Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Dirty Dozen, with Debbie Ridpath Ohi

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The Dirty Dozen, with Debbie Ridpath Ohi

After the success of I'm Bored, the hilarious picture book written by comedian Michael Ian Black and illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi, kids and parents alike were eager for more. The wait is over with Naked! (Simon & Schuster Canada), Black and Ohi's second collaboration.

Debbie has also illustrated covers for Simon & Schuster's recently reissued Judy Blume collection. You can check out the fantastic covers here.

Today, we speak with Debbie (whose talented family includes sister Ruth Ohi, an acclaimed writer and illustrator) as part of our Dirty Dozen series, where authors and artists are invited to share 12 unexpected facts about themselves. Read on for 12 sneak peeks into the inner workings of a witty and talented artist.

  1. I used to have a pet hermit crab named Martha. After she died, it took me two weeks to notice. Hermit crabs are not the most exciting pets.
  2. My first career was as a systems programmer/analyst for Toronto-Dominion's head office in downtown Toronto. I programmed in COBOL.
  3. I am an avid board gamer. Each year, I attend a 10-day (yes, I said 10 DAYS) invite-only board gaming convention hosted by Alan Moon, who created the Ticket To Ride board game.
  4. I'm part of an amateur filk music group called Urban Tapestry (, and we've given concerts in England, Germany, U.S. and Canada. Some of my songs aired on CBC Radio. If anyone's curious about filk, see my informal guide.
  5. I play with my food.
  6. My favourite restaurant in Toronto is Café Pleiade. It's cozy, the food is great, and the chef is a published poet. Best seats are by the front window, in the cushioned alcove.
  7. I'm a longtime Star Trek fan. I wrote a song about Jean-Luc Picard which ended up in the TV Guide Collector's Edition, Farewell To Star Trek The Next Generation.
  8. My younger sister, Ruth Ohi, has been writing and illustrating children's books for far longer than I have. She has illustrated over 40 picture books, 16 of which she is also the author! She is incredibly supportive of my career and I frequently ask for her advice.
  9. I have a song written about me. You can hear it on Jeff and Maya Bohnhoff's Grated Hits CD
  10. I have a webcomic called Will Write For Chocolate.
  11. The first picture book of which I'm both writer and illustrator comes out from Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers in Summer 2015. It's called WHERE ARE MY BOOKS?
  12. My all-time favourite review of NAKED! so far is from these 10-month-old twin girls.

Debbie Ridpath Ohi writes and illustrates books for young people. Where Are My Books?, the first book that Debbie has written as well as illustrated, launches in 2015 from Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers. Her illustrations also appear in picture books Sea-Monkey and Bob (written by Aaron Reynolds, 2015), I’m Bored (New York Times Notable Book, written by Michael Ian Black) and Naked! (also written by Michael Ian Black), as well as ten Judy Blume chapter books and middle grade titles reissued by Atheneum/Simon & Schuster. For more info, visit or @inkyelbows on Twitter.

Check out all the Dirty Dozen interviews in our archives.

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