Kids + Teens

What’s Your Tattoo Story? Tales from Chronicle Books Staff

One thing I know about being tattooed is that I love talking about my tattoos; perhaps is it because I am asked so often about them and what they mean, but also because I’m proud of them and the events that led up to getting them. Of the people that do ask me about my tattoos, a surprising amount are children.

With the ever-increasing numbers of millennials getting tattooed and then going on to have kids of their own, there is no better time for the publication of a book about tattooed parents. Tell Me a Tattoo Story is a picture book about a father telling his little son the story behind each of his tattoos, resulting in a beautiful journey through their family history together.

Tell Me a Tattoo Story

In celebration of the release of this book, we asked Chronicle Books employees to tell their tattoo stories. And of course, we want to hear yours, too! Post a photo on social media of your tattoo and tell us your story—we’ll be choosing our favorites and sending you one of these adorable bookish temporary tattoos.

Tell Me a Tattoo Story Temporary Tattoo

Don’t forget to include the hashtag #MyTattooStory and tag @chroniclebooks. Now, onto the stories!

What's your tattoo story?

Christina Mott, Associate Client Account Manager

“Tattoos can act as a time stamp for something you want to remind yourself of, so I often find myself getting a tattoo after a personal accomplishment. Which is exactly what my latest tattoo is all about—celebrating my first trip to Asia! Last November, I flew across the world to Thailand, which is something that’s been on my list of things to do since I was a teen. It was an eye-opening experience. We visited the Grand Palace in Bangkok, snorkeled in Krabi, and motor-biked around Chiang Mai. As soon as I got back, I was inspired to get a tattoo (owing some credit to my boyfriend, who half-jokingly mentioned the idea to me as a tattoo idea for himself), and since we were there during Loi Krathong, the Thai lantern festival, I went with a tattoo of a colorful Thai lantern.”


What's your tattoo story?

Yesenia Herrara, Contracts Manager

“I have a bird on my back by my right shoulder that I got days after finishing taking the California Bar Exam. Studying and taking the exam was a long, grueling process, and I wanted to get something to commemorate the event. I chose a bird because my feelings at the time were literally “I’m free!”, and a bird felt like the perfect way to express that. Fortunately, I passed the exam the first time I took it, so I only have the one bar exam tattoo!”


What's your tattoo story?

Francesca Kelley, Operations Manager

“One of my favorite tattoos is the Boston Red Sox tattoo I got last year, but not because I am a huge baseball fan (I’m barely a baseball fan at all), but because my dad actually likes it. My dad absolutely loathes tattoos—all of them, no matter what they are or who they are on—so naturally, he was devastated when I turned 18 and started getting a ton of tattoos. It’s gotten to the point now where he doesn’t even acknowledge new ones. Being from Boston, my dad is, of course, a die-hard Red Sox fan. One day he mentioned that he was at a Red Sox game and finally saw a tattoo he liked—the Red Sox ‘B’ logo. I told him he would curse the day he said that, which was met with a “you WOULDN’T!”. Well, joke’s on him, because a year later I got the Red Sox logo on my ankle in super bright red—all my other tattoos are black and grey. After I showed him and he picked his jaw up off the floor, he mumbled “……ugh….you got me. I LOVE it!” Victory is mine.”



Phuong Mai, Metadata Coordinator

“I got bands on my arms in late 2014, but if you notice, there are breaks in some of the lines. I combined my desire for bands with my part-Chinese heritage, so I pulled two symbols from the I Ching, an ancient (3,000 years old!) Chinese text of divination and mysticism, known in English as Book of Changes. When looked at with my arm hanging in a natural position, it represents hexagram 64 (wei ji): “the river has not been crossed.” That means there are still things to do in life and my journey is not yet complete, symbolized by the fire trigram raging on top of the water trigram. When my arm is held up, the symbols—along with the meaning—are reversed and we see hexagram 63 (ji ji): “the river has been crossed.” That means my journey is finally complete, the fire trigram being calmed by water on top.”


What's your tattoo story?

Genny McAuley, National Accounts Manager

“I love tattoos, but didn’t want to be covered in tattoos I got on a whim (which is fine for so many people, just not my style). When I got my first tattoo, I decided that I would limit them to memorials for loved ones who’ve passed. This one is for my godmother, Patty Fox. She was a vivacious, intelligent, and independent woman who lived her dream life until she left this world. Every time I look down I am reminded of her, that each day is one to treasure, and of her cheering me on with whatever I do. The art and tattoo are by Erik Jacobsen.”


What's your tattoo story?

Evelyn Liang, Executive Assistant

“I’ve had this tattoo for nearly 10 years. It’s code for the valediction an ex and I would share in our correspondences with each other. The concept was based on a clever marketing scheme from a Dan Brown book (yep, Dan Brown) we’d been reading at the time and we got really into it. We had a bad break up a few months after I got it that left me feeling disappointed, and that the time we had spent together had been years wasted. I was young and submitted willfully to my emotional turbulence. When the anger subsided, I realized I obviously stayed for years because the worthy parts of our relationship had outweighed the negative, and that focusing on the what-could/should/would-have-beens was an actual waste of my time. My tattoo is a remembrance of the things I’ve learned and gained as my life has progressed, and I’ll never regret that.”


What's your tattoo story?

Courtney Drew, Associate Editor

“In the summer of 2011, I was living in Manhattan while attending a program at NYU. As a native Californian, I absolutely wilted in the humidity of the East Coast summer, and my bright hair, colorful clothes, and visible tattoos drew lots of looks from the businesswomen and men I encountered on my commute. I was lonely, homesick, and convinced that I’d have to move to NYC in order to pursue my publishing career. Mourning set in, and in missing my home I decided to get my own home in New York. Drawing inspiration from one of Sophie Blackall’s Missed Connections illustrations, I got a tattoo of this little house. Even if I moved to New York and couldn’t call it home, I’d always have a home of my own with me at all times. At the end of the summer I moved back to San Francisco and started an internship at Chronicle Books…and I’ve been here ever since.”


What's your tattoo story?

Noelle Simkins, Specialty Sales Assistant

“Two weeks after my 18th birthday, I walked into a local tattoo shop with my mom to receive my first, and, still to this day, only tattoo. I’d been dreaming of tattoos for years, knowing always the questions was not, “will I?”, but rather, “what will I?” Three weeks before my birthday that year I panicked—what was my grandiose tattoo idea going to be? I had no clue, and for a girl who’d always dreamed of receiving one, I felt this was 100% unacceptable. I inundated myself with all past tattoo ideas along with a plethora of new; I really wanted something that felt right on my body. At the end of the day, I found the perfect tribal wolf to growl his days away with me, and to be a constant protector by my side.”


What's your tattoo story?

Kelli Chipponeri, Editorial Director, Childrens

“My dream has always been to fly in outer space, so my tattoo is me reaching for the stars!”


What's your tattoo story?

Lindsay Sablosky, Senior Director, Production

“My first and only tattoo (so far) was a celebration of both my 30th birthday and the truly magical Chronicle book, Griffin & Sabine. I worked on that project and, like everyone else who went on to read the finished book, was completely enchanted. Getting to handle the art in person hastened my fall into love with it, and when I was considering getting a tattoo, I immediately thought of those beautifully iconic symbols. I put it on my ankle, as was the fashion then, to make sure it hurt as much as possible (ha!) but also to be a little discreet for my non-tattooed family. My mother still doesn’t quite understand it but has admitted that it is kind of cool.”


What's your tattoo story?

Griffin McEvoy, Special Markets Sales Assistant

“I got the pigeon tattoo when I was nineteen. Growing up in a city, I found that many saw cities as dirty places; concrete jungles filled with crime, trash, and indifference. Pigeons get the same bad rap, but if you look a little closer, you see they are full of color and life. To me, both pigeons and the home we share, our city, have always seemed beautiful beyond compare.”

– – –

Celebrate parenthood, good stories, and tattoos with your little one with Tell Me a Tattoo Story, on sale today. And don’t forget, we want to hear your tattoo stories too! Share yours on social media with the hashtag #MyTattooStory and tagging @chroniclebooks—we will be choosing our favorites and sending you an adorable bookish temporary tattoo.

Photos by Irene Kim Shepherd

Hannah Moushabeck

Hannah Moushabeck

Hannah is the Associate Marketing Manager for Chronicle children's books. She is an all-round book nerd, born into a family of book nerds. She can be bribed with avocados and picture books.
Hannah Moushabeck



  • Heather Grady April 23, 2016 at 7:47 am

    Hey! We’d LOVE to run a library staff blog post like this one and follow it with a Facebook contest for the best patron tattoo stories/pics. Any chance you have more tattoos that we could get? Or a book for us to give away? Thanks for the great idea, Chronicle Books!


  • Dasha Lis October 12, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    Wow, that a really amazing idea for a book. I want to share my story too, is it possible now?


  • Sara February 6, 2017 at 9:53 am

    I am an elementary school librarian in Michigan. We have our March Madness book competition coming up next month and “Tell Me a Tattoo Story” is one of our 4 finalists! Any chance you have more temporary tattoos that I could give to my students. They would be a HUGE hit! Can I bribe you with avocados?


    • Jenna Homen February 6, 2017 at 1:59 pm

      Hi Sara! Glad to hear this book is such a hit! Unfortunately, we do not have any more of the temporary tattoos, but we’ll let you know if we end up making more.


  • stephanie blumenthal November 3, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    I’ve been photographing folks with tattoos and having them write their stories about them. You can see the results on my website. They are different from the book Pen and Ink since they are photographed and not illustrated. Would you be interested in doing a book?
    Stephanie Blumetnhal


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