Today I'm mixing it up a little and sharing about a wonderful children's picture book exhibition that I attended in San Francisco last night. I knew it would be wonderful because it was organized by the super talented Lisa Brown and featured best selling authors Lemony Snickett and Jon Klassen who is also an illustrator and Caldecott honor winner and some other wonderful folks including newcomer Dasha Tolstikova. So I drove down from Sacramento. But first I visited Kristin Abbott who teaches illustration at Academy of Art University and we made an in-depth video on world building or creating environments for picture books that was incredibly helpful and very inspiring for the upcoming interative e-course the Craft and Business of Illustrating Picture Books.
Next on my Bay Area agenda was the exhibition "I see what you say" at the Cartoon Art Museum, that I mentioned earlier. I watched Lemony be a shameless ham with Jon and it was hilarious. I got my copy of Jon's This is Not My Hat autographed and because I was lucky enough to get there early, got to hang out with him. He was absolutely lovely and when I asked him if I could interview him for the course, was thrilled when he said that it sounded like fun and agreed. I can't wait!
I also got to see brilliant old and new picture book friends including Julie Downing, Jim Averbeck, Maria Van Lieshout, Gianna Marino, Marcus Ewart, Katherine Tillotson, Vivian Walsh, Lynn Hazen, Angela Dominguez, Rachel Rodriguez, Karen Ehrhardt, Lissa Rovetch, Dashka Slater, Sharon Levin, Dasha Tolstikova, and lots of others. Lisa Brown said yes to being interviewed for the course as did many of the above. Famed Chronicle editor Melissa Manlove said yes to letting me film Chronicle's children's department to give students the inside scoop on how a publishing house works and Chronicle publicist Lara Star will also talk about the changing face of marketing kids books and socail media. I am getting way too excited!! If you are interested in learning more about this innovative course, click here. I'll be adding the awesome list of guest contributors soon.
On a final note, one of the things that I especially liked about the exhibition was the combination of seasoned and new illustrators and how Lisa and Lemony are mentoring younger lesser-experienced children's book creatives. Like much of the art, it was beautiful to see.
Hi gang, instead of the usual picture book teaching review, I decided to make a video about the Common Core Standards for both FICTION and NON-FICTION writers (and teachers). The Standards are part of a long line of interventions trying to make educational systems more accountable, and more consistent to better prepare students for future success (which mostly seem to be defined here for going to college and getting a job). I have very mixed feelings about Standards and the ways that they seem to minimize the importance of the arts and creativity for future success (which I define as having a meaningful personal/civic life along with financial well-being) and the ways that they seem to ignore very diverse aptitudes, such as those for kids who are more mechanically oriented or artistically inclined (whatever happened to the Multiple Intelligences approach?).
Based on what I'm hearing in forums and conferences, editors and agents are looking for stories that connect with the Standards to increase their marketability. So without further ado, here are my suggestions for using them as a tool and how not to be intimidated by them :)
PS If you like this video, please take 20 seconds and FB like and share with your friends :)
I'm a huge Julia Donaldson fan, a British author who is the mistress of rhyme and humor in children's picture books. And she pulls it off again Tyrannosaurus Drip, a fun rhyming romp about a kind of cuckoos egg and an ongoing battle between a peaceful vegetarian family of Duckbill Dinosaurs and a nasty aggro family of T-Rex's.
I've now also become a huge fan of the illustrator David Roberts whose illustrations combine a cartoon, fine art, and Edward Gorey feel all in one. I'm hoping to interview him for the upcoming Craft and Business of Illustrating Children's Picture Books, which promises to be quite exceptional and unlike anything else out there :)
So without further ado - come learn about Tyranasaurus Drip. And if you like it, please take a second and click the like button below it.
Following a fabulous but exhausting North/Central California SCBWI conference I'm off enjoying the waters in Calistoga where tomorrow, Kristen Fulton and I will be doing the mud baths, jacuzzi towel wrap and massage treatment. Oh yeah!! Kristen came from Florida for the conference and is one of my current students. Watch for her name as she will be very successful and already has agents interested. Another student came from LA as well as a bunch from more local areas. It's all very exciting watching them blossom. All three portfolio winners were all former students, which was tremendously gratifying, especially now as I work on putting together what will be a mind-blowing illustration course for both beginners and professionals. I do love my students very much and feel incredibly lucky to do the work that I do. If you want first dibs on upcoming courses, sign up to the right for the mailing list. Information will be coming soon.
Many people, myself included, keep saying that folk and fairytale retellings are pretty much over. But original approaches to these classics do continue to be published in exceptional cases. Corey Rosen Shwartz's "The Three Ninja Pigs" (qwinky-dink time) which you can find further down on this page is another prime example of this.
In this children's picture book review we look at a super fun retelling of The Boy Who Cried Wolf where I share some ideas of how the writer/illustrator might have created the book. This story also has a huge difference or twist in the story. See if you can figure it out.
Sometimes it gets disheartening making these videos and not knowing if anyone is watching or enjoying them. If you watch and enjoy them please click the Like button and share it with your mates. As much as I love doing these, they are quite a bit of work and I'm thinking of giving them up :)
We are so excited to be mixing things up at CBA, beginning with some delicious additions to the Blogfish. Meet our awesome new bloggers!!
Here's our lineup:
1st Mondays begin with Clear Fork/Spork editor/art director, former agent and former kidlit professor Mira Reisberg PhD who is also the Director of the Children's Book Academy.
2nd Mondays will feature super smart Melissa Stoller whose career is taking off with several new books.
3rd Mondays will feature Bryan Patrick Avery, published writer, man of mystery, and professional magician among other things.
4th Mondays feature funny Aussie author Sharon Giltrow sharing awesome Aussie books.
And 5th Mondays will feature Libyan American author Koloud Tarapolsi sharing wonderful diverse books.