Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Award Winning Picture Author Illustrator, Suzanne Bloom shares about her process


Dear Friends,

What a special treat to have Award-Winning author-illustrator Suzanne Bloom give us an inside view of her writing and illustrating process for her newest book just out in August, I JUST LIKE YOU. Suzanne is generously donating an autographed book to one lucky winner who leaves a comment. Spread the word via twitter, FB, Google+ for more chances to win! ENJOY!

First, this GREAT REVIEW about the book. Then keep scrolling for Suzanne’s fabulous show and tell!


I JUST LIKE YOU [STARRED REVIEW!] KIRKUS
Author: Suzanne Bloom
Illustrator: Suzanne Bloom

Review Issue Date: August 1, 2018
Online Publish Date: July 16, 2018
Publisher:
Boyds Mills
Pages:
32
Price ( Hardcover ):
$16.95
Publication Date: November 6, 2018
ISBN ( Hardcover ):
978-1-62979-878-3
Category: Fiction
A sweet celebration of differences. There's not a cardigan in sight, but the spirit of Fred Rogers is all over this rhymed chorus of "likes." "You don't look just like me. / You don't see the things I see. / You don't walk just like me," but still and all, "You just like me! You just like me!" Bloom suspends pairs and larger groups of anthropomorphic young animals on plain, unmarked white backgrounds for these amicable declarations, and she goes to town on highlighting her figures' diversity—dressing a gray elephant in a colorfully striped shirt, wrapping a looong scarf around a woolly llama's looong neck, outfitting an ostrich with pink ruffles and a parasol a-dangle with pompoms, placing a wombat in a wheelchair and a little squirrel atop a tall unicycle. Nor are behavioral differences neglected, as a methodical porcupine ("I like to take my time") leans over a blank sheet of writing paper while the tiger cub in the next seat ("I'm speedy") is awash in notes and drawings. Scenes gradually fill up as the author gathers all and sundry together to dance (or shyly watch), to eat, and climactically to read (books printed and handwritten; in English, Danish, and Braille; a map; a sheet of music; a sewing pattern; a blueprint). The mood then calms for a concluding scene of two friends sharing an easy chair with a final: "I just like you! / Yes, I do." A manifesto to bridge the deepest chasms of otherness and to melt the stoniest of hearts. (Picture book. 4-8) 

Now read on and savor this feast of pictures and words!


 I JUST LIKE YOU  by Suzanne Bloom                  

It’s not easy to sit silently waiting for a story to begin, waiting for more listeners to come in and settle.
So I took this time to start a sketch and invited the early arrivals to suggest ideas for how to make a friend.  Their answers are in several languages and include questions and compliments. Simple really.



This story lodged in my brain at least five years ago, and by that I probably mean 20.  It was populated with people of all varieties.  As it evolved I turned to animals because I was sure I would inadvertently leave someone out.  To be fair…even with animals, there are no fish or insects.  Sorry.  




 




Often it’s good to wait for a story because the other inspirations occurred much later. At a summer camp where I worked, Art Amy started “Love Letter” Day.  The art barn was awash with construction paper scraps and a thousand or so cut-out hearts. The love letters were mostly like letters and it was an opportunity to express appreciation and affection.  


So, bits and pieces of ideas drifted, floated and popped in over time. Some people call this procrastination.  I prefer to call it “Productive Procrastination”.  And in this realm, I am the queen.  Except, I confess, I do spend too much time on Facebook.



BITS OF INSPIRATION

Dragon Fruit from China

Clara’s chair reimagined






































The auditions result in some disappointment for many characters who must wait for another 
book.  Can you tell who made it into this book?




HINT: Some may have different costumes in the book.



PROCESS:
At the beginning of each project, I’m sure it’s a brilliant idea. Then I’m sure I’ve forgotten how to draw.


Yes, every time. So I scribble and doodle for a couple of weeks until characters decide to make an appearance. 

The story comes first, except for when a character emerges first. Occasionally the title comes first but not usually. (Linear thinking doesn’t work for me.)  When it’s time to do the final art, I’ll pick the easiest one and it sets the tone. In this book, it was the last page. The story itself determines the medium; dry pastel or watercolor and colored pencils.  



For reference I have old copies of Ranger Rick. After sketching, finals are pinned to the line so I can see it all.

I love this last page.  It might be my favorite in the book, except for the lion getting a spa treatment.




As I thought and wrote and drew, I imagined the adult reader looking into one face or many and having the chance to say over and over to one child or a classful, “I just like you. Yes. I do.”  And one child or many will have heard that they are liked, likeable, valued.  Simple, really.



Text and drawings © Suzanne Bloom 2018


Be sure to stop by Suzanne’s website to learn more about her and her wonderful books.

 Suzanne will be available for school and conference visits in Fall ‘19 and spring ’20. 


Thank you, Suzanne, for sharing and showing your fascinating and informative journey from idea to finished book. By the way, this book is another perfect pick for October’s National Anti-bullying month, but a truly excellent pick for year round sharing. 

Thank you, Dear Readers! I JUST LIKE YOU for your ongoing support of authors/illustrators and wonderful Children’s books. Please leave a comment for our Splendid Friend Indeed, Suzanne Bloom. I’ll be back next week to announce the winner of I Just Like You.

~Clara

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Librarian shares about THE ORANGE SHOES by Trinka Hakes Noble + WINNER ANNOUNCED

Dear Friends,

I was so delighted when a retired librarian, Gaye McCallum shared on FB about how much she loved The Orange Shoes and used it in her school library classes for many years. She agreed to share those thoughts and her experiences with all of you. Inspiring.

Librarian GAYE McCALLUM
Here’s what Librarian Gaye McCallum wrote:

The Orange Shoes by Trinka Hakes Noble is a timeless novel that captured my heart on my first read. As a librarian, I was able to share this novel with every age from Kindergarten to Fifth Grade and teach such valuable lessons. I incorporated it into valuing each person’s talents, knowing that riches don’t necessarily equate to money, understanding the cruelty of bullying, and the importance of love of family. My students and I had amazing discussions about what they would choose to do as a bullied classmate, her classmates, and also talked about why the bullying might have occurred. We marveled at Delly’s artwork and how she turned such cruelty into beauty. The love of family was also a topic that was warmed all our hearts as we discussed ways that family is our shelter. Her mother’s creativity as well as her father’s love and pride in his daughter were wonderful subtopics to pursue.  

I highly recommend this book to all families, teachers, and anyone who longs for a heartwarming story filled with beautiful illustrations.
Published by SLEEPING BEAR PRESS

Thank you, Gaye. I’m sure your review will inspire teachers and parents to purchase this book for students and children or to request it from their local library. 

Many of you may recall Trinka’s book, Rettie and the Ragamuffin Parade: A Thanksgiving Story that was featured here last November. Here’s the link back to that post in case you missed it: Thanksgiving with Author Trinka Hakes Noble + Giveaway


And now Announcing the LUCKY WINNER of THE ORANGE SHOES

Congratulations go out to:

Jilanne, Please email me: claragillowclark(at)gmail(dot)com with your mailing address and to whom you’d like the book inscribed. Thanks! And thank you everyone who stopped by to leave a comment or read the post. 

Next up is a Splendid Friend Indeed who will share about her brand new picture book, another perfect pick for National Anti-bullying Month. 

See you soon!
~Clara 


Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Author Trinka Hakes Noble shares for Anti-bullying Month + Giveaway

Dear friends,

October is National anti-bullying month and in her poignant post, my lovely friend, Author Trinka Hakes Noble shares about her real life story of being bullied in school and her Award Winning picture book, The Orange Shoes. Trinka is generously giving away a copy of the book to one lucky winner who leaves a comment. Maybe you have a story to share, too. We want to hear from you!

The Power of the Pen - Writing From Real Life 
by Trinka Hakes Noble


When a writer’s own childhood is woven into a story, there is a from-the-heart sharing that connects with something deep inside all of us. There is a sincerity, a vulnerability, an earnest innocence and the endearing, wide-eyed outlook of a child that is honored and treasured. Such a story is The Orange Shoes.

It is often said that authors will go back to their own childhood to right a wrong or to fix something that happened or didn’t happen or should have happened. What happened to Delly, the main character in The Orange Shoes, happened to me in real life when I was eight years old. It was a day I will never forget.

I grew up in a big family of seven kids, so getting a new pair of fancy shoes usually wasn’t an option. You either wore hand-me-downs, or got a very sturdy pair of brown tie shoes called Buster Browns. Those Buster Browns would last a kid through rain, sleet, mud and snow, but they weren’t very pretty. In fact, they were ugly, but that is what I wore. If you look in the corner of the illustration of Delly hugging her Dad, you can see them, patched with pieces of black inner tube. Back then, shoes were patched to last until the end of school, and then you went barefoot for the summer, which I did.  

But one Saturday, when we went to town for out piano lessons, I saw a beautiful pair of orange Mary Janes in a shoe store window. Oh, how I wanted those beautiful orange shoes! But they probably cost too much money.

Lo and behold, the next morning, those orange shoes were setting right by my bed! I couldn’t believe it! On Monday morning, without asking my mom, I took those orange shoes to school and hid them under a bush on the edge of the playground. Then, at recess, I ran to that bush, took off my old Buster Browns and put on those bright orange shoes. I wanted to show them to the other girls who were playing by the swings. I thought my shoes would make them as happy as they made me, but I was wrong. Those girls didn’t even smile. Instead, those girls stomped on my shoes, kicked dirt on my shoes, and scraped and scuffed my shoes until they were ruined!  




Now, here’s the thing. I didn’t do anything about it. I didn’t talk back, or fight back. I tried to run away, but they chased me all over the playground. I didn’t even tell my teacher, and I had a really nice teacher, just like Miss Violet in the book. This really bothered me my whole life, so when I became an author, I decided to write a book about that day, but I would let the girl in the book do what I wished I had done, but didn’t.   

What Delly did was use her artistic talent to turn that wrong into the most glorious right. She painted pretty flowers, vines and leaves right over all those gouges, cracks, scuff marks and scrapes, and she created the most beautiful pair of orange shoe the world has ever seen! In the end, Delly triumphed by wearing those beautiful painted shoes to her school’s Harvest Festival Family Night. Delly and her orange shoes were the hit of the evening.

In The Orange Shoes, I meshed two writing genres, personal narrative and realistic fiction. I revisited my childhood to creative a story that righted a wrong, and changed what happened into what should have happened.  

Trinka Hakes Noble with Artwork by Elementary students - School Visit
As one 3rd grader put it at a recent author’s visit, “Boy, you sure got even with those mean girls, didn’t you!”

Yes indeed, I did!  And it’s called The Power of the Pen.


The Orange Shoes is now in its 8th printing and is used in many schools across the nation to teach character building and to enhance the National Anti-Bullying Month of October.  

The Orange Shoes won the International Reading Association’s prestigious Teacher’s Choice Award (2008) and received a Bronze Award from the National Parenting Publication (NAPPA).  It also received Best Books of the Year 2008 from The Children’s Book Council.  

The Orange Shoes was nominated for the following:

The New York State Reading Association’s Charlotte Award
Delaware Diamond State Award
Arkansas Diamond Primary Book Award
Indiana Hoosier State Book Award
Missouri Show Me Readers Award
Nebraska Golden Sower Award
Tennessee Volunteer State Book Award
The prestigious Jefferson Cup Award 2008





Trinka’s most recent title is Rettie and the Ragamuffin Parade - A Thanksgiving Story.  Forthcoming in the fall of 2019 is her newest book, A Fist for Joe Louis and Me, both published by Sleeping Bear Press.

Learn more about Trinka on her website at www.trinkahakesnoble.com  









THANK YOU, TRINKA, for stopping by today to share your wonderful book and story with us! AND THANK YOU, DEAR FRIENDS, for taking time from your busy lives to leave a comment. Please spread the word on FB and Twitter for more chances to win Trinka’s beautiful book, THE ORANGE SHOES. I’ll be back next week to announce the winner.

~Clara