Sunday, February 07, 2016

An Unlikely Story Event!

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators presents:
Leap into Reading
Authors * Illustrators * Book Signings
at 
An Unlikely Story Book Store and Café
111 South St.
Plainville, MA 02762
Saturday February 27 from 12:30-3:30 p.m.

On Saturday, February 27, from 12:30-3:30 p.m. An Unlikely Story Bookstore and Café will be partnering with the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators* to present “Leap into Reading,” a special event featuring eleven authors and illustrators of children’s books. 

Young readers and their parents, as well as aspiring writers and illustrators, are invited to meet authors and artists who represent a range of genres from fiction to nonfiction, picture books to young-adult novels. The event will include a scavenger hunt for young readers, and a “Writing for Kids 101” table with information for aspiring children’s book writers. Authors’ books will be available for purchase and autographing. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact An Unlikely Story at (508) 699-0244.

Linda Crotta Brennan, author and organizer of this event, says, “We’re just as thrilled to meet our audience as they are to meet us. As an author, it is so inspiring to watch a kid interact with your book.” 

*The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (www.scbwi.org) is the professional organization for writers and illustrators of children’s literature. Its mission is to support the creation and availability of quality children’s books around the world. 

Featured Authors/Illustrators: 

M.P. Barker www.mpbarker.net Author of two young-adult historical novels: A Difficult Boy (winner of awards from PEN New England and the International Reading Association) and Mending Horses ( a 2015 Massachusetts “Must-Read” Book).

Lisa Rose Bauer www.lisarosebauer.wordpress.com Bauer remembers the childhood joy of the school library and the extra delight of book fairs, holds MA in children’s literature from Simmons College in Boston. She lives in Rhode Island near the ocean where searching for shells and seaglass has always been a gift.

Mark Binder http://transmitjoy.com/ An award-winning performances storyteller and author whose mission is transmitting joy with story.

Linda Crotta Brennan www.lindacrottabrennan.com The award-winning author of over twenty books for young readers, including When Rivers Burned: The Earth Day Story which was selected as a Best Science and Best Social Studies Book of the Year by the Children's Book Council.

Joan Duris www.joanduris.com Duris enjoys discovering new places tucked away in the corners of New England. She lives in central Massachusetts, where she chases black bears away from her birdfeeders.

Cathren Housley www.cathrenhousley.com A RISD alumni and award winning artist & writer, escaped to the world of children's books in 2004; their enthusiasm and energy inspired a three-year project funded by the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and now Cathren is bringing the art of children alive in animated film. 

Heather Lang www.heatherlangbooks.com Lang writes picture books about real women who overcame extraordinary obstacles and never gave up on their dreams. 

Nancy Tupper Ling  www.nancytupperling.com The author of My Sister, Alicia May (Pleasant Street Press), Double Happiness (Chronicle Books), The Story I’ll Tell (Lee & Low Books) and several poetry books.

Ammi-Joan Paquette www.ajpaquette.com A senior literary agent with EMLA, as well as the author of PRINCESS JUNIPER OF THE HOURGLASS and many other books. She lives with her family in the Boston area. 

Nicole Tadgell www.nicoletadgell.com Award-winning illustrator of more than twenty picture books, including First Peas to the Table, In the Garden with Dr. Carver, and Lucky Beans. 


Jean Taft www.jeantaft.com A New England writer who loves weather! She grew up in Vermont and now lives in Rhode Island with her family and one very happy dog. 


First Peas to the table named Foundation for Agriculture's Book of the Year!





‘First Peas to the Table’ named Foundation for Agriculture’s Book of the Year!  by the American Farm Bureau.

Jan. 10, 2016 - The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture presented its ninth annual Book of the Year award to Susan Grigsby for "First Peas to the Table." In this lighthearted story, a little girl, Maya, and her classmates learn about gardens and peas, as well as Thomas Jefferson's garden at Monticello.

Grigsby, who lives in St. Louis, Missouri, is the author of three picture books, as well as poetry. She teaches creative writing in schools, museums and nature centers, often integrating the lessons with science, social studies and art.

"I am so happy that, thanks to this recognition from the American Farm Bureau Foundation For Agriculture, more children will have access to 'First Peas to the Table,'" said Grigsby. "I sometimes help students set up their own school gardens and am always inspired by the sense of wonder that develops as the children discover the infinite number of variables involved in turning one tiny seed into a plant that can feed a family."

"After reading the agricultural-related correspondence and journals of Thomas Jefferson, I was struck by the passion that he and others had in regards to experimenting to figure out which plants, previously grown on other continents, would grow best in each of the diverse environments spread across the country," she continued. "I wrote the book to celebrate how every gardener, young and old, learns through experimentation, through failures and success and with a joy for the wonders of nature."

The Book of the Year award springs from the Foundation's effort to identify accurate ag books, a collection of nearly 500 books for children, teenagers and adults that accurately cover agricultural topics. Book of the Year selections are educational, help to create positive public perceptions about agriculture, inspire readers to learn more and touch their readers' lives, as well as tell the farmer's story. The accurate ag books database is available at: http://www.agfoundation.org/recommended-pubs.

To accompany the "First Peas to the Table" book, the Foundation has created an educator's guide and a School Garden Ag Mag. Again this year, the Foundation is offering a Spanish text version of the Ag Mag.
In honor of  Grigsby's recognition and the host city of the American Farm Bureau Federation's 97th Annual Convention, the book's publisher, Albert Whitman, has generously donated 100 copies of "First Peas to the Table" to the Orange County library system. In addition, the Foundation is donating $1,000 to the library system.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Real Sisters Pretend coming in May!


Thanks to Megan Dowd Lambert and Tilbury House Publishers!

This warm, engaging story, which unfolds entirely through the conversation of two adopted sisters, was inspired by the author’s own daughters, whom she overheard talking about how adoption made them “real sisters” even though they have different birth parents and do not look alike. “I liked how they took care of one another in their pretend-play scenario about climbing a mountain,” Lambert says, “and I loved how they also took care of one another’s feelings as they talked about adoption.” Real Sisters Pretend captures these interactions perfectly and movingly.

Hardcover, $16.95
ISBN 978-0-88448-441-7
9 x 10, 32 pages, color illustrations
Ages 4–10




Thursday, November 19, 2015

My Cancer Days

 

It's November! Happy book birthday to my newest picture book:
My Cancer Days by Courtney Filigenzi
Published by the American Cancer Society. ISBN 978-1604430912

Helping children with cancer cope with their illness, this illustrated book approaches their emotions from diagnosis through treatment in a way that they can easily understand and can help describe what they are feeling. In the story, a young girl uses color to express her full range of emotions as she undergoes cancer treatment. Some days she's sad, some days she's happy, and other days she's scared or angry. The girl comes to realize that these ups and downs are perfectly normal for her situation. The book assures children with cancer that they are not alone, and helps them understand that it's okay to let out their feelings.

There's a beautiful interview of the author by Stacy Simon on the American Cancer society's website  here, and a video as well here.

This book was an amazing experience for me. Special thanks go to Danielle Perron and David Hagan of Why Me, for taking the time to talk with me and let me be involved in experiencing the lives of children and families in cancer treatment.

Dr. Naheed Usmani and the graduate students of UMass Memorial, and Child Life services were also very helpful. I can only hope my small part provides a bit of help and understanding for kids, friends and families.

The most wonderful thing I experienced was how overwhelmingly positive the kids were. Kids are amazing. They have the ability to develop acceptance quickly, and they live with such grace and joy.

I also made some coloring pages! Click here!



Neviyah was the perfect model!
A visit to the New England Aquarium was excellent inspiration!
I used a limited color palette for each of her "days". This day is blue.
I felt that keeping the watercolor especially loose worked well. I love how the light from the balloon tints her face and hands.




Rough pencil sketch for a wraparound cover.

Sisters


Inspirational Photo for Sisters art

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Friday, May 01, 2015

Tai Chi and Qigong

I started my first Tai Chi class in August 2014. Since then, I've lost weight, become more fit and flexible. I feel more balanced mentally, physically and spiritually. This year I missed World Tai Chi and Qigong day (I was on my way to Rochester for a school visit), but next year for sure.


As an artist and graphic designer, I spend a lot of time sitting. I had lots of muscle pain, took ibuprofen almost every day. Now I rarely take pain medication. There is different muscle soreness from working out in class, but it is an excellent trade off. As someone who never participated in any sports, not a gym rat or runner, this fitness program works for me.

I highly recommend Tai Chi and Qigong!

My teacher, Laoshi Karim-Ben Saunders is amazing. His experience, patience, and cheerfulness are something I look forward to every week. He's written an extensive article on the health benefits of Tai Chi. (link here). He is really too modest. It's a joy to watch him practice the forms, he makes it look so easy and graceful.
He teaches out of Shaolin Kung Fu Centers in Worcester, and at Spencer Yoga Home in Spencer.

Lucky for both of us, Karim was looking for a logo for his group, so I volunteered to work with him to come up with this nice one:


Our Full Circle group celebrating Chinese New Year

Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Visit to the Susan B. Anthony House

Wonderful visit to the Susan B. Anthony House Museum in Rochester, NY. This was in April, 2015. Photos from my dear friend Lara - we'll be friends at least as long as Susan and Frederick were.

Looking forward to visiting the Frederick Douglass museum site in D.C. someday!





Thursday, April 16, 2015

A Visit to the Susan B. Anthony House!

Coming up soon - A Visit to the Susan B. Anthony House in Rochester, NY.
Sunday, April 26 2-4pm.

https://susanbanthonyhouse.org/blog/anthony-museum-to-host-illustrator-nicole-tadgell/

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Pequot Library Today!

Today I'll be in Southport, CT at the Pequot Library! It's going to be quite an awesome day, they have so may great things - even Irish Step Dancers! http://pequotlibrary.org/

Sunday, January 04, 2015

23rd Annual African American Children's Book Festival!


It's coming soon!

And this year I am going to be there! I'd love to meet my Philadelphia friends. I'll be there with my newest titles; Friends for Freedom: the Story of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass and With Books and Bricks: How Booker T. Washington Built a School both written by Suzanne Slade.

For more info, visit the festival website at: http://theafricanamericanchildrensbookproject.org/

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Friends for Freedom on Publisher's Weekly!

African-American Interest Young Readers Titles, 2014–2015

Friday, November 14, 2014

What's in a name?

Nichole...Nicole...Nickie...Nicky...Nikki?

The spelling of my name–- both my given name and nickname – has been shaped over my lifetime, much to my amusement.

Apparently I've taken liberties with the spelling of my own name since the beginning. "Nichole" was written on the birth certificate by the nurse, who thought of course Nicole had an H. My mother passionately disagreed, and worked for 10 years to have this corrected.

I came across old letters such as this one while working on preserving old family items by scanning. Clearly shows Dad spelled my name this way.


But Mom spelled it "Nickie". This is how she taught me to spell my name, and I happily signed my drawings with it, too.

Sometimes I used both. Was I trying to make both my parents happy?


Mostly I spelled my name "Nickie". When Prince's song Darling Nikki came out in 1984, I adopted this spelling for awhile. When I met a friend who spelled it that way all her life, I returned to the old spelling. I also played with my middle name. I sometimes signed artwork with "Samara Nicole", reversing middle with first name. I even put that as my name on the inside of my high school ring. 

Playing with my name was a form of self-identity. When I became involved in role-playing, here was a chance to play with who I could be. "Meadow" would became my name in those circles of friends for twenty years.

Joining the workforce after college, I dropped my nickname entirely, asking coworkers to only call me Nicole. Easy, since they did not know me. Nicole sounded much more professional than Nickie anyway. When my picture books became published, I used Nicole as well. 

Over twenty books later, the distance and formality of Nicole from Nickie sometimes leaves me with a sense of lonely disconnectedness, and now I savor being called by my nickname by friends and family. No matter how it is spelled.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Reviews: Friends for Freedom: The Story of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass


Kirkus
Two important historical figures from separate worlds come together for the common purpose of freedom.

From the first line of this work of creative nonfiction, the author makes clear the contrasts between Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony: The cabin in which the slave, Frederick, was born had clay floors; the two-story house in which Susan was born had floors of polished wood. Despite differences in race, class and upbringing, Douglass and Anthony determined to be friends despite the taboos against cross-racial friendships. Both Slade’s text and Tadgell’s watercolor illustrations emphasize the passion each had for social justice as well as the lengths to which they both went to maintain their friendship. Often, characters in the background peer at them, looking disgusted or scandalized. In one illustration, enemies throw rotten eggs at them; Douglass’ angry expression and Anthony’s upraised fist speak to their determination to make their friendship an example of how America should be. The backmatter, which includes a photograph of bronze sculptures in Rochester, New York, of Douglass and Anthony having tea together, also offers useful information from the author in which she delineates the facts versus the fiction in the story.

This biographical gem places the spotlight on a friendship far ahead of its time. (Picture book/biography. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 9th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-58089-568-2
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Charlesbridge
Review Posted Online: July 29th, 2014
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2014


School Library Journal
Offering a new perspective, this informational picture book details the deep friendship between Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass. Even though their friendship was taboo for the time period, they were able to withstand prejudice and even violence, including the brawls and fights that broke out when the two spoke against slavery together, and being pelted with rotten eggs. The illustrations are simple and realistic, focusing on the strength of their rapport. The author eloquently weaves together information about the fight against slavery and the battle for women's rights, setting this title apart from others. An extensive author's note provides more information on research and on the bronze sculpture of Anthony and Douglass in Rochester, New York. A solid addition that will spark conversations about gender and racial equality.

Publishers Weekly - Starred Review
At a time when “it wasn’t proper for women to be friends with men” and “You weren’t supposed to be friends with someone whose skin was a different color,” Anthony and Douglass sought out each other based on mutual respect and a shared commitment toward equality. Tadgell’s carefully drafted and evocative watercolors capture both the past and present obstacles Anthony and Douglass faced, from Douglass’s youth as a slave to rotten eggs hurled at the two when they appeared in public together and combative differences of opinion, as when the Fifteenth Amendment proposed to give voting rights to black men but not to women. Author and artist notes and a time line conclude a powerful testament to a friendship that spanned decades as it challenged conventions and “helped America grow up, too.” Ages 6–9. Illustrator’s agent: Christina A. Tugeau. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/2014

Release date: 09/09/2014

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Reviews: With Books and Bricks: The Story of How Booker T. Washington Built a School


School Library Journal
Slade, Suzanne. With Books and Bricks: How Booker T. Washington Built a School. illus. by Nicole Tadgell. 32p. bibliog. notes. Albert Whitman. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780807508978. 

K-Gr 2–Booker T. Washington is a well-known historical figure, but the story of how he built the Tuskegee Institute by hand is not quite as common. This picture book brings the tale to light accessibly and engagingly. Young readers are sure to marvel at the accomplishments of Washington and his perseverance in spite of obstacles. The story is told simply, with beautiful watercolor and pencil illustrations. An endnote goes into more detail about Washington’s life and struggle to bring education to all. While this is not an all-encompassing biography, it is certainly a notable story about a lesser-known aspect of his life. Readers will enjoy this title, and it will easily tie in to school units as an enticing read-aloud. 

–Ellen Norton, White Oak Library District, Crest Hill, IL


Bookpage.com
LABOR OF LOVE
History comes alive in Suzanne Slade and Nicole Tadgell’s With Books and Bricks: How Booker T. Washington Built a School, an engaging overview of the life of the legendary educator. Washington’s dreams begin early, during his boyhood as a slave. A glimpse of sentences on a chalkboard in the white kids’ classroom sparks his desire to learn. Washington pursues his goal as slavery ends, teaching himself to read and graduating from an institution in Virginia. From there, his dreams get bigger, as he sets out to build a first-class school for blacks from scratch—literally—out of Alabama clay. With the help of students and supporters, he makes his vision a reality, establishing the world-renowned Tuskegee Institute. Tadgell’s softly realistic pencil and watercolor illustrations add special appeal to this tale of a tireless leader whose legacy can still be felt today. This article was originally published in the September 2014 issue of BookPage.
http://bookpage.com/features/17079-real-life-heroes-teach-young-readers-to-reach-stars#.VCBCKOc585J


BCCB (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)
SLADE, SUZANNE With Books and Bricks: How Booker T. Washington Built a School; illus. by Nicole Tadgell. Whitman, 2014 [32p]
ISBN 978-0-8075-0897-8 $16.99 Reviewed from galleys
R 6-9 yrs

Former slave Booker T. Washington’s childhood and single-minded quest for an education has been the subject of several picture-book biographies, but here Slade highlights a precise episode in Washington’s later life, when he arrived at Tuskegee, Alabama as an educator and discovered he had no proper building in which to teach. The leaky wooden edifice, crammed with students, needed to be replaced with a sturdy brick building, but there were no bricks and no money with which to buy them. The solution, so obvious to Washington but so trying for his students, was to make their own bricks. This required digging deep for Alabama clay, mixing it with mud and straw, molding it, and firing the bricks in a homemade kiln. The first batch of thousands of bricks were lost to a faulty kiln, as was the next batch, and the next. At this point, Washington knew a proper kiln was required, and he sold his own precious gold watch for it. The bricks were fired, the first of many buildings was erected, and the rest is Tuskegee Institute history. Slade supplies enough background on Washington’s childhood to provide context but keeps the focus mostly on this single event, putting further information on the institute itself into closing notes. Tadgell’s watercolor illustrations are literal enough to offer viewers a sense of place and process, while a recurrent rainbow theme—most effectively used to illuminate Washington’s features as he teaches under an umbrella in a rainstorm—reminds them of the elusiveness of Washington’s dream. Quotation sources and a short bibliography are included. EB

With Books and Bricks NEW Review by BCCB (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)

BCCB (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)

SLADE, SUZANNE With Books and Bricks: How Booker T. Washington Built a School; illus. by Nicole Tadgell. Whitman, 2014 [32p]
ISBN 978-0-8075-0897-8 $16.99 Reviewed from galleys
R 6-9 yrs


Former slave Booker T. Washington’s childhood and single-minded quest for an education has been the subject of several picture-book biographies, but here Slade highlights a precise episode in Washington’s later life, when he arrived at Tuskegee, Alabama as an educator and discovered he had no proper building in which to teach. The leaky wooden edifice, crammed with students, needed to be replaced with a sturdy brick building, but there were no bricks and no money with which to buy them. The solution, so obvious to Washington but so trying for his students, was to make their own bricks. This required digging deep for Alabama clay, mixing it with mud and straw, molding it, and firing the bricks in a homemade kiln. The first batch of thousands of bricks were lost to a faulty kiln, as was the next batch, and the next. At this point, Washington knew a proper kiln was required, and he sold his own precious gold watch for it. The bricks were fired, the first of many build- ings was erected, and the rest is Tuskegee Institute history. Slade supplies enough background on Washington’s childhood to provide context but keeps the focus mostly on this single event, putting further information on the institute itself into closing notes. Tadgell’s watercolor illustrations are literal enough to offer viewers a sense of place and process, while a recurrent rainbow theme—most effectively used to illuminate Washington’s features as he teaches under an umbrella in a rainstorm—reminds them of the elusiveness of Washington’s dream. Quotation sources and a short bibliography are included. EB

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

With Books and Bricks - How Booker T. Washington Built a School

With Books and Bricks: How Booker T. Washington Built a School by Suzanne Slade. Albert Whitman & Co. 2014. 978-0807508978








Booker T. Washington had an incredible passion for learning. Born a slave, he taught himself to read. When the Civil War ended, Booker finally fulfilled his dream of attending school. After graduation, he was invited to teach in Tuskegee, Alabama. Finding many eager students but no school, Booker set out to build his own school--brick by brick. An afterword gives detailed information on how the school was built.

Full text of reviews here.
Coloring pages here.




Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Portfolio III

Fall Friends

With Books and Bricks: How Booker T. Washington Built a School by Suzanne Slade.

Mystery Feather

Friends for Freedom: The Story of Susan B. Anthony & Frederick Douglass by Suzanne Slade.

Friends for Freedom: The Story of Susan B. Anthony & Frederick Douglass by Suzanne Slade.

Friends for Freedom: The Story of Susan B. Anthony & Frederick Douglass by Suzanne Slade.

Friends for Freedom: The Story of Susan B. Anthony & Frederick Douglass by Suzanne Slade.

With Books and Bricks: How Booker T. Washington Built a School by Suzanne Slade.

Friends for Freedom: The Story of Susan B. Anthony & Frederick Douglass by Suzanne Slade.

Friends for Freedom: The Story of Susan B. Anthony & Frederick Douglass by Suzanne Slade.

Friends for Freedom: The Story of Susan B. Anthony & Frederick Douglass by Suzanne Slade.