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The Children's Book Podcast with Matthew Winner

I’m still relatively new to podcasts. What a thrill it was to be on this one! It helps that Matthew and I met at the New England SCBWI Regional Conference last year. And that he makes his guests feel like they’re catching up with an old friend. Have a listen if you’re interested in hearing some of the backstory to Iver & Ellsworth as well as what it’s like to work with a small press like Ripple Grove Press.

Click here to access the link on matthewcwinner.com or have a listen below.

My computer screen image during my Skype interview with Matthew Winner — kept me smiling!

My computer screen image during my Skype interview with Matthew Winner — kept me smiling!

Every Word Must Tell

Illustration from  Some Writer!: The Story of E.B. White  by Melissa Sweet

Illustration from Some Writer!: The Story of E.B. White by Melissa Sweet

Strunk and White's The Elements of Style is a staple in the toolbox of many writers. Among the many good pieces of advice it contains, this is my favorite: omit needless words. It is both a guideline and a goal of picture book writers. Every word must tell.  

Book Launch

A debut book launch is an incredible moment in an author's journey. You may have many future book launches, but you only get one of these. 

It was a packed house at the Silver Unicorn Bookstore, full of my favorite people (book lovers!). Thank you to Paul Swayden for hosting. And to my editor and Ripple Grove Press publisher Rob Broder who drove all the way down from Vermont so we could meet and celebrate in person.

To all the friends and family who celebrated with me, thank you. It was truly my third-grade dream come true!  

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Photos: Paige Brown Photography. Cookies: Merry Confectionery in Southboro, MA. Swag design: Five Line Creative.  

Reading is Sacred Space

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This week Amazon unexpectedly started shipping pre-orders of Iver & Ellsworth, six weeks before its official "book birthday." Yesterday produced a flood of text messages and social media posts showing kids reading my book. Kids in jammies, snuggled up with siblings or lovies, looks of concentration on their sweet faces. I fell asleep last night with these images on a carousel in my mind. I fell asleep smiling.  

Reading space is sacred space. Reading books with children creates a place where they are safe to explore and tumble around in their minds all kinds of truths about the world. Kate DiCamillo says our job as book creators is to "tell the truth and make it bearable." Iver & Ellsworth may be a story about a man who is friends with a giant inflatable bear. But it is also a story about the comfort of companionship, the pangs of change and loneliness, and the unexpected thrill of new beginnings. My favorite picture books, the ones I read and re-read, always end up being the ones with emotional depth. I hope Iver ends up in your read and re-read pile.  

 

The Magic of Bookstores

I got to hear author/illustrator Matt Tavares read this afternoon at The Silver Unicorn Bookstore in Acton, MA. Red & Lulu is one of my family’s holiday favorites.

Every time I go to a reading, this occurs:
Child raises hand and blurts out, “Wait, you wrote that book?!”
Child leans forward and listens differently.
[Important imagining occurs.]

If you haven’t signed up to be on the mailing list of your local indie bookstore, I recommend doing so. Bookstores are gems for giving you and the kids in your life amazing opportunities to have upfront access to your favorite authors and illustrators. For free!