Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Dear Author, Dear Year

It's a new year, windy and cold,
and here we are,
this complex, wonderful world of people.

My hope this year
is to keep searching for the glow in our daily dirt,
to coax out stories,
to make art that spreads welcoming arms across divides,
and to find ways to bloom courage and compassion into this world.

Tomorrow, our kids' Caldecott club meets.
We've nearly finished evaluating books,
and this week we get to write letters to authors and illustrators.
Several years ago, the wildebeests and I began a snail mail letter project,
attempting to write to as many children's book illustrators and authors possible.

I think we were aiming to write 100 letters.
Haven't quite gotten to one hundred letters.
Maybe thirty.
But I like to dream big. 
And regardless, we've received delightful responses!
Here is Pip with an original art card from Dana Sullivan,
author and illustrator of the Digger and Daisy books, and
Kay Kay's Alphabet Safari.
Thank you, Dana Sullivan!

Here's Winnie with a letter from Kim Baker, author of Pickle. 
Pickle happens to be one of Winnie's most favorite books ever,
so how outstanding to receive a handwritten letter and a shirt!
We have heart eyes all the way to the moon, Kim Baker.

We've heard from a bundle of lovely people - 

I'm warmed to the toes just to think of them all.

Children's book authors and illustrators have a magical position.
They endow kids with value, saying,
 "These books are made for YOU.
You are worthy of stories true and deep, 
of stories that question and challenge,
embrace and illuminate."

Artists, writers, friends with your own creative bents,
thank you for sharing your special magic with us.

Here's to 2017.
May we be heart-bold in it.
May we create colossally,
speak bravely,
forgive freely,
love fiercely
as if this is the only today we have.


When the Sea Turned to Silver  by Grace Lin
Switch by Ingrid Law
The Storyteller - Evan Turk
Hap-pea All Year  by Keith Baker
Maybe Something Beautiful -  F. Isabel Campoy, Theresa Howell, Rafael Lopez

Saturday, December 24, 2016

advent friends

Here are the polar friends, nearly finished,
hoping to bring light and love
into the world.
They kind of make me feel like the party has arrived. 
See? They even brought candy canes and made cookies. 
I kind of forgot to make Christmas cards 
so these are going to be my tiny love and light-bringers.

And these.
Happy Advent, my friends.
May thankfulness, 
and light 
fill you up
and bring you peace. 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

A little birdie told me...

 Here's a peek at some of my new treats:
 Tiny buttons! 
More batches of sight word cards - in new boxes to boot!
Plus greeting cards, stickers, 
and small, gifty surprises
that I'm still finishing.   
If you are local, you're welcome to come visit me downtown this Friday or Saturday.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends. 
I hope your day is rich and deep. 
surrounded in love, 
bright in gratitude.

Friday, November 18, 2016

The way we stroll...

Some of us are supposed to be getting ready for a pop-up art sale next week
but we keep getting lost the woods!

The good news: new art flashcard sets are coming!
 I'll keep you posted.

Here's to finding light and joy in the midst of the wild & woolly this week.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Kids' Caldecott Club, Part 1

Kids' Caldecott Club is up and running!

In our first session, we talked about the Caldecott award, and about how the Caldecott committee works. We talked about layers, theme, and tone in story, and what we will look for as we hunt for the most distinguished picture books of 2016.

Here's one - Alan's Big Scary Teeth by Jarvis.
I asked the kids to tell me what kind of tone or mood they predicted it might have.

The Tree in the Courtyard by Jeff Gottesfeld, ill. by Peter McCarty
shows a different tone - historical, poignant.

The Night Gardener by the Fan Brothers
feels mysterious and intricate

Henry and Leo by Pamela Zagarienski
has a soft and ethereal mood.

We're starting with about 28 books this year because we only have so much time.
It would be lovely to absolutely roll in a roomful of books, but considering that we are working with after-school hours, 28 books is perfect. 

Our wonderful librarian Martha helped as we evaluated two books with our ballots this week.

First, we examined the cover, jacket flaps, endpapers, copyright page.
We looked for interesting notes about the making of the book.

Next, we "read" the pictures all through, page by page, without words.
We searched for themes, color, mood, point of view, excellent details.

Then, I read the book aloud.

We asked ourselves what the book was about.
We asked what else it was about.
We looked for details to support our ideas,
nuances in text and art, in layout, in font.
We asked ourselves if the text and illustrations wove well together, or clashed.

We asked if the book would appeal to kids, if kids would be excited about that book.

We filled out our ballots and put them in their matching envelopes.


Here are the books we examined this week:

We All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel
I'm utterly wowed by the mind-explosions They All Saw a Cat creates. 
I love the details our kids' committee noticed - 
like balance in layout, patterns in text that echo in the illustrations, 
exuberant differences in perspective throughout this book.

The Music in George's Head : George Gershwin Creates Rhapsody in Blue
by Suzanne Slade, illustrated by Stacy Innerst
Another wowzer!

Kids pointed out that the illustrations are done in browns and blues,
which seemed fitting considering that it's about Rhapsody in Blue.
They liked the playful hand lettering,
and the way the story begins, crescendos, and ends.
We listened to Rhapsody in Blue as we tidied up.
What a jazzy bright delight!

I love my library!

Stay tuned for updates as our Caldecott Club continues.
I'll post notes on our ballot and criteria next time.

If you're a local friend, you're welcome to join us!

We're meeting Thursdays 

at the Jefferson County Library in Port Hadlock

from 3:45-4:45 p.m.

See more info here.

Except on Thanksgiving.
That's reserved for the turkey eating club.


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