“…Lord of the Flies meets The Giver…”
HUH! WHUT? No big deal or anything…
As you may recall, I’ve been working on this book for a while now. I didn’t know, as I worked on it, whether it would find a home. That was a feeling I hadn’t had in a long time– that sense of risk, the fear of wasting time. I wondered if I was nuts.
But I’m OVER THE MOON. And I was able to head into summer vacation with a huge sense of relief and joy.
(which is probably why I entirely forgot to post about it here)
Sometimes, the things worth reporting are hard things. And you don’t feel like sharing.
I’m okay, we’re okay, everything is okay. But… it feels a little hard.
I choose to believe this is what we call, “Refilling the well.”
My friend Rachel laughed at me recently, when I whined about how I’m not writing well and I’m cranking, and watching too much TV. She said, “Laurel, this is part of your process. You do this a lot.”
I’d like to believe that’s so.
But for now, it’s about to be summer. The boys are finishing school, and I’m about to do a few last school visits before the end of the year. So we’re all heading north. In our new car, which is a 97 Volvo wagon.
I will eat snowballs in Baltimore. I will stare at the harbor. I will wander around, and take the two lanes. And laugh and reset my brain.
As is my process. I guess.
Happy summer, everyone!
Well, Anna is here! She’s in a book! And you can meet her.
THIS BOOK. I’m not even sure I can explain about this book, and what it means. I’ll write more later, about how this book came to be. Honestly, I still can’t believe it’s happening!
But the short version is that the text is a collaboration, between myself and my childhood-self. Because as a little girl I was obsessed with Anna Pavlova. I scribbled about her, decades ago. And now?
I guess I still am obsessed.
SWAN will be coming from the fabulous folks at Chronicle (my first book with them!), in August. If you’re at TLA this week, you should swing by the booth and meet Anna in person. Some very exciting things (that I’m not at liberty to discuss) are already happening to her! But I’ll tell you about them later, I promise.
Meanwhile, check out Anna’s pinterest page of stunning photos and ephemera, “like” her Facebook page, for book news and Pavlova-tidbits, add her to your Goodreads list, or preorder the book from one of several handy places.
I can’t wait to show you more!
So, it’s 2015, and one of my resolutions for the year is to VISIT YOU!
That is to say, I want to visit more schools this year. Talk with kids, connect with teachers, discuss how WE ARE ALL WRITERS.
Of course, I’m always willing to book a traditional school visit, but in addition to that, I’m doing what Deborah Wiles calls a “shoestring tour” this spring– hitting the road to share Seven Stories Up with kids, since it’s got a snappy new paperback cover, and I didn’t tour when it came out in hardcover.
This means that I’ll be doing some FREE one-session school visits, in the Southeast and Midatlantic. Ideally in places with bookstores that can help coordinate a few schools a day. I’ve already got some things lined up in Georgia, the Carolinas, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, and that’s plenty, but while I’m on the road I might as well pop in and say hello to YOU.
So if you think you might be interested, drop me an email, and we’ll see if we can’t make it work!
I can’t BELIEVE I sold this book. It feels impossible, a book like this. And yet there it is, on Publisher’s Marketplace…
Author of BAXTER, THE PIG WHO WANTED TO BE KOSHER Laurel Snyder’s HUNGRY JIM, about a kid who wakes up feeling ravenously hungry and gobbles up his mom, instead of the pancakes she’s lovingly made for him, to Melissa Manlove at Chronicle Children’s, by Tina Wexler at ICM (World).
It feels funny, that my next 6 books will be picture books. I’m still at slow work on The Orphan Island. But I’m not rushing it. I’ve gotten used to doing novels now, but picture books feel like poems to me, when I’m working on them. And poetry is where this all began, for me…
Lew did NOT like my idea of donating the basket of books.
But then we drove by a Little Free Library, situated right at Lew’s old preschool, and he said he thought it might be okay to donate a few books to the Ormewood School. So we did that.
Then we drove a little further down Woodland, and found…. THIS!
Wow, Lew was really impressed with the metalworking! He rewarded the library with a few books.
We continued to head to the thrift shop, but guess what we ran into, right on that same street?
After that we dropped off the big bag of clothes, and it was time to head back to the school to get Mose. But on our way we got a little sidetracked…
And then, at the elementary school itself, we simply couldn’t resist…
All on our drive home from school!
Now we were down to four books (which someone insisted we could NOT give away). So we decided to go home for a snack.
But not without doubling back to one of our previous stops first. Because, as Lew explained, “Mose, you have GOT to see the faucet.”
Faucet? What faucet?
But every year I’m a little dismayed by how overwhelmingly women illustrators seem to get overlooked in early Caldecott conversations.
To be clear– I LOVE the books that win. I love the men who (mostly) make the books that win. Many of these men are my friends, and I believe that they are talented and creative and brilliant and worthy of awards. ABSOLUTELY. Last year, despite all my ranting about gender-bias, my own top pick for the medal was illustrated by a man.
I also believe women are worthy. Yet, somehow, when we start to generate buzz within our own little community, we PREDICT success for men. Which creates a certain sense of inevitability.
How does it begin? I don’t know. Maybe there are more marketing dollars for dudes. Maybe men are more inclined to illustrate. Maybe we, the women who buy most of the books, simply adore dudes. Maybe men are more inclined to make “Caldecott-style” illustrations. Or maybe MEN ARE SIMPLY BETTER AT ART THAN WOMEN AND I AM WRONG ABOUT EVERYTHING I HAVE EVER SAID ON THE MATTER.
In any case, it happens. Statistically.
Last year I made this list of AMAZING PICTURE BOOKS CREATED BY WOMEN. It was great fun, and I heard from a lot of folks that they were introduced to books they hadn’t seen before. I know some folks even sold a few books via the list.
So I invite you to help me make a 2014 edition, by leaving a comment below, with your very favorite woman-illustrated picture book of the year. OR BY VOTING ON THIS HANDY GOODREADS LIST! Please don’t self-nominate or self-promote in this space. If you’ve truly created something awesome, no doubt someone else will mention it for you! Just link to your favorite book in a comment, and I’ll pull an image of the cover, and add it below.
And if you’re a list-maker yourself, a blogger or journalist or librarian who runs a mock Caldecott… and you find yourself with a dude-heavy list, consider adding a few women to the mix. If women-illustrated titles don’t jump immediately to mind, you might want to ask yourself why that is…
I’ll kick things off myself, with a few favorites of my own:
A BOY AND A JAGUAR, by Alan Rabinowitz, illustrations by Catia Chien
LIFE, LIBERTY, and the PURSUIT of EVERYTHING, by Maira Kalman
TELEPHONE, by Mac Barnett, illustrations by Jen Corace
NANA IN THE CITY, by Lauren Castillo
FIREFLY JULY, by Paul B. Janeczko, illustrations by Melissa Sweet
EXTRAORDINARY JANE, by Hannah E Harrison
AVIARY WONDERS, INC, by Kate Samworth
FLIGHT SCHOOL, by Lita Judge
VIVA FRIDA, by Yuyi MOrales
FLASHLIGHT, by Lizi Boyd
A PIECE OF CAKE, by LeUyen Pham
THE IRIDESCENCE OF BIRDS, by Patricia MacLaughlan, illustrations by Hadley Hooper
THE RIGHT WORD, ROGET AND HIS THESAURUS, by Jen Bryant, illustrations by Melissa Sweet
THE TROUBLEMAKER, by Lauren Castillo
QUEEN ON WEDNESDAY, by Gabi Swietkowska
WATER WATER WATER, by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
SNOWBOUND SECRETS, by Nivola Uya
THE GARDENER’S SURPRISE, by Sonja Wimmer
BEFORE WE EAT, by Pat Brisson, illustrations by Mary Azarian
LOUISE LOVES ART, by Kelly Light
THE NUMBERLYS, by William Joyce, illustrations by Christina Ellis
FROODLE, by Antoinette Portis
SHOE DOG, by Katherine Tillotson
WHERE’S MOMMY? by Beverly Donofrio, illustrations by Barbara McClintock
EL DEAFO, by Cece Bell
THIS ORQ (HE CAVEBOY), by David Elliott, illustrations by Lori Nichols
THE BABY TREE, by Sophie Blackall
SLEEPOVER WITH BEATRICE AND BEAR, by Monica Carnesi
MAPLE, by Lori Nichols
THE FARMER AND THE CLOWN, by Marla Frazee
ONCE UPON A MEMORY, by Nina Laden, illustrations by Renata Liwska
THE TWINS’ LITTLE SISTER, by Hyewon Yum
THE PROMISE, by Nicola Davies, illustration by Laura Carlin
MONDAY, WEDNESDAY, AND EVERY OTHER WEEKEND, by Karen Stanton
UNI THE UNICORN, by Amy Krause Rosenthal, illustrations by Brigette Barrager
BABY PENGUINS LOVE THEIR MAMA, by Melissa Guion
DON’T TURN THE PAGE, by Rachelle Burk, illustrations by Julie Downing
THE JACKET, by Kirsten Hall, illustrations by Dasha Tolstikova
TWO SPECKLED EGGS, by Jennifer K Mann
HENNY, by Elizabeth Rose Stanton
EARLY BIRD, by Toni Yuly
KING FOR A DAY, by Rukhsana Khan, illustrations by Christiane Kromer
EMILY’S BLUE PERIOD, by Cathleen Daly, illustrations by Lisa Brown
DAY DREAMERS, by Emily Martin
HERE IS THE BABY, by Polly Kanvesky, illustrations by Taeeun Yoo
Please Louise, by Toni and Slade Morrison, illustrations by Shadra Strickland
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, by H. Chuku Lee, illustrations by Pat Cummings
I WISH I HAD A PET, by Maggie Rudy
FLORA AND THE PENGUIN, by Molly Idle
HERE COMES THE EASTER CAT, by Deborah Underwood, illustrations by Claudia Rueda
EDGAR’S SECOND WORD, by Audrey Vernick, illustrations by Priscilla Burris
ZOE’S JUNGLE, by Bethanie Deeney Murguia
SUMMONING THE PHOENIX, by Emily Jiang, illustrations by April Chu
SLEEPYHEADS, by Sandra J Howatt, illustrations by Joyce Wan
NAKED< by Michael Ian Black, illustrations by Debbie Ohi
CATNAPPED, by Leeza Hernandez
PUDDLE PUG, by Kim NOrman, illustrations by Keika Yamaguchi
MR. CORNELL’S DREAM BOXES, by Jeanette Winter