Let’s Get Busy with Mike Curato

Mike Curato (@MikeCurato), author of Little Elliot Big City (@HenryHolt), stops by to talk about his long journey alongside his main character, a glimpse behind a successful book tour, and a big win at the SCBWI Winter Conference.

Download for FREE on iTunes, using the Stitcher mobile app, or at LibSyn.

Episode Notes
Mike Curato's homepage
Little Elliot, Big Window (blog post about the Little Elliot window display at Books of Wonder)
A Year with Frog and Toad musical
Purchase Little Elliot Big City from your local independent bookstore

Purchase locally whenever possible.

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Quest by Aaron Becker (Candlewick Press)

Aaron Becker returns with us to the worlds introduced in Journey, his Caldecott Honor-winning debut picture book.

Quest by Aaron Becker
The kingdom of Pallonezia, the waterfall city of Becker’s Journey, is under threat from a colorless army  set on retrieving all of the mythical colored drawing tools. These tools, readers learned in Journey, hold the power to bring what’s drawn to life. Boy and Girl are drawn into the world as the ruler of Pallonezia appears before them from an enchanted door beneath a bridge under which the children seek cover from the rain. Moments later, their quest to retrieve all of the colorful drawing tools is afoot.
Becker’s masterfully detailed watercolors take readers to nearly every part of the globe on this wordless quest to save a kingdom. Each new location is bathed in monochromatic tones, from the underwater city’s purple shades to the mountain temple’s muted blues, and Becker’s command of scale and focal points literally draws readers’ eyes closer to the pages to discover the hidden mythologies depicted along the sides of the monuments and structures throughout the children’s journey. Becker’s depiction of the children from page to page also has the subtle yet powerful effect of pulling readers through the story. I found myself rushing the conclusion of the story with each read as I reached the plot’s climax.
What Aaron Becker has crafted in Quest is a work of picture book art that expands well beyond the story, beckoning for exploration and, almost, companionship. It’s as if the characters want us (the readers) to make the journey with them, and their expressions along almost every single step remind readers that, despite the threat of danger, there is an incredible amount of joy and excitement to be had in a quest.

Additional Resources:Aaron Becker's homepage
Aaron Becker on the Let’s Get Busy podcast (Ep. 73 - discussing Quest)
Aaron Becker on the Let’s Get Busy podcast (Ep. 16 - discussing Journey)
Purchase Quest from an independent bookstore near you

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Let’s Get Busy with Rilla

Rilla Alexander (@ByRilla), author of The Best Book in the World (@FlyingEyeBooks), stops by to talk about a life of writing stories, seeing herself in Sozi, and creating a meditation on literacy by way of her love letter to books.

Download for FREE on iTunes, using the Stitcher mobile app, or at LibSyn.

Episode Notes
Rilla's homepage
Flying Eye Books (publisher of The Best Book in the World)

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Mix It Up (Preview) by Herve Tullet

I cannot stop watching this video from Herve Tullet, author of Press Here, the picture book that reminded us all just how magical, just how playful, just how wonderful a picture book can be. 

In Herve’s new book, Mix It Up (out Sept. 16th from Chronicle Books
For those of us who have fallen head over heals for this works of this very talented French artist, this opportunity to meet the man behind the wonder and glimpse into his studio is too good to resist.


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Let’s Get Busy - Aaron Becker RETURNS!

Aaron Becker (@storybreathing), author of Quest (@Candlewick), the sequel to Journey, a 2014 Caldecott Honor book, stops by to talk about the mythos within the world of Journey and Quest, the ripples made in the publishing world with his debut picture book, and where this journey will take him for the trilogy’s conclusion.

Download for FREE on iTunes, using the Stitcher mobile app, or at LibSyn.

Episode Notes
Aaron Becker's homepage
Purchase prints from Quest and Journey
Quest book trailer
The Eleventh Hour: a curious mystery by Graeme Base
Child of Light video game trailer
Purchase Aaron Becker’s books from your local independent bookstore

Music in Quest trailer by Branches
Purchase locally whenever possible.
Purchase locally whenever possible.

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Sticky Fingers and The Green Teen Cookbook (Zest Books)

The Summer Bloggin’ Blog Tour from Zest Books is in full effect and I’m very pleased to have a chance to share two new releases that will inspire readers to create, invent, explore, and express themselves. 
Sticky Fingers: DIY Duct Tape Projects by Sophie Maletsky (July 2014)
Sticky Fingers is all about transforming the traditional hardware adhesive into practical, eye-catching products and who better to guide and inspire readers than Sophie’s World founder Sophie Maletsky. The 70+ duct tape crafts range in complexity and construction time, but it is clear that the author was intentional in creating a resource that can easily be used by the most novice of crafters as well as those who already possess a basic knowledge of constructing using nontraditional materials.
While crafting books may more often entertain a female audience, Sticky Fingers includes a significant number of gender-neutral crafts and the emphasis is on customization and personalization through various duct tape prints and color combinations, as evidenced in the completed product photos. Many of the crafts are even perfect for this back-to-school time of year, including the Trifold Wallet, the Lunch Bag, and the Book Cover, but in my opinion the pièce de résistance of Sticky Fingers is the Tablet Case. The example in the book even incorporates die cut work to look as if the cover is a ferocious, hungry monster. I can’t imagine a single kid who wouldn’t see that image and immediately be inspired by the possibilities of crafting with duct tape.
Project layouts are easy to follow and contain clear instructions aside large full color illustrations. The level and time indicators are both helpful and the book is organized so that readers can master prerequisite skills before starting more difficult projects.
Beyond the wealth of duct tape-inspired crafts contained in Sticky Fingers, the book also includes a really helpful opening chapter on where and how to acquire the items needed for the crafts, how to organize your materials and workspace, and a breakdown of the perks and drawbacks of all of the major brands of duct tape. With such great in-text support for the reading audience, Sticky Fingers is sure to entice a diverse crowd of crafters and inspire many, many more duct tape projects to come.

BONUS: Sophie Maletsky joined me on a recent episode of Let’s Get Busy. Listen to the episode here

Additional Resources:
Sophie’s World homepage
Sophie Maletsky on the Let’s Get Busy podcast
Sticky Fingers: DIY Duct Tape Projects book info
Sticky Fingers on the Zest Books blog
Purchase Sticky Fingers: DIY Duct Tape Projects from your local independent bookstore

The Green Teen Cookbook edited by Laurane Marchive and Pam McElroy (July 2014)

The Green Teen Cookbook is a guide to responsible cooking with recipes for all seasons. The recipes were submitted by teens from across the country and the result is a collection of over 70 beautifully photographed, tantalizing dishes that would impress any dinner guests, let alone a roomful of hungry teenage friends.
Directions for each recipe are minimal, never taking more than a single page per dish, and each recipe contains seasonal icons to help readers to know when the ingredients used in the recipe are in season. Recipes include many familiar standards, such as chili con carne, spanish tortilla, and huevos rancheros, alongside some mouthwatering new recipes, including flower prawn soup, sausage bolognese, and rose petal sweets. The chefs behind each dish are featured prominently at the top of each page with a quote regarding the recipe shared, adding the opportunity for readers to see themselves in the teen chefs who created dishes for the cookbook.
Also included are helpful resources on top rated farmers’ markets, community supported agriculture (CSA), and six articles guiding readers on how healthy, environmentally conscious cooking. These articles cover the topics of eating healthfully, eating seasonally, eating organic, vegetarianism, eating locally, and fairtrade, and each is written by an expert in the field. Whether read as an introduction to the book, or used as resources and points of reference throughout the year, these articles articulate the topics clearly and succinctly, and, more importantly, can provide teens with helpful language in expressing their own green values. 

Additional Resources:
Purchase The Green Teen Cookbook from your local independent bookstore

Note: Review copies sent from the publisher.

Sticky Fingers: DIY Duct Tape Projects by Sophie Maletsky
On Sale Date: July 1, 2014
Ages 12 And Up, Grades 6 And Up
Zest Books
240 pages
300+ full-color photos

The Green Teen Cookbook edited by Laurane Marchive and Pam McElroy
On Sale Date: July 29, 2014
Ages 12 And Up, Grades 6 And Up
Zest Books
144 pages
80+ full-color photos

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Int’l Dot Day for KidLit Creators

Teachers return to school on Monday. Students in just over a week. And that means the International Dot Day is just around the corner.

Last week I shared some awesome ways to get connected, be inspired, and make your mark for this most celebrated day of connecting and making connections.

I shared a Google Doc that Shannon M Miller and I created to support friends and colleagues who want to connect their classrooms and schools over Skype, Google Hangout, or other videoconferencing tool.

But today I want to focus on all of you kidlit creators because, know it or not, you can play a very special roll in the lives of the 2 million children who will participate in this year’s Dot Day celebrations. Authors, illustrators, cartoonists, graphic novelists, artistic directors, editors, and everyone in between, it’s time to help kids make their mark on the world! Are you up for some fun?

Great! Here are two quick and SUPER easy ways you can get involved in this year’s International Dot Day celebrations:

#1: Create a Celebri-dot!
Kate DiCamillo made one! So did Jeff Kinney! And Eric Carle, Katherine Applegate, and Aaron Becker! And Sharon Creech has made THREE!

Celebri-Dots are special dots created by authors, illustrators, and celebrities who “share in the dream of a more creative world.”

Like this new one from Matthew Cordell
Behold! A ball of squirrels careening downhill!
Terry Shay continues to connect all of us together in celebration of Dot Day, connecting children to the world and growing a more creative world. Consider becoming a Celebri-Dot by following these very simple steps.

#2: Tell a class you’ll connect with them virtually.

There is almost nothing simpler or more affective/memorable/meaningful than having and author or illustrator connect with a class of students. And with the mission of Dot Day behind you, that connection can make lots of ripples and change lots of lives.

Join a class virtually to create some dots.

Read a class your newest book.

Give some students a virtual tour of your studio.

Make your mark on the world by showing kids that place where creativity can lead them.

Send out a message on Twitter using the hashtag #DotDay or reply to this post saying that you’re interested. I would be more than happy to help pair you up with some classes and schools who would very much like to make that connection with you.

And on that note, why don’t I leave you with some words I shared with Terry Shay earlier last week about my thoughts on Dot Day.
Created by Terry Shay using Station Studio from FableVision Learning

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Let’s Get Busy with Sophie Maletsky

Sophie Maletsky (@Soph_World), author of Sticky Fingers: DIY Duct Tape Projects (@ZestBooks), stops by to talk about crafting awesome things from duct tape, finding inspiration from every kid you work with, and how making things easy-to-follow is a very complex and drawn out process.

Download for FREE on iTunes, using the Stitcher mobile app, or at LibSyn.

Episode Notes
Sophie’s World homepage
Purchase Sticky Fingers: DIY Duct Tape Projects from your local independent bookstore

Purchase locally whenever possible.

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Let’s Get Busy with author illustrator Lizi Boyd

Lizi Boyd, author of Flashlight (@ChronicleKids) and Inside Outside, stops by to talk about wordless storytelling, coexisting with nature, and leaving things for the reader to discover.

Download for FREE on iTunes, using the Stitcher mobile app, or at LibSyn.

Episode Notes
Lizi Boyd's homepage
Lizi Boyd Paper
A Peek into Lizi’s studio
Purchase Lizi Boyd’s books from your local independent bookstore

Purchase locally whenever possible.
Flashlight taking shape.
A luna month from Lizi’s backyard.
Purchase locally whenever possible.

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Flashlight by Lizi Boyd (Chronicle Books)

From Lizi Boyd, the amazing talent that brought us Inside Outside, comes another wordless treasure about exploring the wonders of nature at night.

Flashlight by Lizi Boyd (August 12, 2014)
A boy sets out from his tent to explore his backyard and all that can be discovered through the beam of a flashlight. All that the light captures induces wonder in the child and a sense of intimacy with nature is  evident throughout the illustrations from the nesting and resting animals, to the foraging and exploring ones. When, at one point, the boy stumbles over a rock causing him to drop his flashlight, the light is turned back on him and we see who this child is emerging from the silhouette.
Boyd’s illustrations perfectly imitate the nature of flashlight exploration: the explorer may only see glimpses or portions of an object and has to determine what he or she sees through keen observation. Most of the illustrated page depicts the nighttime scene, revealing the forest and its inhabitants in outlines of grays and whites over a black background. However, that which is captured in the beam of the light is immediately eye-catching.
One of the qualities with which I’m most fascinated in the illustrations is Boyd’s carefully preserved details, left for discovery on successive reads. Watchful readers can observe the gestation of a luna moth, the iridescence of some forest flora, and a handful of fauna who appear from page to page but on whom the flashlight does not pass over.
Flashlight allows readers to experience the wonder and excitement of nighttime exploration in the woods and wordlessly entices readers to explore the hidden nature outside their own homes. I highly recommend this story for young readers and the adults who will go exploring with them through the story.

Check back tomorrow to hear my interview with Lizi Boyd on the Let’s Get Busy podcast, in which Lizi talks about her process for creating Flashlight, the things she discovered when she went exploring the woods outside her home, and the memories she drew from of her boys and their discoveries in their backyard wilderness.

Additional Resources:
Lizi Boyd’s homepage
Flashlight book trailer
Purchase Flashlight from an independent bookstore near you

Note: Review copies sent from the publisher.

Flashlight by Lizi Boyd
On Sale Date: August 12, 2014
Ages 2 to 6, Grades P to 1
Chronicle Books
40 pages

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