Noted illustrators Jodie, Grant McCallum featured at Writer’s Life Q & A at Marblehead Library

Aug 28, 2019 | Around Ottawa County | 0 comments

Illustrators Jodie and Grant McCallum display an art board for “Chita, the Tin Goose, a Mostly True Story,” written by Donna Lueke and starring a 1928 Ford Tri-motor located at Port Clinton’s Liberty Aviation Museum.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

The Marblehead Peninsula Branch Library will combine the two when illustrators Jodie and Grant McCallum speak at A Writer’s Life Q & A at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 3. The “Creating a Picture Book” presentation will include tips for writers and illustrators interested in learning more about the children’s picture book publishing process.

Having spent many years illustrating greeting cards, calendars, and stationary products, Grant McCallum realized that particular market was dwindling, primarily because of the Internet.
“I decided to approach the children’s book market and found a new source of income that I assigned to over 24 illustrators and authors,” said McCallum, “…a wonderful career change Jodie and I enjoy to this day, albeit at a slower pace.”

Grant McCallum worked with American Greetings in 1966 and encouraged Jodie to apply. The man and wife team have since illustrated over 70 picture books and produced artwork nationally and internationally. Traditionally published through Scholastic, Simon & Shuster, Western Publishing (Golden Books), and other major publishers throughout the United States. The McCallums were honored by Findlay’s Mazza Museum, the largest in the world recognizing the top illustrators of children’s books, as well as the Main Toledo Library, as part of the Robert & Posy Huebner Legacy Foundation Collection. They were nationally honored by the Chicago Authors & Illustrators Roundtable for two series of books, “Alphabet Town” and “Vowel Series.”

Now semi-retired, the McCallums illustrate from their home studio in Marblehead. Ice cream lovers are greeted by their wall mural in the Toft’s Dairy Ice Cream Parlor in Port Clinton. They also illustrated “Chita, the Tin Goose, a Mostly True Story,” written by Donna Lueke. The picture book is about a 1928 Ford Tri-motor plane that serves as a star attraction at the Liberty Aviation Museum in Port Clinton.

Following the Sept. 3 picture book Q & A, the McCallums will be available until about 7 p.m. at the library to sell copies of “Chita, the Tin Goose, a Mostly True Story,” and sign autographs. All proceeds benefit the museum and go toward youth education aviation programs and the restoration of another Tin Goose at the museum.

Prior to embarking on the field of children’s book illustration, the McCallums consulted with authors and publishers in the field.

“Many interesting career suggestions were made,” said Jodie McCallum. “We encourage anyone who is contemplating a career or just thinking about authoring a children’s book to receive guidance from the pros.”

A Writer’s Life Q & A features monthly writing topics and is open to anyone from the Lakeside-Marblehead area or surrounding communities. Future topics will include Life Stories: Writing the Personal Essay; All About Self-Publishing; and Writing the Histories of our Community. The informal discussion group welcomes writers of all skill levels and is facilitated by published essayist Brenda Haas.

Upcoming Q & A dates include Oct. 1, Nov. 12 and Dec. 3. For details, contact the Marblehead Peninsula Branch Library, 710 W. Main St., Marblehead, 419-798-0477,, or visit

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