10.17.2012

busy busy busy

Hello all.  Sorry I've been neglecting this blog a bit.  Here are a few book related, fun things I've been up to:

Jon Klassen and Mac Barnett came to Portland last weekend for Wordstock.  The kids loved them but my camera did not - sorry for the terribleness of the pictures.

The fabulous Victoria Jamieson grilled Mac, Jon and Matt Holm on all things kids book.  She even asked them a question I'd suggested - thanks Vicky!!  It was about what their typical work day is like.

Mac is quite a funny fellow and explained he has two types of days.   The days he puts real pants on and the days he does not.  On non-real-pants days he internets, eats, g-chats with Jon and finds many other things to do besides writing, just like the rest of us.  That's reassuring.

Jon said he has 3 types of days - the first is similar to Mac's non-real-pant days, lots of wandering around unsure of what to do, this is when he is coming up with a new book idea.  He said this is his least favorite type of day and the one he is currently having.  The second type comes after he has the idea.  It's the laying out of pages and words and getting it all to work.  And the third is long hours of final art making.

Matt Holm has a similar process to Jon, but he writes the books with his sister so there's a lot of back and forth between them throughout.  I ended up on the same bus home with him after the conference and we talked about how very, very much work graphic novels are.  I have to tip my hat to graphic novel artists - wowza.  And am looking forward to reading Squish - their latest series about an amoeba in middle school. 


A couple weeks ago I went to the book release party for the second installment of the Wildwood series by Portland's own Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis.  
I am rather charmed by all the bits of Portland they've tucked into these books.  Really they are love letters to Portland.  I recently went hiking in Forest Park (the inspiration for Wildwood) and remembered again what an amazing place it is.
And latest book, Under Wildwood, has a place called the Unthank Home for Wayward Youth, inspired by two Portland places that have always intrigued me.  The name Unthank is too good, don't you think?  There is a park near my boyfriend's old place called Unthank Park.
I was curious and with a little digging discovered that it was named for Dr. DeNorval Unthank.  He was "a dedicated doctor and civil rights activist who broke racial barriers in Oregon between 1930 and 1977. His professional and civic achievements made him a target of both social and institutional racism. He was often barred from local hospitals and excluded from medical societies—barriers he spent 40 years overcoming. "A Negro may have a few more doors closed to him and he may find them a little harder to open, but he can open them. He must keep trying.” (From the Oregon History Project.)

AND Carson's drawing of the Unthank Home is inspired by one of the coolest old buildings ever, the abandoned gasworks building off Hwy 30, just south of the St. John's Bridge.  (You've certainly seen it if you've ever driven to Sauvie's Island from Portland.)
(Image from google maps - you can see a much better photo and read about the history of this gorgeous building on jackie in pdx's blog.)

Just one more thing:
The Children's Book Bank recently processed a donation of 100,000 kids books. I helped out one evening and was blown away at how many books 100,000 books actually is. See those giant boxes- the ones almost as tall as the people? I think there were about 30 of those. What a ton of work! But many Portland kids from low income families will be able to bring home books of their own because of this effort. I'm still shocked by this statistic from the Children's Book Bank website: "In low income neighborhoods the ratio of books to children is one book per 300 children."


No comments: