I’ve mentioned Picture Book Month previously here at 7-Imp, but here’s a quick note this morning to say that I’ll be a part of it this year, its third annual celebration.
Picture Book Month is an international literacy initiative that celebrates the print picture book during the month of November, encouraging everyone to read and share picture books. Founder, Dianne de Las Casas, and Co-Founders, Katie Davis, Elizabeth O. Dulemba, Tara Lazar, and Wendy Martin, collaborated on this initiative, pulling together their world-wide connections to launch this celebration.
The Picture Book Month website features what they call a “picture book champion” for every day of November 2013. These folks—authors, illustrators, and many more—will weigh in on why they think picture books are important, and I’ll be one of those folks in early November. The site also includes a themed calendar, picture book links and resources, links to picture book publishers, links to picture book authors/illustrators, links to picture book blogs/review sites, picture book activities, and much more.
I’m all for celebrating picture books.
I’ll be back Thursday with lots of picture book art. Until then …
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Picture Book Month logo creator: Joyce Wan. Image used with permission.
Honest to Pete, every single year, when September thinks about rolling around, I very nearly forget that August marks the birthday of this blog, started back in 2006 with my best friend, Eisha, though I’ve been blogging solo for years now. And it’s happened once again this year, but I’ve caught it in time. And on its SEVENTH birthday! And since seven is kind of a special number around here, I thought I’d mark it with seven candles.
I still love blogging. I really love art. And I am kinda crazy about picture books. As always, I thank 7-Imp readers, as well as all the authors and illustrators who visit here to talk about their work and techniques and illustrations and thoughts — and who share lots and lots of art here.
Also, it’s only taken me nearly a year, but finally up in one of the headers of this blog is the Mad Tea Party image created specifically for 7-Imp by artist Susan Sorrell Hill. It’s here. Doesn’t it look lovely? Thanks again to Susan for that special gift.
The blog needs updating (for one, I’d love the header to say “a blog about picture books”); some pages need re-organization; and, quite possibly, 7-Imp even needs a new look. But in this day and age of busy social media (more people leave comments anymore at posts about blog posts at social media sites than they do at the actual blogs themselves), I figure it might be a small miracle that 7-Imp is even still around. And, I hope, still relevant. I’m grateful that I still have the opportunity to blog-as-a-hobby about picture books and illustration, which I love. And I’m grateful for the friends and opportunities this blog has brought to my life.
(Click to enlarge — Hey, I never thought I’d type that about something with my own name on it)
Because some of you who weren’t at this past weekend’s ALA conference have asked me: This is the postcard (cover anyway) that Candlewick made for distributing at this past weekend’s conference. This will not be the book’s final cover, but it’s the general idea. One of my ALA roomies—the one and only Allie Bruce, Children’s Librarian at Bank Street College Library—read the beginning portion of our manuscript (since Betsy and I were actually in the same physical space and needed to wrap up some work on it) and didn’t scream in agony. She claims to have enjoyed it, in fact. Whew.
I wish Peter D. Sieruta were here to see this cover, but the ALA event we had to honor and remember him (the primary reason I attended ALA this year) went well, and his brother, John Sieruta, gave him such a lovely tribute. Big thanks to Stephen Barbara for organizing, hosting, sponsoring the entire event.
What:Celebrate the Life of One of Children’s Literature’s Luminaries: A Peter Sieruta Event When: Friday, June 28th, 4:30 p.m. Where: The Lake Erie Room at the Hilton Chicago
How did you best know Peter Sieruta? Was it through his remarkable blog, Collecting Children’s Books (a go-to site for wit and historical tidbits)? Was it from his countless Horn Book articles or his work on the Horn Book Guide? Maybe you met Peter in a bookstore or you were a close personal friend.
Whatever the case, come, mix, and mingle with other friends and fans of the often urbane, always scintillating fellow. This event will be held as a celebration of Peter and his book (co-written with myself and Betsy Bird), Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature, slated to hit bookstore shelves in spring 2014.
Please RSVP to Fusenumber8 [at] gmail.com if you would like to attend this gathering.
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Note: The above photo is an older one of Peter and is used with permission of John Sieruta.
We considered calling this page “100 Notes on Why 7 8 9,” but it sounded too much like a math page. And when Philip Nel suggested “The Niblings,” we all fell hard for it.
This Facebook page (at www.facebook.com/TheNiblings) will be our space for sharing in one spot links from our blogs and other writings, as well as for sharing other interesting links related to the field of children’s literature. For my part, instead of posting children’s-lit links at my own personal Facebook page, I’ll now share them at this new page, a sort of one-stop resource center for information on children’s literature. Read the rest of this entry �
Usually, I feature artwork from an illustrator, but today I’m shining the spotlight on International Book Giving Day, which has its own Web presence here and which will be February 14. I like the official poster, featured above, which has artwork from Priya Kuriyan.
Here’s the low-down on the big day, straight from their Web site:
“International Book Giving Day is a volunteer initiative aimed at increasing children’s access to and enthusiasm for books. International Book Giving Day’s focus is on encouraging people worldwide to give a book to a child on February 14th. We invite individuals to 1) give a book to a friend or family member, 2) leave a book in a waiting room for children to read, or 3) donate a gently used book to a local library, hospital or shelter or to an organization that distributes used books to children in need internationally. In addition, we encourage people to support the work of nonprofit organizations (i.e. charities) that work year round to give books to children.”
I think that’s just about the perfect way to spend Valentine’s Day.
Dear Imps, feel free, if you’re so inclined, to spread the word about this initiative. If you or other people you know even want ideas on how to contribute further, there are some great ideas listed here. (You can even purchase bookplates at the International Book Giving Day Zazzle page.)
I did have planned for today illustrations from a children’s book and seven of my own separate kicks, as is the tradition here on Sundays at 7-Imp, but I still feel very hushed over the tragic news on Friday. Read the rest of this entry �
A couple of quick 7-Imp notes here, while I drink my coffee, which I keep meaning to share (the notes, that is, though I’m always happy to share my coffee, too … come on over) …
First up, regarding the video above: I admit that here in 7-Imp Land, I tend to fly by the seat of my pants. I never really have a schedule for what I’m going to post when, but I can say that it will be very likely that my first “breakfast” interview of 2013 will be with author/illustrator Stephen Savage. That’s ’cause he’s still busy trying to find Walrus and couldn’t quite meet with me for breakfast this month.
Nah? My excuse not working? Okay, really what happened is that we had started planning—good heavens, this was such a while ago that I can’t even remember how long—a video interview. Oh, we were gonna do such fun things with this video interview, I tell you! But … well, the above video (just us planning things out) is effectively as far as we got. (Look how psychedelic the thumbnail image is. Aren’t you intrigued? Those special effects, needless to say, were all Stephen’s doing.)
Now, let me tell you … this Stephen Savage … he missed a calling in film direction, but let’s just say I’m not exactly a video ninja, so we happily decided to do a straight-up, traditional written breakfast interview instead. (Stephen had infinite patience with my video-bumbly self.) We’re going to do it in early 2013, since his new illustrated title with Lauren Thompson will be out then. So, I look forward to that in January: He will tell us more about the new book, as well as about Little Tug (pictured above), which was released in October and which I hope you’ve seen.
Secondly, a note for fellow picture book junkies: In the November 2012 issue of Book Links, there is a wonderful interview with author and illustrator Steven Kellogg by teacher and reviewer (and Nashvillian!) Dean Schneider. (Dean has written and done many good things in this field—do you have all day for me to list them?—but this, written with Robin Smith, makes me cheer every time I see it.) Here’s an excerpt, Steven’s thoughts on picture books:
“The picture book is the art form designed specifically for kids, and it has everything to do with shaping their aesthetic judgment; introducing them to the whole world of art; encouraging them to sharpen their visual literacy. …”
…to which I say, amen. Here is a link to the full article. As you can see, a subscription is required to read it, but I bring it to readers’ attention here, should your local library have access — and because it really is a great interview.
Okay, well, this is a post. Clearly. I suppose that should say: “Why I Don’t Have Art Today.”
I spent this past weekend, for one, wrapping up manuscript revisions with my co-author Betsy Bird, but another reason I don’t have a typical post up today is that last night I had the pleasure of hearing author Mem Fox speak at the Nashville Public Library. I figured blogging could wait. She was a wonderful speaker. I was lucky enough to hear her speak to a larger crowd about her life and her writing career, but first to a smaller crowd of educators about literacy. In that first presentation, she talked about children listening to picture books for pleasure and about stories vs. “texts.”
Picture books, she advised, aren’t “texts” from which to pull a long list of questions before even opening the book to read to children. She had pulled an example lesson plan from online and read it to us. It was pretty horrifying — a long set of (what she kept calling “asinine” — and they were!) questions to ask children before launching into a picture book. These “kill” the story, she said, adding that of course conversations will happen after a story, but that generally “great books will do their own teaching, if we trust children to learn,” she said.
Amen and hallelujah.
I can only imagine what she thinks of reading programs like Accelerated Reader. (I’m not a fan.)
She even noted that she doesn’t have discipline problems during story times, if she follows her own advice. If it’s a good book, “the power of the story is the angel on my shoulder” with regard to students listening and paying attention.
She also spoke of reading to children with “zest and vitality,” which she did several times (with her own picture books) throughout the evening. Read the rest of this entry �