Bologna 2018 - Day 1

The Bologna Children's Book Fair takes place at an enormous conference center on the north side of the city. It is made up of six rugby-sized pitches with a huge central area connecting them all.
Some people stay in hotels near the conference center. The rest (including me) are scattered all over the city of Bologna and take the buses or taxis in. A wave of people descends and the air is abuzz with excitement.

Illustrators arrive early to nail good spaces on the illustrator walls.

I got some great spaces to post my Hollins schwag - I'll tell you about that in its own post.
     Meanwhile, I had the debut spot alongside Julien Chung for the Dueling Illustrators activity at the SCBWI booth.
I love doing these. I'm a ham, so they're so much fun! Here I am with my dueling partner, victorious after drawing about ten images, one minute each, for a story by Laya Steinberg, called 59 Beards.
Quite the audience builds up during these duels. Happily, Katie Chappell was in the crowd. We were MFA students together at the University of Edinburgh. So, we walked around for a bit, checking out all the publisher booths. Anglia Ruskin's was impressive as usual.
I was also impressed by the booth for Taiwan...
and Beijing.
Lavieri stood out for the large artwork on display.
But my fave was the Laurence King Publishers booth where they had a slot for illustrators to pop their postcards into. Katie and I had to get a photo with that one! We had fun peeking in and saying, "Hellooooo!"
There was an SCBWI party that evening, but after my 3:00am flight, I was beat and headed back to my flat for a well-earned crash to prepare for Day 2!

All of my Bologna 2018 Links:
Bologna 2018 - The arrival
Bologna 2018 - Day 1
Bologna and Hollins University Outreach
Bologna 2018 - Illustrators’ Dinner
Bologna 2018 - Walking around
Bologna 2018 - A Publisher’s Dinner
Bologna 2018 was for Illustrators

Friday Links List - 30 March 2018

From Medium: So You've Written a Children's Book . . . Now What? from Chronicle Editor, Ariel Richardson

From Medium: The Surprisingly Complex Principles of a Successful Picture Book from Chronicle Editor, Melissa Manlove, "Mystery is what draws us back to a book again and again; it is what makes any work of art more than the sum of its parts."

From Medium: 7 Must-Read Articles on Diversity Within the Publishing Industry from Chronicle

From PW: Marlon Bundo and Exclusivity - Important read.

From Book Riot: Children's Rhyming Books That Won't Rhyme - and we wonder why publishers say they don't want them!

From HuffPost: 17 Children's Books To Read To Your Kids In Honor Of Women's History Month

From The Children's Book Review: How Children's Books are Inspiring the Next Generation of Activists


I recently flipped over Gloria's Voice: The Story of Gloria Steinem, Feminist, Activist, Leader (People Who Shaped Our World) by Aura Lewis. So I had to reach out to Sterling Children's Books to invite her to come chat!
e: The timing of Gloria’s Voice is so perfect. What inspired you to create this book?
I made the book two years ago, which was just a little before this current feminist moment. I’m lucky that the timing was so perfect! I’ve always been interested and passionate about the women’s movement and feminist history, particularly second wave feminism in the 60s and 70s. I wanted to find a way to talk about these ideas with kids, and when I had the idea of making a book about Ms. Steinem it seemed perfect!
e: This is your first published picture book - congratulations! What was your path to publication?
I sent in a complete book dummy to a conference. My editor there loved it and made an offer.
e: Is there a unique or funny story behind the creation of Gloria’s Voice?
I created the book during the first year of my illustration grad program. When I graduated a year later, I was extremely excited to learn that Ms. Steinem was the keynote speaker at our graduation! I had the opportunity to personally hand her a package I made with a letter and paintings, telling her about the book.
e: I love the gloss sunglasses on the cover. Gloria is famous for her sunglasses, yes?
Aviators, yes:)

e: What was your creative process and media for this book, can you walk us through it?
The illustrations are done in pencil and watercolor. In most of the images I collaged parts together- so each illustration was handmade in parts and then assembled digitally.
e: What do you think makes an illustration magical, what I call "Heart Art” - the sort that makes a reader want to come back to look again and again?
I love this question! For me much of the heart is in the color, which sets the tone and mood. I also feel like each illustration should convey an emotion, or hold a secret that the reader can look for. Something surprising, joyful, interesting or meaningful. Adding thoughtful details can also bring the reader back again and again.
e: Is there something in particular about this story you hope readers will take away with them, perhaps something that isn’t immediately obvious?
I really wanted to convey the message to kids to be strong and proud of who they are, and feel like they can dream and do big things! The book is not only about feminist ideas, but about empowerment in general.

e: Are there more famous women you want to create books about?
Oooooh I would love to make books about lots of women, but it’s tricky when they’re not as famous as Gloria:) Some women I would love to write about are Jane Austen, Yoko Ono, Maya Angelou...and many more 🌸

e: I look forward to seeing them!

Bologna 2018 - the Arrival

Remember when I went to the Bologna Children's Book Fair in 2016? (CLICK HERE for that wrap-up.) Well, this year, Hollins University sent me to the Fair in an official capacity for International Student Outreach for our Children's Literature Graduate Programs. Woohoo! Here's how it went...
     Sunday, I woke up at 3:00am to catch a 6:30 flight to Bratislava (the farthest east I have ever traveled, nobody spoke English there) and then on to Bologna for the Fair.
     I returned to the same sweet Airbnb flat I stayed in on my 2016 visit, up these stairs.
The flat is simply adorable, with lots of privacy and its own kitchen where I make all my breakfasts and lunches to take to the fair with me, partly to avoid the lines and partly because of my dietary restrictions which are nearly impossible to accomodate at the fair. It works perfectly since there's a little grocery store at the end of the street.
My host, Agata kindly accepted the schwag that Hollins mailed in anticipation of my visit. It was more than I expected - wowsa! They sent posters, brochures, a lariate, a t-shirt, 2 boxes of fancy business cards with my title of 'Visiting Associate Professor', and brochure holders.
The flat is just south of Piazza Maggiore and the heart of everything.

I hit the ground running that first night with an SCBWI dinner party at Osteria De Poeti.
Here's my new friend Dana Carey from France and Ale Díaz Bouza from Spain...
and my long-time friend Susan Eaddy and Tracy Barrett from Tennessee. (You can also see Paul Zelinsky and his wife Deborah there.)
It was a great kick-off to what would prove to be a very busy, effective, and fun-filled week! So, keep reading!

All of my Bologna 2018 Links:
Bologna 2018 - The arrival
Bologna 2018 - Day 1
Bologna and Hollins University Outreach
Bologna 2018 - Illustrators’ Dinner
Bologna 2018 - Walking around
Bologna 2018 - A Publisher’s Dinner
Bologna 2018 was for Illustrators

Coloring Page Tuesday - Easter 2018

     HOPPY EASTER! CLICK HERE for more EASTER-THEMED coloring pages, and if they add joy and value to your life, please...
Become a Patron!
     CLICK HERE to sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and... Also, check out my books! Especially...
my debut novel, A BIRD ON WATER STREET - winner of over a dozen literary awards, including Georgia Author of the Year. Click the cover to learn more!
     When the birds return to Water Street, will anyone be left to hear them sing? A miner's strike allows green and growing things to return to the Red Hills, but that same strike may force residents to seek new homes and livelihoods elsewhere. Follow the story of Jack Hicks as he struggles to hold onto everything he loves most.
     I create my coloring pages for teachers, librarians, booksellers, and parents to enjoy for free with their children, but you can also purchase rights to an image for commercial use, please contact me. If you have questions about usage, please visit my Angel Policy page.

The Falconry Centre at Dalhousie Castle

I went to Dalhousie Castle the other day to say 'hi' to friends visiting for the Kindling Words Writers Retreat in Scotland. I loved seeing everyone! Christine Taylor-Butler and I took at lovely walk down to the castle's Falconry Centre.
Dalhousie has its very own falconry centre with full-time employees who take care of the birds, both hand-raised and rescues. Each day, the birds are brought from their enclosures to sit on stands.

The birds sit amazingly close to visitors, although, smartly, one isn't supposed to touch them. (One of the eagles nibbled on her keeper's ear - it was sweet but looked a bit painful.)
This little Merlin was so cute, he just watched me and watched me. "Hello!"
And this little guy had such a funny name, I had to get his photo even though he was fast asleep. He is called a Boobook Owl.
I got some video of the caretaker putting an eagle outside. Click the image to watch on Youtube:
Not all the birds left their enclosures. Many of the owls stayed inside, I suppose because they are supposed to be nocturnal. Although, this guy didn't look happy about it.
This guy had the greatest ears!
Truly, they were right there and HUGE!
As you can see when Chris was taking a picture of this enormous owl.
Of course, I had to visit the crow, because of my new book coming out this fall - Crow Not Crow by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple. I praised the crow as being the smartest bird in the bunch, to which it came over to look at me more closely. I think it approved of my opinion.
Falconry is an ancient practice, one that kept many people fed through their trained hunting methods. My friend, Leslie Jacoby is translating a Medieval French text on falconry into English for her PhD. (I shared her talk about Falconry HERE.) I'm hoping she'll leave a good comment below!

#KidLitWomen - Week 4

#KidLitWomen is still going STRONG! Have you been reading? I'm sharing this Sunday so that you can have time to read over the weekend.
We're celebrating Women's History Month with 31 days of posts focused on improving the climate for social and gender equality in the children’s and teens’ literature community. Join in the conversation on Facebook or Twitter #kidlitwomen.
MARCH 18th
From Elizabeth (Gussie) Lewis: Game Changers
Erin Kono: Women Who Draw Witty
Rebecca Emberley: Are We Brave Enough to Stop Pretending?
Ali Benjamin: What Would Julian Do?

MARCH 19th
Jennifer Mann: Mothers and Fathers: Gender Stereotyping in the Contemporary Picture Book
Faye Bi: Who Gets a Tour? (And Other Questions...)
Erin Murphy and others: Is This Thing On? Giving a Voice to Funny
Mary Quattlebaum: Animals as Characters/Subjects...
Cheryl Blackford: Does Age Matter? Ageism Publishing and a Youth-Focused Culture

MARCH 20th
Dawn Metcalf: Be the Heroine of Your Story
Traci Bold: Not Just a Pretty Picture: Women Illustrators, Why I Love Their Work
Libby Koponen: She Looked Like a Pudding Covered With Mold

MARCH 21st
Karen Blumenthal: Reclaiming Women's History - Still
Sarah Darer: Branding or Gendering?
Erin Nowak: Revising the White Male World of Picture Books: A Pre-Published Perspective

MARCH 22nd
Caroline Carson: Who Are We Writing About? Who Are We Writing For?
Tanya Konerman: Where Are All the Girls? How the Underrepresentation of Females in Children's Books Continues in the 21st Century and How It Affects All Children
Kara LaReau: Cars, Butterflies, and Pez: Addressing Toxic Masculinity as a Writer and a Parent
Molly B. Burnham: An Audit of My Experience
Kieran Dutcher: Beyond Frida Kahlo and Georgia O'Keefe

MARCH 23red
Lita Judge: On Being Your Husband's Boss
Dill Werner: How To Be More Inclusive of Nonbinary Genderneutral and Trans People in Your Spaces
Ashia Ray: Why Is It So Hard to Find Respectful Disability Books?
Sheela Chari: Writing Mysteries for Girls
Marian Llanos: Immigrant Voices Want to Tell Stories

You can also access the full list as it progresses at Mishka Yeager's Website.
MY post went live on March 17th! Rewriting the Cultural Narrative
Did the #kidlitwomen Caldecott Gender Gap article get you down? Try some uplift! Follow @citymousedc and @AlisonLMorris for a post a day about books illustrated by women! Post your own faves, too (don't forget WOC!) with #kidlitwomen and #womeninillustration

VIDEO: Mr. Rogers Documentary

I grew up watching Mr. Rogers, how about you? There's a new documentary coming out about this sweet man and you can watch the trailer at the Good News Network. Click the image.