every little thing is more than all right!

dream big
“Thoughts become things! What we think about is what we bring about. Think Big and Dream even Bigger!” ~ Vanessa Brantley Newton


Remember a couple of weeks ago, when I mentioned that children’s author/illustrator Vanessa Brantley Newton had entered the We TV Mary Mary Singing Spotlight Competition and that she needed your votes to make it to the Final Round?

Well, she was a Top 10 Finalist . . . and


*cue in marching band, balloons, whoops, hollers, cartwheels, backflips, confetti, fireworks, et.al.*

vanessaWooHoo! Hooray hooray! We are SO THRILLED for Vanessa because no one is more deserving. When I first saw her audition video back in December, I was totally blown away. What a set of pipes! Moreover, I could just feel the love, the energy, the pure joy that came through in her song. And the fact that she could sing, and sing so well was such a fabulous surprise — I’d known about her talents in writing, illustration, fashion design, cooking, crafting, doll-making, etc. before, but not singing.

vanessa hearts

Finalists were judged based on: 50% creativity, 35% vocal talent, 15% charm. Vanessa is a veritable creative machine, oh-so charming and hilarious! Did you see her final, “please remember to vote for me” video? Who could top those glasses, big mustache, and sneaky smile? The girl oozes charm. Some people just have it. Did I mention Vanessa is also a songwriter? I’d say the judges were spot on by selecting her!

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Vanessa’s Grand Prize includes a trip to Los Angeles, where she’ll have a recording session with professional producers, a musical critique from a leading record producer, career advice and much more.

I love it when good things happen to good people!

Here are some of Vanessa’s children’s books in case you’re not familiar with her work. She’s illustrated a number of picture books (including two based on Bob Marley’s lyrics and Think Big by Liz Garton Scanlon, which we featured here), many chapter books, and she’s also self-illustrated Let Freedom Sing, a picture book highlighting significant events in the Civil Rights Movement and — *wait for it* — a food-related book called: Don’t Let Auntie Mabel Bless the Table. 🙂 Her projects aptly reflect the many facets of her creativity and enviable versatility as an artist. Her pictures are infused with energy and vitality and reflect her genuine love of people.

Ribbet collage vanessa 2

Ribbet collage vanessa

She has (I think) five new books coming out this year, including this picture book about Billie Holiday written by Amy Novesky, being released in June:

lady day cover

and here’s the more recent Bob Marley-inspired title:

every little thing

Here’s the trailer for ONE LOVE in case you’d like to see more of her art:

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What an inspiration she is to us all.

Clone of Singingchild2


♥ To see Vanessa’s winning audition/entry video, click here.

♥ To learn more about Vanessa and her work, visit her website, the Ooh La La Design Studio!

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Copyright © 2013 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

17 thoughts on “every little thing is more than all right!

  1. Well, even though I don’t think it’s especially fair that one person can be so talented — in multiple areas, no less — I send my hearty congratulations to Vanessa. Wow! I look forward to seeing — and hearing — more from her. Thanks, Jama!


    1. I know what you mean — you’d think she’d share some of her different talents with the rest of us :). She was born to sing and draw and illustrate and design . . .


  2. Wow, Jama. It’s hard to believe someone has all those talents. I love Think Big, and will look for the others. I follow a group called Playing For Change that takes music all over the world to ‘play’ with other musicians, & one of the songs they sing often is One Love. That book (& others) looks just wonderful, & of course because of Bob Marley too! Congratulations to Vanessa & thank you for all the info.


    1. I should have known about Vanessa’s singing and songwriting talents since she had illustrated several music related titles before. Since she also likes to cook, I hope she does more food-related books too :).


  3. What a fun, inspiring post! I especially like the quote from Think Big. I’m going to do so, starting right now… 🙂

    BIG CONGRATS to Vanessa!


    1. Just to clarify: Vanessa’s quote at the top of this post isn’t from the Think Big picture book — it’s something she said in reference to that particular image she posted on FB. Liz Scanlon wrote the text for Think Big :).


  4. Oh, WOW, The headline: Awesome Girl Makes Good. Thanks for the reminder that good things come to those who not only wait, but who try like heck and polish up their mad skills. This is fab.


  5. Jama from the bottom of my heart, please know how much I really truly, truly thank you for such a wonderful and sweet write up. It brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. I would like to thank each of you for your kind words. Words are powerful and I can feel the energy and good feelings from your words. Such positive feelings. People always say, ” You have so many talents Vanessa. To many for one person to have.” To this I will say, “Favor has been given to a girl who lived in the hood and didn’t discover she was dyslexic until she was twenty-five years old. There is so much more that I cannot share here, but I have been on a long journey for a while now and it is not easy being me, but I am grateful for every struggle that brought me to this place. Once again, thank you>


    1. There are some who have beautiful voices and can carry a tune but there’s something missing from their delivery. When I hear you sing, I can just feel not only the joy but also the pain and struggles you must have experienced on your journey. That’s not something anyone can fake. You’re the real deal and when you sing there’s a range of emotions that resonates with those listening — that’s what differentiates a good singer from a middling one — and you’ve got the goods in spades.

      You’ve been blessed with many talents, and you inspire us because you’ve worked hard toward developing those different talents to reach your full potential. Thanks for all the joy you bring to the world and for being you. 🙂


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