I spent the first weekend in November promoting The Marvelous Thing That Came From a Spring in the D.C. area.
Friday morning I visited Burnt Mills Elementary School and put on a presentation for the first grade students. The whole thing was set up through An Open Book Foundation, a nonprofit bringing authors to schools that have never had an author visit, and purchasing a book for each child. It was an honor to be included in their roster of authors, and I hope to work with them again on my next visit to D.C.
The students at Burnt Mills were mesmerized by the process video in my presentation, where they got to see my apartment, how I work and live, and how I create the dioramas in the book. The takeaway for the presentation, as well as the book, was the importance of having an idea, and no matter how quirky, an idea can become a reality through hard work and careful planning. After I read the book, I drew some of the students’ ideas on new uses for the Slinky on a pad of paper.
After the school visit, I had a joint book release at Hooray for Books with writer and teacher, Mary Quattlebaum. Mary taught me when I attended Vermont College of Fine Arts, so I was really happy to reconnect with her after not seeing her for over a year. Many of Mary’s students and friends attended the event to show their support so Mary dressed as a Cheetah for her new book Together Forever, and somehow, she coerced me into wrapping aluminum foil around my suspenders so I could go as a Slinky.
The D.C. trip ended with a panel discussion on how to break into publishing children’s books held at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library.
The SCBWI only has one requirement for their covers: a kite must be incorporated somewhere on it. I knew that I wanted the kite to represent more than a kite at face value, so I sketched three concepts: A kite that could be a book, the tail being a bookmark; a kite as a portal, an escape from winter; and a kite as a lucky star, a new year wish. They chose the new year wish!