About

Emma Lea Stories

From: Emma Lea's Magic Teapot

From: Emma Lea's Magic Teapot

The Emma Lea picture books have been created in a partnership of three women; author, Babette Donaldson, illustrator, Jerianne Van Dijk and designer Patty Arnold. They are fiction, created by the author, Babette Donaldson. The stories have been brought to life with the illustrations of watercolorist, Jerianne Van Dijk. And the quality of the production has been directed by graphic designer, Patty Arnold.

More about Emma Lea, her family & friends.


Babette Donaldson


Picking Tea In China

Picking Tea In China

Babette Donaldson is the creator and author of the Emma Lea Books. She is currently working on the next part of the series in which Emma Lea is older and will be traveling around the world to enjoy other cultures’ celebrations of tea.

“I particularly enjoy visiting schools, reading from my books and then leading young children in some writing exercises. They all have wonderful stories to tell. And I think we learn more about what kind of books they want to read when we listen to their creative ideas.”

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Jerianne Van Dijk, Illustrator

Jeriann Van Dijk

Jerianne Van Dijk

Working in watercolor, gouache, ink and crayon, with attention to mood and light, Jerianne Van Dijk’s painting style is realistic and impressionistic. When it comes to illustration, her medium use entails a grand variety of techniques and materials and ranges from whimsical to detailed and classic.

Her designs include the label art for Indian Springs Vineyards, Lost Coast Brewery, Tomaso’s Dressings, and the Zap wine organization, as well as pieces for calendars, books, children books, puzzles, CD covers, posters, and a variety of products available nationally and internationally.

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Patty Arnold, Graphic Designer

Patty Arnold, Graphic Designer

Patty Arnold

Menagerie Design and Publishing

We are delighted that the books we have worked on have garnered these awards: ABA Book Sense Selection, ASPCA Henry Bergh Children’s Book Award, Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Books of the Year Selection, Benjamin Franklin Gold Award, Benjamin Franklin Silver Award, CBC/NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book, ForeWord Best Children’s Picture Book, iParenting Media Awards, IRA Children’s Book Award, IRA Teachers’ Choice Award, Izaak Walton League Book of the Year, KIND Children’s Honor Book, Learning Magazine Teachers’ Choice Award, Marion Vannett Ridgway Memorial Honor Book Award, Moonbeam Children’s Book Award, Mom’s Choice Awards, NAPRA Nautilus Award, National Parenting Publications Award (NAPPA), Newton Marasco Foundation Green Earth Book Award, NY Public Library-100 Titles for Reading and Sharing, Parent Council Ltd. Outstanding Selection, Skipping Stones Honor Award. . . . more→

Fine Art and Photography

Although my projects vary in location, the work is united by a dedp desire to study the effects of intervention in the landscape. My largest project to date, Season of Rice, looks at an important agricultural landscape and its role as a created wetland.

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  • The Emma Lea Books

Book Reviews

This is a very special book about family traditions, bonding and growing up. The story of Emma Lea is delightful. If you like Fancy Nancy, you will love Emma Lea. ~ ~ ~ Jill Vanderwood
Oh, I do love these books. They are perfect for an afternoon read with a cuddly grandchild. Lots of information and the art work is enchanting. ~ ~ ~ Judy Wright
I really enjoyed this book with my little girl because I felt it introduced children to "helping out" and lets them know just because we have to do chores and make preparations, even for tea parties, that it doesn't mean we can't have fun while doing so and the biggest lesson to be learned from Emma Lea's Tea With Daddy is that spending time together is the most important gift of all!
Babette Donaldson tells this story with a beauty and sparseness that mimics the rituals of the ceremony and Jerianne Van Dijk illustrates the scenes with an impressionistic style, drawing the reader into the folds of Emma Lea's kimono and into the tea house with purity, tranquility, and harmony. ~ ~ ~ Ginger Manley
This is a wonderful story of a little girl's dream with the magic lamp. To my delight, it combines fantasy with family values and reality. My granddaughter loves it. ~ ~ ~ Marianne Kummell
Both the watercolors and the well thought out story are beautifully done. I liked the fact that Emma Lea's best friend is a boy. I appreciated that logical explanations were given to the little girl for the wishes being "granted" and how she realizes the teapot not actually being "magic" didn't make it any less "special". ~ ~ ~ K. Lio
I read Emma Lea's Tea Party and was immediately moved to send it to my niece Emma. She is 4 years old. She absolutely loves the book and thinks it is about her. Such a beautiful tale with illustrations to match. A little girl can weave fantasies about this book. I can hardly wait until the next Emma Lea book! ~ ~ ~ Penny Hastings
This story brings to life family traditions and the value of giving 'real' and meaningful gifts from the heart. It also shows the importance of family in creating great moments in a child's life. I read this to my 5 year old niece, and both she and her mother were captivated by the story. ~ ~ ~ Carol Scuderi
This book takes a look at tranquility, purity, harmony, and respect taught through the experiences of the Chanoyu tea ceremony. I know that this book will be infused into the study my students do of the Japanese culture. Once again the author and illustrator together have created a beautiful keepsake book for children. ~ ~ ~ J. Gilmour

Author, Babette Donaldson

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