Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Great lift-off at White Rock Moon Launch!

The launch of I Want to Go to the Moon in White Rock was very well attended with great book sales thanks to Tom's loyal and loving fan base. Tom's long musical career may be taking a turn into the world of children's music and books. I certainly hope so - he's a natural!

Canadian D&Q graphic novel publisher goes digital

There's a fascinating article in today's Publisher's Weekly online about Canadian graphic novel publisher, Drawn and Quarterly. They have a well-respected international reputation, publishing authors like Lynda Barry.

Long hailed as one of the best literary graphic novel publishers today, Drawn & Quarterly has not rushed into announcing a digital strategy for its list of highly regarded graphic titles. Now the publisher has teamed with Kobo to make its entry into digital delivery. D&Q/Kobo will release Chester Brown’s 2006 Harvey award-winning work of graphic nonfiction, Louise Riel: A Comic Strip Biography, a fictionalized biography of the 19th Century champion of French Canadian aboriginal people; and the controversial 2011, Paying For It: A Comic Strip Memoir About Being a John, a nonfiction account of his experiences with prostitutes. D&Q print titles are distributed by Farrar Straus Giroux.

I was fascinated to read about their publishing contract and that they are influenced by the Writers' Union recommendations. I've found in contract discussions that publishers flap their hands dismissively when you mention TWUC recommendations, so was really pleased to read the following.

D&Q publisher and editor-in-chief Chris Oliveros said that e-book proceeds will be split 50/50 between its authors and the publisher, citing rights recommendations from the Writers Union of Canada. “D+Q has always been an author-centric company, it is this ethos that has shaped us into who we are today,” Oliveros, “it only seemed natural to offer the fairest proposition to our authors.”

Monday, December 12, 2011

Vancouver launch January 13, 2012

I am delighted to have found a lovely venue for the Vancouver launch of I Want to Go to the Moon. It will be held at the Scottish Cultural Centre at 6 - 9 pm on January 13, 2012. There will be a reading of the story especially geared to children at 6pm, followed by an open stage, book sales and signing. The books are $17 (regrettably, we'll only be able to handle cash sales).

If you're interested in playing a song or reciting a poem that has the word moon in it, please email me: jump8999 [at] yahoo.ca

Saturday, December 10, 2011

First of two book launches

My new picturebook (with CD of the song!), I want to Go to the Moon, with my uke pal author/singer/songwriter Tom Saunders will be launched this Saturday in White Rock.

Saturday, December 17, 2011
2:00 - 4:00 pm
1532 Johnston Road
White Rock, BC
Come hear Tom perform the song!
Refreshments, book sale and signing
($17 - cash only pls)

We'll also be selling books at the Vancouver Ukulele Circle on Dec 20 and there be a Vancouver launch at Our Town in the new year (date and time tba) which will include an open stage for songs containing the word "moon".

Books should be in all fine bookstores including Kidsbooks this week. Now available on online.
How exciting!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Douglas Coupland out-Grimms Grimm

Brilliant Douglas Coupland has produced an edgy picturebook satire. The themes are pure contemporary picture book. D. C. is so clever; I've read practically everything he's written. Excellent illustrations by Graham Roumieu!
Read Donald, the Incredibly Hostile Juice Box in its entirety in today's Guardian.

Monday, October 10, 2011

11-year pictorial diary of mental illness

Today's Guardian contains a wonderful video of Bobby Baker's sketchbook of watercolours made during an eleven-year struggle with mental illness. Wonderful to seeing the work, struggles and eventual recovery of a female artist my age.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Digital materials for children

After completing two semesters of my MA in children's literature at UBC, I've finally decided to do my thesis on digital materials for children. Every conference you go to these days includes workshops on the new electronic face of publishing, so it's hard to miss this subject. I've become particularly interested in picture book apps for platforms like the ipad.

If you haven't had the opportunity to play with picture book apps, you can seach under picture books apps on youtube and there are a lot of very short wonderful demos. I think I expected picture book apps to be gimmicky, but Heart and the Bottle, especially, seems to me a very natural extension of illustration and what I'm trying to do as an illustrator anyway, e.g., make stars sparkle, waves rock, characters do doubletakes and travel on and off the page.

I'm thinking of trying to turn some of my picture books that have gone out of print into apps, so was thrilled to find a wonderful easy-to-understand slideshow on how a picture book app is made posted by generous team that created Timo and the Magical Book.

There has also been a lot of buzz about electronic self-publishing. Here's one such project: it's by three authors and isn't being released in print form but as three simultaneous digital applications: a daily comic, an app and a game. Their theme song is very good.

I found about this last one on the amazing Canadian illustration, animation and design blog Drawn. You'll find lots of posts on children's book illustration and animation there. For instance, I learned about the extremely appealing children's music and animation by indie band They Might be Giants there.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mister Got to Go at the Sylvia Hotel

The lovely Janine Fitkall and her wonderful students came for a day at the beach and a reading at the Sylvia of the yet-to-find-a-publisher Mister Got to Go, Where Are You? by Lois Simmie. The heritage hotel is the setting for the Mister Got to Go books. Plaudits to owner Jill Davies and manager Ross Dyck for their support of these Vancouver picture books. They hosted the presentation and even made the children delicious and very cute Mr. Got to Go sugar cookies. It was an exceptional way to spend a beautiful spring day.

A little Masterpiece

This book trailer for Lemony Snickett's and Maira Kalman's "13 words" is pure genius all by itself.
I've chosen digital materials for children as my thesis subject and am hoping to create my own app using one of my books.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Blair School chooses Fred and Pete

Blagons: The Blair Book Dragons: Blair's Chocolate Lily Picture Book Award Winner!: "After weeks of reading and discussing the Chocolate Lily Picture Book Award nominees with all the primary classes, we did our big vote this ..."

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Fred and Pete shortlisted!

I am thrilled that Fred and Pete at the Beach has been shortlisted for two children's choice awards:

For videos, colouring pages and word puzzles, check out the Fred and Pete blog. Here's a picture of the clickable archive you'll find on the Fred and Pete Blog.

My book Mr. Got to Go and Arnie by Lois Simmie won the Shining Willow in 2003 which was pretty darn thrilling!

A wonderful school visit

My first year in the Children's Literature program at UBC has been brightened by invitations to present at schools. For me it's a real thrill to do quick portraits of children when demonstrating drawing and painting. Here's a lovely display that Judy Fung, teacher librarian par excellence, put up after my presentations at her school.

Teacher librarians are the cornerstone of literacy in our society. It is essential that the government restores funding so that every school can again have a full-time teacher librarian.