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Posts Tagged ‘children’s books’

Here’s a lovely story by Bella English at the Boston Globe.

Like many other people who feel helpless after a tragedy, illustrators of children’s books wanted to do something useful last April 15 and were delighted to be asked to give their talents.

“After the Boston Marathon bombings,” writes English, “Joe and Susan McKendry of Brookline wanted to do something. …

“Joe, an artist who teaches at the Rhode Island School of Design, thought he could auction off a couple of paintings he did for his first book, ‘Beneath the Streets of Boston: Building America’s First Subway.’

“But then he realized he had something more valuable: connections to other artists. Why not make it a group project? We Art Boston was born, with dozens of artists contributing paintings or illustrations to the cause: the emergency and trauma fund at Boston Children’s Hospital.

“The fund helps children and families get the treatment they need ‘when faced with a tragedy,’ says Stacy Devine, an associate director with the Boston Children’s Hospital Trust. What began as a response to the Marathon bombings expanded to include all traumatic events. …

“The McKendrys also wanted to hold a community event for children to get more directly involved. On Oct. 20, We Art Boston is hosting a family day on the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, right across from the New England Aquarium.

“All of the donated artwork will be framed and on exhibit, and people can bid on them through volunteers who will place the bids online using iPads. Several of the illustrators will be there and will sign books or, for a donation to the cause, draw portraits of stuffed animals for children who bring their favorite one along.”

More.

Henry Cole’s “Penguin Pride” (l8-by-12 inches, framed) has a value of $550 and a suggested bid of $250.

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Author-illustrator Jarrett Krosoczka knows the power of a kind word. He found his calling largely because of two words from a children’s book author who visited his elementary school class.

And he got through a difficult childhood nourished on the kindness of strangers, including lunch ladies, an unjustly maligned species he has honored in a superhero series. (“Serving justice! And serving lunch!)

Linda Matchan has a lovely story at the Boston Globe about Krosoczka.  (I want to call your attention to how nicely she describes him, here: “with impossibly spiky hair that looks as though he penciled it in himself.”)

“Until recently,” writes Matchan, “Krosoczka was very guarded about his childhood. That changed last October when he got a call from the organizer of a TEDx program at Hampshire College, modeled after the TED Talks series. …

“Scrambling for a topic, his wife urged him to talk candidly about his childhood. With no time to come up with other options, he delivered a moving talk about his early years and the people who inspired and encouraged him. The talk caught the attention of the TED editorial team, which featured it in January on TED.com.

“He spoke in his talk about his mother — ‘the most talented artist I knew’ — who was addicted to heroin and often incarcerated. ‘When your parent is a drug addict it’s kind of like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football … Every time you open your heart, you end up on your back.’ …

“Third grade was the year something ‘monumental’ happened. Children’s book author Jack Gantos came to his school to talk about what he did for a living. He wandered into the classroom where Krosoczka was drawing, stopped at Krosoczka’s desk and studied his picture.

“ ‘Nice cat,’ Gantos said.

“ ‘Two words,’ said Krosoczka, ‘that made a colossal difference in my life.’ ”

More.

Photo: Bill Greene
Jarrett Krosoczka declared May 3 (his favorite lunch lady’s birthday) “School Lunch Superhero Day.”

Author-illustrator Jarrett Krosoczka knows the power of a kind word. He found his calling largely because of two words from a children’s book author who visited his elementary school class.
And he got through a difficult childhood nourished on the kindness of strangers, including lunch ladies, an unjustly maligned species he has honored in a superhero series. (“Serving justice! And serving lunch!)
Linda Matchan has a lovely story at the Boston Globe about Krosoczka.  (I want to call your attention to how nicely she describes him, here: “with impossibly spiky hair that looks as though he penciled it in himself.”)
“Until recently,” writes Matchan, “Krosoczka was very guarded about his childhood. That changed last October when he got a call from the organizer of a TEDx program at Hampshire College, modeled after the TED Talks series. …
“Scrambling for a topic, his wife urged him to talk candidly about his childhood. With no time to come up with other options, he delivered a moving talk about his early years and the people who inspired and encouraged him. The talk caught the attention of the TED editorial team, which featured it in January on TED.com.
“He spoke in his talk about his mother — ‘the most talented artist I knew’ — who was addicted to heroin and often incarcerated. ‘When your parent is a drug addict it’s kind of like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football … Every time you open your heart, you end up on your back.’ …
“Third grade was the year something ‘monumental’ happened. Children’s book author Jack Gantos came to his school to talk about what he did for a living. He wandered into the classroom where Krosoczka was drawing, stopped at Krosoczka’s desk and studied his picture.
“ ‘Nice cat,’ Gantos said.
“ ‘Two words,’ said Krosoczka, ‘that made a colossal difference in my life.’ ”

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Optics maven Gregg just tweeted this link from Wired‘s GeekMom blog.

In the 2010 entry, Judy Berna writes about discovering a clever artist/inventor called Rufus Butler while working in her local library.

“The whole thing started with a baby board book that joined our collection at the library. …

“When you move the book left to right, the picture actually moves. We took turns playing with it and more than one of us almost went into a trance by its hypnotic movements.  …

“Then [my family and I] found ourselves in an art studio over the weekend, somewhere in the back woods of Massachusetts. Taking up one full window was a display of these amazing ‘moving’ discs. Each was a different picture and each moved in the same way the pictures on the library board books moved. …

“Once I got home I looked up their website, Eye Think.  Eye Think’s founder, Rufus Butler, is an artist, filmmaker, and inventor. He was so fascinated with optical illusions that he began creating these new ways to trick the eye. …

“The spinning circles that caught my eye in the art store are called CiniSpinners and come in an impressive variety of pictures. When you click on the web page picture, a moving sample pops up. There’s a little girl skipping rope. And fingers playing a piano. …

“Many animals are represented too. A dragonfly hovers, a dolphin frolics in the water. An adorable penguin waddles to and fro. My nine year old and I had to click on every single one, just to see which one was the best.  (My personal favorite: swimming man, with splashing water and all.)

“(Fun geek fact: After contacting Mr. Butler and sharing my enthusiasm for his products, he admitted that he himself had been the model for the swimming man. His wife videotaped him doing a swimming stroke as he laid across a kitchen chair, then he added the splashing water when he refined the picture in the studio.)” More.

Photo: Eye Think Inc.

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I love children’s illustrated books like those of the Petershams. Eve M. Kahn wrote an article about the couple in the NY Times “Antiques” column prior to the opening of a retrospective at the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum.

“Maud and Miska Petersham, married book illustrators in Woodstock, N.Y., sat across from each other as they worked. From the 1920s to the ’50s, they ran a prolific studio at their handmade stone house. They took on classic stories like ‘Heidi’ and ‘Rip van Winkle,’ along with nonfiction about rayon and wool that is now obscure, and Queen Marie of Romania’s fairy tale starring a magic doll.

“Children and teachers sent fan mail. ‘It has gone through the school like wildfire,’ a Utah schoolteacher wrote to the Petershams in 1941, praising the couple’s alphabet book with patriotic pictures.

“The Petersham archive survives in the hands of family members and the University of Southern Mississippi’s library. The historian Lawrence Webster mined the material for a book, “Under the North Light: The Life and Work of Maud and Miska Petersham” (WoodstockArts). …

“Miska Petersham grew up in Hungary. Around 1912, shortly before he moved to New York, he Americanized his original name, Mihaly Petrezselyem. …

“The Petershams’ house on Glasco Turnpike [in Woodstock], with floor-to-ceiling windows that illuminated their drafting tables, is largely unchanged and has been on the market for about $440,000,” a short sale.

More. (Scroll down.) The show, “Inspired by the North Light,” runs through December 31.

Photograph from Lawrence Webster shows one of Maud and Miska Petersham’s illustrations for the children’s book “The Poppy Seed Cakes.”

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Looking at streams swollen by yesterday’s rain, I began thinking about Scuffy the Tugboat.

“The water moved in a hurry, as all things move in a hurry when it is Spring. Scuffy was in a hurry, too. ‘Come back little tugboat, come back,’ cried the little boy.”

Remember?

A farmers market in Providence was undaunted by the rain. The farmer at the farmstand here joked that the puddle was just a matter of hydroponic gardening. In other photos, I show peonies and a sign buffeted by the storm — and a rabbit too busy foraging to worry about cameras.

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Barefoot Books, the children’s book publisher, opened its retail store in Concord this past spring.

In addition to selling books, the shop offers storytelling and pottery every day and numerous other activities, like music, dance, and yoga for children. There is a puppet theater play area, a kitchen for food events, and toys. Note the list of August activities in the photo.

The neighbors, by and large, loved the way the company decorated this long-empty building. And they especially loved the new landscaping.

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