Jarrett Krosoczka’s TED Talk: How a boy became an artist

Wednesday, January 9, 2013.

We met Jarrett Krosoczka during our six-day Rock Stars of Reading road trip. While visiting his studio one afternoon, Jarrett introduced us to his creative process, passion for creating and taught our daughters how to paint. It was inspiring.

His career has really taken off. At the 22nd annual Children’s Illustration Show in 2011, Jarrett told us about new books and movie versions of his books starring Amy Poehler. And, today, he showed up in Mark’s TED Talks subscription in iTunes.

Jarrett’s talk is loaded with passion. It highlights the importance of imagination and creativity in life and surrounding yourself with people who help you pursue your imagination your way.

Filed under: Video

Rebel Pigeon: Scott Fischer draws ‘The Pigeon’ his way

Sunday, November 11, 2012.

Last year we attended the 22nd Annual Children’s Illustration Exhibit party at the R. Michelson Galleries in Northampton, Massachusetts. We had been to the 19th annual event three years earlier as part of our Rock Stars of Reading road trip.

Mark shot some video at the event and had planned to edit and release it shortly after our return. Unfortunately, that coincided with news that his uncle had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. A lot of personal projects were shelved.

The 23rd Annual Children’s Illustration Exhibit reception is taking place today. Unfortunately, we are unable to be there this time. We’re disappointed we won’t be able to spend time with our author and illustrator friends. Besides being incredibly creative and talented, they’re amazingly nice people, too.

Instead of attending this year’s event, Mark is finally getting around to editing the video he shot. This clip features illustrator Scott Fischer playing with Don’t Let the Pigeon Run This App on Mark’s iPhone.

Filed under: Video

Chip Kidd at TED: Designing books is no laughing matter. OK, it is.

Thursday, April 5, 2012.

Knopf Books Associate Art Director Chip Kidd hits one out of the park with this TED Talk about children’s books and book design.

Filed under: Video

Our future depends on children’s books

Wednesday, February 22, 2012.

Much of what we become is shaped by the ideas we’re exposed to and the relationships of which we are a part. The stronger those foundations are from childhood, the better equipped we are to understand the people with whom we interact and the world around us. Childrens books are the tools that help us open the door to a childs natural curiosity, creativity and desire to connect, and are one of our strongest hopes for a great future.

It’s not entirely surprising we never published this video, here, given we did have our mind on other things at the time. We prepared a talk Mark delivered at TEDxOttawa on December 6, 2009. Here it is.

Filed under: Video

Contested Irrelevance (a JOLT! by Andrea)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010.

Wow! The last nine months have been surreal. Andrea has been nothing short of inspiring as she braved three surgeries, six rounds of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation therapy (30 treatments in all). Through it all, we’ve been blown away by the concern and generosity of our online communities, particularly the people that we came to know and whom we apparently touched through Just One More Book.

Andrea harnessed that energy and generosity and turned it into a stunning five-minute lightning talk (called a JOLT!) at the recent PAB2010 conference. Her powerful and sincere presentation commanded a standing ovation which turned into a line of people waiting to give her a hug. There was nary a dry eye in the room.

Thank you to everyone in the JOMB community. You had a huge impact on our family. But don’t take my word for it. Watch the video to find out.

Filed under: Video

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 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 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.


Rock Stars of Reading part 9: Digital Jarrett Krosoczka

Saturday, April 18, 2009.

Did you know that the first children’s picture books featured illustrations produced from wood engravings? Technology made way for lithographs and drum rollers and eventually computers which aren’t just part of the printing process — they figure prominently in the creative process.

Jarrett Krosoczka (on JOMB) shows us how he’s using his laptop computer for his new Lunch Lady graphic novel series, the first two editions of which will be available on July 28, 2009.


  • Theme: Woolly Mammoth by Robert Farrell (from Sun House Fury, part 1)
  • Bullet Drive by Robert Farrell (from When the Banks of the Mississippi Run Dry)

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