Posted tagged ‘CCBC’

Illustrations by David Catrow

March 20, 2012

When I was flipping through picture books at the CCBC semi-annual book sale, the cover illustrations of two books immediately caught my eye. I grabbed both of them. The illustrator was David Catrow.

I’m charmed by Catrow’s illustrations. His style is unique. His creative use of colored pencils and watercolors produce quirky, bright illustrations that instantly say, “Look at me!” David Catrow knows exactly how to tickle a child’s funny bone and yours, too!

Take a look.

Some books from our school library collection:

Where’s My T·R·U·C·K? by Karen Beaumont and pictures by David Catrow (Dial, 2011)

I Wanna New Room by Karen Kaufman Orloff and illustrated by David Catrow (Putnam Juvenile, 2010)

Don’t Say That Word! by Alan Katz and pictures by David Catrow (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2007)

I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! by Karen Beaumont and illustrated by David Catrow (Harcourt Children’s Books, 2005)

We the Kids: The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States illustrations and foreword by David Catrow (Dial, 2002)

Rotten Teeth by Laura Simms and pictures by David Catrow (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 1998)

Make sure you check out David Catrow’s many other books!

Nobody Likes This

March 13, 2012

A week ago, the CCBC had their semi-annual book sale. It’s a time to purchase a variety of hardcover books for my school library. This event is like having Santa Claus come more than once a year!

Yesterday I sat in my comfy reading chair and thought, this is the life! By my side were 68 picture books, waiting for me to read. Sixty-eight delightful hardcover pictures books that cost three dollars apiece. Three dollars! Imagine that. Thank you CCBC. I’ll be your friend forever!

One picture book I was particularly taken with was Nobody written by Liz Rosenberg and illustrated by Julie Downing (A Neal Porter Book, Roaring Book Press, 2010).

This is a story of a young boy, George, who has an imaginary friend called Nobody. Early in the morning, Nobody convinces George to make a feast for breakfast. In their quest to create a delicious meal, Nobody and George create a kitchen mess. When George’s mother and father see the mess, they take it in stride. (They are better parents than I am!) George and his mother decide to make pancakes together, and that’s when Nobody feels left out and begins to shrink. George realizes how lonely he would be without Nobody. He confesses to his mother that Nobody helped him make the mess and Nobody makes better pancakes than he does. When Nobody hears those words, he begins to grow back to his normal size, and George and Nobody enjoy pancakes together.

The illustrator used soft colors combined with eye-catching ones. Shades of gray are used to distinguish Nobody from George and his mother and father. The breakfast mess is sure to make children laugh. Although the illustrations are delightful, I’m a word person. I love the written story. The text is imaginative and filled with clever wordplay that is funny for both children and adults.

Nobody likes this book more than I do!

Book Picking: Fast and Furious

November 4, 2011

Books! We want books! Library budgets are tight. Every penny counts. Choosing the right book is extremely important. Enter the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC). It’s a marvelous study and research library of the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Each year, the CCBC receives about 3,000 newly published children’s books from publishers and authors, who are hoping to garner an honored place for their book in the annual CCBC Choices.

Twice a year the library has a book sale — open to all.  It’s a librarian’s dream come true. Hardcover fiction and nonfiction books that are not kept in the CCBC permanent collection and gently used books donated by CCBC members are available to purchase. Some books are free! This is a not to be missed event. Many of these books have library bindings, and they’re cheap! But you have to be quick on the draw.

Be aware. You’re competing against seasoned librarians – librarians who know exactly what they’re looking for and how to get it. They come with boxes, bags, crates, and suitcases, aiming to fill them. The pace is fast and furious. Books are grabbed off tables like they were precious gold. Now you see it. Now you don’t.

The book sale was two weeks ago. It’s a wise choice to be there early. My husband and I were fourth in line. (He keeps my stash of books safe.) While we waited outside the room, I stared through the windows, checking out the tables of boxes. There weren’t many picture books, but lots of middle grade fiction, young adult fiction, and nonfiction.

I had weeded many old and tired nonfiction books from the shelves of my school library and was in desperate need of current nonfiction books to please my readers. Books on natural disasters, sports, cars, motorbikes, jet planes, mummies, animals, and wars were hot topics for me. The nonfiction sale section looked promising.

At eight o’clock the doors opened and the race was on. My trigger fingers went into action, flipping through nonfiction books and politely grabbing those I wanted. I found age appropriate books on poetry, baseball, dinosaurs, pandas, pumas, seals, the skeletal system, tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanoes, mummies, robots, hot air balloons, shipwrecks, sports teams, snowboarding, and biographies. Next up – picture books. A quick glance told me the picture books were slim to none and had been picked over. I passed on them and went to the middle grade and young adult books.

These books are always more difficult for me to choose. I don’t want to buy books students won’t read. I want them to be just as excited about a new book as I am. I knew I needed books that boys would readily pick up and read – sports books, books with eye-catching covers, and books with unique titles. I also knew I needed more multi-cultural books to add to the school collection. Books with horses in them were on my list, too. At the fiction table I looked at author names, book titles, and covers. If the author or the book spoke to me, I quickly read the inside flap or back cover of the book to make my decision. Of course, this isn’t the way I like to choose books for the library, but when it’s a choice of have or have not, I just do it.       

How did I fare? I ended up with 56 hardcover books. I love them. This Tuesday I’ll begin book talking them. I can’t wait.

Was my book picking fast and furious? According to my husband, who was watching everyone else, the answer was no. Darn! I guess I’ll have to work on my quick draw for the spring sale and keep my trigger fingers in shape.

If you’ve never been to the CCBC, you must check it out in person or online. And if you happen to be in the area for the spring book sale, be there or be square!

Tasty Tidbits from a Conference

October 18, 2011

There is no better way to continue learning your writing craft than by surrounding yourself with dedicated writers, top-notch speakers, and tasty chocolate. These three ingredients are a writer’s recipe for success. (Well, maybe not the chocolate, but it sure helps.)

 Here are some tidbits from the SCBWI-WI Fall Retreat.

Andrea Welch, Tracey Adams, LeUyen Pham

Laura Ruby, Cheryl Klein, Marsha Wilson Chall

LeUyen Pham, an upbeat and talented illustrator, spoke on visual storytelling. In order to make a stand out picture book, an illustrator carefully studies the author’s story. Objects, size, and color choices work together to determine how the illustrations on each page are precisely placed to make the reader’s eye travel around the entire page.

Cheryl Klein, executive editor of Arthur A. Levine Books, presented a detailed talk on the principles of plot. It’s something all writers should study and know. Do yourself a favor and buy Cheryl’s book, Second Sight: An Editor’s Talks on Writing, Revising, and Publishing Books for Children and Young Adults. It’s well worth your time and effort.

Marsha Wilson Chall, an award-winning picture book author and instructor in the MFA program at Hamline University, talked about taking a second look at picture books. Look at the structure of a picture book. Look at the pacing and page turns. When you’re writing, keep these in mind and don’t forget to cut and trim any unnecessary words.

Laura Ruby is a multi-talented author who writes for adults, teens, and children. She talked about world-building – how she creates a unique world for her characters. She said when she can see that world and when she starts to hear the sound of the story, she knows it’s time to begin writing.  

Andrea Welch, senior editor at Beach Lane Books, spoke on how to make your picture book a perfect ten. Three things she looks for in a picture book manuscript are heart, humor, and irresistible characters. She likes a manuscript that captures her on the first read. She also noted that spare picture books are selling now – books between 300-500 words.

Tracey Adams, agent and co-founder of Adams Literary, shared tips from twenty years in the business. She mentioned that Margaret K. McElderry mentored her and was inspired by her. At times when she is questioning something, she thinks, “What would Margaret do?” Here are some things Tracey offered up to writers. Always be professional. Work with people you like and admire. Write what you know and love best. Laugh.

K.T. Horning, Director of the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was our final speaker. She gave an excellent talk on “What We’ve Learning from Harry Potter” and how the Harry Potter books have influenced, not only our world of reading, but also the world.

There were also break-out sessions presented by fellow Wisconsin SCBWI members that were well-planned and filled with excellent information.

Writers and illustrators know how to have fun!

This conference left a good taste in my mouth and a yearning for more. What more can I say? Except… Take your chocolate to a writing conference today!


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