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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Knoword


I have a new way to kill time. (Like I needed it?) It's called knoword and it tests your vocabulary skills. It gives you the first letter and the definition. Then it times you to fill in the gaps. WAY addictive, must say.
Thanks to School Library Journal for the heads up.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Making Moons...

Every now and then people turn my art into completely new and wonderful things that I love to share with you. Remember the Mermaid Cake? Or the Owl Plate? The Winter Swan embroidery? Or the Fall Leaves embroidery?
     Well, here's a new one and it completely blew me away. Michael Sublett used my Moon image...

as a template to carve this incredible piece:

Isn't it wonderful!? Thanks for sharing Michael!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Coloring Page Tuesdays - Baby Tigers love to read!

Sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and/or click here to view more coloring pages!

Spring!
     Easter comes late this year, so we're not to the bunnies yet. Nope, today we have a tiger. Hope you enjoy him!
     EARTH DAY is coming - April 22nd...
     I've already received a few requests for the high resolution files of my Earth Day images for murals, t-shirts, and canvas bags, and I'm willing to share them with you too. It's my tiny way of giving back for an important cause. So, check out my Earth Day images, and if you need the high resolution files to help promote your non-profit Earth Day activities, I'll get them to you to send to your printer.
     I also have some ready-to-order products in my Zazzle store. There's still time to order - so check it out! (Click the logo.)
In association with Zazzle.comglobe
     Click here to view the entire Coloring Page Tuesday collection.
     Click the image to open a .jpg to print and color. Send your colored image (less than 1mb) to coloringpages@dulemba.com and I'll post it to my blog! Click here to find more coloring pages.

     Learn about my bilingual picture book Paco and the Giant Chile Plant ~ Paco y la planta de chile gigante - click the cover.





Sunday, March 27, 2011

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand


I just finished reading UNEARTHLY by Cynthia Hand and must say I LOVED it! I rarely write actual reviews, but here's what I said on GoodReads: The relationships were wonderfully honest, clever, and refreshingly new. I loved the characters. I loved the way the mysteries unfolded. Of all the angel books out there that I've read, this is by far my fave. A great read for even those who don't read angel books! And while completely satisfying - there was room for a sequel which I will be anxiously awaiting. (I seldom read two books by the same author - there are so many books I want/need to read, it takes a lot to read a second.) Bravo Cynthia! Here's the trailer...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Happy Rocks!

To quote:
Last month our family watched "Exit Through the Gift Shop." We loved it. In fact Gracie was bound and determined to become a street artist when she grew up. I tried to explain that while the art was fun and the story was great, vandalism isn't a good thing.
So this Dad and his kids ("Z-Kids") came up with a wonderful solution.
First, they created a bunch of happy rocks:

Then they put them in places where they might make people smile:

Click ROCK ON! to view the entire, awesome collection!
Thanks to Patrick Girouard for the link.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Su Blackwell's fabulous book sculptures

This takes reading to a whole new level! Su Blackwell creates the most amazing scenes out of books, even hand-written diaries. It's no wonder her work is so popular with top jewelers and advertisers. She's even made some of her sculptures life size. Oh, to live in a book. You gotta go see: SuBlackwell.com!

Thanks to Fuse #8 for the link via Jane Curley.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Coloring Page Tuesdays - Leaping Llamas!

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Spring!
     Around here, Spring is moving in like Leaping Llamas (Georgia, USA). Don't ask me where this idea came from. All I know is it popped into my head several years ago as the beginning of an alphabet book. I mean, what could be better? I love llamas, I love leaping...
     EARTH DAY is coming - April 22nd...
     I've already received a few requests for the high resolution files of my Earth Day images for murals, t-shirts, and canvas bags, and I'm willing to share them with you too. It's my tiny way of giving back for an important cause. So, check out my Earth Day images, and if you need the high resolution files to help promote your non-profit Earth Day activities, I'll get them to you to send to your printer.
     I also have some ready-to-order products in my Zazzle store. There's plenty of time to order - so check it out! (Click the logo.)
In association with Zazzle.comglobe
     Click here to view the entire Coloring Page Tuesday collection.
     Click the image to open a .jpg to print and color. Send your colored image (less than 1mb) to coloringpages@dulemba.com and I'll post it to my blog! Click here to find more coloring pages.

     Click the covers to learn about my picture book, Soap, soap, soap and Soap, soap, soap ~ Jabón, jabón, jabón.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Voting Has Opened!


For the Children's Choice Book Awards. Go have your say for one of the most prestigious awards in children's literature. And you don't have to be a grown-up to vote!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Critique Retreat

So a few weeks ago I went on retreat with my Cheese Whizzes (the official name of my critique group) to the North Georgia mountains. Through a long weekend of laughing, playing, deep discussions and too much good food, we also shared our work.
     I must say, I love my critique group. These are some of the most talented ladies on the planet and my respect for every single one of them is huge. They are also incredibly intelligent and inspiring. Such open minds, yet with sincere convictions, are hard to find in today's world and I like to think there's a reason we found each other. They are, from the top left - Vicky Alvear Shecter, Moi, Robyn Hood Black, seated from left, Gail Karwoski, Kim Siegelson, and Mary Ann Rodman.


     Not only did I have the great pleasure of reading the progress of their amazing works, but I also received fabulous feedback on my novel. And I'm thrilled to report it was mostly positive! "Smooth as a smoothie," and "It's just soooo good!" Let me tell you - getting comments like that from these ladies was a very big deal for me.
     They did have a few suggestions. I'm moving a flashback scene to the opening scene and making my main character, Archie, a bit more lovable. Not hard things to do. I'm thick in the middle of the edits now and hope to have this version (I'm hoping the last version) back to my agent at the end of the month. Woosie!

And I admit, I am totally double posting on this one as it first appeared on my new blog about writing: Love My Muse.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Coloring Page Tuesdays - St. Patty's 2011

Sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and/or click here to view more coloring pages!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!
     Leprechauns are cool. They're grumpy and cute all at the same time, and they protect the most valuable treasure - BOOKS!
     And here's a heads up for EARTH DAY on April 22nd...
     I'm already receiving requests for the high resolution files of my Earth Day images for murals, t-shirts, and fliers. Did you know I share those? Yup. It's my tiny way of giving back for an important cause. So, check out my Earth Day images, and if you need the high resolution files to help promote your non-profit Earth Day activities, I'll get them to you to send to your printer.
     I also have some ready-to-order products in my Zazzle store. There's plenty of time to order - so check it out! (Click the logo.)
In association with Zazzle.comglobe
     Click here to view the entire Coloring Page Tuesday collection.
     Click the image to open a .jpg to print and color. Send your colored image (less than 1mb) to coloringpages@dulemba.com and I'll post it to my blog! Click here to find more coloring pages.

     There's still a chance to win in my Share a Story ~ Shape a Future GIVEAWAY!!! Click the logo to read more and enter!!! It's where you'll find for quotes from some top authors and illustrators in the biz as they talk about how they fell in love with reading.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Typical Slush Pile

People wonder what they look like. This is apparently the slush pile for Arthur A. Levine Books (publisher of Harry Potter).
slush

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Creative bookshelf

Every writer should have a bookshelf like this. Parenthesis! Gotta luv 'em. Reminds me of my favorite name for a cat ever - "Italics," from "Runaway Bride."
Thanks to Angela Peña Dahle for the heads up at Fresh Home!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Share a Story ~ Shape a Future: How I Fell In Love With Reading

I'm pleased to be a guest host for the 2011 Share a Story ~ Shape a Future literacy campaign! This year's theme is Unwrapping the Gift of Literacy! All week, bloggers have been talking about reading, hosting guest authors and giveaways, and generally promoting literacy. I highly suggest you go check it out!
     My job this year? To gather stories of how some top children's book authors and illustrators fell in love with reading. Some are straight quotes while others will lead you to more in depth thoughts on their own blogs, but all are an inspiration.
     And to celebrate this year's theme, I'm hosting a GIVEAWAY! In the comments, please share - how did YOU fall in love with reading? If I receive at least 50 comments, I'll do a drawing and the winner will receive one of my books - their choice!
     And don't forget - along with the images below, I have an entire section of reading-related coloring pages at Coloring Page Tuesdays: I Love to Read!
     Now on to the quotes...

     My love of reading began as I sat by my mother's side and she read me stories. She had a low, lyrical, expressive reading voice and I was mesmerized by the books she chose: FERDINAND, MILLIONS OF CATS, MADELINE. I learned to read that way. We had to haul back books in the bus from the Newport News Library. It was during the WWII war years and we were living with my grandparents in Virginia without access to a car, so mother not only carried the books, she carried my baby brother Stevie as well. But as she was a huge book lover, too, she never complained. Twice a week we would make the trip. It was heaven to me.
- Jane Yolen, author of over 300 books and often called the modern day Hans Christian Anderson

I was the only child of parents who both worked long hours. And I lived in a small town which didn't allocate much money for keeping kids entertained after school. Thank goodness for books! I discovered the library early on, its comforts and its joys. Books became not just friends but traveling companions–windows onto the big wide world I couldn't wait to get out into!
- Ellen Wittlinger, author of This Means War!, Parrotfish, and many other award-winning titles

     Your request reminds me of a bit that I wrote about discovering books for Seven Impossible Things a couple of years back:
     "Think back to that moment, that afternoon when you were 8 or 9 years-old in a library poking around, half-bored, looking for something that may interest you, and then diving 20,000 leagues under the sea, or flying off to fight pirates in Neverland, later that night – gripped by the author’s word combinations and the illustrator’s vivid pictures.
     But really, when you think about it, its all just marks on paper. Icons. Symbols. Representations of someone else’s idea of how they see the world. The storyteller can be alive and well, crafting new tales in the comfort of their home, or dust and memories from another time. If it speaks to you, it doesn’t matter.
     That’s when there is true magic.
     That’s when the outside world stops while you turn the pages.
     That’s the moment I aspire to be a part of."

- Tony DiTerlizzi, Spiderwick, etc.!
     Click here to read the rest of the interview at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

     I fell in love with reading thanks to an old edition my family had of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, the one with the N.C. Wyeth illustrations.
     I learned later that RLS began his story by drawing a treasure map for his nephew. I've always loved drawing maps, drawing pictures, and writing stories—and all of that led to a love of reading, and later the creation of Dinotopia.

- James Gurney, Click here to read more about the map of Dinotopia.

     I fell in love with reading when the letters in THE CAT IN THE HAT began to form words that I could sound out and understand. How exciting! It was like my beloved puzzles - there was a sense and an order to it, and - a STORY. I remember reading that book the first time, then going back to the beginning and starting over. By the time I'd finished it again, I knew I had got hold of something special - reading! Magic!
- Deborah Wiles, author of Countdown, Each Little Bird That Sings, and other award-winning titles

     Charles Gigna, a.k.a. "Father Goose" wrote a lovely poem about how he fell in love with reading, writing, and drawing. Here's the teaser:
Something Else

a picture book proposal
about a real boy who loves to read, write and draw,
but whose unconventional “books” and artwork
bring grave concern to his teacher.

In all her years in the classroom
Mrs. Barren had never seen anything like
Charlie's little out-of-this-world books.

Something must be done to stop him.

     Click here to go read his story, SOMETHING ELSE.

     "I did not fall in love with reading so much as I fell into reading with a kind of wide-eyed rapture. It was Delhi, India, 1961. I was five, and the book was The Three Little Kittens, an award I won for being the "most improved" in my kindergarten class. I read it fast and furiously and many times over, out loud as best as I could. I read it mostly to the neighbor's dog, the only audience willing to sit still for the duration."
- Uma Krishnaswami, author of Monsoon, The Happiest Tree, and The Grand Plan to Fix Everything.

     I wasn't a big reader... until my mom started bringing me a diet of Alistair MacLean, Robert Ludlum, and Agatha Christie. They weren't books written for kids my age, but that didn't matter. Reading what I loved made reading fun. And who doesn't like to have fun?
- Gregory K. Pincus, children's poet and novelist

     Reading and writing goes hand in hand, and to be a good writer you really do need to be a good reader. Not only do those stories show us how to tell a great tale, they inspire us to want to tell a great tale that takes our readers to the same places our favorite books take us.
- Janice Hardy, author of The Healing Wars fantasy series.
Read about how Janice not only fell in love with reading, but with writing as well at The Other Side of the Story.

     Hearing the nursery tale "The Sky is Falling" nestled beside my plumpish, perfumed grandma who read to me in her Russian accent, lending the characters, e.g. "Dawky Lawky," an exotic air.
- Sarah Lamstein, author of Big Night for Salamanders

     I have loved books ever since I can remember, but I remember falling in love with stories in third grade as a means of self-preservation. I had a sour third grade teacher named Sister Mary Analise. She should not have been asked to or told to teach third grade. She was ancient and tiny and wielded a slashing pointer like a lion tamer with a whip. She glared at us every morning as we shuffled in as if she were sniffing something unpleasant. (to be continued...)
- Kerry Madden, author of the beloved Smoky Mountain Trilogy and others. Read the rest of the story about Sister Mary Analise at Mountainmist.

     I had checked out a book from my elementary school library. A fat book. The fattest book I'd ever borrowed. It was due the next day and I had barely started it. I wasn't convinced that I would–or even could–finish it, but I lay crossways on my bed and started reading.
     And reading.
     And reading.
     The characters were so real; the situation a devastating one. I read and cried and read and cried until I did finish. I knew then that I wanted to read more books just like it. Books that drew me in and painted worlds so real that they could move me to laughter and tears.
That's how I fell in love with reading. The book? THE YEARLING by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.

- Marcia Jones, author of Ratfink, Champ, This Side of Magic, and more.

     The nature of falling in love is that it’s often unpredictable and unexpected. Falling in love with reading is like having a passionate affair that never gets old or boring. Until the day we die, we can lose ourselves in stories that fascinate, shock, entrance, or inspire us to do good in the world.
- Vicky Alvear Shecter, author of Cleopatra Rules and the forthcoming Cleopatra's Moon, recalls how she first fell in love with the subject that has consumed her reading choices at "History With a Twist."

     No doubt about it, my mom started me off. She loved to read and read to me a lot. I became a good and fast reader early on. My relatives were in the book business so I’d get boxes of books as gifts. And with libraries nearby, I never seemed to run out of books. My earliest literary passion was the Oz series, no matter who was filling in for Baum. I shared the books with two other Oz-loving children in the house we lived in, high up on Mt. Washington in LA. This was before TV. Imagine that! Since then, for me, even TV can’t compete with a good book ( though I do love TV too).
- Phillis Gershator, author of Who's in the Forest, Sky Sweeper, and more.

     ..."because Andy read a book in the 4th grade that captured his imagination, not only did he get to go to Mars, so did I! You never know which book a child will fall in love with so it only makes sense to keep offering kids as many diverse options as there are stars in the sky."
- Loreen Leedy, author/illustrator
Read Loreen's entire story of how she fell in love with reading at "How I Went to Mars."

     I fell in love with reading when my mother read "The Two Jungle Books" aloud to my twin and me. I became Mowgli, living in the jungle with a pack of wolves! What kid could have asked for more?
     Now Chil the Kite brings home the night,
     That Mang the bat sets free –
     The herds are shut in byre and hut
     For loosed till dawn are we.
     This is the hour of pride and power,
     Talon and tush and claw.
     Oh hear the call! - Good hunting all
     That keep the Jungle Law!
     - Rudyard Kipling

- Sally Keehn, author of Gnat Stokes and the Foggy Bottom Swamp Queen, and many, many more.

     I fell in love with reading upon returning to the U.S. from Germany, where my father was stationed. We had lived in an apartment house outside the base, and everyone in our little town spoke German only, except my parents. Somehow moving back to the land of the English-speakers coincided with learning to read. Imagine my joy – and my mother's – as she took us to the library almost immediately upon returning home. It was the New Rochelle Public Library in New Rochelle, New York. My mother asked the librarian for something appropriate for her little daughter who was trying to read, and she handed me the best book in the world: Little Bear. I clearly remember watching closely as my mother read Little Bear to me – how edgy I felt when he "lands on the moon" and knocks on the door of a house that looks just like his Earth house – and I remember realizing that I could read the words myself. I still know every word – and I named a daughter for Little Bear's friend Emily.
- Karen Romano Young, author of "Doodlebug: A Novel in Doodles."

     How did it start? It may have been when, on the day I came home from the hospital, my father sat down and read a book with me. Or possibly when my mom entertained my infant self by reading aloud, sometimes even the junk mail. I’m not sure exactly when my baby eyes managed to focus enough to understand what was going on, but by the age of 4 I had already been exposed to enough great books to want to tell my own stories. So I’d dictate them to my mom, who would type them into her typewriter. By kindergarten I was a four-books-under-the-pillow-at-naptime champ, and reading together before bedtime was a family Have To.
- Terra Elan McVoy, author of Pure and After the Kiss. Read more of Terra's journey at The Importance of Sharing a Story. (It's a great read!)

     For myself? As an illustrator, the images pulled me into books first. I used to stare at my favorite, The Golden Book of Elves and Fairies illustrated by my hero - Garth Williams, for hours wishing I could visit the worlds on its pages. What about the words? Well, my parents had a great idea to promote reading in our home. For every 'regular' book my sister and I read, we earned $1. However, for every classic we read, we had to write a one page report on what made it profound, and we made $10. Needless to say, I read a lot of classics! The Arabian Nights especially stood out as one of my favorites. What adventure - what a thrill!
- Elizabeth O. Dulemba, children's book author/illustrator. This is my blog, thanks so much for stopping by!

Want to support literacy? For over 50 years, Reading is Fundamental has been responsible for getting millions of books into the hands of children who otherwise might not even own a book. Sadly, they just lost their funding and could use our help:



P.S. - Click here for more 'I love to read' themed coloring pages like the ones you see above.
P.S.S. - And yes, that's one of my coloring pages used as the logo for Share a Story ~ Shape a Future: Storytime Bears.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Brian Dettmer's Altered Books

I recently saw one of Brian Dettmer's pieces in person at the MOCA gallery's "Movers and Shakers" show while there to see work by my friend Marc Brotherton. As irony would have it, Brian's work came up for discussion on my Picture Book Artists Association board the other day. It's a sign - I have to share.
     Brian takes old books and reworks them into amazing sculptures. You can visit his website here, but also check out photos of his work on flickr - especially the images of his studio and works in progress.
     Even seeing images of how he works doesn't begin to explain the mystery of these highly detailed, breathtaking pieces. Here are some examples (shared with permission - turns out he's a nice guy too!).

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

World Read Aloud Day!

By the way - today is WORLD READ ALOUD DAY! So, go stand on a corner somewhere and y'know... (Okay, I'm kidding. But really, why not?)
     Or even better, sit down with your favorite little one and share a good book.
     Click here to learn more about the celebration sponsored by the New York-based literacy organization LitWorld.

Michelle Knudsen's ARGUS


Michelle Knudsen, author of THE LIBRARY LION and the mid-grade novel THE DRAGON OF TRELIAN has a new picture book out, so you'd better be prepared to fall in love with ARGUS! When Sally's class is given chicken eggs to hatch and raise, Sally's chicken comes out a little... different. Kids are going to love pointing out how the teacher keeps missing the obvious. "Now don't be difficult," she says. The illustrations are by Andréa Wesson and the book was just released by Candlewick Press. I asked Michelle a few questions about ARGUS...

Q. Michelle, I know you have a thing for dragons (check: THE DRAGON OF TRELIAN which is now available in paperback!), but how were you able to make a dragon work for ARGUS?

A. I do indeed have a thing for dragons! :) But I'm not sure I was thinking dragons when I first started writing Argus. I knew *something* was going to hatch out of Sally's egg, something very much not-a-chicken, but I don't think I had an actual dragon plan from the beginning. Really my memory is of writing along to see what would happen. Which is often how my first drafts of picture books go. Argus, of course, is a very different kind of dragon than Jakl in The Dragon of Trelian. Much warmer and fuzzier, despite the occasional lapses in proper classroom behavior. (Although to be fair, Jakl has his warm and fuzzy moments, too.) I'm sure Argus won't be my last dragon, either. One of the things that I love about dragons is how varied they can be – I'm looking forward to getting to know the dragons who might pop up in future books.

Q. This is such a different story from your award-winning LIBRARY LION - and yet similar (another beastie where he doesn't belong). I love the oblivious humor. (Nobody seems to notice there's something odd about Sally's chicken!) How was this one different to create?

A. For one thing, this one took a really, really long time! The first draft of Library Lion sort of came in a rush – there were certainly changes and additions in subsequent drafts, but the basic core of the story was there from the beginning. With Argus, I had the beginning of the story, but I kept rewriting completely different middles and endings, trying to figure out what the story wanted to be. Looking back, I think I was trying to determine what the center of the story was... at first it was more about Argus having to prove himself to be accepted, which wasn't really where I wanted to go. Over time, I started to realize that it was more about Sally and her feelings about Argus, not so much about what the rest of the class (or the rest of the world) might think. I seem to keep returning to themes of acceptance and belonging in my books. Library Lion certainly touches on that, as does Argus, and my next picture book (BIG MEAN MIKE, illus. by Scott Magoon) also involves unexpected creatures and issues of acceptance.

Q. You seem to switch back and forth between genres so easily - can you describe what that's like for you?

A. I don't know if I would say "easily," exactly, but I do feel comfortable writing in different genres. I think some of it goes back to my initial introduction to children's publishing – I worked in the mass market children's division of Random House, and we published a lot of format books: board books, beginning readers, early chapter books, etc. I got used to the idea early on of different kinds of stories working in different kinds of books, and I began writing in various formats from the beginning. So I never felt limited to thinking of story ideas in terms of only middle-grade novels or only picture books or what-have-you. Writing my first novel was probably the most difficult genre jump for me, since I hadn't ever written anything that long or complex before. Writing picture books and writing novels are such different experiences, and I definitely enjoy the contrast and being able to switch back and forth. When I start to feel a little overwhelmed by the scope and complexity of a novel, it's nice to be able to turn to a picture book manuscript with a story that I can hold in my head all at once instead of having to think about it thread by thread or chapter by chapter. And I can spend a lot more time thinking about specific words and the sounds of sentences in a picture book. I try to think carefully about my words and sentences in novels, too, of course, but obviously it's a little different working with 1000 words compared to 90,000.

Q. I predict Argus will be very popular. How are you celebrating its release?

A. I had a book release party on the day it came out (February 22), which also happened to be my birthday. We celebrated the launch at the fabulous WORD bookstore in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and then afterward I went out with friends for a lovely dinner and further celebration. I've got several more book signings lined up (check out the "where I'll be" list in the sidebar of my blog), and will be bringing Argus with me to book festivals in Hudson, Warwick, and Rochester, NY over the next few months. I'll also be going to ALA in New Orleans with Candlewick Press, which I'm really excited about!

Thank you Michelle!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Coloring Page Tuesday - Bad Foot Bear

Sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and/or click here to view more coloring pages!

     I received such a strong reaction from my poorly hedgehog a few weeks ago (thank you for all the great comments!), I created a new section for "Feel Better" images. And considering my own bum foot of late (this is me with my new fashion accessories), this little guy came to mind...


     Click here to view the entire Coloring Page Tuesday collection.
     Click the image to open a .jpg to print and color. Send your colored image (less than 1mb) to coloringpages@dulemba.com and I'll post it to my blog! Click here to find more coloring pages.

     Share a Story ~ Shape a Future has begun! Click the logo to read more and register for GIVEAWAYS!!! And come back here Friday for quotes from some top authors and illustrators in the biz as they talk about how they fell in love with reading.





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