Tag Archives: Author

Energy Enthusiasm Excitement

2 Dec

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Energy. Enthusiasm. Excitement. These three words perfectly describe Sherri Duskey Rinker, author of the Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site series and several other books for young people.

Sherri must have been exhausted, she had already had two school visits that day. Yet here she came, eager to meet more fans.

Hosted by The Blue Manatee Bookstore she was here to talk to her audience… a loud rambunctious crowd to say the least. And talk she did. To them. On their level. Matching their energy, enthusiasm, and excitement note for note.

 

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Sherri asked them questions, responded to their questions (and sometimes off-topic comments), and told them stories about herself. And of course she read her newest book, Construction Site on Christmas Night.

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Every eye was focused on the book. Every ear was tuned into the story.  She totally had these kids… mind, body, and spirit. I was in awe of her.

On the way to dinner, I asked my granddaughters what they liked the best. The six year old liked Sherri’s story about her sons. She even compared them to herself and her sister, saying that she goes right to sleep after her stories but that her sister does not. And she liked that the author wrote all their names in the book. The three year old said she wanted chicken nuggets and fries, but not the orange fries her mommy gave her the other day… those were yucky. Yep, even my own prodigy can be off-topic at times!

Thanks for coming to Cincinnati, Sherri! So glad I got to meet you in real life! me and sherry

 

Off topic post script: Orange fries are NOT yucky. Mommy is right, they’re better for you than regular french fries.

 

 

A Moment in Time

12 Apr

35631584Today’s moment was when David Wiesner, three time Caldecott Award winner, spoke to a group of fans. He shared his perspective on writing and illustrating. And, he took us through the process of writing his newest picture book, I GOT IT!  Like many stories, I GOT IT! focuses on one moment in time which is stretched out across 32 pages. Pulled from his boyhood memories of playing baseball in the neighbor’s back yard, David illustrated the actual and imagined circumstances surrounding the moment when the smallest outfielder is confronted with a fly ball.

138069Of course I picked up my own copy of I GOT IT! as well as a new copy of THE THREE PIGS. Along with most of my picture books, this one was left to a new teacher when I retired. But how many times do I have the opportunity to own a signed Caldecott Award winning picture book? Answer: Four to date.

 

(Another thing I learned is that a Caldecott Award winning autograph does not have to be legible, It’s a good thing the artwork is so fierce.)

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Among the many fans in attendance were three legendary Cincinnati illustrators, who agreed to stand for a photo. From left to right: Loren Long, David Wiesner, Will Hillenbrand, and C.F. Payne.

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Thanks to Joseph-Beth Booksellers for bringing another amazing author and illustrator to Cincinnati.  Look up some of David’s other picture books in your local bookstore.

 

 

Oh yeah, and that moment when I got my picture taken with David Wiesner!IMG_1261

 

Bridging the Generations

14 Nov

When writing for children, especially picture books, we need to remember the adult as well. We’ve often heard, it’s the adults who are the gatekeepers to children’s literature. Will they read this book repeatedly? Will they purchase this book? Today I want to add one more, Will they find themselves in this book? Today I did just that.

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Little Tree is a book about holding on and letting go. It’s a book about facing an unknown future. It’s a book about growing up.

It’s written for children. It’s written for adults. I’ll bet, it’s written for you.

For a summary of the story and suggested activities for Little Tree look HERE.

I met Loren Long, author and illustrator of Little Tree this morning. He was kind and giving with his audience. He shared his story of a little tree with us. It’s a story of watching his firstborn embark on his school career. Not once, but twice. He retold how frightening those experiences were for him as a parent watching his son go off to kindergarten… and then to college. And, we got to meet his son the college student and inspiration for the story, and see what a wonderful relationship they have and watch them work together on a piece of art for the bookstore.

 

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Here’s a picture of Loren sharing my favorite page:

“As his last leaf floated to the ground, for the first time Little Tree felt the harsh cold of winter.”

The artwork is stunning. And the text reminds me that when you finally let go of something that’s been holding you back, it can be cold and scary. But in the end, you know you that in order to grow… you must first let go.

Think back to the times it was hard for your little ones to let go… let go of their binky, let go of diapers, let go of their afternoon naps, let go of your hand in the school parking lot. It was a cold and scary time for them. You were there to dry their tears, give them comfort, help them through it.

And think of the times it was hard for you to let go and watch them grow. I think about the times when they fell and scraped their knees, when they boarded their first school bus, when they wanted to be dropped off at the mall without me, when they got their hearts broken for the first time, when they moved out of town. It really did feel like a harsh cold winter. I thought my heart was dying. But each time they came back to me taller and stronger… more of who they were and less of who I was. And it felt good.

See, what I mean about writing across generations? Loren Long has done that beautifully. I hope you pick up a copy for yourselves and feel the splendor of letting go as a wonderful thing.

 

 

 

Friends

19 Nov

Eric Carle has long been a favorite in our house.  My children cut their teeth on his books.  My 3 year old granddaughter can ‘read’ Brown Bear, Bear all by herself.  Of course, she will only do this while sitting in your lap (smart girl).  My 15 month old granddaughter was dressed in a Very Hungry Caterpillar knit baby outfit for her first Halloween. And today, I picked up a copy of his newest book Friends for my son who just got engaged.

51r4PVqDyOL._AA160_The artwork is amazing! Naturally.  It’s a beautiful story of a young boy who’s best friend moves away.  He is so lonely that he decided to go find her.  He swims through oceans, climbs mountains, travels through forests, and finally goes through a flower garden where he gathers a bouquet and finds his friend.  “I knew you would come,” she said.  And they got married.

On the last pages, Eric Carle shows the reader a photograph taken of him with a little neighbor girl when he was only three years old.  That photo is the basis for the cover art.  When he was six years old, he and his parents moved back to Germany and he never saw his friend again.  But years later, he married his wife Barbara who was one of the primary inspirations for this book.

Awww, I’m a sucker for a good love story.  I guess that’s why I immediately thought to buy this book, not for one of my granddaughters who love picture books, but for my son who loves his best friend.

Gotta go now, my eyes are a little wet.   Oh yeah, before I forget, here’s a nice little youtube of Eric Carle talking about his new book.  You watch while I get a tissue.  See you around the blog!

                                                                    

New Beginnings

25 Sep

Rod Stewart said it, “It’s late September and I really should be back in school.”

It is late September, but I retired last year, so I guess I really shouldn’t be back in school.  So what’s keeping me busy?  Writing!   I’ve got the passion and I’ve got the time, seems like the perfect combination.  But have I got the talent?  That is yet to be proven.

This summer I joined three writing groups here in Cincinnati.  I wrote furiously, shared with critique groups, edited, revised, sent a few manuscripts out into the cold, cruel world, and  gotten some very polite rejection letters.

That’s ok… I’ve also gotten some very good advice and encouragement.

One piece of advice was to start a blog…. check.

So, I’m thinking I should blog about writing, right?  My idea is to make my blog a mini-forum about what I am reading and writing.  I need to research children’s books that are currently being published anyway, so I might as well blog about them as well.  The research should help me get a better handle on the publishing trends, but it might also help you find some really great books that you might want to read for yourself, your children, your grandchildren, or your students.  The other half of my devious plan, is to build up some hype on my own writing as well (evil grin).  I could give you a quick synopsis of what I’m working on, get some feedback from you, and become rich and famous!   I mean enrich the lives of children, right?

Are you with me?

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