Thursday, June 24, 2010

News and Link Medley

Check out this great, must-read article: The Elephant in the Room by Elizabeth Bluemle. She discusses the need for diversity in books. She gives tons of great links and includes wonderful illustrations, which I have already revisited.
Diversity in children's books is a critical topic of conversation. I believe as a greater variety of books become available (diverse books with illustrations and characters which include all cultures and ALL children) we will create more readers and will increase peace, tolerance and understanding.

Hunger Mountain, the literary journal of Vermont College of Fine Arts, has their newest edition available online. Here is the Young Adult and Children's Literature Issue. There is a wide range of articles as well as fiction and poetry to read.

My semester recently finished and I already miss working with my advisor, Kathi Appelt. This has been an incredible and unforgettable semester. I look forward to seeing her in July when I am at the residency on campus in Montpelier, Vermont.

The World Cup is going on. I see lot of flags flying, mostly on cars. Most cars fly German flags, but many fly two flags--one German and one from the driver's country. (It is more fun if rooting for two or three teams.) My kids have been watching some of the games at school, (during class?) and since their school has kids from all over the world (and from almost all of the countries in the Cup) there is lots of patriotism which exhibits itself with face painting and wearing shirts with their respective countries' flag colors in school. I found it interesting that the World Cup theme song is sung in two languages: Spanish and English.

Vermont College of Fine Arts
will have some great visiting authors on campus this summer for residency. Readings by the faculty, visiting authors and graduating students are open to the public. The schedule will be announced before the start of residency in July, and should be available on their website. This is a great opportunity for anyone who is in the Vermont region.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Out of the Way! Out of the Way! by Uma Krishnaswami

Uma Krishnaswami, my friend and one of the faculty (and my previous advisor) at Vermont College of Fine Arts, recently published a new picture book, Out of the Way! Out of the Way! (The illustrator is Uma Krishnaswamy, the artist--their names have one letter different in English; I want to see more books from her.)

I can't express how excited I am about this book. It is incredible.
Also cool-- it is available in many awesome languages.

From Uma's blog: "Chaos and cheerful disorder abound in OUT OF THE WAY! OUT OF THE WAY! as a boy, a tree, and a road all grow together."

A delightful, multi-continent blog tour for this book is the happening thing. I'm looking forward to the interviews, videos, and more. The schedule of the blog tour is at Tulika Books blog.
Uma will also post links on her blog, Writing with a Broken Tusk, each day.

Out of the Way! Out of the Way! is available from Tulika Books for $6.50.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I'm giving a Writing Workshop

I'm giving a half day writing workshop this coming Saturday (June 12th) in Heidelberg for SCBWI Germany.

"Rhythms of the Picture Book" is an intensive, hands on opportunity for writers and illustrators to learn the fundamentals of crafting picture books in a small workshop environment. (Maximum twelve participants.)

I'll cover the essential elements of picture books, typical and atypical narrative structures, page turns, plus writing and revising techniques including dummies and storyboards. The title of the workshop refers to the variety of contrapuntal rhythms which are found in the unique form of the picture book. The half day workshop, which is limited to twelve people, will be jam-packed with information, discussions, and exercises.

I'm looking forward to Saturday. It will be fun to discuss picture books with other writers in Heidelberg, a beautiful city.

Please contact me if you want more information.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Pop Up and Movable Books

The Smithsonian Library opens an exhibit at the National Museum of American History on June 14th. Fold, Pull, Pop and Turn will feature books--many of them picture books. This exhibit includes examples from some of the best paper engineers, including historical favorites such as Lothar Meggendorfer and many contemporary designers. The exhibit will be open until Fall 2011.

A brilliant blog shares the exhibit for those who can't visit in person. Be sure to click on the link and check it out. Their October blog has a nice slideshow of many of the books.

Another resource: University of North Texas has a wonderful online website: Pop up and Movable Books: a tour through their history. If you draw your mouse over the pictures, you will see the movement that occurs on the page if you were to pull the tab.

Books with movable parts have been around for centuries. They are designed for adults as well as children, for instruction as well as for enjoyment.
Movable book are also published in other parts of the world.

Tulika Books in India recently published Home, a stand up book with opening panels. Their website explains that this book adapts one traditional storytelling method. More about this book can be found here (an explanatory review) and here on Uma Krishnaswami's blog where she gives information about the Storyteller's box and embeds a fascinating video.

Another Indian publisher, Tara Books, makes a scroll-book, Tsunami. This book uses Patua art, and is printed by hand. The description says that this is the "first time a Patua scroll has been rendered into the form of a book." This video from Tara books demonstrates this book.

All the photos of movable books make me want to hold them and play with each page. I just pulled my copy of Nur Für Brave Kinder by Meggendorfur from my bookshelf and again enjoyed the tabs that transform each picture.

I hope I can find a way in the next year to get to Washington DC to see the Smithsonian's new exhibit.