Monday, August 14, 2017

Book Trailer Premiere: Ruby Rose, Big Bravos by Rob Sanders and Debbie Ridpath Oh

Debbie Ridpath Ohi is one of most creative and nicest people I have ever met. I'm thrilled she dropped by Watch. Connect. Read. to share the FANTASTIC book trailer for Ruby Rose, Big Bravos. Thank you, Debbie! 


Hi, Mr. Schu!

I’m delighted to debut the trailer for RUBY ROSE, BIG BRAVOS, a new Ruby Rose picture book written by Rob Sanders and illustrated by yours truly. Our new book comes out from HarperCollins Children’s on August 29th.

I’m also excited about this trailer because I wrote the music and I performed it on my new keyboard! Here’s a bit about my musical background, if anyone’s curious. Also, it’s my very first book trailer project created using Adobe Premiere Pro, a software program I am gradually learning.


RUBY ROSE, BIG BRAVOS is a fun story about a young dancer who decides to put on her own recital. With the help of Bearishnikov, Ruby Rose works hard to prepare, including making her own tickets, posters, invitations and decorations - she is very excited! But then bad weather looms, and Ruby Rose has to decide whether or not to let a thunderstorm ruin her plans.

Here’s how author Rob Sanders came up with the idea:

“The initial idea for RUBY ROSE—BIG BRAVOS came about when I was brainstorming a best friend for Ruby. I watched an episode of Antiques Roadshow that featured vintage teddy bears and then watched an old documentary about Mikhail Baryshnikov. VoilĂ ! Bearishnikov was born. His character became a wise, silent friend who doles out great advice. I wanted the story to focus around a dance recital—but one that could be totally of Ruby and Bearishnikov’s making. I live in sunny Florida which is known for its summer rainy season and which is also the lightning capital of the world, so a thunderstorm became the antagonist in the story. Since RUBY ROSE—OFF TO SCHOOL SHE GOES included Ruby’s mom, I wanted this story to introduce her dad. I combined all those ingredients to create RUBY ROSE—BIG BRAVOS. And so RUBY ROSE, BIG BRAVOS was born!”


You can find sample illustrations, a classroom guide, info about the first RUBY ROSE book, and other bonus info at: DebbieOhi.com/rubyrose and RobSandersWrites.com.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Ten not-to-be-missed picture books published in 2017 #pb10for10

Happy Thursday! Librarians, classroom teachers, administrators, authors, illustrators, and book lovers are celebrating August 10 by sharing picture books they are excited about. Make sure you follow #pb10for10 on Twitter! 



Click here to view the Pinterest board I created for #pb10for10. 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Happy Saturday, Mr. Sharp!

Hi, Mr. Sharp,

I know! I know! I need to buy a new phone. Once again, I ran out of space before I was done talking. So it goes! 

Have a wonderful weekend!

-John 


Please click here to watch Mr. Sharp's video. 



Miles Morales: Spider-Man by Jason Reynolds 


Slacker by Gordon Korman 


Hidden Figures Young Readers' Edition by Margot Lee Shetterly 

Friday, August 4, 2017

Book Trailer Premiere: Tea with Oliver by Mika Song

Hello, Mika Song! Thank you for stopping by to share the book trailer for Tea with Oliver. 


Hello, Mr. Schu! 

I’m so excited to debut the trailer for Tea with Oliver with your readers. Tea with Oliver is my author-illustrator picture book debut from HarperCollins. It publishes in just a few days- August 8, 2017.

It’s about a cat named Oliver who is not like other cats and really just wants to have tea and cookies with a friend. Philbert is a shy but determined mouse who lives under Oliver’s couch. He would love to have tea with Oliver but can’t seem to get his attention. He tries sending him letters all kinds of different ways but nothing seems to reach Oliver. And then one day a crazy cat party shakes things up enough for Oliver to see his best friend is right under his couch.

When I decided to pursue children’s books, I found myself spending a lot of time alone in my apartment trying to get my work noticed by agents. I was sending a lot of letters, kind of like Philbert and talking to myself, kind of like Oliver. It made me appreciate the people in my life. The character of Oliver is also inspired by a close friend who likes to throw grand tea parties.

I hope this book helps kids who are wondering about making friends especially during back to school time and encourages all kids to look out for someone in need of a friend. The book’s speech bubbles and dual characters make it a natural fit for splitting into parts to be read aloud by small groups of 2 or 3 or for partnered reading. And if that inspires a few unlikely friendships nothing would make me happier.


Look for Tea with Oliver on August 8, 2017. 

An Interview with Jaime Kim, Illustrator of La La La: A Story of Hope


Hi, Jaime Kim! La La La: A Story of Hope is absolutely stunning. I cannot wait until it is sent out into the world on October 3, 2017.  How did you approach the story? 

Jaime Kim: I must have read Kate's story dozens of times. Though it was very succinct and abstract, I could sense that there was a lot going on in there. I tried my best to feel the things that she was trying to express, and strove to capture the story's ambiance in the illustration as much as possible. As I fleshed out the very strong narrative framework Kate Dicamillo provided, I tried to make the details as beautiful as possible.
Illustration Credit: Jaime Kim 

What spoke to you about the story?

Jaime Kim: Preparing the project, I read a lot of picture books written and illustrated by other writers and illustrators. I also watched some movies and animated features. I tried to gain inspiration from all sorts of sources. However, while such attempts were helpful on the technical side, the most important source of inspiration turned out to be myself. I tried to bring back myself into my childhood, and the feelings I felt back then. I jotted these feelings down in a notepad. Then I projected my childhood personality onto the main character.


Illustration Credit: Jaime Kim 
What was the biggest challenge of the project?

Jaime Kim: An absence of text made it difficult to express the emotions. I kept worrying that the readers would not interpret the story as I intended. Every time such a concern hit me, I tried to imagine that I was creating an animated film. I imagined how the main character would look like if she was really moving. I took such imagined movements and facial expressions to develop emotional cues that can be easily understood by the readers.


What was the most fun part ?

Jaime Kim: Character design was definitely the most fun part, without a doubt. It was the most challenging part as well, but also the most enjoyable part at the same time. I gave much thought on what kind of character would fit perfectly with Kate’s story. I even thought of creating a character who was not a human. Ultimately, I decided that a little girl is best suited to the story. As I mentioned, I reflected my childhood into the main character, but actually the outward appearance was largely inspired by my little sister during her childhood. The short-haired girl closely resembles my sister when she was little. Whereas I was an introverted and quiet girl, my sister had a wide range expressions. I suppose you could say that "the girl" is an amalgam of me and my sister, who was also my first friend.


Click here to read my interview with Kate DiCamillo. 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Book Trailer Premiere: La La La: A Story of Hope by Kate DiCamillo & Jaime Kim

Hello, Kate! Happy Thursday! Thank you for celebrating La La La: A Story of Hope with me. It is always an honor when you finish my sentences. 

Kate DiCamillo: Hello back to you, Mr. Schu. It is always an honor when you ask me to finish your sentences.

Thank you for sharing your wisdom and words with the world.


La La LaA Story of Hope tells the story of connecting, of seeing and being seen. In many ways, it is the story of story and me.

Jaime Kim’s illustrations knock me right off my feet. They make me feel like a kid. They fill me with hope and wonder.
Illustration Credit: Jaime Kim
On October 3, 2017, kids and adults will get to sing with Jaime and me.

Music helps us to connect to each other and to the world.

Illustration Credit: Jaime Kim
Picture books are a song.

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me if I can sing.

I can't.  

As a matter of fact, there were many times when I was asked *not* to sing.  As in "Kate, why don't you just mouth the words?" 

But making books *feels* like singing.  And that is a grand thing.


Look for La La La: A Story of Hope on October 3, 2017! 


Come back tomorrow to read an interview with Jaime Kim. 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Happy Saturday, Mr. Sharp!

Hi, Mr. Sharp, 

La La La La La La La La! 

:) 

Your friend,

-John 


Please click here to watch Mr. Sharp's video. 


Look for La La La: A Story of Hope on October 3, 2017.