Tuesday, June 23, 2020

JJK's Creative Camp -- more dates added!

We had so much fun at today's creative camp over Zoom, that I have added sessions through the end of July! These are week-long sessions, cap at 50 participants, and are best for kids 8-12. (But don't fret if you'd like to sign up a young artist that is slightly younger or slightly older!) We also designated the July 13th week to be for 13-16-year-old creatives.




July6 - July 10, 1 pm ET
FOR 8-12 YEAR-OLDS


July 13-17, 4 pm ET 

FOR 13-16 YEAR-OLDS
https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_kA4lXHHKTmKDHAv5D3vTIw

July 20-24, 4 pm ET
NEXT STEPS FOR 8-12 YEAR-OLDS (this is a continuation for campers)
https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_JlPvRBHoQVGz1sFcL0LI4w

July 27-31, 4 pm ET
FOR 8-12 YEAR-OLDS

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_DxnKGq6LTOehR_tY6IiSoQ




Wednesday, May 27, 2020

JJK's Creative Camp and Zoom Visits



I am excited to announce my new digital initiatives via Zoom! If you are a library, book club, or group that would like to host, please contact christie@authorsunbound.com. If you would like to register your own kiddo or yourself into a pre-planned event that I am running, please see the info below!
JJK's Creative Camp for 8-12 YOs (smaller roster—50 attendees) June 22-26 at 1 PM ET https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_on8Ox8QnQgi7hKEHIt-wsQ

HEY, KIDDO Book Club (teens and adults) June 23rd at 7 PM ET https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Hiq-DAT4TB6goc8FscisMg

Picture Books for Grown-Ups with JJK June 30th at 7PM ET https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_-U3ZSyp6RAm-z2QN-N2nMw



Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Draw Every Day with JJK

As we find ourselves social distancing and learning from home, I am producing video content every single weekday for artists young and older than young. Draw Every Day with JJK will webcast at 2 pm ET on weekdays. Each lesson will build on one another, with each week having a set of lessons that can be viewed via dedicated playlists on my YouTube channel. So if you can't use in every weekday, you will have nearly two hours of educational and entertaining content to enjoy every weekend!




The above is a playlist of every single episode. You may find a dedicated page on my website here. Grown ups, there, you will also find information on how you can submit artwork to be featured in a future webcast. Thank you! And draw every day!

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Hey, Kiddo Spotting


Gina and I never miss an episode of CBS Sunday Morning (Even if we don’t get to watch on Sunday.) This week’s segment on migraines piqued our interest because Gina suffers from debilitating migraines. But then, we paused immediately at the sight of the book in the background... ‬

Goodnight, Ghostbusters!



‪Every night, my son gingerly puts his Ghostbusters to ni-nights, and I feel like the luckiest dad in the world. ‬

Hey, Kiddo in France



Happy publication day to Une touche de couleur: Comment j'ai perdu ma mère, trouvé mon père et fait face aux addictions de mes parents.
Thank you, Éditions Delcourt for publishing Hey, Kiddo in France!

Thanks, Clinton Middle School!


The entire middle school lined the hallways and greeted me while wearing T-shirts emblazoned with quotes from my books—all while the Star Wars theme blared. What an astounding way to start the day! ‬





That face you make when you walk in to your school visit and you’re blasted with the Star Wars theme and a few hundred cheering students lining the halls between the front door and the auditorium. ‬Thank you for that incredibly warm welcome, Clinton Middle School! 📸 by ‪@SarahGaetano1 ‬on Twitter.

Upcoming Events!



I have some awesome public events coming up over the next few months. Some will be focused on Hey, Kiddo while some on Lunch Lady and Jedi Academy. I've made note under each entry to give you a better idea of what to expect! Hope to see you out there! (Always a good idea to double-check with the host on timing and location.)

Feb 23
Worcester, MA - Mechanics Hall
11am Jedi Academy
3pm Hey, Kiddo: Live & Unabridged

March 3, 7pm
Findlay, OH - Winbrenner
Hey, Kiddo

March 7, 10:30am
Huntsville, AL - Madison Public Library
Lunch Lady & Jedi Academy

March 12, 7pm
Pittsburg, PA - Carnegie Library Lecture Hall
Hey, Kiddo

March 23, 7pm
Frederick, MD - Towson Branch of the Baltimore County Public Library
Hey, Kiddo

April 18
Grand Rapids, MI - Calvin College
Hey, Kiddo

April 21
Turners Falls, MA - Shea Theater J
Jedi Academy: Jedi, at Last publication party

May 16
Columbus, GA - Columbus Public Library
Lunch Lady & Jedi Academy

Hey, Kiddo Live Reads


The Hey, Kiddo Live Reads informed the audiobook. ‬
‪And now the Hey, Kiddo audiobook is informing the Live Reads. ‬
‪Updating the show PowerPoint to include music created for the audiobook. ‬
(And I’ve also developed a way in which I can present this to communities with community members reading alongside me.)

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Hey, Kiddo LIVE





We are getting a majority of the Hey, Kiddo audiobook cast together to stage another Live & Unabridged reading on Feb 23rd at Mechanics Hall in Worcester, MA. WHO’S IN?! 



Making of Punk Farm!




In case you missed the webcast on PUNK FARM! 

We're going to the Audies!




This is HUGE! The Oscars of audiobooks! HEY, KIDDO has two Audies nominations! I'm so fired up for the entire team who brought my graphic memoir to audio. We're a Young Adult Finalist and a Multi-Voiced Performance Finalist.
Time to get the kiddos fitted for tuxes and gowns!



Last week, we gathered the young cast of HEY, KIDDO to tell them about the Odyssey Award. We just told them that we’re also up for two Audie Awards!


Audiobook Behind-the-Scenes


Paul Gagne of Scholastic Audiobooks is the reason why HEY, KIDDO was put forward for an audio adaptation. We rolled up our sleeves together trying to figure out how to tell the visual story in an auditory way. I wish we had cameras following us the entire time because the story behind the story would have made for an incredible documentary filled with so many ups and downs and emotional breakthroughs—and ultimately an Odyssey Award win!
But I am grateful that author Lisa Yee took this behind-the-scenes video. (Did you know that she voiced the soap opera actress from Shirley’s “stories”?)



I sat down with Audiophile Magazine to chat about the process of adapting graphic literature for audio. From initial concept to Odyssey Award! Read more here!



Odyssey Award Excitement

I gathered the young cast of the Hey, Kiddo audiobook to watch the American Library Association Youth Media Awards press conference. Everyone got to be late for school. If you were in that audience applauding, it reached the ears of these young performers!





In related news:



Thinking about every librarian and classroom teacher who has ever made the case for comics. (And knowing we will all continue to push this format forward.)


Wednesday, January 29, 2020

JJK Live!




Okay. I’m trying a thing. Think of this is a visual podcast that you can interact with in real time. I’m going to attempt a weekly Facebook Live on Tuesdays, 7pmish (ET)
Adding: this will be kid-friendly but not made with kids in mind. I’ll be recommending books for a wide age range. I’m more inspired by the chill conversations over lunch that I have with librarians and booksellers while on book tour.

During my weekly Facebook Live sessions on Tuesday evenings, I will be:
1) Recommending graphic novels and then giving away copies that I picked up at my local indie bookshop.
2) Live drawing while I talk about what’s going on in my life that week.
(This week was about an especially insane meltdown by my 3YO because he wanted cupcakes for breakfast.)
3) I’ll be taking questions while I, apparently, talk quite a bit with my hands.





Odyssey Audiobook Award and other stickers


You don’t write books to get stickers. But dang, this sure is validating. ‪ (Though, not nearly as validating as the connections I’ve made with this book.)‬


Also thank you to the American Society of Addiction Medicine for citing HEY, KIDDO with the Media Award! I am very honored. I look forward to seeing you all in April for the ceremony.

From the ASAM website:
"The Award is bestowed for a newspaper, magazine, television, radio or website story, column, or program that improves the public's understanding of addiction, addiction treatment, recovery, or the profession of addiction medicine." Read More Here!

THANK YOU!!!!

I’m still processing, but Hey, Kiddo took home the Odyssey Medal for excellence in audiobooks for kid and teen listeners. I am just proud of all the work that EVERYONE put into this! I am so thrilled that Scholastic
 Audio trusted me to not only come on board as a narrator but also as a producer and director on this.
From the ALA website:
Odyssey Award Medal
The Odyssey Award is given to the producer of the best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults, available in English in the United States. The award is jointly given and administered by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), divisions of ALA, and is sponsored by Booklist.
The story of the wanderings of Ulysses, as he returns to his kingdom of Ithaca after the Trojan War, are ascribed to the blind poet Homer who either wrote, or dictated, the epic poem called "The Odyssey." Whether this odyssey of Ulysses was based on one specific event, or many different ones, is argued by researchers today, though they all seem to agree that the poems comprising The Odyssey were originally told and retold in the oral tradition, hence the name for this award. The Odyssey Award allows us to return to the ancient roots of storytelling, while living in our modern world.



I made a little thing to express my gratitude for the Odyssey committee selecting the HEY, KIDDO audiobook as the Odyssey medalist.
I wonder how many cassette tapes we would have needed had the HEY, KIDDO audio been published when the story took place?
Monday morning, all of the major awards in children's and young adult literature were announced at the American Library Association conference, and we won the audiobook prize!





To think. I got National Book Award-winning author Jeanne Birdsall to cuss as my grandmother in an audiobook, and she up and wins an ALA award for it!
I stopped in so we could take in all the Odyssey Award awesomeness together for a moment.



More Behind-the-Scenes on the Hey, Kiddo AudioBook


Evolution of a book cover from initial concepts to final design. 




Paul Gagne of Scholastic Audiobooks is the reason why HEY, KIDDO was put forward for an audio adaptation. We rolled up our sleeves together trying to figure out how to tell the visual story in an auditory way. I wish we had cameras following us the entire time because the story behind the story would have made for an incredible documentary filled with so many ups and downs and emotional breakthroughs—and ultimately an Odyssey Award win!
But I am grateful that author Lisa Yee took this behind-the-scenes video. (Did you know that she voiced the soap opera actress from Shirley’s “stories”?)


If you listened to the HEY, KIDDO audiobook, you’ll be transported to the various environments in which the story takes place. The soundscapes of exterior spaces, the lighting of a grandparent’s cigarette, a car engine.... These are all thanks to the brilliant Steve Syarto who helped stitch this whole audio experience together! Here he is with corduroy pants recreating the sound of a very young Jarrett trailing behind his mother as he walked down the street. Steve is the unsung hero of this project which is why I jump for joy every time the sound design gets a special shout out in reviews.



More stories from the audiobook production! Since we wanted to use a different voice for every single character AND have authentic “Wustah” accents throughout, what better place to record than in Worcester.




Angela had a few moments before her nursing shift started, so she came on in to the recording studio to voice the preschool teacher. She walked in nervous (which is silly because being a nurse would make me WAY more nervous) and she walked out with a smile on her face, joking, “This is the first time my Worcester accent came in handy!” Thank you, Ang, for bringing such warmth to that preschool teacher! (And you didn’t meet Ang in Hey, Kiddo because how I know her isn’t an area that was covered in this book. A lot of scenes that were set in high school and the teen-friends-sphere were cut to focus on family life.)




Marty Cariglia is another old friend that I tapped to lend a hand with the HEY, KIDDO audiobook. Mart voiced the dismissive Phys Ed teacher. And he totally NAILED IT! So he either has a future in voice acting or belittling dorky 9th graders. But he brought just what that scene needed! Not pictured: Marty rolling up with sunglasses on like he was walking out of a Hollywood trailer ready to shoot his scene.



Thursday, January 09, 2020

NOW & THEN in the News!

Where they started from: New exhibit pairs artists’ childhood work with published illustrations‬
‪Fantastic coverage of NOW & THEN exhibit in Daily Hampshire Gazette.


Thanks, YALSA!


Thank you to YALSA for naming the HEY, KIDDO audiobook as one of their 2020 Top Ten Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults!‬ To see the full list, click here!




Happy Book Birthday!


Happiest of Book Birthdays to THIS BOOK IS ANTI-RACIST! So incredibly proud and appreciative of Tiffany Jewell and her work! I was lucky enough to have my kids in Tiffany’s classroom, young readers (and us older readers) are so fortunate to have this book.




Happy 2020!


Were you up until midnight or asleep on the couch? However you celebrated New Year's Eve, I hope that you had a happy and safe time. Wishing you nothing but the best for the New Year!




Snowy Walks


Enjoyed some of the final moments of 2019 in nature with my kids. (That until Mother Nature gave us one more big winter storm for the year.)