Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sesame Street - Cookie Monster's Sandwich (1970) I LOVE COOKIES! GOODNITE!

Printsource NYC

I'm excited to be going to PRINTSOURCE NEW YORK, "The Premier Market for Textile and Surface Design in the USA." Looking forward to attending FUTURE CAFE, a global overview of fashion and home textile trends by the world's leading forecasting services. I'm especially interested in what Joanna Feeley, Founder and Creative Director of Trend Bible, has to say about kid's lifestyle trends for the home.
Check out the PRINTSOURCE blog.


I came across this great blog,, which focuses on books which feature brown kids as lead characters.
The blog was started as a reaction to her daughter blurting out "hey mommy, she's brown like me!" as she was reading her a story.
How beautiful is that!

A 2007 study in the Journal of Marriage and Family found that 75 percent of white families with kindergartners never, or almost never, talk about race. For black parents the number is reversed with 75 percent addressing race with their children.

We all need books that help us create conversations and develop our ideas of ourselves and others in a positive way. BRAVO for highlighting these books!
You can see the review of WOW! IT SURE IS GOOD TO BE YOU!, on the brownlikemebookreview. The GIRLS ROCK illustration above is from the same book.

Thanks & ENJOY!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cartoon Brew: Leading the Animation Conversation

Check out the great trailer for the ED EMBERLY & FRIENDS exhibit at Scion Space in L.A.


"Curated by Caleb Neelon, the exhibition features Emberley originals as well as five artists who were inspired by him. The artists include Seonna Hong, Raul Gonzalez, Matt Leines, Christopher Kline and Saelee Oh." - Jerry Beck, Cartoon Brew

What a great idea. I just think he is a master at creating shape.
Anybody going?

 Cartoon Brew: Leading the Animation Conversation


On July 8, 2010, David Brooks of the NYT wrote: "Recently, book publishers got some good news. Researchers gave 852 disadvantaged students 12 books (of their own choosing) to take home at the end of the school year. They did this for three successive years.Then the researchers, led by Richard Allington of the University of Tennessee, looked at those students’ test scores. They found that the students who brought the books home had significantly higher reading scores than other students. These students were less affected by the “summer slide” — the decline that especially afflicts lower-income students during the vacation months. In fact, just having those 12 books seemed to have as much positive effect as attending summer school.

This study, along with many others, illustrates the tremendous power of books. We already knew, from research in 27 countries, that kids who grow up in a home with 500 books stay in school longer and do better. This new study suggests that introducing books into homes that may not have them also produces significant educational gains."

I believe kids still like books and they always will. Give some kid a book and see if they get mad at you. I dare ya.
I think the internet VS book debate is a false choice. Children need both. And they ABSOLUTELY NEED caring adults who expose them to the joys of reading a PHYSICAL, turn-the-page book. Once again, we have the stats. This is not new. Poor kids don't get enough exposure to books. So why do we continue to fail as a culture?

Friday, July 9, 2010


An Impassioned Plea for Picture Books

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The symbolism was not lost at this past Tuesday’s meeting of the New England Children’s Booksellers Advisory Council, held at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Mass., that Ken Geist, v-p and editorial director of Orchard Books and Scholastic Press Picture Books, and author of the picture book The Three Little Fish, should choose this setting to ask independent booksellers to get behind picture books. “I’m not finishing this year until we move the needle and sell more picture books,” said Geist, who added that he was not speaking on behalf of Scholastic. “I’m here to talk about what we can do collectively to raise the profile of picture books.”
While the picture book may not be endangered, it has been troubled for a while. As Geist pointed out, a $16.99 jacketed picture book is a hard sell, and where publishers once printed 20,000 copies, now 6,000 is a more typical run. Customers don’t want to buy unjacketed books and often the numbers don’t work for a separate paperback printing. Nor is simultaneous publication an option, since hardcovers and paperbacks are often printed in a different place.
What can booksellers and a coalition of publishing folks do? Geist is looking to create a grassroots movement. Among his own thoughts for getting kids back into bookstores: creating a mailbox that stores could put up so that kids can write to their favorite author. Then the coalition would sort the letters, get them to the right publisher, and make sure each child got a response.
Author/illustrator Elisha Cooper also spoke at the meeting.
NECBA members’ suggestions varied from a teacher’s guide that focuses on bullying titles with strong basic stories to an index of the names and genders of the main characters in picture books. One bookseller suggested making next year the Year of the Picture Book and getting people involved. Among the issues that booksellers already confront is that many people don’t know what a picture book is, and those who do are looking for more text. In addition, some parents are jumping their children out of picture books as early as ages four and five, and moving them into chapter books.
Joining Geist in pleading for picture books was author/illustrator Elisha Cooper, whose newest picture book, Farm (Orchard), Geist edited. “My goal or my hope,” said Cooper,” “is that good books can be elevated. Let a little book that’s good have some air.” Singling out celebrity books like Tori Spelling’s upcoming fall release, Presenting...Tallulah, he added, “My worry is that that book isn’t going to make a lifelong reader.” 
WHAT DO YOU THINK? Is the picture book an endangered species? 


I'm thrilled and honored ONE FROG SANG, written by Shirley Parenteau and illustrated by moi, will be included in the new RAISING READERS anthology published by CANDLEWICK PRESS. What a wonderful PUSH to get the education of Maine kids on the right track. 1.3 million books have already been given to Maine kids. Warm thanks goes out to my publisher CANDLEWICK, the LIBRA FOUNDATION ,CURIOUS CITY and all the WICKED AWESOME caregivers for giving Maine kids the wonder and friendship of a new book.


Scholastic CEO, Dick Robinson, Delivers Call-To-Action for Children's Reading and Literacy

Many of our colleagues, including Scholastic's Chairman, President and CEO Dick Robinson, are in Bologna, Italy this week for the Bologna Children's Book Fair (lucky ducks!) But this year's trip is extra special. Many folks will go home not only talking about the future of distopian YA, but many visitors, publishers and authors will be talking about the call-to-action Dick Robinson delivered today to worldwide children’s book publishers, inviting them to join Scholastic in a campaign for global literacy for all children.

He gave his remarks in front of a group of nearly 500 members of the children's book industry, reminding everyone that "literacy - the ability to read, write and understand - is the birthright of every child in the world as well as the pathway to succeed in school and to realize a complete life"


But as we begin the second decade of the 21st Century — and for Scholastic, the run-up to our 100th birthday — the printed book may be on its way to becoming a relic. Yet reading has never been more important; for we know that for young people now is a time when reading is the door-opener to the 21st Century.

We know that teachers around the world are better now at getting children to learn to read, to decode, to recognize words and symbols on a page. But even when children can read, they often are not motivated to read. And that is why children's publishers must provide the great stories, the amazing facts and the astonishing presentations that will fuel the imagination and present information that will help young people understand their inner and outer worlds.

Here is what we believe about literacy and reading in the second decade of the 21st Century:

* We believe that literacy – the ability to read, write and understand – is the birthright of every child in the world as well as the pathway to succeed in school and to realize a complete life.

* We believe that the massive amounts of digital information and images now transmitted daily make it even more important for a young person to know how to analyze, interpret and understand information, to separate fact from opinion, and to have deep respect for logical thinking.

* We believe that literature and drama, whether in printed pages, screens, on stage or film, help young people experience the great stories of emotion and action, leading to a deeper understanding of what it means to be truly human.

* We believe therefore that young people need to learn to read nonfiction for information and literature for imagination.

* We believe that reading widely and reading fluently will produce children who will read more challenging texts for life.

* We believe every child has a right to his own "textual lineage" — a reading and writing autobiography which shows the progress of who he is by connecting to the stories and information he has experienced. This textual lineage will enable all young people to have a reading and writing identity which helps them understand who they are and how they can make their lives better.

* We believe every child should have access to books, computers, e-readers, and text on phones – but access is not enough. Teachers need to provide dynamic, focused instruction which will give young people the skills to read and interpret the information they encounter.

* We believe every child should know how to connect to the great stories of character and feeling which drives all human behavior. Without this heritage, life lacks meaning, coherence, understanding and soul.

* We believe every child should have literacy confidence — the ability to read, write and speak about what he knows, what he feels and who he is.

We must help every child realize the power of literacy – for information to achieve understanding of the world, for imagination to achieve self-knowledge.

Finding the right books is the key – and our creative relationships with all the people in this room and other publishers and authors everywhere help us find together more than 500 million books each year which children around the world receive through our channels.

At a time when the digital revolution is challenging us, we want more than ever to work with you to bring books in print or digital form to all young readers. Tonight we salute you as we affirm our commitment to work together to bring reading and deeper understanding to children around the globe. In our 90th year, thank you for joining in this campaign for literacy and reading in the 21st Century."



I love to see my books reformatted and shared with new audiences. I remember as a kid, being in school and getting my book club books in class. That was a LOVELY DAY indeed! I STILL love the smell of new books. Makes me happy to think maybe some kid is feeling the same way about mine. AWESOME! Nothing will ever replace the joy of receiving a crisp new book and holding it in my hands for the first time.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


One Frog Sang

On a wet spring night, one big frog sings KA-BLU-URP! Two tiny frogs sing PREEP, PREEP, three young frogs sing RIBBIT, RIBBIT, all the way up to ten frogs who trill PEEP, PEEP as a frog chorus fills the air with grunts and croaks and chirps. The night is resonant until . . . a car splashes down the street and all the frogs, from ten down to one, are hushed! Shirley Parenteau,, offers a joyfully cacophonous counting up and counting-down story, bursting with lyrical sound play and visual surprises, vibrantly illustrated by Cynthia Jabar.

ONE FROG SANG was featured in Scholastic's  Honeybee class catalog. Scholastic also put the book out on audio. It's such fun to hear the book read aloud, with all the various frog sounds and a chime to tell the child reader when to turn the page.
ONE FROG SANG released by Candlewick Press, received terrific reviews. A children's librarian blogging at Storytime Staples posted, "One of my new favorites, this picture book works well in a counting storytime theme or it may be used to emphasize phonological awareness in an animal storytime theme...perfect for an interactive storytime adventure with preschoolers."

Here are comments from Kirkus: “Children will love making the range of frog sounds presented in this entertaining counting story…Lyrical language is really the icing on the cake of this successful offering.”

And from School Library Journal: “Lively, poetic text invites reading aloud. Verbs are particularly well chosen; the frogs crouch, huddle and ka-plop. Children will enjoy finding and counting the creatures on each page.”

The San Francisco Chronicle called ONE FROG SANG, "A good story for frog-filled summer nights." The reviewer especially liked the eight bullfrogs under the bridge who boomed: Woomp, Woomp. Those were my favorites, too. I listened for awhile to bullfrogs under our bridge, trying to hear their call phonetically.

And I love this comment on the book from another reviewer: "A veritable swamp-phony."


Wednesday, July 7, 2010


I recently heard from Phoebe Yeh at HARPER COLLINS CHILDREN'S BOOKS that Gallery Della-Piana located in Wenham, Massachusetts, plans to hold an exhibit of selected works from the fun MATHSTART series created by Stuart Murphy They requested a few of my illustrations from The Greatest Gymnast of All, The Sundae Scoop, Tally O’Malley, and Game Time!. The show will open on October 23, and continue through December 29, 2010.
Gallery Della-Piana is a small but prestigious venue on Boston's North Shore ( Recent book illustration shows included a Tomie dePaola exhibit, a retrospective of works by Marylin Hafner, and a joint exhibit of works by Kelly Murphy and Jarrett Krosoczka. The gallery will publish a commemorative booklet about the exhibition and many events will be planned during the time of the show. These include the opening on October 23, a number of school visits, a possible librarian's talk, and maybe even a related theater production.
The Greatest Gymnast Of All is available to see or buy on amazon ( Or come see an original in the show. Sounds like fun! I'll keep you posted. This gives me an extra incentive to finish the ALPHABET POSTER I've been working on. A, b, C, d, E, f, G is for G O O D N I G H T........


This is my first post! YAY, YIPPEEE!  WOW!
Okay, so I'm a bit of a geek. Or a "silly maker," as my niece likes to say.
Fine with me. I get to stay up late and make stuff while I listen to LOUD music. 
And I'll be up late tonight because I'm inspired by my class with Yen Cheong at NYU, CREATING AUTHOR PLATFORMS. I have learned more about the importance of online presence in a few weeks than I have in the past few years.
FABULOUS CLASS! Check out her blog:
Who knows when I might have gotten around to creating this BLOG. 
I'm DEFINITELY NOT considered fast. At all.
When I work, I take my time to get it right because S P I R I T can't be rushed.
It's how I have been able to keep doing what I love.
And my new love is BUILDING DIGITAL BOOKS. Come on in,,,,,,,,explore, share and discuss.
What is the future of THE PICTURE BOOK? It's time TO EVOLVE PEOPLE.