Monday, October 23, 2006

kid quote

In discussing how it took Slug 9 years to get published, a kid in the back of the room exclaims, "Well, it has so many words! No wonder!"

Sunday, October 22, 2006

kid quote

I'm about to take off for Texas, but I just remembered this story.

Back up in Vermont, during the Q&A session, this kid raises his hand....

KID: Do you know that show 'Blues Clues'?
ME: Yes, I do.
KID: Well, were you like the host of that show or something?
ME: No, that wasn't me.
KID: Oh, I wasn't sure. They always have new hosts and I thought that you looked like that guy....

NY Times!

WHOA! Check it out!






Channel 3 News Worcester

This is my interview from Channel 3 Worcester. I went to high school with the reporter/newscaster. Pretty random, huh? And my mom was right - I look tired in this interview! It was a last minute interview and I was running around trying to get things done before SLUG came out. But it's pretty good just the same. Here it is -

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

sensory overload / surreality

A very quick overview of what was the most surreal, amazing weekend…

Friday evening, I stopped by the Horn Book/Boston Globe Book Awards ceremony before heading down to Providence. There, I got to connect with James and Lesa Ransome and also had the chance to meet (very briefly) Kate Dicamillo. I also had the pleasure of meeting Jack Gantos. Now, this was a long time in the making, as we’ve almost met a bunch of times. But we did, sort of, meet years ago. And I had the chance to recount this story to him:

When I was in third grade, Jack visited my school. He talked about Rotten Ralph and after his talk, we returned to our classrooms and drew our own Ralphs. Jack visited my classroom, walked by my desk and said, “Nice cat!” I still remember that, to this day! And whenever I visit a school, it’s in the back of my mind. It’s not every day that you get to recount a story like that to the person that it is about, but I have always been of the mindset to give credit where credit is due and to let people know what kind of impact they had on your life.

Saturday was the big day - The Rhode Island Festival of Children’s Book Authors! I had been waiting for this for months. Jon Scieszka would be there, among many others. And what I was most looking forward to was being part of an event with Chris Van Allsburg. I had met Chris a few times in the past, but once as a nervous RISD student approaching him after a lecture and once as a fan standing in line for an hour to get a book signed… But never as a fellow published author. You see, when I was a senior in high school, my art teacher brought in The Garden of Abdul Gasazi for me to look at. After seeing this book, my eyes were opened to the possibilities that picture books had. And there I was…signing books…right next to him! It was unreal. I’m still pinching myself! He is an incredible person and I feel very fortunate to have had the experience.

And after a full weekend of sensory overload meeting and hanging out with so many incredible authors and illustrators, on Monday I got the news that someone would be visiting Boston that night on their book tour….Lemony Snicket! And well, he didn’t show, but Daniel Handler was there. He presented to a very full house. You know a book reading/signing is a big deal when you turn up to a high school auditorium and the police are directing traffic! The “show” was amazing- a reading, audience interaction, audience participation, music, humor, improv…. I was too tired to wait in the autographing line, though. So now I am here, painting away on my new book. I am both charged with inspiration and stunned by over stimulation….

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

VT, KC and soon RI

OK, a few quick updates on the tour. I have too many paintings waiting to be painted to write too much, but... The drive up to Vermont was worth the trip alone. I bet that in a week or so the colors are going to be even more intense. The Brattleboro Lit Festival was good. My time slot had a slow start, but soon enough people came around and I had a full house. I read next to this beautiful valley / hill of trees thing. It's hard to explain, I'll post pictures later. I just got back from Kansas City, where I presented to different schools bussed into Hallmark's Kaleidescope program. That place is amazing and if you ever get to Kansas City and you have a kid - you need to go! Kids make crafts in a space that is beyond your imagination! (I'll post pictures for this later, too!)

And now I am painting, painting, painting before I head down to the Rhode Island festival of Children's Books and Authors . There will a ton of cool authors and illustrators there.

Here's the full list:

Louise Borden
Andrew Clements
Etienne Delessert
George Harrar
Brian Lies
Lisa & Tucker Johnson
Jarrett Krosoczka
Jon Scieszka
Mark Stamaty
Chris Van Allsburg

And the Slug count goes on..... That's a lot of readings for 1 month!

Friday, October 06, 2006

like a boomerang

So now you have it - the full cycle of a book. While I have a few more events coming up for the Slug book tour, I have now come to the epilogue in the story of My Buddy, Slug's creation.

Today, FedEx dropped off a package with the original paintings from Slug, back from Random House.

And I am now knee deep in paintings for my next book!

Whenever you get the paintings back, it's been about a year since you have seen them in person. And it really is like seeing them for the first time. The light catches the texture in a certain way. They are a little bit smaller then I remember them being. I guess that's because I've been looking at a GIANT sized version of the illustrations of late and they probably also look smaller because they have big white borders and crop marks. For now I will frame some for my upcoming exhibitions and place the rest in storage for art shows yet to come!

Seth Green reads Punk Farm!

Back in June, my friend Jamie was attending a fundraiser for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation out in LA. Celebrities were reading books to kids and Seth Green walked up on stage with a copy of Punk Farm! She couldn't believe it! That was her friend's book! Well... my book!

Here are some pics that she just sent me!

Kentucky, Cincinnati and Akron!

See what happens when you don't update every day? You forget details.

Anyhow - I had a great event with the good people at Blue Marble in Kentucky and visited with a great group of students in Cincinnati on Tuesday.

I also got to meet up with Derek Anderson and Jenni Holm, who were both on tour and we all ended up staying at the same hotel!

Interesting fact#1: Jenni and I have been friends now for about a year or so and have never met in person!

Interesting fact#2: Derek and I have hung out three times now, but never in the same city twice and never in our own home towns!

I had a great drive across the state of Ohio. It was a great drive; there were a lot of farms.

I had one last event in Akron, OH at the public library. It was set up by my good friend Abby Bays. When she got her job in their marketing department, she wrote right away and I'm so glad it worked out. We had a blast. She was nervous to take me out in public, due to her fear of the Highlights Magazine gossip column paparazzi.

And now I am finally home!!! For now.

I have a great weekend ahead at the Brattleboro Literary Festival. The leaves have been turning colors while I've been away and I'm excited to see what the colors might look like a little bit north of here.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

exhibit @ foster gallery at the end of november

Just a heads up - I will be exhibiting original paintings from my books at the Foster Gallery in Dedham, MA at the end of November through the beginning of January. Other artists in the show include Grace Lin, Kelly Murphy, Peter Reynolds, Fred Lynch, Paul Olson and Ann Smith.

Thank you, Michigan!!!

I just found out that Punk Farm is up for a state award in Michigan, too!

It's an honor just to be nominated! I know that sounds like a cliche, but it's true - it's a complete honor to be listed amongst so many esteemed books!

Check out the announcement for the Mitten Award here! A big thanks to the Michigan Library Association!

Worcesta' radio

My interview with Mark Lynch on Inquiry has been archived on their site -

We talk about My Buddy, Slug; Lunch Lady; Hollywood; and I announce the top secret picture book that I've been alluding to on this blog....