Words Change Worlds March 6, 2012Posted by flashlightblog in Book News, Read Alouds.
Tags: literacy, Read Aloud, reading, world literacy
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Imagine a world where everyone can read…
World Read Aloud Day is about taking action to show the world that the right to read and write belongs to all people. World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words, especially those words that are shared from one person to another, and creates a community of readers advocating for every child’s right to a safe education and access to books and technology.
By raising our voices together on this day we show the world’s children that we support their future: that they have the right to read, to write, and to share their words to change the world.
It’s time to join the Global Literacy Movement.
NY State Charlotte Award Blog interviews David Parkins November 30, 2011Posted by flashlightblog in Awards and Honors, Book News, Cats, Illustrator Appearances, Interviews, NY Charlotte Award, Read Alouds.
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David Parkins, illustrator of That Cat Can’t Stay (one of 10 books on the NY State Charlotte Award Primary list), was interviewed by Ms. Down’s students at Town of Webb School on the NYSRA Youth Book Blog. Here’s what he had to say:
Did you use pictures of real cats to draw from?
If I have to draw something I don’t know well, I would always gather lots of pictures of the thing so I get it right. It’s easy to do this nowadays with the internet. I didn’t need to research cats, though, because we have kept cats as pets for years. At one stage we had six, but right now we have just three: a big grey one (very like the big grey cat in That Cat Can’t Stay), a black one and a tabby who is quite old (about 19 years, I think) but very sprightly still. I see them all the time, so I sort of know how they look.
What about people?
Again, I didn’t need to research or gather reference for the people, because I have drawn so many over the years I just seem to know how to do it now. Sometimes, if I need to draw someone in a very difficult position, or they are, say, playing a sport I’m not completely familiar with, I may have to look that up. But I don’t think I needed to do that for this book.
Were any of the characters based on people you know?
No, I don’t know anyone quite like these characters. Although memories of how someone might have stood, expressions they may have had in certain circumstances, that sort of thing will have informed the drawing. It’s important to be a good observer when you are an illustrator. Always notice how your friends stand, what faces they pull, how they react to things. Then you will know how to draw people in similar circumstances. And you can always exaggerate a bit if you want to make it funny.
How long did it take you to create this book?
I didn’t get all that long to do this particular book. I think it took about three months to do the final art, but I was doing other work as well. If I had been able to sit and do just the book, and nothing else, it would have probably taken about six weeks. Add maybe another couple of months for the roughs and discussions, so perhaps five or six months in all.
Were you responsible for the use of white backgrounds and using text as part of the picture?
Sort of. I am given a manuscript, and I know how many pages I need to fill. Sometimes I decide which bit of text will go on which page, and sometimes a designer or editor will tell me (I think that’s what we did with That Cat Can’t Stay). Then I produced a set of rough pencil drawings that went with the text. After I had done that, it was the designer at Flashlight that had the great idea of changing the layout of Dad’s rants, so that sometimes it was boxed like a comic strip, and sometimes the words snaked around the page. She re-sized and re-positioned my sketches to fit, and then I used that new layout when I did the final art.
Did you like drawing for a children’s book?
I always enjoy doing pictures for children’s books. Well, nearly always. Except when I’m a bit behind with my work, then it just seems like work that has to be done. A bit like homework.
We liked the expressions on the character’s faces, esp. the Dad’s. How did you manage to get the expressions right?
Remember that thing about watching your friends’ expressions? I’ve been doing that a long time. But also, drawing is a bit like acting. You have to imagine what the person is feeling, and what that would make them look like. And I’ll let you into a secret: when I draw faces I am usually acting the expression that I’m drawing. I sit scowling as I draw a scowl, and grinning when I draw a grin, trying to feel what it is to be the person I’m drawing. When I was doing all Dad’s expressions, I think my wife must have thought I was quite bonkers.
Did you mean to have the Dad look harsh?
I didn’t want Dad to look harsh, exactly, but he had to look disapproving and completely determined. If he had not, it wouldn’t have been as funny when the rest of the family kept winning, and the cats kept staying. And in the end, we know he’s really an old softy, don’t we?
What is your favorite style of illustrating?
Such a difficult question. I have done quite a few children’s books, and each time I approach it differently. I always try to make the style of the pictures fit the text as best I can. My favourite style is the one that works best with the writing. But I know that’s not really a proper answer to your question, so I will confess that I do like to draw slightly cartoony characters with lots of energy and exaggerated body language and facial expressions. Like Dad, in That Cat Can’t Stay.
Do you like reading books?
I love reading books, but I always feel that I should be working and not sitting enjoying a book because I have so little time. So when I don’t have enough time, I love to listen to audible books. I do that while I work. I find I can listen while I am drawing without any problem, although I can’t if I have to think. So if I am working on roughs, and I’m thinking about the text I’m illustrating, I can’t listen at all. It distracts me. But once all that is done, and I’m just concentrating on the final drawing, I can listen to another book and it’s fine (I really enjoy Charles Dickens). Maybe drawing and listening occupy different parts of the brain.
David Parkins, November 2011
Take a Look at our Monster NOOK October 26, 2011Posted by flashlightblog in Book Launchings, Holidays, Miscellaneous, Monsters, Read Alouds.
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Just in time for Halloween, I Need My Monster is now available in a NOOK edition. Read it yourself or enable audio to have it read to you… but don’t get SCARED!
Monster Mash October 24, 2011Posted by flashlightblog in Book News, Contests, Holidays, Monsters, Read Alouds.
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We are thrilled that I Need My Monster is included in the top level Barnes & Noble store display from now until Halloween. Send us a photo of I Need My Monster on display at B&N (on the front table until Oct. 25th and in the children’s department until the 31st) to win a free signed Monster BOO!kplate and BOO!kmark. If you can include some other best-selling books in the photo, even better, so we can see the company we’re keeping. Email your photo to email@example.com. Please note at which store location your photo was taken and provide your mailing address so we can send your bookplate and bookmark. In addition, I Need My Monster is included in the B&N online Halloween store.
For fun Monster-related Halloween activities, try our Monster finger puppets, Make Your Own Monster, check out several activities for the classroom, and be sure to look at our printable Trick or Treat Safety Guide.
I Need My Monster is being read at Storytime at many B&N stores. Check the B&N near you. Here are two of tomorrow’s listings:
Tues., October 25, 2011 10:00 AM B&N Booksellers Northcross, 4005 N Tenth Street, McAllen, TX
Tues., October 25, 2011 11:00 AM Oakview Mall, 3333 Oakview Dr. Omaha, NE 68144
Wanda Gág Read Aloud Honor Book for 2011 June 1, 2011Posted by flashlightblog in Awards and Honors, Cats, Poetry, Read Alouds.
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That Cat Can’t Stay (Thad Krasnesky & David Parkins) was selected as a Wanda Gág Read Aloud Honor Book for 2011.
For this year’s awards, 22 regional teachers and media specialists and 80 elementary and early childhood majors at Minnesota State University Moorhead read to 18,454 children. The feedback from these readers, along with children’s reactions, are considered by committee members when selecting the winning award and honor books.
Obama Proclaims ‘Read Across America Day’ March 6, 2011Posted by flashlightblog in Book News, Read Alouds, Values.
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Hidden in the pages of books are extraordinary worlds and characters that can spark creativity and imagination, and unlock the potential that lies within each of our children. Reading is the foundation upon which all other learning is built, and on Read Across America Day, we reaffirm our commitment to supporting America’s next generation of great readers. Cultivation of basic literacy skills can begin early and in the home. It is family who first instills the love of learning in our future leaders by engaging children in good reading habits and making reading a fun and interactive activity. Regardless of language or literacy level, every adult can inspire young people to appreciate the written word early in life. Parents and mentors can help build fundamental skills by reading aloud to children regularly, discussing the story, and encouraging children to ask questions on words or content they do not understand. By passing a passion for literature on to our sons and daughters, we prepare them to be lifelong, successful readers, and we provide them with an essential skill necessary for academic achievement.
–From President Barack Obama’s proclamation marking yesterday as Read Across America Day.
“…a perfect book for this LONG winter…” February 3, 2011Posted by flashlightblog in Book News, Read Alouds, Reviews, Winter.
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Ms. Eileen of the Richmond Memorial Library in Marlborough, CT recommended Pobble’s Way on her blog, StorytimeRML.
Today’s pick is a picture book called Pobble’s Way by Simon Van Booy. Pobble and her father set out for a walk in the winter woods and play a fun game along the way. Winter mushrooms on a tree must be ‘frog umbrellas’ decides Pobble, and a lost feather becomes a ‘tickle stick!’ Little do they know that when Pobble drops her fluffy pink mitten, the woodland animals play a game of their own. Owl decides the mitten is a ‘wing warmer’ while Duck is sure it is a ‘fish coat.’
Ms. Eileen continues:
You would think the illustrations would include a lot of snowy white, but illustrator Wendy Edelson brings out the most vivid colors in the animals and scenery. This is a perfect book for this LONG winter we are having, and just may inspire you to take a winter walk of your own. Also a great choice for fathers to read and enjoy with their own little Pobbles!