A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt, Guests-Henry Herz and Niece, Kate

Ants may rule the hill, but they don’t rule here! Art by Landon (Click to Enlarge)

Ants may rule the hill, but they don’t rule here! Art by Landon (Click to Enlarge)

Hello, Great Readers of our series! Just In case you haven’t visited before, let me tell you a little about A Great Nephew and A Great Aunt. My great nephew, Landon (a sixth-grader) and I (his great aunt) collaborate. I write a poem which he illustrates. We started this collaboration in the fall of 2014 and have had so much fun with it that we decided to invite others along. Landon and I will continue to have a new episode on the second Friday of each month. The other Fridays are filling up quickly with guests.

I have created a page on my website to view all the episodes of A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt. Click HERE to visit the page and enjoy past episodes.

Today it is my pleasure to share a creative collaboration from . . .

Henry Herz and Niece, Kate

Being that it’s one day until Halloween, I think it’s especially fitting that Henry and Kate’s collaboration features a little monster!

The PoemSlide1

The Art

KateMonster copy crop

Clay Monster Sculpture by Kate

Many thanks to Henry and Kate for a  monstrously delightful collaboration 🙂


HerzHenry1small copyMeet Henry: Henry Herz writes fantasy and science fiction for children. His debut traditionally published picture book, MONSTER GOOSE NURSERY RHYMES, was published by Pelican in January 2015. WHEN YOU GIVE AN IMP A PENNY and LITTLE RED CUTTLEFISH will follow in 2016. Henry and his sons have also indie-published four children’s books. NIMPENTOAD reached #1 in Kindle Best Sellers large print sci-fi & fantasy, and was featured in Young Entrepreneur, Wired GeekDad, and CNN. BEYOND THE PALE featured short stories by award-winning and New York Times bestselling authors Peter S. Beagle, Heather Brewer, Jim Butcher, Rachel Caine, Kami Garcia, Nancy Holder & Jane Yolen, and reached #2 in Amazon Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Anthologies.

Henry is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) and the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). He writes articles about children’s literature for TheWriteLife.com, and maintains a popular blog on KidLit, fantasy, and science fiction. Henry participates in literature panels at a variety of conventions, including moderating Fantasy Literature panels at San Diego Comic-Con with NY Times bestselling authors. Henry created KidLit Creature Week (www.birchtreepub.com/kcw/), an annual online gallery of monsters, creatures, and other imaginary beasts from children’s books. Henry reviews children’s books for the San Francisco Book Review and San Diego Book Review.

Places to find Henry:
Henry’s Website
Facebook
Twitter


Be sure to head over to the Poetry Friday Roundup at Check It Out. If you’d like to know more about Poetry Friday, click HERE for an explanation by Renee LaTulippe.

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A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt, Guests-Buffy Silverman and Daughter, Emma

Ants may rule the hill, but they don’t rule here! Art by Landon (Click to Enlarge)

Ants may rule the hill, but they don’t rule here! Art by Landon (Click to Enlarge)

Hello, Great Readers of our series! Just In case you haven’t visited before, let me tell you a little about A Great Nephew and A Great Aunt. My great nephew, Landon (a sixth-grader) and I (his great aunt) collaborate. I write a poem which he illustrates. We started this collaboration in the fall of 2014 and have had so much fun with it that we decided to invite others along. Landon and I will continue to have a new episode on the second Friday of each month. The other Fridays are filling up quickly with guests.

I have created a page on my website to view all the episodes of A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt. Click HERE to visit the page and enjoy past episodes.

Today it is my pleasure to share a creative collaboration from . . .

Buffy Silverman and Daughter, Emma

From Buffy: When Penny asked me to be a guest on her great-nephew-and-great-aunt blog, I hesitated. My kids are in their twenties—neither one draws anymore, and there are no grandkids, grandnieces, or grandnephews on the horizon. At first I thought I’d pull out some of my son’s and daughter’s artwork from elementary school and use that for inspiration. Then I realized that my daughter Emma still makes artwork—just not with crayons or markers anymore.

Buffy’s PoemSlide1

Emma’s Artwork

Emma's art2

Emma's art1Many thanks to Buffy and Emma for this bee-boppin’ collaboration! I think I’d love to attend the Monster Hop 🙂


Buffy, Emma, dogs

Buffy, Emma, Dakota and Rafa

Meet Emma: Emma Conner is a computer scientist and an avid knitter. When she was a student at Oberlin College, she knitted a monster a day for a winter term project. Emma welcomes inquiries about freelance knitting and website projects.

Meet Buffy: Buffy Silverman is the author of more than seventy nonfiction books for young readers. Her nature-inspired poetry is featured in anthologies and magazines. Visit her online at www.buffysilverman.com. (When Emma was in high school she designed and built Buffy’s website. Emma plans to overhaul it as soon as Buffy can decide what she wants changed!)


Thanks to Jama Rattigan for hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup today at Jama’s Alphabet Soup. She just happens to be featuring my first published work today—a poem titled Buttons.  If you’d like to know more about Poetry Friday, click HERE for an explanation by Renee LaTulippe.

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A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt, Guests-Kim Norman and Great Niece and Nephew, Beth Ann and Eric Woodruff

Ants may rule the hill, but they don’t rule here! Art by Landon (Click to Enlarge)

Ants may rule the hill, but they don’t rule here! Art by Landon (Click to Enlarge)

Hello, Great Readers of our series! Just In case you haven’t visited before, let me tell you a little about A Great Nephew and A Great Aunt. My great nephew, Landon (a sixth-grader) and I (his great aunt) collaborate. I write a poem which he illustrates. We started this collaboration in the fall of 2014 and have had so much fun with it that we decided to invite others along. Landon and I will continue to have a new episode on the second Friday of each month. The other Fridays are filling up quickly with guests.
I have created a page on my website to view all the episodes of A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt. Click HERE to visit the page and enjoy past episodes.

Today it is my pleasure to share a creative collaboration from . . .

Kim Norman and Great Niece and Nephew, Beth Ann and Eric Woodruff 

From Kim: This slightly spooky poem from my files seems perfect for October. I asked my grand niece and nephew, Beth Ann and Eric Woodruff, if they’d be interested in illustrating it for me. My book, (coincidentally illustrated by Liza Woodruff, no relation) IF IT’S SNOWY AND YOU KNOW IT, CLAP YOUR PAWS, is dedicated to the Woodruffs, including their brother Sean. Beth Ann is also an amazing writer, and Eric always keeps me laughing. I’m only sorry I missed Sean, away on a camping trip, when I popped in for a visit in early October.

Poem by KimSlide1

Beth Ann hard at work on her illustration.Beth Ann copy

Art by Beth Ann

EPSON MFP image

Art by Beth Ann

Art by Eric

eric art copy

Art by Eric

Kim and Eric showcasing Eric’s creative illustration.kim & eric copy

Many thanks to Kim, Beth Ann, and Eric for sharing their special collaboration with us today. It was a triple treat!


kim norman
Meet Kim: Kim Norman is the author of more than a dozen children’s books published by Sterling, Scholastic and two Penguin imprints. Her newest “baby” is THIS OLD VAN, (Sterling Children’s Books), illustrated by Carolyn Conahan, about a pair of grandparents visiting their grandson in their happy hippy van. Kim maintains a website called Cool School Visits which is aimed at helping authors learn more about doing author school visits. http://www.coolschoolvisits.com  Kim is represented by the Andrea Brown Literary Agency in San Diego. Her author website is http://www.kimnormanbooks.com


Thanks to Amy Ludwig VanDerwater for hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup today at The Poem Farm.  If you’d like to know more about Poetry Friday, click HERE for an explanation by Renee LaTulippe.

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GOODNIGHT, MANGER-Interview with Laura Sassi and Jane Chapman—PLUS a Giveaway!

Goodnight Manger Bk Cover


I’m thrilled to be a part of the GOODNIGHT, MANGER blog tour. You won’t want to miss one stop on the tour. You can view the schedule HERE.

Synopsis:Goodnight, Manger, written by Laura Sassi and illustrated by New York Times bestselling artist Jane Chapman, tells the story of Mary and Joseph as they try to get Jesus to sleep in the noisy stable after his birth. Told in gentle, lulling rhyme, Goodnight, Manger is an adorable and tender bedtime story, for Christmas or any time of year.


If you haven’t seen the book trailer yet, have a look.

For today’s blog tour stop illustrator, Jane Chapman, and author, Laura Sassi, were gracious enough to answer a few questions.

Me: What drew you to Laura’s GOODNIGHT, MANGER story? What made you decide it was a story you’d like to illustrate?

Jane: It was a new take on a story that everyone knows. I love that it gets across the humanity of Jesus – He was a normal baby! Laura’s brilliant text manages to be both funny and reverent all at the same time.
I took a deep breath before accepting it because I try to avoid illustrating books with people in. I feel confident about drawing animals, but not people. That said, I wanted to challenge myself, and Laura’s text is SO good.

Me:  What was your reaction when you learned Jane would be the illustrator of GOODNIGHT, MANGER?  What appeals to you most about her work?

Laura: I was thrilled when my editor told me that Jane had agreed to take on this new project. She was also the illustrator for my first book, Goodnight, Ark. Jane did a marvelous job capturing the many wonderful expressions and movements of the storm-frightened animals in that book and I knew that she would do an amazing job with Goodnight, Manger as well. And once again, Jane’s work has again exceeded my expectations. The final illustrations for Goodnight, Manger glow with a warmth and gentle humor that perfectly captures the essence of the story.

Me: What is your process when taking a manuscript from text to fully illustrated spread? How collaborative, if at all, was the process?

Jane: First I draw, draw, draw. As I collect the character drawings together, I am thinking about how they could interact on the pages. After that I draw thumbnails (tiny drawings of suggested pages), then the final rough drawings to show the publisher.
I never collaborate with the author – even if he’s my husband! If there is any art direction written on the text, I remove it before I start drawing. I find that having a fixed idea at the beginning can inhibit possibly better thoughts of how the pictures will look.

Me: The best picture books have the perfect interplay between text and art. As authors we do our best to leave room for the illustrator to bring their part of the story. Did you and Jane communicate as she was creating the art? Did you make any changes to your text as a result of this communication?

Laura: Jane and I had no direct communication during the illustration phase, but before she took on the project she said something to the effect that if an action is described in the text, it MUST be included within the pages. With that feedback, Jane, the editor, and I all agreed to cut four verses. At first I thought I would miss the verses, but I don’t. What was lost in text, Jane beautifully made up for, and even enhanced, in illustration! The result is a truly magical melding of my words and her art.

Me: Goodnight, Manger has a Christmas theme. The story of Baby Jesus holds a special place in hearts everywhere. Looking at the cover, I see a sweetness-with-humor element that will draw readers to your book. What do you want readers to take away from your story? Could you both speak to this?

Jane: I want readers to recognise the humanity of Jesus and of His mother. I remember being a new parent to a crying baby – it’s not easy! This book doesn’t stick religiously to the Bible account of events (the wise men appear too early), but it does get across the idea that having a baby in a stable could be a bit messy, and that even Baby Jesus would have cried.

Laura: First and foremost, I want kids (and their parents) to enjoy the story. There’s so much to see on every page and the rhymes are fun to read aloud. I also wanted to offer readers a fun, Christmas-themed story which would keep Christ (rather than Santa) as the focus during what has culturally become a very secular Christmas season. As a mom, I have tender memories of putting my babies to bed and how hard it was when they were overstimulated and overtired. I wanted to play up those tender feelings and remind my youngest readers (and their parents) that Jesus was once a baby too, who cried and felt everything they feel.

Me: I love how you have chosen to depict Baby Jesus and his parents and the angels.  What was the inspiration behind the illustrations?

Jane:I drew lots of peasants from different countries, and a lot of acrobats! I don’t think angels are always in white – surely God would enjoy more colour? And I know that angels are without gender, but I thought they should probably have trousers on because otherwise I was going to end up with them showing too much leg!
Jesus was difficult. The team at Zondervan had me redraw Jesus a few times because He was looking too old on my pictures. Oh my, just thinking about painting all those people makes me shiver. I find it very difficult to paint skin tones…

Me: Laura certainly has a way with rhyme. The text sings. But I wondered if you have a favorite verse?

Jane: I don’t have a favourite verse. It’s ALL really, really good. (But I do like the picture where one of the wise men is being nibbled by a couple of goats – it reminds me of a visit to a local farm with my father-in-law: my son put grass in Grandad’s trouser pocket.)

Me: And Jane certainly has a way with illustrations. I could hang any page/spread on my wall. But I wondered if you have a favorite spread?

Laura: Ooh, that’s hard. I love every spread. The warm hues Jane has chosen for the stable interiors practically glow. And I love the sweet interactions and gentle humor included in each illustration, such as the mice peering dotingly down on Baby Jesus and the exceptionally expressive rooster and hen. In fact, I chose a rooster puppet as my storytelling assistant for author visits because of Jane’s delightful depiction of the bird. But, if pressed to choose I think my absolute favorite spread is the one with the angels singing sweet hosannas overhead in their colorful star-spangle tunics. One angel is even playing a fiddle and another an accordion!

Thank you, Jane and Laura, for answering these questions. And thanks for creating this beautiful book.

Here is Laura’s storytelling assistant. He looks like a very capable assistant 🙂rooster


Goodnight Manger Bk Cover

GIVEAWAY: Zonderkidz is offering one hardcover copy – fresh off the press – to one lucky winner.  And here’s the important part:  To be eligible, you must be a U.S. resident and have a physical address, not a P.O. Box. For a chance to win a copy just leave a comment on this post by midnight CST, Wednesday, October 21.


Laura Sassi photo
Laura Sassi has a passion for telling stories in prose and rhyme. Her poems, stories, articles and crafts have appeared in numerous family publications including Highlights for Children, Cricket, Ladybug, Spider, Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr. and FamilyFun. She is the author of two picture books, GOODNIGHT, MANGER (Zonderkidz 2015) and GOODNIGHT, ARK (Zonderkidz, 2014). She lives in New Jersey with her husband, two children, and a black Cockapoo named Sophie. She is represented by Lara Perkins of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

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Version 2

 

Jane Chapman lives in the south-west of England with her illustrator husband, Tim Warnes, her two sons, and a couple of cute bantams. She has been illustrating children’s books for twenty years, but hasn’t run out of steam yet. She enjoys painting fur, whiskers and all kinds of weather, but especially snow.

Website
Facebook
Twitter

A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt-Landon and Penny

poetry friday buttonNormally I post the Poetry Friday link at the bottom of the episode, but I wanted to make sure all of you know that you can find more poetry each and every Friday at the Poetry Friday Round-up. This week Laura Purdie Salas is hosting at Writing the World For Kids. If you’d like to know more about Poetry Friday, click HERE for an explanation by Renee LaTulippe.

Ants may rule the hill, but they don’t rule here! Art by Landon (Click to Enlarge)

Ants may rule the hill, but they don’t rule here! Art by Landon (Click to Enlarge)

Hello, Great Readers of our series! Just In case you haven’t visited before, let me tell you a little about A Great Nephew and A Great Aunt. My great nephew, Landon (a sixth-grader) and I (his great aunt) collaborate. I write a poem which he illustrates. We started this collaboration in the fall of 2014 and have had so much fun with it that we decided to invite others along. Landon and I will continue to have a new episode on the second Friday of each month. The other Fridays are filling up quickly with guests. I have created a page on my website to view all the episodes of A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt. Click HERE to visit the page and enjoy past episodes.

Since it’s a second Friday, Landon and I are up!

The PoemSlide1

The Art

When Landon’s mom sent me his art, she happened to mention that S’mores are one of Landon’s favorite desserts. No wonder his S’more drawing is heavenly 🙂
(By the way, don’t forget to look for Landon’s “signature” hidden object! I admit that I completely missed it and suggested to his mom that he might want to add it. But she let me know it was there—just hidden very well.)

Thanks so much for joining us today. Come back next week for a new guest episode.

A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt, Guests-Kirsti Call and Daughter, Sophia

Ants may rule the hill, but they don’t rule here! Art by Landon (Click to Enlarge)

Ants may rule the hill, but they don’t rule here! Art by Landon (Click to Enlarge)

Hello, Great Readers of our series! Just In case you haven’t visited before, let me tell you a little about A Great Nephew and A Great Aunt. My great nephew, Landon (a sixth-grader) and I (his great aunt) collaborate. I write a poem which he illustrates. We started this collaboration in the fall of 2014 and have had so much fun with it that we decided to invite others along. Landon and I will continue to have a new episode on the second Friday of each month. The other Fridays are filling up quickly with guests.
I have created a page on my website to view all the episodes of A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt. Click HERE to visit the page and enjoy past episodes.

Today it is my pleasure to share a creative collaboration from . . .

Kirsti Call and Daughter, Sophia

If you follow this series, you will probably remember other episodes featuring the Call family. Kirsti has also collaborated with daughters, Naomi and Sydney. Every time I prepare a Call family post, I’m delighted. It’s evident that creativity is embraced and encouraged in this household.

From Kirsti: Sophia made an entire series of these trees (6 separate pieces), but we chose three of them for this collaboration.

Love is Beautiful in Our Hearts by Sophia Call

Sophia's Trees

Art by Sophia Call

Kirsti’s art-inspired poem.

Poem by KirstiSlide1

And a special treat. The Call family is musically talented and today we get to hear a song from Sophia. She is singing with her older sister Sydney.

Many thanks to Sophia and Kirsti for sharing their talents with us today.


Kirsti and Sophie2

 

 

Meet Sophia: Sophia Call is a 7 year old artist, writer, singer and book lover.


Kirsti and Sophia

 

Meet Kirsti: Kirsti Call is a homeschooling mom of five. Her debut picture book, The Raindrop Who Couldn’t Fall, came out December 2013. Her family band, Calling Out, plays songs written by her children. She contributes to Writer’s Rumpus, and Kids are Writers.  If you visit her house, you’ll likely find her reading. You can find out more about her at www.kirsticall.com or on Facebook or Twitter.


Thanks to Heidi Mordhorst for hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup at My Juicy Little Universe. If you’d like to know more about Poetry Friday, click HERE for an explanation by Renee LaTulippe.poetry friday button