Thursday, August 28, 2008

Meeting Sketchbook 8/27-8/28

The beginning of school brings many things- new clothes, sharpened pencils and of course, staff meetings. A few pages of notes-

Sunday, August 24, 2008

EVENT: Book Signing!

On Friday, September 12th at 6pm, I'll be having a BOOK RELEASE PARTY at Subterranean Books in the beautiful Delmar Loop of St. Louis. Please stop by, say hello, and buy a box of books. (What a thoughtful Christmas gift!) If you won't be able to make it to the signing, but would like to support an amazing local bookstore, buy it from Subterranean...  contact them here.

UPDATE: A great new review of the book from School Library Journal.

“What you can know for sure is that this is a book you should add to your shelves.”

HOPKINSON, Deborah. Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek: A Tall, Thin Tale (Introducing His Forgotten Frontier Friend). illus. by John Hendrix. Random/Schwartz & Wade Bks. Sept. 2008. Tr $16.99.

K-Gr 3–Hopkinson has created a lively, participatory tale that will surely stand out among the many titles published to honor the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth. With a conspiratorial wink at the audience, an omniscient narrator invites readers to watch seven-year-old Abe and his real-life friend Austin Gollaher succumb to the “dare you” lure of a roaring creek and a perilous crossing on a fallen log (an author’s note details the genesis of the story). Imagine where we as a nation might be if unsung-hero Austin hadn’t been there to rescue impetuous Abraham from his tumble into those tumultuous waters. In dialogic asides and exclamations, the author addresses the illustrator and brings him (or, rather, his pencil-wielding hand) onstage to collaborate and correct, and also speaks to readers, inviting involvement and evoking response. Hendrix’s illustrations have a naive and rustic flavor that’s in perfect harmony with the gravelly, homespun narrator’s voice (keen-eyed readers will find a rendering of the storyteller in the endpaper art). Energetic spreads give a big, broad, horizontal view of the green Kentucky valley setting with its rambling curves, rolling mountains, and rushing waters, and a very effective impression of how long that creek-crossing must have seemed…maybe. “For that’s the thing about history,” Hopkinson says, “if you weren’t there, you can’t know for sure.” What you can know for sure is that this is a book you should add to your shelves.–Kathy Krasniewicz, Perrot Library, Old Greenwich, CT

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Summer Books

Thanks to a bedtime routine with my son that gave me an hour of reading time each night, I read a bunch of great books this summer. Now, my wife reads like a teletype machine (that is to say, really fast) but I'm a total book slug. Here is a tiny list of books I've read over the last three months. Did you read anything great on the beach or in the hammock this summer? I'm starting Andrea's favorite book today, A Tree Grows In Brooklyn.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Drawing In Church- 8/10

My former muse, pastor Michael Gordon, who has left the midwest for the deep south, returned to St. Louis for a wedding and preached for ol' times sake. As usual, he didn't disappoint. Also, starting a new sketchbook. I'm not sold on the horizontal format just yet, and the paper is a bit different. I'll give it another week or two.

Monday, August 04, 2008

More Abe Lincoln News

My first kids book, Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek, comes out next month, and you can already pre-order it from Amazon.

A few weeks back, I got my first look at the final product, and if I do say so myself, it looks pretty great. I'll be having a book release party and book signing at Subterranean Books in St. Louis this September. More info on that to come soon.

UPDATE: A bigger image of the cover is below. Plus, we just found out we got a great review in the Horn Book Magazine:

Abe Lincoln, a storyteller of great repute, would be hard-pressed to beat Hopkinson’s considerable skills in recounting this incident from childhood, in which Lincoln’s friend Austin Gollaher saved him from drowning in the rushing waters of Kentucky’s Knob Creek. Hopkinson speaks directly to readers, saying of her tale: “I like it so well, I’ve asked my friend John to help out by drawing some pictures.” Even though this slice of historical fiction is set “on the other side of yesterday, before computers or cars, in the year 1816,” metafictive elements (Hopkinson’s personal comments; Hendrix’s illustrations that often appear in situ on the drawing board, with pen or pencil still on the page) provide immediacy. Best of all, Hopkinson addresses the unknowns in history when she recounts how Austin saves young Abe. “He pulls Abe out by his shirttail. Or maybe he uses a sycamore branch—or a fishing pole. We’ll let John decide which sketch to paint. For that’s the thing about history—if you weren’t there, you can’t know for sure.” Add that thought to a rousing telling, and here’s a story worth waiting one hundred and ninety-two years for. b.c.