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1. The Lerner Letters: Part 2 – Lerner and Loewe

This is the second of a three-part series from Dominic McHugh on the correspondence of Alan Jay Lerner. Read the previous letters to Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews. The next installment will appear on Tuesday, 23 December 2014.

Amongst the many famous people Lerner corresponded with, Frederick Loewe is naturally the most important in terms of musical collaborators. Yet sadly, correspondence between Lerner and Loewe is quite rare. I found only a few letters between them during the course of the research for the book, and was particularly disappointed by the lack of letters from their early years. They must have written many letters over the forty-odd years they knew each other, and it would have been particularly fascinating to have been able to chart every move of this legendary collaboration. (Incidentally, letters between Rodgers and Hammerstein are also quite rare; of course, composer-lyricist teams spend a lot of time together, and don’t always need to collaborate through the mail.)

Nevertheless, the letters that have survived are quite wonderful. For example, a letter from May 1956 – not long after their biggest hit, My Fair Lady, had opened – indicates the warmth of their relationship at this point, as well as their close interest in business matters:

There has been a lot of interest motion picture wise in the last couple of weeks and Irving has worked out a formula which he will, of course, go over with Ben, whereby whatever sum is paid for the picture rights will exclude GBS. He will get his on the gross later on. In other words, if the property sells for a million dollars, which is certainly the mini­mum, we will be able to divide it on the usual basis.

The songs are doing absolutely wonderfully. Vic Damone’s record in the last seven days has begun to crash through and you hear it all the time. Not only that, but “On The Street Where You Live” is get­ting wonderful plugging on radio and TV; in fact, all three of the songs are. Rosemary Clooney is making another record of “I Could Have Danced All Night” this week and the old record is being withdrawn. I have been keeping after Goddard [Lieberson] and Mitch and I’m going to try and get them to make another record of “Accustomed” with a male singer.

Did I tell you last time about the Actors Benefit? I don’t think so. Anyhow it was the goddamnedest night of all time. It made the opening night look like a Hadassah benefit. The laughter was enormous on every point; practically every song stopped the show and the ovation at the end was something I’ll never forget as long as I live. When Rex and Julie stepped out of the line for their final bow, the entire audience stood up like one person and shouted. There were over seven minutes of curtain calls. Comments at the end were something I’ve never heard before. It was an absolutely incredible experience and I can’t tell you how much I wish you’d been there. Rex told me later it was the most extraordinary night in his entire theatrical career. Incidentally, Rex gave the greatest performance I’ve ever seen him give and it was fascinating to see how the actors knew that his was the really great performance of the show. His ovation was tumultuous.

[…] The French play I told you about looks fascinating and Moss and I have also been kick­ing other things around from time to time. I am sure when you come home that it won’t take too long for us to decide on something. I want you to know, incidentally, that for the first time in my life, I am not bursting to go to work. The only reason I am doing what I am doing is just to keep my mind occupied in a vague way. However, I am sure this lethargy won’t last forever and the minute we’re together again, the old sparks will begin to fly.

Here, we see them discussing a possible film version of Fair Lady already (it didn’t appear for another eight years); some cover versions of a couple of the songs by popular singers Vic Damone and Rosemary Clooney, released to boost interest in the show; and a special Actors Benefit performance, at which Rex Harrison had evidently given an especially electric performance. Then, the final paragraph offers a vivid insight into the affectionate relationship between Lerner and Loewe at the time, with reference to “the old sparks flying.”

By the 1980s, however, the previous warmth had gone. Two letters regarding the revised stage version of the movie Gigi, which was being put on in London under Lerner’s supervision but without any input from Loewe, reveal high levels of tension between them:

There has been so much legal back and forthing about what songs can or cannot be used in “Gigi” that I thought, perhaps, I could cut through it all by giving you a history of the enterprise over here.

[…]The idea of bringing “Gigi” to London originated over a year and a half ago with Cameron Mackintosh, who, as you know, did “My Fair Lady” and did us proud. It was while Cam was planning it that John Dexter, who certainly in everybody’s opinion is one of the best directors in the world, became involved. What Dexter had in mind, and God knows I agreed with him and I am sure you would, too, was to capture the intimacy of the film— which, as we know, did not have the usual M-G-M production numbers, etcetera—but, at the same time, not be haunted by the film. It would be a true theatrical piece and not what Gerald Bordman, in his authoritative History of the Musical Theatre when writing about “Gigi,” said: “Lerner and Loewe’s enchanting film musical was lifted off the screen and set down uncomfortably on the legitimate stage. The translation from film script to play script was mere hack work.”

Rehearsals are to begin a week from today and last week was the first time we heard that you only wished songs from the film to be used. If your desire was conditioned by the success of Louis Jourdan’s production, let me assure you it was dreadful and only successful in places because of Louis combined with “Gigi.” When I read the script, I told Dave Grossberg to make certain it never appeared within 150 miles of New York. Even Cam, when he saw it, was appalled.

Also, the fact is at this point that management has rights that can­not be withdrawn. The Dramatists’ Guild Law and the law over here is that only one of the authors’ signatures is required. The reason for this is that if the other author (or authors) is unhappy, he can have his ver­sion done by someone else. Because I signed the contract with the full confidence that you would be as pleased about the production as I, the producers now have the right to the stage version.[…]

The rest of the letter offers more detail, but the situation was this: Loewe tried to wield his legal rights over Lerner, who was making changes to the score on his own in London, and Lerner replied by explaining that he had the legal right to do so in the UK. Twenty-five years after they had taken Broadway by storm in a series of musicals including Brigadoon, Paint Your Wagon, My Fair Lady, and Camelot, the golden partnership had been reduced to bitterness. Yet, as the letters from the 1950s reveal, at the height of their fame they had been intimately connected and deeply affectionate.

 Headline Image: Old Letters. CC0 via Pixabay

The post The Lerner Letters: Part 2 – Lerner and Loewe appeared first on OUPblog.

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2. The Lerner Letters: Part 1 – The Stars

This is the first of a three-part series from Dominic McHugh on the correspondence of Alan Jay Lerner. The next installment will appear on Tuesday, 16 December 2014.

One of the joys of editing the correspondence of Alan Jay Lerner has been discovering his letters to and from the major stars with whom he worked. As the lyricist, librettist, and screenwriter of Brigadoon, Paint Your Wagon, An American in Paris, My Fair Lady, Gigi, Camelot, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, and many more, he worked with the finest performers of his time. In this post, I’ll explore focus on his relationship with two of his stars: Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews.

Rex Harrison’s iconic performance as Henry Higgins was one of the keys to making My Fair Lady the most successful musical of the 1950s. He played the role for over a year in New York, opened the show in London, and went on to appear in the 1964 movie version (currently celebrating its 50th anniversary). But Fair Lady was Harrison’s first foray into musical theatre, and he found the process terrifying. The following letter was the first I found for my book, and it’s a wonderful insight into the writer-performer relationship. This excerpt shows how Lerner tried to lay Harrison’s fears about some of the initial songs they had written for him to rest:

[…] I was very interested in your comments about “Why Can’t The English,” and want you to know that I feel your reservations, as far as you are concerned, are completely justifiable. As I said in my cable, don’t let it tinge one hair with gray—we are rewriting it completely in a way that will be not only simpatico with you, but with the character of Higgins. I can do no other but agree with you when you are right, but I would fight you like a wounded tiger if I thought you were wrong.

Photo of Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison from My Fair Lady. Eliza Doolittle, the flower girl, meets Professor Henry Higgins.
Photo of Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison from My Fair Lady. Eliza Doolittle, the flower girl, meets Professor Henry Higgins. NYC Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

I might add, before closing the matter, that there are certain lyric liberties one can take when they are framed by certain kinds of melodies. There are “song songs” and “character songs.” A “character song,” which is basically free and is accompanied by an emotion or emotions, as is the case in “I’m An Ordinary Man,” must pretty much stay within the bounds of reason. In a “song song,” certain extravagances are not only permissible, but desirable. “Why Can’t The English,” written as it was, was definitely a “song song” and therefore contained a certain amount of satiric extravagance. The minute the same idea is written in a freer way, so that it almost seems like normal conversation set to music, those extravagances would seem definitely out of place. When one reads the lyric of a “song song” over and compares it to the character who is singing it, very often there will seem to be a discrepancy. For example, what business does a young Navy lieutenant have singing a poetic song like “Younger Than Springtime”?

The second paragraph is a particularly wonderful insight into the lyric writer’s mind, explaining how he viewed different kinds of songs. Another wonderful letter related to My Fair Lady shows how Lerner tried to persuade Julie Andrews – future star of the movies Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music – to arrive a little early for rehearsals. She had decided to spend New Year at home with her family in London because she knew she was about to start a long run away from them, but Lerner wanted her to come to New York early in order to rest and take part in publicity opportunities:

[…] I don’t know whether or not you have been aware of the explosive conversations that have been going on lately between Herman Levin and Lou Wilson. I might add that Herman has been doing the conversing and Lou the exploding. What it’s all been about is the matter of your being here on December 27th. I, of course, realize how much you would want to be with your family over New Year’s, but there are a few things involved that I beg you to consider. I am sure you know in advance that our desire to have you here on that date is no capricious whim on our part.

Both Rex and Stanley Holloway are arriving at that time. It is not at all uncommon for the stars of a play to make it their business to be in town a week before rehearsals for the express purpose of using that time for the good of themselves and the play. You are a star now, Julie, and I do think that as a well-meaning observer, as well as an active participant in these proceedings, it would be most impolitic to have them, who are two great and established artists, follow the usual pattern and you not do so. Even though we will not, of course, be working around the clock during that time, much can be accomplished in those few days. We can go over your new songs with you and get the keys set. If you feel it is necessary, you could freshen up your Cockney with Dixon. We could go over a couple of the scenes, which we would all like to hear, mainly for length, before the first reading on stage January 3rd. Besides that, there is that old devil Publicity, which, annoying as it is, is more annoying when it isn’t. It will also give you a chance to make yourself comfortable in your flat, and you will be rested and ready for the official first day of rehearsals January 3rd.

In spite of Lerner’s power of persuasion, Andrews chose to stay in England: as she explained more recently in her memoir Home, she found it a huge wrench to spend time away from her family, and her family life had been difficult. It’s well-known that she then struggled with early rehearsals for Fair Lady, which the director (Moss Hart) had to close down for a weekend while he spent time training for her the role of Eliza, line by line. But she quickly went on to be a star when the show opened in March 1956, and the rest is history.

These two excerpts show how the use of primary sources shed new light on the study of Broadway musicals. They provide a snapshot of the collaborations that are so important to the genre’s success. And in the case of Lerner, they show both his witty and charming personality and his incredible prose facility, something I feel is often overlooked.

In the next blog post, I’ll look at the letters from Lerner to Frederick Loewe, his most beloved composer collaborator, focusing on two letters from the 1950s and two from the 1980s.

Headline Image: Old Letters. CC0 via Pixabay 

The post The Lerner Letters: Part 1 – The Stars appeared first on OUPblog.

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3. ‘Simpsons’ Vet David Silverman is Developing CGI ‘Pink Panther’ Movie

Simpsons Movie director (and longtime Simpsons producer) David Silverman is developing a CGI/live-action Pink Panther film for MGM, reports Deadline. Unlike the other Pink Panther features, which focused on Inspector Clouseau, a role made famous by Peter Sellers, this film would focus on the Pink Panther character himself. The iconic pink cartoon cat made his debut in the title sequence of the 1963 Blake Edwards comedy The Pink Panther, and was later developed by the team of Friz Freleng, John Dunn and Hawley Pratt for a long-running series of theatrical shorts. Producers of this new film would include Walter Mirisch, who exec produced the original live-action Pink Panther features, and actress Julie Andrews, the widow of Panther film director Edwards. (CG Pink Panther by 3DSud)

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4. Julie Andrews Reads Her Poem ‘Missing’

In honor of National Poetry Month, we’ve dug up a video of actress Julie Andrews performing a recitation of her poem, “Missing.” Andrews has collaborated with her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, on several books including Dumpy the Dumptruck, Thanks to You: Wisdom from Mother and Child, and Very Fairy Princess.

The mother-daughter writing duo both served as narrators for the audiobook version of the Julie Andrews’ Collection of Poems, Songs, and Lullabies. They won the 2011 Grammy Award in the “Best Spoken Word Album for Children” category. What’s your favorite poem?

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5. The Very Fairy Princess: Graduation Girl, by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of The Very Fairy Princess: Graduation Girl, by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton, illustrated by Christine Davenier. Giveaway begins May 6, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends June 5, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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6. Celebrating Julie Andrews

This month marks the 50th anniversary of Disney’s beloved film Mary Poppins, starring the legendary Julie Andrews. Although Andrews was only twenty-nine at the time of the film’s release, she had already established herself as a formidable star with numerous credits to her name and performances opposite Richard Burton, Rex Harrison, and other leading actors of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Mary Poppins would earn Andrews an Academy Award for Best Actress and serve as a milestone in a career that continues today. Herewith are some of our favorite songs from Andrew’s illustrious career.

Mary-Poppins_Movie-Poster

“I Could Have Danced All Night”
Andrews belted out this song in the 1956 Broadway performance of My Fair Lady. Andrews proved her singing capabilities playing Eliza Doolittle opposite Rex Harrison as Professor Higgins, although she was replaced in the film version (with Audrey Hepburn acting and Marni Nixon dubbing).

“Camelot”
Andrews performed the play’s title track during its 1960 performance on Broadway. The actress played Queen Guenevere – a title she was apparently comfortable with, later playing Queen Renaldi in Disney’s Princess Diaries – opposite Richard Burton as King Arthur.

“Impossible; It’s Possible”
Starring in another royal role, Andrews played the title character in CBS’ 1957 production of Cinderella, written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein.

“Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”
People are still reciting this tongue twister performed by Andrews in Disney’s 1964 hit film Mary Poppins. In addition to earning her an Oscar, Andrews’ role as the angelic English Nanny cemented her name in silver screen history.

“My Favorite Things”
Hot on the heels of her success from Mary Poppins, Andrews starred as Maria von Trapp in The Sound of Music, expanding her international fame and branding herself as a singer to be reckoned with in Hollywood and on Broadway.

Headline image credit: Mary Poppins Movie Poster via Panhandle Post.

The post Celebrating Julie Andrews appeared first on OUPblog.

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7. Ypulse Essentials: Household Spending On Streaming, Halloween Highlights, National Princess Week

DVD sales continue to tank (while household spending on streaming video services, such as Netflix, and DVD rentals from Kiosks, such as Redbox, continues to rise. Much of this trend is driven by Millennials who are less concerned with owning media... Read the rest of this post

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8. What Should Our App Be?

Today’s post is actually a question – well, more of a favor.  We’re working with our wonderful publisher on developing an app for The Very Fairy Princess. We’ll start with a free one, then plan for other, more expanded versions down the line.  I’m researching picture book apps to get a sense of what the possibilities are… what works, what doesn’t, and always, how to invite the viewer/reader back to the book itself.

So here’s the favor: Please share your picture book app experience with me?

Which ones are the most successful, and why? (Not counting The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, which is in a class by itself.) What are the essential differences between the free apps and the paid ones? Most of all, any ideas as to how our app can be used to celebrate individuality – what Gerry, our Very Fairy Princess, refers to as ‘inner sparkle’?

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9. Announcing the Very Fairy Princess App!

I’m excited to announce that our new Very Fairy Princess app is now live!

The Very Sparkly Wand feature invites young princes and princesses to choose from three colors and sounds in order to create their own wand and add a little sparkle to anything with just a flick of the iPhone or iPad.  With the Sparkly Photo feature, they can add their choice of crown to a photo of themselves taken with the app itself or uploaded from a photo library. Photos can then be emailed, posted on Facebook, or Tweeted for friends and family to see.  Of course there’s also information about the books, and a gallery of images and captions taken from the illustrations.

This free app is the first step toward developing a full version that will include stories, games and other activities. Give it a try and let us know your feedback or ideas!

Click here to find out more: The Very Fairy Princess for iPhone

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10. When Julie Andrews Came to Tea

Earlier this week, Julie Andrews--yes, that Julie Andrews--paid a visit to the Amazon Books team (see photo below) and left everyone who met her giddy for the rest of the day.  I'm not even being overly dramatic, Andrews' really does have that effect on people--even just going from the car to the Books floor in our building, everyone recognizes her and she leaves people staring, whispering, and smiling in her wake.

Touring for her latest children's book, The Very Fairy Princess: Here Comes the Flower Girl, and on the heels of her first Princess Week festivities, Andrews found time to join us for a cup of tea and was as funny, interesting, and gracious as I suspected she would be.  We talked about Broadway shows and children's books, and Andrews' shared stories about playing a practical joke with her friend Carol Burnett and her recent appearance on Steven Colbert. 

I think it's safe to say that many small children listened to The Very Fairy Princess: Here Comes the Flower Girl at bedtime this week, and I defnitely heard a lot of humming (or flat out singing) from The Sound of Music around the office.  If Julie Andrews comes to your town for her next book tour, go see her, she's fabulous.

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11. Video Sunday: And the Reading Rainbow Mash-Ups Just Keep On Coming

There was no question in my mind which video to begin with today.  I cannot help but think that meeting Quentin Blake must be akin to meeting Roald Dahl.  The man is a living legend and this video is a true treasure.  Would that every illustrator were half so thorough when discussing the preservation, creation, and process that goes into their art.  A very big thank you to Jonathan Cape Graphic Novels for the link.

Mind you, Quentin had some stiff competition for the top video of the day.  He only narrowly beat out this Reading Rainbow remix.

I’ve been trying to identify all the books in the video but it is incredibly tough.  I can account for Carl Hiaasen’s Flush, Christopher Paul Curtis’s Elijah of Buxton, and what appears to be a Civil Rights book that I can never quite catch the title of.  Other spotted books are welcome.  Mention them!  And thanks to mom for the link.  Probably the only time you’ll ever see the New Orleans Bounce on this blog, I’d wager.

Benefit books come out occasionally but rarely do they incorporate Broadway stars.  Over the Moon: The Broadway Lullaby Project is benefiting breast cancer research.  You’ve got big name vocalists singing songs from big name composers with a book illustrated by big name artists (for the most part).  Here’s the roster:

” . . . the project’s book component also features a distinctive cover illustration by fabled cartoonist/playwright Jules Feiffer, along with a foreword written by stage and screen legend Julie Andrews and her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton. Among the award-winning illustrators lending their talents are Selina Alko, Lynne Avril, Paulette Bogan, Beowulf Boritt, Lauren Castillo, R. Gregory Christie, Seymour Chwast, Jane Dyer, Richard Egielski, Daniel Glucksman, Julia Gran, Ying-Hwa Hu, Genevieve LeRoy-Walton, Betsy Lewin, Anna Louizos, Victor Mays, Emily Arnold McCully, Wendell Minor, Barry Moser, Jon J Muth, Sean Qualls, Peter H. Reynolds, Marc Simont, Javaka Steptoe, Melissa Sweet, Cornelius Van Wright, Neil Waldman, Nancy Elizabeth Wallace, Tony Walton, Gary Zamchick, and Paul O. Zelinsky.”

I had no idea Jules Feiffer was a fable.  And here I was convinced he was a real person.  In any case, impressive list of names!  A couple I don’t know but most I do. And here, on a related note, is a glimpse at one of the songs.

Thanks to Rich Michelson for the info.

Speaking of Julie Andrews, I’m sure you’ve all seen Stephen Colbert’s interview with her in conjunction with his own picture book release of

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12. Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton: 'It Takes Two' Keynote


 Julie Andrews is one of the world's most beloved entertainers. She's Mary Poppins. She's Maria. She's the Queen of Genovia. She's also a tremendous writer whose books include MANDY and THE LAST OF THE REALLY GREAT WHANGDOODLES.

Along with her equally successful daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, she has created The Julie Andrews Collection, a series of books designed to nurture a child's sense of wonder.

Together, the mother-daughter team has written 27 books together, including THE VERY FAIRY PRINCESS series, which became a No. 1 New York Times bestseller.

They gave a warm and wonderful presentation to an entirely packed house (indeed, it's standing room only in the back). Here are some highlights.

On how Julie Andrews got started

Julie's first published work was a "happy accident" forty years ago. She was playing a game with her kids that required a forfeit if you lost. Her stepdaughter asked her to write a story.

"I began to develop a little idea I had, and I got so carried away with the story, it turned into my first middle-grade novel, called MANDY," Julie said.

Their first collaborative work
 
She and Emma first wrote together when Emma was just five.

As Emma explained it, her parents had just divorced and were living on opposite coasts. She and her mom wrote a book and brought it to her dad, who illustrated it and bound it. The book became a symbol of their permanent connection. Later, they revisited the story and worked it into a book called SIMEON'S GIFT, illustrated by Gennady Spirin.

On their writing process
 
Julie talked about the process of writing DUMPY THE DUMPTRUCK, the first picture book they wrote together. "The learning curve was very steep," she said.

Now, though, they're experienced enough that Emma teaches children's writing (including through the online Children's Book Hub).

As they collaborate, they have learned to lean into each other's strengths. And if someone feels really strongly about something, she's probably right.

"This requires mutual trust and respect," Emma said. And it's not just because they're mother and daughter. "A great deal of it we've learned through the collaborative process."

Julie and Emma work with an outline. "We feel that structure gives us greater freedom."

They also write every line together. Emma types ("very fast," Julie said). She sends the day's work to Julie for review. They used to think they had to be in the same room to work, but their schedules made that difficult. So now they use Skype or other chat software--very early in the morning, before Julie has had her hair and makeup on (but she does stop to spritz herself with perfume).

On the challenges of writing a series

Consistency is important.

"With Dumpy, I had the idea of always beginning with a fanfare of sorts, heralding what's to come very much the way an overture might," Julie said. They had to find fresh ways to do that every time.

They also had to keep characters and their abilities consistent. For example, is Dumpy magic or is it just a coincidence when his lights flicker at a crucial moment in the story? That's a question left up to the reader to decide, and they had to make sure what Dumpy did in book six was consistent with what he did in books one through five to sustain this interest.

They even keep the architecture of the house consistent across books.

"It can be harder to track that you might imagine," Emma said. (She used spreadsheets to track.) And it helps having two sets of eyes on things.

Even so, they do try to leave space for surprise. "We've ... learned the value of flexibility and keeping our options open," Julie said.

Reader satisfaction
They had much to say on this, but one excellent point was Julie's--that an ending has to be satisfying and surprising at the same time.

But there's good news!
"The better you know your characters, the more they start to inform your ideas," Emma said. So it gets easier as you go.

 

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13. SCBWI NY Conference Recap


The SCBWI NY conference was incredible. There just is no other word for it. The staff was very helpful and I was impressed at how smoothly everything ran. They provided delicious breakfast breads and coffee (!!!!) each morning and the cocktail party was stunning and so yummy. I ate way too much of that sweet potato dish.


Here's a picture of me with Kit Grindstaff and Ruth Setton at the social.

I took tedious notes throughout the conference and if you followed the Twitter hashtag #NY13SCBWI you'll find my brief comments along with many others.


Here's a picture of my MiG crit partners: Andrea Mack, Susan Laidlaw, Kate Fall and Carmella Van Vleet. So fun hanging out with them!

I found the conference inspiring, and within it, many gems of wisdom that I can use in my own writing.

Some brief thoughts thoughts of the weekend:

Meg Rosoff had some great things to say about writing for children and to not get discouraged when others ask: "When are you going to write a real book? Like for adults?" She also encourages writers to: "Be flexible"
 


 
For my breakout session, I went to Molly O'Neil- she's encourages writers to write with authenticity and heart.


 
Here's the line of books that Molly has edited.


Next I went to hear Francoise Bui because of her focus on characterization. Her three points were to build great characters you need voice, characterization and texture with in the story.

 
Shaun Tan, an illustrator, spoke about the importance to not fear failure. This helps us to be free to create and experiment. Knowing that you can throw out your work allows you to be uninhibited to create. I just loved that.


Margaret Peterson Haddix reminded us that we must write a book for the kid that doesn't like to read. If we can do that, then the kids who do like to read will love it, too.

Julie Andews spoke with her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton. I was amazed by Andrew's presence, which seemed to fill the entire room. The two of them talked about brainstorming and then plotting since they need to work with each other to get the job done. They use a web cam for most of their writing sessions.

Since they write multiple books in a series, they realized they needed to keep the books balanced between the inevitable and the element of surprise, which can be tricky.

Finally, Mo Williams raced to the podium and then around the room. He was great and I laughed so hard hearing him speak. Williams urged us to go deeper, write what we don't know and understand so that we can explore new emotions within ourselves. He also said to not be afraid to ask the tough questions.

Here's a link of great advice on Mo's 9 steps of writing.

Oh, and I loved this line Williams said, "Writing is like a sale at the Gap. Take off 20%!"

Such a great experience. I would highly recommend this conference!

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14. Illustrator Interview – Christine Davenier

Christine Davenier is an illustrator whom I have admired from afar for a while and only recently plucked up the courage to invite to our Illustrator Wednesdays. I was first wowed by her illustrations in the book, SAMANTHA ON A … Continue reading

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15. Children’s book by Julie Andrews Edwards and Emma Walton Hamilton will become a musical in 2009

Children’s book Simeon’s Gift , written by Julie Andrews Edwards and Emma Walton Hamilton (her daughter) is being transformed into a play. The book is about Simeon, a minstrel who wants to marry Sorrel, and is convinced that to do so he must create a song so beautiful that she will love him, and to create such a song he must hear new sounds to create his own music. So he sets out on a quest to free the music in his soul.

The story was originally written by Julie Andrews Edwards and her daughter Emma to help Emma as she had to travel back and forth between her divorced parents, and was illustrated by Emma’s father, Tony Walton.

The five-actor musical will premiere in 2009 at Bay Street Theater, Sag Harbor, NY with a recording narrated by Julie Andrews Edwards. You can read more about it here.

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16. "DO, RE, MI" at the Central Station in Antwerp

This video was made in the Antwerp, Belgium Central Train Station on March 23, 2009.
With no warning to the passengers passing through the station,
at 8:00 AM., a recording of Julie Andrews singing 'Do, Re, Mi'
begins to play on the public address system.
As the bemused passengers watch in amazement,
some 200 dancers begin to appear from the crowd and station entrances.
They created this amazing stunt with just two rehearsals! Turn up the volume & Enjoy!


1 Comments on "DO, RE, MI" at the Central Station in Antwerp, last added: 9/19/2009
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17. Books Are Great Gifts

Just in case you needed any more reasons to be convinced why books are great gifts, our friends at the Association of American Publishers have asked some of the most popular and prolific authors to share their reasons why books make great gifts. Enjoy the video below and check out the videos featuring even more authors on YouTube.

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18. Bookarazzi: More Celebrity Children’s Books!

Children's books written by celebrities are growing in abundance. The latest books to join this category are The Sandwich Swap by Queen Rania of Jordan Al Abdullah and The Very Fairy Princess by Julie Andrews.

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19. The Very Fairy Princess by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton

Add this book to your collection: The Very Fairy Princess by Julie Andrews ©2010 The Childrens Book Review. All Rights Reserved.. Share and Enjoy:

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20. What’s Hot in July, 2010? Author Events, Best Selling Kids’ Books, and More …

By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: July 1, 2010

Here’s the scoop on the most popular destinations on The Children’s Book Review site, the most coveted new releases, the bestsellers, and kids’ book events.

THE HOT SPOTS: THE TRENDS

2010 Children’s Choice Book Awards Nominees

Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer by John Grisham

2010 Children’s Choice Book Awards Winners

Book Giveaways

Summer Reading Suggestions: Random House Children’s Books

THE NEW RELEASES

The most coveted books that release this month:

by Maggie Stiefvater

(Young Adult)

How to Train Your Dragon Book 7: How to Ride a Dragon's Storm  (Heroic Misadventures of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III)How to Train Your Dragon Book 7:…

by Cressida Cowell

(Ages 8-12)

Pinkalicious: Tickled Pink Pinkalicious: Tickled Pink
by Victoria Kann

(Ages 4-8)

THE BEST SELLERS

The best selling children’s books this month:

PICTURE BOOKS

Ladybug GirlLadybug Girl at the Beach

by Jacky Davis, David Soman

(Ages 3-7)

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21. What’s Hot in August, 2010? Author Events, Best Selling Kids’ Books, and More …

By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: August 1, 2010

Here’s the scoop on the most popular destinations on The Children’s Book Review site, the most coveted new releases, the bestsellers, and kids’ book events.

THE HOT SPOTS: THE TRENDS

Sleepy Kittens: Despicable Me

2010 Children’s Choice Book Awards Nominees

20 Sites to Improve Your Child’s Literacy

Summer Reading Tips & What to Read When

Kids’ Summer Reading Lists: Early-Fluent to Fluent Readers / Ages 6-10

THE NEW RELEASES

The most coveted books that release this month:

Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games) Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games)

by Suzanne Collins

(Young Adult)

Artemis Fowl 7: The Atlantis Complex Artemis Fowl 7: The Atlantis Complex

by Eoin Colfer

(Ages 9-12)

The 39 Clues, Book 10: Into the Gauntlet The 39 Clues, Book 10: Into the Gauntlet

by Margaret Peterson Haddix

(Ages 9-12)

Fancy Nancy and the Delectable Cupcakes (I Can Read Book 1)Fancy Nancy and the Delectable Cupcakes

by Jane O’connor

(Ages 4-8)

Hunger Games Trilogy BoxsetHunger Games Trilogy Boxset

by Suzanne Collins

(Young Adult)

Sabotaged (Missing) Sabotaged (Missing)

by Margaret Peterson Haddix

(Ages 8-12)

Clementine, Friend of the WeekClementine, Friend of the Week

by Sara Pennypacker

(Ages 7-10)

THE BEST SELLERS Add a Comment

22. Jon Stewart & Julie Andrews Win Audiobook Grammy Awards

Last night, Jon Stewart & The Daily Show writers won the Best Spoken Word Album Grammy Award for Earth (The Book): A Visitor’s Guide to the Human Race. Julie Andrews and her daughter (Emma Walton Hamilton) won the Best Spoken Word Album for Children award for the poetry collection, Julie Andrews’ Collection Of Poems, Songs, And Lullabies.

In the video embedded above, Andrews reads a poem. Andrews also won the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. In her acceptance speech earlier this month, the actress talked about her work as a children’s author.

When Stewart read at a New York City Barnes & Noble, he explained the book’s premise: “This is the entirety of the human experience. How we got here, what we did while we were here, and obviously, how we’re leaving. We’ll tell you, it’s really quite funny.”

continued…

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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23. Hyperion Launches $2.99 eBook Sale

To celebrate twenty years of publishing, Hyperion Books is offering twenty backlist eBook titles for $2.99 from October 10th to October 24th.

The discounted eBooks come from a wide variety of genres such as memoir, thriller, cooking, academic and inspiration. The books include The World According to Mister Rogers by Fred Rogers, When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops? by George Carlin, Shopgirl by Steve Martin, Home by Julie Andrews and Lucky Man by Michael J. Fox.

Here’s more from the announcement: “Along with our eBook promotion, we’re asking our Twitter followers and Facebook fans to join in. We’ll be Tweeting, with the hashtag #Hyperion20, 1 question everyday for the next 2 weeks, the winner gets 1 free Hyperion/Voice book and everyone who plays gets entered into a pool to win a bundle of 5 Hyperion/Voice books in the genre of their choice! We’re asking our Facebook fans to post a picture of themselves with a Hyperion/Voice book and in return, we’re giving them 1 free Hyperion/Voice book.”

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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