Working from original drawings, Nye creates her colorful pictures by cutting thousands of pieces of hand-painted paper of various weights and types. The papers all start out white, and she dips, stamps, prints, and glazes with acrylic paints to achieve interesting patterns. She then cuts the papers to the shapes in her original drawings to fashion a style that’s reminiscent of Eric Carle’s or Leo Lionni’s work.
Barbara Nye is originally from Cyclone, Texas. Her travels in many countries and her experiences living in South America and Canada have had a strong influence on her artwork. She has an honors degree in Spanish and Latin American studies from the University of Texas at Austin and is fluent in Spanish. Barbara has lived in Australia for over 25 years, has been an Australian citizen since 1992, and raised her three children there. Somewhere A Bell Is Ringing is her first picture book.
Publishers Weekly says of Somewhere A Bell Is Ringing:
"Nye pairs a rhyming poem with scenes that shift among urban and rural communities around the world. “Somewhere a bell is ringing in a busy marketplace/ where a lady in a yellow dress buys lettuces and lace,” she begins, as villagers gather to purchase vegetables in front of a stone church. None of the locations is explicitly identified, but visual clues may help readers make some educated guesses (in this case, a boy’s knit cap and the snow-capped peaks in the distance suggest an Andean village). Nye constructs her images by piecing together shapes cut from hand-painted papers with a variety of textures and patterns; the finished effect is akin to the look of stained glass. Most scenes focus on human activity (a family taking shelter from a thunderstorm in a thatched-roof hut, city dwellers listening to a street musician), and a few highlight animal life (“Somewhere the aurora weaves its colors through the sky/ while penguins on the frozen shore keep round eggs warm and dry”). The attention to detail in both text and art is evident, and the message of global interconnectedness comes through. Ages 4–up."
To support Somewhere A Bell Is Ringing, Nye has given readings in bookstores and schools in her Australian hometown of Maleny, Queensland, as well as in Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin, TX. According to the Austin American-Statesman, it was the bestselling picture book in Austin the first week of April 2018.