Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Connecticut Children's Book Fair

I just got back from an awesome trip to Connecticut and New York City. It was mostly a work trip- I was presenting at the Connecticut Children's Book Fair, then signing books at Books of Wonder in NYC and a meeting at Hyperion with my art director and editor, for the Helen Keller book I've been working on- but we sort of made a family vacation of it.

We all had a blast. I got to meet Tomie dePaola, Ted Lewin and Betsy Lewin for the first time, and I had a wonderful time hanging out with Grace Lin, Mo Willems, Barbara McClintock, David Macaulay, Wendell Minor, Alison Paul, Jane Yolen, Walter Wick, Stephen Savage... So many amazing authors and illustrators in one place. It was very inspiring, and made me want to get right back into my studio and make some books. I even met Al Jarreau in the hotel elevator (seriously!), but that's another story...

Here are some pics from the weekend:
We weren't sure how long the kids would last at dinner on Friday night, since it was after their bedtime. But they did great, thanks in part to the amazing Barbara McClintock, who entertained them with her remarkable paper-animal-making skills. She made this awesome little mouse for my 4-year-old daughter.
Grace Lin, covering my name and claiming Over the River as her own.

There were tons of books...
...and TONS of people.
I signed a bunch of books, met lots of nice people, and did a presentation about how I make my books.

My kids are HUGE Elephant and Piggie fans, so they were really excited to meet Mo Willems.

One of the highlights of my weekend was when Terri Goldich, curator for the Children's Literature Collection at the Dodd Center, gave Mo Willems and me a private tour of the archives, where they store original artwork and papers of some of the true legends of children's literature.

 We got to look through some of James Marshall's original art. It was fascinating to see the original notes, book dummies, sketches, and paintings.

We also got to go through these file drawers, filled with original artwork by Richard Scarry. So cool.

It was fascinating to see all the steps that went into making illustrations back then, when printing technology was less advanced, and there were no computers.

We stayed for most of the day on Sunday, because I really wanted to see David Macaulay's presentation. It was definitely worth sticking around for. It really made me want to get right back to my studio and get to work.
Then it was on to New York City...

We stopped by the children's room at the New York Public Library, and got to see the original Winnie the Pooh stuffed animals. We had a great day in New York City, then hopped in the minivan for the long drive back to Maine.
To see more pictures from the Connecticut Children's Book Fair, visit their facebook page.


  1. Wow that is a magical trip. Thank you for sharing all of the pictures. I'm not sure there are many places to go more amazing than an archive of art.

  2. My pleasure, Casey! It gives me such a creative boost to spend time with so many great writers and artists. And yes, seeing the original art in the archives was amazing.