Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Hello All, I found an interesting quote on my Starbucks coffee cup this morning, that I wanted to share with you all: The Way I See It # 181
"A child's mind isn't a blank slate; it's more of a jungle. Each time a parent helps a toddler read, the child is walked through this jungle from one side to the other. Trip after trip, a seemingly impossible passage becomes a well-worn path. Children sent to kindergarten skipping merrily along this path to literacy fare far better than those sent to school with machetes." - Keith Mastrion, "Reading Man" and 1998 National Teacher of the Year.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
All the books on the list will be read in Kansas classrooms between August and November and then teachers that are also members of the Kansas Reading Association will vote on their favorite. The winning book will be determined in January - yes of '08. I'm just happy to be in the crowd.
And the nominees are:
An Egg is Quiet
Dianna Aston/Sylvia Long/Chronicle Books
Becky Birtha/Colin Bootman/Albert Whitman
One Odd Day
Doris Fisher and Dani Sneed/Karen Lee/Sylvan Dell
The Giant Hug
Sandra Horning/Valeri Gorbachev/Knopf
Not Afraid of Dogs
Susanna Pitzer/Larry Day/Walker Books
The Great Fuzz Frenzy
Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel/Janet Stevens/Harcourt
Moses: When Harriet Tubman Lead Her People
Carole Boston Weatherford/Kadir Nelson/Jump at the Sun
(fellow North Carolinian and recently showered in many awards - Caldecott Honor, Coretta Scott King!)
I Ain't Gonna Paint No More
Karen Beaumont/David Catrow/Harcourt
Henry and the Bucanner Bunnies
Carolyn Crimi/John Manders/Candlewick
Jean Craighead George/Wendell Minor/Laura Geringer
Frank Keating/Mike Wimmer/S&S
Amy Krouse Rosenthal/Jen Corace/Chronicle
Take Care, Good Knight
Shelly Moore Thomas/Paul Meisel/Dutton
and a personal favorite: Castaway Cats
Lisa Wheeler/Ponder Goembel/Athenium
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
One Odd Day has been chosen as a nominee for the 2008 Bill Martin, Jr. Picture Book Award by the Kansas Reading Association. I'm very excited to be sharing this news with you--the Bill Martin, Jr. Award committee selects 12 outstanding picture books for children in grades K-3 each year. One Odd Day will be read in Kansas classrooms between August and November 2007, and the winning book will be determined in 2008!
Friday, January 19, 2007
I'm totally making up for not having any of my own images last week by putting up two for this. Well, really I find the whole SUPER HERO concept so appealing. There is a little super hero in all of us.
This is a picture of my family! We are Supers. Sad story - the day I started painting this my dog Annie died. I put a teensy halo over her head in the picture the next day. She was a very good dog.
This one is even older but still makes me chuckle. I take this on school visits and cover the right side - get the kids to tell me what could be happening. I always get a laugh. Actually I always give a laugh too. Sometimes they say the darndest things.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
My rep sent me a message saying that someone is interested in licensing an image I did several years ago. It is called snowday.
Highlights For Children February 2007 cover
Ranger Rick December 2006
Friday, January 12, 2007
Monday, January 01, 2007
I’ve had a recurring dream the last few years that I am unable to run. In my dreams I have completely lost the sense and rhythm of it. I don’t always believe that dreams mean something but I actually do run, am physically active, somewhat fit and reasonably coordinated. I know the meaning of this dream must be metaphorical. So what does it mean? What am I afraid of? Post your analysis in the comments and we’ll see if we can get to the bottom of this.
It all boils down to balance and these are the things I hope like heck to do to achieve balance.
Things I’ve learned: You can (meaning I can) find some common ground with just about anyone. Ask them enough questions about themselves and you’ll discover it. This has made my stranger anxiety less and I’ve connected with people in the most surprising ways.
Things I will do: Thursday is my day off. It’s hard enough to get the bare minimum required done everyday but harder still if I have to run around doing errands. I lose momentum that is hard to recover. I’m already committed to my volunteer book shelving gig at the kids’ school library, coaching my Odyssey of the Mind team, followed by Jazzercise on Thursdays. The day is shot. So I’ve decided to give Thursdays over to every little thing that needs to be done that isn’t strictly work related. Classroom visits are on Thursday. Dentist appointments - make it Thursday. Wanna meet for coffee? See you on Thursday.
Things I will avoid: There are plenty of roadblocks in life and in work. I’m going to try hard not to install any of my own. This lesson is something I am reminded of almost daily through coaching Odyssey of the Mind. I could go on and on about this fabulous organization to develop creativity in kids K-college, but instead I’ll just put the link here. Its main principle is to encourage kids to think beyond the common. As coach I’ve discovered that I get far more out of it personally than I thought possible. It is simply the coolest thing I’ve done in years.
Things I will control: I’ve had a great couple of years. I’ve accomplished so many things I’d hoped for, developed passions I didn’t think I had in me, and had more energy than a Jack Russell with a Starbucks card. My cup hath been running over. It hath maketh a huge puddle on the floor. Thinking about all the things I want to accomplish and challenges I’ve set for myself (see above) can be overwhelming which leads to anxiety, which leads to inertia, which causes more anxiety, and on and on. Looking back I can see that I resolved to do more writing and more sketching. I was going to become more committed to Illustration Friday and not just dredge pieces from the archives. But when I’m already floundering to get my work done well and on time it is ridiculous to feel bad about not doing more. Is it more important to have spent four hours doing a piece for Illustration Friday at the expense of sleep or my family? Can it be enough to just spend the duration of my daily dog-walk coming up with a fabulous and fun concept for I piece that I would do if I had the time? Is it enough to just play around with words while I’m driving the kids somewhere or in the shower? It will have to be. I think exercising my creativity is better than nothing, and way better than panic attacks.
Things I will remember: The art school student in me gets hung up on drawing and color and lighting and all that academic stuff. My audience doesn’t care. My audience is kids and they like funny stuff. My audience wants to feel a connection to the art and to discover something in it on their own. It gives them a sense of ownership. It’s all about content and that happens before pencil ever touches paper or paint hits board. That happens in my head and my heart. It is also what gives my illustration its personality, life, voice – its soul.
And so many more! Yes I want to draw better. I want to spend more time really engaged with my kids, not just in their presence. I want to be in a single digit pants size. This is the year that I will either pave the backyard or really get grass to grow! And I’m gonna write something. And I’m gonna get out that easel again. I’m gonna sell a bunch of books! Oh no, my cup hath runneth over again. Where’s that darn mop?