When you go to a children’s book conference, you learn about great children’s books and how they’re made. I thought I’d give you a brief rundown of my new favorites. Admittedly, I now love some of these books because the author, editor, or illustrator walked us through the making-of process.
Mouse by Zebo Ludvicek
First of all, Zebo seems like one of those classy, artistic women everyone else wants to be when they grow up. With her white pixie cut and her fabulously intriguing wardrobe, she looks like a force with which to reckon.
Mouse is the story of a little mouse who simply wants to eat a cherry. His dreams are interrupted as the letter M asks for a bite. While hesitant, Mouse accedes and watches in horror as M eats the whole thing. After, M offers Mouse a nibble of himself (herself? Are letters gendered?) to compensate. The rest of the book shows Mouse nibbling, pushing, and pulling M into different letters.
Alphabet-obsessed George went crazy when I first read this book to him. He loved seeing what letter would appear next. Also, the artwork is just stunning.
Sarabella’s Thinking Cap by Judy Schachner
As I mentioned in my last post, I attended Judy Schachner’s workshop about character development. Judy creates paper collages and scrapbooks while she’s envisioning and building her characters. They’re beautiful works of art in and of themselves. I’m not an artist by any means, but even I was inspired in my own character development.
This book was based on one of her two daughters (her other daughter spent quite some time convinced she was a fox. The family accepted this, though her teachers did not. This anecdote made me think Judy Schachner must’ve been the most fun parent imaginable). Her daughter, Sara—just like Sarabella in the story—lived “with her feet on the ground and her head in the clouds,” which is how her family loved her. I had her autograph this one to my sweet Olivia.
This is the story of Sarabella’s thinking cap, and the artwork is simply gorgeous. Judy, as the author/illustrator, puts so much time and care into each image. She does nothing on the computer, so everything is layered and layered and collaged and layered some more.
Other books I added to my library list:
- How to Cheer Up Dad by Fred Koehler
- Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner
- Roar! by Tammi Sauer (Thanks to an educational workshop by Simon Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books Editor Sylvie Frank–pictured above, I loved watching this one come together piece by piece.)
- I Will Not Eat You by Adam Lehrhaupt
In the world of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, when you publish your first book, you get to sit on a panel and talk about your success. I’m not much of a middle-grade fan, but I took a chance on Jonathan Rosen’s Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies because he was so funny. The GoodReads reviews back up my impression, so I can’t wait to see how many times this book makes me chuckle.
In my sparing bits of free time, I’m tearing through Marissa Meyer’s The Renegades, which is definitely more intense than her past books, but not in an off-putting way thus far. As of today, I have Pierce Brown’s Iron Gold waiting for me at the library, so I’m going to take advantage of the nine-day pick-up window and give myself as much time as possible to devour that beast.
February’s Reading Challenge asks me to read a book in a genre I don’t normally choose, so I guess I’m reading everything I like now to brace myself for a new challenge.
What are you reading or hoping to read these days? Share and share alike, please!