Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Author visits galore!

Every time I do an author visit I make new friends. Most of the time I make friends with kids and teachers, but recently I visited East Hanover Elementary as part of a district wide visit, and I made a new friend who wasn't even human. Perhaps I should have said that I had a new friend made for me? A really cool full size robot based on my book “The Robobots.” My overall experience at Lower Dauphin was really great. I was able to visit my brother in law’s school. He’s the principal at Nye Elementary. I also visited South Hanover, Conewago, and Londonderry Elementary Schools. The librarians and teachers did a great job preparing the kids for the visits. Great questions, even from the littlest ones, and they all seemed excited to learn a little bit about how books are created, from idea to completion. Fun! Fun! Fun!

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Had a great time this past week visiting all the kids and teachers in the Lower Dauphin School District. Even got to spend some time with my brother in law (and elementary school principal) Mr. Doug Winner at his school, Nye Elementary in Hummelstown. Will be wrapping up my visits to that district Wednesday Nov 10th at East Hanover Elementary.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Updated Website!

At long last I have updated my website to reflect my most current books. Not really a big change by any means but long overdue. Phew!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Twelve Snails now in its 16th printing

Hooray! Just been informed that "Twelve Snails to One Lizard" keeps on teaching kids about measurement in a fun way. Now in it's 16th printing!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Lots of fun. Mays Landing NJ two weeks ago and last week in the Dover Area School District in PA.In Mays Landing they had a Robobot Book Cover Contest. All the kids created their own version of the Robobots. The winners from each grade got to have a pizza lunch with me. We had a blast! In Dover the kids created a bazillion flip flops out of paper and had them hanging all over the place. WALLS COVERED WITH FLIP FLOPS!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Author Visit News

Just had two wonderful days at Landisville Primary Center. K-2, those are my peeps. We had a great time and everyone couldn't have been nicer.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Author Visit News

Fun visit with all the teachers, parents, and kids at Ebb Valley Elementary on Friday, April 9. Thanks to everyone who made the day such a success.

Monday, April 5, 2010


April 9th Ebb Valley Elementary (Manchester, MD), May 3rd and 4th Landisville Primary Center (Landisville PA), May 6th Online McCulloch Intermediate School (Dallas, TX), May 21st Salladasburg Elementary (Jersey Shore PA), May 27th and 28th George L. Hess Educational Complex (Mays Landing NJ)

Friday, March 19, 2010


Although every book I write comes from somewhere deep down, I think that “A Wish for You” is perhaps one of the most personal. Some of my past books have been flights of fancy, some have been inspired by a single fleeting occurrence, and some have been simply a nifty exercise in wordplay and visual concept. Sometimes, however, a book will combine all of those with something a bit more important, a profound life changing experience.

Many years ago I met my wonderful wife, Victoria. We had many adventures together and loved each other deeply, but at one point we knew something was missing. We wished and wished for children. Sometimes the wishing was sad because we thought our dreams would not come true, but after a while we were blessed with the birth of our twin daughters. It was more than we could have wished for. More work. More joy. More work. More tears. More work, but most of all more love than we ever imagined. This book is all about that love and excitement of forming a new family.

The illustrations for “A Wish for You” were created digitally, but I always start with a regular old fashioned pencil drawing. I love to draw. It’s probably my favorite part of the whole process. I then scan the drawing into the computer and work over it using various software techniques. For this book, I used mostly Corel Painter and a Wacom tablet. It allowed me to get the soft impressionistic feel I felt this book needed. The best thing about working digitally is I can always “UNDO”. I build up layer upon layer usually starting with a ground color first. I want to get rid of that white paper as soon as possible. It helps me see things better. The biggest struggle for me sometimes is to keep the energy of my initial drawings when I am putting all of this “paint” over top of them. I like a lot of brush strokes. At the end of it all I don’t want the art to look like it was created on a computer. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

I am very happy when I have completed all 32 pages of a book. I guess you could say creating a book is something like having a new baby. It is very often more work and tears than you imagined but is always a labor of love.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


In a series of pictures and a simple, rhyming text addressing a young child, his parents explain that before he was born, they were two individual people who met, had fun together, married, and explored the world “in a bright red canoe.” They wished for a child, prepared for his coming, and rushed to the hospital, where he was born. They played with the baby, bathed him, and took him out to see the world. Each line in the text rhymes with you (no mean feat) until the three final pages, which proclaim, “We’re not just two. / We’re three. / Yippee!” With just a few words on a typical double-page spread, much of the story is told in the lively illustrations, from full-page pictures to small panels. Though the palette is subdued, the digital artwork creates a freewheeling, cheerful look with plenty of engaging details. For parents reading to their children, this book will lead naturally into each family’s own stories. Preschool-Kindergarten. --Carolyn Phelan

Monday, March 15, 2010


Kirkus Reviews
Novak, Matt

In this lighthearted chronicle of the making of a family, text and art deliver an affirmative message. A man and woman meet accidentally, fall in love, marry, travel the world, wish for a baby and become happy parents. Told from the perspective of the parents in simple, engaging verse, the text repeatedly focuses on the child reader as "you," which cleverly rhymes with the "000" of hospital visitors viewing the new baby, the "Goo" of the babbling tot, the "kitchy-koo" and "peek-a-boo" of parents playing with baby and the "pee-you" of the dirty diaper. Amusing and animated pastel-hued illustrations provide warm and fuzzy context and needed detail. Bucolic vignettes showcase the courtship, engagement and wedding. A double-page spread carries newlyweds across the world in a red canoe while their wish for a child culminates in another double-page spread highlighting the mother-to-be with her tummy expanding from summer to spring. Final scenes feature delighted new parents and baby paddling together in the same red canoe. A sweetly packaged view that a family of three beats two! (Picture book. 1-5)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Author Visit March 10th, 2010. Marion Walker Elementary in Bellefonte PA.

Tons of fun! In the afternoon assembly we created a story involving all sorts of aliens, and later, at Family Night, we had fun drawing and discovering how books are made. A great group of kids, teachers, (and parents!). Had some time to explore State College as well.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Twelve Snails to One Lizard reaches a milestone

Twelve Snails to One Lizard (A Reading Rainbow Book) is now in it's 15th printing. Chugging along!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Another nifty author appearance today. The teachers and students ay Kraybill Mennonite School couldn't have been nicer and more welcoming. The presentation hall was the perfect size. I wish I could pack it up and carry it to all my visits.

Friday, March 5, 2010



NOVAK, Matt. A Wish for You. iIIus. by author. unpaged. CIP. HarperCollins/Greenwiliow. Mar. 2010. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-155202-1. LC 2008052485.

PreS-In this bouncy story, a man and woman meet, court, marry, and prepare for their new baby. Spot illustrations quickly wrap up the pre marriage scenes, and a couple of spreads show the pair enjoying their time together before "Two sometimes felt blue," so they "wished for you." Half-page pictures zip through scenes of preparation for the infant's arrival. Then, when the baby joins them on their vacation adventures, "We're not just two./We're three./Yippee!" Novak's soft-edged digitally enhanced artwork perfectly portrays the merry mood of his pudgy characters. This is a great choice for cozy sharing with a beloved child.-Martha Simpson, Stratford Library Association, CT

Monday, January 25, 2010

Original Art for Sale - Act Fast


Help out a worthy cause and own an original piece of art in the process.

On August 22, 2009 Matthew Hodge, the 17-year-old son of former Disney story artist and Big Idea productions director Tim Hodge, was in a serious auto accident. A train struck his car at 50mph as he was crossing the tracks. While Matt suffered neither broken bones nor any internal organ damage, he did receive severe head trauma causing him to remain in a state of coma today. Matt is a high school senior, a straight A student, and a drummer in his state championship marching band.

Being self-employed, the Hodge family has short term medical insurance that will not fully cover all of their bills. Additionally, with the care they are giving Matt, full-time work is not possible for Tim right now. This loving family is relying on their faith and the love of family and friends for their survival. This is a tragic accident that will forever affect their lives as the road to recovery for Matt may be a long one.

In an effort to help the Hodge family, the National Cartoonists Society Foundation is getting involved by hosting a fund-raising auction to be held on eBay. The NCSF is a fully licensed 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that not only helps fund educational endeavors for cartooning, but is there to help cartoonists in dire circumstances like the Hodges.

To keep up with Matthew's condition, go to

Friday, January 15, 2010


NOVAK, Matt. The Everything Machine. illus. by author. unpaged. Roaring Brook/A Neal Porter Bk. 2009. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-1-59643-268-4. LC number unavailable.

K-Gr 2–Novak’s colorful cartoons and dynamic storytelling show that life on the planet Quirk has become a bit dull as the Everything Machine completes all of the inhabitants’ daily tasks. It cooks, mows the lawn, and even colors the baby’s pictures until it breaks, and the residents panic as they learn from the little green repairman that it will take months to fix. Looking a little like humans, the Quirkians have wild hairdos with red cherries growing straight up, and the friendly repairman from planet Bing Bong may have four eel-like arms and an oversize head but his backward baseball cap and large round glasses make him charming and approachable. Novak uses word balloons and animated comic-book panels to show the Quirkians’ struggling to do their chores. When the machine is repaired, they have learned more than how to garden and cook; they actually enjoy doing for themselves and create a park around the Everything Machine, which now lets the people of Quirk do everything but the hardest job of all–back-scratching. The “quirky” illustrations and deadpan narration may be a little peculiar but that is exactly what will draw young readers in and keep them visiting.–Kristine M. Casper, Huntington Public Library, NY