Thursday, November 13, 2008

Brooklyn Museum's Children's Book Fair

The 2nd annual Children's Book Fair will take place this Saturday, November 15 from 1-5 PM at the Brooklyn Museum.  My husband Sean Qualls and I, along with about 30 other Brooklyn authors and illustrators, will be sitting at a booth with our latest books.  On the agenda is a special reading from Greetings from the 50 States at 2:30 by yours truly... so come on by and check out my latest book!  I will be talking about how recently the states have captured the imagination of our nation in ways that we've never seen before.  Last week's historic election highlighted interest in formerly sleepy states such as: Alaska, Illinois, Hawaii and Kansas.  Not to mention, the states that swung blue this time round: Florida, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Colorado- and so on.  For children just learning their states this is a completely unique take on the states module for the classroom.  Buy your kid the coolest new states book in town - better yet - get it signed by the illustrator, and begin the process of educating your child about all 50 of this great countries' states!  By the way, it kinda gives me the chills writing things like, 'this great country' now... GObama!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Ghouls, Gourds & Books

Halloween comes early this Sunday for kids and adults alike at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.  Time to show off those costumes, carouse with colossal puppets, create recycled junk instruments, carve pumpkins and, of course, chat with celebrated children's book authors and illustrators!  I will be there signing books and would love to see familiar friendly - and scary - faces.  This is a picture of my son, Isaiah as a Taxi Driver and his friend, Levi the lion from a few years ago.  It was around when My Taxi Ride came out, so I made his stroller into a taxi cab.  Fortunately, he was young enough, and not yet highly opinionated, to impose my artistic vision onto!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Original Art at The Society

Last Thursday I attended the The Original Art Show opening at the Society of Illustrators.  It's an annual show of art from about 150 selected picture books published within the past year (usually around 650 are submitted).  I must say that this year's show was stunning!  It stood out for me from past years partly because the Society has made some changes.  For one, they got rid of that awful carpeting on the walls and painted them gallery white.  The art really pops, and quite a fabulous, diverse selection of art at that!  My husband, Sean Qualls, got both of his books in the show: Phillis's Big Test and Before John Was a Jazz Giant.  His beautifully textured modern folk paintings hang along with Mo Willems' witty graphic, The Pigeon Wants a Puppy, Ana Juan's lovely trippy, The Elephant Wish and Kadir Nelson's hauntingly realistic, We are the Ship (which took him 7 years to complete!).  Another new addition to the show is the inclusion of video clips, showing interviews and artistic processes.  For example, there is a cool video next to William Steig's art; he was awarded the posthumous lifetime achievement honor.  At the reception (since we don't get a night out nearly often enough!), it was fabulous to shmooze with editors, art directors, our agent and colleagues... but I will definitely have to go again during the day to spend more time really looking at the art - and the BOOKS.  Yes the actual books.  All of the picture books will be on display and it's always a treat to see them next to their real live art counterparts on the walls!  FYI, the selected illustrator gets to chose which spread (or spot or single page) from their book will go in the show and is responsible for framing it his/herself.  It's always interesting to me to see which image the illustrator choses as THE image to frame and display.  I've been in the show twice and believe me, I know how hard it is to decide.  The show is up until mid November and is totally worth checking out!

Society of Illustrators
63rd and Lexington
New York City     

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Greetings From The 50 States

Newly released from Scholastic: Greetings From The 50 States; How They Got Their Names.

My latest illustrated book by Sheila Keenan is now in book stores and online!  From extensive research, detailed sketches to final art work, this 112 page book took me about 2 years to complete.  I'll bet I got to know more about US geography than your average Canadian New Yorker, not to mention fellow American.  Now if only I could vote in the next election... but that's another issue.

I will be taking part in 2 Brooklyn based events this Fall to promote "50 States" along with other local children's writers and illustrators.  Mark your calendars!

Brooklyn Botanic Gardens
Gouls and Gourds Festival
Sunday October 26
noon - 4:30

The Brooklyn Museum
Children's Book Fair
The Rubin Pavillion
Saturday November 15
1 - 5 PM

In the mean time grab a copy now - I promise to sign it next time I see you!


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

7 Months Later

Ginger Molly Viva Qualls arrived on Valentine's Day 7 months ago and it's like she's been with us forever!  These past months feel a bit like a hazy fog stumbling back to my own work post-birth.  I've done the interesting challenge of trying to get some work done with the baby around.  This was somewhat successful when she was a newbie and slept a lot during the day.  I actually completed a manuscript for my next children's book, which is pretty cool!  I wrote in cafes on the go, whenever Ginger nodded off and inspiration hit.  Now that she is growing and awake much more it's become clear that I need the time to work when she is being cared for adequately and attentively.  So it is not without some separation anxiety that she off to day care now for just 15 hours a week, during which time I frantically get what I can done!  My current to-do list includes: creating content for (exciting, new, upcoming!) website, as well as coordinated blog, developing manuscripts and dummies for at least 2 new books and promoting my latest illustrated book, Greetings From The 50 States - oh and did I mention the endless errands?  But hey, it's real good for me to be back to my creative, productive self.  It makes me a happier, more fulfilled mom for when I am around my kids.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Peanut Butter Art

I am due to give birth to my second child this Sunday.  I am relieved and overjoyed that 'she' didn't come early, as I had a book deadline right around now!  I made it.  In fact, I just gave birth to the art for my first book, which I both wrote and illustrated called, I'm Your Peanut Butter Big Brother (Knopf).  It will be out in Spring of 2009, when my real life child passes her first birthday.  Ah, publishing!  Impatience aside, it really was the perfect project for me to work on throughout this pregnancy, as it is a story about an little boy imagining what his soon-to-be-born baby sibling will look like.  The protagonist is my beautiful son, Isaiah; the model of Peanut Butter Perfection.  And so the story flowed, as did the art's creation.  I can't wait for both baby Q number 2 and Peanut Butter Big Brother to make their appearances!