Archive for September, 2010
Thursday, September 30th, 2010
Tonight is Carle Honors 2010 in New York City and that means it’s your last chance to scope out the beautiful artwork on auction before the bidding begins. I still can’t decide if my favorite is this ocean scene by G. Brian Karas:
or these amazing owls by Denise Fleming:
Not to mention all the other original pieces by Caldecott winning illustrators keeping them company! Jerry Pinkney, Uri Shulevitz, Beth Krommes, David Macaulay, Leo & Diane Dillon…need I go on? How much do you love this school of fish by Jerry Pinkney?
Click here to view all the artists and artwork featured this year.
And don’t forget, in addition to this amazing auction, The Carle Honors 2010 poster designed and signed by Eric Carle will go on sale after September 30th. Even if you can’t make it to The Carle Honors this year, you can still order a commemorative poster online. Click here to pre-order your signed poster or buy last year’s poster designed and signed by Mo Willems.
For more about The Carle Honors and this year’s honorees, read our blog post from earlier this month here.
Wednesday, September 29th, 2010
It’s Fire Prevention Week! Held annually in October since 1922, Fire Prevention Week commemorates the infamous Great Chicago Fire of 1871, and aims to teach the importance of fire safety.
This Sunday, October 3rd from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm, come learn about fire prevention at The Carle from a real firefighter! Our local fire department will be on hand with activities, information, and oh yes, a fire truck.
If that’s not exciting enough, at 2:00 pm we have a special story time with local authors Paul DuBois Jacobs and Jennifer Swender. Drawing from their backgrounds in education, music, poetry and art, they will be sharing their newest picture book Fire Drill. They’ll be joined by illustrator Huy Voun Lee who’s bringing a special firefighter themed art activity for the audience. And don’t miss the chance to get all three to sign your copy of Fire Drill after the presentation!
Looking for more picture book reads featuring firefighters or firetrucks during Fire Prevention Week?
Try two of my favorites:
Fire Truck by Peter Sis: A little boy obsessed with fire engines lets his imagination really go wild. I don’t know about you, but I definitely, know a little kid or two who feel this passionate about fire trucks.
A Fire Engine for Ruthie by Leslea Newman, illustrated by Cyd Moore: Ruthie’s Nana is having trouble realizing that Ruthie doesn’t want to play with dolls and tea parties…she wants to play Fire Engine! As once a little girl whose favorite toy was a miniature car carrier, I love a book that turns the “boys play with trucks, girls play with dolls” mentality on its head.
I’ll bet you have a few fire truck books in your collection at home. Tell us some of your favorites in the comments below!
Tuesday, September 28th, 2010
Banned Books Week: September 25, 2010 to October 2, 2010
This Saturday marked the beginning of Banned Books Week, a week observed at the end of every September since 1982 to celebrate free access to information, while drawing attention to the harms of censorship. All across the country libraries and bookstores have scheduled events to highlight banned and challenged books and to celebrate our democratic right and freedom to read.
Some of the books that have been banned in schools and libraries even very recently may surprise you. Favorite children’s books such as Charlotte’s Web, Winnie-the-Pooh, Where’s Waldo, and In the Night Kitchen have all made the frequently banned book list.
I was even more surprised to see one of Eric Carle’s picture books at #61 on the Top 100 Banned and Challenged Books. Can you guess which book this could possibly be?
Tuesday, September 28th, 2010
The Odious Ogre by Norton Juster, illustrated by Jules Feiffer
A self-proclaimed “scourge of the countryside” has frightened everyone in miles for years. But when a sweet, kind-hearted maiden treats the Ogre with kindness – and muffins – the huge creature is completely flummoxed and expires. Feiffer’s large images sprawl across the pages; a perfect match to Juster’s blustery tale.
Click here to purchase The Odious Ogre or click here to read more Top of the Shelf book reviews.
Friday, September 24th, 2010
It’s hard to believe that our Lisbeth Zwerger exhibition is truly coming to a close, but this weekend will be the very last weekend to catch the show in the United States. For those of you who will miss the chance to see the Zwerger Exhibition, we will still have her books, exhibition catalog, and postcards for sale in our bookstore even after the show leaves us.
While we will be sad to see such beautiful artwork go, we are excited for the exhibits that this fall will bring. Eric Carle’s new exhibition opens this week featuring artwork from Today is Monday as well as his unique costume and set design for a performance of The Magic Flute.
October brings the massive and star-studded exhibition of Monsters and Miracles: A Journey through Jewish Picture Books. We will have original artwork from award-winning illustrators such as Maurice Sendak, William Steig, Art Spiegelman, Uri Shulevitz, and Mordicai Gerstein, among many, many others. So stay tuned for all the wonderful events and activities planned not only here at The Carle but at our neighbor museum, The National Yiddish Book Center. The Valley is always such a wonderful place to visit in the fall, so start planning your trip now!
Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010
This Saturday at 1 pm, join us for a presentation by Maria Tatar called Once Upon a Time: Fairy Tales and Childhood. A professor of Germanic studies, folklore, and children’s literature at Harvard, Tatar is also the author of such amazing reference books as The Annotated Hans Christian Andersen, The Annotated Brothers Grimm and The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales.
I’m currently smack-dab in the middle of her newest book, Enchanted Hunters: The Power of Stories in Childhood and am really enjoying it. Pulling from a vast knowledge of the history of children’s literature and reading to children, as well as her own practical knowledge as a mother, the book explores the impact reading has on children and why certain stories stick with us long into adulthood. There’s also a wonderful appendix filled with quotes from famous writers about how books have changed their lives.
An expert on classic fairy tales and their history, on Saturday Tatar’s presentation will use the fairy tales illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger as inspiration, to guide the audience through these childhood stories exploring their historical origins, their cultural complexities, and their psychological effects. Educators can even receive a PDP for attending. Click here for more details about the event.
A book signing will follow her presentation. I hope to see you all there!
Tuesday, September 21st, 2010
City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Willems, illustrated by Jon Muth
Through the four seasons of the book’s story, a dog from the city and a frog who lives in the country form a close but unusual friendship. Beautiful expressive watercolors extend the thoughtful, sparsely-stated text making the tale a poignant nod to the transience of time and the wonder of friendship.
Click here to buy City Dog, Country Frog.
Click here to read more Top of the Shelf book reviews.
Friday, September 17th, 2010
Last year in my course on picture books in the Simmons College at The Carle MFA program, we used the book Picture This by Caldecott Honor winning illustrator Molly Bang as one of our core texts. The book outlines principles of picture book illustration, breaking it down in the simplest of terms. Using a cut paper collage technique, Bang shows how the use of certain colors and shapes and their placement on the page can all be utilized to create a specific atmosphere or emotion. Cool colors and rounded shapes in a picture book’s illustration can make a reader feel calm and safe, while hot colors and pointed edges can have the opposite effect.
We were then challenged to create our own collage illustrations with just a very limited palette of colored paper, a pair of scissors, and a gluestick. Afterward, we all laid out our creations to show how each one tells a story and has an energy all its own. That’s the true power of picture book illustration!
Our collages inspired by Molly Bang's Picture This. Photo by Christy Yaros.
Sound like fun? Why not give it a try in your home or classroom or take one of our Carle Museum workshops. We’ll be offering a workshop using Molly Bangs’ Picture This on December 10th. Click here for more information.
Do you have a favorite book for teaching art or reading picture books in the classroom? Let us know in the comments below!
Thursday, September 16th, 2010
It’s hard to convince a bookstore to sell your book.
Back in 1993 an editor I know was in Chicago for a sales meeting, and stopped by my store—The Children’s Bookstore—with her marketing director. We went out to lunch. She told me that Barnes & Noble hadn’t been stocking many of her children’s books, so her team had come up with a clever strategem to bypass the B&N buyers. The editor and her marketing director had visited the B&N branch on the Upper West Side of New York City, and surreptitiously placed several books they had published right onto the B&N shelves.
I was surprised, and asked how this would benefit her company’s children’s books. She said that perhaps when someone attempted to buy the books, and the Barnes & Noble cashiers scanned the barcodes on the books, an automatic process would add the books to the Barnes & Noble inventory system, triggering a re-order!
Ahem. I do not know if this strategy works, since I don’t work for Barnes & Noble. But I can say that no publisher or author need revert to such a method when it comes to The Carle’s bookstore.
Last month I revealed we’re pushovers when it comes to pushing local authors. This month I hereby reveal that if you’re a professionally published author suffering from non-locality relative to Western Massachusetts, there’s a way for you to push your books onto our shelves as well, without convincing me (the quirky, picky bookbuyer-cum-gatekeeper).
All you have to do is be willing to energetically promote the museum online, before and after your visit.
Hands down, the author who has done the best job at following through at this quid-pro-quo offer has been Melanie Hope Greenberg.
I met Melanie during a discussion on Roger Sutton’s blog. When she figured out that I run the shop at The Carle she asked if I would sell her books. Since she had decided to start marketing herself energetically online, we agreed that she would run an event here and then blog about it.
Melanie extended the impact of the write-up on her blog by reminding her Facebook friends of her visit here, several times (citing the narrative link to her blog). Then when we set up her signed books on a page of our online store, she posted this link in several places, and then even compiled a list of all the links on yet another page of her website.
I would say that any author who will promise to do such an energetic job of promoting the museum, post-visit, would be very welcome to come here to promote their book—and we’ll keep the book on our shelves in the future as well.