Monday, February 28, 2011

Updates and Downloads: Birthdays

This year, the little press that could, Tulika Books, turns 15! Known for its crow logo, its thoughtful, imaginative editors, its dedicated staff, and its books in many languages, Tulika has added voice and attitude to the children's publishing scene in India. In these fifteen years, they've done their bit to move the field beyond British and American reprints to the production of original work.

Also in the birthday department, Rukhsana Khan's little picture book with a big heart, Big Red Lollipop, has been gathering accolades. About greed, temptation, and the complicated relationships between siblings, set in the context of a birthday party, it's been awarded the 2011 Charlotte Zolotow Award for best picture book text. It was among the New York Times top ten illustrated books of 2010, and most recently, it's a Golden Kite winner in the picture book category. Betsy Bird says of it:
"This book packs a wallop, in part because of the art of Sophie Blackall, and in part because Khan has given us one of the best stories about forgiveness I’ve read in a very long time."
Finally, Michelle Knudsen of Library Lion fame celebrated her birthday with a book launch! Argus is about an egg project, a teacher with a focus, and a kid who has no idea what's in store for her, all set against the wildly wonderful dynamic of an elementary school classroom.  The illustrations, with Andréa Wesson’s light touch, extend and enrich the story, so that subtlety and humor help to incubate the theme of embracing difference.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Mirror by Jeannie Baker

Thank you, Erin Hagar, for giving me my very own signed (signed!) copy of this beautiful bilingual (English-Arabic) book. No, I can't read Arabic. If I did I'm sure it would enhance my engagement with the book but it's captivating regardless.

Here courtesy of Australian indie bookstore Pages and Pages Booksellers is a quick look at this story of two boys and two families: one in Australia and one in Morocco.

Mostly wordless, Mirror simultaneously reveals and challenges. It reveals two lives in two contexts, two ways of reading a book. It challenges preconceptions that one set of people might hold about another, and about the primacy of text and technology in human societies. It reveals the power of social compacts and of trade. It even questions assumptions young readers may have about the construction of a book. Here is a book to savor and return to and talk about, and it pulls all this off with no words apart from the brief introductory text. The shapes and lines of landscapes make statements that echo each other and seem to be pointing back and forth. Read both sets of illustrations simultaneously, turning the pages with both hands if you can. You can practically feel your brain charging itself.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Two Umas and a book: Chennai Book Launch, February 11, 2011

Here it is, the promised video footage from the Landmark Citi Centre, Chennai, book launch of  Out of the Way! Out of the Way!

Featuring the two Umas, many wonderful people from Tulika Books, my friend and colleague Ellen Howard from VCFA, her friend and fellow traveler, writer Winnie Schecter, many friends new and dear, and several children skipping through the event in their own way, on their own terms.

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Few Last Thoughts on the Food Chain From Jules at Seven Imp

I can't think of a more suitable blog to have the very last word on Katherine Hauth's blog tour with her book of culinary delight in the animal kingdom, What's For Dinner: Quirky, Squirmy Poems From the Animal World, illustrated by David Clark and published this month by Charlesbridge.

Here it is, the concluding post from Seven Impossible Things for Breakfast (Why Stop at Six?) affectionately known to chilldren's book bloggers as Seven Imp.

Thanks to all who took part in this blog tour, and to Charlesbridge for their coordination. Congratulations once more to Katherine on this masterfully crafted book.

I'm delighted to have been part of the journey, and honored to be a member of the Autodidactics group that kept the table laid. In a manner of speaking.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Book event in Chennai: Out of the Way! Out of the Way!

One last post on Katherine's book is yet to come, a kind of post-blog tour post from Jules of Seven Imp.

Meanwhile I need to skip oceans as I sometimes do, and announce a book event at Landmark Citi Centre in Chennai (Madras) this Friday, February 11, at 6:00 pm.

There will be  theatrical performance, readings, and more. Illustrator Uma Krishnaswamy will be there as well as Tulika Publishing representatives. Stay tuned for evidence from the WWBT roving Flipcam.

Monday, February 07, 2011

David Clark on the illustrations in What's For Dinner?

Thanks to David Clark for permission to use some of the delectable images from What's For Dinner? in this post. Old fashioned dip pen and ink with watercolor washes, they capture and  play upon the whimsy of the words.

Here's one of the possible jacket images that fell by the wayside--just by way of a peek into the process by which the art developed.

 [Uma] Tell me what your first reactions were to Katherine's manuscript and why you agreed to illustrate this book.

[David]  Very unique!  Susan Sherman at Charlesbridge knew my style and I believe they knew I would jump on this subject matter....  She was right.  It was a good match!

[Uma] Do you have any favorite poems that sparked pictures immediately in your mind?

[David] "Eating Words" the last poem in the book is one of my favorites but it really is hard to pick.  The poems, in general, were inspirational and the imagery came fairly easy.

[Uma] Let's talk about the vulture image for a moment. The poem begins: "No dainty vegetarian..." but oh my, that vulture looks pretty elegant.

[David] I guess the art evolves. I tend to tinker with the sketches while finishing and of course the publisher and author lend a hand in the over all look.  Elegant carcass eater works!

It does indeed. Here's the sketch for that picture, along with the final image. See how that neck got extended, and the head tipped up and back just a touch? See the extra carrion stretch? Makes all the difference.

What a treat to see the lines of the art take shape to fit the precise mood and tone of the lines of poetry.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Poetry Friday: What's For Dinner?

This Poetry Friday, it's all about the food chain. Here are links to three bloggers writing about What's For Dinner? by Katherine B. Hauth, illustrated by David Clark.

Sylvia Vardell blogs at Poetry for Children. She is a professor at Texas Woman's University, a poetry and children's literature scholar, and co-editor of Bookbird, the journal of international children's literature, and the annual review guide, Librarians' Choices. Check back again if the post isn't live yet.

Julie Larios is a friend and colleague at Vermont College of Fine Arts, a poet, and the author of Yellow Elephant and  other wonderful picture books. She's an extraordinary teacher of the fine art of slowing down and paying attention. Julie gathers language, image, and wit at The Drift Record. In this post she examines the craft, whimsy, and pure delight to be had in Katherine's poetic study of animal eating preferences.

Anastasia Suen, prolific writer and inspiring teacher, author of over a hundred fiction and nonfiction titles for children including Subway, Dino Hunt, Wired, and many, many more. Anastasia lists quick book talk lines for picture books at Picture Book of the Day.

Finally, here is an author profile of Katherine Hauth on the publisher's web site, complete with a downloadable pdf for interested teachers and librarians.  Not just who eats what, but in what poetic form. Learn about the animal kingdom's quirky eating habits, with a dishy serving of wordplay, and a helping of laughter on the side, in What's For Dinner? Starred review in Kirkus.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

What's For Dinner? Video interview with Katherine B. Hauth

Katherine Hauth blends wordplay, imagery, and the often grisly food habits of denizens of the animal world in her new book from Charlesbridge: What's For Dinner? Quirky, Squirmy Poems From the Animal World. Katherine and I have been in a critique group for several years now, so I have had the opportunity to chow down, in a manner of speaking, on many of these poems at various stages of their development.

It's a delight to see the final work in print now.

As the Publisher's Weekly review says, "Hauth's funny, eloquent poems celebrate the often-grisly realities of the food chain." Congratulations, Katherine!