Marthe: In general I love whichever type of writing I'm not doing at the moment you ask. I was not trained as a teacher but have spent many, many hours in classrooms and now often teach workshops to both kids and adults in art and in writing.

WOW: Sneaky Art is your first craft book. Could you tell us how you got the idea? Are you a crafter or were you inspired by your many author visits to classrooms?

Marthe: I got the idea from raising my kids in New York City. Every walk to school was a chance to look for the crazy, funny, even sad things that people leave in the street, sometimes accidentally and often on purpose. Seeing the opportunities through children's eyes—the mystery of a street grate, the canvas of a sidewalk—I think that's where the idea was first sparked.

I am a crafter and my kids liked to make stuff too—and to play tricks of course. It all adds up.

WOW: Speaking of author visits, can you give us a little advice on how to create a successful author visit?

Marthe: I like to speak with or at least exchange emails with the teacher(s) ahead of a visit, to hear what else the students have studied recently and just to get a sense of the school before I go. It is heart-lifting to walk into a classroom and feel the buzz of excitement because the kids already know a little bit about me and have read at least one of my books. Even minimal preparation makes a huge difference to the success of the hour I spend with a group of readers and writers.

WOW: And what should we avoid? Tell us the biggest mistake/problem you or an author friend has had at a visit?

Marthe: There are times—more often than a good teacher can imagine—when the adult in charge leaves the room or sits texting in the back, using the author visit as a chance to take a break instead of an opportunity to share an experience that can be used for weeks to come.

WOW: What a shame! What would you advise visiting authors to do if faced with that situation. Should they just soldier on ahead, try to draw the teacher into the event or...?

Marthe: Obviously it's a case-by-case situation and there is no point in forcing an embarrassing moment. But near the start, with the students listening, I try to ask the teacher a question that will increase ongoing involvement. Make it a conversation rather than a lecture, so it's more awkward for the teacher to withdraw.

WOW: How do you connect with teachers and schools? Do you reach out to schools, do they find you on your website, does your publisher make the connections or are you involved in an online group that promotes author visits like the Author By State blog?

Marthe: All of the above, though because I currently live in Canada, I belong to the Authors Booking Service instead of Authors By State - same initials though!

WOW: How important do you feel author visits are to the success of a book and an author?

Marthe: Author visits help an author, both from the spreading-the-word aspect and because constant contact with readers is key to knowing their world. The downside is that every minute travelling to schools, visiting, and recovering from the trip is a minute spent not writing. So balance is important, at least for me.

WOW: What can we watch for next from you?

Marthe: I have two books coming out this spring (2014); an'upper' YA novel in March, from Wendy Lamb books, is called What We Hide. And I have collaborated on a middle grade adventure story with graphic elements that comes out in May. It is called Viminy Crowe's Comic Book, co-written by Richard Scrimger with comics by Claudia Davila.

Until then, get sneaky!

----------Blog Tour Dates

Monday, December 9 (today!) @ The Muffin
Stop by for an interview with Marthe Jocelyn and a chance to win Sneaky Art and surprise your neighborhood with surprise art!

Wednesday, December 11 @ CMash Reads
Learn more about Marthe Jocelyn's craft book Sneaky Art and enter to win a Teaching Sneaky Art PDF. A perfect virtual stocking stuffer for your favorite teacher, troop leader or crafty parent.

Thursday, December 12 @ Cathy C. Hall
Marthe Jocelyn, author of children's books and craft books, tells us why "Writing Instructions is the Hardest Type of Writing" Enter to win her craft book—full of instruction!—Sneaky Art.

Friday, December 13 @ Museiddity
Double crafting fun today! One winner will receive a great prize package from Marthe Jocelyn: her book Sneaky Art and her collage kit, the Rainy Day Art Kit.

Sunday, December 15 @ A Ponderance of Things
Don't miss your chance to win a great prize package from Marthe Jocelyn: her book Sneaky Art and her collage kit, the Rainy Day Art Kit.

Monday, December 16 @ Words by Webb
Don't miss a review of Sneaky Art and Jodi’s experiences being the Banksy of her hometown.

Thursday, December 19 @ The New Book Review
Don't miss a review of Marthe Jocelyn's draft book that the whole family will enjoy: Sneaky Art.

Monday, December 30 @ Craft Foxes
Kids have cabin fever for school vacation? Stop by for a fun art project that your family can give to your neighborhood as a gift!

Friday, January 3 @ Thoughts in Progress
New year's resolution to spend more fun time with your children? Then enter for your last chance to win Sneaky Art by Marthe Jocelyn, a book crammed full of fun crafting projects.

Monday, January 6 @ All About Audry
Stop by for a review of Rainy Day Art Pack, a craft kit from Marthe Jocelyn, author of Sneaky Art.

Tuesday, January 7 @ We-Made-That
Stop by for instructions for a fun project from Marthe Jocelyn's Sneaky Art and a chance to win your own copy!

Wednesday, January 8 @ Mother-Daughter Book Club
Marthe Jocelyn, author of Sneaky Art, tells us how collage is a no-fail medium. After you learn more about collage, take a moment to enter for your last chance to win her collage kit: The Rainy Day Art Pack.

Friday, January 10 @ Read These Books and Use Them!
Don't miss an interview with Marthe Jocelyn, author of the craft book Sneaky Art.

To view all our touring authors, check out our Events Calendar. Keep up with blog stops and giveaways in real time by following us on Twitter @WOWBlogTour.

Get Involved!
If you have a website or blog and would like to host one of our touring authors or schedule a tour of your own, please email us at

Book Giveaway Contest: To win a copy of Sneaky Art: Crafty Surprises to Hide in Plain Sight, please enter using the Rafflecopter form below. The giveaway contest closes this Friday, December 13 at 12:00 AM EST. We will announce the winner the same day in the Rafflecopter widget.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!


Unknown said...

How fun! Love the concept.

Julie Jordan Scott said...

I think I'll head out later today and leave some sneaky art in a coffee shop I like to go in. Does anyone ever write "take me, I'm yours!" on the piece?

I think I will... :-)

Great stuff!!

Margo Dill said...

I'm very excited to be a part of this blog tour. Wait until you all see this book. It is so cute! Clever ideas. Love it!

Angela Mackintosh said...

I LOVE this idea! I also enjoyed the interview, ladies. Marthe, you are an inspiration! :)

Renee Roberson said...

Great interview, and I can't wait to see how this tour unfolds. It looks really fun! If only I could be as productive with my "cluttered" mind as you are, Marthe:)

txpepperqueen said...

What a great idea. I love it and want to become part of it!

Candie L said...

I am always looking for quick and easy art activities to do. Thank you


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