Interview with Lita Judge-Monday!

Lita Judge and I met at a NESCBWI illustrators’ day at Simmons College 2003. We happen to sit next to each other in a large lecture hall. Sheepishly, I showed her my sketch book. (I didn’t have a portfolio yet.) Sheepishly, she showed me her portfolio. She shouldn’t have been reticent. The pen and ink line was light and free, her watercolor work rich and lovely, and her characters jumped off the page. “Oh my,” I said, “these are really good.”  I can’t remember exactly, but I’m sure Lita’s response was modest and self-deprecating.

A couple years later, when she told me she had landed a deal with Hyperion (yes made it past the gate guarded by that famous mouse) I was not at all surprised. Lita was, of course, modest. The truly talented, hard workers always are.

I am so pleased to be able to bring you an interview with Lita Judge author and illustrator of One Thousand Tracings: Healing the Wounds of World War II (this will be linked to amazon), to be released this Sunday, July 1st by Hyperion.  I am Jew who grew up hearing of the horrors of the Holocaust, but no one had ever related to me the poverty that followed. Lita’s book opened my eyes to another awful effect of that horrific period of time. I hope you’ll come back on July 2nd

Friday Freakout! One down nine to go.

Summer vacation…what’s a mom to do? Some Mom’s I know can’t wait for summer vacation. They have projects a plenty, and enough cash for numerous field trips.  Not so here. I spend most of my time screaming, “Go outside and stop watching TV!” I’ll be posting fun stuff to do on Fridays. Check out this great site by Peggy Rathman of Goodnight Gorilla fame. I know it is on a screen. Give me break, I’ll get more creative as the summer goes on (and they go to day camp).

Maine Festival of the Book

Thank you to Sarah Cecil at Maine Reads for this more in depth itinerary of children’s and young adult events for The Maine Festival of the Book. Programs are taking place this Saturday, June 23rd in Portland, ME. Hope to see you there!

PPL= Portland Public Library. CMM=Children’s Museum of Maine.

Children’s and Young Adult Program Schedule

Young Adult Programs
9:30am     Donn Fendler, video presentation and discussion, PPL/Rines
11am        Bill Wise, reading and discussion, PPL/Lewis
Noon        Ruth Swain, reading and discussion,  PPL/Lewis
1pm          Alice Mead, reading and discussion, PPl/Lewis
2pm          Lea Wait, reading and discussion, PPL/Lewis

Children’s Programs
9:30 am            Sarah Thomson and face painting, PPL/Children
10:30 am            Scott Nash, reading and fun, PPL/Children
11am – 2pm        Reading Around the World: Stories Read in Different Languages, CMM
11:15 am            Brian Lies, reading and fun at Bat Mobile on Monument Square*
12:15 pm             Lynn Plourde, reading and fun, PPL/Children
1:00 pm              Melissa Sweet, reading and fun, PPL/Children
1:45 pm              Matt Tavares, reading and fun, PPL/Children
2 pm                    Allen Sockabasin, reading and fun, CMM
2:30 pm             John and Ann Hassett, reading and fun, PPL/Children
2:45 pm            Allen Sockabasin, reading and fun, CMM
3:15 pm             Brian Lies, reading and fun at Bat Mobile on Monument Square*

Monument Square Activities
(*Or in the library in the event of inclement weather)
Maine Humanities Council and Bookmaking Art Activities
Maine Department of Education/Windham Adult Education with Frame Making
Portland West and Art Activities
Raising Readers with Surprises
Brian Lies and His Bat Mobile (Presented by Friends of Scarborough Library)
A Cakewalk with Books
Illustrators’ Mural
The Maine Squeeze Accordian Players

Tagged, eight things.

I was tagged this week by Donna  Farrell
Here are the rules:
Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

1. It took me a while to say that I am a children’s author and illustrator but now that I own it I am ready (read: salivating) for the elusive book contract.
2. There are plenty of days that I want to run away from being a mother but then I see my beautiful children smiling when they are truly having fun, or all lit up from learning and discovery, or radiating this amazing glow of peaceful innocence when they sleep and I know I’m in it for the long haul.
3.  I used to think I was a country girl but recently I’ve been longing for public transportation, local grocery stores, and neighbors. This causes disequilibrium with my wonderful farmer-at-heart husband but we’ve made it 14 years and there’s at least another 40 to go. Maybe a year or two in Boston or New York or even Madison, or St. Paul would allay this urge.
4. More than anything, I want to go to art school. (Some paying illustration jobs would be a close second.)Why? I achieve at a higher level when I am completing assignments and surrounded by honest critique. I am also longing for a period of time when I can be totally selfish and being a student is deliciously selfish. I wish I knew in college what I know now about myself.
5. I am trying to decide if I need an MFA, in art? in writing for children? or is it just another stupid piece of paper that doesn’t mean anything?
6.  I need to get a day job for financial reasons. While I am an educator at heart and experience, I get leaping frogs of doom in my stomach when I imagine going back to teach in a public school situation. Thinking of staff meetings where no one wants to try anything new, no child left behind testing and paperwork, and huge numbers of students to manage and assess, makes me want to cry.
7. I’m a piler not a filer and I hate housework. My mother gave me the I-can’t-get-rid-of-paper-gene. Thanks, Mom.
8. I’m afraid that I won’t be able to find 8 blogging friends who haven’t already tried this so I’ll go with four.

Let’s try… Tami, Mona, Val, and Kristen W.

Summer goals

I haven’t posted much recently. That’s because my arm was partially eaten by a giant pile of laundry. I have figured out that if I am wearing the right glasses I can fold laundry and catch up on my friends list, but I can’t comment or write my own posts. I have also been in research land.

I love research land. I love gathering resources, filling out interlibrary loan applications, and picking up the books when they arrive. I love the way index cards fit in your hand. I love the sound they make when you ca-chunk them together after a particularly successful day of taking notes. The problem is that I love it so much, I could go on reading and taking notes for a long time without doing my own writing.

So, for the month of June I pledge to:
Write the first chapter of my non-fiction WIP, and start Chapter two.
Complete note taking for my fiction WIP with the three books I have out now. (Due June 26 anyhow.)
Revise Roar illustrations.

That is if the giant pile of laundry doesn’t find…no…not now… I have important research to do! Ahhhhhhhhh!

Weekend Away

Last night I went to my crit group. During the check in I told them about my great weekend away with my bookclub. “You went away for two weekends in a row?” asked my friend Katie. “No, there was a weekend in between,” I explained. But I didn’t need to defend myself and I don’t feel guilty at all. I always look forward to friends, networking, and learning at the NESCBWI conference. This past weekend was all about relaxing. I ate great food, napped when I wanted to, read without feeling guilty, painted, listened to the thunderstorms rumble off the New Hampshire mountains and enjoyed the ideas, musings, and feelings of good friends. Here’s hoping that June will be a productive month and that summer weather comes soon.

Top: Ellen, Tracy, Katherine, Rachel  Bottom: Kim, Me, Penny

Here is my Chocura Mountain painting. (acryllic) It was so amazing to watch it evolve, layer by layer. I’d paint. I’d rest. I’d paint. I’d stop and talk. I’d paint. Fun, fun, fun. I don’t usually work with color on canvas and found myself loving the size and the process, and the big arm motions involved.

Bookclub Retreat

Since everyone is at BEA, noone will even read this but I get a mini retreat this weekend with my bookclub. This means we will:
1. Discuss our husbands and children
2. Drink red wine and margaritas
3. Discuss number one again but not so nicely
4. Eat
5. Go for walks, do yoga on the deck, other active pursuits
6. Eat
7. Drink more red wine and margaritas
8. Hopefull draw and paint as I am bringing my art bin and two blank canvases. (I know, a little ambitious but I can dream.)
9. Eat
10 Discuss the book, Geraldine Brooks, A Year of Wonder. (amazing book)