Monday, June 24, 2024

Happy Birthday, Tumble!


Hip hip hooray! What an amazing first year for Tumble!

Happy Birthday to Tumble which turned 1 year earlier this month. For a lyrical picture book about a tumbleweed, this book has had quite the year! To recap, over the last year TUMBLE has received starred reviews from:

  • School Library Journal
  • Kirkus
  • Publisher's Weekly.
photo by alethea kontis, tumble in kansas
(Photo: Alethea Kontis)

Tumble was chosen as an American Library Notable Book. It was also selected as A Best Children's Book of the Year by Bank Street College.

This tumbleweed picture book was listed as one of Chicago Public Library's Best of the Best picture books as well as an Evanston Public Library Blueberry Honor book. It was in the Scholastic Book Fairs for a split second, and lots of family sent me photos to share. I love it when people spot Tumble in the wild!

It was also the featured book at a beautiful literary event in Florida and holds a very special place in my heart.

Happy Birthday, sweet book! Keep on tumblin'!

Teachers and parents, if you're looking for activities, STEAM tie-ins, and more, you can find worksheets here.

Thursday, June 13, 2024

The Grumpy Artist

cat illustration by me Adriana Hernandez Bergstrom

When I first started writing this a few weeks ago, I thought it would be about celebrating the one year birthday of my book, TUMBLE, sharing my new art, paintings, and summer plans. But, so much has happened in the land of social media and how it affects artists that I could not gloss over the chilling effect it has had on how I share my work.

The backstory: Meta (the parent company of Facebook and Instagram) has decided to scrape all existing images to train artificial intelligence engines (and probably resell it to users in the form of a new app or whatever). At the same time, Adobe (parent company of Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign) has also decided to scrape the usage data and art created by millions of its users industry-standard software to continue to train its own artificial intelligence engines. Adobe was/is likely already scraping our data. 

Last year, they rolled out Adobe Firefly, a generative A.I. tool where users could generate entire sections of their compositions using text prompts. I think most artists signed up to use the toolset that Adobe provides to make creative work and meet industry standards for design and illustration. I highly doubt any of us signed up for Adobe's subscription to feed some engine with our creative work, only to then have it regurgitated back to us for the low-low price of a monthly subscription fee. I've been thinking hard about whether I want to continue to share my art digitally and whether I want to use Adobe tools to make my work. It's a very hard pill to swallow after literally decades using and mastering these tools.

Jump here if you don't want the backstory. All of this artificial intelligence drama has affected how free I feel sharing my work on the internet. It has further solidified my own thinking that I should go back to blogging and dedicate more time to making in-person connections, doing school visits, and writing.

Whenever I start thinking too much about all of this, I just get really down. The solution tends to be making art by hand and "touching grass," as well as focusing on telling stories through my art and words. I guess that's what I'll be doing more of in the future.

Motivation: the look on a child's face when they read one of my books and it sparks curiosity or connection. That makes it worth it to me to keep going. Hope it does the same for you.

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Nerd Camp CT 2024

I went to my first NErDCampCT in March over in West Hartford, CT. It was the first in-person one I'd been to, and I wanted to share my experience. I think this event is a really wonderful way for librarians to connect with each other as well as authors in the area.

The way it works is really up to the attendees. Upon arrival and registration, you mingle and together with the others present, create a schedule for the day. It is that informal!

It was such a whirlwind of information and connection with educators, librarians, and other authors and illustrators.

We (child and I) learned to make 'zines and learned about nonfiction books.

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

2024 STORYSTORM GUEST! Adriana Puts Her Thoughts in Order

Originally posted on January 23, 2024 as part of STORYSTORM 2024! 

By this point in Storystorm, I’m sure you have a LOT of ideas. Smoke might even be pouring out the sides of your ears. Your eyes might be spirals of overwhelm. 😵‍💫 Do not despair! Let’s take a moment today to organize your ideas and get a few of them ready for the rest of the writing process. Clearing your mind a little may even inspire some new ideas when you’re done.

Firstly, how are you keeping track of your Storystorm ideas? Maybe you’re using the official Storystorm notebook, maybe each idea is on a separate page or post-it note, or maybe you prefer a digital list on your phone. Whatever you do, make your ideas easy to access and simple to find. Bring all your ideas together in one place.

Next, let’s sort them. It helps me to do this on paper so I can think without distractions.

Take a moment to look at your list of ideas one by one. Do any of them stick out to you or give you a little jolt or make you smile? Does your imagination run away with any of them? Do any ideas make you want to draw or write more? Let’s mark those ideas as your top contenders.

For my top ideas, I like to doodle and do a bit of visual note-taking. Take your top three concepts and let’s doodle!

You can see my full guest post over on

Adriana Hernández Bergstrom is a Cuban-American artist and children’s book author-illustrator. She loves languages and literacy and is the author-illustrator of ABUELITA AND I MAKE FLAN, TUMBLE (Orchard Books, 2023) and COUNTDOWN FOR NOCHEBUENA (Little, Brown, 2023). Follow her on most social media channels as @adriprints, or check out her blog and website

Saturday, November 25, 2023

SCBWI Prairie IL Writer's and Illustrator's Day


thank you to prairie illinois SCBWI

I had my very first keynote speech earlier this month, and I am still buzzing! SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) has chapters all over the United States and the world. The Prairie Illinois chapter had an amazing lineup this year, and I'm not just tooting my own horn here. They had established authors as well as up-and-coming authors (<-- that's me!) in addition to publishing-industry professionals like my art director for TUMBLE. I was really humbled to be included in the lineup. 

Michael Leali was the first keynote speaker, and I am glad I didn't know that going in because my anxiety may have taken over. Leali is the author of the award-winning middle grade novel THE CIVIL WAR OF AMOS ABERNATHY, and his keynote speech was so very moving and inspiring. I was able to be a fly on the wall for a few of the sessions and learn new things.

At the faculty dinner, I finally met the lovely and personable Sarah Aronson who cross-marketed her book BRAND NEW BUBBE with my book ABUELITA AND I MAKE FLAN last year. I got to meet illustrator Denise Holmes, too! We've been internet friends since I started making my way back into the art and design world in 2016 or so! Natasha Tarpley shared a bench and some fresh air with me. Denise and Natasha, thanks for being great lunchtime buddies! 

I was even able to reconnect with my friend Beth Schneider who lives in the area. Beth and I exhibited  our surface pattern and illustration work at Blueprint and Surtex pre-pandemic. Feels like a lifetime ago.

The entire SCBWI IL team, faculty members, and membership were so incredibly welcoming. I couldn't have asked for a better first-time-faculty experience. November is shaping up to be quite a month!

(Please note: authors and illustrator names have been linked to their books via Amazon affiliate links)