Monday, January 28, 2008

Saturday, January 19, 2008

When it rains it pours

And, Lightship is now an ALA Notable Book, and a finalist for a Cybils (Children’s & YA Bloggers’ Literary Awards), in the category Nonfiction Picture Book. Thank you librarians, and thank you bloggers!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Good news at sea

Last night, while burning the midnight oil on Moonshot (the 7:30 oil, actually), I had the good fortune to receive one of those mythic calls from an American Library Association meeting: the kind where a committee chairperson gives you good news while the rest of the committee cheers in the background. I’d heard tell of such calls, but this was my first, and the news was that Lightship was chosen as a Robert F. Sibert Honor Book. The Sibert Medal “is awarded annually to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished informational book published in English during the preceding year.” Peter Sís took home the Sibert this year (the gold one), for The Wall, and then Lightship and Nic Bishop's Spiders were the two Sibert Honor Books. Mitt Romney might point out that just because you win the silver in one event doesn’t mean you won’t win the gold in the next, but that’s beside the point. Though I was too frazzled by the inner workings of the Apollo 11 command module to convey fully my excitement when I got the call, this is great news for Lightship and I am indeed grateful to the committee for their recognition of the book. And, this comes on the heels of other good news, including the book’s inclusion in the New York Public Library’s annual 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing list, and its selection by Booklist as their Top of the List choice for picture book for 2007, a real honor. So, my sincere thanks to the committee at the Association for Library Service to Children, the New York Public Library, and Booklist. One would be a fool indeed to get into this business for the awards, but recognition of the work by people who take books as seriously as these librarians do is a gratifying, validating, and appreciated thing, and deserves the public thank you.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

At the intersection of Lang and Lucas

Science-fiction films tend to fall into one of two camps: there are films which work in earnest to predict and portray things to come, and there are films which simply wrap sci-fi garb around good old pulp adventure and fantasy stories. It’s that former category that’s been most on the mind and DVD player as I’ve worked on Moonshot, well represented by Fritz Lang’s Frau im Mond, from 1929 (terrific, and the movie that gave us the countdown), Destination Moon, from 1950 (lousy, but with a few good visual moments), and Stanley Kubrik and Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, from 1968 (whoa, still). Some beautiful and prescient work in each of those movies.

And yet—it’s a sassy, take-charge gal with a distinctive hairdo from that second camp that keeps coming to mind as I paint the Lunar Module. It’s Princess Leia, and I keep hearing her say, “You came in that? You’re braver than I thought.”