Happy Book Birthday to FALLING SHORT (Quill Tree Books) + 6 Qs with award-winning mg author Ernesto Cisneros = slam dunk!

Congrats to my friend Ernesto Cisneros, on the launch of his new middle grade novel, FALLING SHORT (Quill Tree Books). We’re celebrating this wonderful book with six questions for Ernesto. But first…

About FALLING SHORT

Three STARRED reviews!

“Told through animated alternating first-person chapters, Cisneros’s story not only captures the anxiety—and at times, humor—of trying to measure up to expectations, it also tackles delicate subject matter, such as parental absence and alcohol reliance, with profound sensitivity and nuance. A narrative slam dunk for fans of Donna Barba Higuera and Meg Medina.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Cisneros’ touching sophomore novel is an ideal pick for sports fans and will reel in reluctant readers.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Efrén Divided by Ernesto Cisneros (Quill tree Books)

You can read about Ernesto’s award-winning debut novel Efrén Divided, here.

Time for some FALLING SHORT questions!

Q 1.  Since one of the themes of FALLING SHORT is dealing with pressure—how did you manage the pressure of writing your second middle grade novel, after your debut novel, Efrén Divided, garnered so much praise, including winning the Pura Belpré Award?

Ernesto Cisneros: Not very well I’m afraid. I had huge anxiety that my sophomore book would, well… “fall short” of everyone’s expectations, including my own. I questioned whether I even had another book in me. In the end, I decided to address the I’m-not-good-enough syndrome many of us tend to feel growing up.

It was definitely the right call.

Take aways and Surprises

Q 2. What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

Ernesto Cisneros: Writing this book is my way of taking the struggles and negative experiences from my life and changing them into something more positive . . . something that might help readers avoid these same pitfalls. The way I see it, if my experiences help others, they are good regardless of how they felt at the time.

Ernesto Cisneros with the famous Dos Equis, as seen in the novel Falling Short. (No spoilers!)

Q 3. Were there any surprises you encountered while writing this book?

Ernesto Cisneros: Definitely! I did not anticipate how much humor would derive from my experiences as a teacher. Looking back now, I realize that after 26 years of teaching, I have heard and seen just about everything that can happen at a school.

*Speaking of which, check out this fun unboxing of FALLING SHORT that Ernesto made with his students!

In Celebration of March Madness…

Q 4. Which basketball term best describes FALLING SHORT’s path to publication—or your writing process:

A.   Fast Break

B.   Traveling

C.   Slam dunk

D.   Assist

E.    Full court press

Ernesto Cisneros: I’d add one more. It was definitely more like–

F.   Airball, airball, brick! Airball, airball, brick! Airball, airball, brick! Airball, airball, Swish.

Q 5. What words of advice would you tell pre-published Ernesto, and writers just starting out on their #kidlit journeys, who might have occasional doubts they’ll “fall short” of getting published?

Ernesto Cisneros: To quote Koro-sensei, from Assassination Classroom: “The difference between the novice and the master is that the master has failed more times than the novice has tried.”

Each time you fail, you simply get one step closer to succeeding. So never, ever give up. It took me 14 years to realize my dream. Honestly, the wait only made the accomplishment all the sweeter.

Note: giveaway contest has ended but you can order your copy HERE!

Q 6. OK, I know my answer to this last question is EVERYONE, but I’m going to ask you too, Ernesto: Who should read your book?

Ernesto Cisneros: Anyone who has ever felt like they fall short of what the world expects of them.  

ED note: I’m pretty sure that’s EVERYONE, right friends?

Thank you, Ernesto, for joining the blog today and

HAPPIEST of BOOK BIRTHDAYS to FALLING SHORT.

To learn more about Ernesto Cisneros and his books, visit ernestocisneros.com,

follow Ernesto on social media–

Twitter: @Author_Cisneros

Instagram: cisne.writes

AND…

Livestream Reading alert!

Save the Date: March 29th 7pm Pacific –and Register here for a virtual ZOOM visit with Ernesto Cisneros and author Sonja Thomas, hosted by Annie Bloom’s Books.

Next up on the blog: a DOUBLE Book Birthday celebration for Danna Smith!

Happy HAPPY Book Birthday to SUN AND SON + 7 Qs with Linda Joy Singleton = Win Win!

It’s a Happy HAPPY Book Birthday to Linda Joy Singleton’s SUN AND SON

(Illus. Richard Smythe / Amicus) TODAY!

What a sweet book!

In SUN AND SON, the companion book to CRANE AND CRANE, Linda Joy Singleton uses homonym pairs to tell two parallel stories between the human world and the natural world: While a father nurtures a son during a birthday camping trip, the sun nurtures our planet.

7 Questions for Linda Joy:

Q 1. Congrats on the Book Birthday of SUN AND SON, your sweet sequel to CRANE AND CRANE. I LOVE that with very few words, the homonym pairs you chose tell such a lovely story. For this question, let’s have some more fun with homonyms.

Which (of any of these) would you choose for a book about your picture book writing process:

a. (just) WRITE or (get it) RIGHT?

b. PEN (vs computer) or PEN (corralling your thoughts)

c. JOURNAL or JOURNEY? (I cheated a bit here.)   

Linda Joy: I would say a: (just) WRITE or (get it) RIGHT.

I have known since I was a child that writing was right for me. No one told me to write, I just did it as if stories and characters inside me were eager to play. I wrote at home and school, filling notebooks with stories that I’d start, get bored with, and then put aside. Later, though, when I was in my 20’s, I seriously pursed a writing career, and quickly learned that it takes lots of rewriting to get the words just right.   

Surprises!

Q 2. What surprises did your illustrator, Richard Smythe, bring to the book?

 Linda Joy: Richard is amazing! He took my spare words and brought them to life with beautiful art. In both CRANE & CRANE and SUN & SON he included subtle details that tell layers of story.  If you read the book through a few times, you’ll notice these layers. And it was a nice surprise for me when he included a cat in the story because he knows I love cats.

Revisions

Q 3. Writing a book with so few words like this is NOT easy! This sounds crazy, but were there any words—or pairs of words–that you had to cut or revise?

Linda Joy: Two of the words/scenes were changed from the manuscript I submitted to my editor.

“Set” where they set up a tent while the sun “sets” was actually supposed to be two dramatic scenes with the word “burn”—a sunburn for the child and fire fighters putting out of forest fire. Also, the ending was going to be different. Art was nearly completed when this decision was made to change the ending.

Interior art from SUN AND SON by Linda Joy Singleton (Illus. Richard Smythe / Amicus)

Linda Joy: Originally the word “spin” was going to show the world spinning around with a final scene of a new family on the other side of the world starting a day under the sun with their son. Instead, my editor at Amicus Books wisely wanted to have a warm fuzzy ending continuing the story with the same characters, so instead of “spin” the word “beam” showed a happy ending with one last word reflecting the love between a parent and child.

Interior art from SUN AND SON by Linda Joy Singleton (Illus. Richard Smythe / Amicus)

Tips for #kidlit Creators

Q 4. I’m a fan of the wonderful interviews you post as a reporter-at-large for the Cynsations blog. What kernels of wisdom have you learned from interviewing fellow #kidlit creators?

Linda Joy: My most recent interviews were with the talented authors Danna Smith and Lynne Marie, both of whom have inspired and critiqued my work. I’ve learned so much about poetry, rhyme, and pictures books from them. And their picture books are wonderful.

ED Note: Danna Smith has two new books out this month TOO!

ONE BLUE GNU by Danna Smith (Illus. Ana Zurita / Amicus) releases today too!

Look for her Book Birthday interview about ONE BLUE GNU and WAKE-UP FREIGHT TRAIN (Releasing 3/29) on the blog here March 22nd.

55 Linda Joy Singleton books and more to come!

Q. 5. What would you say to pre-published Linda Joy, now that you have 55+ titles out in the world?

Linda Joy: When I first started writing, I was desperate to publish—anything and everything! I was passionately in love with each book I wrote and thought it was ready to submit right away. But when I joined critique groups, I quickly learned that my books needed lots of rewriting. Some manuscripts had to be put aside. There was so much I had to learn, which took time, experiences, rejections, and more rewriting. I began to understand what “learning my craft” meant. Craft is more than just the words on a page—it’s the rhythm of your words, important details, and layers of plot + characters. If I had rushed to publication when I first started writing, I would have missed out on so many lessons. And I’m still learning….

Q. 6. They say most books are a tiny bit autobiographical. Of ALL of your books, which is the most autobiographical?

Linda Joy: Most of my books have pieces of my life and personality. The main character, Kelsey, in the CURIOUS CAT SPY CLUB (6 books/Albert Whitman) is a lot like me.

She has a club similar to I did when I was a kid and loves solving mysteries to help animals. When Kelsey wishes for a cat of her own, that’s totally me. I used to listen near my window, hoping to hear the plaintive cry of a kitten in need of rescue. In the third book in the CCSC series,  KELSEY THE SPY, I use a memory from my childhood of going to a small zoo where I was fascinated to learn tortoises could live for over 150 years. And when Kelsey finds a mystery in a castle in the SECRET OF THE SHADOW BANDIT, I used my love for series books like Nancy Drew to include many series-book tropes like finding jewels, a castle, missing heir, mysterious shadow, hidden money, and being captured and tossed into a dungeon.  One of my favorite books!

Up Next

Q. 7. What projects are you working on currently?   

Linda Joy: I finished edits on a middle-grade mystery for my agent, which she’ll be sending out soon. And she’s submitted a non-fiction picture book. I’m working on a 3rd book to follow up SUN & SON and CRANE & CRANE—hoping my editor loves it. Fingers crossed.

P S –Thank you for this interview, Erin!!

Thank YOU for joining us today, Linda Joy!

To learn more about Linda Joy Singleton’s books, follow her on Twitter: @LindaJoySinglet

And Instagram: lindajoysingleton

Heads-up teachers and librarians: There are downloadable activities for both SUN AND SON

& CRANE AND CRANE at

www.LindaJoySingleton.com.

Happy Book Birthday to WASHED ASHORE: Making #Art from Ocean Plastic + 5 Qs with author / photographer Kelly Crull

We are Marching forward on the blog with a Book Birthday celebration that “the kids in Room 5” and I have been excited about for months.

WASHED ASHORE: Making Art from Ocean Plastic

by author/photographer Kelly Crull (Millbrook / Lerner) hits the shelves TODAY!

Isn’t this cover fabulous?
STARRED REVIEW!

“An excellent work on an unusual topic and a must for school and library shelves.”–Booklist

“Washed Ashore is a “first choice” selection for elementary and middle-grade librarians for use in art classrooms as well as science and English Language Arts (ELA)!”

-Melanie Dulaney, Librarian
WASHED ASHORE by Kelly Crull (Millbrook); photo credit: Crull / Sculpture by Angela Haseltine Pozzi

ABOUT THE BOOK:

In WASHED ASHORE, author / photographer Kelly Crull highlights fourteen incredibly mind-blowing sculptures created by Angela Haseltine Pozzi. Each spread features common objects hidden among the debris for readers to find, as well as facts about the ocean animals in the book, and tips about how readers can reduce plastic use, hold a beach cleanup and make their own plastic art.

WASHED ASHORE by Kelly Crull (Millbrook); photo credit: Crull / Sculpture by Angela Haseltine Pozzi

Sculptor Angela Haseltine Pozzi and her Washed Ashore organization gather trash from beaches, using it to create one-of-a-kind sculptures of wildlife. These sculptures travel the country to teach people about the importance of these animals―and the problems caused by plastic pollution.

And now there’s a book about them by Kelly Crull.

How did this book happen?

Q 1.    After you and your kids first discovered the amazing ocean trash sculpture of Angela Haseltine Pozzi at the zoo, what came next in creating what eventually became your book, WASHED ASHORE: Making Art From Ocean Plastic—research? A first draft? outline? Connecting with the Washed Ashore organization?

Kelly Crull: The very first thing I did was a quick web search to make sure no one else had already written a book about the Washed Ashore Project. I’ll often have an idea for a book only to discover that someone else already had the idea and wrote the book before I did. In this case, I didn’t find any books about Washed Ashore, so I began to research. 

I love to do research because one of my absolute favorite things is learning about something I don’t know anything about. I knew very little about the problem of ocean plastic before I began working on the book, which was the perfect excuse to learn everything I could about a subject that interested me. 

Research

Kelly Crull: I like to research a topic from all kinds of different angles and viewpoints. I make sure to research the opposing viewpoint as well, so in this case, people who would say ocean plastic isn’t a big problem. In the end, I might not agree with their perspective, but I always learn something I didn’t know. 

WASHED ASHORE by Kelly Crull (Millbrook); photo credit: Crull / Sculpture by Angela Haseltine Pozzi

Q 2.    Which of the sculptures in the book might best represent your #kidlit journey thus far?

Kelly Crull: I have a soft spot for Priscilla the parrotfish, so naturally, I would compare my #kidlit journey to her! At first glance, parrotfish might not seem to be doing much at all, but if you take a closer look, you’ll notice that they are nibbling away at the coral reef. If you do a little research, you’ll discover that they are cleaning the coral reef by nibbling away the dead coral and making space for new coral to grow. They grind up the dead coral with their super-strong teeth, and it comes out the other end as sand. That’s right, parrotfish make sand! A single parrotfish can produce enough sand in one year to fill an entire sandbox.

Just keep going.

Kelly Crull: What does all of this have to do with me? Well, I don’t work particularly fast, but I just keep at it. I never stop. Sometimes the thought of writing and illustrating a whole book can seem quite overwhelming, so it helps me is to just take it one day at a time, nibbling away, piece by piece, until months later I’ve surprised myself with a new book!

WASHED ASHORE by Kelly Crull (Millbrook); photo credit: Crull / Sculpture by Angela Haseltine Pozzi

Q 3.    What was the biggest challenge in creating this book, WASHED ASHORE?

Kelly Crull: The most challenging part of making the book was taking the photographs of the sculptures. First of all, I had to find the sculptures! There are over 80 of them, and they are constantly moving around the country. I live in Spain, so I had to try to find a time when all the sculptures in the book were near enough to each other that I could take pictures of them in one trip.

I finally set the date to take the pictures, but by the time the day came to leave on my trip, Oregon was experiencing wildfires, protests, and a pandemic! Up until the moment I was standing in front of the tiger shark sculpture in the Oregon Zoo, I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to get the pictures I needed for the book. I do love adventure, and in the end, everything turned out great. I even got to share a special moment with the red pandas before the zoo opened to the public.

One of these masked wonders is Kelly Crull’s agent from East/West Literary. Can you guess which one?

Discoveries

Q 4. What unexpected discovery did you make while creating WASHED ASHORE?

Kelly Crull: I grew up in Iowa, which is a long way from the ocean. I guess I thought the plastic in the ocean was coming from people who lived along the coast. I didn’t really think it was my problem. So I was surprised to discover that most plastic in the ocean starts on land and is carried by wind and rain into streams, rivers, and storm drains, which empty into the ocean. We’re much more connected than we realize. Even kids living in Iowa can help keep plastic out of the ocean by carefully disposing of their waste. 

Find some plastic, pick it up…

WASHED ASHORE challenge: A few years ago, Kelly and his kids made a commitment to pick up at least one piece of plastic on their walks to and from school. Why not try this where you live?

As Kelly says, “It’s like a treasure hunt every day!”

Q 5.    I LOVE the innovative, find-the-items element in your book—encouraging readers to search for the household plastic objects used in each of the Pozzi sculptures. Aside from the FUN, what kinds of discussions do you hope will come from this activity?

Kelly Crull: Angela Haseltine Pozzi founded the Washed Ashore Project. Her story began with a walk on the beach. She picked up what she thought was a bone and discovered that it was a piece of plastic. She started to notice more plastic on her beach, and she realized she needed to do something about it. She was an artist and a teacher, so she used what she knew how to do best to solve the problem that was in front of her. She made beautiful sculptures out of the plastic she collected.

When people read my book, I hope they realize that small acts can create big change. We can use whatever it is that we like to do, even making art out of trash, to solve real problems. I wonder what it is that you love to do and how that activity might help solve the problems you see around you.

HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY,

KELLY CRULL!

To learn more about Kelly Crull and his books (and cool photos & illustrations), check out KellyCrull.com.

You can also follow him on Twitter: @KellyCrull and Instagram: kellycrull

To find out more about the Washed Ashore Project go to WashedAshore.org.

PS #Teachers and #librarian friends…

I can’t help feeling that the kids in my book, DEAR EARTH…From your Friends in Room 5, would LOVE Kelly Crull’s WASHED ASHORE, and get inspired to make their own art from found items.

I bet your students will too!

**** Next on the blog–> Don’t miss our Book Birthday celebration for SUN & SON by Linda Joy Singleton.

6 Goldie Locks Stories to Share & Compare!

Dear #Teachers & #Librarians –this Friday Bonus Blog is for you!

Whether you celebrate Read a Fairy Tale Day, hold an annual “Fairy Tale Bowl” competition, or your class writes Fractured Fairy Tales, these six picture books are tons of fun to pair, share and compare!

  1. GOLDY LUCK AND THE THREE PANDAS by Natasha Yim, Illus Grace Zong (Charlesbridge). Check out the book trailer and info here: natashayim.com .

2. GOLDIE ROCKS AND THE THREE BEARS by Corey Rosen Schwartz & Beth Coulton, Illus. Nate Wragg (G.P.Putnam’s Sons). Read more on Corey’s website here: coreyrosenschwartz.com .

3. GOLDIE LOCKS AND THE THREE DINOSAURS by Mo Willems (Balzer & Bray). Here’s a YouTube read aloud.

4. MOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE SCARES, a Zombie tale by Lynne Marie, Illus. David Rodriguez Lorenzo (Union Square Kids). Book trailer and info here at literallylynnemarie.com .

5. GOLDIE LOCKS AND THE THREE ENGINEERS by Sue Fliess, Illus. Petros Boulobasis (Albert Whitman). Book trailer and info here at suefliess.com .

6. GOLDIE LOCKS HAS CHICKEN POX by Erin Dealey, Illus. Hanako Wakiyama (Atheneum / Aladdin). Here’s a YouTube read aloud. And check out this finger puppet activity for your students at erindealey.com . Create your own puppet show or pair up the characters and write a new fractured fairy tale.

Happy Friday, dear Teachers & Librarians.

THANK YOU for ALL you do!

PS Check out our most recent Book Birthday interview with author Jeanne Walker Harvey about her wonderful new NF picture book ABLAZE WITH COLOR here.

8 Qs with Jeanne Walker Harvey about her new #NF #PB ABLAZE WITH COLOR: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas = Happy Book Birthday!

2.22.22 feels like a lucky day, doesn’t it?

And we have the excellent good fortune of celebrating

#BlackHistoryMonth with the Book Birthday of

ABLAZE WITH COLOR: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas

by Jeanne Walker Harvey,

Illus. Loveis Wise, Harper Collins.

Check out these STARRED reviews

“This charming biography’s title describes not only Alma Thomas’ signature paintings but the book’s radiant artwork, which emphasizes how the colors of the natural world inspired her unusual, iconic works. Neatly encapsulating a long life that saw social and personal upheaval, as well as gorgeously showcasing the art produced along the way and the natural world that inspired it, this title is a must for art and biography shelves.” — Booklist (starred review)

“In clear language and straightforward presentation, the author [Jeanne Walker Harvey] (Maya Lin) focuses on Thomas’s family’s intellectual ambitions and support of her aspirations, her love of nature and education, and her determination and persistence in the face of societal obstacles. Wise celebrates Thomas’s work with saturated, page-filling, vibrant color; the rich, flat, atmospheric compositions fit Thomas’s tessellated style and high-key colors. An inspiring introduction for artists and appreciators, as individuals or shared in groups.” — School Library Journal (starred review)

“This superb picture-book biography profiles Alma Thomas. Harvey’s (Maya Lin, rev. 7/17) poetic text is imagistic and deftly paced; Wise’s (The People Remember, rev. 11/21) digital artwork is boldly, fittingly colorful.”-Horn Book (starred review)

Welcome to the blog, Jeanne.

We have questions!

Q 1. How and when did you first become aware of Alma Thomas and her art? 

Jeanne Walker Harvey: In 2015, I read about First Lady Michelle Obama surprising visitors touring the White House by opening up the Old Family Dining Room, a room established in 1825, for the first time to the public.  She and President Barack Obama worked with the Curator of the White House, William Allman, to fill this historic room with contemporary art and design, another first for the White House. They wanted to show that life in the White House could be forward thinking without losing any of its established history and tradition.

And one of the paintings chosen was Alma Thomas’s 1966 abstract painting titled “Resurrection” (which is featured in ABLAZE WITH COLOR) which was the first artwork by a Black woman to be added to the White House permanent collection.  I immediately loved this vivid painting, truly ablaze with color, and began finding out all I could about Alma Thomas so that I could share her amazing life story and art with children.

Q 2.     ABLAZE WITH COLOR is your third picture book biography, after My Hands Sing the Blues: Romare Bearden’s Childhood Journey (Illus. Elizabeth Zunon/ Two Lions), and Maya Lin–Architect of Light and Lines: Designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (Illus. Dow Phumiruk/ Henry Holt), to be followed this fall by Dressing Up the Stars – The Story of Movie Costume Designer Edith Head (Illus. Diana Toledano / Beach Lane/ S&S). What a line up! All of these books highlight fabulously creative people. Have you always been drawn to the arts and creative expression? 

Jeanne Walker Harvey: Yes! And I love your term, “fabulously creative people”. I’ve always been fascinated by what inspires creative people and what challenges they have overcome in pursuing their creative endeavors. My mother took me regularly to modern art museums and exhibits which ignited my interest in art. I then became a long-time docent for school groups at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.  I find it so gratifying to share my passion for modern art with children, and a great way to get children excited about the art is to share stories about the artist and their creative process.

Interior art by Loveis Wise from ABLAZE WITH COLOR: The Story of Painter Alma Thomas (Harper Collins)

Persistence, Patience, Perseverance = PIVOT

Q 3.   I read (via Mr. Schu’s interview.) that, due to the onset of crippling arthritis during her 70’s, Alma Thomas changed her painting style and… OK no spoilers from me… To the  question: Is there a key moment or take-away from Alma Thomas’s work and life that inspires Jeanne Walker Harvey, the author?   

Jeanne Walker Harvey: Great question and hah! Thanks for letting me give away the spoiler. Yes, I think Alma Thomas demonstrated persistence, patience, and perseverance during her lifetime which I find very inspiring. She endured and overcame racial injustices as a child in Georgia and as an adult in Washington, D.C., but she sought to bring joy to others through her teaching (up until she retired at age 70) and her artwork. And, as you mentioned, she changed her painting style to accommodate her painful arthritis which led to unexpected successes. She was able to pivot and try something new.  Not only was her art chosen for the White House, but she was also the first Black woman to have a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum in New York City.

Q 4.   We picture book authors know that every word counts. And it’s often difficult to focus on only certain areas of your subject’s journey. Is there a scene or section in earlier drafts of ABLAZE WITH COLOR that was hard to cut?  

Jeanne Walker Harvey: You are spot on, Erin! Every word is carefully chosen and many words need to be deleted to honor the throughline of the story. When I talk to children, they are often amazed how long it takes me to write my books. “How can it take you years to write something that doesn’t have that many words?” Of course, I explain to them that the writing also involves researching the subject in every way I can discover. And just as you are saying, there are always parts of the story that I need to delete in later revisions.

I found this section about Frank Borman, USAF astronaut, difficult to delete because I was drawn to the idea of Alma listening to inspiring music and words while she created her Space paintings:

While Alma painted,

she listened to music about space

and a recording of an astronaut

saying “Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful”  

while he gazed at the glowing blues and white

of the earth rising

over the moon’s horizon

as the spacecraft floated in darkness.

–JWH
Interior art by Loveis Wise from ABLAZE WITH COLOR: The Story of Painter Alma Thomas (Harper Collins)

Jeanne Walker Harvey: I also liked this deleted passage about her Nature paintings:

Alma often said the words

Wind, Sunshine and Flowers

should be the book title

of her life.

–JWH
Interior art by Loveis Wise from ABLAZE WITH COLOR: The Story of Painter Alma Thomas (Harper Collins)

Q 5.  How does your experience as a blogger/reviewer of over 170+ picture book biographies fluence your own writing? 

Jeanne Walker Harvey: I learn so much every time I study the way different authors choose to tell the stories of others. Sometimes I type up the words of a book (including the page breaks) that particularly drew me in so that I can get a sense of the pacing and choices in the storytelling.

Q 6.  What surprises did illustrator Loveis Wise bring to the book?

Jeanne Walker Harvey: I was truly amazed by how stunning Loveis Wise’s illustrations are. They not only evoke the essence of Alma Thomas’ work, but convey in their own style the joy and exhilaration of the colors bursting forth from the paintings.  I think I was surprised by the myriad of details included in each of Loveis’ illustrations that capture Alma’s life beginning as a girl in Georgia through to her adult life in Washington, D.C. I couldn’t be more thrilled with the book we’ve all created, and that team includes Loveis, the whole team at Harper Collins, including our wonderful editor, Megan Ilnitzki, and my amazing agent (and yours too, Erin!), Deborah Warren at East West Literary Agency, who found a home for this story.

Q 7. What do you hope young readers will take away from ABLAZE WITH COLOR? I hope our book inspires children to seek joy on their own creative paths and overcome their own challenges.

TEACHER / ART PROJECT / ILLUSTRATOR BONUS:

Q 8. I am definitely feeling inspired! What ideas do you have for artists, students, illustrators, and readers young and old to create our own Alma Thomas inspired artwork?

Jeanne Walker Harvey: Check out these fun activities which you can download on my website at https://www.jeanneharvey.com/projects.  Not only is there a terrific comprehensive Guide for Educators, Librarians and Parents, there’s also an Alma Thomas Activity Kit with a Create Your Own Collage and a Colorful Paper Puzzle. And I’d love for anyone to share what they create and I can post it on my website. Or send me a photo of any of your pets working along with you. My cat adores stretching out on these project pages when I’m creating.

Jeanne Walker Harvey: Heartfelt thanks, Erin, for hosting today’s Book Birthday interview for ABLAZE WITH COLOR – A Story of Painter Alma Thomas. I so enjoy reading all the kidlit interviews on your blog, and I’m very honored to be included.

To learn more about Jeanne Walker Harvey and her work, check our her website: jeanneharvey.com

and follow her on Twitter: @JeanneWHarvey

and Pinterest: JeanneWalkerHarvey