Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Flying Clouds

I recently read and enjoyed Dare The Wind, from Tracey Fern and Emily Arnold McCully, a new book which tells how in 1851 Ellen Prentiss helped the clipper ship Flying Cloud make a record-setting run from New York to San Francisco — 89 days, 21 hours. I enjoyed the book because it’s a well told story, beautifully illustrated, on an interesting subject. I took a little extra pleasure from the book because a small drawing of the Flying Cloud appears in the front endpapers of Locomotive as an illustration of how one might have traveled between the East and West Coasts before the opening of the transcontinental railroad (which reduced the travel time for such a trip to about a week). (That’s the drawing from Locomotive above, based a model that I saw and photographed at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. A fantastic model; you can see it online here.) I like to think that someone, somewhere, might end up reading both Dare the Wind and Locomotive, and make the connection. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Thank you

Thank you to the Caldecott and Sibert Committee members for Monday morning’s overwhelming news, and congratulations to all the authors and illustrators whose books were recognized by the ALSC this year!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Marty McGuire Has Too Many Pets!

Marty McGuire Has Too Many Pets!, written by the funny and thoughtful Kate Messner, illustrated by me, comes out in one week from Scholastic Books. 

A synopsis: “After visiting a sanctuary for retired lab chimpanzees, Marty wants to follow in the footsteps of her idol Jane Goodall and help with their care. But “adopting a chimp” is expensive, so Marty and her third-grade pals hatch a plan to raise money by holding a talent show at school and opening a pet-sitting business in Marty’s basement. It turns out that each pet has a personality of its own, and wrangling them is much harder than Marty expected. How will Marty keep her latest great idea from going to the dogs?” 

It was great fun for me to get to spend time with Marty and friends again while illustrating this third Marty McGuire book, and I think readers will feel the same way while reading it. You can find the book at your nearest independent bookstore via Indiebound, here, and you can find it online at other bookstores, well, you know where. 

Above: Ms. Stephanie, a school librarian, introduces Marty and Annie to Lady Macbeth, a cranky hedgehog. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Apollo 8, and Christmas at the moon

It’s the 45th anniversary of Apollo 8, the first Apollo mission to give astronauts a view of the Earth, whole. An interview from earlier this year with historian Robert Poole and astronaut Bill Anders, here, digs into their iconic image of the Earth rising over the face over the moon, and a new video with historian and author Andrew Chaikin, here, gives a new understanding of the taking of the photo. And today is, of course, the perfect day to listen to Apollo 8’s Christmas Eve address from their orbit around the moon, here. It concludes, “And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a merry Christmas, and God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth.” Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Locomotive on lists

The year is closing, which makes this the season for lists. For anyone with a book out, watching these collections of titles trickle out can be as nerve-wracking as rolling over the Dale Creek Bridge, but Locomotive has had a good crossing and found itself in a lot of good company this year, and I’m grateful to everyone who’s included the book in their year-end accounting: 

New York Times 10 Best Illustrated Books of the Year selection
Wall Street Journal Top 10 Children's Books of 2013 Top 20 Children's Books of 2013
Booklist’s Top of the List pick for Youth Picture Book 2013
Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2013
School Library Journal Best Books 2013 Nonfiction
 Kirkus Reviews Best Children’s Books of 2013
Horn Book Fanfare selection
NYPL 100 Books for Reading and Sharing 2013 selection
Huffington Post Best Picture Books of 2103 (Best History/Biography)
Shelf Awareness Best Books of 2013
Fuse #8 100 Magnificent Children’s Books 2013 selection

It was a long, often difficult, often fantastic experience making Locomotive — all of which makes this notice all the more rewarding. Thank you to all above.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A new collaboration

A commission and funding from Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge made possible the collaboration described in Jan Greenberg and Sandra JordanBallet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring. Fast forward to today, and the Martha Graham Dance Company is running a Kickstarter campaign to make possible a new collaboration, this time with choreographer Nacho Duato. If the process in Ballet for Martha was interesting to you, then here’s a chance to see something like it from the inside, and for less than it cost Elizabeth Coolidge; for $20 (or more), donors will be able to watch a rehearsal via live streaming video. I feel lucky to have been able to watch the Company rehearse while I was working on Ballet for Martha and am glad to think of other people getting the chance, too. And even if you don’t watch the rehearsal, the campaign still gives those interested the chance to help some great artists create new work. You can take a look at the campaign, including a video that shows more of what this new piece will be about, here.