Monday, March 16, 2009
Lots of great news - Beverly Cleary Award nomination!
Ellie McDoodle is nominated for the Beverly Cleary Children's Choice Award for 2010! I am thrilled. There are only 6 nominees. One is my friend Katie Speck. It's an honor just to be nominated (but I hope I win).
(this true cartoon of my son shows why I don't tell kids they can grow up to be anything they want, if they just try hard enough)
Ellie McDoodle is mentioned very favorably in an article in Publishers Weekly about a new trend in children's illustrated books. A few books are mentioned as derivative (I can imagine that's a painful label) and I was glad to see Ellie grouped with The Princess Diaries as books that break new ground.
The third book is being created right now! I sent the first draft to my editor on Feb 27 (met the deadline! Woo hoo!) and the revisions letter should arrive at my house sometime in the next few days. I'll have just a few weeks to redraw everything, then will send it back to her, and I'll have a week or two off while my editor considers all the changes. She'll write another revisions letter, I'll do my best to improve everything, and the final art/text deadline is June 1. It'll be a busy spring.
I'm doing a LOT of school visits these days. In March alone, I visited so far:
- 17 schools (Grosse Pointe, Mason, Farmington)
- 1 library (Farmington)
- 1 MRA conference (Michigan Reading Assoc)
- 1 unofficial library visit (Harper Woods) and that's only the first two weeks of March!
I still have a few author visits every week for the next few weeks (Bath, Dearborn Heights, East Lansing, Lansing, Lowell, to start).
Life's busy. I'm happy. I LOVE presenting to audiences about the Ellie McDoodle books.
If you'd like to book me for a visit (hurry before my low, low rates go up in the autumn), go to my website, go to the For Teachers page, and all the information is there.
I still have a couple days open this month if you'd like something now.
Otherwise, I am booking now for summer and the next school year.
It's never too early to book a day/week with me, and you might find you're saving a bit by locking in my current rates now.
I sketched lots of teachers, librarians and authors at the Michigan Reading Association Conference at the Amway Grand Hotel in Grand Rapids, Michigan, this weekend. Watch for pages uploaded here soon. Presenting was great fun! I had lots of handouts made specially for my sessions. They went fast -- I'll upload copies to my website soon, for use in your schools.
As we come up on another spring - finally! -- I encourage everyone to find a child and give him/her a journal. It could be a folded piece of paper. It could be a bound one from a bookstore. It could have lines or blank pages, fancy or plain, expensive or cheap. Your choice. Just encourage a kid to journal. It makes kids into better writers. And encourage them to draw, too -- because studies in Art Literacy show that when kids create art it makes them better writers as well! Weird sort of confluence of talent, don't you think?
I'm pushing my 11 year old daughter to journal more.
My teacher was the first person to give me a journal and encourage me in such a way that it stuck. I was 15, and have kept a sketch journal ever since. I have sketch journals from trips, births, funerals, weddings, field trips, daily life... hundreds at my house. (My daughter and her fiance are building bookcases at my house this week -- yippee!!!!! -- to accommodate all the books and sketchjournals here) Keeping a sketchjournal helped me through many tough times in my life and it grounded me during the happy times.
Encourage a kid near you -- that kid might grow up to thank you in front of large crowds at conferences... as I did this weekend.
Aside to the wonderful Elizabeth McCarthy, art teacher at Harper Woods Secondary School when I was 15 in 1974: I will always revere you. Thank you for singling out this miserable teen and giving me a lifeline in the form of a sketchjournal, a tool that still helps, 35 years later.
If anyone can help me sniff out Mrs. McCarthy's location, let me know!
By the way, I am a multiple-award-winning writer and illustrator. I am America's Most-Harried Home Cook, Dr. Mom, Kudos Working Mother of the Year, Suave's Family Manager of the Year, and several other honorary titles.
You can just call me your pal, though. ;)
And now, back to work for me!