Tuesday, January 17, 2012

SCBWI TEAM BLOG Exclusive: Selina Alko!

The SCBWI Winter Conference is basically next week, and one panel I'm crazy excited for is the Book Maker's Dozen panel. Not one, but nearly a zillion amazing children's book creators make up that dozen.

Stolen from Tomie de Paola's blog, Selina and family with the Tome-ster
I'm thrilled that a member of the terrifically talented Dozen, Selina Alko, answered some questions for Team Blog—with a few hints about what to do in New York thrown in, too.
Thank you, Selina!

Jaime: Hi, Selina. What's your average day like?

Selina: I work when our children are in school, which is usually from about 9:30 am to 5:30 pm (I guess that adds up to 8 hours!).  I try not to work at night unless I'm under a major book crunch/deadline, but usually I try to pace myself when doing a book.  I usually do the art for one book at a time, but may be developing book ideas/manuscripts at the same time or creating a book dummy.  Probably 2 books are being worked on at once in one form or another.

Jaime: Being able to pace yourself on a book is a talent all by itself! What are you working on right now?

Selina's awesome books!
Selina: I have written a nonfiction book that will be illustrated by Sean and myself (our first time collaborating!).  It's the story of the Loving's - an interracial couple - who in the 1950's fought to have their marriage legalized.  It will be published with Arthur Levine at Scholastic

Jaime: That sounds fantastic! And your husband, Sean Qualls, is in the Book Maker's Dozen, too. What's a favorite thing about being a Book Maker's Dozener besides the fact that I hear you guys only hold your meetings at doughnut shops and ice cream parlors?

Selina: Being closely associated with the work of some of my favorite author/illustrators making picture books. It's been fun!

Jaime: Any favorite picture book of 2011?

Selina: I Want My Hat BackGrandpa GreenMe... Jane.

Jaime: Ooo, I love all of those. Will be fun to see what happens with them at ALA next week! Which is in Texas this year. But I wonder if you have any advice for Winter Conference Goers and what they should do in New York if they have a spare moment?

Selina: Ice skating with my son in Bryant park.  I also always LOVE City Bakery (get a shot of hot chocolate) and a visit to Books of Wonder across the street.

Jaime: That sounds like a brilliant January day. Any not-to-be missed galleries/art shows/museums for visiting illustrators?

Selina: The Diego murals were incredible.  I especially loved pages from his sketch books that are framed and displayed side by side at the MoMA.

Jaime: I admit, on every trip to New York, I have never missed visiting City Bakery, but have yet to visit MoMA. Diego murals will take priority this time, instead of my stomach. Last request, Selina: Pictures! Are you willing to share any pictures of current projects?

Here's an illustration from my book coming out in a year called, Daddy Christmas Hanukkah Mama.
Jaime: Gorgeous, gorgeous! Thank you, Selina, for taking time out of your busy (yet well-paced!) schedule to talk to SCBWI Team Blog. Friends, are you super excited for the conference and to meet Selina? She even puts me in the dancing mood with her trailer for Every-Day Dress-Up:

Friday, January 13, 2012

SCBWI TEAM BLOG Exclusive: Peter and Dan! Dan and Peter!

You love their books, you know them from Twitter, they're two author-illustrators even more charming in person, it's:


If you've signed up for the SCBWI International Winter Conference or the Friday Marketing Intensive for Illustrators you know that both of these guys are presenting (Dan on Friday, Peter on Sunday). (If you haven't registered for the Intensive yet, did you know there are only three spots left?)

We all know Dan and Peter are big SCBWI fans, pillars of the children's book community, award-winning creators, and champions of independent booksellers. But did you know they are also former figure skaters? It's true, they were once a professional skating duo. Here's a photo of Peter and Dan in their last ice performance:

While skating, Peter and Dan spent a lot of time exercising and eating healthy foods to improve their synchronized double axels. They've applied many of those same practices to their writing and illustrating careers.

At the beginning of the year, most of us have healthy eating on our minds, getting those recommended vitamins and food groups on our plates. There're even new food guidelines by First Lady Michelle Obama and the USDA, www.myplate.gov:

I asked Dan and Peter to share their well-balanced diets for successful careers in illustration, and below are their plates. No doubt we'll get even more tips for success at the Illustrators' Intensive in a few weeks, but with these hints below, I know how I'm going to plan my days in 2012...

From Peter Brown

From Dan Santat
 AND BONUS ART! Dan's only working on forty books this January, so he's got loads of extra time and kindly made some fan art. Here's Dan's version of Peter Brown's LUCY character. Love it!!!