Posted tagged ‘Award-Winning Author/Illustrator’

Kwame Alexander Teaches Us – HOW TO READ A BOOK

February 27, 2020

Frequent readers of my blog know – I love picture books! I just glommed on to a fabulous picture book, and I don’t want to let it go!


How to Read a Book is written by Kwame Alexander, a New York Times bestselling author and winner of multiple awards. He received the Newbery Medal in 2015 for The Crossover, and in January of this year, he won a Newbery Honor for his book The Undefeated. Kwame Alexander’s picture book is a lyrical poem written from the heart. His powerful words evoke wonder and excitement and encourage children to open a book and “peel its gentle skin, like you would a clementine.” He writes about the feel, the smell, the sound, the look, and the taste of words readers discover in books. Alexander’s awe-inspiring poem speaks to the soul and opens the door to the joys of reading. Melissa Sweet’s illustrations add another dimension to Alexander’s delightful text. Sweet is also a New York Times bestselling author and artist, a two-time winner of the Caldecott Honor Medal, and winner of the 2012 Sibert Medal for Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade. Melissa Sweet’s unique collage illustrations complement Kwame Alexander’s poetic words. She uses a variety of materials including neon paint colors and pages from a discarded copy of Bambi which adds to the overall experience as readers immerse themselves in this book. Besides the eye-catching colors and attention to detail, Sweet also includes fold-out pages and smaller pages within pages that will appeal to readers. Each page turn is a gift of words and art.

This book is truly magic!



And the Answer Is …

October 25, 2018

Where was I last week?

I was in New London, NH, having a conversation with a very well-known author/illustrator. That’s another clue for you. But, before I reveal who I had the pleasure of spending quality time with, here are a few more clues.

This gentleman

is amazing,

loves wearing scarves,

has won a Caldecott Honor Award and a Newbery Honor Award, to name only a few of his  many awards,

and his newest picture book is on the New York Times Best Sellers list at #8.

Are you ready?

QUIET and listen up.

The answer is…


Tomie dePaola

Tomie dePaola is a multi-talented, author/illustrator/teacher, and winner of many prestigious awards. At 84 years young, Tomie continues to work on numerous projects in his studio – a 200-year-old renovated barn.





Besides illustrating books, Tomie’s many artistic projects also include liturgical art. He is in the process of working on a mural for a chapel dear to his heart. He is also co-writing and illustrating the Andy & Sandy easy-to-read picture book series, will be giving his artistic touch to two Little Free Libraries, and has enough other projects to keep him busy for years.

Little Free Libraries Waiting for Tomie’s Magic Touch


Tomie’s creative process begins with the story which he writes in longhand. When it comes to illustrating, Tomie prefers the tried and true method. He uses line drawing, a paint brush, and acrylic paints. He says he likes “feeling the paper/feeling the brush.”

Coming from an Irish/Italian background, many of his books are written from that perspective. Tomie’s favorite book is Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs. It’s an autobiographical story of his Irish great-grandmother and Irish grandmother. His close family ties could be seen and felt when he spoke about the day he ran to Nana Upstairs’ room and found her bed empty. He remembers exactly how the room looked and how he felt when he learned his great-grandma had passed away. He recreated that moment in his picture book.

In his studio, there is a special area where Tomie spends meditative time each morning. It’s a place where he can slowly breathe in and breathe out, be prayerful and appreciate the world around him.


While visiting, I also had the privilege of touring his home. It’s filled with collections of Native American and early American folk art. Throughout his home, you’ll also find numerous candles, religious art, and artifacts. Everything is in perfect order. A newer addition to Tomie’s house, which he dubbed the Mercer Room, is light and bright and filled with colorful art from Mexico and his own paintings.

The Mercer Room




Tomie has a particular connection with the story of Juan Diego and Our Lady Of Guadalupe. Images of Our Lady of Guadalupe can be found in almost every room of his home and studio.


More Art and Artifacts


Tomie also enjoys eating, cooking, and entertaining.

How’s this for a well-appointed kitchen?

My time with Tomie dePaola was an incredible experience. He is a kind, gentle man who makes you feel like you’ve known him forever. He respects others, works hard, and has a great sense of humor. No matter who you are, Tomie dePaola readily welcomes you into his extraordinary world. I was lucky to be a part of it!

Quiet is a perfect book to share with young and old in our fast-paced world.


Quiet written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, October 2018.

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