Hi everybody! And welcome!
One week from today I will be starting what for me is quite a tour. Wowza! I’ll be talking about new stuff (Inspector Flytrap, Rabbit and Robot and Ribbit) and older stuff (El Deafo, I Yam a Donkey.) Check it out…all events listed below are open to the public—and maybe even in your neck of the woods. I’d love to see you!
Wednesday, October 5: Richmond, VA
Presentation at the University of Richmond
This presentation is for Education students at the U of R but is open to the public.
Keller Hall Reception Room
(Here’s a printable map of the U of R campus.)
Sunday, October 9: Richmond, VA
3003 West Cary Street
Thursday, October 13: NYC, NY
Books of Wonder
6:00 – 7:30 PM
18 W 18th Street
New York, NY
Saturday, October 15: Providence, RI
The Rhode Island Festival of Children’s Books and Authors
301 Butler Avenue
*Other authors/illustrators in attendance are: 2016 Caldecott winner Sophie Blackall, Bryan Collier, Anika Denise, Christopher Denise, Candace Fleming, Natasha Friend, Mitch Krpata, Eric Rohmann, Sergio Ruzzier, Anita Silvey, and Chris Van Allsburg!
(I will be receiving the Rhode Island Children’s Book Award on Friday, October 14. Super cool!)
Sunday, October 16: Brooklyn, NY
Conversation with Jonathan Coulton
1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
511 7th Avenue
Thursday, November 10: Greensboro, NC
304 S Elm Street
Meanwhile…I’ve been meaning to share this for a while: check out what kids get when they ask for a library card at my local library system!
I had loads of fun “decorating” Robot’s house, and kinda wish I lived there. Here are some of the pictures from the BH&G photo shoot!
Pick up your issue on newsstands today! Or check out the book, whichever is easiest!
Today’s the day to meet Rabbit and Robot’s new friend: RIBBIT!
(I’m thrilled to say that these three friends have earned a Junior Library Guild pin, too. That’s always a good sign, I think.)
Anyway, this is the second book in the Rabbit & Robot series. And it represents one of those nifty writing experiences that I’ve had now and then, in which I discover that I had been writing from my own life, but only after I actually finish working on the book.
A little back story: After El Deafo came out, überlibrarian Betsy Bird pointed out that the first book in the series (Rabbit & Robot: The Sleepover) seemed autobiographical to her. (She was right in some ways—I had initially modeled Rabbit on someone else, but while working on the book realized that the high-strung, anxious Rabbit is pretty darn close to me.) Betsy used her crazy-good comp-lit skills and suggested that my personal connection to the book went even further. She pointed out that while Rabbit might represent me (I’m a rabbit in El Deafo, after all), perhaps the problem-solving Robot might represent the Phonic Ear, my clunky hearing aid from elementary school. I think Betsy was right! Robot drives Rabbit crazy but ultimately helps him out; my Phonic Ear drove me crazy, but ultimately helped me out. A lot.)
So back to the new book, Rabbit and Robot and Ribbit. I was definitely more aware of modeling Rabbit after myself while writing this one. But I wasn’t thinking that hard about it. In this story, Rabbit invites himself over to Robot’s house, and is very upset to find that Robot is entertaining a new friend—a frog named Ribbit. I was only thinking about being funny when I decided that all Ribbit would say throughout the book is “ribbit.”
Only later did I realize that even this is kind of autobiographical. You see, Robot can understand Rabbit, because he has the technology to translate every “ribbit” Ribbit says into English. Rabbit doesn’t have that technology. When Ribbit says “ribbit,” all Rabbit can hear is “ribbit.” Robot shares his translations of what Ribbit says with Rabbit (much like my hearing aids try to translate the sounds I hear into speech), but often those translations come too late for Rabbit. The frustration that Rabbit experiences from being jealous is compounded by his not being able to understand the communication between Robot and Ribbit. This book is acutely close to what my experiences of being in a group are like. Lip reading is hard work, and I often can’t keep up with more than one person at a time—and so I quickly lose the thread of many conversations, miss the joke, fake the laugh. Basically, it sounds like everyone in my life is saying “RIBBIT”! And just like Rabbit, I get jealous of the connections that people make that I sometimes am unable to make.
I like retroactively discovering that some of my books are autobiographical. Maybe I am writing what I know, and writing from experience—even when it might not seem like that’s what I’m doing at all.
I hope you’ll check out the book. Maybe you’ll think about the many interesting ways we try to communicate in this world in our efforts to connect—and why it’s so important that we do connect.
Got some time to spare? If so…
Check out my (longish) interview with WETA/Reading Rockets Librarian Extraordinaire, Rachael Walker (who sadly doesn’t show up in the video, otherwise it’d be called Two Talking Heads, I guess) here. (That’s a sentence for Donkey and Yam to struggle with. And I just ended that sentence with a preposition, good gravy!)
I’m fairly lucid. Yeehaw!
Check out this video, made by 14 students in the Bay Area of California! And here’s the sweet note that went with the video…
Hi Cece! I hope you see this message. I am a middle school special education teacher in the Bay Area of California. Every year our school has a competition called battle of the books. Students read a number of pre selected books and then choose one book, and use Animoto to make a “book trailer” film. The school then holds a screening of the films and the students vote for a viewers choice award and the English department votes on an overall winner. My classroom is made up of 14 students with many differing abilities and strengths. They made their video based on your book, El Deafo. They won the viewers choice award as well as the overall best in school award.
They now get to compete against other middle school students in the district competition. They are very big fans of you and your books. They would absolutely love if you happen to see this and watch their video. Thank you for being such an amazing inspiration!
CONGRATULATIONS to these amazing kids for winning the viewers’ choice award AND the overall best in school award!
Here’s the link—enjoy!
Where I’m headed? I’m headed to the Land of Inappropriate Comics, if I keep this up!!!
Where I’m literally headed? Charlottesville, VA and NYC! Come see me, if you’re around…
I’ve got a book birthday coming up.
March 8th, to be exact. The book is Chuck and Woodchuck. I got a box of ’em last week.
The crazy thing is, Tom has a book birthday on the same day, for his book Rocket and Groot: Stranded on Planet Strip Mall. We’re gonna have a book party at Imaginations Toy & Furniture Co. (1531 South Main Street in Blacksburg, VA) on that very day, March 8th, at 6:00 pm. It’s gonna be fun.
But this post is actually a big ol’ thank-you note to the amazing Kyle T. Webster.
Thanks to Susan E. Murray of School Library Journal for a generous and kind review of Chuck and Woodchuck, out March 8th:
Caroline is excited to show off her grandfather’s ukulele at show and tell. Her classmates have cool stuff to show, too, but no one’s item tops Chuck’s. Chuck brings a…woodchuck to first grade. When the woodchuck turns out to be fun to spend time with, the class begs their teacher to let him stay. Caroline knows that he is always kind and generous to her, but she doesn’t exactly know why. When Caroline loses her cupcake, Woodchuck replaces it with Chuck’s. And it’s Chuck’s hat Woodchuck gives Caroline when she is cold during recess. It turns out that Woodchuck has been doing some friend-matching for Chuck, who is too shy to approach Caroline himself. Bell’s charming cartoon illustrations are humorous and have a retro feel to them. Readers will go back and review the illustrations after catching on to Woodchuck’s plan, and see Chuck hovering nervously at the edge of the page while Woodchuck takes the initiative. The story is told from Caroline’s point of view, and it is pitch-perfect. This will be a fun classroom read-aloud, since it goes through the whole school year. VERDICT Children will be clamoring for their own woodchuck once they read this tale—where did Chuck find his?
I got some good reviews for my upcoming picture book, CHUCK AND WOODCHUCK, out March 8th.
This book is kinda nutty, so it’s a relief that the reviewers seemed to “get” it. Thanks to all the reviewers for taking the time to read it, think about it, and write about it. Anyway, here are the reviews, and I hope y’all will check it out!
It’s been so much fun making these stamp illustrations and sharing them with you. I gotta do more of this…