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In October, First Book teamed up with Operation Warm and the Chicago Housing Authority to bring new books and new coats to kids living in Chicago’s public housing. The event promised to bring together organizations like First Book and individuals who aim to improve the lives of children and give them the tools they need to create a bright future.
Enter Charlie Brown, retired NFL player and former president of Chicago’s NFL Alumni chapter. Already a great ally of First Book, Charlie hopes to build on the success of October’s event and find new and exciting ways to work with First Book in the future. We were able to have a conversation with Charlie about the Chicago event, his plans, and even one of his favorite books.
How did you get involved with First Book and Operation Warm?
Charlie: Well I met First Book about a year ago. When we originally met I was president of the NFL alumni Chicago and I was just looking around for people who were doing stuff for kids. I’m an old Boys and Girls Club-er and I run programs with and for kids, besides being an old NFL-er. But I have run programs for kids and I have always held this need to give back and to share because for all intents and purposes I feel like I owe.
Someone mentioned First Book to me so I called them up and I said “who are you guys, what do you do?” Just hearing how they did what they did, that’s how the relationship started.
That was part of my general inquiry and so one thing lead to another and they talked about how they had done this event in Chicago and they were going to do this event again this year. Ten or twenty thousand books going to kids who are also going to get new coats. New books and a new warm coat – not a used coat! A new warm coat that you can put your name in – like this coat belongs to Jamie, you know? That’s a big deal!
Gavin: To have that ownership, absolutely.
C: Yeah, the ownership and also it gives you a sense of, “the world cares about me so I can care back.” To see it in action and just to be involved with it was phenomenal.
I know that you were key in recruiting volunteers for that event in October, so tell me a little bit about that process and how it went.
C: Well, if you’re the president of an organization one thing you need to know is: what are the hot buttons for the members of my group? Guy A may volunteer for one thing and guy B for another. For example, I have a group of guys, we do a 5k in the spring and we do a relay so not one of us old guys has to do the whole thing. We have a great time, it lasts about five hours. But they are a group of guys who I know will come out and do that, so you start to know what kinds of things guys will do.
One of my guys, for example, Major Hazelton – he’s a former Bear but he’s an educator too – so it is not a hard pull to get him to come and do something if it involves kids and education, that’s his angle. And you kind of start to know this and you know where to put guys and sometimes you get a great match and sometimes you get not a great match based on time and emotion and that kind of stuff.
What role do you see the NFL alumni association — or some of the smaller chapters — playing with organizations like First Book or Operation Warm?
C: Well number one, I see us telling the story. I see us being either more or less visible based on the organization’s needs. For example, I did an introduction with the Bears and in part what the introduction says is: it’s no longer an organization to an organization, it’s somebody’s name to somebody’s name. It is a secondary step not a primary step to do that. I see us doing that kind of stuff. Public or private endorsements, our guys are willing to do those kinds of things. I think sometimes we have to look for and create opportunities.
I think I am a connector because I am willing to ask the question and say, “well, why not?” If we can do that and help tell the story, it makes it an even bigger story, particularly if that other organization’s byline is “caring for kids and caring for ourselves.” That’s what the NFL Alumni says and does.
Well, if keeping kids warm ain’t caring for kids, what is? Warm goes right up there with hot dogs and hamburgers. So that’s kind of where I am with all of this, it’s trying to figure out how to help make these connections.
Let me go back to the event in October, what were some of your favorite sights and sounds?
C: Well it was fun to see kids look at books and watch the expressions on their faces when they choose a book and say, “I’m interested in this, and I don’t know what this is but I am interested in it – I like the cover.” And for the kids to get five books and put them in their bags – there was this sense of satisfaction that you saw when it went from a “maybe to mine.”
That was awesome, because on a good day I am about a five-year-old – the ability to interact with kids and talk to them about what they were thinking and saying and doing and that kind of stuff is always fun for me. On a good day I think I’m about a five-year-old.
G: Oh, absolutely. You’ve got to keep your inner child!
C: Right, and that kind of stuff was fun. My most fun activities were interacting with kids and just seeing kids understand that this was their day and this day was for them. That all they had to do to qualify that day was to be a kid and be there. That was enough.
Why do you feel that education is so important for young people?
C: Education opens you to the world. Think of it this way: if you’ve never seen the Eifel Tower, but you read about it or you saw pictures of it, you could get a secondary sensation of what that was all about. You would know that that thing is real if you saw it and you understood how the lights came on at night and you could share the experience with someone who’s been there.
On the one hand it is a secondary sharing, but it can also increase aspirations, “you know, I would like to go see the Eifel Tower,” because I read about it. Reading about it is certainly better than not. Reading allows you to have a new adventure every day if you’re willing to sit down and pick up a book and read it.
So Charlie, what are some of your favorite books?
C: It is interesting to be a guy so in love with books. My favorite book that I go back to for a whole bunch of guidance and for different reasons is a very small book. It’s a book on life written by former college football coach Bear Bryant and the title of the book is Don’t Play for the Tie. This book is about 130 pages and I use it all the time. For example, I do some public speaking and when I am looking for stuff to share, whatever it is, I will go to this book and what I do is — and this is the strange part — I just open the book at random and 99% of the time I find exactly what I need. And in fact the book was a gift, as crazy as that sounds.
What are your hopes and dreams for the children who you’re able to impact? Either through First Book, Operation Warm, or any of the other organizations you’re involved with?
C: We have to make sure kids understand that it is safe to dream and that the difference between a goal and dream is a plan. That’s always my hope — that kids understand that their plan doesn’t have to be elaborate, it just has to be clear. And that you have to not be afraid to reach outside of yourself because there is somebody out there who is willing to help if you understand how to present yourself. Those are my dreams, and for them to understand that yeah, I kind of am my brother’s keeper.
If you serve kids in need, please visit the First Book Marketplace to register and browse our collection of diverse, award-winning books and educational resources. If you want to be like Charlie and help First Book make a difference, start a First Book campaign and raise funds to help bring equal access to education for your community, your school or any kid, anywhere.
Stranger Things, I credit you with this finally happening.
Let’s think about doing a Girl With the Silver Eyes film next! Thanks to Liz Burns for the link.
Now when I heard that Nieman Marcus was offering 36 Caldecott Award winning picture books for $10,000 . . . *checks notes* I’m sorry. I typed the wrong number there. I’ll begin again.
When I heard that Nieman Marcus was offering 36 Caldecott Award winning picture books for $100,000 (that’s better) I was a bit baffled. Perhaps these would be books that were all signed by their authors and illustrators? Well, they are first printings, or early editions, yes. But one can assume that you could purchase 36 such similar titles for far less money. This is part of Nieman Marcus’s “Fantasy Gifts” collection, and the idea is that they’ll donate $10,000 to their own charity if you buy this collection.
Now the collection of 36 has been curated by Johnnycake Books and E.M. Maurice Books. Here is the video that accompanies it. See if you see what I saw. Click on the image below:
Did you notice the books chosen to appear on this list? I am a librarian, so my take on curation is going to be different from that of a bookseller. That said, I have to wonder how many booksellers today would hand a child a stack of Caldecott books that included problematic titles like They Were Strong and Good. This is not to say that I think the book should be removed from library or bookstore shelves or anything like that. But if you’re looking for books that speak to kids today, then for the love of all that is good and holy switch that book out for something with some contemporary gravitas like Jerry Pinkney’s The Lion and the Mouse. My two cents. Thanks to Sharyn November for the link.
Oo! This is neat. Matthew Reinhart goes in-depth on pop-up books.
Interesting that he cites Transformers toys as being so influential on him. Sorry, Autobots. Thanks to 100 Scope Notes for the link.
This is neat. Kidlit TV created a livestream of the Bank Street Bookfest this year, and now the full series of events is available in full. Would that the Newbery/Caldecott/Wilder Award ceremonies were done in the same way. I dare to dream!
I know some of you out there harbor unkind thoughts about Amanda Palmer. That’s fine. But she apparently has an album out with her dad, Jack Palmer, who has a pleasant Leonard Cohenish quality to his voice, and one of their songs was turned into an animated video akin to the Brothers Quay. I just like the song:
And if you prefer, you could watch this one with the world’s GREATEST sleeping baby. Seriously. He wakes up ONCE in the course of this film (if you don’t count the end). I don’t think that’s a trick. Plus it was filmed with the cast of Welcome to Night Vale. So. Right there.
In terms of this latest Series of Unfortunate Events trailer, my thoughts are that they get two points for including Klaus’s glasses (thereby already improving upon the film) but one point is deducted for Violet’s hair ribbons, or lack thereof. Interesting that they made her SO much older. Not that I wanted a 12-year-old mock-married to Olaf. Ugh.
Zut! I wish I’d seen this next book trailer before Halloween! It would have tied in so beautifully. I tell you, it is hard to come up with an original trailer for picture books in this day and age. Perl knocks it out of the park.
As for our off-topic review of the day, this one’s a no-brainer. There really isn’t a connection to children’s books here, and I should probably save it for Christmas but . . . aw, I just can’t. For the Stranger Things fans out there:
You’re a bad man, Charlie Brown! Peter Robbins, the original voice of Charlie Brown in animated specials like A Charlie Brown Christmas and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, was arrested last Sunday on an outstanding felony warrant and held on $550,000 bail. The charges: four felony counts of making a threat to cause death or great bodily injury and a single felony count of stalking. More details in the San Diego Union-Tribune
On an upbeat note, Robbins seems like a fun guy when he’s not stalking people and sports a cool Peanuts tattoo on his arm:
The new trailer for The Peanuts Movie has arrived, and it’s a 2015 release that hasn’t gotten a lot of notice, but based on what we see below, this might be an animated year-end surprise (though I’m not sure “Baba O’Riley” was the best music choice here).
Commemorating the 65th anniversary of Charles M. Schulz‘ seminal creation, here’s the synopsis for the new outing for Charlie Brown, Snoopy and company:
Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus and the rest of the beloved “Peanuts” gang make their big-screen debut, like they’ve never been seen before, in state of the art 3D animation. Snoopy, the world’s most lovable beagle – and flying ace – embarks upon his greatest mission as he takes to the skies to pursue his arch-nemesis The Red Baron, while his best pal, Charlie Brown, begins his own epic quest. From the imagination of Charles M. Schulz and the creators of the ICE AGE films, THE PEANUTS MOVIE will prove that every underdog has his day.
The Peanuts Movie hits theaters on November 6, 2015.
A trailer has been unveiled for The Peanuts Movie. The video embedded above features scenes with Charles M. Schulz’s famed comic characters: Charlie Brown, Sally Brown, Snoopy, Woodstock, Linus van Pelt and Lucy van Pelt.
According to TIME.com, Craig Schulz (Charles’ son), Bryan Schulz (Charles’ grandson), and Cornelius Uliano collaborated on the script together. This animated film will hit theaters on November 6th. (via EntertainmentWeekly.com)
Hello everyone out there in the Land of Blog, it is I once again. The scariest Sith that will be trick or treating at your house this year, Darth Bill (just don't put any rocks into my trick or treat bag, man I hate when that happens)!!!!!!!!!!
From the classic Television Special "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown."
Well I have a special treat for all you guys out there who love comics and graphic novels. Josh Elder author of such great graphic novels as "Mail Order Ninja" and various comic books has given me this very exclusive interview. Josh was here this summer at ImaginOn for the highly successful "Kids Love Comics! Workshop for Aspiring Artists & Young Fans" and more recently here in Charlotte for the Library System's "Novello Festival" earlier this October.
Mr. Elder on the left with Michele Gorman from the "Kids Love Comics Event"
I don't believe, to my utter dismay, that I have not reviewed the totally awesome Mail Order Ninja Volume 1 on our blog (dooooooohhhhhhh!!!!!). So before the interview check this out:
Mail Order Ninja Volume 1 by Josh Elder and Erich Owen -Every bullies dream, Timmy McAllister, spends the majority of his days in school getting picked on and pushed around, until one fateful day he sees an advertisement for "The Great Ninja Warrior Gunshyo Giveaway." Figuring that he has nothing to lose, he enters this contest. A few weeks later a rather large box is delivered to his house containing a ninja named YoshidaJiro. At first Timmy's parents are not sure if he is ready to own a ninja, after all it is a big responsibility. But after begging and pleading, Timmy's parents relent. Things in Timmy's life are about to change in a big way thanks to his new personal ninja and friend, YoshidaJiro. This Graphic Novel has lots of laughs and high ninja adventure. Very, very cool indeed!!!!!!!!
My review ofMail Order Ninja Volume 2 can be found on this blog by clicking: Here.
Now without further commercial interruptions is the "Boys Rule, Boys Read" highly exclusive interview with the one, the only Josh Elder:
1)What was/or were the first book and/or books you read as a kid that made you think “wow?”
Pretty much all of 'em. Books and comics have been a part of my life as long as I can remember. I can't imagine my life without them. Here a few that totally changed my life, though:
The Oz books by L. Frank Baum
Hatchet by Gary Paulson
Anything by Mark Twain
Anything by Robert L. Heinlein
Any comic I could get my hands on. Especially GI Joe, Transformers, Spider-Man, Calvin & Hobbes and my number one hero of all time... Superman.
2) What gave you the idea for “Mail Order Ninja” and some of the very cool characters in the books?
I had purchased a number of old comics off of ebay and in these old comics were ads for outrageously fraudulent items like X-ray glasses and weight-lifting programs that promised to add 20 lbs of muscle in as many days. So I thought it would be awesome if you could order your very own ninja through the mail. My friend said "Dude, that's the best idea you've ever had." He was right, and that afternoon I developed pretty much the entire premise of "Mail Order Ninja."
3) Who do you consider some of your biggest influences as a comic/graphic novel creator?
My biggest influences -- especially on my work aimed at younger readers -- are theLooney Tunes and comic strips like Calvin & Hobbes. Those are works that are aimed at children yet are enjoyable for audiences of any age. And the older you get, the smarter and funnier they actually become. Aside from Bill Waterson and Chuck Jones, my biggest influences as a comic writer would have to be Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. They're constantly evolving, constantly taking risks and exploring new territory -- they're never content to stick with a formula or emulate a past success. Every story I write should be different and/or better than anything I've done before or else why do it?
4) Why do you think it's cool for boys to read?
Because reading is cool. It's the only way you get to really be a part of the story -- even playing a videogame you're just another character. When you read you're a part of the story in every way and the story can't get told without you.
5) Is it cool for boys to write/draw? Why? Of course it is! Writers and artists are the people who truly shape the world. Plus it's fun!
6) Who was your favorite comic book character when you were a boy? Do you have a favorite character now?
That one's easy: Superman. He's the first and greatest superhero of them all -- the wellspring from which all other superheroes came. I've been a fan of the character for literally longer than I can remember (I had a pair of Superman pajamas as a little boy that I wore to bed pretty much every night without fail) and today I have a Superman tattoo on my right bicep of which I'm quite proud.
I've actually gotten to write Superman stories for DC Comics over the past few years and that has been a real dream come true for me.
7) What is your favorite sport?
Football, no doubt. I played it in high school and it remains the only sport I really follow today. Anything can happen on any given play in any game -- it's what makes football so incredibly unpredictable and exciting. That and I'm a big fan of watching big dudes hit each other really hard.
8) What do you like to do for fun?
I like to read and I like to write (I certainly chose the right career then, didn't I?). I enjoy my football and am a big movie buff. In fact, every week or so I get a group of friends together for "Bad Movie Night" and we all watch really terrible movies with the goal being to have the best joke of the night at the movie's expense. I like to visit museums whenever I can and I also do a lot of biking here in Chicago during the summer months.
9) What is your favorite book you have written?
Probably "Mail Order Ninja." It's easily my best-written work and is the one that I still find funny each time I read it. Though I am working on a story called "Dear Superman" that is very near and dear to my heart that will most likely take the top spot if and when it's published.
10) Which do you like better--cheeseburgers or pizza? What do you like on them?
Why do I have to choose? I'll going to use a bit of lateral problem solving and just have a cheeseburger pizza instead!
Thank you very much Mr. Elder!!!!!! What a cool guy!!!!!! I hope the "Dear Superman" that he is working on comes out sometime soon. If you have not read The Mail Order Ninja Books, Volumes 1 and 2, do yourself a favor and check them out ASAP!!!!!!
Until next time - Up, Up and Away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Next Tuesday, Warner Home Video will release an all-new Peanuts special direct-to-video, Happiness Is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown. It was directed by my old friend Andy Beall (Up, Ratatouille) and animator Frank Molieri (The Simpsons Movie, SpongeBob SquarePants Movie). The film is based directly on Peanuts strips from the 1960s, and the whole production was put together with incredible loving care. I’ve seen it and I love it. It may be the best Peanuts animation since… oh, lets say 1971. Here’s a video, narrated by Beall, showing several scenes in pencil test just to give you a taste.
Black Friday’s move to midnight or earlier (may have been largely driven by Millennial shoppers, who, unlike their older peers, are quite comfortable shopping in the wee hours of the morning. With their in-store shopping out of the way,... Read the rest of this post
I really like these limited edition Peanuts Special posters by artist Tom Whelan. The Great Pumpkin piece (below) sold out a few months ago. Now the Christmas special (above) will go on sale Thursday in three editions:
450 Standard Edition ($75)
100 Variant Edition ($125)
50 Silver Bells Edition (on metal with Variant image imprinted) ($250)
It’s pretty mysterious how these are being distributed. eMoviePoster.com will release all 3 editions exclusively on Thursday (12/1) at a random morning hour. The next day, Friday (12/2) publisher Dark Hall Mansion will make them available in their online Store. For more information on Tom Whelan and his amazing poster art, check Whelan’s blog.
Deadline Hollywood broke the news this morning that 20th Century-Fox and Blue Sky Studios will produce a new feature length movie starring Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang. The film is targeted for release on November 25, 2015, a date that commemorates the 65th anniversary of the comic strip by Charles Schulz (which began Oct. 2nd 1950), and the 50th anniversary of the TV special A Charlie Brown Christmas (which first aired December 9th, 1965). It’ll also be 35 years since the last theatrical Peanuts animated feature, Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don’t Come Back!), from Paramount in 1980.
Steve Martino (Horton Hears A Who!, Ice Age: Continental Drift) will direct from a screenplay is by Craig Schulz and the writing team of Bryan Schulz & Cornelius Uliano. Craig Schulz and Bryan Schulz, who are Schulz’s son and grandson, will produce with Uliano.
Since Schulz death in 2000, I’ve been impressed how well the Schulz family has managed the Peanuts characters and brand. Unlike the Dr. Suess estate, the Schulz team has produced a wonderful direct-to-video film, a new comic book (from KaBoom) and merchandising that honors Charles Schulz and his legacy. Let us hope that this move into CG territory is handled with the same good taste.
I’ll be posting a Holiday Gift Guide next month, but one book leapt out of the pack and I want to give you the heads-up right now. I just received a copy of Charles Solomon’s The Art and Making of Peanuts Animation (Chronicle Books) and found it a wonderful surprise.
Not only a visual delight – original cels, backgrounds, storyboards, animation drawings, Schulz model sheets and scripts, behind the scenes photos, television station publicity materials – but Solomon’s text is goes deep into the making of these landmark specials (and theatrical features) with new information and interviews with noted participants, including Lee Mendelsohn, Phil Roman, the late Bill Melendez and Bill Littlejohn – and many others including the voice actors. The text is loaded with great inside information and I particularly appreciated how Solomon tied the influences of UPA and earlier animation to the Peanuts specials – and how these Charlie Brown specials have influenced important directors and creators of animation working today.
The bottom line: the book is great fun and highly informative. I never thought a book about Peanuts specials could be so enlightening and entertaining. Bravo, Mr. Solomon, the Schulz estate and the editor/designers at Chronicle for a job well done. You’ve done Mr. Schulz and Mr. Brown proud. The book goes on sale Nov. 14th.
In conjunction with the publication of this book, the Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa California is hosting an exhibition of rare animation art over this holiday season. Don’t miss an appearance and panel with Producer Lee Mendelsohn and author Charles Solomon on Saturday December 1st to discuss the films. Here’s the Museum’s Press release:
The Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center is highlighting the artifacts that made this possible with an exhibition featuring 16 original never-before-displayed Peanuts animation drawings and cels, including five cels rescued from Schulz’s 1966 studio fire.
The Art of Peanuts Animation: Production Cels from the Museum’s Collection runs now through Sunday, February 3, 2013. Timed to coincide with the November 7, 2012 launch of the new Chronicle book The Art and Making of Peanuts Animation by Charles Solomon, this exhibit includes rare original production cels from animated Peanuts classics: A Charlie Brown Christmas; It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown; and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. Visitors will also see cels from numerous other animated specials from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, and view selected full-length animated specials in the Museum’s theater.
Rare Cels Survive Fire at Schulz’s Studio
Several of the animation cels in the Museum’s collection survived a fire at Schulz’s Coffee Grounds Studio in 1966. These original cels from the animated television specials It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and A Charlie Brown Christmas were donated to the Museum by a childhood friend of Schulz’s son, Craig, who recovered the cels from the studio after the fire.
Saturday, December 1 at 1:00 pm
Join Lee Mendelson, executive producer of the classic Peanuts animated specials, and Charles Solomon, internationally respected animation historian and author of the new Chronicle book The Art and Making of Peanuts Animation, as they talk about the making of Peanuts animated specials.
ABOUT THE CHARLES M. SCHULZ MUSEUM AND RESEARCH CENTER
The Charles M.SchulzMuseum opened in August 2002 to fulfill its mission of preserving, displaying, and interpreting the art of Charles M. Schulz. The museum carries out this mission through changing exhibitions and programming that: build an understanding of cartoonists andcartoon art; illustrate the scope of Schulz’s multi-faceted career; communicate the stories, inspirations and influences of Charles Schulz; and celebrate the life of Charles Schulz and the Peanuts characters.
The Charles M. Schulz Museum is located 50 minutes north of San Francisco by car on Highway 101. The Museum is located at 2301 Hardies Lane, Santa Rosa, California, 95403.
Weekdays Monday thru Friday (except Tuesdays*) 11am – 5pm
Saturday & Sunday 10am – 5pm
*Open every day throughout the summer (Memorial Day through Labor Day)
Free – Museum Members, Children 3 and under
$5.00 – Children 4-18, college students with valid I.D. card, and Seniors 62+
$10.00 – Adults
Charles M. Schulz Museum & Research Center • 2301 Hardies Lane Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Here’s a trio of original cels in the book – and now on display at the Schulz Museum (click to enlarge):
There is something to be said for simplicity. Baseball is not what I would consider to be a simple game. No, the act of tossing a ball the size of an orange into a tiny imaginary square with any kind of power or accuracy sounds pretty complicated to yours truly. Call me crazy, but somehow I think that communicating the cultural landscape of an era of American history is just as tricky. Doing so in a simple, authentically powerful fashion is downright hard (and rare to boot). And how about trying to do that without, you know, using many words? In “Satchel Paige”, the author and illustrator have done just that. A graphic novel about America, segregation, baseball, and racism - all told with understatement through the life of Satchel Paige, a pitcher with a flair for the dramatic.
The story is told through the eyes of a nameless sharecropper from Tuckwilla, Alabama whose prowess on the diamond brings him into contact with the great flamethrower Paige. After besting Satchel at the plate, our narrator suffers an injury, forcing him to give up the game for good and head back to the farm.
Sharecropping with his family is difficult and exhausting work. Add to this that the land owners - Walker Jennings and his two sons - are dangerously unkind.
Fast forward 15 years. Satchel’s celebrity has exploded and his team is visiting Tuckwilla to play the local all-stars. It takes everything he has to attend the game with his son, but Paige’s performance breathes new life into our narrator and the citizens of Tuckwilla.
Simple words and illustrations guide the reader through the story. Additional information is provided at the back of the book to help inform readers on the history and terminology that is sprinkled throughout. A great biography and a quality selection to be sure.