Rock Stars of Reading part 21: The Drive Home

Tuesday, May 19, 2009.

The drive home from Northampton was the longest eight hours of our lives not because of the weather (we experienced sun, clouds and a spectacular if short snow storm) or the traffic (there wasn’t much) but because of the amazing memories that we collected and friends we made and how we seemed to be going further away from both.  Fortunately, those friendships remain and the memories are still with us; they have helped shape the way we enjoy and understand children’s books.

In this final installment of the Rock Stars of Reading we reflect on the what we experienced and consider the impact those experiences will have on us.


Rock Stars of Reading part 20: Advice for aspiring readers

Monday, May 11, 2009.

It’s customary for interviewers to ask authors and illustrators to share their advice for aspiring book creators. During the 19th Annual Children’s Illustration Show at the R. Michelson Gallery, Mark instead asked authors and illustrators to offer advice for aspiring readers. Everyone was willing to pitch in. This video features responses from Jeanne Birdsall, Diane de Groat, Tony DiTerlizzi, Jane Dyer, Paul Jacobs, Norton Juster, Jarrett Krosoczka, Jeff Mack, David Mazor, David Milgrim, Barry Moser, Lesléa Newman, Shelley Rotner, Ruth Sanderson, Heidi Stemple, Mo Willems and Jane Yolen.

Also included is an interview with David Mazor, Founder and Executive Director of Reader to Reader — a non-profit organization that distributes books to schools and libraries in need. Reader to Reader honoured author Norton Juster for his generosity and passion in promoting literacy.


Rock Stars of Reading part 19: Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple

Friday, May 8, 2009.

Authors Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple (Jane’s daughter) tell stories about the good writing genes in their family, growing up with Jane Yolen as a mother and how Jane and her late husband David Stemple inspired their three children (all now working in the children’s book world).

Books by Jane Yolen you may recognize…


Books by Heidi Stemple you may recognize…



  • Theme: Woolly Mammoth by Robert Farrell (from Sun House Fury, part 1)
  • Tractor Part by Zubot and Dawson (from Tractor Parts: Further Adventures in Strang)

Rock Stars of Reading part 18: Mordicai Gerstein

Thursday, May 7, 2009.

Listen to author/illustrator Mordicai Gerstein tell Mark about his turbulent career, imagination and his idea that children’s books as the perfect combination of film, theatre and drawing.

Books by Mordicai Gerstein that you may recognize…



Rock Stars of Reading part 17: Jane Dyer

Wednesday, May 6, 2009.

Listen to Mark and illustrator Jane Dyer (on JOMB) talk about Jane’s fine brushwork, painting movement and imagination, and her own masterpiece.

Books by Jane Dyer you may have seen…


Rock Stars of Reading part 16: Paul Jacobs

Tuesday, May 5, 2009.

Listen in as Mark and Author/Poet, Paul Jacobs, chat about the differences between children and adults as book and reading audiences, writing with a playful spirit and the collaborative nature of children’s books.

Books you may have seen by Paul Jacobs…




Rock Stars of Reading part 15: Lesléa Newman

Monday, May 4, 2009.

Author/poet Lesléa Newman, author of the groundbreaking book Heather Has Two Mommies, talks to Mark about seeing in words (not images), writing for adults and children, and treasures in our brains.


Book by Lesléa Newman you may have seen…

Rock Stars of Reading part 14: Richard Michelson

Sunday, May 3, 2009.

We spent a lot of time becoming familiar with the creative process of illustrators during our trip. So, it was exciting to spend time in Richard Michelson‘s (on JOMB) studio getting introduced to his writing process.

During the hour he and I spent in his studio, Richard showed me the working papers for books including Tuttle’s Red Barn and As Good As Anybody and shared some of the valuable lessons he’s learned from reading and writing children’s books.


Selected books by Richard Michelson…

Rock Stars of Reading part 13: Making Children’s Books Count

Monday, April 27, 2009.

Mark, Richard Michelson (on JOMB), Tony Diterlizzi and Scott Fisher spoke for three hours about almost everything related to children’s books and the publishing industry.  It was a very cerebral conversation, much of which revolved around print and digital books, the future of the industry and competing with technology for reader attention.  There were light moments, too, like when they did an analysis of Jon Scieszka‘s (on JOMB) reign as the first National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.


  • Theme: Woolly Mammoth by Robert Farrell (from Sun House Fury, part 1)
  • Skittles at Buckley Bay & Mischief in the Garden by Jaime RT (from Reach)
You may have seen these books by Richard Michelson…
…these by Tony Diterlizzi…
…and these by Scott Fischer…

Rock Stars of Reading part 12: Painting with Jeff Mack

Sunday, April 26, 2009.

Take note of the name Jeff Mack. He’s a relative newcomer to children’s books and has a very bright future. His stories are endearing and his illustrations inviting. We had the chance to see him in action and better understand his creative process as he coached Lucy and Bayla through sketching, mixing paint and painting their own illustration.


Rock Stars of Reading part 11: Jeff Mack

Wednesday, April 22, 2009.

Perhaps more intriguing than books themselves is the story behind them; how they were conceived, how they were picked up by a publishing company and how they were edited.  Author/illustrator Jeff Mack has many incredible stories to tell from his young career and he took the time to share many of the stories and explain his creative process to us.

We particularly enjoyed how he engaged with Lucy and Bayla and how they may have had an influence on a creative decision for his upcoming book, Dog Wants to Play, due out September 3, 2009 (author: Christine McDonnell).


Rock Stars of Reading part 10: Nick Clark on “The Carle”

Monday, April 20, 2009.

After a short walk in a light rain and lunch at Atkins Farms, we arrived at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.  Nick Clark, the museum’s Chief Director, gave us a private tour and allowed us to film specific parts of the gallery.  He shared the history of the museum, and walked us through Eric Carle’s book creation and illustration process.

The Carle was the first museum we’ve been to that specifically promotes and celebrates creativity.  Besides the amazing art, multilingual library and a customer-centric book shop, the gallery boasts the always-open Penguin Art Studio where children and adults of all ages can create art of any sort.



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