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The Untangled Tales website is the best of the Summer Reading sites. Going over the site, was like being in one of the famous ‘But WAIT, there’s more!’ advertisements! At every click of the mouse, there was more and all of it FREE! There is something here for children of all ages [preschool, primary, secondary], for their parents, teachers and librarians. The site is gorgeous [literally] to look at, easy to navigate, entertaining in content and layout and engagingly informative!
The Celebrity Corner questions brought out the creative quirkiness of authors and illustrators in a very entertaining way and featured a very diverse group of creatives!
The Untangled Tales game is a blast – great fun! It challenges memory and prods research capabilities and informs about other cultures, their customs and attitudes as reflected in their fairytales and legends.
Check out the side tabs and their drop down menus – there is heaps and heaps of fun activity, fantastic tales, playful poetry and fanciful stories, arty opportunities, creative competitions in writing and art activities and painless learning along the way!!
I’m thrilled to be part of this year’s Summer Reading Club. I’m in Celebrity Corner with Kerry Brown, Christian Bocquee [with whom I am collaborating in our own Fractured Fairytales collection], Terry Denton, Lucia Masciullo and numbers of other wonderfully creative folk!
Books are created from the imagination and inspiration of authors and the insightful vision of illustrators. They are then crafted. The authorial crafting may be right brain with a touch of editing or slow and laborious left brain plotting. For an illustrator, it may be inspiration flowing like rivers from brush or stylus or it may be storybook or dummy creation then rethinks, scrap some ideas, adapt others. Eventually, a book emerges that is then ‘ready for submission’. These days, that may mean adding animation and audio to make the book a digital production for app developers like Utales or Flying Books, or for YA, formatting it for Kindle or Nook e-publishers. It may mean self publishing on Createspace or Lightningsource, Smashwords or Lulu. Or it will mean the long road via submission to traditional publishers.
If the latter is chosen, the publisher will often require more editing, changes and perhaps more changes. My own book, started under contract to one publisher, was already well underway with the inimitable Sarah Davis as illustrator. We were having a ball creating our book. Then our publisher was taken over and the new publisher wanted to institute changes. At first, the major change – ‘get rid of the dead bird’ – seemed straight forward. Then we realised the book needed the bird but, to keep it, we had to make some big adjustments. An injured bird can’t just disappear in a children’s book, it has to get better and be released, which, in our picture book, meant its story had to be woven into the fabric of the main story seamlessly. No problem, a few days and Sarah and I had nailed it! As book creators, you have to be flexible and, especially if going the traditional publisher route, you can’t be too precious about your creation.
SO! This exhibition is about the journey numbers of wonderful children’s and YA books took from creation to bookshelf! Each book has a different creation story to reveal – something the public doesn’t see, it’s behind the scenes. Now the reader can take a peek backstage, behind the scenes to how it all came together!
THE SET UP
Setting up was not straight forward. The spaces has to be utilised to best advantage and the items displayed needed to be seen from as many angles as possible given I had a two shelf rectangular glass case. I didn’t end up using everything I brought with me. It would have been too cluttered. Last minute inclusion, bulldog clips, proved life-savers! They held the photographic prints in place.
I had never ‘hung’ a painting before at an exhibition and that proved ‘interesting. Sarah Davis sent up her wonderful original painting via kindly courier, Peter Taylor, but it was unframed. I had no time to find a frame. Fortunately, I had one around the house that was a good match colour-wise though not quite the perfect size.
Given my exhibit was about my close collaboration with Sarah, the items displayed needed to reflect the two minds working together to make a new creative whole – our book! Sources of inspiration, stages in text change, changes in images, cover and trivia relating to the characters, objects and places in the book, all combined to make a successful ( I hope you agree) exhibit!
The Exhibition, Journey of a Book, has a wide range of book journeys exhibited, from YA novel, like David McRobbie’s, to real life adventure by Prue Mason, picture books like those by Kathrine Battersby and chapter books like the one by Angela Sunde, to non fiction works on calligraphy as an illustrative art form by Peter Taylor.
“Books Are Fun”
Children’s Book Festival 2011, Family Day 3rd April 2011, 10.00am to 4.00pm
State Library of Victoria and the Wheeler Centre
This free programme of ‘events’ over the Sunday was hugely popular. It was described as “the biggest celebration of children’s books that Melbourne has ever seen”. Families and children’s book lovers crammed into venues to hear a wonderful assemblage of Australia’s leading authors and illustrators. They queued for meter after meter to meet authors and illustrators and have their load of precious books signed. They waited for hours to be able to get into workshops, storytelling and performances.
The ‘Family Day’ was the brainchild of the State Library of Victoria and the Wheeler Centre who held, coordinated and promoted the various sessions. Authors and illustrators were fully utilised, most doing at least two events on the programme. [http://wheelercentre.com/static/files/assets/087ddc27/CBW_Childrensbooks_A4programme-DR7.pdf ]
Some notes from the day:
John Nicholson/Roland Harvey interview with SLV staffer
John Nicholson (architect) – author and illustrator
John started writing fiction. His publisher suggested he write non-fiction.
Working with A&U – John has an idea and approaches them with it or they have an idea and approach John. At one stage they seemed to take a turn about with this process. He now just develops ‘the ideas I want to’. He prefers to work alone now.
John agreed with Roland, in creating an authentic “Sense of place” it was important, if at all possible, to do the research for the text and images on location.
Roland Harvey (architect) author and illustrator
History was something that always fascinated him and which initially led him to writing and illustrating books.
Family activities have inspired some of his books – “At the Beach” and ‘To the Top End”. “You need to know, to “feel” the place you are writing about. To research you should “be there to be really successful”. Otherwise ther is the internet but Roland considered this sort of research “much harder” in trying to create a real sense of ‘place’.
He collaborates a lot. His latest book is a collaboration with Mem Fox which was launched at the Family Day. He doesn’t publish any more and mainly works with Penguin and A&U. He liked the freedom he had as publisher. He surrounded himself with experts in each area. He found his best books were done “against the advice of others”. It was risky but he LOVED the freedom to do what he was passionate about.
His next project is another picture book based on family travels. He is also avidly exploring Apps and is excited about this development in children’s books.
Terry Denton/Chris Morpeth interview with SLV staffer
Terry Denton author/illustrator
The place where I like to write/draw:
I have a studio in my backyard. It is quiet, no distractions.
“Gasp” is my favourite of my creations.
Denton and Andy Griffith go away for a week together when working on a new joint project to ‘get it started’.
Chris Morpeth (former teacher) author
The place where I like to write:
In a café over coffee – there are no distractions. At home, I get distracted with Nintendo and Mario. I make my stories up as I go along. I think the more you do the better you get.
Terry & Chris agreed re book writing/creation, “If it is too organised, it doesn’t work!”
Leigh Hobbs interview with SLV staffer
Leigh Hobbs (former teacher) author/interviewer
His first version of ‘Old Tom’ was rejected. This version had an angrier look and smoked a cigar. The next version, accepted, was more humorous and sly. Leigh draws the pictures for his books first as he has his ‘run of ideas’. Then he ”works“ to finish the book. He felt he wrote books of the sort he liked a a kid. He loved Enid Blyton, Treasure Island.
A lesson he learnt early, was that children want “Mums” kept within certain parameters, e.g. Old Tom’s ‘Mum’, Angela Throgmorton.
If you are searching for an agent, there is a very helpful blog by Casey McCormick which features “Agent Spotlights.”
She posts information about a wide variety of agents who represent children’s and young adult fiction.
The other essential to join is Query Tracker – http://www.querytracker.com – this very comprehensive site offers advice re query letters, publisher updates, agent info and much more!
HELP NEEDED for WE ARE ALL JAPAN anthology
An OPEN CALL for submission to WE ARE ALL JAPAN
We at WE ARE ALL JAPAN are assembling an anthology of all types of poetry and haibun – We Are All Japan. The purpose of the anthology is to display to Japan our feelings of love and concern for the hell they have and are currently enduring.
All proceeds from the anthology will be donated to the the Salvation Army or the Red Cross in Japan.
ANTHOLOGY “WE ARE ALL JAPAN”
Please submit any kind of poetry as well as haibun (stating your name, city and country) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also need a photo or artwork for the cover. Please send your original work to the same email.
Deadline: May 15, 2011.
Robert D. Wilson and Sasa Vazic
This list is the illustrators version of what I have created for Writers. Fair’s fair! 🙂
It will be added to…
Lou Simeone’s illustrationpages.com, highlights the Facebook pages and online stores of visual artists from around the world. It also has great interviews, articles, inspiration, resources and giveaways.
Storybookillustrators.com has an illustrator’s gallery and a trends gallery.
Thomas James’ Escape from Illustration Island is replete with tutorials, resource library, articles and podasts and more.
I have found numbers of other interesting sites which I am actively investigating.
Story Chimes has won the PTPA Media Inc. Seal of Approval. This App Developer is in partnership with Raven Tree Press, producing their print books for iphone and ipad as well as new, never been in print, titles.
Interesting interview with Jean-Pierre Bousquet about his experience publishing his Children’s picture book , “Caroline , and the mysterious Christmas Tree” with Mobile Children’s Books [MCB]. Check out Wheezards interview LIVE radio show on 938Live The Living Room – Singapore podcast
This is a brand new venture which may work well for those not so techno flash or those with less in the way of spare cash. It is European based and the books have a definitely European look. Read about uTales and about becoming a ‘uTaler‘, publisher on this site.
The site, commendably, also support “Pencils of Promise” who built 15 schools in third world countries from donations last year.
This site is doing some innovative things – take a look –
Peter Taylor‘s update on i-publishing [thank you Peter]
Children’s Publishing Innovation Award
At last week’s NY Digital Book World Conference, this went to:
This is marketed as the first and only service where consumers can create an app by recording a video of themselves reading as they turn the pages. Children can play back the story as often as they like.
You can give it a free trial, too.
There are over 200 books in their main selection http://www.astorybeforebed.com/books When you register, you create your own bookshelf to store your recorded downloads.
Many of their selection of books are published by Chronicle, Orca and Charlesbridge. They also ask for suggestions from accomplished children’s book authors, illustrators, and publishers, as they’re always looking for more great books.
The publishers may also consider giving purchasers the option of having the book read by the author/illustrator.
This idea comes from creators at