Another Ted talk worth watching (although I think they are all fabulous and am trying to watch them all) is this one by Maira Kalman. I love the way she paints and tells a story.
We read all her children's books when my kids were little. Sayonara, Mrs. Kackleman had to be one of our all time favorites. This description from From Publishers Weekly describes the book perfectly.
While watching a performance of The Mikado , Alexander suggests to his older sister Lulu that perhaps they should visit Japan. Lulu, eager to avoid her piano lesson and her teacher, the dreaded Mrs. Kackleman, is only too happy to agree. The two arrive in Tokyo (without parents, you understand), and are bundled off in a red taxi driven by a gloved man with "sharp black hair." Images of houses and people, food and customs jumble together in a wild stream-of-consciousness travelogue that springs from the minds and lips of the irrepressible brother and sister. A man sitting on a park bench and a frog in a kimono reciting a haiku are as riveting as a visit to a Japanese school or communal bath house. The book is studded with many gems from the mouths of Lulu and Alexander, like the poem dedicated to their guide: "Hey Hiroko, are you loco? Would you like a cup of cocoa?"
Kalman's Latest book The Principles of Uncertainty began as a year long blog for the New York Times. I own this book but I was thrilled to find the whole blog with all the paintings here on the New York Times website they way they were originally posted.