Showing posts with label authors. Show all posts
Showing posts with label authors. Show all posts

Monday, February 13, 2012

Interview with Nancy Tafuri and Giveaway


I have had a hard time getting back in the swing of things after my vacation! But I think I am back to regular life and ready to start blogging again. I am really excited about this post today. I recently reviewed All Kinds of Kisses, and today I have an interview with the author Nancy Tafuri to share. And in conjunction with the interview, I am giving away one copy of All Kinds of Kisses! 

Nancy Tafuri has authored over 45 books, including 1985 Caldecott Honor book Have You Seen My Duckling?



Meet Nancy:


What books did you love as a child?
Every week my mother and I would go grocery shopping and a new picture book
would make this event a winner...
I am a product of the Classic Golden Book era:

The Pokey Little Puppy
The Little Red Hen
The Animals of Farmer Jones

and then there was:
The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
I-Think-I-Can, I-Think-I-Can!
Which has been my motto throughout my life!

What illustrators or artists have been influential to you?
Beatrix Potter, Maurice Sendak and the early twentieth century children’s book
illustrators like Mary Louise Spoor.

Describe your path to publication. 
My path was rocky. The illustrations I drew were for very young children and they were large and bold and picture book illustration in the late 1970’s was mostly aimed at five-, six-, and seven-year-olds. My images were considered “too graphic” for children that age. “The pictures are too big,” I was told over and over about the large, colorful shapes I drew. Finally, I was recognized at Greenwillow Books, Harper Collins Publishers.

What medium do you use most frequently? 
I’m happy the days of pre-separation are over, many of my first books had countless acetate overlays and and color percentages were involved in choosing the right shades. Now my favorite colors come from watercolors, inks, colored pencils and waterproof black pen lines.

Describe your work space. 
My studio is in an old converted chicken shed. It’s filled with bright light and looks out on an apple orchard and HAVE YOU SEEN MY DUCKLING?’s pond.

A lot of your work is in someway connected to nature, what draws you to illustrate nature? 
Since I’m surrounded by nature it’s always auditioning. Bluebirds, squirrels, ducks they all want to be in a book!

What do you like to do in your free time? 
I love to read, walk, antique, work in the garden, visit my daughter and eat my husbands fabulous food!


If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be? 
I have visited my special place Hilltop Farm, Near Sawrey, England which was the home of Beatrix  Potter.

Thanks to Nancy for giving us a glimpse into her life as an artist.  I love the idea of an old chicken shed turned art studio - and looking over a pond, nonetheless!

Today, one lucky reader will receive a copy of Nancy Tafuri's latest book All Kinds of Kisses.  To enter the giveaway you must be a US resident.

You get one entry for commenting.
You can get an extra entry for posting about the giveaway on Facebook.
And a third for pinning it on Pinterest.

Make sure to leave a way for me to contact you if you are the winner!  The giveaway will close Saturday morning, the 18th.

And since only one of you can win, and Valentine's is tomorrow - I think this would be a very fun, non-Valentinesy, Valentine book to give to children!

Monday, September 26, 2011

National Book Festival - Recap

On Saturday, we went to the National Book Festival, and it was fantastic.  Fall on the mall is great in and of itself - and was even more fun this time because it was filled with people, tents, books and authors.  There is something wonderful about a festival dedicated entirely to books.  Here are some of the highlights:


My 6-year-old daughter and I listened to Tomie DePaula.  We found one open seat on the back row with people crowded around us standing.  My daughter had to stand on the chair to see but she was thrilled.  Tomie's presentation summed up was fun and familiar.  He has a great sense of humor, and it felt like we were listening to a long lost friend.  He spent a good amount of time teaching the audience how to blow three kisses (like Strega Nona did to her pasta pot) like a real italian: hold your first three fingers together, press them up to your heavily puckered lips, say mmmmmm really loud and long - then blow.  At the end he took questions, and my daughter bee-lined to the microphone and asked him the following question:  "I want to be an artist when I grow up - how did you learn to make good art?"  His answer was great.  Kind of.  He said that he went to art school and drew a lot.  He got paper and crayons for Christmas and he drew everywhere - on his sheets, on the walls, under the wallpaper.  Practice, practice, practice, he said.  And never copy anyone.  Great advice - let's just hope I am not bleaching sheets and scrubbing walls . . .


Brian Selznick was engaging and fascinating.  I can not wait to read his new book Wonderstruck.  The amount of research he put into it is simply amazing.  He explained the process of creating two completely separate stories - one with words only, the other with pictures only, and then making the two intersect at the end.  He said that Wonderstruck begins with illustrations, which tell the story of a character named Rose.  Then there is text, which tells the story of a second character named Ben.  And at some point the two stories come together.  As he spoke about the process, I could not help but be completely taken in.  I also found particularly impressive his acknowledgment of the sign language interpreters.  At the start of his presentation he took the time to thank her and introduce her by name.   If you have the chance to listen to Brian Selznick, I highly recommend it.


Our final author was Jane O'Connor.  She was at the family story telling stage so she did not have a presentation about her work but rather read her latest story to the crowd.  She did tell about her inspiration for her books - herself as a child.  And she was fancy.  She came adorned with lots of bracelets, a pink boa and a tiara.  She was very fun and my son and daughter both enjoyed listening to her read - although my daughter may have appreciated her "fanciness" a little more . . .

All in all it was a huge success, and my kids and I are already looking forward to next year.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Author blogs

Blogs are ubiquitous.  From blogs about our families, to design or literature blogs - there is a blog out there for everyone to read.  Included in the blogging world are many authors.  And if authors aren't blogging they almost certainly have a website.  In my posts on this blog, I will always include a link to the author or illustrator's blog or website if they have one.  I do this because I think there is a lot to be gained from viewing an author's blog or website:

1.  A lot of authors will blog about books they have read and liked.  If you have an author you like you may also like the books they suggest. 
2. Some authors write about the writing process and how they approach it.  This can give you greater insight into their writing process as well as help you if you want to write.  
3. Author's websites can have elements that kids enjoy and will get them excited about reading their books.  

Here are a few examples - 

- Shannon Hale has a very fun blog to read.  She is funny and discusses lots of current literary topics and gives book recommendations as well.  
- Kate DiCamillo has one of my very favorite "On Writing" Sections and I love her monthly (ish) writing posts as well.  
- Mo Willems has a very fun website for kids.  My kids enjoyed the games - Elephant and Piggie Dancing was a hit but the hot dog dress up game was their favorite.  With options like a bowling ball and dirty socks on a hot dog they were laughing hysterically.

These are just a few examples of authors on the internet.  On my sidebar I have added a section with Author Blogs/Websites so you can click through to them easily.  If you have a favorite author blog or website - let me know about it!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ruth Sanderson


Periodically I will have guest posts featuring other people's favorite authors and books.  Here is a post from Cara of Paperwhite:
 Ruth Sanderson is one of my favorite storybook authors and illustrators.  Her drawings are absolutely magical.  Her books include Cinderella, Snow Princess, Twelve Dancing Princesses, Rose Red and Snow White.  Her re-telling of classic fairy tales is superb, she consults various versions of the classics, like the Grimm version and the French version of Cinderella, to make her own adaptation of the stories.  While the story-telling is wonderful it is really her illustrations that make her story books magical.
 Ruth Sanderson's collection of children's books can be found on her website which you can access by clicking here.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Peter Brown



Every Christmas I go to my favorite independent bookstore - Politics and Prose - and browse the picture books for gifts for my children. Last year I picked up for my daughter The Curious Garden by Peter Brown. The illustrations are so beautiful and I love the story. It tells the story of Liam, an accidental gardener, who changes the landscape of the city with a watering can. The story is fun and humorous at times, but the illustrations are beautiful. The story begins dark and dreary with browns and grays and transforms to bright greens accented with other cheery colors. The details are impressive as well - small Liam walking on a street in an illustration of the entire city and pages filled with tiny butterflies, bees and ladybugs. It quickly became one of our favorite picture books this past year.

This year I went back again and perused the shelves only to pick up a book that I realized after reading was also by Peter Brown - Children Make Terrible Pets. This book has a little different style from The Curious Garden but is very fun as well. My children love animals and therefore love the idea of a bear, named Lucy, adopting a little boy as a pet. It turns out little boys are hard to keep under control and the illustrations tell the story of a child pet gone wrong with very funny pictures and a story to match.

Peter Brown's website is: www.peterbrownstudio.com. Go find a story by Peter Brown . . . you won't be disappointed.