Considering that I’ve worked with Ekua Holmes, Victo Ngai, Don Tate, Troy Cummings, Ashley Spires, and Tom Lichtenheld, among other artists, today’s question is a great one.
A post I wrote for the Nerdy Book Club has gone online, and I think you’ll like it. It’s titled “Write What You Know? Try Writing What You’d Love to Learn,” and it expands on a theme I discuss a lot in my school visits.
Here’s a taste:
As I write, I also discover more holes in what I know. My progress so far, however, gives me confidence that I’ll be able to fill those gaps, too. Students can fill those gaps as well. What I do, they can do â€” or learn to do. And I believe they can love it just as much.
If that doesn’t interest you, how about if you just come check out the 80-year-old footage of a pirouetting gas station attendant?
I had the great pleasure of serving on a panel at last month’s Austin SCBWI conference with illustrators Don Tate (shown on the left) and Tom Lichtenheld (the guy in the middle). If those names sound familiar, it’s because I’ve created a book with each of them.
Today (no fooling) is the publication date not only of The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch, which Don illustrated, but also of the board book version of the Tom-illustrated Shark Vs. Train. Both books give readers something to chew on — one figuratively, one literally — so if you know someone with a big appetite for something new to read, won’t you please keep these in mind?
I love Matthew Winner’s podcast to pieces. Listening to Let’s Get Busy! is a highlight of my week, every week, and I’m so honored to be the guest on his latest episode. If books for young readers play any significant role in your life, there’s a good chance you’ll love the conversations that elementary teacher librarian Matthew has with the creators of those books.
In this episode, we discuss how Tom Lichtenheld and I adapted Shark Vs. Train for “board-book-chewing enthusiasts,” finding a way in The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch to let some light shine through the dark legacy of Reconstruction, and why it’s important to write awful stories.
I also take a swing (a kick? a boot?) at Matthew’s traditional episode-ending stumper: In an all-star, dream-team, kidlit kickball tournament, what one figure from the world of children’s books would I want to make sure was on my team?
The whole experience has been lots of fun, and Matthew’s enthusiasm is infection. I hope you’ll give us a listen!
This month, one subscriber to my Bartography Express newsletter will win a copy of Burning Nation (Scholastic), the second book in Trent Reedy’s Divided We Fall YA trilogy
If you’re not already receiving Bartography Express, click the image below for a look. If you like what you see, click “Join” in the bottom right corner, and you’ll be in the running for the giveaway at the end of this week.
(What’s with the Shark Vs. Train reference in the post title? Well, read on…)
Registration opens one week from tomorrow for the annual conference of the Austin chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
Regardless of whether you’re aspiring or accomplished, the March 7-8 conference has something for you:
keynote addressess and panel discussions
writing craft breakouts
all-day illustrator track
all-day professional development track
critiques and reviews of manuscripts, portfolios, and picture book dummies
There’s all that, and more, and I haven’t even listed the editors, art director, agents, New York Times bestselling authors, and other artists and authors who will be on the faculty. You can see that list here, but I do want to point out that I’ll be among them, as will illustrator Tom Lichtenheld.
In the nearly five years since the publication of our book Shark Vs. Train, this will be the first time that Tom and I have appeared together at the same conference. I’m excited about that, and I hope you are, too.
So, get it on your calendar today, get ready to register next Monday, and we’ll see you in March!
I’ve got a new guest-post at Cynthia Leitich Smith’s Cynsations blog on the roles my kids played (and they roles they didn’t) in the creation of my picture books Shark Vs. Train and Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet.
Here’s a smidge of what I say:
Every book is an opportunity to navigate that territory in the middle, between what we adults want and love and think we know and what those kids want and love and think they know.
Through my experiences with Shark Vs. Train and Attack! Boss! Cheat Code!, I’ve come to appreciate just how much room there is to maneuver through that middle ground.