Monday, May 31, 2010

Nursery Rhymes

It's Monday, time for Picture Books Past. Nursery rhymes have been the basis for countless picture books since the very early publications of children's material meant for entertainment. Read some background on nursery rhymes here. We all have heard them ourselves as children, and some stay with us, lodged deep in our memories. Look over those you remember, and those you don't, here. Read more and listen, too, here.

Friday, May 28, 2010

BookExpo America

It's Book Business Friday. Time for BookExpo America--it's been happening this week in New York City. If you need a little background on what it is, then look here. To know some of what's happening, check out the website here. Maybe you'd be interested in a podcast or video. Look here. Coverage in Publishers Weekly should be here.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


It's Thursday--Real Kids Day. It happens. It happens a lot.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Ideas and More Ideas

It's Writing Wednesday. It's not unusual for a writer to include pages on his or her website that are meant to talk to other writers, giving their visitors advice on story making and publication. Rick Walton put together a lot of info like that. He's got tips and ideas for folks from beginners to pros. Check it out here. The more you poke around in his links, the more you find that could be helpful in getting a story started--like here, the "470 Issues in Kids' Lives." Thanks, Rick.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Wendell Minor

It's Illustration Tuesday. Today's a good day to meet Wendell Minor. He's a classic realistic illustrator who does quality books, usually with nature themes. He's often paired with writer Jean Craighead George. His website is here. Below, listen to him speak thoughtfully about making a book to foster environmental stewardship in children.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Barbara Cooney

It's Monday--Picture Books Past. Starting in the 1940's, Barbara Cooney was a writer and illustrator of beautiful and beloved picture books. She was a two time winner of the Caldecott Medal. Read briefly about her on Wikipedia here. On the Horn Book site, here, there's an article she wrote about her work. There's also a more extensive Horn Book article about her here. For a great overview of her illustrations, look here and click on the book titles to see the cover of each book.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Agent Hunting

It's Book Business Friday. Harold Underdown has loads of experience in the book business, as we've said before. A recent addition to his website is an essay called, "Five Reasons You Don't Need to Get an Agent." Are you thinking about hunting for an agent? Many of us wrangle with the question of get one/don't get one. He lays out some considerations you might not have thought about before. It could be helpful to see if you really don't need to think about getting one. Check it out here.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


It's Thursday--Real Kids Day. Wrestling seems to be a childhood requirement. Whether it's siblings or friends, whether it ends in laughter or tears, it's pretty hard to resist if you're a kid.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Uri Shulevitz

It's Writing Wednesday. Uri Shulevitz is both a writer and an illustrator of picture books. He's created many lovely books, including the Caldecott Medal winner, The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship, and the Charlotte Zolotow Medal winner, Snow. Here's his biography on the Macmillan website. His book about making picture books, Writing With Pictures, is a long time standard. Look at it here. It's nice to hear him speaking about the process of making picture books, below.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Patrick McDonnell

It's Illustration Tuesday. Patrick McDonnell has had a long and successful career as a comic strip artist, creating the Mutts strip. He's now a children's book illustrator and writer, too. Read a little about him here and here. Read about his work with the Humane Society here. Find Mutts here.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Kurt Wiese

It's Monday--Picture Books Past. Kurt Wiese's name may not be remembered by folks outside of the children's book arena, but his books certainly are. Many people see his illustrations and say fondly, "I remember that book from when I was a kid!" And they want to share those books with their own children. Read a bit about Kurt Wiese here and here. See his books here.

Friday, May 14, 2010


It's Friday--Book Business Day. In the current online edition of Publishers Weekly there's a page with a selection of articles all about the children's side of the book business under "industry news." Just like a buffet, you can take your pick--read about who's fired and who's hired, or about PEN World Voices 2010, or Spider-Man at Little, Brown. It's a great place for news-ten articles--dig in! Check it out here.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Moral Babies

It's Thursday--Real Kids Day. Do babies understand morality--good vs. bad? What do babies think about how others behave? If you don't have time to read a whole article now, at least watch the video. You'll be glad you did. "The Moral Life of Babies" article is here. The video is here. They both explore this fascinating field of study.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


It's Writing Wednesday. It's easy to scoff at the too-frequent celebrity picture book writer. But there are surely some good ones to find. (It reminds me of the cheerful expression about "looking for the pony in the pile of manure.") On the Fuse #8 blog there was recently a discussion of good and bad celebrity writers. It was impressive to see how many folks loved Julie Andrews' books. Check out that post here. Then read about Julie Andrews and her daughter/co-writer Emma Hamilton (scroll down on the page here) on Reading Rockets and see below. It's pleasant to hear them talk about working together.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Visualize Success

It's Illustration Tuesday. Time to think visually. Visualize making a great book, for starters. What does it look like? It's interesting and fun and sometimes inspirational to see other creators at work. Below is a promotional video with illustrator Peter H. Reynolds that falls into that category. (See his website here.) Below that is a picture book as app, just to stay current.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Old Picture Books

It's Monday--Picture Books Past. Want to easily browse through a few old picture books, you say? "Old Picture Books" is a website that fills the bill. Check it out here. Read a couple of the books and think about what aspects of the books are appealing still. Sure they are "old-fashioned," but what do you like--maybe good characterization, or humor, or action? Try looking at them with childish eyes.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Fellowship & Prizes

It's Book Business Friday. There are some sources of money and recognition that are available in nooks and crannies where we might not expect to find them. The Horn Book has a list of some fellowships and prizes, here. Examples are here and here.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


It's Real Kids Thursday. One of the most characteristic and charming things about children is how excited they can get!!!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Story Centres

It's Writing Wednesday. There may be many good writers coming up in the next generation of young people in England. It looks like they are getting lots of encouragement. The importance of stories in the growth and creative life of children is front and centre at the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre, here. They say their vision is "to be an inspirational Museum that encourages children and adults to unlock their imaginations, engage with reading and have a go at creative writing." There's also Seven Stories, the Centre for Children's Books, here. And in Oxford they're looking forward to the new Story Museum building, here. They tell why stories matter here. And in the news, here.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

David Small

It's Illustration Tuesday. David Small is an illustrator, and sometimes writer, of picture books and more. The "more" is especially his autobiographical graphic novel Stitches, here, published last year to much acclaim. His books are here. An interview is here (scroll down to find it.) While Stitches is a book for much older/adult readers, he's done lots of lovely books for the picture book crowd, several written by his wife, Sarah Stewart. Oh, and he won the Caldecott, too, for So You Want to Be President. What a guy.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Kate Greenaway

It's Monday--Picture Books Past. Kate Greenaway is a beloved English children's book illustrator from the late 1800's who depicted an idyllic childhood. Read about her briefly here or more extensively here. One of her best known books is here. Illustrations on greeting cards she did can be seen here. Her pretty, old fashioned children have been charming readers for generations.