The Wig in the Window Book Launch Party

After months and months of waiting for Kristen Kittscher's The Wig in the Window to be available for everyone to enjoy, over 150 people gathered together at Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena to celebrate.  And celebrate we did. 

There were yin and yang cookies to celebrate the characters Sophie Young and Grace Yang.  The cookies were very delicious and made by Lara Fiedler. 

Colleen from Vroman's introduced Kristen Kittscher.  For a debut author, Kristen never appeared nervous.  She was charming, and funny, and very appreciative of all the wonderful folks who helped make the evening a reality. 

I loved that there was a dramatic reading of one of the passages from the book.  This was a very fun alternative to the traditional reading of a section of the book. It really made it come alive for everyone.

The "real life" Young and Yang were in the audience complete with wigs.  Along with the animated book trailer, Kristen showed the original interview video

Ingrid Sundberg didn't need a wig for the evening.  Her beautiful hair matched the cover colors of the Kristen's book.  Ingrid was working with Russell Gearheart who provided a photo booth for the evening.  For some amazing photos from the event, check out Russell Gearheart Photography's event page here.

I was so glad to have been a part of such a wonderful evening and to celebrate with Kristen on the release of her book. If you haven't added The Wig in the Window to your "to-read" pile, please consider picking up a copy at your local independent bookstore. 

Author Event - Pseudonymous Bosch & The Story Pirates

On April 2, 2013, Pseudonymous Bosch's newest book - WRITE THIS BOOK - was released.  To celebrate, Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena organized the event which was hosted at McKinley School.  This was definitely not your typical author event.  The Story Pirates performed an improvisational skit around the book.  For more information about the Story Pirates, check out their website.

The whole performance was done as an improv skit with suggestions from children who were in attendance.  I have seen various other improvisational performances before but I truly give kudos to the Story Pirates.  Incorporating the ideas of the young audience into the skit was not easy, but the performers were amazing.

Isn't this "plot map" fabulous?!  I want one. Part of the skit incorporated a lesson in various elements of storytelling.  The car moved around as those elements were mentioned.

Here is a short clip of the Story Pirates as they perform WRITE THIS BOOK...

Here one of the performers is encouraging the audience to provide suggestions for the next part of the skit.

As characters were added to the skit (thanks to the suggestions from the audience), clothing changes were made.

And made again...

And, well, again...

Here the Story Pirates turn their skit about WRITE THIS BOOK into a musical...

At one point in the improv, the topic of genre came up.  Below is a picture of a "genre wheel".  I so want one of these.  Brilliant way of creating one.

A student from McKinley came up and had a chance to "spin the wheel".  The genre selected was then incorporated into the skit.

At the end, the Real Pseudonymous Bosch arrived and set everyone straight. 

Here is Pseudonymous Bosch signing books.

Jax (she helped me write the review of WRITE THIS BOOK) & her friend Ella had a chance to take a picture with Pseudonymous Bosch.  Of course, pictures were taken in Bosch's trademark style. :-)

This was one of the best author events that I have ever attend.  Thank you to Pseudonymous Bosch, the Story Pirates, Little Brown Books for Young Readers, Vromans Bookstore, and McKinley School for creating such a memorable event.

Enter below for a chance to win a signed hard cover of WRITE THIS BOOK by Pseudonymous Bosch.  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Author Event & Book Feature - When Blue Met Egg

Today I had a chance to meet the wonderful Lindsay Ward, author/illustrator at Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena.

Lindsay introduces the book When Blue Met Egg to her young audience.  

Children and parents had a chance to hear Lindsay read of When Blue Met Egg.  I enjoy listening to authors read their own books.

Here Lindsay shares with readers that the end pages of the book contain images of all the places in New York City that Blue & Egg visit. 

Lindsay shared with the audience that they could go to her website and download a paperdoll of Blue.   If you take a picture of Blue wherever you are, she would love to see it.  She has a spot on her blog called Where in the world is Blue?

Lindsay explained that she cuts each image out of paper that she has collected.  She searches around for unique and vintage paper to use in her art.  Each of the pieces in the picture above were created from different pieces of paper.  When you look at it from that perspective, the illustrations in this book are even more amazing.  

Here is a favorite picture of mine when Blue finds Egg for the first time and decides he needs to find Egg's mother.

Lindsay also explained that she cuts each piece to scale.  I was hoping the imagine would give readers a sense of how small some of the details are.  These are all really tiny.  I can't believe what it would take to make such a tiny cut-outs.

Here is part of the bridge scene that is a 3 page spread that opens up.  Lindsay admitted that it was a challenge to create the bridge from one piece of paper.

Blue and Egg go on lots of adventures throughout New York City.  They even take a ride on the subway. 

Blue and Egg is a story of friendship and adventure.  It is a delightful book and one that is in my top 10 picture books for the year.  If you haven't had a chance to read When Blue Met Egg, I encourage you to seek it out at your local library or independent bookstore.   

For more information about Lindsay Ward: website | blog | facebook | etsy | twitter

Hot Off The Press! New Picture Books

On Sundays, I have been heading over to Vroman's Bookstore and checking out their wall of new picture books. I started doing this the day after Christmas when my flight back east was canceled and I needed something to cheer me up. Now my weekly treks have become something that I look forward to and hate when I have to miss them. It hit me today that I should blog about my favorite new picture book releases. Here are 5 from today that stood out from the pile:

A Pet For Petunia
Author/Illustrator: Paul Schmid
Publisher: Harper Collins (January 25, 2011)
Audience: Ages 3 to 7 years

Out of all of the books, this was probably my favorite book in the stack.  Petunia has a stuffed skunk and wants a real skunk for a pet.  She does her best to convince her parents that she should have one.  What happens when Petunia encounters a real skunk?

This is a perfect read aloud for young children.  Simple illustrations beautifully support the text.  If I was giving a starred review, then this would be one of them.

To watch the book trailer, click here.

Giant Steps to Change the World
Authors: Spike Lee & Tonya Lewis Lee
Illustrators: Sean Qualls
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (January 4, 2011)
Audience: 2nd to 5th grade

I was a little skeptical when I saw that this book was written by husband and wife team Spike and Tonya Lee.  Celebrity picture books may sell because of a name, but what about quality?  The book starts off with the narrator encouraging a boy to "Listen to the voices of those who came before..."  There follows quotes from famous people but minus their names or images.  Qualls mixed media illustrations provide just enough to help make a guess at where the quotes come from.  I had fun trying to guess who said each quote but a child will need much more instruction to make the connection.  On the inside covers, each quote is listed with who said it.  This would be a fun discussion starter with older children. 

To watch Spike Lee & Tonya Lewis Lee speak about the book, click here.

Look! A Book!
Author/Creator: Bob Staake
Publisher: Little Brown Book For Young Readers (February 1, 2011)
Audience: Ages 4 to 8 years old

Children will enjoy searching for a special item on each two page spread.  The sparse text uses rhyming clues to direct children to the item that they will search for.  Die-cuts on each page provide sneak peaks to upcoming pages.  At the end, the page flips up and encourages children to return and search for more items beginning with 1 cow, and ending with 12 red books.  The colorful sturdy pages will likely hold up in a home but frequent check outs from a school library and serious handling from small sticky hands may provide a challenge in a school setting.

To watch the book trailer for Look! A Book!, click here.

When I Grow Up
Author: Al Yankovic
Illustrator: Wes Hargis
Publisher: HarperCollins (February 1, 2011)
Audience: Ages 4 to 7 years

This one made my top picks for the week partially because it made me chuckle, and partially because I really wasn't sure what to expect from Weird Al.  A little boy is eager to share about what he wants to be when he grows up.  However, his list is quite creative.  I liked the tie in to the child's grandfather, and the tribute to the teacher.  Hargis' watercolor illustrations are lovely and young children will also get a chuckle out of some of the career choices.

To watch the book trailer for When I Grow Up, click here.

Dear Tabby
Author: Carolyn Crimi
Illustrator: David Roberts
Publisher: HarperCollins (February 8, 2011)

Tabby D. Cat is an alley cat.  The various animals of Critterville send him letters seeking advice.  Each letter was formatted in a variety of styles/fonts.  Tabby in his own way provides just the right creative solutions to everyone's concerns.  Boots Whitepaw, a house cat, sends multiple letters about an over attentive owner.  Tabby dishes back a great response.  The twist at the end is cute.

Though I got a chuckle out this book and loved the ending, I imagine that this will be a tough book to do as a read aloud.  There is a lot on the pages that is essential to the story and the illustrations support the text well.  Recommend reading this in smaller groups.

Smart Chicks Tour - Vroman's

On Monday, September 20th, I had fun attending the highly anticipated Smart Chicks Kick It Tour in Pasadena at Vroman's Bookstore.  At the event, there were 9 YA authors -  Melissa Marr (Wicked Lovely Series), Kelley Armstrong (Darkest Powers Series), Melissa De La Cruz (Blue Bloods series), Rachel Caine (Morganville Vampire Series), Alyson Noel (The Immortals Series), Rachel Vincent (Soul Screamers Series), Mary Pearson (a personal favorite - The Adoration of Jenna Fox), and the ever wonderful Kami Garcia & Margie Stohl (a top favorite - Beautiful Creatures).

Not only were there great authors, but in the audience there were some wonderful local friends and twitter friends.

Khyrinthia & Me

Anne (acsimps)
I am Erin, Little Lauren, CGYvette
The crowd enthusiastically welcomed the authors.  And Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong played off of each other beautifully.

Melissa Marr & Kelley Armstrong
After a period of questions and answers, and some swag giveaways, the writers had some games for the crowd.  My favorite was "Marry, Shag (for the under 16 that means kissing) & Throw off a Cliff".  There were some interesting choices.  Wonder if I can combine books and pick different characters?

For the book signing, everyone moved upstairs.  Since I was in the first group, I had time to chat and visit with friends.  I don't have pictures of everyone, but I did get to see Katie Alender (Bad Girls Don't Die) and she introduced me to Cynthia Hand (Unearthly 2011 release) as they waited to get their books signed.  Vania (reveriebr) was taking pictures along with Khyrinthia's dad. 
I have been to a number of author events but I do have to admit.  This was really one of the best ones.  Thanks Smart Chicks for setting up this amazing tour and for bringing it to Pasadena.