Catch me if you can… Shadow Chasers!

9780762447206 Shadow Chasers  has just come out! It is my 2nd book with Running Press. Join these 3 children on a search for shadow animals as the evening light descends. Can you spot the rabbits? What else can you find? shadowchasers_ellymackay1A book to celebrate shadows – a bedtime read or to share at Summer Solstice or Groundhog Day. Why not make some shadow puppets of your own? We had a local book launch on Saturday and the children made shadow animals of their own.Ellybooklaunch_Apr14_02Ellybooklaunch_Apr14_04   This is how. With pencil, draw your animal. Cut it out. Open a paper clip and take one side to your shadow puppet. On the other side of the paper clip, take a popsicle stick. For ones with movement, create two parts with two sticks (i.e. with a rabbit you could make the front and back of the body) and attach them with a brass fastener. shadow puppet elly mackay1 IMG_8233 IMG_8225

I’ve been having fun with shadows for years. Here is one from a series of shadow play photos I did in 2010.

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The kids have learned to make shadow animals with their hands too! 9780762447206

Some early REVIEWS:

Kirkus:  Intriguing illustrations draw readers into a meditation on shadows…. Playful and more than just a little mysterious—like a shadow-puppet play in full color. (Picture book. 3-6)
21st Century Media News Service (Bobbie’s books of the month): The magic of outdoor play on a summer’s evening is perfectly captured on each page. “Oh, the shadows, they move swiftly! /Ever changing just out of reach.” Three children follow shadows into the forest until nighttime falls and they return home. MacKay’s astonishing photographed lit paper scenes are the perfect medium for establishing both the mood and action of this gentle, dreamlike story. Buy the book at a bookstore near you – Indiebound! Or at Indigo or Amazon
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Nice press….

This month and last I was featured in a couple of great Canadian magazines and though I have been feeling a little shy to post this, I need to thank these lovely people (and perhaps you will be curious to check out the great articles they have written – they are online too).

For the Kid-Lit edition of Quill and Quire, I was interviewed by Dory Cerny. She had a team come up to the studio for a visit to take some photos. They drove through a snow storm… I kept waiting for them to call to cancel but they made it here and it was a great afternoon drinking tea together in the studio. Here is the link to Dory’s article and Katrina Cervoni’s photos. (Thank you Dory, Shannon, Katrina and Shayda)

The other interview… was with Chatelaine. I am April’s ‘Ms. Chatelaine‘. So surreal. Dominique Lamberton wrote the article and Sian Richards drove up, to take photos. They even dolled me up with hair and make up. A very strange experience but very enjoyable too. I have only been to a spa once but it felt perhaps a bit like that. (Thank you Dominique, Sian, Briggita and Karen) Here is my boy – he found me! And here is the link:


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Winter, in wait of Spring…

So much has happened since my last post and life has been pretty full with these two.


I’ve been working on the Anne of Green Gables Series lately and doing some personal work too.  Here are a few of the personal works:

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You can find them in my shop if you would like one… except for this last one – I was feeling in a bit of a fog when I made this but thought I would share it anyway.  :)

I’ve been playing with animation on the animation table Simon made for me… I am still not ready to show any but here is a still.




*If You Hold A Seed, my first book was chosen by the Ontario Library Association as a one of ten Picture Book – BEST BETS!

*I am now doing workshops in the schools. It is such fun – if you would like to have me in and make a forest with your students you can find information here. Here is a link to the Author Booking Service.

*I will be in Thunder Bay for the Forest of Reading on May 9th and in Toronto on May 14th.

*The Trailer for my new book Shadow Chasers (COMING in May) is now up!

Hope everyone is doing well! Elly



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FLOW International Feature

Mail is exciting…. especially when it is FLOW. And super exciting when you know your art is inside. (Thanks Flow for the feature!) If you are a paper-lover, you will LOVE this magazine. This magazine has done really well in The Netherlands and so they have gone International. This is the 3rd International English edition. They always have extra little goodies – stickers, banners, notebooks – little treasures. You can buy one for yourself or a friend here:


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New York – Society of Illustrators Original Art Show – Thank you Running Press!!!

I couldn’t believe it last week when my amazing editor, Marlo Scrimizzi from Running Press offered for us to meet in NYC!

I went through a snowstorm on the way to the airport but when I arrived at my hotel, what a wonderful view – oh, New York! That evening I had a night out with Marlo, the Running Press book designer, Teresa Bonaddio, and my agent Kirsten Hall (who I got to meet for the first time) at the Original Art Show. One of my works from If You Hold A Seed was on display. It was such an honour to be included in the show. I got to meet some awesome illustrators there! With a packed show and ipod camera, I didn’t get too many pics of the art on the walls but here are the winning books. Have you read them? (You can read about the winners and see all the books here.) The show will be on until December 21st.

After the show, Marlo, Teresa, Kirsten and I went around the corner and ate a late dinner at the Fig and Olive. I don’t know how long it has been since I was out past 8 O’Clock (given my two little kids), so Marlo and I  decided to take in the lights at Time Square. In the morning we met for some NYC bagels and made plans for future books! It was so good to talk to Marlo in person and discuss all the details. Kirsten joined us later at the City Bakery and together the three of us wondered through shops and bookstores. (Kirsten’s pics are below.) But… after buying some books for the kids and it was time to go home! 17 hours of travel and 24 hours there – New York was a  whirlwind and so much fun! So many great memories. Thank you so very much Marlo and Running Press!!!

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I’m am so excited and honoured to announce that If You Hold A Seed.. is on the list of terrific books nominated for the 2014 Blue Spruce Awards! What authors and illustrators to be among! I can’t wait to meet them. Here’s the official list:

A Good Trade by Alma Fullerton & Karen Patkau
I Dare You Not to Yawn by Hélène Boudreau& Serge Bloch
If You Hold a Seed by Elly MacKay
In the Tree House by Andrew Larsen & Dusan Petricic
Mr. Zinger’s Hat by Cary Fagan & Dusan Petricic
Oddrey by Dave Whamond
Sky Color by Peter H. Reynolds
This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen
Uncle Wally’s Old Brown Shoe by Wallace Edwards
Willow Finds a Way by Lana Button & Tania Howells
If You Hold A Seed by Elly MacKay1
Praise for If You Hold A Seed -Running Press:
“Glowing paper dioramas are the heart and soul of MacKay’s debut. . . .”—Publishers Weekly
“All of [MacKay's] forethought and preparation has fittingly paid off in a story that is as surprising as it is nakedly inspirational.”—Jay Bushara,Huffington Post
“The magic of this debut picture book rests in MacKay’s diorama-style illustrations . . . Just the right antidote for The Giving Tree.”—Booklist
“The book will be suitable for quiet one-on-one sharing or perhaps as a bedtime selection.”—School Library Journal
“[MacKay] does show unusual sensitivity to effects of color and light.”—Kirkus Reviews
“A magical, serendipitous story. . . . “—City Book Review
“This beautiful story is good for all young children. . . .”—Parents & Teachers, U.S. Kids Magazines
“The delight here is in the remarkable cut-paper forms that bring each scene to life. Delicate and meditative.”—ForeWord Reviews
“Simple words and beautiful illustrations teach the timeless lesson to never give up, and that with love and patience, a dream can turn into a wonderful gift.”—Charlotte Parent
“Each page promises many rewards through repeated viewings, and the book seems destined to become a classic.”—Quill & Quire


I have just added a page to my website For Kids and Teachers with an art activity for kids and teachers to explore after reading If You Hold A Seed. Lily tried it out. This is her forest and moving deer.



I have another exciting bit of news to share… I am off tomorrow to New York!!! If You Hold A Seed was selected to be included in the Original Art Show at the Society of Illustrators. The fine folks at Running Press are flying me down. Some of the fantastic illustrators – Isabelle Arsenault, Peter Brown, Oliver Jeffries, Jon Klassen, Seth… eeeep! So much fun. This will also be a chance to meet with my editor Marlo Scrimizzi about the book I am working on, Shadow Chasers. Thank you Running Press – you are an amazing publisher to work for!


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Bouncing Light on Water

I have just started playing with reflecting light on water. Here are a few island scenes. I take several shots of each scene and love the variation the waves give. The last ones are just water. (The islands have a story to tell. A print can be purchased in my shop – Here.)

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I am quite obsessed with light… so when I hear a radio show about it I get excited. Have you heard of Lene Vestergaard Hau? A new hero of mine… She spends her afternoons slowing light down to bicycle speed! Yup… mind blowing. She is full of wonder and surprises herself – as you can hear in her interview on Radio Lab. They have 2 stories on her work. This first one is really something. I put my work down and just sat and listened, then listened again… and again. She explains how she not only plays with the speed of light – but can do the reverse of teleportation. Hope you enjoy it too.



Lene Vestergaard Hau – Professor at Harvard. She does the reverse of teleportation – light to matter and back to light! These are her lasers.


I am now working on the covers for the Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon box sets, written by L. M. Montgomery – to be published by Random House Penguin next year! A dream job. I will be sure to give updates.

I finally finished up Fall Leaves! It will be out in the Fall of 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children. So excited about this one – perhaps someday I will meet the talented author, Loretta Holland.


This week I have been playing with shadows for my new original picture book with Running Press – Shadow Chasers! It is really coming together.

Hope you are having a beautiful autumn – check out that Radio Lab story! Too good to miss -Elly

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