Friday, March 19, 2010

Bank Street

I want to thank the Children’s Book Committee at the Bank Street College of Education for yesterday — for their recognition of Moonshot with a Flora Stieglitz Straus Award, and for the chance to attend a reception, ceremony, and lunch for all the authors and illustrators of this year’s award books. It was an honor to take part in the day and a pleasure seeing friends there and making new ones. Thank you!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ballet for Martha

I hit the blog hard last year with Moonshot, but on the desk it was a different story; I was working on drawings for a story by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan (more on this team here). Their subject: how choreographer Martha Graham, composer Aaron Copland, and sculptor Isamu Noguchi together created a landmark piece of American art, the ballet Appalachian Spring. It was a wonderful manuscript to work with, and a great chance for me to work with material a little different from what I’ve worked on so far in my books. So that was last year, and now I’ve received a copy of the advanced reader copy of Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring, and the good news that the book is a Junior Library Guild selection. Thanks, JLG! Ballet for Martha comes out in August from Flash Point/Neal Porter Books/Roaring Book Press.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Robert McCall

Author Andrew Chaikin’s appreciation of artist Robert McCall on NPR, here, clued me in, belatedly, to the news that McCall passed away on February 26, at the age of 90. You can’t dig too far into NASA or Apollo before you have the pleasure of bumping into McCall’s work, and you’ve seen his paintings if you’ve ever been to the Air & Space Museum in Washington, where he created a six-story-high (!) mural, or if you know the poster for 2001: A Space Odyssey. I’m sorry that he’s gone. His obituary in the Times is here.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Hello, Brooklyn!

Here’s a plug for my reading this Sunday, March 7, at powerHouse Books. That’s in the Dumbo neighborhood of Brooklyn, at 37 Main St., Brooklyn, NY, 11201. I’ll be reading, signing, and sketching. Author Randall de Sève will be there, too. Event details are here. If you’re in range I hope you can come by!

Addendum: Thank you Susanne, Ryan, and Maggie at powerHouse, for a great visit!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Nominations (x2)

It is, in all honesty, a (great) surprise still to have new Moonshot news to report, but here it is: The Children’s Book Council, in association with Every Child a Reader, Inc., has named the 2009 finalists for the Third Annual Children’s Choice Book Awards, and Moonshot is one of five finalists for Fifth Grade to Sixth Grade Book of the Year. More here. And! The American Booksellers Association has announced finalists for the 2010 Indies Choice Book Awards, and Moonshot is one of six finalists for Book of the Year in the New Picture Book Category. More here.

Either nomination would be exciting news. The two nominations together are, ah, double exciting news! Thank you to the organizers, booksellers, and young voters!

Above: From the cutting room floor, a sketch of Eagle, Armstrong, and Aldrin on the Moon.


I had the chance last month to speak to the fantastic Children’s Book Guild of Washington, D.C. about my work, and then just over a week later to appear alongside some great authors and illustrators at the second annual Killeen Salutes the Arts festival in Killeen, Texas, near my hometown. Both events were a chance to meet authors, illustrators, librarians, and booksellers and to have some great conversations. (And in Killeen, thanks to bookseller and master of the culinary arts Pat Anderson, I got have some great enchiladas, too.) Thanks to the organizers of both events and to everyone who attended!