From the first week of 2016, the Chinese year of the Monkey, Marjorie was already at her desk working. She had worked through the 2015 Christmas holidays and completed the final illustrations of the first two books in the The Adventures of Willy Nilly & Thumper book series in the first quarter of 2016.
The highlight of Marjorie’s 2016, however, was in May, when she flew to Texas, invited and hosted by the author Jim Henry, for the official launch of the first two Willy Nilly and Thumper books.
The Adventures of Willy Nilly & Thumper (Book One):
The Lost Treasure of Mount Methuselah
The Midland County Centennial Library in Texas, USA, broke an attendance record for author-related events on Saturday, 14th of May 2016, with the release of Book One and Book Two in the new children’s book series, The Adventures of Willy Nilly & Thumper by Jim Henry with Jimmy Patterson and illustrated by Marjorie van Heerden. Attendance for the day totalled 2,229, far exceeding the library’s average of 750 visitors on a Saturday during this time of year. The book launch party featured workshops, storytelling and giveaways for families. It also included book signings, readings, face painting, balloon animals, hot dogs, and complementary book bags for the first 300 guests. Lines stretched through the library with patrons waiting as long as 90 minutes for book signing. (see: https://willynillyandthumper.com/news-events/)
This Saturday launch day at the library was one of many events, parties and other activities, related to the Willy Nilly & Thumper books, that took place during the week that Marjorie spent in Midland as Jim Henry's guest.
Jimmy Patterson, Simone Kaplan, Marjorie, Paula and Jim Henry
Jim Henry and Marjorie.
Marjorie & Simone Kaplan.
Book signing - Jim Henry, Marjorie and Jimmy Patterson.
The launch of the Willy Nilly & Thumper books at the Midland’s Library.
In the second half of the year, after the launch of the Willy Nilly & Thumper Books One and Two, Marjorie started illustrating the next two books in the series.
The Adventures of Willy Nilly & Thumper (Book Three):
Stella Star was published on the 5th of December 2016.
The Adventures of Willy Nilly & Thumper (Book Four):
Charlie, the Cross-Eyed Crocodile
Charlie, the Cross-Eyed Crocodile is scheduled to be published early in 2017.
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As in 2015, while working on these American publications, Marjorie was also doing illustrations for Storiemuis (“Story Mouse”), the series of Afrikaans children's books written by Leon Rousseau and published by Human & Rousseau Publishers in Cape Town - sadly Leon died during the year. As before, the next four books in the series were illustrated by three illustrators, Marjorie, Karen Ahlschläger and Johann Strauss.
During 2016 Storiemuis, Books Three, Four, Five and Six were published.
In 2016 Marjorie was once again, for the eighth consecutive year, invited to present the 5-day Children’s Book Illustration Course at the Centre for Comic, Illustrative and Book Arts (CCIBA) at the Stellenbosch University’s Department of Visual Arts. This forms part of a series of creative workshops offered by the university during the Spring Break.
Marjorie continued as Co-RA for the South African chapter of the SCBWI, but because of her work load during 2016 she was not able to be as active as usual. Dr Elaine Ridge (the other Co-RA) and their committee members picked up the slack. Marjorie did, however, present a 2-day intensive workshop on How to Draw Children, for members of SCBWI (SA).
2016 was definitely a very busy year but Marjorie is ready for 2017, the year of the Rooster.