More reviews for Alice Across America

Here is a review for Alice Across America from Booklist and then Kirkus…

ALICE ACROSS AMERICA
The Story of the First Women’s Cross-Country Road Trip
Author: Sarah Glenn Marsh
Illustrator: Gilbert Ford

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt
Pages: 48
Price (Hardcover): $18.99
Publication Date: Feb. 2020
ISBN (Hardcover): 9781250297020

In 1909, long before roadside diners or even very many paved roads, Alice Ramsey and three friends drove from New York to California, becoming the first women to complete a cross-country American road trip. Their adventures included flat tires and overheated radiators, plus bedbugs and a two-hour delay in Nebraska while the local sheriff searched for an escaped criminal. This extended-length nonfiction picture book focuses on Alice’s determination to show that “a lady could drive just as well as a man. Or even better,” and covers the important aspects of the trip without bogging down. Colorful cartoon illustrations in a naive style, combined with the slightly oversize format, capture the excitement and movement of her historic road trip. Endnotes give further details and photos of Alice’s life and trip and a brief history of America’s highway system. A selected bibliography is included. An illustrated map on the endpapers shows the route and highlights of the trip. Focusing on a little-known slice of history, this is a solid addition to nonfiction picture-book collections. — Suzanne Harold

ALICE ACROSS AMERICA
Author: Sarah Glenn Marsh
Illustrator: Gilbert Ford

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt
Pages: 48
Price (Hardcover): $18.99
Publication Date: Feb. 2020
ISBN (Hardcover): 9781250297020

If a man can do it, a woman can, too! In 1909, Alice Ramsey, an early—and uniquely female—adopter of the automobile, was asked by a carmaker to drive from New York to California in order to show that his cars “were so well built and easy to operate that even a lady could drive one safely.” Dedicated and excited, she and three friends set off on a tumultuous road trip of nearly 4,000 miles (many of them unpaved) in a vehicle of the time that lacked most of the conveniences and many of the safety measures we are familiar with today and became the first woman to drive across the country. Full of relevant detail and steeped in mild suspense, this tale provides accessible historical context in terms of women’s rights and roles as well as information about the development of the automobile in the endnotes. While driving cross country to advertise for a manufacturer may not qualify as the most important achievement in women’s history, this kid-friendly selection shows the power of resilience and determination, presents an interest and accomplishment that runs counter to gender stereotypes, and will draw in those interested in cars, history, and/or women’s rights with its straightforward yet energetic text and stylized illustrations. A fine choice that showcases a strong woman inspired to succeed. (author’s note, bibliography, map) (Picture book/biography. 6-9)

Alice Across America

Alice Across America by Sarah Glenn Marsh and illustrated by me, is available for purchase today. It is a non-fiction story about Alice Ramsey and her cross country trip in a 1909 Maxwell automobile with her friends, becoming the first female to drive cross country. Of course, with only a portion of the U.S. having paved roads back then, all sorts of things went wrong, making this a tale of perseverance in the face of adversity.

Below are some of the illustrations from the picture book.

Alice Across America gets a starred review in SLJ

★ ALICE ACROSS AMERICA
The Story of the First Women’s Cross-Country Road Trip
Author: Sarah Glenn Marsh
Illustrator: Gilbert Ford

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt
Pages: 48
Price (Hardcover): $18.99
Publication Date: Feb. 2020
ISBN (Hardcover): 9781250297020

Gr 2-5–Marsh describes the fascinating story of the first cross-country trip made by women. Alice Ramsey fell in love with driving when she first got behind the wheel of an automobile. When Ramsey earned a perfect score in an endurance test, she caught the eye of the publicist for the Maxwell-Briscoe Company. He proposed that she drive a new Maxwell automobile from New York to California to prove that the car was so well built, even a lady could handle it. Ramsey and three of her friends embarked on a two-month journey that took them across the country. Historical details about cars, roadways, and gender bias are incorporated throughout the story and enhance the plot. The author’s note includes more information about Ramsey, her companions, the journey, and photos of the women during the trip. Ford’s illustrations are a true asset to the text and evoke a sense of the early 1900s. Most of the illustrations are large two-page spreads that provide a sense of the wide-open spaces the women traveled. VERDICT A fun and fascinating story that includes many favorites: cars, strong women, and little-known historical facts. A must-have for a school or public library collection.–V. Lynn Christiansen, Wiley International Studies ­Magnet Elementary School, Raleigh, NC

School Visits in Snohomish, WA

Last year The Marvelous Thing That Came from a Spring was selected to be on the Washington State book list. This meant that students all across the state were reading my book along with other fabulous picture books, until one book was voted their favorite.

The Marvelous Thing did not get the grand prize, but a librarian in Snohomish enjoyed the artwork so much that she inquired if I would be willing to travel across the country to visit her school, Seattle Hill Elementary. As a writer and illustrator who rarely gets a chance to leave his apartment in Brooklyn, the idea of seeing the Pacific Northwest sounded like an enticing adventure I couldn’t refuse.

In order to get me to Snohomish, other schools would have to contribute so that the total cost was not burdened on one school. The librarian held a PTA meeting and was able to generate enough interest from three other schools to share the cost of my expenses. It was decided in a year, I would give 9 presentations in 3 days at 4 different schools: Riverview, Dutch Hill, Cascade View, and Seattle Hill.

To prepare, I practiced driving (a lot has changed since owning a car in 1996!), and I took on speaking engagements for illustrating covers for the SCBWI NY chapter and National Winter Conference, as well as local school visits.

A year later, with snow just beginning to thaw, my plane landed in Seattle. I drove a rental car through rush hour traffic an hour north to Snohomish. I arrived at twilight to a beautiful town with a main street hosting a variety of restaurants and antique shops. The vibe was laid back and friendly, where everyone said “Hi!” when passing. It reminded me of a modern day Norman Rockwell Americana. And I was fortunate enough to visit the library near my hotel, where a book club meeting was jam-packed with parents and kids to hear Kirby Larson give her presentation on her Newbery Honor book, Hattie Big Sky.

And the nine presentations I gave?!

I’d heard that Mercury was in retrograde the week I’d be in Washington, and since I’m superstitious, I came prepared for a disaster. I’d packed an extra zip drive, exporting my presentation to both power point and keynote, packing extra pens, water, etc. Even with some technical glitches with microphones, the show was a success.

On the plane ride home, I reflected over 2,000 plus students I’d encountered, the friendly librarians I’d shared stories of Harper with over lunch, and the town of Snohomish. I felt like Bilbo Baggins. I’d traveled across the map on quite an adventure, overcoming obstacles, and I’d made some new friends along the way.

But the most satisfying ending to my journey was returning home to Harper! 🙂

Itch! on Bank Street List!

Itch! by Anita Sanchez and illustrated by me, was selected for the Bank Street Best Books of 2019 List for the 9-12 year olds in science. The list of Itch! and other books can be found here!

Rotten!

Rotten! by Anita Sanchez will be released Tuesday, January 22. It is a picture book/chapter book hybrid targeting 3rd-6th graders (and even adults!), and covers all different aspects of decomposition. The text is light-hearted, with clever, child-friendly analogies about the science behind death and rebirth.

Below are some of the layouts and illustrations I created to go with the text, ranging from the funny– to the whimsical — to the serious and reverent (in the case of the funeral over a compost pile image).

A recommended read for anyone interested in the basics of composting their garden, understanding the science behind decomposition, and grasping a better understanding of all that ends and begins again.

Itch! and Rotten! receive some recognition!

Itch! by Anita Sanchez, has received the following recognition this year:

• Junior Library Guild Selection
• Finalist for 2019 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books in the Middle Grade Science Book category
•Chicago Public Library Best Books of 2018 List

Rotten! by Anita Sanchez, is the follow-up to Itch! and is going to be released in January of 2019. It has received some favorable reviews and is also a Junior Library Guild Selection.

Over The Moon

Matthew Winner wrote a blog entry on the cover-reveal for my cover I illustrated for OVER THE MOON by Natalie Lloyd. Read about it HERE.

Julian Curtis School Visit

I visited the 3rd grade classes at Julian Curtis School in Greenwich, CT last Friday. The students were wonderful and asked tons of questions! 🙂

Here are some photos the school approved for sharing after my visit.

Bank Street Irma Black Honor


How The Cookie Crumbled received an Irma Black Honor from Bank Street College last Thursday. Tara Lazar’s 7ate9 was the big winner. Here are the Cooke Prize and Irma Black honorees.

Every person being honored had to make a speech and it was televised on kidlit tv! Somehow the televised part had slipped my mind or else I would have worn a tie. The polo was for the classroom visit I had been asked to do.

After the awards ceremony, the book signing, and lunch, I was asked to doodle on a wall in the Bank Street Library, so I drew a man walking my dog. I wish I had thought to photograph all the illustrators’ work that is also on the walls there.

At the end of the day, I visited a class and gave a short presentation on both the writing and illustrating processes for How The Cookie Crumbled. Then I read the book, drew, and answered questions.

I nice day was had by all at Bank Street College 🙂

Photo credit for awards ceremony goes to Cheryl Simon

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