Sophie Blackall Illustration

Drawings and Snippets and Breaking News, (but more snippets than breaking news).

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

And the Winners Are...

Thank you to everyone who bid on the auction, donated to the campaign, shared and posted and entered this competition!
Your contributions raised $3982 which, thanks to the generosity of The Curious Reader, will stretch to send 230 picture books to 23 schools! Which schools you ask??
The studio sorting hat was put to good use again (thank you Brian Floca and Sergio Ruzzier!) and these are the winning schools:

Auten Road Intermediate School, Hillsborough NJ
Cannaday Elementary School, Mesquite TX
Cerra Vista Elementary School, Hollister CA
Crestview Elementary School, Springfield TN
Discovery Elementary, Grand Forks ND
Dr. Debbie Emery Elementary School, Katy TX
Eagle Cliffs Elementary School, Billings MT
Grundy Center Elementary, Grundy Center IA
Henry Ford Elementary, Pharr TX
JFK Elementary, Sioux Falls SD
Manatee Cove Elementary, Orange City FL
Matthews Elementary School, Matthews NC
Menchaca Elementary, Austin TX
Nicolet Elementary School, Green Bay WI
Orchard School, South Burlington VT
PS 18 The John G. Whittier School, Staten Island NY
Russell Street School, Littleton MA
Seatack Elementary - An Achievable Dream Academy, Virginia Beach VA
St. Bernard School, Enfield CT
St. Paul School, Cana VA
Sturgeon R-V Elementary School, Sturgeon MO
Visitation BVM School, Norristown PA
Wilson School, Natick MA

They will each receive a set of these ten picture books. Congratulations to all, Happy Holidays and Happy Reading!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Let's Turn This Painting into Books!

I have so loved hearing about schools that run mock Caldecott Awards but I have also been hearing from librarians and teachers how they struggle to buy new books. How they often supplement the classroom library out of their own pockets.

Around this time last year I held a fundraiser to send sets of 10 new picture books to schools in need.
I thought maybe there was a way of turning a drawing into a pile of new picture books. Because while there’s nothing as comforting as curling up with an old favorite, there’s something thrilling about turning the first page of a brand new one.

I was hoping to be able to fund 60 books for six schools. Thanks to your generosity we raised around $3500, which enabled us to send 200 books to 20 schools.

So! It's that time again!

Here's how it works.

This painting is for sale on eBay. It was on the cover of the Horn Book Magazine Awards Edition in June, 2016. Eagle eyes will spot Last Stop on Market Street and The Lion and the Mouse, The Snowy Day and Winnie the Pooh.

The listing is live and runs until December 3rd.
I have partnered with the wonderful bookstore, The Curious Reader, who have helped me select 10 beautiful, funny, rich, thoughtful picture books to tempt young readers.

The Airport Book - Lisa Brown
The Case for Loving - Selina Alko and Sean Qualls
Du Iz Tak? - Carson Ellis
Finding Winnie - Lindsay Mattick and Sophie Blackall
Freedom in Congo SquareCarole Boston Weatherford and R. Gregory Christie
The JourneyFrancesca Sanna
Penguin Problems - Jory John and Lane Smith
Real Cowboys - Kate Hoefler and Jonathan Bean
This is Not a Picture Book - Sergio Ruzzier
Thunder Boy Jr. - Sherman Alexie

So now I just need
a) People to bid on the drawing. Click here!
b) Librarians and teachers to enter the draw. (Which you can do by leaving your name and the name and location of your school in the comments below. Only US schools, I’m afraid.)
c)  You to help spread the word! (Please share far and wide!)

Thank you, all!

ps. If you'd like to make a separate donation, you can do so here and receive a signed print from Finding Winnie!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Trying to put some of these feelings into words.

The days immediately after giving birth to each of my children passed in a surreal fog. I remember waking in the night to nurse and feeling flooded with wonder again and again – that this miraculous creature had come into being. This child I had dreamed of, hoped for, imagined, dared-not-imagine, was actually real.

I am feeling much the same way right now.

As I wrote in a Facebook post last week, “2015 was something of a fraught year for book making. I have been learning from all the discussions and am trying to use what I've learned to feel encouraged and inspired rather than paralyzed. Emphasis on trying.
But the year is young! And there are books to be made!”

There was such an outpouring of love and encouragement in response to this. I was – and remain – so grateful.
I decided to banish all thought of the Caldecott from my head. But it kept creeping back in. I wrestled with it all weekend.
Who are you to hope? I asked myself, in Maggie Smith’s most withering voice… and then I imagined getting the call, imagined every detail. When I imagine something, it usually ends up in a drawing, not as a reality. I was pretty sure that the very act of imagining it was enough to prevent it coming true.
In my sleeplessness I should have picked up an old friend of a book but instead I wandered the internet, fueling the fire.
And then I read three things which helped enormously.
The first was Kimberly Brusker Bradley’s blogpost.
“I want to win the Newbery so bad it makes my teeth hurt”, she wrote.
“And yet, it doesn't really matter at all.
Both of these things are absolutely true.”

And this made me realize there’s nothing wrong with hoping.

The second was Susan Kusel’s post, which reminded me that whatever happened on Monday morning was out of my control, and unpredictable, and whether I hoped or fretted or slept like a cat, it wouldn’t make a jot of difference.

And her words together with this letter to which she linked, (which I now learn was written by Sarah Bean Thompson, a member of the committee. Thank you Sarah!), made me feel calm.
It gave me enormous confidence in the process and the committee. I don't envy their task, but I have such respect for their commitment and patience and attentiveness and open mindedness and willingness to work together. I realized that they would choose the right book, whichever book that happened to be.

And so I went to sleep.

I’m lying. I didn't really sleep at all.
I’d heard the call usually comes before 6:30am. So by 6:31am, I’d resigned myself that it was not to be. I hopped in the shower. Made Eggy’s school lunch. Told Ed we could relax. It wasn’t going to happen. We had a lovely sad-happy moment of realizing that Caldecott or no, we were very lucky people indeed.
And then the phone rang.
The rest is a blur. I think my legs gave way. I may have sobbed. It’s still utterly surreal that your life can turn around in a span of minutes. It will take a lot longer to adjust to the idea that my name falls at the end of this list of luminaries: Virginia Lee Burton. Maurice Sendak. Ezra Jack Keats. Barbara Cooney. The Provensons. O. Zelinsky. Wiesner. Selznick. Pinkney. Stead. Raschka. Klassen. Floca. Santat.

I’m so grateful to the committee and can’t wait to thank you all in person.
The sound of a room of laughing, cheering librarians coming down the wire will stay with me forever.

I am so fortunate to have worked with Little, Brown and thank everyone there for their part in making this book.
Susan Rich, our editor, is on every page of Finding Winnie, and this award belongs every bit as much to her.
Without Lindsay Mattick’s extraordinary family story, this book wouldn’t exist. I thank her for sharing it with me.
My studio mates are my best friends and five years on, I can’t believe how lucky I am that we get to do this together every day.
Ed, who held me up in the kitchen when my legs went wobbly, and who holds me up each and every day, my children and fake children, all of whom I adore, and dear family and friends who make my life and the world a better place,
My father, to whom this book is dedicated,
John Schu who has loved this book enough for all of us,
Laura Amy Schlitz who I've decided is my fairy godmother, warm and wise,
Nancy Gallt and Marietta Zacker, thank you.
And to all the librarians and teachers and ambassadors of children’s literature for reading and reviewing, discussing and sharing books with unflagging dedication, respectful debate and contagious enthusiasm. Your extraordinary efforts to get those books into the hands of children, your love for books and those who read them is indeed encouraging and inspiring.
And thank you to EVERYONE for your kind words.
I am overflowing with gratitude.