Wednesday, February 29, 2012

50 books in 2012

In the spring of 2001, I took over as librarian at a very small private school. I wanted to know which books to recommend and to whom.  The trouble was, this particular library was stuffed with books I'd never read.  In addition, I realized I probably had twice as many children's books at home of which I'd read maybe one third.  So began the cure for my bookish ambition.  Every year since,  I have set the same goal:  I plan to read 50 new children's books each year plus of course, picture books, adult books, and rereads of my favorites.  Why not make a list of your top 50 "Next Reads" just for fun?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tuesdays, George, and Hohn

Tuesdays at the Castle combines the talents of two really charming people:  Jessica Day George, and David Hohn.  I have heard some criticism of George's middle grade fantasies, but don't agree.  Her characters are spunky and her point of view is unique.  I'm so pleased to see her latest book, released in October 2011, with fabulous cover art by David Hohn.  His illustration style is a fresh take on old favorites.  He seems willing to experiment with technique to create the right mood.  With such a winning combination, and the promise of a fun new series, this book shoots to the top of my "must buy" list.  Happy Reading!

Snow White & Rose Red
by David Hohn

Treasure Island
by David Hohn

Monday, February 27, 2012

Pleasant Words

"Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones."
-Proverbs 16:24

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Shannon Delany YA workshop

I'm so glad I took the time to go to Shannon's workshop yesterday.  She is a very energetic speaker with a passion for words and a desire to help aspiring writers.  Although her concentration is YA, I think Shannon's comments are applicable to many types of writing for both young people and adults.  I really appreciated her marketing strategies, an area where most writers need a push.  Her books are character driven, so if you are looking for great research tips and advice on how to make your characters come alive, check out her website.  She will be appearing at the Public Library Association Conference March 13-17.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

John Flanagan's Brotherband Chronicles

I'm a little behind the times.   John Flanagan released the first in a new series last November.  Send your comments if you like it as much as the Ranger's Apprentice series.  I, for one, cannot wait to sink my teeth into The Outcasts.

Friday, February 24, 2012

A sneak peek of Jack

Here is a peek at the picture book I've been working on this week.  Jack was being so mischievous, I had to take a little break.
I hope you'll be seeing more of him soon.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

An Illustrator's First Step

If you are interested in the world of children's publishing and you have not heard of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators, then you are missing out on the most valuable resource available to you.  The  SCBWI  is a network of people in the industry.  The website, newsletters, and local chapters all provide information you need. Most of the questions I receive from would-be-writers and illustrators can be answered by a simple trip to the Society's website.  Think of it as your own personal trainer, and go from newbie to knowledgeable.  The SCBWI also provides access to up-to-date information professionals need to stay current on market changes and trends.  If you do one thing for your dream/career, join the Society.  You won't regret it.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Minerva Louise and the perfect marriage

If you haven't discovered Minerva Louise, the chicken, run to your local bookseller (after you finish reading this!)

Janet Morgan Stoeke is the author and illustrator of dozens of charming books. In my opinion, her book A Hat for Minerva Louise is  the perfect marriage of spare text and clever illustration.  This is truly the textbook for new authors/illustrators who want to know what it means to "show, don't tell."

Monday, February 20, 2012

Remembering Trina

Trina Schart Hyman was the guiding star of my youth.  Her art inspired my dreams and my reality.  I can think of no better tribute than to honor her career with the first post here at Bookish Ambition.