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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: The Day-Glo Brothers, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Summer reading and home library suggestions from the ALSC

large_SummerReadingLists14_ALSC

If you need summer reading lists for students in grades K-8, the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) has your back.

ALSC — a division of the American Library Association (ALA) — has updated its lists and provided them in color and black & white formats that make it easy to print these up and distribute them.

ALSC also has the backs of Shark Vs. Train and The Day-Glo Brothers, both of which are included on this year’s summer reading lists. Not only that, but Shark Vs. Train is also included among the titles the ALSC included on its updated home library recommendation lists.

Thank you, ALSC!

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2. The Writing Process Blog Tour

Melissa Wiley asked if I’d like to participate in this rolling series of authors’ monologues about their current projects and writing processes, and I thought…

Well, from the title of this post, it’s pretty obvious what I thought. So here goes:

What are you working on?

I’ve got a couple of things going on at the moment, both of them picture books under contract.

One is a biography whose ending my editor and I are still trying to nail down — we want to make sure that we hit the final note just right. Do we leave the reader with one last impression of the subject himself, or encourage the reader to view the bigger picture beyond this one person’s life, or invite the reader to look inward and consider how the subject resonates with them individually, or attempt to accomplish something else? The runaway for figuring this out is growing pretty short.

The other book is all made-up fun, or will be. Right now, I’ve got characters and a vague sense of what the conflict is going to be, but so far there’s neither a story nor, frankly, much fun. (Though I’m enjoying myself.) What I’m working on, then, is figuring out the specifics of what happens, or might happen, or could happen, or should, or ought to, etc. Opening lines popped into my head late last night, so I need to revisit those and see if they still seem to set the right tone and get the story going in a good direction.

How does your work differ from others in its genre?

I don’t know that my picture books individually differ drastically from other narrative picture books, but collectively they stand out a bit by falling into two distinct camps. I love writing seriously researched nonfiction, and I love just making up silly stuff, and I feel just as comfortable doing one (The Day-Glo Brothers) as the other (Shark Vs. Train). Enough people have asked me some variation of “How do you do that?” that I understand that enjoying both types of writing is not the norm, but it feels perfectly natural to me. Writing for this audience wouldn’t be nearly as fun if I didn’t or couldn’t do both types of books.

Why do you write what you do?

I write my biographies because something about the arc of an individual’s life — regardless of whether anyone I know has ever heard of this person — fascinates me. I like writing about people who end up in vastly different circumstances from those in which they entered the world, and about how inner drive and outer happenstance work together to change the course of a person’s life, and about the impact that person’s life has on the rest of us. And I like writing about people whose fields of achievement offer lots for me to learn about along the way and lots to distill and convey to my readers.

I write my fiction because I’ve always enjoyed getting people to laugh — or at least taking a shot at getting them to laugh — through the words I string together. It’s no fun when my efforts fall flat, but the times when my audience (even if that audience consists of just one person) does laugh — those keep me going.

How does your writing process work?

For biographies, with the very first piece of research I consult, I generally start creating a timeline of key events in the subject’s life. From that timeline, the period of the person’s life that most intrigues me will begin to emerge — I don’t generally write cradle-to-the-grave biographies, so I’m on the lookout for a significant place to start my telling of their story and a meaningful, resonant place to end my telling. Then I’ll research and research and research until I’m not running into much new information, or not finding any information that alters the story arc that’s taking shape. By then, I’m feeling sort of full and antsy, and I can’t help but start writing, though I’ll probably continue doing research of some sort until the illustrator is entirely finished with the art.

That’s a fairly amorphous process, but it’s even more so for my picture book fiction. Sometimes, I bang out a full draft the first morning an idea occurs to me, or the first day I pull a previously-jotted-down story idea from a pool of candidates. Other times, there’s a lot of mulling — weeks and weeks of mulling — about how to approach a character or theme or plot point before I ever actually start writing what anybody else would consider to be a draft.

For both types of books, I tend to revise a lot as I go. I turn in very clean drafts — not that they necessarily get returned from editors in quite the same condition.

Who’s next?

Who am I going to ask to answer these questions after me? Well, Melissa has already gone to my go-to author.

So, I was thinking that instead I would ask the most recent commenter, which would be Tina Kugler. But I see that Tina has already taken a crack at these questions.

So, how about you? If you’d be up for keeping the Writing Process Blog Tour going — or if you’ve already done your bit — won’t you please leave a comment letting me know where the rest of us can find your answers?

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3. Writers’ motto: Never give up


If there was a theme in what the many published writers said at the Austin SCBWI conference a couple weeks ago, it was that perseverance is an important part of their success.

Three of this year’s ALA winners were there — Jacqueline Kelly (The Evolution of Capurnia Tate), Marla Frazee and Liz Garton Scanlon (All the World illustrator and author) and Chris Barton (The Day-Glo Brothers) — and they all told tales of facing many rejections before publication and of pursuing their dreams of being published for years before making them a reality.

Kirby Larson, author of the 2007 Newbery Honor book Hattie Big Sky, said she received piles of rejection letters before her publishing career began. Finally, after many years of trying and taking a 10-day course that happened over her daughter’s birthday — what a sacrifice — she sold her first picture books. A few more followed, but then she didn’t sell anything for seven years. That’s when she tried a different type of writing and Hattie Big Sky was born.

Former editor and now full-time author Lisa Graff explained that for her last book, Umbrella Summer, she wrote 18 complete drafts.

Yesterday, this theme was reinforced in an article in the Los Angeles Times about non-fiction author Rebecca Skloot, whose The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks appeared on Amazon’s bestseller list immediately after the book debuted on Feb. 2. This was all after Skloot spent 10 years working on the book and went through three publishing houses, four editors and two agents.

All these writers shared something in common: They didn’t give up.

So, the motto for today: Never give up.

Write On!

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4. The Day-Glo Brothers Recognized Again!


It's hard not to notice The Day-Glo Brothers--that bio/science book about the two brothers who invented Day-Glo colors and changed the world. So, naturally, the bloggers of the kidlitosphere--an intelligent and talented bunch of writers--noticed not just how the colors pop, but how human this story really is: two brothers, a couple of dreams diverted, and an accident and what you get? A Cybils Nonfiction Picture Book Award.

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5. The Day-Glo Brothers - Neon Painted Cake


"After the war Bob and Joe's colors made them rich. Day-Glo began to brighten everyday life back home. The colors made their way onto gas station signs and detergent boxes, traffic cones and magazine covers--including Joe's old favorite, Popular Science." - The Day-Glo Brothers, Chris Barton



The Day-Glo Brothers


I owe a debt of gratitude to authors like Chris Barton, who write cool non-fiction picture books. It makes my job as mom to two curious boys that much easier when I can answer their questions by picking a book off a shelf. Oh, I have my specialties, but when my boys' lines of questioning turn to how things work I turn to a book.

I knew Chris Barton's The Day-Glo Brothers, with its true story of how brothers Bob and Joe Switzer invented Day-Glo colors, would appeal to my boys' inquisitive natures. My kids frequently scour our libraries' shelves for books about outer space, bridges and automobiles (a current favorite is Car Science)--so I knew The Day-Glo Brothers wouldn't be a hard sell. And as soon as they saw Tony Persiani's cool, Day-Glo infused illustrations they were hooked.

Author Barton drew on primary sources to write this biography of how two brothers invented something that most of us take for granted. It's strange for me, a child of the 80s and 90s, to think that there was a time when Day-Glo colors didn't exist. However, until the Switzer brothers began experimenting with fluorescence to enhance Joe's magic acts, nobody had ever developed glow-in-the dark paints--never mind paint that glowed in the daylight. Tony Persiani's illustrations literally (and gradually) light up the pages so readers know exactly what is meant by the term Day-Glo.

We read this book at the perfect time, just before a trip to Disneyland, so the boys were able to put their newfound knowledge of fluorescence and Day-Glo to use and point out rides and attr

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6. Charlesbridge acquires Imagine Publishing

Watertown, MA, July 7, 2010—Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc. today announced the acquisition of Imagine Publishing of New York, a publisher of unique and eclectic books for children and adults.

Imagine was founded in 2009 by the father/son team of Charles and Jeremy Nurnberg. The co-founders will both join Charlesbridge, effective immediately. Charles, a 40 year industry veteran and former CEO of Sterling Publishing, will become Vice President & Publisher of the Imagine imprint. Jeremy, former Vice President Trade & Institutional Sales at Sterling, brings his 15 years of publishing experience to Charlesbridge as Vice President of Sales.

Imagine’s list includes the Peter Yarrow Books imprint in partnership with legendary singer/songwriter and bestselling author Peter Yarrow of the iconic trio Peter, Paul and Mary. Books in this imprint include the current New York Times picture book bestseller Over the Rainbow, with a CD performance by Judy Collins, and the upcoming October 2010 release of The Night Before Christmas, with a CD by Peter, Paul and Mary.

“Our growing success motivated us to seek a publisher that could handle the needs of our expanding list,” said Charles Nurnberg. “Charlesbridge has the full range of promotional and distribution capabilities that Imagine needs. Their publishing strategy reinforces our own philosophy to publish books that stand the test of time.”

Charlesbridge—an independent publisher of children’s fiction and nonfiction—has grown steadily over its twenty-year history. It currently enjoys critical and commercial successes with books such as Sibert Award Honor The Day-Glo Brothers, by Chris Barton; ALA Notable Global Babies, one of many books published in partnership with The Global Fund for Children; and the newly released Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins, named to the Indie Next List.

“Imagine adds an exciting new dimension to our list,” said Charlesbridge Vice President and Associate Publisher Mary Ann Sabia, “while also leading us in a new strategic direction with our first general trade books, including Delicious Diabetic Recipes, the important new Curiosity Guides series, with titles on the human genome and global climate change, and for kids, Neil Sedaka’s Waking Up Is Hard To Do.”

Charlesbridge President Brent Farmer stated, “With the addition of Imagine we significantly increase our list and range. We look forward to enhancing the enduring relationships established over the years with children’s booksellers, wholesalers, librarians, and teachers, and creating new relationships in the general trade arena.”

Charlesbridge begins shipping Imagine Publishing titles immediately from their Massachusetts warehouse. Imagine customers may call Charlesbridge at (800) 225-3214 for questions pertaining to their orders.

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7. Advice from ALA winners


Sorry if you came here on Saturday looking for this post. I had a busy weekend and didn’t get to my computer much.

But here is day six of my reports from the Austin SCBWI conference. First, a quick recap of my other reports: agent Mark McVeigh on publishing, agent Andrea Cascardi on getting and working with an agent, editor Cheryl Klein on writing a great book, agent Nathan Bransford on finding the right agent for you and author/former editor Lisa Graff on writing and revising.

Today I’m featuring three of this year’s ALA award winners, all of whom show that success comes from perserverance.

Jacqueline Kelly, author of the 2010 Newbery Honor book The Evolution of Capurnia Tate, said the inspiration for her book came after she fell in love with a really old house that’s falling down. As she sat on its porch one day, she could hear the main character come alive in her head and recite the book’s first paragraph to her.

She first wrote about the characters in a short story, and it was her critique group members that encouraged her to expand it into a novel.

Capurnia Tate was rejected by 12 publishers before it was picked up.

If it wasn’t for Jacqueline’s critique group and her perserverance, we would not have Capurnia Tate to enjoy today.

Acclaimed illustrator Marla Frazee, whose picture book All the World is a 2010 Caldecott Honor book, has had similar perserverance during her career. She said it took 12 years to get her first book, then another five years before her second.

She said picture books are a collaboration between words and pictures, with the two working together to tell the story. Sometimes the pictures will illustrate the words completely, and other times the pictures will add new meaning to the words. For example, she showed a picture from her book A Couple of Boys Have The Best Week Ever, in which the words say the character is sad to leave his parents but the picture shows him excited and happy.

Marla said

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