Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Thank you for a SPECTACULAR year!

Thank you all for helping make 2013 such a remarkable one for me. I had many plans on writing an end-of-year review, but I thought it more prudent to making my art deadlines for the 2nd Platypus Police Squad book. As it turns out, Facebook already collected some highlights for me. How rewarding it was to take a look back on all the year brought me via Facebook's Year in Review feature.

I am constantly drafting updates via social media and sometimes this blog gets ignored. I would be remiss if I didn't mention two items that weren't listed in that Facebook Year in Review. Both happened this fall. One was an interaction I had with a student in the New Orleans area. He started telling me about how he wrote a story about he and his cat. I listened, as I always did. The boy then went on to tell me about how he didn't know his father and was currently not living with his mother. I certainly related with the boy, and it made me so very happy that I not only was open with my TED Talk, but that it had gone viral, and in a way, was able to give this kid some comfort that his future would be OK. Another event happened in North Carolina, where I was set to speak at UNC on a Saturday. This group of teachers drove around from neighborhood to neighborhood picking up students from their classrooms. Together with volunteers, these teachers reassembled their classrooms to hear me speak. What heroes.

I am so eternally grateful to meet so many heroes, and to be in touch with them on a regular basis—in classrooms and through social media.

Happy Everything to you all! I wish you the best of the best this holiday season.

I'm unplugging now to be with my own family, and I look forward to spending 2014 with all of you!


Sunday, December 15, 2013

10 Great Picture Books for Holiday Gift-Giving

I stopped by my local NBC affiliate and promoted some of my favorite new picture books on Mass Appeal. Have some kids that you still need to shop for? Get some book recommendations in the video above!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Dahl tribute pieces to benefit First Book - Manhattan!

With the blessing of the Roald Dahl Estate, I created these tribute pieces. They were displayed on stage at the First Book Manhattan benefit as the actors read from Dahl's works, and they're up for auction through Friday afternoon! Help First Book Manhattan get brand-new books into the hands of young readers! BID! http://firstbooknyc.wordpress.com/

I had a remarkable time hosting the event, and reading along with the grand finale performance of James and the Giant Peach! Check out more photos on Symphony Space's Facebook page here!

From left to right: Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan, Luke Kelly, Jenny Powers, James Naughton, Cavenaugh, Mara Wilsom and me! Photo ©2013 Rahav Segev / Photopass.com

UPDATED: More photos on First Book NYC's Facebook page as well!

Sunday, December 01, 2013

The Annual Joe and Shirl Scholarships Auction is now LIVE!

"But how did you grow up to be so well-adjusted?"

This is a question, in various iterations, that I get asked often. Regardless of how the inquiry is posed, I have the same one-syllable, three-letter answer every time.


Art was a transformative force in my life. It was a life-line during a time that I needed it most. When life at home was hectic, my sketchbook acted as a portal to any world, any reality of my making. I happened to make art my vocation, but not every kid does, and that's OK. Regardless of where one decides to take their talents, a strong education in the arts is integral to their development—as individuals and as learners. Having access to quality arts education not only helped me through difficult times, it also helped me become a creative problem solver. The jobs that our children will someday hold haven't even been invented yet, and that is just one of many reasons why we must provide our youth with adequate access to the arts.

When public funding eliminated the arts education in public schools in the 1980's, I was lucky enough to get sent to classes at the Worcester Art Museum. I was lucky because my grandparents, who raised me, could afford the tuition. At the Worcester Art Museum my world was opened up to classes in life drawing, cartooning and animation, amongst many others. And I gained camaraderie with peers who shared a similar passion for creativity—I was not alone! 

I realize that some kids in my hometown may have a unique familial setup as I did, but whose caretakers may not have the resources to afford that tuition. I'm proud to continue to connect those kids with an arts education at the Worcester Art Museum with the 4th annual auction in support of the Joseph and Shirley Krosoczka Memorial Youth Scholarships at the Worcester Art Museum. 

Photos courtesy Worcester Art Museum.

Here are the items up for bid in the 2013 auction, which will run until the evening of Sunday, December 8. You won't find items like this anywhere else. Every year I strive to offer something that is unique, and I never repeat items in consecutive years. So please, bid early and bid often—and thank you for helping me support art education!






#IndiesFirst on Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday is tomorrow, but we can still be #IndiesFirst. Two great local bookshops have the ability to take orders online, and I'll sign books purchased through their websites. (Just specify personalization under the customer comments field.)

The Odyssey Bookshop: http://www.odysseybks.com/search/apachesolr_search/Krosoczka

Broadside Bookshop: http://www.broadsidebooks.com/search/apachesolr_search/Krosoczka