Here's an interview I did with the Springfield News-Leader. The bit I said after my comment about the Rhode Island School of Design got cut, but let the record reflect (especially for my niece who's studying at RISD) that I said as a reader, I *like* minimal, postmodern, Rhode Island School of Design-y picture books. But I want to write only one kind of picture book, which, in today's world, might considered a bit old-fashioned. Just FYI.
If you happen to be in the Boston area on 8/24, please consider attending this "doggone literary" event. So flattered the nice folks here in North Easton find me "charming and prolific."
And never mind that we don't understand a word they're saying.
Thank you, Pamela Kramer and Huffington Post, for the nice shout-out (or should I say bark out?) for our new picture book, Stay.
The highlight (so far) of summer 2017 was leading a group of women entrepreneurs from Rwanda and Afghanistan turn their business plans into picture books. It was so fun! Read all about it right here.
But it turns out you're writing about something else entirely. More about this in our interview with The Horn Book here.
What a fun idea it is to take a road trip-like journey through the USA with books. Click here for the entire list.
Sarah and I are proud to represent the great state of Missouri with Stand Straight, Ella Kate: The True Tall Tale of a Real Giant.
(Thanks to my librarian pal Jan Whitehead in St. Louis, MO, for letting me know. I like Jan so much, I used her names in one of my books.)
I just got the funniest email from my pal Gracia. She's a librarian in Westfield, Indiana. But this week, Gracia and her daughter are in Paris, France.
Today they visited the famous catacombs. Guess what they found in the gift shop? Dying to Meet You. Kinda appropriate, right, given the setting?
They carry the French edition, of course.
Thanks to Joel Shoemaker and the Champaign Urbana News-Gazette for this nice review of Stay.
'Stay' a great tale about companionship
What may appear to be yet another, simple picture book ends up being a complex and beautifully optimistic tale of lifelong companionship.
Eli, the dog at home when Astrid first arrives from the hospital, is Astrid's first friend. Birth to 5 years old, then, is quite quickly told in the first few pages, with the bulk of the story taking place between 6-year-old Astrid and Eli, who of course, as is explained, ages ever more rapidly.
"Stay: a Girl, a Dog, a Bucket List," the latest offering from Kate Klise and illustrator-sister M. Sarah Klise, thus comes to center around a literal bucket list for Eli, outlined by Astrid on a popcorn tub.
The list is packed full of busy activities for the summer such as riding a bike, reading (the library books being completely canine, naturally), going to the movie theater ("Lassie," of course) together, taking bubble baths and eating at fine restaurants. Throughout all of this, though he may never speak aloud, Eli's thoughts are clearly delineated.
Of course, Eli appreciates all the activities Astrid has planned, but, as we near the end of our story, it turns out not be an activity at all that Eli comes to crave the most.
The child that experiences "Stay" will, at a minimum, come to love Eli as they no doubt love their own pets. Older children and, yes, even adult readers will learn to simply value the time spent within the company of friends and loved ones over any sort of activity or possession.
The Klise sisters, originally from central Illinois, have long written and illustrated books for children that often delve beyond the trivialities of many children's books. Often central to their themes is the value of family. It may be no wonder then that their most recent turn falls in line.
Indeed, the surprise here, the real beauty, is the simplicity and sweetness that could so easily meet melancholy. That it doesn't, that it instead ends with such happiness — Eli and Astrid beside one another on their blanket at sunset, that being the one and only thing to have ever been on Eli's bucket list — places "Stay" prominently amid the most important picture books for families to experience together this summer.
Joel Shoemaker is library director of the Oakwood Public Library District