Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Caldecott 2018 - Mock Voting

This morning (11/08/17) our picture book group -- seasoned writers and book reviewers considered several dozen 2017 books that we felt would be contenders for the 2018 Caldecott.  The following results of our discussion and voting result in a winner, and two honor titles.

The award vote went to Mike Curato, the illustrator of Margarita Engle's All the Way to Havana (Henry Holt and Company, 2017).  Engle is a native of Cuba.  Curato went to Cuba and stayed in a bed and breakfast operated by two of Margarita's cousins in Havana.  During his stay he research and photographed many cars and scenes in Cuba.  Car enthusiasts will notice that the cars are often modified with parts from a variety of sources, parts that substitute for the original parts but do not necessarily duplicate the original. The car that is the main focus in the book is a real car, a 1954 Chevy 201 Series - sometimes know as a Chevy Delray.  The real car was owned by Rey a driver who took Curato and a fellow illustrator, Curator's interpreter in Cuba, around Havana.  The car has been in Rey's wife, Marbelis's family for more than three decades.  Curato's illustrations were created with pencil and paint and emulated the textures from the photographs Curator had taken in Cuba.  The perspectives of the buildings and the variety of cars are a feast for the eyes.  Readers will glimpse a bit of the culture and history of Cuba - as seen through the eyes of an observer in the country.  A book trailer for this book is available online at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=pcqtGqGUuFM


These following two illustrators were strong contenders and are listed here in alphabetical order by the illustrator's last name.
Illustrator Keith Mallett - 
First time author Andrea J. Loney tells the story of an innovative photographer in Take a Picture of Me, James Vanderzee! (Lee and Low, 2017).  Loney tells the inspirational story of Vanderzee who as a young boy saved his coins to buy his first camera to his rise as a sought after photographer in Harlem where he took photos of legendary figures that were part of the Harlem Renaissance.  As a photographer Vanderzee created photographs that showcased the beauty of those he photographed.  The illustrator, Keith Mallett, does the same for Vanderzee as he illuminates the subjects of Vanderzee's subjects.
Keith Mallett is an artist and designer, residing in San Diego.  He has been creating art for as long as he can remember.  For more than three decades he has created posters and art prints.  He was able to attend the original James VanDerZee exhibit "Harlem on my Mind" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  The illustrations were created with acrylic paint and were meticulously researched for accuracy true to the late 19th century.  Read VanDerZee's comments about how he created the illustrations in a blog post on Lee and Low's blog about art and design.
"Illustrator Keith Mallett Takes Us Behind the art of Take a Picture of Me, James Vanderzee.  (27 Jul 2017).  Lee and Low. (Online) http://blog.leeandlow.com/2017/07/27/illustrator-keith-mallett-takes-us-behind-the-art-of-take-a-picture-of-me-james-vanderzee/.  


This book joins other recent books about photographers that will make a great collaborative reading package for young readers.
Weatherford, Carole Boston. Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America. Illustrated by Jarney Christoph. (Albert Whitman, 2015)
Weatherford, Carole Boston. Dorothea Lange: The Photographer Who Found the Faces of Depression.  Illustrated by Sarah Green.  (Albert Whitman, 2017)

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Illustrator: John Rocco
Fans of the forever popular writer Virginia Lee Burton will love this look at Burton's life and artistry, Big Machines The Story of Virginia Lee Burton, by Sherri Dusky Rinker, with illustrations by John Rocco (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017).  The biography text is a tribute to both Burton and her artistic style, while Rocco emulates Burton's visual style and includes images of Jinnee and her two boys, Aristides Burton Demetrios and Michael Burton Demetrios, in many scenes.  (Note: Learn about Aris and Mike on the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Internet site at http://www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com/features/mike_mulligan/arismike.shtml) But the focus of the book and the illustrations are the big machines that Jinnee created to delight her sons: Mary Anne, Katy, and Marybelle.
John Rocco is no stranger to illustration or to the Caldecott. He has illustrated dozens of children's books, one of which was named a Caldecott honor, Blackout, in 2012.  His art for Blackout was created with graphite pencil on Strathmore Bristol paper with digital coloration.  For this book, the talented and versatile illustrator created the illustrations with watercolors, colored pencil, and digital media. Rocco's art can also be seen on the covers of many books by Rick Riordan - specifically the Percy Jackson series.  He also has worked in animation and in leading industry venues.  Rocco's illustrations for Big Machines have been described as being "... alive, bursting with color and action" and indeed they are.
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Visit Christopher John Rocco's professional site at http://www.roccoart.com
 
Access a complete list of books illustrated by Virginia Lee Burton at the FemBio site at http://www.fembio.org/english/biography.php/woman/biography/virginia-lee-burton/


Now to wait until the actual awards are announced during the American Library Association's midwinter convention February 9 - 13, 2018 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, CO.  The announcements are typically made on the Monday morning of the conference - which would be February 12, 2018.  Good luck to all the illustrators of 2017 books.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Creekfinding: A True Story

March 2017 saw the release of Creekfinding: A True Story.  This tale based on the true story of Michael Osterholm and his efforts to bring back a lost stream that once flowed through a field on his farm.  With heavy equipment, thoughtful plans and plenty of ingenuity Osterholm created an environment that allowed the spring fed stream to come back and when the water came so did the birds, and reptiles, and hundreds of insects.  This is the story of the finding of that creek and the efforts to restore the creek as a habitat for the trout that once inhabited the stream.

In March, Jacqueline Briggs Martin, Claudia McGehee, and Michael Osterholm were at Prairie Lights in Iowa City, Iowa to share the back story of the book, and to introduce the work to the many bibliophiles that came to hear the reading and learn about the stream and the story.  On April 1, Claudia and Jackie shared their book at the CSPS hall in Cedar Rapids as part of a program arranged and sponsored by Next Page Books in the New Bo District.  And on April 15th there is a celebration at the Perfect Blend in Mount Vernon, IA.  But the celebration does not stop there, on April 23rd, the Red Balloon Bookshop celebrates the book with another reading and appearance by Martin, McGehee, and Osterholm.

Jacqueline Briggs Martin, Claudia McGehee, Michael Osterholm
at Prairie Lights Bookstore in Iowa City, Iowa.

Watch for this blackbird who seems to show up
throughout the illustrations for the story.


Max is a real dog that was by Michael's side throughout
the Creekfinding activities.  Ask the book creators about
his story.

Michael Osterholm began his adventure with the creek
through his efforts to create a prairie area on his newly purchased
farm fields. Now cone flowers and other native wild flowers have a
home along the banks of the creek that runs through the field.

 Gtotaku - making a fish print

The first step in creating a fish print (Gyotaku) is to cover
the fish with the black ink which will create the print
impression.

Those who attended the reading at the CSPS hall in Cedar
Rapids were given an opportunity to make a fish print in the
manner that has been used in Japan for centuries.  Here the
fish which has been covered with a printer's ink is being rubbed
with the paper which will yield a print of the fish.


This is the finished print, framed, and ready for his mother's day gift.

Earlier at the CSPS hall Jacqueline Briggs Martin reads
from Creekfinding: A True Story.


Children attending the reading helped put the animals in
the prairie.


Be sure to ask the creators about the role the fox played in
the book - or at least the backstory about the origination
of the story and its role in finding the collaborators.

  From the publisher - The University of Minnesota Press

"In the words of award-winning author Jacqueline Briggs Martin and the enchanting illustrations of Claudia McGehee, this is the heartwarming tale of an ecosystem restored in the Driftless Area of northeast Iowa. The story will charm and inform young readers who are drawn to a good mystery, the wonders of nature—and, of course, big earth-moving machines." ~ University of Minnesota Press
 
"The main narrative reads smoothly aloud, and the pictures, though detailed, should show well to a small group. Author's and illustrator's notes and a comment from the actual creek rescuer complete the package. A heartening story of environmental restoration." ~ Kirkus Reviews




 
 
Jacqueline Briggs Martin - author of Creekfinding: A True Story (and many other picture book titles) is available for author appearances -- find out more at McBookwords.
McBookwords has a dozen or more authors that speak with young readers.  If you would like to investigate having an author visit your school or library -- for an author appearance please contact us at McBookwords.  Each of these authors often speak  in schools with young readers, and at all types of groups that are interested in literacy and  books.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Garden Colors

Creating  Authors - Growing Gardens - Photo Skills

It's always a delight to me when I come across a new book or two that connects in my mind with an "old" favorite title, and an interesting "book" activity  pops into my head. 
Today, I came across this 2016 series of books from Gareth Stevens Publishers -
Find out more & how to order from
https://www.garethstevens.com/series/Our-Favorite-Colors




The colorful jackets immediately caught my eye.  The photographs were engaging and I envision that the contents are equally as innovative.  A favorite three-year-old that frequently visits at my house LOVES orange so I immediately thought about how much he would love the We Love Orange! title.  And then my brain continued to dance through the possibilities, and the one that emerged on top is the idea of taking my digital camera and going into the community and finding "colors."  To focus on categorization, I would ask the camera operator to concentrate on one selected color.  Another color for another day -- go on a digital photo search for the color of your choice.

A great place to expand on the color idea is to visit community gardens and soak in the wonderful colors of radishes,  corn, and the lush greens of peas, string beans, lettuce, and other great food.  Share some garden books with children... stimulate their sense of color with these books.

Vegetables of all colors and shapes -- build vocabulary and awareness of fruits and vegetables that might be unfamiliar.

Eating the Alphabet: Fruits and Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert.













Growing Vegetable Soup - another book by Lois Ehlert.  Luscious brightly colored vegetables -- raise awareness of the colors that populate vegetable gardens.
Yes - a chant -- what fun! Work your way through the fruits find some you know and some you don't.  Build vocabulary and color recognition with this lyrical presentation.  Go, Go Grapes: A Fruit Chant by April Pulley Sayre.
 First fruits -- and now a chant featuring vegetables.  The same lush colors, new words, familiar words - and lots of familiar vegetables and some new ones as well.  Rah, Rah, Radishes! by April Pulley Sayre.

While your digital photographers might be looking for colors in vegetable and fruit books, they might be interested in knowing where these vegetables and fruits are grown.  While there are large farms that produce food for others, there is also a new movement to start and sustain urban gardens.

Find all the colors in Jacqueline Briggs Martin's Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table.

All the colors of the gardens will be a visual (and perhaps a tasty) treat.




 
Jacqueline Briggs Martin - author of Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table (and many other picture book titles) is available for author appearances -- find out more at McBookwords.
McBookwords has a dozen or more authors that speak with young readers.  If you would like to investigate having an author visit your school or library -- for an author appearance please contact us at McBookwords.  Each of these authors often speak  in schools with young readers, and at all types of groups that are interested in literacy and  books.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Farmer Will Allen - 25 Points of Light

Join the Read Across the Globe efforts -- Obtain copies of Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table for your classroom/library. Connect and READ. Join the efforts.
NEWS -- Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table to be the featured book in President George W. Bush's 25th Anniversary celebration of his Points of Lights initiative. The celebration will include an effort to enlist thousands of volunteers to break the Guinness Book of World Records listing for the number of children being read to in a 24-hour period as part of the "Read Across the Globe" initiative. A gigantic conference is planned October 19-21, 2015 at the George R. Brown Convention Center, Houston, Texas. The record is 238,620 and officials are aiming to go past the 300,000 mark with 10,000 volunteers fanning out to Houston area schools and day care centers during the conference to read aloud the children's book, Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table. Even astronaut Scott Kelly plans to read the book aloud from outer space, although he won't be counted in the tally since he won't be in a classroom.



 
Jacqueline Briggs Martin is available for author appearances -- find out more at McBookwords.

McBookwords has a dozen or more authors that speak with young readers.  If you would like to investigate having an author visit your school or library -- for an author appearance please contact us at McBookwords.  Each of these authors often speak  in schools with young readers, and at all types of groups that are interested in literacy and  books.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

My Grandfather's Coat - Sydney Taylor Book Award - 2015

My Grandfather's Coat

2015 - Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner
 for Younger Readers
with illustrations by Barbara McClintock
Scholastic, 2014

Barbara McClintock and Jim Aylesworth
accepted the award during the
Association of Jewish Libraries - 
Annual Conference 2015
(June 21-24, 2015) in Silver Springs, MD.

Jim and Barbara McClintock are interviewed by Sandra Bornstein on her blog (February 9, 2015 Author Interviews) in conjunction with their 2015 Syndey Taylor Award. The interview was published in two parts, with an additional entry discussing the book My Grandfather's Coat on day 2.
Congratulations Jim and Barbara

This very rhythmic retelling of a well-know and favorite tale about a thrifty man who recycles his handsome coat.
When my grandfather came to America
he made himself a handsome coat!
Then he wore it and he wore it and he wore it--
until it was all worn out!
So what did he do?

He snipped and he clipped--
and he stitched and he sewed. . .
and out of the still-good cloth of his coat--
he made himself a smart jacket! ... 

Pair this fresh new retelling with the version by Simms Taback Joseph Had a Little Overcoat (Viking, 1999) and Phoebe Gilman's Something for Nothing (Scholastic, 1992). 

The New York Times Book Review says ...
“Aylesworth’s adaptation feels almost like a song, and reads aloud beautifully […] a moving tale of love and regeneration. [H]ere [Barbara McClintock’s] emulating Randolph Caldecott himself, whose seminal picture books are still paragon of lively visual storytelling. The specificity and accuracy she invested in these drawings makes them feel universal. [I]t’s love, family and story. The story is the gift. It’s a good book. Grandparents be advised.”

A wonderful book that is sure to be a classic retelling celebrating the immigrant experience in America -- and through the decades.

Aylesworth, Jim. My Grandfather's Coat. Illustrated by Barbara McClintock. Scholastic, 2014 32 pages. ISBN-10: 0439925452; ISBN-13: 978-0439925457. $17.99.


Anyone planning a major children's literature conference or just wanting to have an inspiring author visit your school/community for a day with young readers might wish to invite Jim Aylesworth   to your school, library, or conference.

 Jim Aylesworth is a popular speaker in schools and libraries and at conferences, each bring  much inspiration for reading and writing.

If you are interested in inviting Jim Aylesworth to your school or library -- for an author appearance please contact us at McBookwords.  Jim often speaks  in schools with young readers, and at all types of groups that are interested in literacy and  books.

 
McBookwords has a dozen or more authors that speak with young readers.  If you would like to investigate having an author visit your school or library -- for an author appearance please contact us at McBookwords.  Each of these authors often speak  in schools with young readers, and at all types of groups that are interested in literacy and  books.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Arthur Geisert - An Iowa Treasure



A Celebration in McGregor, Iowa

One day in 2013, Arthur Geisert launched a recent book Thunderstorm and in the small town of Bernard, Iowa (fewer than 100 residents), he sold over 500 books on that launch day.  In the back of Coe's bar, between the meat slicer and beer cooler he signed each one of them.  At the end of the day he went to his home -- the town's old bank, where he lived in his studio/home of less than 700 square feet.  In a June 2, 2013 interview on NPR he tells all about the event. 

Arthur's Gift to the McGregor Marquette Center for the Arts

Recently Jeni Reeves (another Iowa Illustrator), Lou Wendell (the merchandizing queen and manager in the gift shop at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art), and I traveled to McGregor where we attended a reception honoring Geisert and his gift to the McGregor Marquette Center for the Arts of the complete works of art from his popular Rivertown (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books, 1999; op).

During this reception honoring Arthur's Gift to the McGregor Marquette Center for the Arts, the gallery manager paid tribute to other Iowa Illustrators/authors who had participated with Geisert on a panel at an early event at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art.  Jeni Reeves was one of these artists, and she posed with one of her books and with Geisert as he autographed a book for her.  Two very talented illustrators.

Iowa is very lucky to have such talent.  The gallery opening was a festive and special event.  When all was said and done we made our way back home to Cedar Rapids, and Arthur Geisert made his way to his  new studio/home in the town of Elkader.   He needed more space and he wanted "a place that was within walking distance of all the services. I looked long and hard, and Elkader was one of the few places that I could walk to everything. It is the county seat with a population of 1,200. My building is within a block and a half of everything from the county courthouse to the pizza parlor. It is a two-story built in 1890 with a full basement. It is a beautiful building.” (quoted from an interview with Amy Meythaler and published on the MackinConnect blog [September 15, 2014]).
His earlier books include:
Oops (2006).
Lights Out (2005).
The Etcher’s Studio (2005).
Mystery (2003).
Nursery Crimes (2001).
Roman Numerals I to MM (2001).
Desert Town with Bonnie Geisert (2001).
Prairie Town with Bonnie Geisert (1998).
Pigs From A to Z(1986).
Oink (1995).

He has published with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for over 30 years.  

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If you are interested in inviting an Iowa author or illustrator to your school or library check our our list of local book creators; and a few others as well -- for an author appearance please contact us at McBookwords.  Our illustrators and authors often speak in schools with young readers, and at all types of groups that are interested in literacy and  books.


 
McBookwords has a dozen or more authors that speak with young readers.  If you would like to investigate having an author visit your school or library -- for an author appearance please contact us at McBookwords.  Each of these authors often speak  in schools with young readers, and at all types of groups that are interested in literacy and  books. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Author Snapshot: I am Cow, Hear Me Moo!

Meeting Jill Esbaum

Iowa native and author, Jill Esbaum has written many books, both fiction and non-fiction, for young readers.  One of her most recent titles is I am Cow, Hear me Moo! -- Jill was recently invited to speak to the students throughout one of the local Cedar Rapids - Marion school districts.  We were able to meet her one afternoon during that week of school visits.
 Getting a book autographed by the author is an exciting time.  Other readers who would like to know more about Jill Esbaum should check out her website at

 While you are on her site you can check out the "new" books that will be coming during 2015.  

It looks like there would be something here for many readers.  Enjoyed the brief (but very pleasant) visit.  Thank you Jill Esbaum - for meeting us and for your books.
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If you are interested in inviting an Iowa author or illustrator to your school or library check our our list of local book creators; and a few others as well -- for an author appearance please contact us at McBookwords.  Our illustrators and authors often speak in schools with young readers, and at all types of groups that are interested in literacy and  books.


 
McBookwords has a dozen or more authors that speak with young readers.  If you would like to investigate having an author visit your school or library -- for an author appearance please contact us at McBookwords.  Each of these authors often speak  in schools with young readers, and at all types of groups that are interested in literacy and  books.