Rock Stars of Reading

In November 2008, the Just One More Book!! children’s book podcast set out on a six-day road trip to live, eat, socialize, paint and read with children’s book creators.

Producers Andrea Ross and Mark Blevis and their two daughters, Lucy (9) and Bayla (7), lived by a tight schedule of studio visits, lunches, dinners, round table discussions and gallery visits.  The trip was video and audio recorded and has been produced as a series of documentary video and audio programs that will be published on the Internet, for free, beginning Tuesday, March 31, 2009.

The videos are snappy and entertaining and feature uniquely intimate footage.

The goal of the series is to give children’s books and the children’s book community their long-overdue pop-media treatment.

Episodes include:

  • Lane Smith discusses original artwork and his creative process
  • Diane de Groat shows how she mixes digital and physical art
  • Jarrett Krosoczka paints with Lucy and Bayla
  • Jeff Mack explains the story behind some of his books
  • R. Michelson Galleries’ 19th Annual Children’s Illustration Exhibition

Notable facts:

  • round-trip by rental car:  1500kms
  • long-distance travel time:  20hrs
  • video recordings:  13hrs
  • audio recordings:  25hrs
  • photograghs:  1200 (keepers)
  • editing time per video episode:  16hrs (average, roughly 330 hours total)
  • the project is completely self-funded (no advertisers, sponsors or grants)

Guests include Jeanne Birdsall, Nick Clark, Diane de Groat, Tony Diterlizzi, Corinne Demas, Jane Dyer, Scott Fischer, Mordicai Gerstein, Paul Jacobs, Norton Juster, Jarrett Krosoczka, Jeff Mack, Richard Michelson, Leslea Newman, Lane Smith, David Ezra Stein, Heidi Stemple, Mo Willems and Jane Yolen.

Quotes from Mark Blevis’ blog post about the series:

What I’ve noticed over time is that children’s books and their creators have been treated very traditionally in the media.  In fact, I’ve even noticed this on the web where some of the most interesting interviews with authors and illustrators have been low on production value (e.g. ten-minute video interviews of a talking head).  There is so much talk about the importance of children’s books and literacy and how fun it is to learn to read and to read aloud, but the way we promote this in the media suggests otherwise.

I’ve drawn on some of the most entertaining and engaging ways to produce programs that I’ve experienced to date, and have come up with a few ideas of my own.  The result is a series of videos which give the children’s book industry the pop-culture treatment enjoyed by niches such as fast food, the environment, movie stars, sports, music and technology, to name a few.  My hope is that this approach will make the videos and the subject interesting to everyone, from those that are passionate about children’s books and creativity, to those that aren’t particularly interested in books at all.

Episode index:

 
 

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