Friday, January 30, 2009

A plea for better book design

Why are there so few well designed book covers to be found? Even if the illustration is good, the placement of the title, font, color, and overall look of the book, in too many cases, is completely uninspired. I am speaking predominantly about young adult novels. Unfortunately, as the author, or even as the jacket illustrator of a novel, you have no power over the design of your book, (that is, in 99% of the cases). There are hordes of good graphic designers out there. Are none of them interested in working on Children's Books? Or, (and that's probably it) aren't they paid/appreciated  enough? Maybe, if there would be an award for best jacket design, as well respected as say, the Newbery. This would change. I won't list the books I don't like here, but I will list a few fine pieces of work. As you maybe noticed, almost all of these books won big awards. Maybe the jacket design had a teensy bit to do with that, maybe not. But can we send a plea out in the universe?
A plea for better design?
Book Covers shown: The Tale of Desperaux, by Kate Dicamillo, Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick, Fly Solo, by Teresa Rodriguez Williamson, Rules, by Cynthia Lord, The Rules of Survival, by Nancy Werlin.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Up and Down

I walked into a book store in NY and there it was, face-out, on the shelf. I had been waiting about this moment for a long time. But this moment was bitter sweet. Half an hour earlier when I walked into my favorite Manhattan Children's Bookstore, Hugging Hour was no where to be found. When inquiring at the desk, I was informed that they didn't carry the book. What happened? I had shown the owner of the store, a pre-release copy a while before, and he told me he wanted to organize a book signing. "Have your people call my people," he said.
I am telling you, it's a roller coaster. Up and down. No hands on the wheel. No control. Maybe this will all feel different next time. Next time is coming up though. On the 10th of February I have another book coming out, Bella & Bean, written by Rebecca Kai Dotlich, and illustrated by me. Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My book, Hugging Hour, is out!

Today is the day, even though a couple of friends spotted and bought it last night at a local bookstore. (That was very nice of them.)
Now, what do I do? I guess I'll bundle up and go soap-boxing in Central Park. I'll set up next to the Alice in Wonderland statue, maybe she'll bring me luck. Or, maybe I should stay put in case my new waffle iron arrives in the mail. First things first, I need to get out of these pajamas and into the shower. Yes, I know it is afternoon here, and yes, I know it's a school day. But, it's a special day today, it's freezing in New York, and I have been sending out emails all morning. So, give me a break, and if you happen to walk into a bookstore today, don't forget to ask about Hugging Hour! 

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Book Reviews

I just came across a picture book I had never seen before, (even though it's been out for more than a year.) Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears, by Emily Gravett. This book is exquisite. The illustrations/collages are tasteful, well thought out, and little flap-up extra's are sprinkled throughout the book.Another one of my favorite books, and out for a while, is Mini Grey's, The Adventures of the Dish and the Spoon. This book is also a combination of illustration and collage. Grey's sense of humor is infectious, the abundance of detail very well placed, and the color palette is stylish. Story time will be fun tonight.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Vanilla Waffle Cookies

I found it! The right waffle iron, what an ordeal... I was looking for a shallow iron with 6x6 pockets per waffle. Apparently the four brands that make these irons have discontinued them. But, for the kind of belgian waffles I want to make, I need that exact iron. (I'm from Belgium and am particular about my waffles.)
I looked for hours on the web and finally on Ebay, there it was. Hopefully it is in good shape and it arrives in time for the party. Next, is framing the original art of the book for the show. I'm off, to find the right frames.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Book party poster ready

Pheew, that's one thing off the list.
One more week to go, and as you can see on the poster, the release party follows shortly after the book ships. (b.t.w, Everyone is invited!) I have a long list of things to do and a small amount of hours to do them in. One of them is getting the right kind of Waffle Iron and making sample waffles so they will be just right for the party! Off course we will have a waffle tasting.
Oh, the pain of it all.

Monday, January 12, 2009

I know where the wild thing is!

"Mama, I'm a baby MONSTER!" My daughter shouted as she came home from a day with the nanny, I could hear her from a mile away. She threw off her jacket, rolled on the floor, (practically licking it.)
"Look at me, I am spinning around." She continued hanging upside down from the indoor swing she got from Santa. Then she spotted a piece of salmon on the counter and lunged for it. My husband tried to fend her off and keep her away from the hot stove while I was trying to get her out of the kitchen without dropping the plates I was carrying to the table. After grabbing my leg with her fishy hands trying to bite it, she decided my husbands' leg was a better choice.
"I'm gonna eat the dog!" she continued jumping towards our 11 year old Staffy.
When we finally made it to the dinner table, she grabbed the salmon skin of the platter and devoured it in a few bites. We didn't immediately know how to react. My husband said,
"It's probably not bad for her."
"There must be a lot of Omega 3 in it," I added.
When she tried to balance on the arm of her chair, my husband proposed that they jump around in the living room for a while, before taking a bath.
We had planned to catch up on some writing after we put her to bed, but I think I'll crawl to the couch in stead to join my collapsed man.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Hugging Hour Cover

Here is the cover of Hugging Hour. The illustration lost some of it's warmth in the printing on the actual book, due to the conversion to CMYK. This one is closer to the original painting.
The author copies of this book just arrived in the mail. I have them neatly stacked on my shelf with the other books I worked on. At this point it's just a short row, but there is plenty of space for more.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Pub Date

I have a book coming out in two weeks.
Yes, I am nervous. There are a thousand things I should be doing right now to prepare for THE day, but I can't get them all straight. One, is to let you guys know that my book is coming out on the 22nd of January, it's called Hugging Hour, published by Philomel, an imprint of Penguin.
I am having a book release party at Pomme in Brooklyn and you and your friends are all invited!
The Party is on the 7th of February from 4 till 6PM.
There will be mini Belgian Waffles! So you can't miss it.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Setting Up

Just moved here from MySpace.
Hang in there while I setup the look and feel of this page. 
Meanwhile you can check out my website,