Tuesday, April 25, 2017

2017 Kids' Lit Fest Author Julie Fortenberry

Meet Julie Fortenberry

a portrait of Julie by her husband Don
I'm part of a family of artists. My husband is a painter. My son is also an artist, and my daughter is a choreographer and dancer.

I have an MFA in painting from Hunter College. My abstract artwork has been exhibited in solo and group shows in galleries including White Columns and the Whitney Museum of American Art. 

For information on how I work, please see my conversation with Julie Danielson at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. To read my essay on the value of public libraries, please visit the Children's Book Council.


Meet Julie's Book


Lily's Cat Mask

 Armed with a vivid imagination and her trusty cat mask, Lily can take on anything--even a new school...

But when her teacher tells her no masks allowed in class, Lily worries, can she make friends without it?

Anyone who has been daunted by a new experience, or struggled to put on a good face, will relate to Lily. Whimsical art brings Lily, her father, and her new classmates to life, with text that begs to be read aloud. Perfect for Father's Day, back to school, and even Halloween--Lily and her grinning cat mask are sure to make you smile back.

 

2017 Kids' Lit Fest Author Sandy Asher

Meet Sandy Asher


One of my happiest childhood memories is of the many hours I spent in the children’s reading room of the Free Library at Logan Square in Philadelphia, PA, where I grew up. Way back then, I thought there could be nothing more wonderful than to write a book someone would love as much as I loved my favorites. I still think so.

And I still love to visit libraries.

I began creating plays in second grade at James G. Blaine Elementary School.  That was my idea of “let’s pretend” — making up stories to be acted out, telling my friends where to stand, what to say, and when to say it.  I guess they enjoyed it as much as I did, because we rehearsed a lot and performed for our class and, eventually, the entire school.   My teachers were always encouraging, even those I lampooned mercilessly in my script for the senior class play, “My Fair Bear,” at Germantown High.  They let me graduate anyway.

Sandy's cat Friday
My professional writing career began with the publication of poems in literary journals and stories, poems, and articles in children’s magazines, including Highlights for Children, Humpty Dumpty’s Magazine, and Weekly Reader.  The playwriting continued, too, with several plays in Plays Magazine.  My first book for young readers, SUMMER BEGINS, was published in 1980. Since then, I’ve written 25 more — YA novels, chapter books for middle schoolers, and picture books for the very young.

Meet Sandy's Books


Chicken Story Time



Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to story time at the library, of course!  The children like the chicken, the chicken likes the children, and everyone loves story time. So it’s no surprise that more children (and more chickens!) get in on the fun until there are more kids and critters than the librarian knows what to do with. Luckily, she comes up with a creative solution and manages to find little R & R for herself.


Too Many Frogs


Rabbit lives alone. He cooks for himself, cleans up for himself, and at the end of the day, reads himself a story. It's a simple life, and he likes it. But one evening, Froggie shows up at his door. He wants to listen to Rabbit's story, too. While eating a snack-or three. While lounging on a pillow-or ten. And bringing over his family-dozens and dozens of frogs! Rabbit has finally had enough; Froggie will have to go! But when he sits down alone to read himself a story, Rabbit realizes something is missing: someone to listen; someone to share a wonderful story.

2017 Kids' Lit Fest Author Mônica Carnesi

Meet Mônica Carnesi


Mônica grew up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She has always loved drawing and painting, and everything related to illustration: paint, brushes, pencils, color pencils, blank notebooks, art supply stores, libraries, bookstores, picture books, you get the idea.

Her love of illustration and of books led her to another career: she's a librarian at The Free Library of Philadelphia.  A perfect fit for her interests!

She loves dogs too. Growing up, her first dog was a little mutt named Snoopy. Now she and her husband have a silly little terrier mix name Giovanni

Curious about how to pronounce her name?  Click here.




Meet Mônica's Books

 

Sleepover with Beatrice & Bear




When Bear sits on Beatrice's carrots while beehive watching, he doesn't make a very good first impression. However, despite a rocky beginning, the bear and the bunny become great friends sharing adventures all through the spring, summer, and fall. Then one day Beatrice can't find her pal, and Squirrel informs her that he's hibernating—a long winter sleep. Beatrice loves the idea and soon joins Bear. "Really? Bunnies hibernate too?" "Definitely!" said Beatrice. "Bunnies are GREAT hibernators." 

But as Bear drops off to sleep, poor Beatrice can only toss and turn. Finally giving up, she leaves the den declaring, "Winter is ruined!" But with the help of Squirrel, Beatrice puts her friendless time to good use, and when Bear awakens, she greets him with a scrapbook of the season. This wonderful book is filled with pictures, drawings, and notes that they can read together again and again. - School Library Journal

Little Dog Lost: The True Story of a Brave Dog Named Baltic

 

This dramatized version of a true story involves a little brown dog that was spotted in 2010 floating on a chunk of iceberg down Poland’s Vistula River toward the Baltic Sea. Children summon firefighters, and a human chain is made to try to save the animal, but the current pulls too quickly. Night comes but yet the mutt survives: “Dog’s thick fur keeps him warm. But Dog is wet and tired and hungry. And he is scared. Don’t be scared, Dog!” Finally a research vessel spots the dog and, despite a tense moment when Dog slips into the water, succeeds in bringing him aboard, where, to this day, he remains a happy crew member. 

 Though delivered simply, this tale is intrinsically powerful—kids know how slippery ice can be, and Dog’s loneliness and helplessness is similarly relatable. Carnesi’s soft, comforting watercolors make great use of wide tableaux of tiny Dog almost lost among the huge sea of blue water and white icebergs. A short but informative author’s note closes out this inspirational, heart-tugging offering. - Booklist

 


2017 Kids' Lit Fest Author Judy Schachner


Meet Judy Schachner


 Judy Schachner was born into an Irish Catholic working class family from New England. Money was as tight as their apartment was tiny and though she may not have had the easiest of childhoods, she credits her imagination with helping her survive it.

She can’t ever remember a time when she was not drawing and like most budding artists she doodled on everything, including her father’s bald head. She drew herself into stories where she was the smartest in her class and into a family where mothers lived to be a ripe old age. In many ways, Judy feels that her own life has resembled the fairy tales she loved reading as a child, complete with a happy ending. And the best part of this author/illustrator’s story? She married a prince of a guy and they had two beautiful daughters and just like the mothers in her earliest tales, she plans on living to a ripe old age.

Described by the New York Times as “…something like the James Joyce for the elementary school – set…”, Judy Schachner is the #1 NY Times Best Selling Author/Illustrator of over 23 books for children including Bits & Pieces, the Skippyjon Jones series, Yo Vikings, The Grannyman and Willy and May. She has won many awards including the first E. B. White Read Aloud Award.


Meet Judy's Books 


Skippyjon Jones! Need we say more? Who would have guessed books about a Siamese kitten who dreams he is a crime-fighting Chihuahua could have won over a generation of parents and kids?

Whenever Judy visits the store her young fans come out in droves, so come early on the 20th to meet her and get your signed books!

Between now and then, you can feed your Skippyjon frenzy with these great webcasts of his adventures.


The Grannyman

The Grannyman is one of Event Coordinator Elliott's favorite picture books ever  - that story of Simon, a very old cat who's just about ready to give up after a long and fulfilling life. But his family has a creative solution to get rid of Simon's doldrums: a new kitten! The unexpected companion lifts Simon's spirits and gives him lots to do and lots to look forward to. Simon's caring ways with the kitten earn him a nickname, and a place in the hearts of readers of all ages.

As much as she loves the book,though, Elliott does advise that getting her 16 year old cat a kitten did NOT create the inspiration for a sweet children's story.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

2017 Kids' Lit Fest Author Ame Dyckman

Meet Ame Dyckman

 




Ame Dyckman is short, loud, mischievous, and often dresses like her book characters. (SEE?!) She’s also the award-winning, internationally-translated author of the fantastically illustrated (THANKS, illustrators!) picture books BOY + BOT, TEA PARTY RULES, the New York Times bestselling WOLFIE THE BUNNY, HORRIBLE BEAR!, YOU DON’T WANT A UNICORN! (on sale February 14, 2017!), and more picture books and board books in the works! 

According to Dyckman, she was the type of child who always had her nose in a book. “And Band-Aids on my knees, ’cause when your nose is always in a book, you run into a lot of stuff,” she adds. Her favorite books from her childhood include Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, the  Frog & Toad stories by Arnold Lobel, and the George and Martha stories by James Marshall. 

“Something about highly-emotional characters and friendships despite differences appealed  to me even when I was little,” she says. Although Dyckman was always interested in becoming a children’s author, it wasn’t the first profession she tried. “I had a bunch of pre-author jobs ranging from serious assistant at a world-famous institute of higher education to not-so-serious costumed character,” she says. “I rocked Daffy Duck!" 

Ame lives in central New Jersey with her family, ridiculously big-eared cat, book collection, closet full of hair dye colors, and of course, the characters from her stories. (For reals! She’s currently building a homemade swimming pool for the protagonist of her upcoming series, MISUNDERSTOOD SHARK—mostly so she can have her bathtub back.)


Meet Ame's Books

 

You Don't Want a Unicorn


"Climo's rainbow-bright illustrations take Dyckman's silly premise to a whole new level of absurdity.... This is a crowd-pleaser, complete with cupcake poops and rainbow burps, and...a welcoming and unobtrusive gender-nonconforming vibe."
Horn Book

When a little boy throws a coin in a well asking for a pet unicorn, he has no idea what kind of trouble he's in for. Unbeknownst to him, unicorns make the absolutely worst pets: they shed, they poke holes in your ceiling, and they make a big mess. With a knowing wink from Ame Dyckman, creator of Wolfie the Bunny and cheerful illustrations from Rory the Dinosaur creator and Tumblr star Liz Climo, this rollicking story shares all of the ways a pet unicorn can ruin your life, and is sure to have readers in stitches.


Wolfie the Bunny


When the Bunny family finds a little bundle of joy—that happens to be a wolf—on their doorstep, they are smitten. Well, except for little Dot, who exclaims repeatedly, "He's going to eat us all up!!" Even her friends agree, but Dot's parents are captivated by the adorable baby—he's a good eater, sleeper, and drooler, they note. As Wolfie grows, Dot's worry is compounded with annoyance as he follows her everywhere in typical little brother-style. Having to go to the store for more carrots with Wolfie (who ate them all up!) makes Dot less than pleased, and she is on guard lest he tries to eat her. The fact that Wolfie is wearing an endearing bunny outfit does not make her feel better, but it does make the bear at the market think that Wolfie would make a yummy meal. Rather than run for safety, Dot terrifies the bear with tough talk of eating him up and saves Wolfie, who thanks her by pouncing on her with a big hug. The now-bonded siblings walk home hand in hand. The text is seamlessly integrated with the illustrations and uses various fonts to good effect. OHora's acrylic paintings are the heart of this tale. They clearly show everyone's feelings from fear to sadness to joy to anger to love and everything in between, and there are brilliant bits of humor and whimsy added to the mix. VERDICT A great book for one-on-one sharing that's also sure to be a storytime hit.— School Library Journal, Catherine Callegari, Gay-Kimball Library, Troy, NH
 


A Bank Street College Best Children's Book of 2016
Parents Magazine Best Fictional Picture Book 2015
ASLC Notable Book for Children
SLJ Best of the Year
NYPL 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing
The Huffington Post Best Picture Books 2015
Wilde Award Best Picture Books Ages 4-8