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
I'm heading back to North Easton, Massachusetts, to serve as writer-in-residence for the month of August at the Ames Free Library, one of the hands-down *best* small libraries in the whole U.S. of A. (That's not just my opinion. The American Library Association agrees!) Class schedule TBA. I'll also be teaching two classes at the Cape Cod Writers Center Conference the first weekend of August. Come for the crab cakes! Stay for the stories! More info at www.capecodwriterscenter.org.
★ Stay: A Girl, a Dog, a Bucket List
Kate Klise, illus. by M. Sarah Klise. Feiwel and Friends, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-250-10714-5
Who says bucket lists are just for humans? Not the Klise sisters (Grammy Lamby and the Secret Handshake), who gracefully trace a girl’s growing awareness of her dog’s impending death. When Astrid’s parents bring their newborn daughter home from the hospital, Eli, a shaggy dog, is waiting patiently, her “first friend.” M. Sarah Klise’s evocative acrylics amplify the matter-of-fact narrative, showing Astrid growing taller and more active as Eli slows down. But Astrid takes a proactive approach to the inevitable, making a list, she tells Eli, “of all the things you should do before you get too old.” Together, they visit the library and movie theater (Lassie is playing), sleep under the stars, and even enjoy spaghetti and meatballs in a restaurant, but readers will gradually come to understand that the way Astrid and Eli have been spending their time is less important than the fact that they’ve spent it together. The Klises close with an image of girl and dog watching the sunset over the water, a moment that—like the book as a whole—is both emotionally restrained and full of feeling. Ages 3–5. (July)
If you live in California or plan on visiting the Bay Area this summer, you've got to think about signing up for art class with Sarah. She recently led a group of kindergarteners in a workshop that resulted in this. Can you stand how cute these paintings are?
Not really. I'm much sillier. But I always think I look a bit Oz-like when i Skype with kids. If you're interested in Skyping with either Sarah or me, have your teacher or librarian get in touch with us. We'll try to set something up!
This page is where we write stuff just for fun. If you want to read our old blog posts, you can right here.