What is JacketFlap

  • JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans.
    Join now (it's free).

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in
    from   

Suggest a Blog

Enter a Blog's Feed URL below and click Submit:

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

Recent Comments

MyJacketFlap Blogs

  • Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.

Blog Posts by Tag

In the past 30 days

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
new posts in all blogs
Viewing Blog: Elizabeth O. Dulemba, Most Recent at Top
Results 26 - 50 of 2,338
Visit This Blog | Login to Add to MyJacketFlap
Blog Banner
coloring page tuesdays, news and events, blog book tours, reviews, illustration and promotion, and general weirdness from a children's book author/illustrator.
Statistics for Elizabeth O. Dulemba

Number of Readers that added this blog to their MyJacketFlap: 80
26. A FALLING STAR by Chantel Acevedo - Guest Post and Giveaway!

Chantel Acevedo will once again be my kind host at the Auburn Writers Conference in November. She's so generous to other writers, so it is my great pleasure to help her celebrate the release of her latest book, A FALLING STAR. Take it away Chantel!

      One of the questions writers are often asked has to do with inspiration, and the places where ideas come from. I thought I’d share with you where the idea for A Falling Star came from.
      First, you need to know that it was an idea twenty years in the making. Second, you need to know that A Falling Star is set against the backdrop of the Mariel Boat Crisis of 1980, and the Cuban rafter crisis of 1990—two massive Cuban exoduses ten years apart, with enormous consequences for the island and for South Florida. In the story, Daysy, a 14 year old girl who arrived in Miami as a child as part of the Mariel boatlift, discovers that her parents have been keeping a very tragic secret from her. So, Daysy goes on the hunt for answers to her past.
      The story is inspired by the very true Mariel story of my childhood friend, Arlenys Casanova. She was five when she came to the U.S. with her parents as one of over 100,000 Cubans who sought exile on our shores over the course of one spring. Upon disembarking in Key West, she was lost for hours among so many thousands who milled about the docks. Her parents, panicked, inhibited by the language barrier, searched and searched, exhausted by the boat ride, terrified that after everything they’d gone through, they’d come to a new country only to lose their daughter. Arlenys was found, eventually, in the arms of an elderly blind man, who huddled with her in the shade, waiting for someone to come and claim her.
This is a photo of my favorite writing spot, which is in my living room, beside my colorful bookshelves, with my grandparents' engagement photo from Cuba looking on. My grandmother, who is still with us, is a wonderful story, and I feel as if I owe my artistic sensibilities to her.

      Arlenys gifted me with this story when we were fifteen, sitting on the sidewalk waiting for another friend to emerge from her house. She told it casually, softly, and I always remembered it.
      When I sat down to write a story about the many ways that Cubans have come to the U.S., Arlenys’ story bubbled up in my imagination, and I found myself asking, “What if parents never found her? Or worse, what if she’d been lost at sea?”
      Those are the horrifying and gripping questions that novels are born out of, and so Daysy came to be. I will be forever grateful for that afternoon in Miami, when Arlenys told me her story, for her enduring friendship, and for her parents, who had the courage to seek a better life for their little girl and brought one of my dearest friends into my life.

Bio: Chantel Acevedo has received many awards for her fiction, including the Latino International Book Award and an Alabama State Council on the Arts Literature Fellowship. A Cuban-American born and raised in Miami, Florida, Acevedo has spent time in Japan and New Zealand as a Fulbrighter, and currently resides in Auburn, Alabama with her family, where she is the Alumni Writer-in-Residence and Coordinator of the Creative Writing Program at Auburn University. Acevedo’s fiction and poetry have appeared inPrairie Schooner, American Poetry Review, North American Review,and Chattahoochee Review, among others. She is the editor of theSouthern Humanities Review, the founder of the annual Auburn Writers Conference, and the author of two additional novels, Love and Ghost Letters (St. Martin’s Press) and A Falling Star(Carolina Wren Press), as well as a novel for young adults, Song of the Red Cloak. A new novel, THE DISTANT MARVELS, is forthcoming from Europa Editions. She holds an MFA from the University of Miami.

GIVEAWAY!
Chantel has generously agreed to give an autographed copy of A FALLING STAR to one of my lucky followers. Must live in the US to win - enter below.

0 Comments on A FALLING STAR by Chantel Acevedo - Guest Post and Giveaway! as of 9/6/2014 10:02:00 AM
Add a Comment
27. Friday Linky List - September 5, 2014


From Electric Lit - great info graphic about libraries in America, by H&R Block

From Shelf Awareness at Flavorwire: 25 Vintage Photos of Librarians Being Awesome

From Shelf Awareness at Scottish Book Trust: Scottish Children's Book Awards Shortlist

At Boston.com via PW: Children's Book Illustrator Takes Heat for Ferguson Drawing - Mary Englebright - yes. Read more about it at Betsy Bird's Fuse #8

From Shelf Awareness: Image of the Day: Campaign Stop at Avid Bookshop

Also from Shelf Awareness: "The ABC of It: Why Children's Books Matter," at the Fifth Avenue (at 42nd Street) location of the New York Public Library, is in its last days. Curator Leonard S. Marcus will host a farewell toast in the library bookshop on September 7, 3-5 p.m.
I saw it, and if you're a kid lit lover, you really shouldn't miss it!

At The Scotsman via PW: JK Rowling honours Malala Yousafzai at the Edinburgh International Book Festival!

At NPR: How To Sell Diverse Books: A Bookstore Owner's Advice (Elizabeth Bluemle of The Flying Pig Bookstore in Vermont talks to Audie Cornish)

From SLJ, Ferguson Libraries Step Up to Serve Community in Turmoil

San Jose Mercury News via PW: 50-State Look At How Common Core Playing Out in US - how's your state doing?

0 Comments on Friday Linky List - September 5, 2014 as of 9/5/2014 9:24:00 AM
Add a Comment
28. FRANK! by Connah Brecon - Giveaway!


Some illustrators are so brilliant, their books are luscious treats to enjoy. Such is the case with Connah Brecon’s new FRANK! Although a longtime illustrator, Connah is relatively new on the US kid lit scene, so I’m delighted to get the chance to know him better…

Q. Connah, congratulations on FRANK! How did this book come to be?
A.
Hi Elizabeth & many thanks for the compliments. I'm sure, like most illustrators I spend most of my time viewing others work & just hanging my head, thinking I might as well just give up right now. There are so many talented illustrators around at the moment, so it's really lovely to hear something good about yourself.
      Frank! came about through one of those happy coincidences, my daughter had just started Primary school & we (the parents), kept getting subtle hints in the school newsletter regarding promptness. I joked with my daughter about why the students might be late to school & of course the excuses/reasons just got more & more bizarre. I had recently drawn this bear character, who became Frank, & he was lounging on my desk, so it seemed a perfect fit. You might notice the dedication is to the students & staff of the school, who I jokingly refer to as being 'always on time'. Initially I intended Frank to be the only animal character in the story, so he would stand out but as I began sketching the spreads it became obvious to make the characters a nice mix of human & animal. Most of my stories come about through a lovely collision of characters/sketches & story ideas. The process never seems to be exactly the same twice. Some come together easier than others but it's always a very organic process, there is no template to creating the perfect Picture Book.

Q. You’re from down under - what’s the children’s book scene like there?
A.
Actually I'm from the UK but currently live in Melbourne with my family. I am decidedly British. *smiley face*
      The Kidlit scene here is thriving as it is elsewhere in the World & I put that down to the range of children's lit that is currently being produced. There is such a wide spectrum of work/styles available to buy at the moment, which has really thrown a spotlight back onto the scene, alongside a book savvy audience. We suffered such a drought in quality work through the eighties & nineties which, in hindsight, will make this period we are in seem like a golden age in children's publishing. A couple of years back I was speaking to a well known Australian illustrator who berated me with the news that Picture Books were dead & that apps was where it was going to be happening, well, we've all seen what's come of that *looking at you (name removed for liable reasons), famous illustrator*. & just the other week I was informed by a big publisher here in Melbourne that they were sorry for not being able to offer me a publish date prior 2017. That's a healthy place for children's publishing to be.
      So, super rosy is the short answer.

Q. I ADORE your style - can you walk us through your method?
A.
Thank you Elizabeth.
      Well, everything starts with a sketchbook & pencil (old school). Once all the spreads are drawn up (on paper), I scan them into photoshop, cut out each character & begin painting beneath that paper layer. This retains the original pencil line plus you get to keep the paper texture, helping, hopefully, to remove that digital feel from the illustration. For a while I was quite paranoid about my work looking too digital but now with Frank! I think I've found a happy medium. With the background art I like to work fresh from scratch in photoshop, trying to allow happy accidents to occur, which is me trying to replicate what happens when you work traditionally. I use found textures over the top of colours to enable a more tactile look. Generally though, the overall art has a way of working itself out for each book. & with each new book you try to push the art further & I think this relates to the previous question, there are so many great books being produced at the moment that as an illustrator you are forced even more to up your game. You're not just competing against yourself but all the other great books out there. Not that you should overly dwell on such issues but it definitely lurks there in the darker recesses.

Q. I’m so intrigued by your color palette. Was that a quirky accident, or a planned decision?
A.
Thank you, that was a compliment right? (Me: YES!)
      I've always been known to have a more muted palette which I think just stems from my personal taste in colour ranges. But with FRANK! I made a conscious decision to broaden that palette for certain aspects of the book & also throw in some big splash pages from left field. It's another method of introducing energy into a story & also me testing myself, can I be happy that the sky is yellow given that the sky is never yellow in reality. When you create a Picture Book or any story come to that, you create a unique World that these characters inhabit, if your colour choices are believable in that World then it's a win. So, I think with each new book there should be a new World, still recognisable as yours but different. & in a way each story does kind of dictate your colour choices to a degree, the feel, the sentiment of the story comes through.

Q. What’s been your illustrative journey and how did you break into children’s books?
A.
So, I studied art at tertiary level; this is way back, back before the internet, I'm old right? I fell into illustration by accident. My girlfriend at the time was an illustrator & I saw how I was painting these monumental canvases & not making any money & here she was painting these little cute illustrations & making money, it was an easy decision to make. I spent a decade in editorial illustration before moving out here & landing my first Picture Book with Lothian Books. I just called them up, went in & they said "you should try writing your own stories too". I mean, maybe that was a put-off but I did & ended up publishing three of my own Pictures with the wonderful Helen Chamberlin, then the senior editor. Since then I have basically worked in education chapter books & Picture Books. The educational market was very lucrative here until recently when the big publishers started moving everything offshore to India! Sorry Indian people of the World. I also taught illustration for a few years & that was fun, except the paper work, they should have given me someone to do that job. Short sighted education system!

Q. Was there a defining moment or revelation in your path to becoming an illustrator, or in defining your style?
A.
Not as such, I think I've happily landed on my feet a few times in my career. I'm sure it's a lot like life in general, if you keep working at what you love eventually you hit gold. As for the style thing, I try & stay fresh as much for myself as anyone else. You always manage to find something while working, some mistake that works out that you want to pursue & explore. There is also that pursuit of perfection, the gap between what you see in your head & what comes out on the page & of course that gap never narrows.

Q. There are lots of funny signs hiding in FRANK! Is there a story behind those?
A.
I wish *counts dollar bills*. I just love background detail, incidental information if you will. If books are Worlds then they should be filled with detail, all the fluff helps to support our main characters. I do really admire illustrators that can tell a story with minimal visual effort, it's a talent in it's own right. Detail is just something I can't help doing. But it is nice to ask what the heck that sailor is doing in town at a Charity Dance Off?

Q. Now that America knows about you, you have more books in the pipes. Can you share more about them?
A.
Hello America! Pleased to meet you.
      Alongside FRANK! I have a second Picture Book coming out late December 2014 through Philomel Books. THERE'S THIS THING is a love about a girl who likes a... well, that would be telling. Besides that I have a few scripts that are doing the rounds now, so fingers crossed.

Q. Thanks so much and I wish you much continued success!!
A.
Thanks Elizabeth, it was great talking to you.

GIVEAWAY!
Connah has very generously agreed to send a signed copy of FRANK! all the way from Australia to one of my lucky winners! Must live in the US or the UK to win - enter below!

0 Comments on FRANK! by Connah Brecon - Giveaway! as of 9/4/2014 8:38:00 AM
Add a Comment
29. The Decatur Book Festival Wrap-Up - 2014


Friday... Stan and I went downtown to pick up my author packet at the hotel and see who we could see. Sure enough, I ran into Tom Angleberger (Origami Yoda) and Cece Bell (El Deafo) and their kids. Sweet folks from the same town as Hollins University! We walked around the square to watch the tents going up. There's a buzz in the air that begins with those tents - everybody starts getting excited. The folks at Little Shop of Stories were still organizing all the books they'll be selling throughout the weekend (no small task), and there was just a general glow to things.
     We went back to the hotel to try out the new restaurant there - Makan. I highly recommend it. Then ran into more folks in the lobby - Kelly Light (who is as sweet and lovely as I always knew she'd be), Tony and Angela DiTerlizzi and their daughter too. Then back to Little Shop at 8:00 for the Children's book creator party.
     They're moving up in the world and had printed pinable name tags this year - they even had one for Stan, how sweet is that? I got to meet so many folks I've been wanting to meet for years, like Peter Lerangis, LeYuen Pham (pronounced "Lee Win"), and Matt Phelan. The bookstore hired a magician (author/magician Mike Lane) to entertain us and it was fun to see him (almost) lose Jon Scieszka's wedding ring in flames!


Saturday... More authors come in today and I can't wait to party with my peeps on the square this evening at the BIG party. DBF is such a non-stop blast!! Until then, today I moderate the "All in the Family" panel with James and Kimberly Dean (Pete the Cat) and Frank Morrison and Connie Shofield-Morrison - can't wait! Wish me luck!

Later... Gads it was a hot one - but we had a blast!! We saw bits and pieces of several presentations, trying to catch as much as we could. (It's impossible not to miss something.) The first we caught was Matt Phelan, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, and Kelly Light talk about "Pure Imagination." Then I had my panel...



I knew James and Kimberly, but was thrilled to meet Frank and Connie - lovely and talented people. Two powerfully creative couples talked about "All In The Family" - the challenges and high points of working with your significant other. I'm biased since I moderated, but I thought it went great.

     And James gave one lucky little girl an original Pete the Cat painting!

     Afterwards, we grabbed lunch at Leon's Full Service - air conditioning! Then we went to an adult author (about the Civil War) for Stan, then home for showers because the VIP party was that night!!
     It was still hotter than blazes, but the VIP party is not to be missed if you can get in. It's basically ALL the speakers in attendance gathered in once spot to mingle and have fun. I finally got some time to hang out with Loren Long, Chris Gall, and meet Salina Yoon - luv 'em! Kelly Light once again looked awesome in her red lipstick with those gorgeous aqua eyes of hers. Here she is (on the right) with my good friend Lynn Cullen (Mrs. Poe) and me in the middle:

They served arepas and creative cocktails and it was all good!

Sunday... It was a groggy, slow start this morning, but we eventually got moving. A good thing considering it was my turn to be on stage. Stan and I nabbed what I have dubbed "The Magic Table" in front of the Brick Store Pub in downtown Decatur. I swear to you, if you sit at this table during DBF, a ton of the folks you want to meet will walk by. Some will stop to say 'hi,' while others will join you for a beer. It's one of the best ways I know to get to know my fellow creators!

     Back to the children's stage, Carmen Deedy wowed the crowd as she always does. Then Chris Gall and William Wegman - there were several Weimaraners in the audience for him especially. Look him up and you'll see why. Sadly, Molly Idle came down with a flu bug in Washington (at the National Book Festival), so had to pass on DBF. I was so looking forward to finally meeting her in person. *le sigh* Oh well, our kid lit world is a small one.
     My panel was called "Southern Drawl" since Deborah Wiles, Tommy Hays, and I are all from the south. Vicky Alvear Shecter moderated and asked some great questions about voice, inspiration, research, etc.


Here's a pic of me with the gorgeous sign my publisher sent:

And we had a great audience too (all strategically sitting in the shade):

     After I signed a bunch of books (yay!) and even wrote my name on a little girl's arm (can you say SOAP please?), Stan and I mosied around to see the punch out image photo ops the Decatur Library created using my coloring pages. We had to do it! I'm in the fairy and Stan is saying "Arrgggghhh!" in the pirate:

And we finally got to see the bus that Little Shop of Stories purchased via a grant from James Patterson. It's SO CUTE!!!!

Then we caught up with a gang of children's book creators at The Square Pub for fall-apart cocktails. Some had to leave to catch flights and the rest of us went on to enjoy a lovely dinner at The Iberian Pig. I think we were all about to fall over by the time we hugged good-bye. But we all agreed, it was a FANTASTIC weekend.
     I was once again SO honored to be asked to participate. The folks at Little Shop of Stories busted bootie to make sure everybody had the books they wanted (they were packed the entire weekend, both in the store and at the booths). The leadership of DBF (Hi Daren and Diane and Paul and Mary!) made it all look easy, even though we know it's not. So a big hearty THANK YOU goes out to everybody for all your hard work making this my favorite weekend of the year!!

0 Comments on The Decatur Book Festival Wrap-Up - 2014 as of 9/3/2014 10:08:00 AM
Add a Comment
30. Coloring Page Tuesday - H is for Hippo!

     I received the sweetest note from a librarian for the Cedar City Public Library in Utah recently. She's featuring a different alphabet letter for each of her storytimes this year and is using my coloring pages to help with the topics. How sweet is that!?
      But then it occurred to me - do I have a coloring page for every letter? Or better yet, do I have a reading critter for every letter? I have a lot, but there are a few holes, which I plan to remedy over the next few months...not neccessarily in order.
     This week - you get a HIPPO reading the awesome THE HICCUPOTAMUS by Aaron Zenz. Speaking of Zs (for Zenzzz), I can't wait to show you what I have for the more difficult letters of the alphabet. But lo, it must wait...You'll just have to come back to see!
     CLICK HERE for more coloring pages! And be sure to share your creations in my gallery so I can put them in my upcoming newsletters! (Cards, kids art, and crafts are welcome!)
     Sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and... Please check out my books! Especially...

my debut novel, A BIRD ON WATER STREET, coming out next week! Click the cover to learn more!
     When the birds return to Water Street, will anyone be left to hear them sing? A miner's strike allows green and growing things to return to the Red Hills, but that same strike may force residents to seek new homes and livelihoods elsewhere. Follow the story of Jack Hicks as he struggles to hold onto everything he loves most.
AWARDS
**A SIBA OKRA Pick!**
**A GOLD Mom's Choice Award Winner!**
**The 2014 National Book Festival Featured Title for Georgia!**
**eLit 2014 Gold Medal Winner in the Environmental/Ecology/Nature Category**

0 Comments on Coloring Page Tuesday - H is for Hippo! as of 9/2/2014 8:50:00 AM
Add a Comment
31. Jarrett Krosoczka: Why lunch ladies are heroes

On this Labor Day, let's celebrate the folks who make our lives easier!
     Jarrett Krosoczka does just that. He was on Ted (again) recently, and he has another great message to share!

CLICK HERE to view the talk on TED if the embedded video gives you any trouble.

0 Comments on Jarrett Krosoczka: Why lunch ladies are heroes as of 9/1/2014 10:01:00 AM
Add a Comment
32. Decatur Book Festival Photo Ops Signage

OMG - what is it about my creations going to large vinyl of late? Joe Davich of the Georgia Center for the Book (I'm a board member) asked to use two of my coloring pages to create photo ops for the upcoming Decatur Book Festival... He used my Reading Fairy and my Pirate Treasure images. I just LOVE the way these turned out - SO cute!!! I hope lots of folks will get their pictures made with these!

0 Comments on Decatur Book Festival Photo Ops Signage as of 8/31/2014 8:17:00 AM
Add a Comment
33. DEATH BY TOILET PAPER by Donna Gephart - Guest Post and Giveaway!

This week, Donna Gephart stops by to talk about her latest novel, DEATH BY TOILET PAPER! I'm just going to leave this one to her...

We Make Our Own Luck

     We were so broke growing up in Northeast Philadelphia that my mom bought my sister and me sneakers from the “So Ugly They’re Cheap” rack, powdered milk was our drink du jour and our toilet paper sometimes had the consistency of gray party streamers.
      Our weekly entertainment came from treasured trips to the Northeast Regional Library, where I relished my time exploring the shelves. The characters in favorite library books like The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes and Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Florence and Richard Atwater became my companions during an otherwise lonely childhood.
      In response to our eternal lack of money, I entered contests, hoping to win what we needed. But all I ever won was $1.98 from a radio call-in talent show set up like The Gong Show and tickets to Great Adventure Amusement Park in New Jersey. The biggest prize I remember winning was a $200 savings bond from a writing contest.
      My sister, Ellen, was the real contest queen.
      Her persistence through the years with contests and sweepstakes netted her a million free air miles, a full-paid trip to New York City for her and her son, a week-long vacation to the island of her choice with her husband and many gift cards, movie tickets, etc.
      But all those winnings couldn’t compare to what happened to my sister on The Price is Right.
      Twenty-five years ago, Ellen was a contestant on The Price is Right when Bob Barker hosted the show. She won a bunch of prizes and the big showcase at the end. Having had so much fun, Ellen was determined to get on the show again.
      So she did!
      Ellen recently won a trip to L.A. for a movie premiere. It had nothing to do with The Price is Right, but while she was out there, she got tickets for her and her friend, Val, to sit in the audience. Three hundred people fill the audience. Nine of those are chosen to come up and play.
      My sister was called to Contestant’s Row . . . exactly twenty-five years after her first appearance on the show. But this time it seemed her luck didn’t hold. She couldn’t guess the right price to get up on stage. Someone else won every time. Drew Carey finally announced, “This is the last item up for bids.”
      Ellen bid and she came closest, charging up on stage and hugging the life out of Drew Carey.
      Then, in a matter of minutes, Ellen guessed the first two and last two digits in the price of a brand new Toyota Corolla. And she won the car!
      I’d never seen her so excited.
      On the way home to Philadelphia, Ellen worried about how she’d pay the taxes on the car. Back home, she played their hotel room number on a lottery ticket and won enough to pay the taxes.
      Some people say my sister is lucky, but I know the truth. She’s incredibly persistent. She enters thousands of contests and sweepstakes to win the ones she does. She subscribes to the SweepSheet newsletter and works consistently at her hobby.
     Donna's favorite writing spot.

      My sister so inspired me that when I wrote my new book, DEATH BY TOILET PAPER, I gave my character my sister’s determined spirit and love for contests and sweepstakes. Twelve-year-old Benjamin Epstein enters the Royal-T Toilet Tissue slogan contest in hopes of winning $10,000 to save his recently widowed mom and himself from eviction. Ben’s determination to help his mom is inspiring, the way my sister’s determination inspired me. If you read the book’s dedication, you’ll notice a familiar name.
      I still enter contests occasionally. A few years ago, I wrote an entry for a contest to celebrate Whole Foods’ 30th anniversary. My husband and I were among thirty pairs of winners treated to a weekend in Austin, TX with dinners out and special events.
      But most of my creative energy goes into writing books for children. Books about kids who enter contests. Books about kids who become famous on YouTube with their pet hamster. Books about kids who get on Jeopardy! And books about kids whose mom is running for president. But each of the books is about something more, something deeper, like dealing with the loss of a parent, being bullied at school or feeling desperately alone.
      And I felt like I’d won the biggest contest of all when I discovered the books I’d written now sit on the shelves of the Northeast Regional Library, waiting to inspire a young person, who like I did all those years ago, seeks companionship and hope.

GIVEAWAY!
Donna has graciously agreed to send a free, signed copy of DEATH BY TOILET PAPER along with some bookmarks to one of my lucky followers. Must live in the US to win - enter below.

0 Comments on DEATH BY TOILET PAPER by Donna Gephart - Guest Post and Giveaway! as of 8/30/2014 9:27:00 AM
Add a Comment
34. Thanks for your loyalty!!!

I just discovered that every single one of my newsletter subscribers except for one, is signed up for my WEEKLY "e's news and coloring page Tuesdays" newsletter (plus book giveaways). As of today, that means 3,768 folks (the number is always fluctuating) get my newsletter in their in-box every week. WOW! I am so flattered!
     If weekly is too much, did you know I have a "Special Editions" option too, where you can just get my news every now and then? It only comes out every few months or so when I have big news to share. I try very hard not to inundate that group. Although, I thought there were more people subscribed to that option. Upon investigation this morning, I found that almost all the names in that group were redundant. Only one person had signed up that way!! ONE! Bigger WOW!
     That's a lot of loyalty I wasn't expecting to stumble across today. I'm so grateful!
     But I hope y'all know, signing up for my "Special Editions" is perfectly okay too! (You won't get the giveaway notifications, but we'll still be in touch from time to time.) Anyhow - for either one, you can sign up at http://dulemba.com/index_newsletter.html
     CLICK HERE to see an example of my latest newsletter!

0 Comments on Thanks for your loyalty!!! as of 8/29/2014 10:35:00 AM
Add a Comment
35. Friday Linky List - August 29, 2014

From the Seattle Times (via PW): Amazon ignites culture clash over France's beloved bookstores

From Ashley Wolff - "Editing" at Books Around The Table - About paring down the clutter in your life and in your writing.

From ShelfTalker (at PW): Authors, Please Don't Do This - Sneaky attempts to get your book noticed in a bookstore may backfire.

Tweet from Ksenia Anske: 7 Ways To Support A Writer:
     1. Buy a book.
     2. Buy a book.
     3. Buy a book.
     4. Buy a book.
     5. Buy a book.
     6. Buy a book.
     7. Buy a book.

Do Hardback Children's Picture Books Lack Something? (Beautiful endpapers!) by Paeony Lewis at Picture Book Den

At New York Family: Ralph Lauren Launches Children's Literacy Program

At Nathan Bransford's blog: What to Write About When it Feels Like Everything Has Already Been Written

Well, it's not my "T-Rex in a Dress," but I'm glad it's out there: A New Picture Book Biography About a Transgender Girl (at School Library Journal

At HuffPost: Dolly Parton. Really. (You do know about her amazing literacy work through the Imagination Library, yes?)

11 Things You Never Noticed About Your Favourite Disney Movies at Movieseum. (Mostly sexual, but I love the first one especially. And I actually have the poster of the Little Mermaid with the... *ahem* tower of note.)

From BuzzFeed via Shelf Awareness: 11 Things You Learn Your First Month As A Bookseller!

0 Comments on Friday Linky List - August 29, 2014 as of 8/29/2014 10:35:00 AM
Add a Comment
36. AW, NUTS! by Rob McClurkan - GIVEAWAY!


Y'know how I talk about knowing people who I can just tell it's only a matter of time before they'll be published? Rob McClurkan is one of those. He's an amazing and fun talent, and all around great guy. When I first saw his portfolio at one of our early SCBWI Southern Breeze Illustrators' Days, I couldn't believe he hadn't been scooped up yet. Well, I'm happy to say that has since been remedied by HarperCollins with his debut picture book as author/illustrator - AW, NUTS! I'm thrilled to have Rob on today to talk about it!

Q. Rob - It seems I've been cheering for you for a while. Can you share your path to publication?
A.
The journey began when I attended that SCBWI Southern Breeze Illustrators Days. Already a full time illustrator, I was having a difficult time making the leap into children’s books. The one-day conferences helped me understand the business better and the critiques gave me the information I had been missing. You were such a huge help to me during the conference. You took the time to look over my book and gave me some things to work on. I took the feedback home and worked on it every day.
     The next year I came back armed with a new portfolio. During the critique, one of the Art Directors from Candlewick said such nice things about my illustrations I knew the hard work had paid off.
     In 2013, I attended my first SCBWI Winter conference in New York. At the time, I was more interested in illustrating stories than writing my own. Mark Teague and Moe Williams were two of the speakers that year. They both encouraged artist to write their own stories. Those conferences have a way of just encouraging, equipping, and energizing you. I went home and started writing and scribbling out ideas. Eventually, I had a story that I thought might have some potential.

Q. So, why AW, NUTS! You definitely relay the manic obsessiveness of squirrels. How did this story come to be?
A.
My 9th-grade science teacher had some exotic pets - a rattlesnake and two squirrels. At times, he would let them out for a little exercise. The squirrels, not the rattlesnake. The bigger of the two squirrels was harmless and tame, but if you were not familiar with him, you might get a little freaked out when he jumped on you. It was his way of saying hello. The other squirrel was a flying squirrel. I was fascinated by this cute little guy. One day during class my teacher let him out. The tiny squirrel climbed to the top of his head and leaped across the room to a student's desk. Eventually, the squirrel made his way to me. After a few minutes of petting the little guy, he rewarded me by climbing into my jacket pocket where he left me a tiny gift. I can still remember sticking my hand into my pocket that cold winter day realizing what that little booger had done. I thought we were friends.
      I was already working on a story idea that had a chase element to it. My wife reminded me of my squirrel experiences and it all came together. I added Squirrel chasing after the most delicious looking acorn ever, and the book practically wrote itself. Originally, AW, NUTS! was mostly a story about colors and that was how we pitched it. After hearing from an editor that passed on the story I started tinkering with the manuscript and dropped the color element to focus on squirrel as a character. That was the magic that was missing. We sent the story to HarperCollins and after a month or two of working with them on the project we had a book deal.

Q. I've always enjoyed your fun, bold style. What is your method?
A.
Most of my illustration work is created in Adobe Illustrator. When I started AW, NUTS! I completely abandoned my tried and true illustration process.
      I don’t know if that is the wisest thing to do when you get your first book deal, but I wanted to try something new. I had to create a new process of painting using Adobe Photoshop. I had not done any of this before I started the project. The transition was not too difficult. I used a Cintiq so it is a very natural way of working digitally. I do recommend you get the okay from your publisher before you just jump into a new style. Luckily, I had already done some color images in my dummy book with character development, so they were on board with my new process. I am so glad I took the leap. It has been fun to see how my work has changed since completing Aw, Nuts! I still do work in Adobe Illustrator, but I now have two styles to showcase.

Q. I love how the acorn just keeps getting away from squirrel and all the things he tries to catch up with it. But I really want to know, what do the other eyes belong to under the sidewalk?
A.
I’m pretty sure it’s a family of moths with very thick glasses.

Q. How does it feel to see your first book in print? (I'm so happy for you!)
A.
Thank you. It is very exciting! Once you get a book deal the whole process takes about a year, so it has been a long time coming and kinda hard to believe it’s finally here. The real reward is when you see others enjoying the book. I have already received letters and drawings from students from a school I recently visited. I was not expecting that. It blew me away. For me, that was the real reward.

Q. Are you doing anything special to help promote it?
A.
Earlier this week I released my book trailer (below). This was one of those items I was wondering if it would be worth doing. I am so glad I did. The trailer has the same energy as the book and brings Squirrel to life in such a fun way. I also completed a giveaway through teachersnotebook.com, which was great fun. I am planning on doing book signings as well as school visits. If a reader is interested in a school visit, they can email me through my website seerobdraw.com and I will set it up. If distance is an issue, I am open to a classroom Skype session. (Click the image to go see the trailer on Youtube.)

Q. Anything else in the pipeline for you? (I hope so!)
A.
I have several manuscripts I am waiting to hear back on that are with publishers now. I am so excited about these new stories, I hope I have the opportunity to share them.

Q. Wishing you much continued success, Rob!
A.
Thanks Elizabeth for the opportunity. It’s been fun.

Q. GIVEAWAY!
HarperCollins is generously offering to send a free copy of AW, NUTS! to one of my lucky commenters. Must live in the US/Canada to win. Enter below.

0 Comments on AW, NUTS! by Rob McClurkan - GIVEAWAY! as of 8/28/2014 11:57:00 AM
Add a Comment
37. Come See Me at the Decatur Book Festival!


This year at the Decatur Book Festival I'll be speaking on a panel of mid-grade authors with the illustrious Deborah Wiles (REVOLUTION) and Tommy Hays (WHAT I CAME TO TELL YOU). (I'll share A BIRD ON WATER STREET, of course.)
     We'll be on the Children's Stage at 3:45 on Sunday. Our panel is called "Southern Drawl" (because we're all Southern writers) and it will be moderated by my friend, Vicky Alvear Shecter!
     But that's not all!!
      I'll also be moderating a panel myself on Saturday at 11:30am called "All in the Family." I'll interview two creative couples - James and Kimberly Dean of 'Pete the Cat' fame, and Frank Morrison and Connie Schofield-Morrison of I GOT THE RHYTHM.
So please come Saturday or Sunday or both and I look forward to seeing you there!

0 Comments on Come See Me at the Decatur Book Festival! as of 8/27/2014 10:23:00 AM
Add a Comment
38. Coloring Page Tuesday - Build a Book!

     Teachers, are you talking to your students about writing? Do they wonder what elements go into the creation of a book, both creatively and logistically? This week's image could be a great kick-off to that discussion!
     CLICK HERE for more coloring pages! And be sure to share your creations in my gallery so I can put them in my upcoming newsletters! (Cards, kids art, and crafts are welcome!)
     Sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and... Please check out my books! Especially...

my debut novel, A BIRD ON WATER STREET, coming out next week! Click the cover to learn more!
     When the birds return to Water Street, will anyone be left to hear them sing? A miner's strike allows green and growing things to return to the Red Hills, but that same strike may force residents to seek new homes and livelihoods elsewhere. Follow the story of Jack Hicks as he struggles to hold onto everything he loves most.
AWARDS
**A SIBA OKRA Pick!**
**A GOLD Mom's Choice Award Winner!**
**The 2014 National Book Festival Featured Title for Georgia!**
**eLit 2014 Gold Medal Winner in the Environmental/Ecology/Nature Category**

0 Comments on Coloring Page Tuesday - Build a Book! as of 8/26/2014 9:01:00 AM
Add a Comment
39. Coloring Page Tuesday - Build A Book!

     Teachers, are you talking to your students about writing? Do they wonder what elements go into the creation of a book, both creatively and logistically? This week's image could be a great kick-off to that discussion!
     CLICK HERE for more coloring pages! And be sure to share your creations in my gallery so I can put them in my upcoming newsletters! (Cards, kids art, and crafts are welcome!)
     Sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and... Please check out my books! Especially...

my debut novel, A BIRD ON WATER STREET, coming out next week! Click the cover to learn more!
     When the birds return to Water Street, will anyone be left to hear them sing? A miner's strike allows green and growing things to return to the Red Hills, but that same strike may force residents to seek new homes and livelihoods elsewhere. Follow the story of Jack Hicks as he struggles to hold onto everything he loves most.
AWARDS
**A SIBA OKRA Pick!**
**A GOLD Mom's Choice Award Winner!**
**The 2014 National Book Festival Featured Title for Georgia!**
**eLit 2014 Gold Medal Winner in the Environmental/Ecology/Nature Category**

0 Comments on Coloring Page Tuesday - Build A Book! as of 8/26/2014 9:01:00 AM
Add a Comment
40. New Yorker Cartoons...


60 Minutes recently ran a piece that hits pretty close to home. It was a story about New Yorker Magazine cartoon editor Bob Mankoff. He's the decider of which cartoons get run in the magazine. What I found most interesting were the cartoonists who went on camera while Bob went through their submissions. Nope, nope, not a fit, won't work in the magazine, I don't get it.... Ouch. It looked an awful lot like the children's publishing industry. A lot of rejection with just enough wins to keep you in the game. Although as any creator will tell you, you pretty much can't stop creating whether the door is open to you or not. At any rate, it's a very interesting piece... Click the image to go watch on CBS.com.

0 Comments on New Yorker Cartoons... as of 8/25/2014 10:33:00 AM
Add a Comment
41. My French Parents...


Did you know I was an exchange student in Paris while I was in college? I stayed with the most lovely family in the 16th arrondissement and have happily stayed in touch with them ever since. I think of them as my French Family, of Claude e Monique as my French Parents, and they think of me as their American daughter. Over the years I've visited them several times in Paris and Blois and at their country house south of Paris, although never often enough. They even visited us once before in America, when we were still living in our log cabin in the woods.
     So I was thrilled to be able to show them my home town when they recently came to America to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. They visited Yellowstone National Park and saw tons of bison and elk, then came through Atlanta where we got to take them out to dinner and spend some time.
     Why am I sharing this on my blog? Because they're two people who mean the world to me and being an exchange student was one of the most transformative experiences of my life. If you're ever in a position to consider hosting an exchange student, I highly encourage it. The experience will open up worlds for you, and maybe even change your life! (It did mine!)

0 Comments on My French Parents... as of 8/24/2014 9:17:00 AM
Add a Comment
42. Terra Elan McVoy's IN DEEP - Guest Post and Giveaway

Terra Elan McVoy is a book hero in my neighborhood. Not only has she helped run the Decatur Book Festival (next weekend!) and our local children's bookstore, Little Shop of Stories, I've had the great pleasure to watch her writing career take off and blossom into a book-a-year phenomenon. So, I'm thrilled to help promote her latest (6th) novel, IN DEEP. Terra stopped by to talk about it...

     When someone gets praise or wins something and I don’t—even someone I genuinely like—I can think surprisingly mean things about them.

      In certain situations I push myself to be intimidating, just so I don’t get scared.

      Sometimes I have to think of people as less-than-people so they don’t distract me from my own goals.

      No matter how well a behavior, relationship, or routine works for you, every now and then life forces you to change it in order to survive.

      Superiority feels better than inferiority.


      In the summer of 2012, these thoughts were all floating in my brain, but I wasn’t paying much attention to them. Instead I, and just about the rest of the country, was distracted by the London Olympics, and especially swimming.
      Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, and Missy Franklin were everywhere in those weeks. Phelps alone was proving to be one of the greatest swimmers possibly ever, as he became the most decorated Olympian of all time, at the age of only 27. Watching him was stupendous, exciting, and inspiring, but as medal after medal kept coming—so many broken world records—all I could think was: The best thing that guy has to look forward to now is being in a Subway commercial.
      I was horrified a couple years later when I actually saw him in one.
     Days after the closing ceremonies, I was still thinking. Phelps had announced he was retiring, and I wondered what it would be like to have disciplined yourself so hard for something that was over so fast. He had tons of sponsorships, so I guessed he could do whatever he wanted next, but this was a young man who’d spent over three-quarters of his life in the pool. What was it going to be like, now that all the glory was over? Didn’t seem like it would be a very smooth adjustment.
      The whole thing made me curious. And just as was the case when I started my novel Criminal, my Florida State University Creative Writing mentor’s words came to my head: “Write what you want to understand.”
      Fortunately, I already had a character who was a swimmer, and who was having trouble with normal society. Her name was Brynn Polonowski, and she was the camp Bad Girl in my third novel, The Summer of Firsts and Lasts. As a secondary character, I hadn’t given Brynn a lot of backstory—her being a swimmer had been relatively arbitrary. She was, however, a great rabble-rouser and troublemaker. She also countered the Winthrop sisters’ pro-camp attitudes, and served as someone who longed for sisterly closeness, but remained an outsider. My cousin’s main comment when she finished the book was, “What’s up with this Brynn character? She is pretty interesting.”
(Terra's fave writing spot.)

      So after the Olympics, I let myself think about Brynn more. What was up with her? Why was she such a rebel? Why did she so badly want to be included, but fail at being a real friend? Was she, for some reason, having to rethink her life as a swimmer? What would lead her to that decision? What was her story?
      These questions about Brynn all dovetailed rather nicely into my Olympics musings, but they also brought more personal themes to the surface. Writing, just like swimming, is a solitary sport. It’s very easy to become achievement-focused. Anyone and everyone can be your competition—and not just other writers. On deadline, when time is precious, friends and family, social events and cultural experiences are all vying for your attention, too. Sometimes it’s easier to shut it all out. But in disciplining yourself to produce every day it’s equally easy to forget to live.
      Writing Brynn’s struggle around the difference between being “the best” and being her best self helped me remember things I already know, but could always be reminded of: That the people who love you are vital, and even great success is temporary. That how you recover from setbacks is more important than not having them in the first place. That what you achieve is far from the sum total of who you are, and that your life is valuable not because of what you accomplish, but simply because you are.
      Brynn is still struggling with these things, even at the end of In Deep, but I gained a lot of insight from writing it. I hope you will too as you read.
Many thanks,
Terra Elan McVoy
Author of Pure, After the Kiss, The Summer of Firsts and Lasts, Being Friends with Boys, and 2014 Edgar Award finalist Criminal
http://terraelan.com

GIVEAWAY!
Terra is generously giving away a free, signed and dedicated copy of IN DEEP to one of my lucky followers. Must live in the US to win - enter below!

0 Comments on Terra Elan McVoy's IN DEEP - Guest Post and Giveaway as of 8/23/2014 10:47:00 AM
Add a Comment
43. Friday Linky List - August 22, 2014

At Bookpage.com: 10 Children's Book Illustrators to Watch

From David Lubar: Educators -- From the Ventura County Reading Assoc. Hosted an author visit at your school? Please fill out the survey http://tinyurl.com/kzjnutv

At From the Mixed-Up Files: Finding it difficult to focus? Join the club - great solutions for unplugging to write - funny!

At The Week (via PW): What the 'death of the library' means for the future of books

0 Comments on Friday Linky List - August 22, 2014 as of 8/22/2014 9:17:00 AM
Add a Comment
44. KMA FM Radio 99.1 out of Iowa!

I was just interviewed by Don of the Dean and Don Radio Show out of Shenandoah, Iowa for A BIRD ON WATER STREET! Thanks for having me on guys!

0 Comments on KMA FM Radio 99.1 out of Iowa! as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
45. Friday Linky List - August 15, 2014

At Salon: Murakami’s understated triumph: What Japan’s most celebrated writer knows that American novelists don’t

Via PW and Omaha.com: Omaha Public Library debuts book bike, a library on wheels - awesome!

From PW via ShortList.com: Pop Culture Imagined As Children's Books. Just scary. But what a great way to get your portfolio out there!

From Slate.com via Nathan Bransford: Very Good Advice From Bill Watterson (of Calvin & Hobbes fame), In Comic Strip Form

At PW: Children's Book Output Dipped Slightly in 2013 - What's most interesting about this article is the graph of books produced each year since 2002!

From NPR: Scientists Say Child's Play Helps Build a Better Brain. Duh!

At Sunday Review: Hit The Reset Button In Your Brain - how and why to compartmentalize your activities.
,br>At The Daily Beast: Dumps and Death Threats, Hecklers and Vindication: True Tales from Today's DIY Book Tour

From Science Daily: Can Fiction Stories Make Us More Empathetic?

From School Library Journal: Chickens in the Stacks, and Other Strange Tales from Public Librarians

0 Comments on Friday Linky List - August 15, 2014 as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
46. WILD THINGS - Guest Post and Giveaway!

Two of my favorite librarians have teamed up to create what is sure to be the new must read in children's lit scholarly circles and I couldn't be happier for them. Julie (Jules) Danielson and Betsy Bird have combined their considerable talents with the new blog WILD THINGS and the new book, WILD THINGS: ACTS OF MISCHIEF IN CHILDREN'S LITERATURE. The journey has been bittersweet since co-author Peter Sieruta passed away before the book went to publications - but oh, what a tribute the book is! I'm thrilled that Jules and Betsy were able to stop by to talk about their collaboration...

      Jules and I are very lucky. In promoting our new book Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature (co-written with the late Peter Sieruta) we’ve gotten to field all sorts of interesting questions. One that we were handed recently concentrated on the subversive nature of our book. You see, in Wild Things we authors attempt to debunk the very notion that all things associated with children’s literature are fluffy bunnies and sparkly rainbows. I think Maurice Sendak said it best when he said “I think it is unnatural to think that there is such a thing as a blue-sky, white-clouded happy childhood for anybody. Childhood is a very, very tricky business of surviving it. Because if one thing goes wrong or anything goes wrong, and usually something goes wrong, then you are compromised as a human being. You're going to trip over that for a good part of your life.” With that in mind we set out to write a book that talks about the true stories behind children’s books and what they set out to do. It’s been arduous but fun and we’ve really enjoyed it.
      The question that I was recently asked that really caught my eye, however, regarded our favorite example of subversive writing in children’s books. And let me tell you, that is a hard thing to choose. Just one? Would you go with The Paper Bag Princess, written by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko which turns princess-based tales turned on their heads (a perfect gift for baby showers, yes?). Or should it be the great Stinky Cheese Man himself, bacon smile and all? Should it be Uncle Shelby’s ABZs by Shel Silverstein (which wasn’t really for children anyway) or a more recent title like A Rule Is to Break: A Child’s Guide to Anarchy by John Seven and Jana Christy (a book that made the Tea Party go crazy not too long ago) or the upcoming Me & Dog by Gene Weingarten (which may be the first atheist picture book I’ve ever seen)?
      No. In the end my heart belongs to a boy with wild tangled hair and fingernails who has never seen a bath a day of his short life. Struwwelpeter by Heinrich Hoffman was subversive before there was subversion, and its lessons have fed the nightmares of parents world round for years (kids apparently take the “lessons” with a grain of salt and aren’t as affected). Hoffman wrote the tales as a reaction against the namby pamby didactic lesson books for kids that were coming out at the time. Read the right way, there’s a morbid humor to his style. Whether it’s a story about a rabbit taking revenge on a hunter or why you shouldn’t suck your thumbs (Scissor Man, anyone?) once you’ve read these stories you will NEVER forget them.
      The kicker is that the book wasn’t published in the last five years. It wasn’t published in the last ten years. It wasn’t published in the last ONE HUNDRED years even!
     Oh. And Mark Twain was a big fan. Even brought them to America from Germany where he’d found them.
      Basically if you’re looking for a book that gives you some insights behind-the-scenes to stories like this one and lets you know the true dirt behind books for the young, ours is the one for you. As Walter de la Mare is often quoted as saying, “I know well that only the rarest kind of best in anything can be good enough for the young.” Or, put another way by Maurice Sendak, “. . .from their earliest years children live on familiar terms with disrupting emotions, fear and anxiety are an intrinsic part of their everyday lives, they continually cope with frustrations as best they can. And it is through fantasy that children achieve catharsis. It is the best means they have for taming Wild Things.” Consider our Wild Things untamed.

BIOs:
Betsy Bird is the youth materials collections specialist for the New York Public Library and is the author of Giant Dance Party, illustrated by Brandon Dorman. In addition to writing for The Horn Book magazine, she is the creator of the blog A Fuse #8 Production.

Julie Danielson is a regular contributor to Kirkus Reviews, and in her blog, Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, she has featured and / or interviewed hundreds of top names in picture books. Julie Danielson lives in Tennessee.

Peter D. Sieruta (1958–2012) was an author, book critic, and frequent reviewer for The Horn Book magazine. His blog, Collecting Children’s Books, served as inspiration for his contributions to Wild Things!


GIVEAWAY!
Candlewick has generously agreed to send a free galley to one of my lucky followers. Must live in the US to win - enter below.

0 Comments on WILD THINGS - Guest Post and Giveaway! as of 8/16/2014 10:17:00 AM
Add a Comment
47. How's this for a sign?


Holy mackerel! Little Pickle Press said they were going to send A BIRD ON WATER STREET posters for it's feature as THE book representing the state of Georgia at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C., and for my speaking gig at the Decatur Book Festival - both outdoor events over Labor Day weekend. I was expecting some sort of foam-core backed table topper or something. Nope! They sent this amazing metal and vinyl sign that can stand up to anything the weather might throw at it. See the stairs behind it? That will give you an idea how big this thing is. And those are all the awards it's won so far lined up at the top. The quote they used is:

"Hard scrabble living was never so enticing. In A BIRD ON WATER STREET, Dulemba seamlessly melds a coming of age story to the reality of life in a single industry town. A book that makes the leap from one era to another with ease…This is a book that sings."
– Betsy Bird, New York Public Library Youth Materials Specialist, author of Giant Dance Party and the blog Fuse #8
How awesome is THAT!? My publisher is taking care of me and A BIRD ON WATER STREET!!!

0 Comments on How's this for a sign? as of 8/18/2014 8:05:00 AM
Add a Comment
48. Coloring Page Tuesday - Drawing Mouse

     Many of our little ones are heading back to school to read, write, and (I hope) draw a little bit too! The arts keep the brain elastic and flexible, open to new ideas!
     The original drawing for this mouse went to one of my students in the MFA in Writing and Illustrating program at Hollins University this past summer.
     CLICK HERE for more coloring pages! And be sure to share your creations in my gallery so I can put them in my upcoming newsletters! (Cards, kids art, and crafts are welcome!)
     Sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and... Please check out my books! Especially...

my debut novel, A BIRD ON WATER STREET, coming out next week! Click the cover to learn more!
     When the birds return to Water Street, will anyone be left to hear them sing? A miner's strike allows green and growing things to return to the Red Hills, but that same strike may force residents to seek new homes and livelihoods elsewhere. Follow the story of Jack Hicks as he struggles to hold onto everything he loves most.
AWARDS
**A SIBA OKRA Pick!**
**A GOLD Mom's Choice Award Winner!**
**The 2014 National Book Festival Featured Title for Georgia!**
**eLit 2014 Gold Medal Winner in the Environmental/Ecology/Nature Category**

0 Comments on Coloring Page Tuesday - Drawing Mouse as of 8/19/2014 9:49:00 AM
Add a Comment
49. Chuck Leavell

Monday night, Stan and I went to see Chuck Leavell (keyboardist for the Rolling Stones, the Allman Brothers, Eric Clapton, and many more) speak at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.
     Wait... did I say speak? I did! Chuck is known for his strong environmentalism and expertise in responsible tree farming and land stewardship, and he's promoting his latest book, GROWING A BETTER AMERICA. Until that email from the Botanical Garden about him speaking, I had no idea!
     I started doing some research and discovered that he's a life long Georgia boy and even owns a tree farm in south Georgia. So what do I do? I email him! Why not? Even famous people are people after all. I told him about A BIRD ON WATER STREET and offered to send him a free copy. What better book could there be for a true tree-lover, after all? That was my reasoning at any rate.
     Dang if he didn't email me right back and offered a trade for a book of his own! Y'know why? Because he's just a darned nice guy. That's why. Fame can turn people into well... not nice, or it can bring out their humanity and kindness. After his kind email and hearing Chuck talk on Monday, I'm happy to say he is of the latter set.

     He was passionate about his topic, and of course shared stories of Mick and Keith and Charlie and Ronnie. And happily, he did play a few songs on his keyboard, ending with Georgia. *le sigh* 'Twas perfect.
     That man can TEAR UP a keyboard! Seriously, it's why I quit taking lessons oh so long ago. I knew how I wanted to play (like him) and I could tell after ten years of lessons that I didn't have the talent for it. His fingers are the conduit for the music that fills his head - without effort or thought, they sing through those keys. How amazing.
     Afterwards, I introduced myself. He's looking forward to reading my book although it hadn't arrived yet. And he asked me which of his books I'd like the most. I asked for his autobiography as I think Stan will enjoy reading it too, and then I purchased a copy of his picture book The Tree Farmer, which he signed.

     What a pleasure, what a delight, to meet such a great and talented man in the middle of one of the most beautiful gardens in the state. What a perfect evening!

0 Comments on Chuck Leavell as of 8/20/2014 8:41:00 AM
Add a Comment
50. MADDIE'S FRIDGE by Lois Brandt, illustrated by Vin Vogel - GIVEAWAY!


There's a quiet problem in our country...hunger. What's a kid to do when she discovers her best friend's refrigerator is nearly empty, and that she doesn't drink the milk because she is saving it for her little brother? What's that same kid to do when she promised her best friend that she wouldn't tell anybody about it?
      MADDI'S FRIDGE written by Lois Brandt and illustrated by Vin Vogel addresses the issue in a light-handed way, through a delightful story of friendship. I'm thrilled to have Lois on my blog today to talk more about it...

Q. Lois - How did you first become aware of the hunger issue? What inspired this story?
A.
I first became aware of the issue of childhood hunger the same way my character, Sofia, did.
      I was about 10 years old and was having a great playdate with my best friend. Do you remember those times, playing with your friends and sharing secrets, chasing grasshoppers, swinging on the swings? It was one of those days.
      I got hungry, ran into my best friend’s house, and opened her refrigerator door. It was empty except for condiments and one small carton of milk, the kind they gave out with school lunches. My friend had saved her milk for her little brother, who was too young to go to school.
      That image of my friend’s empty refrigerator has stayed with me my entire life.

Q. Lois - This had to be a tricky story to write without being too heavy with the message, yes? How long did it take you?
A.
I might have written the first draft as long as ten years ago. Boy did I have angry kids in those early drafts. The girls were so mad that at one point they were throwing rocks at a dry creek bed. In another draft they were kicking soccer balls with a vengeance. Maddi and Sofia (and this author) were very upset that we have so many hungry children in our wealthy nation.
      At some point, after comments from editors (one editor called the story grim – something my husband still teases me about), I began to put some of the magic of best friends into the story. I asked myself: What do these girls like to do when they are having fun? How do they show each other that they care?
      When I focused on the girls’ friendship, I found the heart of this story.

Q. Lois - Flashlight Press always does such lovely, high quality books. How did you end up getting published by them?
A.
After many many revisions, I began to get positive responses to MADDI'S FRIDGE and knew the manuscript was close to publishable quality. I reached out to my MFA adviser, Kirby Larson, and she suggested Shari Dash Greenspan at Flashlight Press.
      The first time I held a Flashlight Press book, Jodi Moore’s WHEN A DRAGON MOVES IN, was a wow moment. Flashlight produces stunningly beautiful books. I knew Maddi’s story was in excellent hands.

Q. Lois - A large part of this book seems to be to inspire action, like on your website MaddisFridge.com. How do you spread the word, and how can we help?
A.
The first thing to do is talk about childhood hunger. Again and again people I meet are surprised by the numbers. 16 million children, 1 in 5, live in families without consistent access to food.
      MADDI'S FRIDGE is just one story of hunger. There are 16 million stories of childhood hunger happening at this very moment in the United States.
      We can beat childhood hunger, but we need to accept that this growing problem belongs to all of us. These are our friends and neighbors who are struggling to get food for their children.
      Find out the facts about hunger in your community and state. Share what you learn. A good place to start is my website or FeedingAmerica.org.

Q. Lois - This is your first book and wow, what a doozie it is! What's been your writing journey?
A.
I’ve always loved to write, but didn’t get serious until my children forced me to.
      Like most parents I made up stories at bedtime. We’d read a few books and then I’d tell a story. There was a problem, though. I could never consistently remember all of the details of the stories I told. My oldest son, Alex, called me on it. I started writing down the stories in self-defense, so I could get my own details right.
      The more I wrote, the more stories bubbled up from inside of me. Many of them, like MADDI'S FRIDGE, came from places close to my heart.
      I took a class on writing for children from author Peggy King Anderson, formed a critique group with members from that class, and joined SCBWI. That path led me here.

Q. Lois - How are you getting the word out about MADDI'S FRIDGE?
A.
I visit schools, contact librarians and food banks, and do readings. This has allowed me to meet some of the wonderful people who are working hard in the fight against childhood hunger.
      The school visits are my favorite activity. Kids get MADDI'S FRIDGE. They get friendship, promises, and helping. If second graders were in charge of the world, there would be no empty refrigerators.
      When a school holds a food drive, I will Skype or come for a visit at the beginning or end of the drive. During my visit I have the children write or draw with me about a time they helped someone, or a time someone helped them. Their stories illustrate the web of relationships that we all live in – friends helping friends and neighbors helping neighbors.

Q. Vin - I love your characters big eyes and that happy yellow. What is your illustration method?
A.
Thank you! In general, I make sketches with pencil on paper and scan them. As soon as they are approved, I start working on the final illustrations with a digital tablet. For this book I took photos and used Google Map for reference material. You can find more information about the process here: https://www.facebook.com/vinvogelillustration.

Q. Vin - This isn't your first book - by a longshot! How did you get turned onto Flashlight Press?
A.
I have illustrated more than 45 books, mostly published in Brazil and Canada. Shari found my website and contacted me. When I read the story I was hooked! I admire Lois and Shari for writing and publishing a picture book about hunger. And discussing hunger in America is even more courageous!

Q. Vin - What was your path into the children's book industry?
A.
I have worked as a journalist (because I also love writing), as well as a 2D animator and illustrator for advertising. My dream was to write and illustrate picture books. So I started to illustrate PB's in Brazil in 2005 and have never stopped. I have recently started to write my own PB's and my debut book will be launched by Dial in the Fall 2015.

Q. Vin - A you mentioned, you're originally from Brazil. What was the children's book market like there?
A.
Let's say I wish kids read more in Brazil. Way more.

Q. Vin - Was it exciting to work on a book with such an important message?
A.
Sure! As I have mentioned before, I was thrilled to illustrate a book about such delicate subject! Plus, the book carries a message of friendship and helping the ones in need. Many times simple solutions are right under our nose: Lois passed the message in a very sweet and effective way.

Q. Lois and Vin - have you met? Or will you be promoting the book together at all?
A.
Not yet. Lois is promoting the book on the West Coast; I'm the East Coast branch!

Note: Feeding America has declared September as Hunger Action Month, so it's a great opportunity for my readers to get involved and make a difference!

GIVEAWAY!

0 Comments on MADDIE'S FRIDGE by Lois Brandt, illustrated by Vin Vogel - GIVEAWAY! as of 8/21/2014 10:25:00 AM
Add a Comment

View Next 25 Posts