More fun with Children’s Book Authors

So Kyle and I were checking out Mo Willems blog when I remembered that MotherReader (gosh, she is going to think that I am stalking her like she stalks Mo Willems now…two blog references in two days…) also had a link to a webcast of when Mo Willems had given a talk at the Library of Congress' National Book Festival earlier this year.

We decided to watch it and what fun! He read from Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late, discussed his new book Edwina, the Dinosaur that Did Not Know She Was Extinct, showed how to draw the Pigeon and talked about writing and drawing and doing what he does. He was incredibly entertaining and Kyle loved it (as did Jason when I showed him it later). They especially liked how Mo explained that the Pigeon does not like Mo writing books about anyone other then himself, so he ends up sneaking into Mo's other books.

Then we poked around some more and found Tony DiTerlizzi's (author of the Spiderwick Chronicles and other fun books) webcast. Wow! What a great speaker. Again, he read from his new book and talked about being an artist. What was really cool is that he said how he got started was when he was 8 or 9 and would make up stories about how aliens would try to take over the world but the dinosaurs fought them back and ate them and then got destroyed by a meteor (I am not doing him justice at all here!). But it sounded a lot like the stories that Jason loves to tell and reminded me that I really need to start writing down more of his stories.

What I really love about these two is that you can tell that they really love what they do. And I love how they talked about getting started and about the goofy stories they used to tell when they were kids. And how they loved to draw all the time…I am sure that a lot of right brained kids would relate.

Storytelling is an area where I really want to encourage Jason…he hates the physical process of writing, but he LOVES telling stories and is good at it too. He gets a gleam in his eye when he is working on one. He and his Grandpa Elms have had this running oral story that they have been doing since Jason was around 3 or so called Baggerbusters. It has morphed several times (I think that now it is about developing spaceships and weapons to take over the universe) but he really looks forward to doing it each time they get together. And he and I have done what I call collaborative stories, where we start with an idea and then gradually make up the story together. These are a lot of fun and I mostly play the role of asking questions, helping him think a bit and fill in more detail.

We have not gotten to check out the other Children's Lit authors yet, but plan to do so. And I am kicking myself for not going! (it was held here in Washington DC.) I had heard about it back in September, but did not really realize exactly what it was. I think that we would have had a blast and it would have been cool to actually see them in person (not to mention getting our Pigeon and Spiderwick Chronicles books signed!). Ah well. I will definitely keep my eye open for it in 2007.

Oh and then to top off the afternoon, I just found out that Lane Smith (illustrator for Jason's favorite books The Stinky Cheeseman, Math Curse, and Science Verse) has a new book out called John, Paul, George, and Ben about the founding fathers. It looks really neat and from what I can tell has a running "big underwear" gag throughout which might be what it takes to finally interest the boys in my favorite part of history!

Man! I love the internet! The only problem is that I keep finding out about these neat new books when they first come out and then I have to debate about waiting to get them when they come out in paperback. Thank goodness for libraries!


Appeared in the 52nd Carnival of Homeschooling.