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Here is project I worked on a few months back--the cover for Highlights' HighFive's March '14 cover! It's presently out and about (I saw it in a local magazine shop a few days ago). Below is a photo I took of the final, printed cover, then the actual illustration, sans copy, etc., as well as a close-up of the kids. Below that are some of the rough cover concepts I submitted. My thanks to Highlights for letting me be a part of making their magazine a fun read for kids!
I’m proud to be a member of the Nerdy Book Club. You may be too, and not even know it…
To see the rest of this banner and its band of readers, head on over to the club’s brand-new site! I’m truly honored that my artwork now greets the enthusiastic, generous, and openhearted readers who congregate there.
© Deborah Freedman 2014
Since writing can be compared to a recipe, clearly debut author S.A.M. Posey has something cooking. She mixed three cups of teenage characters, one cup of terrorist, seasoned her pages perfectly with African American history, and added just enough trouble to bake us one of the best drama cakes ever, The Last Station Master.
Raised in Alabama, S.A.M. Posey has always loved reading. Like most readers, books were a window for her that opened a view to the world. She now resides in Florida with her family and pets. For more information about S.A.M. Posey, (including her real name) visit her website at http://www.samposey.com.
On this the 27th day of February, The Brown Bookshelf is honored to highlight young adult author:
The Journey: I never imagined ever writing a book, but I have always loved reading. I grew up in a small, isolated Alabama town, but thanks to books, I had a window on the world. I loved all the places books took me, and the fascinating characters I met along the way. I jokingly tell people I have read the library of every school I have ever attended. I LOVE TO READ. Consequently, I couldn’t imagine being the mother of a child who did not love reading. So, when my son was born, mission make-baby-a-reader was launched. Eventually I noticed that baby wasn’t taking naps because I was constantly reading to him. Sadly, reading had to be cut back to mainly bedtime hours. But even with the mission slightly curtailed, my wonderful boy grew into a happy reader. Then one day the happy reader read no more. The problem? Not enough books on the market that piqued his interest. My voracious reader discovered that boy-centric books were hard to find and books geared toward African-American boys were harder still. Naturally, I did what moms do best. Promised to fix things. I can remember my exact words. “I’ll write you a book, sweetie.” In that moment, S.A.M. Posey the storywriter was born. It would take another five years to get a publishing contract, and another two years for the book to be published, but that most definitely was the moment that sparked my writing adventure. Who knew writing could become addicting? Once I started, I couldn’t stop.
I hear voices. You know, the imaginary kind. Characters come to me with these killer elevator pitches and they just won’t go away until I tell their stories. They are constantly whispering into my ear. Wait, did that sound crazy? Uh, then I mean, I do a great deal of academic research into a particular period in history and then try to outline the most effective means of turning this information into a modern-day, kid-friendly story. Yeah, that’s it. I plan, I outline, I do a rough draft and eventually the story blossoms into a full manuscript. There is, of course, no figment of my imagination shadowing my every move, intruding into my thoughts, pulling me from my slumber to write the next chapter and throwing tantrums if it feels ignored. Ahem, no, that’s just silly. So, let’s move on.
I love many writers, but all of my favorites authors write for kids. I love Jacqueline Woodson. She had me with Locomotion, Miracle’s Boys, Feathers … I’m crying halfway through her books. I love the way she pulls the reader into a character’s world so that you care what happens to them. A couple of years ago, my publisher asked me to set up a Facebook page, which I did. I somehow saw Jacqueline Woodson’s name as someone I could friend so I sent her a friend request. I was thrilled beyond words that this social media allows me to stalk, I mean follow, such a talented lady.
I also love Angela Johnson. I believe First Part Last was the first book I read by her. Such a powerful story and so masterfully told. I became and instant fan and had to read more of her stuff. I loved Bird, and Haven. I just love her.
Lois Lowry may have been the first children’s writer I read as an adult. I read The Giver, then found Number the Stars and then made sure to read everything she wrote. The Giver remains my favorite book of all times.
I can’t say that I write like any of these ladies, only that I have learned lessons about writing from them. Lesson one, a character doesn’t have to be likable to make a reader care about what will happen to them. The reader just has to be able to relate to the character. Characters who have flaws and doubts are interesting people; so write well-rounded characters, with all their flaws intact. Lesson two, there doesn’t have to be a dire emergency or immediate danger around every corner for the main character to have to deal with in order for a book to be interesting. The writing should be compelling enough to capture the reader’s curiosity and then hold that curiosity to the end.
The Last Station Master is my debut novel, but it is not the first book I wrote. The first book I wrote is unsalvageable. The second story I wrote is a sci-fi with so many plot twists that I’m still reworking it. The Last Station Master would be book number three in this writer’s arsenal of words. All of my stories involve me taking some unsuspecting kid just minding his own business and dropping him into an extraordinary situation. Pity the kid who doesn’t know enough history to work his way out of that situation. What can I say? I love history. All of my stories merge the present with the past, because really, least we forget, the past is always with us.
*A Royal Palm Literary Award Winner: “An intriguing story with an unusual twist.”
*School Library Journal Reviewed on JUNE 1, 2013 | Grades 5-up Gr 6–9—In this fast-moving story, African American Nate Daniels expects to be bored when he’s sent to spend the summer with his grandparents in rural North Carolina, but he quickly learns his vacation will be anything but dull. In her debut novel, Posey successfully juggles multiple story lines while developing appealing characters. Posey vividly depicts the rural setting and conjures images of the Old South as Nate’s sleuthing solves his ancestors’ mystery. Information on influential African Americans of the era is provided in the author’s notes, which could encourage further exploration.—M. Kozikowski, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, NY
The State of the Industry:
The Industry is changing with the times, me thinks. It is so good to see that the publishing world is becoming more diverse and boy-oriented. I have two books on preorder. They’ll both be coming out later this year. Boys of Blur - N. D. Wilson and The Great Greene Heist - Varian Johnson. Both sound like a fascinating read. Can’t wait to get my hands on them!
Thank you, S.A.M. Posey, for your wonderful debut, and we look forward to reading more from you in the future.
Well, here we are at the tail-end of February, with March (along with spring!) coming up in a few days. So I wanted to share the project I worked on a few months back–the cover for Highlights’ HighFive’s March ’14 cover! It’s presently out and about (I saw it in a local magazine shop a few days ago). Below is a photo I took of the final, printed cover, then the actual illustration, sans copy, etc., as well as a close-up of the kids. Below that are some of the rough cover concepts I submitted. My thanks to Highlights for letting me be a part of making their magazine a fun read for kids!Add a Comment
Guest post by Delia Sherman on THE FREEDOM MAZE (which I adored and highly recommend)...
When I began writing The Freedom Maze, back in 1987, I didn’t intend to write a book about race. I intended to write a book about time travel and a shy, bookish girl who learned that adventures are very different to read about than to live. I set it in Louisiana because I like Louisiana and had spent a certain amount of time down there when I was a child, visiting my mother’s family. I sent my heroine back to 1860 because I’m interested in societies on the edge of war, and not so much in war itself.
Of course, that meant that I had to deal with slavery, which is an even bigger can of worms than the Civil War, but writing a novel is like that sometimes. One decision about setting or plot can lead you into places you never thought you’d go. Political places. Dangerous places. Places that make you face things that are hard to tackle. Like the history of race in America, and how the ghost of slavery still haunts our laws and customs and daily lives. Like how otherwise kind and thoughtful men and women can believe that certain classes and kinds of human beings are not as sensitive, intelligent, hardworking, worthy, human as they are themselves. Like what it must have been like to live every day knowing that you were property, barred by law from resting when you were tired, going where you wanted to go, complaining when you were unfairly treated—in some cases, from living with your own family.
Ideally, I would have liked to talk to people who had experienced both sides of this issue, but there is no one left alive who remembers at first hand what it was like to be a slave (or a slave-owner) in the old South. There are, however, plenty of records and lists and letters and memoirs and reminiscences written by both slave-holders and slaves, many of them published in easily-accessible books, many more lurking in libraries. I visited a handful of these, and at Loyola University in New Orleans, in a yellow manila file folder stuffed with advertisements for runaway slaves, I found a notice. The advertistment was for a young slave woman. “Blond and blue-eyed,” the descrription read. “Could pass as white.”
Could pass as white.
Because, of course, she was, to look at, anyway. Because by the middle of the 19th century, slavery had as much to do with money and class and fear of difference as it did with skin color.
I have long believed that racism, prejudice and oppression have their roots in class, in history, and most poisonously, in fear of difference. What I tried to do in The Freedom Maze was to demystify that difference, to make the experiences of one group emotionally accessible to everybody, to show what happens when human beings are focused on “us” and “them” rather than on everybody—not to erase differences, but to look beneath them to our common humanity.
Oh, and to tell a good and exciting story about characters I love.
Headshot by Augusten Burroughs.
Delia Sherman was born in Japan and raised in New York City but spent vacations with relatives in Texas, Louisiana, and South Carolina. Her work has appeared most recently in the young adult anthologies The Beastly Bride: Tales of the Animal People; Steampunk! An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories; and Teeth: Vampire Tales. Her novels for younger readers include Changeling and The Magic Mirror of the Mermaid Queen. She lives in New York City. Visit her website to learn more.
Candlewick is kindly giving away one free copy of THE FREEDOM MAZE to one of my lucky commenters. Must live in the US or Canada to win. Enter below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Sophie begins as a spoiled, unfocused 13-year-old and ends as a confident, self-possessed and aware 14-year-old. And the events that lead to her growth are nothing short of amazing. She goes back in time on her family's plantation and is mistaken for a slave. I can't imagine the research that went into this book to transport me, as the reader, to the time and place in a more palpable way than I've ever experienced. It seems with all the slave movies and books I'd have had a stronger sense. But this gave me the 'what it's like to wake up as a slave' experience. What was breakfast? What did you do when you had your period? And of course, what was it like to be somebody else's property. When Sophie returns to her time, I think I was as desperately eager to know what had happened to her new friends as she was. Deeply rewarding and rich, I highly recommend this book to younger readers as well as adults.
Some of you know that my career began in the animation business, and that I have dabbled in animation alongside painting and writing.
When I was doing science fiction paperback covers, I convinced my art director, Gene Mydlowski, to let me animate a flip book movie in the corners of the pages of the Alan Dean Foster novel "Quozl." I called the technique "Flip-a-Mation," and it was perfect for this story, about a race of rabbit-like aliens who arrive on earth, looking a bit like Warner Brothers cartoon characters.
I recently rediscovered the file folder with the 100 original drawings that I did for the Flip-a-mation sequence. Using my digital camera and free software called "Time Lapse Assembler" I was able to reshoot the sequence and add some sound effects.
Arabian Nights layout #2 Looking for an expression that combines awe and delight with a touch of reticence.
|Space. I need some.|
Hier stelle ich mal wieder ein schönes, sehr seltenes altes Kinderbuch vor. Herausgeben wurde es von Lisa Tetzner und mit 19 ganzseitigen, wunderbaren expressiven farbigen Scherenschnitten von Maria Braun versehen. Es wurde 1925 im Volksvereins-Verlag, Mönchengladbach veröffentlicht.
OHLwd. 28,7 x 36,5 cm. Schug 2012 und Doderer III, 522
Look at this!
Robots in Spain!
On Wednesday, March 5 at 2:00 p.m., Thurber House will participate in the Columbus Museum of Art’s exhibition: Toulouse-Lautrec and La Vie Morerne: Paris 1880-1910. Susanne Jaffe, Creative Director of Thurber House, will discuss the literature and the writers of the Belle Epoque in Paris, as this period is often called. With Nannette Maciejunes, Executive Director of the Columbus Museum of Art, discussing the Lautrec and other artists of the perios, the literary spotlight will focus on such classic names of French and world literature as Proust, Andre Gide, Gaston Leroux, the poet Apollinaire, and playwrights Edmond Rostand and Georges Feydau. The will show how the changing times in Paris, and the generation immediately before them, like Balzac, Zola ad Flaubert influenced a new style of writing in keeping with the popular sentiments of La Belle Epoque.
Subscribers to Thurber House’s Evenings with Authors Winter/Spring 2014 season are invited to attend the talk and see the exhibition at no charge by using the cose word “Thurber” at the admissions desk. Advance registration is appreciated, so please click here to do so.
You won't believe how psyched I am about Sketchbook Skool!
The first semester is starting in a little over a month and I am really looking forward to it.
At the moment, I am busy editing all the videos I shot for my klass. It's not just great to teach, but I also can't wait to learn from the other lessons in Sketchbook Skool, by this semester's awesome teachers.
I'm sure in the first six-weeks semester of Sketchbook Skool each and everyone who joins, will change in some way. Maybe you get to think differently about your art, or maybe you'll be approaching art in a different way than you did before. You may become more courageous and do some experiments, inspired by what the teachers in Sketchbook Skool talk about.
Grab your sketchbook and a pen and let's start!
Well anyway, I'm so happy Danny and I got this thing started.
Here's a video in which he and I talk about it.
SBS Update: Danny & Koosje from DannyGregory on Vimeo.
Needless to say (but I'll do it anyway!): join us in Sketchbook Skool. Click here to enroll.
So one very hot singer has crooned, “Speed kills…” Well any runner can tell you that one! It’s a little two-fold though, speed kills your opponent and if you consider the lactic acid factor it probably feels like you’re killing yourself too! Remember THIS cartoon??
It’s true, us distance runners, of the slow-twitch muscle fiber realm would most likely opt for a 10 mile tempo than sets of 800′s or 200′s. Distance logic right there.
The thing is though, while you can’t inject your distance running legs with fast-twitch muscle fibers you CAN hone the ones you’ve got and it’s quite remarkable how malleable that muscle make-up can be with proper training. But here’s the thing, for long distance runners, GETTING FASTER takes both a physical and mental component.
I’ve written a few articles on the specific physical training tips to run faster. Distance runners SHOULD embrace those
horrid 200 repeats, choke down those shorter intervals because speed translates up. You need to reverse ‘common’ distance logic and build from the bottom (aka shorter distances) up.
The faster you can sprint, the faster you can comfortably hold a ‘slower’ pace and longer. That reads as faster 5k’s, 10k’s, and marathons.
Do those shorter intervals, add some hill sprints, anything that involves explosive power. That’s the muscle-building and training factor.
Here’s the thing, if you’re like me you HATE that short running stuff because you ‘feel’ like you suck at it. You feel out of your element and get stressed more for the short stuff because it feels awkward, doesn’t come naturally, and thus gets a little frustrating.
ALL those thoughts create is PHYSICALLY impossible to run your best sprints. Crazy how the MIND can once again stop you from being the best runner you can be. The thoughts of feeling ‘out of your element’ create a foundation for stress and rather than running RELAXED as you should, you’re running tense. Ironically the more you ‘try’ to run faster, the slower you’ll be. True fact.
Learning and reminding yourself to run relaxed is an ongoing process. Here are some mental thoughts that can help you stay relaxed and allow your body to run faster:
* Arms: Laws of running physics (?? lol) hold that your legs can only move as fast as your arms. I like this because rather than think about your legs (let’s be honest they’re hurting like mad, let’s NOT think about them at all to block out that pain!) I think of moving my arms front-to-back as quickly as possible. The legs will follow.
* Eff It: This is the mentality I’ve adopted during short intervals, but let me explain. I KNOW ‘trying’ to run faster will shoot me in the foot, so I force my type-A brain to do the opposite. I remind myself, “Don’t worry about the times, I know speed isn’t my strong point, but it will only improve if I work on it. So eff it, relax, you can’t FORCE anything so just roll with it.” Basically you have to embrace the ‘awkward feeling’, loosen up, and just ‘have fun’ with it. Also, stop telling yourself that you suck at the shorter intervals!
* Effort: Tying to my tip above, ultimately running and training comes back to perceived effort. The watch and numbers only tell part of the story, so another thing I tell myself is, “Just run hard.” Run faster and even if you don’t look at your watch (this can help runners if they have built themselves a little speed phobia) if you’re running HARDER and FASTER you’ll get the rewards.
Bottom line here: even distance runners NEED speedwork if they want to run their longer races faster. Embrace the
nasty shorter intervals, adopt the ‘eff it attitude’ and stop FORCING it. Relax the heck up and in true ironic distance logic you’ll run faster when you’re ‘trying’ less.
1) Speedwork, love it or hate it?
2) When is the last time you did speedwork?
3) What’s something you tell yourself to make sure you’re running relaxed?
Designing cards for men can be tricky but these additions to the 'Graffiti' range from Woodmansterne certainly cracked the challenge with bold graphics and masculine colours. As seen at Woodmansterne's Pinterest page.Add a Comment
There have been some lovely new arrivals at the Zü shop recently from designer and owner Juliette collet. These include beautiful new floral cushion designs and gorgeous pastel colours on this set of four fruit postcards (above & below). Also new for 2014 is the little cat range of cards and bookmarks. Based in Lyon France all of Juliette's products can be found at Zü online here.Add a Comment
Still after this revision creature. My Chapter book has changed and I believe, for the better.
Is all this work, reading, critiquing, reworking, researching and reworking again- paying off? We shall see.
With Print & Pattern being away in January I didn't get a chance to report on London based printmaker and designer Justine Ellis and her debut at Top Drawer. Justine launched new cushions, lampshades and art prints that have a mid century flavour. See more from Justine online here.Add a Comment