Archive for the ‘Children’s book authors’ Category

The House Baba Built:  An Artist's Childhood in China, written and illustrated by Ed Young

The House Baba Built: An Artist’s Childhood in China, written and illustrated by Ed Young

Ed Young was the inaugural speaker for the Butler Lecture at Dominican University’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science on February 22, and I was lucky enough to be there!

Young, widely known for his Caldecott Award winning book Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China and many other books, spoke about his recent The House Baba Built: An Artist’s Childhood in China. He showed slides and related how he went back to Shanghai to find that house, and while it took some looking because the street had been built up, he finally did pinpoint the four-family home his father built and where he grew up. His stories about the history of the house were engaging, such as how he was gracious to the current owner and was thus invited inside, why his father included a swimming pool inside the home, how a worker died building the home, and other childhood memories of a family haven during wartime. The book itself is a biography, a family history, a glimpse into this historical period in China, and is stunning with fold-out pages, drawings, collage art, and photos. The paper itself is a tactile treat, and the book encourages lingering.

Ed Young signs my books after the Butler Lecture at Dominican University

Ed Young signs my books after the Butler Lecture at Dominican University

Thank you Susan Roman, Thom Barthelmess, and others at Dominican for this delightful evening with Ed Young. I can’t wait until next year’s Butler Lecture when Jane Yolen is scheduled to be the speaker!

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Bear in Love, by Daniel Pinkwater and illustrated by Will Hillenbrand

Daniel Pinkwater has long been a favorite author of mine, with his books for middle graders and early middle graders such as Lizard Music and The Hoboken Chicken Emergency, and picture storybooks for younger readers such as The Wuggie Norple Story (illustrated by Tomie dePaola), and The Big Orange Splot. Now a new Pinkwater is available, illustrated by Will Hillenbrand. To have both of these seemingly different talents in one cover–Pinkwater with his quirky humor, and Hillenbrand with his softly expressive illustrations–is a coup.

The result is Bear in Love, and I fell in love with this book immediately. The generous nature of the characters and concern for others, regardless of who they are, is quietly suggested in this book. And, as a treat, Hillenbrand has created a YouTube (below) demonstrating how he created the art for Bear in Love. You can also learn more at Will Hillenbrand’s website, especially about his books, and activities for his books.

For another treat, go to Daniel Pinkwater’s website. This site is full of surprises with not only a blog, but also free audio books (Pinkwater reading his books!). Alas, a Bear in Love reading is not available yet, but we can hope and continue to check.

Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss, by Philip Nel

Did you know that Crockett Johnson’s real name was David Leisk, and he “borrowed” the moniker “Crockett” from Davy Crockett? I didn’t either, until I began reading the just-published Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss: How an Unlikely Couple Found Love, Dodged the FBI, and Transformed Children’s Literature, by the stellar children’s literature scholar Philip Nel. Crockett Johnson is known for a number of illustrated works, most notably Harold and the Purple Crayon. Ruth Krauss wrote many books for children, including some illustrated by Maurice Sendak, but The Carrot Seed might be one of the most notable Krauss/Johnson collaborations (if you don’t know this book, watch a YouTube here.) Nel also has a Crockett Johnson website and you can find out more about Ruth Krauss here.

To celebrate the publication of this dual biography of the classic children's literature couple, Nel added a special post to his blog: Nine Kinds of Pie. This post contains 28 media treats . . . everything from Duke Ellington to a YouTube of Mr. Rogers — all with connections back to Krauss and Johnson. My favorite: an mp3 of Todd Rundgren’s “Onomatopoeia,” because “Krauss had a great ear for the sound of words,” according to Nel. I first heard this song on vinyl, didn’t remember the artist or album, and thought it was lost to me forever. Go directly to this unique blog post here, and thank you, Philip Nel, for this outstanding mix on your blog, and for all the work and engaging writing in this new contribution to the study of children’s literature.