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A writer and illustrator tries to find joy in the daily grit, connect with other writers, read books, manage four children and find out where she's put the phone today.
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1. Puddle Jump !

It's here! It's here! It's here!

Puddle Jump Collective : 13 children's book author / illustrators combining forces to showcase art, discuss craft, collaborate, and contribute to the kidlit world.

We'll blog, share projects, and splash often.

I'm honored to be one of the lucky 13.

This rain-loving girl skipped to the front of the line
for the our very first project -
a collaborative Puddle Parade.

Author/illustrator Lorian Dean is next up
to combine my rainy girl with an entirely new character and set up,
which she will post, and tag another illustrator to follow suit.
I can't wait to see what transpires.

I hope you'll join us as we journey into the big pond.


Jump!










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2. Paris party!


Let them eat cake!


Sweetness from Cafe Pray...
 
It's always fun to play with noses
on famous art...
They puzzled over my hand-drawn pieces of  Picasso's Woman & Bird


and then played "Pin the Nose on the Picasso"


After a scavenger hunt, and treats,
we made wee matchboxes des Paris.

Ah the joys of the small things in life!

Paper. Art-making. A clamor of cousins. Laughter. Balloons.
Joyeux anniversaire! Happy birthday!

Here's to finding joy in the small things and the good things, my friends!

Au revoir!
C'est la belle vie!
Swan song!

Books!




Adele and Simon by Barbara McClintock
The Iridescence of Birds by Partricia MacLachlan, illustrated by Hadley Hooper
Henri's Scissors by Jeanette Winter
A Giraffe Comes to Paris by Mary Tavener Holmes and John Harris, ill. by Jon Cannell
Picasso and the Girl with the Ponytail by Laurence D'Anholt
Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by Christian Robinson

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3. Coming soon...

They say some people match their dogs.
I wish I had a dog so I could know what I look like.
I so often enjoy looking behind the camera at the world.
For an upcoming project, I was asked to make a kid portrait of myself. 
A selfie? A sketchie? A skelphie?

I approached it the same way I approach a new character. 
Sketch a zillion bundle of possibles,
then hone in on who that character is.
So.. who am I?


What do I look like anyway?
What do I feel like?
What would I look like if I combined me now
with some of my favorite things from childhood?
Books. Overalls. Sunshine. Rain.
Puddle boots.
 
This is the girl I settled on. Bookish. Hopeful. Happy.
Not afraid to get messy.

Here's to finding your happy self this week, my friends.



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4. Parlez-vous party?

It's birthday week for my three girls.
It took them awhile to agree on a theme.
Paris + kitty cats + French pastries.

Kitty cat cafe ?
Ooh la la. 
And you know me - I love any chance to make art,
especially for a party.
After researching all manner of things French,
I sat down to sketch in the book fort.
(Avec iced coffee in a jar, no less.)
Oh, happy day, mes petits.
I think I'll make some hanging art
and some tiny, cupcake art.
I should probably figure out games. 
I'm no good at games. 

Anyone?

Hide the baguettes? 
Name the French cities? 
Guess the French words? 

Some French books we love:

This is Paris - Miroslav Sasek
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
The Story of Babar - Jean de Brunhoff 
The Fantastic Drawings of Danielle by Barbara McClintock
Madame Martine by Sarah S. Brannen
The Story of Diva and Flea by  Mo Willems & Toni DiTerlizzi
Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell, ill. by Terry Fan
 
 












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5. Aloha

A small friend is turning 6 in two weeks.
She lives across the country,  
and we can't make it to the luau party.
We can't come for cake and balloons and birthday hugs,
but we can send pineapples
and kitties
and fancy toothpicks.
 They're like tiny, paper aloha hugs.
 

So, in shuttling wildebeests to soccer camp lately, 
I have discovered a few good surprises 
in being the carpool soccer mom.

 Books on CD. 
Car-goofy kids.
And sketchbook time
 while all my soccer players 
do their runs and drills.
Big chunks of sketchbook time 
help when working out new ideas.

 It's funny that I can sketch happy around a crowd, 
but I can't write a drop.
My thoughts turn to stone and my stories sink.
 But then, that's kind of a theme for me with words anytime lately.

I know some writers who scribble serious magic 
in coffee shops and airplanes. 

What about you?

When do you do your deep story work?
Can you create masterpieces with everyone there?
Do you thrive with hum and buzz?
Or do you like a hush when you create?

 


Wherever you find yourself this week,
I wish you peaceful breezes, sweet surprises, and
aloha.


Books {and CD books} we're enjoying this week:

Captain Cat by Inga Moore
Dream Friends by You Byun
Ling and Ting Share a Birthday by Grace Lin
Ling and Ting: Together in All Weather by Grace Lin
A Boy and a Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz, ill. by Catia Chien
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin 
Chasing Secrets by Gennifer Choldenko
The Cat Who Came in Off the Roof by Annie M. G. Schmidt 
 
 







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6. School's out!


Goodnight, pencil jars. 
Goodnight, lunchboxes. 
 School's out!
Hello, sunshine books.
Hello, swing seats. 
Hello, sandy feet. 

Summer is in session!



Summery reads:


 



 Sam and Jump by Jennifer K. Mann
A Beach Tail by Karen Lynna Williams, ill. by Floyd Cooper
Listen to Our World by Bill Martin Jr & Michael Sampson, ill. by Melissa Sweet
Surf's Up by Kwame Alexander, ill. by Daniel Miyares
Ocean Sunlight by Molly Bang & Penny ChisholmIsland: A Story of the Galapagos by Jason Chin






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7. borrow

A happy accident in pencils, cardboard backing 
and color palette experiments
is my latest submission to the May SCBWI Insight's prompt word "borrow."


Don't you love getting to borrow from all the delicious books waiting in the library?

Here's a question for my creative friends -  do you ever work with prompts?

I am stretched when I work on art for Birdy's sight word cards.
I try to think of all the ways a simple word speaks to me,
looking for the story behind it.

Online resources such as SCBWI Insight drawing challenges
or Colour Collective's weekly color prompts are a fantastic springboard
for experimentation. And online challenges are abundant, once one starts looking.
 

  How do you stretch yourself? 

Do you write from prompts?

Do you ever coax words out left-handed, if you're a righty?

Sketch with eyes closed, if you're an artist?

How do you dig deeper for inspiration?


My brother, illustrator Jesse Joshua Watson continually inspires me,
He paints jaw-dropping wonder on reclaimed wood, old surfboards, drums, plywood.
Beauteous.

Some of our borrowed library treasures this week:
The Night Gardener - Terry and Eric Fan
Roar Like a Lion - by Tae-Eun Yoo
A Rock is Lively - Diane Hutts Aston, ill. by Sylvia Long
The Bear and the Piano - by David Lichtenfeld
Pax by Sara Pennypacker, ill. by Jon Klassen
Tiny Creatures : the world of microbes by Nicola Davies, ill. by Emily Sutton 
The Adventurers by Rachel Elliot, ill. by Valeria Docampo

Dream Animals - by Emily Winfield Martin



What does BORROW bring to mind?




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8. SAM and JUMP

Today the wildebeests and I traveled to Eagle Harbor Book Company for a book party.
Jennifer K. Mann's book SAM and JUMP is freshly out in bookstores, 
so we hopped over for the book birthday celebration.
So many delicious new books. Drool!


Jennifer Mann read from her book SAM and JUMP, 
which is a poignant story about loss, discovery, and friendship.
And then Jen shared stories of loveys lost and found. 
 The wildebeests brought up a book to be signed and loveys to show. 
 Jennifer is so engaging and gentle with all of her fans, even the small ones.


 Here's a picture of Jennifer with local authors Margaret Nevinski and Dawn Simon.
I'm so thankful I have Dawn as my critique partner. 
Her exuberance and wit are such a delight, 
and her writing critiques brilliant.
 What a treat to live near talented and gracious authors and illustrators.
What a treat to celebrate SAM and JUMP!

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9. 3000 chairs


Because... of this poem by Children's Author Nicola Davies, and the #3000chairs project.
It's worth every second it takes to read.

My husband and I had the opportunity to spend time in Kosovo with war survivors - refugees who returned to their homes carrying life-wrenching scars of war, with stories that ached in the hearing, and burned in the telling.

I wish a chair for every child running from war.
I wish refuge.
and hope.
and light.

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10. Poet Tree


Apparently, it's Poetry Month.

Only, I've been a little distracted.
I skipped off to the city
for my local SCBWI meeting -
an art show,
a lecture from book-wise and witty
editors Mary Kate Castellani and Caroline Abbey,
and then a consultation and workshop with
art director, professor, and story genius Joy Chu.

This is the same Joy who guided me over the last two winters
in visual storytelling classes through the UCSD online extension program.

I'm still reeling with inspiration.
I could have listened for days. Months. Years.

Now I'm home, all bright and hopeful,
waiting for my brain to shape so many beautiful tips
and ideas into working order.
Time to let the front thoughts simmer.  
Time to play with poetry.

We started with a poet-tree.

The wildebeests and I cut out branchy trees and labeled each branch with simple word:
sky, go, sea, etc.
 
Next, we cut out dozens of leaves - in all flutters of color,
because it just looks more exciting that way.

Each branch grew rhyming leaf words:
sky = cry, my, pie, etc.


Because we like to make life even more thrilling, and sometimes complicated,
I thought it might be fun for the older wildebeests to thread their leaves on yarn.


Winnie added a button.


Pip used gold pen. She's really into gel pens lately.

And their finished masterpieces.

I'd love to meet a tree like this someday, shimmering with colors, yarns, and words!
I think I'd move in.


I'll share more poetry play next time.

Until then, here are a few favorites:







A Kick in the Head, An Every Day Guide to Poetic Forms - compiled by Paul Janeczko, ill. by Chris Raschka
The Random House Book of Poetry - edited by Jack Prelutsky, ill. by Arnold Lobel
Switching on the Moon - collected by Jane Yolen and Andrew Peters, ill. by G. Brian Karas
Chicken Soup With Rice - by Maurice Sendak
When We Were Very Young by A. A. Milne, ill. by Ernest Shepard
Now We Are Six By A.A. Milne, ill. by Ernest Shepard






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11. Pirates in the Library


It's National Library Week.

How glad I am for libraries this week and always.

How rich it is to have a place to borrow books,
 to load up on research, art, music, words, and stories!

How glad I am for the staff at my library, 
gracious souls who do not even sniff
when the wildebeests and I emerge
with a mountain of books to take home. 

How patient they are with the noise and flamboyance 
of kid-ruckus and story hour, 
even when small bears and dragons and pirates
weave and wail beyond their story circles.

How perfectly like a matchmaker 
is our children's librarian, 
always hunting down treasure 
to help her patrons fall in love with reading.
Happy Library Week! 

Our latest librarian-found treasures: 

When Mischief Came To Town by Katrina Nannestad
Hector and Hummingbird by Nicholas John Frith
Tea Party In the Woods by Akiko Miyakoshi
Detective Gordon: the First Case by Ulf Nilsson
Love that Dog by Sharon Creech



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12. Happy birthday

Happy birthday, Beverly Cleary. 
Thank you for Henry, Ramona, and Beezus.
Thank you for Klickitat Street.
Thank you for your books. 













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13. Postcards and clever cows


Guess what came in the mail? 
Here's a hint: they rhyme with "host-guards" and "wizness-bards."

Don't they look exciting?

I'm pretty smitten with the packaging from Moo.
I think they know about the little party that happens whenever new cards come.
Happy dance. Confetti.
They even send encouraging little notes that say things like, "you're delightful."

And can you see the cutest little business card box ever?
Even the postcards come in their own box.
Genius.

My husband heard me squealing to the postcard boxes,
"You are so cute! You are so clever! I love you. You are fabulous!"
He thought I was talking to my art.
Nope, just the gorgeous packaging. 
And I do love the way my cards look and feel,
so I suppose I was cheering for me, too.

Well done, Moo.
But maybe I'll keep my crowing in until everyone's asleep.  






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14. Spring sale

Because you always wanted to save 10% in my shop
with the code Spring16. 

Birthday cards? Wall art? 
Sight word flashcards, anyone?

A gift for your teacher, your pre-K, your kindie...


 A gift for your walls...
  
My Spring Sale goes through April 30. Cheers!





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15. Bucket List

Things to do on your third stroke-aversary:

Sketch. 
Read.
Write.
Dig for treasure. 
My treasure might be hiding in the mountain of dirty laundry downstairs.
Or maybe in shuttling wildebeests to lessons, or practice.
Or maybe the treasure is in every speck of this beautiful daily dirt.
The sun is shining,
the flowers are out.
It's beautiful.

Being alive is good, my friends.
It's so good.

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16. Lucky?

 SCBWI's drawing prompt for March is LUCKY.
I got to thinking about luck,
and what it means to me. 
With or without four-leaf clovers, book contracts, 
double-rainbows or pots of gold,
I am wishing-wells full of the best kind of luck.

I have beauty all around me -
in sky and earth, 
in people with all their glorious quirks,
in a roof over my head, clean water,
in laughter and forgiveness.

And I am free - 
free to write, to make art, to learn,
dream, wish, pray,
to hope.

I believe thankfulness and hope can fill the darkest sky with stars.
That's my kind of lucky.

Books:

The Wishing of Biddy Malone by Joy Cowley, illustrated by Christopher Denise
The Woman Who Flummoxed the Fairies by Heather Forest, illustrated by Susan Gaber
Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

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17. Turtles, Caldecotts, and Blackberry Fools

I'd rather have a turtle, and I'd rather wear a mock turtle.
I'd rather cook with crockery than be a mockery. 
I'd rather party with Mock Caldecotts than with mock halibuts. 
And party we did!
- complete with book toothpicks and book inspired snacks:
sunflower seeds (If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson), 
honey and bread (Finding Winnie by Lindsay Mattick and Sophie Blackall)
tiny sandwiches (The Bear Ate Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone Roach), 
pretzel sticks and grape "stones" (Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry and Tom Lichtenheld), 
dried mangoes (Mango, Abuela, and Me by Meg Medina and Angela Dominguez).
Voters designed medals for the winning books.
Kids announced both the ALA winners, and our Mock Caldecott winners.
Our committee results:

Our Mock Caldecott Gold Medal :  Out of the Woods by Rebecca Bond.

And then, honor awards for all eight of our runners up:

The Bear Ate Your Sandwich - by Julia Sarcone Roach
Mango, Abuela, and Me - by Meg Medina and Angela Dominguez
A Fine Dessert - by Emily Jenkins and Sophie Blackall
Thank You and Good Night - by Patrick McDonnell
If You Plant a Seed - by Kadir Nelson
The Whisper - by Pamela Zagarenski
In a Village by the Sea - Muon Van and April Chu

And then, the entire library voted on the People's Choice Award. 
The winner was Sonya's Chickens by Phoebe Wahl. 



In the book "A Fine Dessert," blackberry fool is made by four families, over four centuries, with different implements.
Our children's librarian Martha Ashenfelter had a brilliant idea.
Why not have our committee make the same dessert
using the same implements?
They loved it! 
Delicious!
They ate it up. Every speck. Every lick.  

What a sweet finish to a wonderful party.
Thank you, Martha.
Thank you, Mock Caldecott committee.
I hope we can talk and mock Caldecotts again soon.

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18. Peter, Wendy, and the Cupcakes


My adorably rogue-ish nephew played a pirate in Peter and Wendy a few weeks back.
His mama asked if I'd like to try some Peter Pan art for the bake sale. 

Tink. Hook. The ship. The acorn kiss. Peter and Wendy. 
Enough for a whole fleet of fairies and lost boys, 
and their cupcakes, too.

Avast and Blimey! What a yardarm of sweet pirate bounty.   

Books!

Peter Pan by  J. M. Barry, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman
Peter Pan retold by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson illustrated by Mary Blair
Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson
Fairies and the Quest for Neverland by Gail Carson Levine, illustrated by David Christiana



 

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19. Making Mock Caldecotts

Our Mock Caldecott project is in full swing.
 Oh, the yummy books!

So far, we've discussed the Caldecott award,
the workings of a Caldecott committee,
and what to look for in our very own sessions.
Children's librarian Martha Ashenfelter and I created ballots with four voting categories.
I thought it might be fun to share how we're teaching our committee to vote.

1. Excellence

We examine each book - its design, how the pages feel,
the endpapers, the copyright page.

We try to figure out the art medium used,
whether fancy research was done,
if the art is consistent, stunning, unique.
"In a Village By the Sea" by Muon Van, illustrated by April Chu
We noticed the book "A Fine Dessert" by Emily Jenkins and Sophie Blackall, a book about blackberry dessert, is partly painted with blackberry juice. That's a pretty tasty detail.

Nikki McClure's book "In" is made from paper cuts.

Vincent X. Kirsch's illustrations in "Gingerbread for Liberty" are made to look like gingerbread. More deliciousness.
In - by Nikki McClure

2. Appropriateness


We consider how well the art and the text work together to fill up the story.
Is there a tone or mood to the words,
and do the pictures complement it?

We look at layers -
we ask ourselves what that story is really about,
and then, what else is it about?
The Bear Ate Your Sandwich - by Julia Sarcone-Roach

3. Importance

By "reading" the book first without words,
we figure out if the illustrations give us clues, if they tell some of the story.

Then we read it a second time with words, scrutinize how the text is represented,
if the pictures and words are perfectly matched,
or if they give too much away.

We look for details, hints, clues within the story and pictures
that might add to the wow of the book.
If You Plant a Seed - Kadir Nelson

4. Appeal

And then we ask if we'd want to pick the book up,
if we think it would appeal to kids. 
How much do we love that particular book?
 
Voters score books from 1-5 in each category,
and slip their ballot in its book envelope.
I have my favorites, but I have to keep mum.  
Here is the library's Caldecottmobile. 

Each of our nominees will be displayed in the library and available for voting 
until January, when our top finalists will be announced.

At that time, our committee will debate for favorites, 
vote on the final few, and, drumroll....

Announcements! 
Awards Party!
Letters to Authors and Illustrators! 

Some of our nominees:





Finding Winnie: the true story of the world's most famous bear
    - by Lindsay Mattick, illustrated by Sophie Blackall
Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson, illustrated by Sydney Smith
It's Only Stanley by Jon Agee
Water is Water by Miranda Paul, illustrated by Jason ChinIn by Nikki McClure
If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson
Gingerbread for Liberty by Maria Rockcliff, illustrated by Vincent X. Kirsch
The Night World by Mordecai Gerstein
The Bear Ate Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone-Roach

































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20. Pop-up Art Shop

Back from the printer
with my first tiny print run 
of sight word cards. 
Hooray!

 Tomorrow, it's this:
And after that, I'll get the Etsy shop oiled up and rolling. 






 Gorgeous books about creative learners:
23209952 
581373
I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson's Blackboard by Jennifer K. Mann 
The Art Lesson by Tomie dePaola


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21. Small Business Saturday

 
Small Business Saturday!

Thank you, friends, neighbors, you lovely folks all
who burst the coat buttons off our tiny downtown.
Cheers to you, supporters of the small!

Pip and Winnie helped all day.
 
 Decorating the chalkboard was one of their important jobs.

The Holiday Bazaar held a treasury of beautiful things to be found-
handcrafted jewelry, rescued cashmere, shelves of books, felted creations,
art and prints by the Watsons (my dad Richard and my brother Jesse).
 
See the sight word cards in their handmade green and blue folios?
It felt strange, seeing them all lined up so soldierly after all this work.
I was kind of excited about the greeting cards and gicleé prints, too.

My heart feels squeezed up with gratefulness.

And just to keep the adventures rolling in, 
I re-opened the Etsy Shop.
  
Birdy and Sugar Snack helped me with the photos.
Sight word art cards are in stock,
prints and cards are coming soon.
 
Have a look, if you like! 

And thank you, my friends.
I'm warmed to the toes
by all of the support and love
I've had from so many of you.

Here's to warm toes,
new adventures,
and joy in each journey!

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22. Caldecott Countdown!


It's the final week before the 
2016 Caldecott medal is awarded!

And it's almost time for our very own Jefferson County 
Library Caldecott committee to choose a winner!
The selection  of thirty-four books has been narrowed down 
to these nine favorites:
Kid committee members meet this Thursday, January 7, at 3:45 p.m. 
to defend and debate their favorites before their peers
 and hold a final election. 

Most of our members are kids, ages 5-11. 
Did I mention that?  

I have been blown away by the details they discover,
things that my broad adult eye skips right past, 
the critical thinking skills they are developing 
as they compare and contrast books and styles, 
themes and layers of story.

What a treat to learn to look, to really look
alongside this multi-age group.
 
And the fun keeps coming!
Simultaneously, the library has displayed all 34 top contenders 
in-house for the month of January, so that patrons of all ages can participate 
in a library-wide People's Choice vote.  
 Look at those yummy choices!

Wouldn't it be exciting if picture book delight spilled over 
to the greater library populace through all of this bookish hooplah?
 I hope so.

Up next:
bring on the sparkly gowns!
the announcements!
the fancy treats!
that gold sticker we've all been waiting for!

All ages are invited to our Library Caldecott Award Party
 on Thursday, January 14 at 3:45 p.m.

Good times are sure to be had by all! 

Our Top Nine Finalists:

Thank You and Goodnight - by Patrick McDonnell
The Bear Ate Your Sandwich -by Julia Sarcone-Roach
Out of the Woods - by Rebecca Bond
A Fine Dessert - by Emily Jenkins, illustrated by Sophie Blackall
Sonya's Chickens - by Phoebe Wahl
Mango, Abuela and Me  - by Meg Medina, illustrated by Angela Dominguez
The Whisper - by Pamela Zagarenski
If You Plant a Seed  - by Kadir Nelson
In a Village by the Sea - by Muon Van, illustrated by April Chu








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23. When Books Dream, and Other Caldecott Thoughts

When books sleep, do they see in color? 
In their slumbering, do they take a wayward path, 
meandering through bright worlds and words, 
do their characters reach for lofty things?

Do books dream
of Caldecott and Newbery?

Or do they wish
to be read,
to be loved,
from end to end,
from page to page,

word after word after word?

On Monday, the American Library Association announced their choices,
the most distinguished books of 2016. 
They've picked the stellar standouts, 
a handful of beautiful treasures. 
Finding Winnie gets the Caldecott medal this year. 
Oh happy day for illustrator Sophie Blackall and author Lindsay Mattick!

Caldecott Honors go to:
Waiting, by Kevin Henkes,
 
Trombone Shorty, illustrated by Bryan Collier & written by Troy Andrews,

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement,
illustrated by Ekua Holmes & written by Carole Boston Weatherford

and one more Caldecott Honor-
glorious surprise!

Last Stop on Market Street,  illustrated by Christian Robinson & written by Matt de la Peña
rode home not only a Caldecott Honor,
but a Coretta Scott King Honor,
and the Newbery Medal,
the award given each year for the most distinguished contribution
in American literature for children. 
What an exciting day!

Some of our other book favorites were honored on Monday with special awards as well.

Drum, Dream Girl, illustrated by Rafael Lopez & written by Margarita Engle
won the Pura Belpre' award for illustration.

Mango, Abuela, and Me, illustrated by Angela Dominguez & written by Meg Medina
earned Pura Belpre' Honors in both writing and illustration.

Emmanuel's Dream, illustrated by Sean Qualls 
& written by Pacific Northwest author Laurie Ann Thompson
was honored with the Schneider Family Book Award. 
Yay, Laurie! 

And tomorrow, our Library Mock Caldecott committee
finds out their winners.

Last week, the committee had to stand up
and defend their favorite book finalists,
provide good, deep dirt on why their books mattered.

 Nearly every kid present had a different favorite book.
Each speaker, even my crowd-shy wildebeests,
braved the limelight to give strong, passionate, thoughtful evidence
as to why their book was a winner.
And that's when it struck me -
each book wins.
Each book published has a chance to speak, to set a spark in a child.
And that is a win.

That's the beauty and the power
of these little, flat packages of words and pictures
that we call books.

So if tomorrow at the Library Mock Caldecott Awards Party,
there just happens to be one Mock Caldecott winner
and a surprising eight Honor books,
it is because
each of those books
has won over
some very passionate readers.

And if you just happen to be around tomorrow -

Thursday, January 14, 2016 at 3:45 p.m.

at the Jefferson County Library,

come in for the party!

All are invited!


Come see the books!


Have some party snacks and toothpicks!
 
If you read five books, you get to weigh in on the People's Choice vote.

And next Thursday at 3:45 p.m. at the library,
we'll write letters to authors and illustrators. 
We'll send awards to our winners.
 

Here's to books that dream,
and to books that spark readers and dreamers!

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24. Deep Blue Birthday

My little buddy turns seven tomorrow.
He's kind of smitten with the ocean lately,
especially the big guys, the scary guys, 
and the whales.
I love discovering new beauties in the creative process.
Coloring is something I'm both awed and fascinated by,
so I decided this would be a great opportunity
to experiment with how I color my sketches.

I sketched in buttery soft oil pencils,

and layered colored pencils on top.
No paint this time.


After that, I scanned my colored sketches on to the computer
and played with laying in textures with Photoshop.

Now I get to take my sketches 
and turn them into the party - 
cupcake toppers, 
fishy "paper dolls,"
sharks on a stick, perhaps.
More to come...


Whale-y wonderful books:



Whale Song - Tony Johnston, illustrated by Ed Young
The Storm Whale - Benji Davies
The Blue Whale - Jenni Desmond
Big Blue Whale - Nicola Davies, illustrated by Nick Maland

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25. Tiny Valentine-y

Haven't you always wanted mini flashcards?
I thought they might be a fun Valentine-y gift. 
I like to carry around pocket-sized art decks, don't you? 
Because don't we all carry words on the go?
Who doesn't like a little
fun on a ring?
Or words on a string?

They're up in my shop
perfect word surprises
for your small people - 
or your pocket card collectors.

Local buyers can enter the code: LOCALPICKUP
on my shop to waive shipping fees 
and arrange a delivery option.
Here's to the small, the tiny, the mini,
the little bits of love and beauty in this big world
that make life sweet and good.


Tiny book favorites:



Enormous Smallness by Matthew Burgess, illustrated by Eric DiGiacomo
The Tiny King by Taro Miura
Tiny's Big Adventure by Martin Waddell, illustrated by John Lawrence
Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes - by Mem Fox, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter








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