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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Maira Kalman, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 33
1. Meet Thomas Jefferson!

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2. Video Sunday: You had me at “giant ice cream”

I think the nicest thing about the internet, for me anyway, is that if you wait around long enough things that you’ve seen live will appear online and then you can let lots of people know about them.  For example, this video of Daniel Handler/Lemony Snicket and Maira Kalman is not new.  It does, however, contain the only known record (known to me) of them both talking about the photograph game they would play.  The photo involving the catapult and the giant ice cream is a bit dangerous as it makes me giggle for long periods of time.

Next up, the only thing better than bad lip reading of Twilight?  Bad lip reading of New Moon.  True fact.

Read a really good independently published children’s book this week.  Self-published and remarkably fun.  It even has one top-notch book trailer to accompany it.  Check it out, peoples.

If the author’s name sounds familiar, that would be Ms. Lynn Messina of Little Vampire Women fame.  On an unrelated note, she also owns awesome boots.

Big time thanks to David Maybury for directing me to his link to this video of Laureate na nÓg Niamh Sharkey working with students from Griffeen Valley Educate Together on a Christmas Window for Hodges Figgis Bookstore in Dublin.

I’m now harboring fantasies of some store in New York doing something similar.  Books of Wonder maybe, though Bank Street Bookstore would probably get more foot traffic watching.  I mean, if Dublin can do it, we can too, can’t we?

And finally, for the off-topic video sometimes you just gotta give cred to the science/digital geeks.  Serious cred.

Thanks to BoingBoing for the link!

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3. Why We Broke Up

Why We Broke Up Daniel Handler, illustrated by Maira Kalman

Dear Ed,

In a sec you'll hear a thunk. At your front door, the one nobody uses...I'm telling you why we broke up, Ed. I'm writing it in this letter, the whole truth of why it happened. And the truth is that I goddamn loved you so much...

The thunk is the box, Ed. This is what I am leaving you. Every last souvenir of the love we had, the prizes and the debris of this relationship, like the glitter in the gutter when the parade has passed, all the everything and whatnot kicked to the curb. I'm dumping the whole box back into your life, Ed, every item of you and me.


And the box does have everything from their relationship-- bottle caps and flower petals, ticket stubs and a coat, a protractor and some sugar... and the world's longest letter, detailing every detail of Ed and Min's relationship and where, and how it went wrong.

Ed is the jock, co-captain of the basketball team, with a string of popular girl girlfriends. Min is... not arty. Don't say she's arty. But she's smart and I guess we can call her alterna-girl. Not the kind Ed usually goes for. But he goes for Min.

We know it won't work for a number of reasons-- the premise of the book and the first page tell us it already ended. As an adult reader, you just know they're doomed from the set-up of personalities, but as Min details their relationship, pointing out all the red flags, you still end up cheering for them and their love and you hope they won't break up.

I love the structure-- the telling through the objects that Maira Kalman so beautifully paints. I love this book as an object-- the paper is heavy and glossy, like a coffee table book.

I had a hard time getting into it at first, but I think that was more about my head space than the book itself. But, because of it, I read it over the course of a month and in that drawn-out time frame, I became really invested in this doomed love. The way Min writes about it, it sounds like a relationship that slowly unravels and then you get to the moment of the actual break up and... Min, sweetie. You don't need 354 pages to tell Ed why you broke up. It's one sentence. He isn't worth the ink.

And that was a very disappointing end.

But, I did like portions of it. I like that Min was an "arty" girl who wasn't arty. I like that she thought she was so much deeper than she was. It was a bit annoying, but very, very, very true.  I was friends with Min in high school. I like that we never found out the exact deal with Ed's mom. I liked Ed's sister and I liked that we saw more to Ed than the stereotypical jock, but he was still a total popular boy jock.

My favorite was Min's friend Lauren, who would sing hymns at Min to torture her into spilling information. When Lauren was seven, she saw symbols in a speech balloon, and her super-Christian parents were too God-fearing to explain that the symbols meant fuck so freshman year she had this joke of saying "numbersign questionmark you" and "astrisk exclamtionpoint the world." If I were still in high school, hanging out with Min, this would be a speech p

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4. Amazon Exclusive Interview: Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman

Author Daniel Handler (who sometimes goes by Lemony Snicket) and illustrator Maira Kalman visited Amazon to chat about their new book Why We Broke Up, chosen by editors as one of January's Best Books of the Month. If we gave awards for most delightfully entertaining interviewees, these two would be shoo-ins.

 

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5. Only the best for The New Yorker…

…and for The Horn Book Guide! Maira Kalman, whose art from Why We Broke Up graces our new Spring Guide, also just illustrated her thirteenth New Yorker cover.

0412 hbguidecov 232x300 Only the best for <i />The New Yorker</p>...     kalman new yorker cover1 Only the best for <i />The New Yorker...

Check out these Fuse #8 and Seven Impossible Things posts for Betsy Bird’s and Jules Danielson’s intriguing explorations of the connections between children’s illustrators and The New Yorker.

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6. Ode to Libraries video

Thanks to the Huffington Post for sharing this quite, um, laudatory video of Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman performing, as you will, an Ode to Libraries.

I couldn't figure out how to embed the video so follow this link.  It's lovely.  And it features my FAVORITE instrument.  Guess which one.

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7. 13 Words in One Word: Entertaining

It's my first picture book giveaway of 2011! 
Read on to see how to enter!

So often I expound on such serious matters for picture books: the Holocaust, scientific inquiry, and war. It's nice once in a while to pick up a picture book that's just fun to read, and Lemony Snicket's 13 Words is such a book. 13 Words couples simple words (Bird) with complex (Despondent), and common words (Dog) with uncommon (Panache).

Just last night my seven year-old daughter asked if we could read a book together. From stacks of dozens of picture books on our dining room table, Mackenzie selected this one to read (I think the striking school-bus-yellow cover had much to do with that).

As we began to turn pages, she decided that some were mine to read while others were hers. The page featuring the word Despondent was hers. Dad the teacher, never one to miss ruining the moment, stopped her to ask, "What does despondent mean?"

Mackenzie dutifully replied, "It means very unhappy," and explained why, using the pictures and context sentences to prove her hypothesis. (By the way, there is no difference between hypothesis and absolute-certain-truth in the mind of a seven year-old).



As we continued through the book, often stopping to discuss Maira Kalman's surreal illustrations, we came across the word Panache. Learning its meaning (from the book, mind you, not from Dad), my daughter called to my wife, "Hey, Mom! You have panache!"

Enter Mom. Good thing, too, because we needed some help with Word Number 13: Mezzo-Soprano. My wife offered, "I think that's a soprano that sings really high. Casey would know."

Enter the thirteen year-old, the musical theatre aficionado. Thirteen year-olds know everything, so it was extremely fortuitous that she was available to confirm my wife's conjecture. And with the whole family now gathered, we finished the book.

The book in one word? Crazy (Mackenzie). In two? Pretty Neat (Mom). In three? Kind of Weird (Casey). In four? Completely unique, absolutely original (me).

And that's that. As promised, I won't discuss the book's potential for creative story prompts, vocabulary development, or writing models. I could, and should, but I won't.

Instead, I'll offer you a copy of your very own, courtesy of the folks at Media Masters Publicity, who were kind enough to share the book with me. Simply email me with the words Thirteen Words in the subject line by midnight EST, Saturday, January 29th, 2011. Good luck!
8. In NYC, March 11, 2011 - July 31, 2011


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9. Top 5 Things To See/Know/Do This Week

Since the week has been so crazy for me preparing the Spring 2012 picture books at work, here are a few announcements/discoveries to keep y’all busy:

1. Seems that Coralie Bickford-Smith, senior cover designer over at the UK’s Penguin Books, has been on everyone’s brains lately . . . I received two links to her in the past few days!  I have always been a huge fan of her Clothbound Classics series, but I hadn’t seen her full site.

And, my goodness, take a look at her newest work!  I’m getting giddy looking at this Penguin Great Food series (link courtesy of Creative Review, via Ryan, extremely cool fellow designer/cubicle neighbor).  Each plate is based on vintage ceramic patterns, and I seriously can’t get over how gorgeous they are.

2.  Speaking of how the UK dominates beautiful patterned covers, let’s move along to White’s Books, a small London publisher directed by David Pearson (a former Penguin Books designer himself).  In a different way, these patterns draw the reader into other imagery and bring visually potent symbolism to distinguished classics. Thanks to Kevin Stanton, amazing paper-cut illustrator from the Illustration Week extravaganza, for referring me to Jessica Vendsen’s blog!

3. On a local level, I have to give a shout-out to a new show opening up in town: Maira Kalman: Various Illuminations (of a Crazy World).  I’ve mentioned before my infatuation with Maira’s work, and since she’s a Nancy Paulsen Books author/illustrator, I get to drool over her new children’s books on a regular basis.  Can’t wait to check out this exhibit of many of her best-known works, as I know it’ll be as original and out-of-the-box as ever.

Maira Kalman: Various Illuminations (of a Crazy World) is on display at The Jewish Museum from

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10. Librarian Preview: Little Brown and Company (Fall 2011 – Winter 2012)

Previews, previews!  Lovely little previews!

And we find ourselves back at the Yale Club, across the street from Grand Central Station, and a whopping 10 minutes away, on foot, from my library.  There are advantages to living on a tiny island, I tell ya.

As per usual, Little Brown pulled out all the stops for the average children’s and YA librarian, in order to showcase their upcoming season.  There were white tablecloths and sandwiches consisting of brie and ham and apples.  The strange result of these previews is that I now seem to be under the mistaken understanding that Little Brown’s offices are located at the Yale Club.  They aren’t.  That would make no sense.  But that’s how my mind looks at things. When I am 95 and senile I will insist that this was the case.  Be warned.

A single day after my return from overseas I was able to feast my eyes on the feet of Victoria Stapleton (the Director of School and Library Marketing), bedecked in red sparkly shoes.  I would have taken a picture but my camera got busted in Bologna.  I was also slightly jet lagged, but was so grateful for the free water on the table (Europe, I love you, but you have to learn the wonders of ample FREE water) that it didn’t even matter.  Megan Tingley, fearless leader/publisher, began the festivities with a memory that involved a child’s story called “The Day I Wanted to Punch Daddy In the Face”.  Sounds like a companion piece to The Day Leo Said “I Hate You”, does it not?

But enough of that.  You didn’t come here for the name dropping.  You can for the books that are so ludicrously far away in terms of publication (some of these are January/February/March 2012 releases) that you just can’t resist giving them a peek.  To that end, the following:

Liza Baker

At these previews, each editor moves from table to table of librarians, hawking their wares.  In the case of the fabulous Ms. Baker (I tried to come up with a “Baker Street Irregulars” pun but it just wasn’t coming to me) the list could start with no one else but Nancy Tafuri.  Tafuri’s often a preschool storytime staple for me, all thanks to her Spots, Feathers and Curly Tails.  There’s a consistency to her work that a librarian can appreciate.  She’s also apparently the newest Little Brown “get”.  With a Caldecott Honor to her name (Have You Seen My Duckling?) the newest addition is All Kinds of Kisses.  It’s pretty cute.  Each animals gets kisses from parent to child with the animal sound accompanying.  You know what that means?  We’re in readaloud territory here, people.  There’s also a little bug or critter on each page that is identified on the copyright page for parents who have inquisitive children.

Next up, a treat for all you Grace Lin fans out there.  If you loved Year of the Dog and Year of the Rat then you’ll probably be pleased as punch to hear that there’s a third

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11. Children’s Literary Toys: Max by Maira Kalman

MaxDeluxe Childrens Literary Toys: Max by Maira KalmanA package arrived in the mail for the small Bird the other day.  Though she has no hand-eye coordination and questionable social skills, Baby Bird occasionally gets a toy worth noting.  I’ve done one post before on the array of children’s literary toys that are out there that I have seen.  Here is another for now I find that there’s a new toy on the market and it’s only available through the Jewish Museum Shops.

Those of you familiar with the artist Maira Kalman have probably stumbled upon her Max books at some point.  Max is ostensibly a dog.  He exists in a variety of picture books, including Max Makes a Million, Ooh-la-la (Max in Love), Max in Hollywood, Baby, and more.  Had you asked me how to make an actual Max doll I’d have been hard pressed to say.  I mean, here’s an average image of Max:

maxmillion Childrens Literary Toys: Max by Maira Kalman

Making a doll from that would take some doing.  It’s not like you’re making a Mo Willems Pigeon with its straight black lines.  And yet, and yet, it could be done.  In conjunction with the current Kalman exhibit Maira Kalman: Various Illuminations (of a Crazy World) I present to you this limited edition Max doll:

maxdoll Childrens Literary Toys: Max by Maira Kalman

I have to admit, I’m utterly charmed by him.  His inner pockets reveal two pieces of writing.  One is a shopping list that lists the following:

Herring!
Brown socks
Jelly doughnuts
Itching powder
Cheese juice
Suspenders
Rubberbands
More jelly doughnuts
Map of Iceland

The opposite pocket contains a note with this to say:

Blitz
Blatz
Blootch
Bloob
Boop
Bloop

I showed Max to Monica Edinger the other day and she wondered, rightly, about the state of his underwear.  All good dressed toys make sure not to skimp on the knickers.  So we pulled down his elastic waisted pants and voila!  Red underwear with white polkadots.  Add in the removable shoes, the pocket handkerchief (also removable), his hat, scarf, and shirt and you have a remarkable toy.  Everything he wears can be taken off, yet none of it falls off of him of its own accord.  This is one well made little guy!

Fans of the Max books may be able to clarify a mystery for me too.  Why on earth does he have the mysterious initials “MS” sewn into the back of his coat?

And for those of you looking to buy one for someone in your own life, you can find them for sale here and a host of other Maira Kalman objects d’art (including her famous New Yorkistan New Yorker cover as a shower curtain) 0 Comments on Children’s Literary Toys: Max by Maira Kalman as of 1/1/1900

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12. Children’s Illustrators and The New Yorker

Drooker 223x300 Childrens Illustrators and The New YorkerMy husband Matt pairs well with me for a number of reasons.  Amongst them is our mutual inclination to collect things we love.  As such, Matt has systematically been holding onto all his issues of The New Yorker ever since he got his subscription in college.  Over the years these issues have piled up piled up piled up.  I was a Serials Manager before I got my library degree and one of the perks of the job was getting lots of lovely magazine holders. For years these holders graced the tops of our bookshelves and even came along with us when we moved into our current apartment a year ago.  Yet with the arrival of our puir wee bairn, we decided to do the unthinkable.

Yes.  We ripped off all their covers.

Well, most anyway.  We have the complete run of New Yorker text on CD-ROM anyway, and anything published after the CD-ROM’s release would be online anyway.  Thus does the internet discourage hoarding.

In the meantime, we now are the proud owners of only three boxes worth of New Yorker covers.  They’re very fun to look at.  I once had the desire to wallpaper my bathroom in such covers, but that dream will have to wait (as much as I love New York apartments and all . . .).  For now, it’s just fun to flip through the covers themselves and, in flipping, I discovered something.  Sure, I knew that the overlap between illustrators of children’s books and illustrators of New Yorkers was frequent.  I just didn’t know how frequent it was.  Here then is a quickie encapsulation of some of the folks I discovered in the course of my cover removal.

Istan Banyai

Zoom and Re-Zoom continue to circulate heavily in my library, all thanks to Banyai.  I had a patron the other day ask if we had anything else that was similar but aside from Barbara Lehman all I could think of was Wiesner’s Flotsam.  Banyai is well known in a different way for New Yorker covers, including this controversial one.  As I recall, a bit of a kerfuffle happened when it was published back in the day.

Banyai Childrens Illustrators and The New Yorker

Harry Bliss

Author and illustrator of many many picture books, it’s little wonder that the Art Editor of The New Yorker, Ms. Francoise Mouly, managed to get the man to do a TOON Book (Luke on the Loose) as well.  And when it comes to his covers, this is the one I always think of first.

Bliss Childrens Illustrators and The New Yorker

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13.

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14. Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature, 2012

By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: January 25, 2012

Winner


Honor Book

Honor Book

Honor Book

Honor Book

“The Michael L. Printz Award is an award for a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature. It is named for a Topeka, Kansas school librarian who was a long-time active member of the Young Adult Library Services Association. The award is sponsored by Booklist, a publication of the American Library Association.” ~YALSA

©2012 The Childrens Book Review. All Rights Reserved.

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15. oh boy, more maira!


Check out the new "Pursuit of Happiness" illustrated essay by Maira Kalman, "Time Wastes Too Fast." It's all about (*swoon*) Thomas Jefferson and Monticello!!

Best line: "History makes you hungry."


~ from the New York Times.


I lurv her ♥!

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16. More Maira

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17. More Maira

And the Pursuit of Happiness

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18. More

Maira

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19. Poetry Friday: The Impossibility of February

First, a reminder for all fans of great children's poetry:

The winner of the Cybils Poetry category is announced this Sunday, February 14. I was honored to be a second round judge, and I can promise that you will love the winner (and all the finalists, too.)

Now, on to the Poetry Friday challenge for today. Last year, around Valentine's Day, Tricia prodded us to write a love poem without using "love" words.  I took the bait.

This year, I had to make up my own challenge. An ode to February.

I know; I know. February is impossible.

Oh, February, oh February,
you're sweeter still than dental caries.

You make my heart sing, you do,
were it not for blinding blizzards and the swiniest of flu.

Oh, February, far too short the days
to count the shades of grayest grays

you send me, year after weary year.
If I were you, I'd watch my back, dear;

such nuanced love cannot last
before I exchange you for something less overcast.

Oh, February, love is patient, love is kind;
love doesn't leave you disinclined

to climb from underneath the warmest covers
to join the bitterest, iciest, and brutalist of lovers

on the barren street, no less! to watch how much snow
you can blow and blow and blow---some beau

you are. But how can I call it quits
when you bite my cheeks and grab my wrists

kissing color into my frozen face---
Oh, February, let's March on apace!

               ---Sara Lewis Holmes

Sickened by that sappy stuff? Then head over to The Pursuit of Happiness blog and snuggle up to Maira Kalman's poem in words and pictures, The Impossibility of February.

The Poetry Friday roundup today is hosted by the ever warm and friendly Lee Wind at http://www.leewind.org/

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20. Poetry Friday: Maira Kalman

A while ago, a colleague of my husband’s gave us this delightful book, Max Makes a Million (Viking, 1990), about a dog-poet named Max.  And thus was I introduced to the marvelously oddball world and voice of New Yorker and children’s book writer and illustrator, Maira Kalman.  The story of  Max is not so much poetry per se in the conventional sense of verse on a page (although it is that in this book as well), but more the illustration of an extended metaphor at work.  The poet-as-dog in his New York digs with his artistically inclined owners, and extravagant ambitions, his friendship with a painter, and his encounter with the critic,  is quirky and evocative.  And somehow, all very apt for a poet! And there’s lots of word music, to boot.  Max’s poetry is catchy:

I want to dance
the kazatski
until I plotski
and sing like a boid
on toity-toid and toid

In this wonderful TED video, Kalman talks about her ‘creative process,’ so to speak, with much vigor, charm and humour.  I was struck by how much she mentioned being a ‘bad poet’ and of writing ‘bad poetry’ and yet, in the end, I have to say her judgement of herself — however harsh — never stopped her from carrying on.  As any artist knows — poet or otherwise — it’s often hard just to stay inspired.   And seeing as it’s February, you might find watching this video and hearing her talk about this dreary month a bit of an inspiration yourself.

This week’s Poetry Friday host is MsMac at Check It Out

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21. Maira Kalman:

Various Illuminations (of a Crazy World)

July 1, 2010 - October 26, 2010

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22. More Maira


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23. Why Maira Kalman Would Have Dated Abraham Lincoln

Illustrator and author Maira Kalman has worked for years as a visual columnist at the New York Times,  writing her illustrated Opinion column. While touring with her new book, And The Pursuit Of Happiness, she told television host Stephen Colbert why she would date Abraham Lincoln. Watch the complete interview in the video embedded above.

In the book, her portrait of Lincoln  includes the words: “I looked deep into his eyes and found.” Kalman added: “I thought he would be the most incredible boyfriend. If I were married to him instead of Mary Todd Lincoln, the whole history would’ve been a whole different thing.”

The book’s cover features a portrait of Benjamin Franklin. Other illustrations include Thomas Jefferson‘s bed and an “incredible pie” she encountered at an army base.  (Via Huffington Post)

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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24. Video Sunday: She once created a pathfinder . . . to a woman’s heart

The mark of a good parody is when you don’t need to have seen the original.  A billion thanks to 100 Scope Notes for this one.  Never would have found it myself.

Well, it’s a beautiful Sunday morning here in New York City.  Daylight savings just granted me an extra hour to sleep and the New York Marathon appears to be ending, virtually, just outside my front door.  You should hear the happy music.  It’s kind of enchanting.

On that cheery note, let us watch a different kind of parody, only this time with cute kids.

Thanks to @khazelrigg for the link.

Before I show this next one, I should explain that the Robin Hood Foundation here in New York City has created what they call the Library Initiative where public schools can get beautifully designed library spaces.  Maira Kalman created a mural for one such school.

Thanks to Children’s Illustration for the link.

I heard about this video at a recent Simon & Schuster librarian preview, and then saw it on Bookmoot not long thereafter.  It’s Scott Westerfeld interviewing Alan Cumming about doing the audio versions of his books.  Pretty much any excuse to show Alan Cumming, I will take advantage of.

Thanks to Bookmoot for the link.

Author Kathi Appelt is very good about letting me know when she’s interviewed her fellow author friends.  Ms. Appelt noticed that I recently reviewed Ms. Kimberly Willis Holt’s book The Water Seeker on the Katie Davis podcast Brain Burps About Books.  With that in mind, she let me know that she’d spoken to Ms. Holt with her Flipcam.  If you’ve ever been curious to see what Ms. Holt looks like, here ya go!

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25. Booksignings of Wonder!

Bob Shea is leading the kids through some truly stellar dinosaur "roars" during a read-aloud of his new book "Dinosaur vs. Potty," a hilarious play-by-play of one little dinosaur's battle to resist going you-know-what, in the you-know-where.  The story bounces along with Bob Shea using his best boxing ring announcer's voice to repeat the refrain, "Dinosaur wins!" at the end of each spread.  Kids roar, and giggle, then roar some more - and the book concludes.

That's when Chris Raschka, Caldecott medalist and all around cool dude, leans over to me and whispers, "So, who wins?  I couldn't see the pictures, is it the dinosaur or the potty?"
"I think the Dinosaur went  in the potty... so I guess they both win," I say.
"I should save my questions till the end," says Chris with a wry grin.
"Yeah, we should probably stop all this potty talk," I say.

 Left to right: Chris Denise; Anika Denise; Chris Raschka
This is why I love doing group signings.  Picture book authors tend to be down to earth, funny, frequently irreverent folks, content with the good fortune of being able to do what they love for a living.  This past weekend Chris and I signed at Books of Wonder in NY, alongside Jane Dyer (A Train To Dreamland) Tad Hills (How Rocket Learned To Read), Maira Kalman (The Pursuit of Happiness), Laurie Keller (Birdy's Smile Book), Chris Raschka (Little Black Crow), and Bob Shea (Dinosaur vs. Potty).

What struck me (besides the fact that all these authors are amazing, talented folks and I was honored to be counted among them) was the palpable appreciation for one another's work.  The authors were clearly having just as much fun as the audience during the read-alouds.

Equally cool was hearing all the behind-the-scenes chatter about everyone's book projects, how they developed, where they are doing signings, what other artists they admire, how they promote their titles, etc.  For me, an author relatively new to the industry, it was a fascinating and fabulous experience.

Next signing stop: Tomorrow! Saturday Dec. 11th: Where The Sidewalks Ends in Chatham, MA (on Cape Cod)  10a - 12p.  Big Stella will be joining us (and rumor has it the mouse from "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie" will be in the house too); they'll be a holiday stroll going on, hot chocolate, a cozy fireplace, and of course: books, books, books.  Come see us!

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