2013 RI Festival of Children’s Books and Authors


This year’s Book Festival at Lincoln School in Providence was fabulous- just full to the brim with great presenters, and very well-attended by a huge crowd.


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Here’s Jarret Krosoczka with one of his first books, and whipping out a Lunch lady drawing. I like how he is so candid with kids and adults about the non-direct path to publication. And he happens to be a great guy, too.

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Kate Messner was there. I had never heard her talk before- she is truly a natural speaker and I loved her approach to writing and life in general.

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Laurie Keller is a big favorite of ours, and she led the mixed audience of kids and adults in drawing otters.4_keller1
5_keller2(Just check out that concentration!)

Kim Newton Fusco gave a great talk about her path, and finding your own path and voice. She has a beautiful and slow approach to honing her books to be the best they can be. 
6_fuscoThis is Lemony Snicket. I think. Otherwise, he sent some guy named Daniel Handler to handle the ginormous crowd that was there for him.

7_snicket1(he had the crowd in stitches,and also occasional headlocks).  

 

8_snicket2Marin, Steve and Lesley get their book signed- he takes time to harass everyone in the line, it’s sweet!
9_wildWild Thing, I think I looove you.

Here’s Chris Van Allsburg signing one of his amazing books.

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Susannah Richards “interviewed” Sharon Creech in a casual discussion about her writing path, and getting the Newbury call.

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Dan Santat- the hardest workin’ man in illustration, and one of the best!
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Some new book loot. What, it’s not like I could just NOT buy SOME books. 🙂


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As always, a great time- looking forward to next year, already!

 

Come to RISD in October

I will be coming back to Benefit Street this Fall for the annual RISD Alumni and Student Art Sale, which takes place on Saturday, Oct. 6th, from 10am – 4pm.

It’s always good fun… if you go, find me! I will look something like the photo below… except I will have more books and different stuff!

It’s free, open to the public, rain or shine.

One for the Murphys Book Launch!

I went to my good friend Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s “official” book launch in Glastonbury, CT last night, to celebrate her new book, One for the Murphys.

It was a GREAT turnout, and Lynda, in her usual Lynda-esque way, had the crowd riveted with snippets, stories, and her trademark irreverence. She is a one-of-a-kind public speaker, and I am in continuing awe of this skill!

I had read the ARC/preview copy of the book, but this was my first chance to see the real thing. Gorgeous! Nice spot-UV printing on the cover, and fancy end papers that relate beautifully to the content of the book. I’m pretty psyched to be in the acknowledgements section, too… what an honor!

Such an amazing crowd! It was fun to see so many folks who know Lynda from different stages of life come out to support her and the book.

Writer girls from RI: Mary Pierce, Laurie Smith Murphy, Lynda, and Me. It was a little bit of a drive, but we didn’t want to miss it… and I am so glad we went!

Now, get out there and check out this book- you’ll be glad you did.
Here’s my review of it on Goodreads.
Here’s Lynda’s book trailer. It will give you a good feel for the flavor of this lovely and thought-provoking book.

A Valiant Return

Hello out there! I have not had the chance to blog due to Circumstances Beyond My Control. But mercifully, things are getting back under control again, and so, let the posting begin!

I found these recently at an antique mall near me. They are, of course, metal logos that used to be adhered to cars. These two stuck out with me. I like the idea of a hunk of rolling metal being thought of as “Valiant” or “Dynamic”. That’s just good marketing! And great typography, while we’re at it. I decided that these terms were just as useful in my studio as they were on a car. So now, I shall attempt to keep up a valiant effort and create dynamic art and products!

I also like them because they remind me of this:

May this be a terrific spring for everyone!

Remembering J. Joseph Garrahy

I was so sorry to hear about J. Joseph Garrahy’s death today. He was the former Governor of Rhode Island. Back in 1977, when I was 10, I won an art contest and got to meet him at the State House. It was a big moment for Little Me. It was one of the first times that art had made things happen for me, if you know what I mean.

Then, the next year, Garrahy was the hero of the Blizzard of ’78! Everyone here remembers him as the guy in the plaid shirt and the “take charge” demeanor that helped us all dig out of the mountains of snow and problems.

I drew this portrait of him in 1982. He was Governor from ’77-85.


(NOT a great portrait, but then, I never was a realist!)

I had met him again in recent years, and he was still a smart, friendly and excellent guy.

He will be missed. Perhaps he will be hanging out with Salty now, sharing a heavenly Del’s, and looking over Little Rhody!

New Year, New Book!

The ol’ Chat Rabbit has been largely silent for a number of weeks due to holiday happenings… but I have a new book that just came out on New Year’s Day. It’s all about everyone’s favorite President, Abe Lincoln! Words by the incomparable Marion Dane Bauer, pictures by me, and published by Scholastic.

Get yourself an copy and witness… Abe as a boy!

Abe debating stuff!

Abe at war!

Honestly, so to speak, this book is intended to be a first look at Lincoln for the preschool set. I had to do a lot of research to make sure things were portrayed as accurately as possible, but still readable and visually interesting for very young children. It was a challenge! This is a companion book of sorts to the Christopher Columbus book I illustrated a couple of years ago. Here’s hoping this book finds it’s way into many kids’ hands!

Books of a Certain Age

I was at Savers the other day (which is a secondhand department store), and was happy to find a cache of semi-vintage children’s books.

I don’t know about you, but I am always attracted to books from the 60s and 70s. I guess that is due in no small part to having grown up then. Be that as it may, there is something oddly comforting about the cheap printing, limited palettes, and distinctly “quieter” storylines from this era. And at 69¢ each, my children’s library is filled with such things. A lot of them tend to be library discards…how sad!

It must have been hard to illustrate back then, knowing you sometimes had to work with only one or two colors. Not to mention having to do the separations by hand- no computers to make that task easy. Huzzah for modernity, at least some of it!

I Heart Valentines

What do you think of Valentine’s Day? Luckily for my husband, I do not go in for jewelry (diamonds aren’t THIS girl’s best friend) or cut flowers (they are one step away from being dead). Chocolates… well, OK, maybe. Belgian ones!

On the other hand, a day spent making pink and purple cookies with my girls and a bunch of their wonderful friends is a day well spent!

I collect vintage Valentines because I adore the graphics of bygone eras, especially the 30s and 40s. I also like the idea of kids having Valentine’s day parties in school and exchanging them in little envelopes, or putting them into specially made bags or boxes. Kids still do this when they are very young, I guess, but they seem to outgrow the custom very quickly. How sad.


The handwritten names on the backs of these are precious!

As much as I love those very vintage ones, my favorite ones are the ones I’ve had for 35+ years. I kept all the cards that were given to me in grammar school.

I remember each and every one of these. I still remember who gave me most of them.

The names on the back are hard to read because I have stuck and unstuck and re-stuck them into albums over the years. Now they reside in binders like my other flat ephemera.

Sally, Becky, Gail, Jimmy, Jeff, Keith, Chris, George, Chrissy…just some of the names. It was perfectly legitimate to exchange cards like this right through sixth grade. I can’t imagine today’s sixth graders doing it.

I like to look back at these every year, and keep life in perspective.
Happy Valentine’s Day to you!