Welcome to Inkygirl: An illustrated guide for those who write and draw for young people, which includes my Writer's Guide To Twitter, interviews, my MicroBookReviews, writing/publishing industry surveys, Writing & Illustrating a Picture Book For Simon & Schuster BFYR post series and 250, 500, 1000 Words/Day Writing Challenge. Also see my Inkygirl archives, Category archives, and comics for writers (including Will Write For Chocolate).
Entries in reading (6)
I've been wanting to read Sara Zarr's books ever since hearing her speak at the SCBWI Winter Conference in 2011. I was blown away and inspired by her closing keynote (you can read about it on the SCBWI Conference blog). I generally have way too many books on my "really want to read someday" list, however, and it was only recently that I bought Sara's first book, STORY OF A GIRL.
I'm only halfway through the book but love the writing so much that I had to buy two more of Sara's books: How To Save A Life and Once Was Lost. Looking forward to reading both.
I tend to get most of my MG and YA novels in ebook form because that's how I do most of my reading these days, but I bought these in print because I was planning to get them autographed at the Niagara Retreat/Conference. Unfortunately the conference has had to cancel its illustrator track, but I'm still hoping to get the books signed in person by Sara someday. :-)
The whole I'M BORED adventure has been amazing and continues to be amazing. Whenever things start to settle, something else happens that reminds me all over again to appreciate every moment.
I was floored about how it all began, with a rejection and a friend's encouragement. Then came the Simon & Schuster BFYR book illustration contract and the SCBWI Illustrator Mentorship program. Then the fun and immense satisfaction in collaborating with my editor and art director on the project.
Because I had been so focused on just trying to get published in past years, I underestimated how much joy I would get from reader feedback. Wow.
Experienced authors and illustrators out there are likely much more used to this, but I'M BORED is my first children's book project and I'm still getting used to the fact that people out there -- people who aren't related to me and don't know me -- are looking at my illustrations in a published book they bought or borrowed.
From Paula Speer White, who sent me the photo above: "This book is excellent for teaching verbal irony at the secondary level and self-efficacy at the elementary level~I give it a 10! Humorous, courageous, and witty!"
I've heard from some parents whose children have learning challenges or who are slow readers, who delight in the humor and want to read the book over and over again.
Parents tell me that their older children are enjoying the book as well, reading it on their own.
Librarians tell me that I'M BORED has become a favorite with their young readers. I so love the idea of a copy of the book eventually becoming battered and dog-eared because of constant use.
I think about a young person sitting down with a copy of I'M BORED, or perhaps having the book read to them by an adult, and try to imagine what happens as they listen to the story. Does it make them laugh out? Does it engage their imaginations? Do they identify more with the little girl or the Potato? Does the experience engage them enough to encourage a greater love of books and reading?
Does it change them for the better, even in a very tiny way?
Oh, I truly hope so.
What I've come to realize: While it's good to keep the market in mind (particularly if you want to get your work accepted by a traditional publishing house), remember that it's all about young readers. In the end, we create the magic for them, not the industry.
Teachers: if your class sends me snaimail about I'M BORED, I'll write back (with doodles!).
Cheering For Books at the Festival Of Trees / Forest Of Reading (Ontario Library Association project)
Thanks to author Lois Peterson for inviting me as a guest to the Festival Of Trees event today. I had a ton of fun wandering around the event, seeing authors give workshops and talks, attending some of the awards ceremonies, chatting with other attendees.
And WOW, I've never seen kids SO EXCITED ABOUT BOOKS. Seriously. The audience reaction reminded of a rock concert crowd...except these kids were cheering and screaming about BOOKS. How cool is that? So inspiring and exciting.
Also great to finally meet Arthur Slade, Monica Kulling, Christie Harkin and Sharon Jennings in person after exchanging tweets/posts with them online, meeting Jill Maclean, and Sylvia Olsen. Talked iPads with Eric Walters, who is taking his iPad with him when he climbs Mt. Kilimanjaro this summer (!).
For those who aren't familiar with the Forest Of Reading project, it's a program where students read a selection of books nominated by professionals from schools and public libraries across Ontario, and then vote for their favorite. Unlike most literary awards, these awards are chosen by young readers.
Congrats to all the Forest Of Reading nominees and winners!
You can find out more about this Ontario Library Association project at www.accessola.com/reading.