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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Mary Azarian, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Giving Thanks with Author Pat Brisson + Book Giveaway

Dear Friends,

Please welcome my dear friend Pat Brisson, whose short post reminds us all to be thankful for the Food We Eat! Pat is always an inspiration for me. Just seeing her smiling face makes me want to be kinder and more mindful of others.

Pat has generously donated an autographed copy of her book, The Food We Eat: from farm to table for the comment contest. For a chance to win, simply leave a comment about giving thanks.

Author Pat Brisson shares about the writing of her picture book: Before We Eat: from farm to table

I have long felt that Thanksgiving was the most spiritual of all American holidays because it’s not cluttered up with stuff but is all about getting together with family to share a meal. And give thanks for all our blessings. And although Before We Eat: from farm to table is not specifically about Thanksgiving, it’s an appropriate book to talk about in the Thanksgiving season because it’s about being mindful, when we sit down to share a meal with family, that a lot of people worked very hard to help us get food to our tables.

I grew up with the tradition of saying grace before meals and this book started out as a grace with the words Bless the one who did this and Bless the one who did that. My editor at Tilbury House, Audrey Maynard, asked if I would consider changing Bless to Thank. She thought it would give the book broader appeal. So I did, and it became a sort of secular grace – a moment of thankful awareness of, not only the workers in the fields, but also the ones packing the crates and checking weights and driving the produce to the stores and all the clerks who sell the food to us.

When Audrey said they were thinking of an illustrator who did woodblock prints to do the illustration. I said, “Oh, like Mary Azarian?” “That’s who we’ve sent it to," she told me. I was stunned. I LOVED Mary Azarian’s art and – be still my heart – she agreed to do it! Came out of retirement to do it! I was thrilled. Mary’s striking art takes my words to another level. Her prints are both strong and tender and offer so much for the youngest readers to explore on the page. If I never do another book (a strong possibility in this current difficult market) I will feel like I’m going out on a high note.

(Milk doesn't just appear in your refrigerator, nor do apples grow in the bowl on the kitchen counter.)

“A simple poem thanking the people who grow, transport, sell and prepare our food is transformed by Azarian’s bright woodcuts... A warm celebration of both small farms and the idea that it takes a village to feed a child. (Picture book. 2-6)” (Kirkus)

Illustration from Before We Eat
 “The  book is a thoughtful examination of where food comes from― that is before is gets to the grocery store.  …Pages show people engaged in every manner of food production: plowing, planting, harvesting, milking, egg gathering, packing and weighing crates, driving delivery trucks and cashiering at the grocery store.  It is a wonderfully inclusive and honest way to view food acquisition.” (Jennifer Prince - Children’s Book Review, Citizen-Times, Ashville NC)

Pat Brisson is the author of 20 books for young readers, including The Summer My Father Was Ten and Sometimes We Were Brave (both from Boyds Mills Press). A graduate of Rutgers University, she is a former elementary school teacher, school librarian, and public-library reference librarian. Pat lives in New Jersey with her husband. 

Artist Mary Azarian is the Caldecott-Medal winning illustrator of Snowflake Bentley, written by Jacqueline Briggs Martin (1999, Houghton Mifflin). She created the pictures for Before We Eat by first carving the pictures in wood (in reverse!) and then printing them with ink onto paper before adding the color with watercolor paints. She lives and creates her art on a hilltop farm in Vermont.

Author Pat Brisson and Artist Mary Azarian
To learn more about Pat and her books, check out her website: www.patbrisson.com  
To learn more about the  publisher of Before We Eat, click on the link: tilburyhouse.com

Thank you, dear Pat, for this thoughtful reminder to give thanks. Thank you, dear reader for leaving a comment about what you are thankful for. The winner will be announced on November 29. ~Clara

0 Comments on Giving Thanks with Author Pat Brisson + Book Giveaway as of 1/1/1900
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2. Snow Festival Day 5: Snowflake Bentley

snow booklist

There once was a boy who loved snow more than anything else in the whole wide world. Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, celebrates Wilson Bentley’s lifelong love and passion of snow and the snowflake specifically.

Wilson Bentley had been fascinated by snow for as long as he could remember. Snow in Vermont is as common as dirt.


Supporting their son’s enthusiasm for snow, they saved up money and bought him a camera and microscope. To this day, the thousands of photos that Wilson Bentley took are still used in snow and crystals research studies.

Along with telling the biography of Wilson Bentley, author Jacqueline Briggs Martin has nice “how he did it” information boxes in the sidebars.

bentley camera

I have to mention the woodcut illustrations of Mary Azarian. I have long been a fan of her art. The wood-cuttings in Snowflake Bentley bring depth to the text and an invitation to the reader to come and know a little bit more about Wilson Bentley. Her art in Snowflake Bentley was awarded the Caldecott medal and right so. This book has sat as a favorite on the “snow book” shelf since it first came out in 1998. It’s a classic and greatly loved here. Grab your copy of Snowflake Bentley HERE.

**some of these links are affiliate links.

Something To Do

Are you ready to dive into the world of Snowflake Bentley? Let’s start with a visit to Wilson Bentley himself.

How To Take A Photo of a Snowflake

Wilson Bentley wrote about his process and shared his “how-to” in this article.

Creating our Own Snowflake Exhibit

snowflake 4

Inspired by Wilson Bentley’s snowflake photos and slides, we decided to create our own snowflake exhibit on our windows. This is a fun arts and craft activity that gives the same feeling as Bentley’s snow slides.

What you’ll need:

  • Waxed Paper
  • Puffy Paint in a variety of colors
  • Photos of Wilson Bentley’s snowflake photos found on his website listed above.

Tear off a piece of waxed paper as large as your individual window pane. Choosing one color of paint , draw a snowflake design to your liking.

snowflake 2

Taking another paint color, create another snowflake on the waxed paper. Keep doing this until your piece of waxed paper is filled with beautiful colored snowflakes.

snowflake 1

Let it dry thoroughly.

When dry, take the entire sheet of waxed paper. Turning the snowflake painted side to the glass, just gently press it onto the glass. It will stick there and give a nice frosty, snowflake glow.


snowflake 3


Snow Crystals is a very comprehensive website with all kinds of information on snowflakes for all ages. It includes a snowflake primer, collections of photographs, in-depth scientific information and answers to questions such as “Is it really true no two snowflakes are alike?”

Here’s a really great short video on Wilson Bentley. I find it really well done and engaging.

DON’T FORGET! There’s only a few days left of the Audrey Press Holiday Book Sale! (ends 12/31/14)

Year in the Secret Garden


A Year in the Secret Garden (inspired by the classic children’s book Secret Garden) is on a wonderful sale until December 31st. Books always make an excellent gift for anyone in your life and it’s not too late to get your copy of A Year in the Secret Garden book for the special holiday price of $15.00 (ends December 31st) if you use the secret code word Secret garden at checkout.

This guide uses over two hundred full color illustrations and photos to bring the magical story to life, with fascinating historical information, monthly gardening activities, easy-to-make recipes, and step-by-step crafts, designed to enchant readers of all ages. There’s also a link to a free download website for all of the wonderful paper toys that Marilyn Scott-Waters has created. Each month your family will unlock the mysteries of a Secret Garden character, as well as have fun together creating the original crafts and activities based on the book. This book also includes month-by-month activities as well INCLUDING fun book-related fun for the colder months of the year!

Get your copy here.

**some of these links are affiliate links

The post Snow Festival Day 5: Snowflake Bentley appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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3. Woodcut Artist Mary Azarian

To start off our week of woodcuts, I am showing the work of Vermont artist Mary Azarian, who has over 50 children's picture books to her credit, amongst other work. Azarian's work is beautiful and highly detailed, she is clearly a master at her craft. Azarian says that inspiration comes from her farm and gardens.

A Farmer's Alphabet

From The Four Seasons of Mary Azarian, image via Black and White

Mary Azarian was born in 1940 and grew up on her grandfather's farm just outside Washington D.C. Her interest in gardening developed at an early age and continues to this day. She went to Smith College and studied printmaking with Leonard Baskin, one of the great 20th century printmakers. It was then she began to work on wood and says her interest in the medium has never wavered.

A Gardener's Alphabet

2 Comments on Woodcut Artist Mary Azarian, last added: 1/28/2012
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4. Good Book Cover Design

First impressions do count. A good book cover design can make you pick up a book to explore it contents. To me, a book cover should capture some of the essence of the book and give you a taste of what's inside. Ever been lured by a great book cover only to find the inside of the book is disappointing? Not good.

Here are ten book covers that I think are very nice. Please let me know if you like this posting about book covers, I'm thinking about making it a weekly thing.

Cover Design by Antonio Frasconi
Time Inc., 1963

2 Comments on Good Book Cover Design, last added: 1/24/2011
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