anna, book

ajboll


Creative Chaos II

The occasional postings of a writer, illustrator, and mom.


Book Review Wednesday: Holiday Books
anna, book
ajboll
November has been dubbed Picture Book month. You can find out more, read about the importance of the picture book at this blog. Or you can take a look at the Picture Book Proclamation here.

I'll be using my Book Review Wednesday space this month to celebrate the picture book! If you missed last week, Sleds and Balloons, take a look.

This week, let's dive into the Holiday season with one Christmas and one Chanukah book. In order to be well-sold, a picture book should face out on a bookstore shelf. Space is short these days though, and holiday themed books have an even harder time competing because they have a very short shelf life in the bookstore.
 
Toni Buzzeo, a Maine youth services librarian, school presentation expert, and author, has had a long line of successful picture books. These include: Sea Chest, the Dawdle Duckling series, and a number of books that are set in libraries. I got a sneak peek at her January 2012 release One Cool Friend, when I went to a workshop presented by the amazing David Small (her illustrator for the story), but more about that later. Today, I want to tell you about her current release, Lighthouse Christmas.


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From Toni’s website:
Frances is determined to make Christmas jolly for her younger brother, even if it means joining family on the mainland and leaving Papa behind on their isolated lighthouse island. After all, would Santa even know how to find them in this faraway spot? But when Christmas Eve is ushered in on a wild storm and Papa risks his life to rescue a drowning man, the children realize that the most important thing about the holiday is being together.
 
As in all great Christmas stories, a happy ending is in store, and Santa finds them after all. Cozy and nostalgic, this story was inspired by the Flying Santa program, a New England tradition since 1929. It’s the perfect book for a family to read together in front of the fire on Christmas morning.
 
School Library Journal gives it a starred review:
“There’s a charmingly nostalgic feel both to the story and to the illustrations, which convey a sense of time and place and are very appealing. An author’s note gives a brief history of the Flying Santa Service, which was created in 1929 and continues to this day delivering treats to Coast Guard families. A lovely tradition and a lovely book.”
–Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library
 
Educators should take note that in addition to the back-matter regarding the Flying Santa Service, Toni also has a curriculum guide and a reader’s theater script for seven parts on her website. Take a look!
 
Erica Silverman gave us Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa, as well as Liberty’s Voice: the story of Emma Lazarus. Her recent release, Hanukkah Hop, illustrated by Steven D’Amico, is bopping, rhyming book that invites readers to a Hanukkah party.  


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The illustration are bold, bright and graphic and remind me of jazz posters from the 1950’s. This style fits the story to a tee. The book takes the reader from party preparation, to when the guests arrive, to games, and to a quick review of the Hanukkah miracle. There were moments when Silverman’s rhyme felt clunky, and I wasn’t sure where to put the stress in a line. A couple of times, I wanted to remove or add syllables.  However, she has a lovely refrain that keeps the story moving forward. Things really heat up when a Klezmer band arrives and the dancing starts.
 
All in all, Hanukkah Hop is a great read aloud for you Hanukkah party.



Illustrator Day! Give Away #2
anna, book
ajboll
Well friends. It's that time again. Prizes!!!

A huge thank you to the following people who are helping to spread the word on twitter, facebook, and blogs about NESCBWI's Illustrator Day! Check them out. (If you helped and you're not listed here, please give me the link in the comments below. I'll enter you right away.)
@melindabeavers (who won last week)
@23catsinaroom
@jeanettelarson
@Michaelrapa
@WendyMartinArt
@juanamartinez
@matthewboehm
@kellylight
@johnlechner
@ImDanielleEGray
@erniedelia
@aliciapadron
@smilingotis
@anindita
@thewritejoyce
@TheWackyBrit
@DiandraMae
@mehenniger
@smozer
@faughnanc
@classicsixbooks
Patty Mynczywor

The hat please...Ooops. My helper is napping.


The winner is...
Russ Cox! @smilingotis
I have your info because you already registered to come to Illustrator Day!
Please tell me in the comments if you want me to send your prize or give it to you in Manchester.
Congratulations


You too can be entered to win a sketchbook/drawing pencil/eraser set. We will have one more drawing next Monday, 11/14.
Then all the winners will be put back in the hat for the grand prize drawing in Manchester at Illustrator Day! on November 19th for a copy of Keynote Speaker, Salley Mavor's Golden Kite winning book Pocket Full of Posies!


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Next drawing: next Monday, 11/14/11

If you missed the origninal call for help, here's the gist. New England SCBWI is sponsoring an amazing afternoon of speakers and workshops for working and aspiring illustrators. (All minors must be accompanied by a paying adult participant.) The event venue has been generously donated by New Hampshire Institute of Art in Manchester, NH. Illustrator Day! is November 19th from 1-6 pm. Help us spread the word.
  • Link to this blog on facebook, or twitter or through your own blog (tag me on facebook or give me the blog link in the comments here.)
  • Retweet any information from me @annawritedraw or @casey.girard and make sure to use the #illustratorday hashtag
  • Or blog about the event on your own. 
  • Make sure to include the registration page url: http://tinyurl.com/illustratorday-registration

Thanks for your help.


Book Review Wednesday: Sleds and Balloons
anna, book
ajboll
Happy Book Birthday to Red Sled, by Lita Judge and Balloons Over Broadway, by Melissa Sweet. Both of these wonderful, kind, talented and generous women have been featured here at Creative Chaos before and I’m pleased to welcome them back.
 
If you loved our early snowstorm, Red Sled, will take you into the cool blues of winter with loose and lovely watercolors.
 
Starred From Kirkus: “Judge’s latest may be virtually wordless, but it packs a powerful visual punch that will stick with readers long after the final page is turned…Though rendered simply, Judge’s pencil-and-watercolor animals are gloriously full of life and infectious joy. Readers will be hard-pressed to finish this without letting their own joy show through. Pure genius.”

 
I attended Lita’s book cover workshop at the NESCBWI Spring Conference. In addition to giving all of the participants generous feedback on their work, she also shared the journey to the cover of Red Sled. It was not easy folks. There is a mystery in this almost wordless picture book and it was difficult to show what the book was about without revealing the ending.
 
 
Enjoy the trailer of the book here or there:


For those of you who are counting down the days to Thanksgiving, pick up Melissa Sweet’s, Balloons Over Broadway. This is a picture book biography of Tony Sarg, who was responsible for many of the helium balloons we enjoy in the Macy’s Day parade.
 
Starred From Kirkus: “This clever marriage of information and illustration soars high.”
 
Starred From School Library Journal: “Sweet tells this slice of American history well, conveying both Sarg's enthusiasm and joy in his work as well as the drama and excitement of the parade. Rich in detail, the gouache, collage, and mixed-media illustrations are a stand-out, capturing the charm of the period and the awe-inspiring balloons. This one should float off the shelves.”
 
And here is a fun illustrated interview with Melissa about the book!

Have a great picture book week.

Illustrator Day! Give Away #1
SCBWI
ajboll
I know that you were all waiting with bated breath to see who would win prize #1 in our Illustrator Day! Give away. 

Thanks to the folks who helped us spread the work about Illustrator Day!:


Then my faithful assistants drew a name:


And the winner is...


@melindabeavers
(Who also won the NESCBWI poster contest at the last conference. Melinda Beavers, I think you have to move to New England now!)
As soon as Melinda sends me an address, I'll send her a sketchbook, pencils and an eraser.

Next drawing: next Monday, 11/7/11

IF you missed the original call for help, here's the gist. New England SCBWI is sponsoring an amazing afternoon of speakers and workshops for working and aspiring illustrators. The event venue has been generously donated by New Hampshire Institute of Art in Manchester, NH. Illustrator Day! is November 19th from 1-6 pm. Help us spread the word.
  • Link to this blog post with twitter (use #illustratorday so I can keep track),
  • or share on facebook (tag me in the comments),
  • or blog about the event (send me your link).
To register for Illustrator Day!


Prizes?! Illustrator Day?! Awesome!
anna, book
ajboll
Did someone say prizes? Well, yes I did. You could win a sketchbook, 

OR drawing materials,

OR Illustrator Day Keynote Speaker, Salley Mavor's Golden Kite Winning Book

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How? You might ask...how could I win one of these great prizes?
You can help me publicize NESCBWI's Illustrator Day event.
1. Share this blog post on facebook and tag me so I know you did it.
2. Tweet or retweet this blog post and other info about the event with the hashtag #illustratorday.
I'll put all of your names and tweet handles in a box and pick out names until the prizes are gone- from now until:
ILLUSTRATOR DAY!

When: Saturday, November 19, 2011
Time: 1:00-6:00
Where: Emma Blood French Auditorium (The French Building) on the New Hampshire Institute of Art campus in Manchester, NH. 
The schedule for Illustrator Day 2011 will be as follows:
(Please note this is an updated schedule with a later registration time. AJB 10-25-11)

1:00–1:30 Registration
1:30 Welcome
1:45-2:45 Salley Mavor - Keynote Golden Kite Winner 2011
(5 min break)
2:50-3:50 Carol Goldenberg Award winning Book Designer
(25 min snack break)
4:15-5:00 Carlyn Beccia and Jennifer Morris Digital Painting Duels Encore
from the 2010 Annual Conference
(5 min break)
5:05-6:00 continued Digital Painting Duels

Registration Fees for SCBWI Members and Students: $50 all day
Public Registration Fee: $75 all day.
Checks should be payable to NESCBWI and should be sent by November 15th.

For more information and to register click here! Now! No, really, now.


Confessions of a Conference Junkie
SCBWI
ajboll
Okay, yes. I just attended the SCBWI Los Angeles National Conference. And yes, I’m going to the Winter Conference in New York. And well, fine I’m at the Mid-Atlantic SCBWI Conference this weekend but I am not, I repeat NOT a conference junkie.
 
A conference junkie would squeal when seeing writing friends from long ago and far away. I saw a bunch of friends from my time at VCFA and friends I met as far back as 2004 at the Highlights Chautauqua Writer’s Workshop. I did not squeal once. But I did hug a lot.
 
A conference junkie would take notes furiously filling up pages and pages in her notebook or lap top. I didn’t even bring a notebook. But I did reuse all the pages in my folder writing down crucial information such as: “Figure out what your character is most afraid of and make them face it,” (Caroline Abbey), “We are allowed three lines for a positioning statement. That’s it,” (Chelsey Eberly), and “The moments that define us are when we choose to loose something to gain another,” (Abby Ranger).
 
A conference junkie would sidle up beside famous people and have perfect strangers take their picture.

 
No. No. New England Crystal Kite winner Brian Lies and I go way back. I knew him WAY before he became an “overnight success.” (After 25 years of hard work.)
 
So you see, I am not a conference junkie.
 
(How many days until New York?)


Five on Friday
anna, book
ajboll
1. Don't forget that the NYC SCBWI conference registration starts on Monday, 10 am PDT. Hopefully you got your postcard in the mail. If not, click here for more information.

2. My husband came home on surprise visit. He's away with the Navy and hasn't been home for a month. The whole family is very happy and I can't believe how relaxing it is to just write, plan my next lesson, do SCBWI stuff, and exercise without having to shuttle children, take care of the dog, make dinner, do laundry, clean the car, and vacuum the stairs. (The last two I just don't do when he's not here.) We'll see him again next weekend at the Mid-Atlantic SCBWI conference in Dulles, VA.

3. My WIP is moving forward fabulously. A huge thank you and shout out to the entire jonowrimo community for their cheering and support as I tackle daily word count. Another huge thank you to my fellow Cheese Sandwiches who check in with me during the week to make sure we are all on track. It takes a village to write a book.

4. Speaking of a village. Another shout out goes to Lynn Conway, a librarian at Georgetown University who helped me this week by answering silly questions about Riggs Library such as: Do the stairs in the library cling or clang when you ascend? What stained glass is in the round windows? Are the book cases painted gold or do they just shine in the pictures because of the flash? Once again I'm reminded of the awesome and selfless nature of the librarian.

5. Casey Girard, NESCBWI Illustrator Coordinator has been working hard to put together an Illustrator Day Event for the region. Here's what we know. It will be on November 19th from 1 pm - 6 pm at the New Hampshire Institute of Art in Manchester, NH. (Yes. In a month.) It will include an award-winning book designer, Carol Goldenberg, and a reprise of the "Dueling Digital Painters" Workshop with Carlyn Beccia, and Jennifer Morris from the spring NESCBWI conference. Keynote speaker to be announced! Watch this space and www.nescbwi.org for more information.

SCBWI NY Conference Info!
anna, book
ajboll
Most of us are enjoying the amazing temperatures this fall. This weekend I walked in the woods, read in the sunshine, chose pumpkins, and picked apples. (Come on, Anna. How many pies do you really think you're going to make?) It is hard to believe that registration for the SCBWI Winter Conference in New York City begins next Monday, October 17th!

You won't find the final schedule on the website yet. It will be posted in the next few days, but here are the basics. The conference starts on January 27th with optional writing and illustration intensives. The 28th and 29th are full of fabulous keynote speeches, presentations from various publishing houses, and some sort of display event for illustrators. The conference will take place at the Grand Hyatt New York and special rates are available. I suggest you get your reservations early.

If you are an illustrator, I urge you to get to work on a piece of art for the Tomie dePaola Award. This year's contest requires an illustration of text from the traditional Chicken Licken, "The Sky is Falling," story. Download the guidelines and text here. The deadline is December 15th. The winner will be announced on January 2nd and will receive a $1,000 gift certificate for art supplies, plus full tuition, transportation and accommodations to the New York Winter Conference held in Manhattan. The winning piece of art will also be featured at the annual winter conference in New York.

Leave a comment if you are planning to be there!

Five on Friday
anna, book
ajboll
1.This morning I braved our first frost and went on a bike ride. I came back with numb toes and fingers, but it was just beautiful. Perhaps it's time to move my bike riding inside. I'm amazed by the people who commute by bike all winter long.
2. My kids have a four day weekend. Today is a teacher furlough day, and while I'm happy to have my children home, I'm unhappy that our teachers are loosing pay.
3. With kiddos around there will be cleaning. Beware all you piles of dog fur in the corners! Stand back pile of laundry! We will defeat you.
4. I had a few wonderful writing days this week with high word counts, and dramatic scenes. I can really feel the forward movement of the manuscript (profluence, thank you Sarah Aronson). Very exciting to be climbing out of the muddy middle.
5. Monday, October 10th is my 18th Wedding Anniversary.


SCBWI WIP Grant- Tips from 2011 Winner Skila Brown
SCBWI
ajboll
I'm thrilled to have with me today writer and VCFA MFA Candidate Skila Brown. Skila was the 2011 winner of the SCBWI WIP Grant. Google Skila and you'll see that she has plenty of freelance credits for articles on parenting and adoption. I know her as a writer of snappy picture books, a talented poet and an amazingly loving, intelligent and hardworking person.

What can you do with an SCBWI WIP Grant?
  • Purchase of necessary materials
  • Travel for research
  • Conferences, courses and/or workshops in advanced writing techniques
  • Child care
  • Rental of work space
  • Supplemental basic support
  • Other items deemed necessary to complete the project.
If you are like me, you've researched grants and found them just as the deadline approaches. For the SCBWI 2012 WIP Grants- completed application and accompanying materials must be postmarked no earlier than February 15th and must be RECEIVED BY March 15th. The Grants are available to both full and associate members of the SCBWI. They are not available for projects on which there are already contracts.

With what project will the WIP grant help you?
My middle grade novel, Caminar. It is the story of a boy who, after surviving the massacre of his village, journeys up the side of a mountain, and must decide what being a man during a time of war really means. Caminar is a coming-of-age novel told in verse and set in Guatemala during the year 1981.


For what types of expenses will the grant money be used?
I will travel to Guatemala this winter to revise the story while I'm there, enhance the setting, and hopefully find survivors who are willing to read and vet my manuscript.


What do you think keeps people from applying for grants/awards?
A grant application sounds so intimidating, doesn't it? I mean, there are people who write them professionally for a living! There's also that kind of hopeless feeling of "there are so many people applying...I will never get picked...why bother..." I also think some people wait until the last minute, look at what is required in the application packet, and then realize they don't have the time or energy to spend on it.


You are a mom and a student at Vermont College of Fine Arts. In what ways did this make the application process more challenging? Did your studies or family help the process at all?
Honestly, being very busy and juggling many things forces me to think and plan ahead. I am not a procrastinator. In this regard, it really made the application process easier for me. I read the application instructions months in advance and allowed myself plenty of time to get it right.

This was not my first time applying for an SCBWI grant. I applied once before for a different grant, with a different manuscript. That story wasn't as solid or unique, but also - I waited until right before the deadline, rushed through the application, and didn't put as much thought into it as I could have. All mistakes I knew not to repeat.


When you dropped the materials into the mailbox, did you feel confident? Why or why not?
I felt confident that I had done the best job I could do on the application packet, but certainly had no expectation that I would win! A teeny hopeful part of me was longing for a runner-up position. When I got the call from SCBWI this summer and was told I was the winner, I absolutely could not believe it.


Are there any tips or hints that you would give to other SCBWI members who are interested in completing the application materials?
Start early. Allow yourself plenty of time to review the materials. Craft a thoughtful and deliberate synopsis. Have someone read over your materials for the sake of clarity. Be specific in why you are requesting funding and how you would use the money. Then put it out of your head and get back to writing!

Fabulous advice, Skila! Fair winds and following seas on your Guatemalan journey. Thank you for sharing your grant writing wisdom.

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