Hi everybody! And welcome!
Mmm, mmm good!
Also, my dear friend, author and poet Mary Crockett Hill, put together a museum exhibit for me a while back, and she has beautifully condensed it here on her website. Be sure to look around at Mary’s stuff, too! She is awesome.
I also created a “reaction video” (a reaction to finding out about the Newbery Honor) for the folks at ALA to post. It’s here if you’d like to check it out. If nothing else, it shows how important cell phones have become for folks like me. Cell phones and email have been the greatest equalizers of all time and make so much of my good life possible.
My secretary, Shirley Knott, has reminded me to let y’all know where I’ll be next week. Come and see me if you’re in the Richmond/Charlottesville area! I’m doing a bunch of school visits and the Virginia Festival of the Book. If you come and see me, I will tell you a great joke about the Zen master and the hot dog vendor. I promise you it’s clean.
Thursday, March 19th at 4:30: West End Branch of the Richmond, VA Public Library. BBGB Books will be on hand to sell books.
Friday, March 20th at 10:45 and 1:25: school visit at Woodbrook Elementary School in Charlottesville, VA. The earlier presentation will focus on my picture book Bee-Wigged, and the later presentation will focus on El Deafo. This school event is NOT open to the public. (My apologies for saying it was…a bit of confusion on my part!)
Saturday, March 21st: Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville, VA. I’ll be on a panel at 2:00 (with the amazing Madelyn Rosenberg, Kate Samworth, and Robert Anderson; I’ll also be doing a signing at 4:00. LOTS of cool writers and illustrators will be at this festival!
The supercool thing about this trip is that I’ll also be visiting my first elementary school in Richmond, J.B. Fisher Elementary School. It still has a program in place for kids who are deaf and/or use hearing aids. Here’s the school in the book:
I will also be headed to the northern area of Virginia/DC and Maryland in late April and early May. Details to come!
The other day, I received a package in the mail with this illustration on it:
The package was from Seattle…and I don’t live in Seattle! How in heck did I manage to go to Seattle, draw a picture of El Deafo on an envelope, mail it, and then get back home in time to receive the package? My mind was blown!
Until I read the return address—it was from David Lasky, Comics Artist Extraordinaire (dude has his own Wikipedia page, so I am floored that he so marvelously colored El Deafo for me).
I am terrible at blogging. A lot has happened since I last posted. I won’t go into any of it here, except to say that this happened:
That’s right! I’ll be at Imaginations Toy Store in Blacksburg, VA tomorrow night (Thursday, November 13th). The event starts at 6:30. I’ll be doing a song-and-dance about Kneecap Health and then we’ll launch right into El Deafo and other book stuff. I’ll also be on hand to sign books, if that floats your boat.
You’ll have an opportunity to see my old overalls that my Granny Bell made for me:
Plus the REAL Miss Bunn!
Yeah, and other stuff too, like my Phonic Ear and my rusty hip (the right one’s kinda cranky these days).
I’ll also be at Meadowbrook Public Library in Shawsville, VA the following week (Tuesday, November 18th) at 6:00. Same kinda thing, except we’ll be surrounded by books instead of books AND toys toys toys toys.
And then…on Friday, November 21st at 7:30—hold onto yer hats—I’ll be at the Takoma Park Public Library in Maryland with the amazing Jon Scieszka, Tom Angleberger, Mac Barnett & Jory John. (Now that I’ve seen all their websites due to linking to them…good grief, the beauty!) Come support the lone female in the group, why don’tcha? We’ll have a ball!
I got a cool invitation in the mail the other day from the kind folks at Kirkus. Opening up the envelope reminded me of the first pages from my first book, Sock Monkey Goes to Hollywood: A Star is Bathed. Just like the folks in Tinseltown remake movies every now and then, I’m thinking now might be the perfect time to remake this book. Here’s where I’m headed (and please ignore the sloppy Photoshop stuff I’ve got going on here):
El Deafo Extras: Mrs. Lufton revealed! (Well, kinda.) Plus MINI BOOK TOUR only a week away! (DC area peeps, I’d love to see you!)16 Sep
After I completed a very detailed outline for El Deafo, I decided I needed to create some finished-looking pages to show whoever was going to look at it for possible publication. It’s quite a bit different, in that I thought the final book would be dimensionally bigger, and I was working in my usual picture-book-y style. (Remember, I had NO experience with graphic novels, except for reading them and inhaling the amazing Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics 3 times in a row. I really did not know what I was doing.) I initially thought I’d be working in Illustrator (ha ha, yeah, right), so there’s that. I also did the color work for this, and since I like patterns and am too overwhelmed by life in general to add shadows to my artwork, my version looks like a well-lit fabric shop. Here’s what I submitted to my first choice as editor, the amazing Susan Van Metre of Abrams/Amulet (who luckily for me, decided to risk it). Definitely grab a copy of the book and compare this version of Chapter 4 with the final version in the book:
The book is here! El Deafo is here!
When I returned from Georgia, there were a couple of boxes at our house.
Could they contain what I’ve been so excited about for so long?
I’m excited! Tomorrow El Deafo is finally released to the world. I’m kinda terrified, too. Hopefully folks will like it, and it won’t offend anyone in the deaf/Deaf or hearing communities, and even the friends and teachers I wrote about in a not-nice way will say, “Oh, you were so right to write about me in that way, here’s some ice cream, let’s let bygones be bygones, and gosh, you’re so gorgeous now that you don’t have rabbit ears anymore.” I’d write more, but I just got home after a weekend on the road. Clearly I’ve gone to the dogs or something. Mmmm, wabbit stew!