Monday, November 22, 2010

November 22, 1963

Perhaps the greatest challenge I faced while illustrating Jack's Path of Courage: The Life of John F. Kennedy was deciding how to illustrate the page that deals with his assassination. I tried a few different ideas, but ultimately I decided to let Doreen Rappaport's well-chosen words tell the tragic news of his death, and I focused my picture on the last moments of his life, when he looked so young, vibrant and happy.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Kansas City recap

Last week I went to Kansas City to do a couple presentations about Henry Aaron's Dream. Here are a few pictures from my trip.
First I visited Lewis and Clark Elementary School in Liberty, MO, just outside of Kansas City. I presented to a group of 200 4th and 5th graders. I did a presentation about Henry Aaron's story, and about how I made the book. The librarian's husband is a big baseball memorabilia collector, and she borrowed some of his treasures to put together this great display of Henry Aaron memorabilia, along with some of my books. Very cool

another picture of the Henry Aaron display

It's always amazing to arrive at a school and see a big huge sign welcoming me!

After the school visit it stopped raining for long enough for me to walk around a bit. I stayed in a section of Kansas City called the Plaza, which was very nice. It had Spanish architecture, which I didn't expect in Kansas City. This is a picture of a rather surreal moment, when I noticed this beautiful bell tower and wondered what it was. Just then, the bells in the tower began playing "Something" by the Beatles, and I realized that the building was a Cheesecake Factory. Interesting...

Next I had a wonderful lunch with a great group of librarians from the Kansas City Public Library: April Roy, Kim Patton, Crystal Faris, and Helma Hawkins. We joked about some web site they had seen of "awkward photos with authors", so we decided to take one ourselves. Not very awkward, but definitely blurry!
After lunch I headed over to Reading Reptile, which is an amazing children's book store. It's one of those places where there's something interesting to look at everywhere you look.

This picture doesn't do it justice, so if you're in Kansas City, you should go to Reading Reptile to see it for yourself.

Next I visited the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, which was amazing. If you're a baseball fan and you ever find yourself in Kansas City, you should visit this museum. The exhibits are every bit as impressive as those in Cooperstown. Here's a picture of the bronze statue of Rube Foster.

A Jackie Robinson bat
and a nice display about Henry Aaron's time in the Negro Leagues

My favorite part of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum was the Field of Legends, an impressive group of bronze statues arranged on a baseball diamond. It was very moving to walk on the field past Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Cool Papa Bell, Buck Leonard and other Negro League legends.
Now and then an announcer's voice would call all the names in the starting lineup, and from the field the statue of Rube Foster could be seen beyond the outfield fence, watching the game.

Satchel Paige

One more picture of the Field of Legends

Next up was Family Fun Night at the Kansas City Public Library, where I did a presentation on the making of Henry Aaron's Dream. We had a very nice group of families, and I had a great time. Everyone in Missouri is so nice!

This was all in one day. Looking back, I see why was so tired by the end of it! Still, I found the strength to walk over to Jack Stack BBQ and get some dinner. And I'm glad I did, because it was one of the most spectacular meals I've ever had. Wow.