Thursday, September 10, 2009

At the Library

At the New York Public Library, Elizabeth “Fuse” Bird hosts the Children’s Literary Café, “a monthly gathering of adults who are fans of children’s literature. Professionals, librarians, authors, illustrators, publishers, booksellers, teachers, and anyone else interested in the field are welcome to attend our meetings. The Literary Café provides free Advanced Readers galleys, a rotating series of talks with professionals in the field, and great conversation. This program is for adults only.” A literary salon! Think Paris in the ‘20s, New York in the ‘50s, Brooklyn in the ‘00s. (Yes? No?)

Anyway, I’m happy to say that I’ll be on a panel at the next Café, this Saturday, September 12th, at 2:00 p.m., in the good company of Marc Tyler Nobleman, Michael Rex, and none other than the mighty Jon Scieszka. The event will be at the New York Public Library, Children’s Center at 42nd Street, Room 84. If you’re in the area and have no taste for heckling then I hope you’ll come by.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Aaron Space

A sort of coda to my astronauting runs this month in the September issue of Ladybug Magazine, a small work of light verse, with drawings, titled “Aaron Space.” A.S. appears with apologies to my friend S.L., who grew up near D.C. not sure of the exact name of the museum with all the rockets.

The poem begins, “Aaron Space the astronaut/goes where you and I do not./Atop a rocket he is shot/into space where you have got/the sky, the stars, the moon, whatnot.”

Maybe the best part of this little job was the chance to revisit and draw again some of that great space hardware — but this time without the effort of aiming for accuracy. Aaron’s spaceship is a little Mercury here, a chunk of Apollo there, and a dash of Sputnik, for extra flavor.

I hope you’ll look for Ladybug and check it out!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Dance Fever

No blog posts through August, not one. Because I took the month off? No. I’ve been working on drawings for a new picture book, Ballet For Martha, written by the team of Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan, to be published next year by Neal Porter Books/Roaring Brook. Ballet For Martha will tell the story of how Martha Graham created the dance Appalachian Spring. She did it in collaboration with composer Aaron Copland, who wrote the score, and sculptor Isamu Noghuchi, who designed the set. If that sounds like heady stuff for the picture book set, those who know Jan and Sandra’s work won’t be surprised to read that the story is told in interesting, honest, accessible fashion. There’s a real narrative arc to the piece, a fine sense of process, and a rewarding payoff at book’s end when the dance is premiered. It’s a great text, and I hope that with the illustrations I’ve added a piece to the puzzle. The interior art is now complete — that’s a rehearsal scene from the book, above — and all that’s left now is the cover.