Add a Comment
The latest changes have been challenging - working on the tractor details. There was a lot left undone on this panel and there's still a ways to go. But, I'm off to a good start (if I do say so myself).
This last week I have been working on a piece to enter into the Poster Contest at NESCBWI conference at the end of April in Massachusetts.
The brief is as follows:
The Challenge: A Whole New World
How do you go about building an entire world in just one image? How do you use
illustration to "keep it real" ? Explore a new world in your poster.
Hmm ... I doodled about with some new ideas ... but I kept returning to an image that I created some time ago, which, in fact, is the banner for this blog and is called 'Boy and World'.
Initially I drew the sketch several years ago.
When Jenny Stubbs, Festival Coordinator Extraordinaire, told me I had a slot to launch ”All in the Woods” I was ecstatic! It was my first book to be published in the UK and a launch venue at the Ipswich Festival of Children’s Literature, Woodlands, was almost too good to be true. Jenny facilitated a link to Aleesa Darlison who agreed to MC. BRILLIANT! What could go wrong?
The Ipswich Festival is always an exciting event! It is held at Woodlands, a stunning, heritage listed venue set amongst rural fields, magnificent trees and rolling hills – what a setting for a launch! The lead up to the day, Tuesday, 13th September 2011, was a real buzz! Then the unthinkable happened… The weekend before, my throat started to get that irritating little scratch and that niggly cough that sometime precedes worse. Sunday night it started to hit! Laryngitis!
Friends, good friends can be the saving of such worst case scenarios. I spoke (whilst I still had a voice) to Tara Hale, who designed the promo poster, would she be Guest Artist “Pink” the possum [cousin of "Ink" the animal hero of my book]. Next I contacted Nooroa Te Hira, he has worked as a tour guide so I knew he would ace a reading of my book. Then I rang Christian Bocquee and asked would he help with nitty grittys like directing teachers and students to seats, distributing prizes and being event photographer! Bless them, they all ‘volunteered’ unstintingly!
Result? Fun, fun, fun! We had a ball, the book launch was a total success! The author having to use copious amounts of sign language but, hey, she has 5 kids so she speaks the lingo with hands and fingers!
You can see some of the fun in the gallery below. [Sadly, Pink, being a nocturnal creature, was shy of the camera flash and hid!]
And the book, which was illustrated by wonderful watercolourist Linda Gunn? It had been a truly international effort – written by an Aussie, illustrated by an American and published by a Brit! The icing on the cake was a nomination for the OPSO Award!
Here is a recent review by Kathy Schneider!
Where can you get it? Here!0 Comments on How not to do a Book Launch?! as of 2/3/2012 4:20:00 AM
Click here to read my full review. Add a Comment
5 Minutes for Books is holding a Fall Festival of Children’s Books this week and we are joining in the celebration by listing our favorite picture book this month. We live in the Midwest and both my kindergartener and toddler enjoyed reading this beautifully illustrated ABC picture book by Arthur Geisert.
Country Road ABC: An Illustrated Journey Through America's Farmland by Arthur Geisert; Houghton Mifflin (May 2010); ISBN 9780547194691; 64 pages; Copy from our local library
This isn't your ordinary farm book. It also isn't your average ABC book. It is so much more. County Road ABC captures a way of life - the life of farmers living in a small farming community, or more specifically, the life along Iowa County Road Y31. Like in his other books, Geisert creates the illustrations using a copper-plate etching process combined with watercolors and acrylics and the resulting pictures are extraordinarily detailed. Starting with A is for ammonia fertilizer and ending with Z is for z-brace, the letters of the alphabet help describe various aspects of country life. The text is rather sparse, but the illustrations ... Wow! They are amazing.
I've lived most of my life in and near small farming communities. The landscapes portrayed in the book, particularly the panorama picture that continues on the bottom edge page after page, accurately represent many of the country roads that I've traveled on. The book even depicts the seasons starting with the spring thaw and circling through summer, fall and the snowy, cold winter. The reader really does get a sense of what it is like living in a rural area. There's farm animals, a country church and graveyard, an abandoned one-room schoolhouse, a village parade, tractors in the fields, and even images of the volunteer fire department - this is the small town, rural Midwest captured in a book. My son's favorite part of the book is the page with the line of cars following a combine. That's not surprising, given the number of combines we've noted in the fields lately. My daughter commented on the page with the one room school and wanted to know more about the outhouses, one with the sun/star and the other with the moon. We had to look up more about outhouses online after reading the book.
Even though my kids do not live on a farm, they live near farmers and farming communities. I want them to understand the country life because it is in their blood. Their grandparents and great-grandparents grew up on farms. We still visit my grandparents' farm and drive on many country roads to get there. It's a way of life worth understanding and we enjoyed reading about it and experiencing it through the pictures in this book, and learning our ABCs along the way.
Add a Comment
They say you should never judge a book by its cover. Maybe so, but kids do anyway and so do adults, especially when it comes to picture books! Three Hens and a Peacock is one of those books that has spectacular and very funny cover art. On the front? -- A dismayed but fabulous looking peacock with three hens sticking their heads through his fan. On the back? -- The posteriors (a.k.a bottoms) of all four characters. Hilarious!
Three Hens and a Peacock by Lester L. Laminack, illustrated by Henry Cole. Peachtree Publishers (March 2011); ISBN 9781561455645; 32 pages
Book Source: Review copy from publisher
The cover sets the tone perfectly for the book. A peacock arrives on the Tucker family's farm and the once quiet farm becomes a bustling, noisy place. The shrieking, strutting peacock catches the attention of those passing by. Many visitors stop to admire the peacock and purchase produce from the farmer's stand. With ruffled, jealous feathers, the hens complain, "that lazy peacock gets all the attention and we do all the work." Hoping to smooth things over, the farm's wise old hound suggests that the hens switch places with the peacock. The hens get all gussied up in bangles and beads while the peacock tries his hardest to lay an egg and fails miserably. Eventually, they all learn that taking another's place is harder than it looks, and they gain an appreciation for each other's unique talents.
Full of plenty of humor and a subtle lesson in character, Three Hens and a Peacock is a frolicsome farmyard tale. Cole's eye-catching watercolor, ink and colored pencil illustrations play a huge part in advancing the storyline. Even the endpapers serve a purpose. The peacock feathers in the front announce the upcoming arrival of the peacock, and the back endpapers foretell the next surprising events on the farm -- hmm...what kind of animal lays a very big egg?
There are plenty of ways to use the book as a teaching tool. Besides discussing the problems of trying to be someone you're not, I took the opportunity to also discuss with my kids why a peacock with a fancy feather train cannot lay an egg. I opened our DK Encyclopedia of Animals (seriously, every home library should contain at least one animal encyclopedia) and found the page about peacocks. It shows a nice picture of a peahen next to a peacock. We learned that peahens, the female birds, do not have colorful fans. Male birds sport the fancy feathers and use them to attract the females. Thus, the bird pictured in Laminack's book is a male, and male peacocks cannot lay eggs. :) We also learned that a peacock's train can reach up to 5 ft.-3 in. high! Wow, that's only a few inches shorter than Mommy!
Remember the "A Rock for Climbing" Wordless Wednesday post from January? The weather cooperated, and we spent all day Saturday at my grandparents' farm. The kids and I climbed up the large rock outcrop with my mom's help. We did not allow them to sit on top of the rock (too dangerous with a tot) but we made it far enough up that they could see the top of the rock. My son showed no fear. My daughter on the otherhand, liked the idea of climbing but did not appreciate the brambles along the path.
I couldn't resist taking a picture of the pasture. It's so incredibly picturesque.
Find more of this week's Wordless Wednesday (or Wordful) posts at 5 Minutes for Mom.
Things have been bustling here at the newly-founded Smart Cookie Studios, where our first app is almost ready to be revealed to the world! We’re going to launch our website and social media soon (Twitter, Facebook), and are prepping for pre-release so we can finally show you all the final art, music and interactivity we’ve been working so much on.
That being said, I want to know – WHO should we tell about our app?? Do you want news and updates about our new venture yourself? Do you have a great app reviewer we should know about? Know of someone in the industry we should follow on Twitter? Are a fan of another great app studio? Or blog? Or developer?
I’m looking for any and everyone under the sun, so send me Twitter handles! Facebooks! Websites! Emails! Smoke signals! I’ll love you forever…
I've fallen way behind...how sad. Well this week and the week before I was hell busy. Am pretty sure upcoming weeks aren't any better either. I had no idea how painful Art can be! I've had to draw ribcage, pelvis, umpteenth figures, value swatches,....................................Ouch!
Here's what I've done for this week's subject. It's been done so fast, maybe in 20 mins, that I can't remember how I did it exactly! Am sorry but I just wanted to be with you guys.
I miss you all sooooooooooo much :(
MaryamDisplay Comments Add a Comment
There are some 'little stowaways' in the back of this cab.
This illustration is from a story that I wrote. Yes, yet another project, but I like working that way--having several projects going at once. If one starts losing steam, I switch to another. Then when I get back to the first, it seems fresh again.
Pamela C. Ronald is a Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology at the University of California, Davis and the co-author with her husband Raoul Adamchak of Tomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming, Genetics, and the Future of Food which argues that a judicious blend of two important strands of agriculture–genetic engineering and organic farming–is key to helping feed the world’s growing population in an ecologically balanced manner. In the post below Ronald responds to an editorial by Paul Krugman.
“Most Americans take food for granted”, reports the New York Times in an editorial last week. I would add that we also take abundant water, vast expanses of wilderness and clean air for granted. The price of oil, global warming and skyrocketing food prices are changing the way we think about land. It is about time. Have we forgotten that land and its resources are precious? Have we forgotten how to be good stewards?
In an editorial this week in the NYT, Paul Krugman places part of the blame on biofuels: “We need to push back against biofuels that turns out to have been a terrible mistake.” But this conclusion is premature and overly simplistic.
Whether biofuels offer carbon savings depends on how they are produced. If we destroy rainforests and grasslands to plant food crop–based biofuels, then Kurgman is right. This is a bad idea. Such an approach would release 17 to 420 times more CO2 than the annual greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions that these biofuels would provide by displacing fossil fuels. (Fargione et al, science 2008).
In contrast, biofuels made from waste biomass or from biomass grown on degraded and abandoned agricultural lands planted with perennials (so called cellulosic biomass) incurs little or no carbon debt and can offer immediate and sustained GHG advantages. Research on cellulosic biofuels have only just begun and there are tremendous opportunities. For example, plant biologists are working towards developing new and more productive non-food crops that can be grown on marginal lands. If we triple the yield of biomass we can use 1/3 less land. If we use the most ecologically responsible farming practices available (e.g. organic farming) to produce this new crop biomass, we can reduce the environmental impacts.
Nathanael Greene in an interview with Ira Flatow on Science Friday today said we need new innovations and we need to use them smartly. That is what should be done.Add a Comment
We had a marvelous time on the family farm. (Thanks for all the nice comments on the farm story while I was gone, BTW!! Glad so many of you enjoyed it.) It was wonderful to see my parents, grandmother, aunt, brothers, their wives and my five nieces--if only for a quick visit. It was too quick, especially with Professor Brother and his family from Kansas, with whom we only overlapped for oneDisplay Comments Add a Comment
The kids are all about the rides... ...but Mom loves the animal barns! Let sleeping pigs lie, I always say. Had to post a picture of Chicklet with the baby chicks. We couldn't tear her away! Here we are watching a sheep being sheared. This was no demonstration--just a couple 4-H dads trying to get the job done, while the sheep baaaaed incessantly, blabbing a black tongue out each timeDisplay Comments Add a Comment
There’s a cosmic connection between farm animals and children. So, as long as there are farms, we’ll have ample inspiration for children’s books.
On this edition, Mark visits the Central Experimental Farm with Ottawa author and illustrator, Crystal Beshara, to talk about growing up on a hobby farm, personification of our animal friends and her new book, When I Visit the Farm.
Other farm selections featured on Just One More Book!!
In my first year of college at Cal State Los Angeles, some kitchen mishap made our dorm apartment reek. As we opened the windows to get rid of the stench, I sputtered something about the smell being worse than a skunk. One of my roommates, a born and bred Angeleno, gasped back that she wouldn’t know because she had never smelled a skunk. Even having been metropolitan-born myself, I could not believe such a thing. Never smelled a skunk? Ever? To what do you compare all bad smells (other than Long Beach)? And then it got more bizarre: she’d never seen a cow either. My mind still reels all these years later. This young woman had reached pre-med student adulthood but had never been to a petting zoo, for heaven’s sake? How is this possible? My kids have been very fortunate that they have always had a local working farm and pumpkin patch to visit where they experience the animals, from newborn to retired, up close and personal. The farm shut down as a public entity this year, but I have twenty years worth of petting, feeding, and hay riding pictures as proof that I at least tried to broaden their suburban horizons. Annie North Bedford’s The Jolly Barnyard shows an idyllic picture of farm animals brainstorming what contributions they can make to the farmer’s birthday celebration. Maybe there’s some rich Southern California doctor that would pay for them to take their show on the road to the inner city.
Robert Paarlberg, author of Food Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know, is a leading authority on food policy, and one of the most prominent scholars writing on agricultural issues today. He is B.F. Johnson Professor of Political Science at Wellesley College and Associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University. He was invited to testify in front of the House Committee on Agriculture on May 13th, and shared his thoughts with us here last week. Now, after presenting his testimony on obesity, Paarlberg reflects on the experience. You can read an excerpt from his book here.
Picking up the story, recall that I was invited to testify before the House Agriculture Committee on May 13, to share my views on new farm legislation for 2012. I was expecting a frosty reception, since I have expressed some disparaging views of farm subsidies, and also of the House and Senate agriculture committees, in my newest book. Yet the hearing took a surprising turn. The Committee wasn’t that interested in my views on farm subsidies (they have well established views of their own). Instead they wanted to talk about obesity.
In both my written testimony and in my oral statement I bravely repeated my view that farm bills were too wasteful of taxpayer money, thanks in part to the “logroll” tactics used by the House Agriculture committee. When I was asked by a senior member what I thought the chances were that this tactic could work again in 2012, I said “100 percent.” He said he “took it as a personal compliment” that I had noticed and remarked on the success of this strategy.
What got the committee’s attention, however, was my warning that drafting another business-as-usual farm bill in 2012 was going to be more difficult, because of a strengthening belief that the farm subsidies are contributing to our nation’s obesity crisis by making unhealthy foods too cheap. The committee knew, and I confirmed in my testimony, that this is in fact an unfounded charge. When the farm bill places restrictions on sugar imports to protect the income of American sugar growers it actually make all sweetened products – from candy to ice cream – artificially expensive rather than cheap. And when Congress enacts subsidies and mandates to divert 30 percent of our corn crop to the making of ethanol for auto fuel, it is making both corn and other animal feeds – and hence all meat products – artificially expensive as well. Nor is it true that corn-based sweeteners are more obesity-inducing than natural sugar. Nor is it true that the price of junk food has fallen in America while the price of healthy foods (fruits and vegetables) has remained high. All of these misconceptions about farm programs are explained in Chapter Eight of my Oxford book, my chapter on “The Politics of Obesity.”
Yet the House Agriculture Committee also knew, and I confirmed, that over the past several years a number of highly influential non-scholarly books such as Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma, plus variAdd a Comment