Pictures from The Last Bookstore in LA

I had a FABULOUS time at the recent SCBWI conference in L.A. I loved the new location, I took away great thoughts for my work, I got to see muppets in action (!) and I was nominated for the Sue Alexander award.

I've been busy busy busy fixing some work. Sometimes I need a break from the Internet when I'm hard at work/play (am I the only one that feels like the Internet can be an echo chamber?). But I felt like it was long past time I at least posted these pics

Isn't this bookstore amazing? Their art section was my favorite. Although they had a stellar comics section too.

Cheers to a playful and promising summer's last few weeks.

Kjersten's photo on the NYT website

A few weeks ago I submitted a few photos from my time in Kuala Lumpur to the New York times for a project they are working on about living in high-rises. Last week I got a nice note back from an editor saying my pictures were exactly what they were looking for. Cool!

Check out the submissions page. One of my pictures is an example! (You can't see it from a mobile device). Can you tell which one is mine?

(For anyone who doesn't know me personally, it's the one with the mom and her kid with the sun streaming in behind them).

I finished reading every Caldecott book!

Hip Hip Hooray! I met a long-outstanding goal of mine today. As of today I have read every book that has ever won the Caldecott medal.

I've slowly plodded along with this goal over the last decade or so, checking out an old book here and another old book there (The newer books -- say from the last 30 years or so -- I had all read long ago or as they were released and/or won). A few weeks ago I realized I only had 3 winners left that I hadn't read. So I got a card to Western Washington University's library (my library didn't have them all) and checked out the last ones.

I've learned a lot from studying the old illustrations. Especially by studying the way illustrators in the past used negative space and limited color when printing still required illustrations to be color-separated.

Even though it's likely many of the older stories would probably not be published in the same form today (many of the old books are loooooooong for picture books), they often have charmed me in surprising ways. There's a lot of gold in them there hills of old books (and not just the shiny round sticker kind of gold).

Like the one I just read today,

Many Moons

-- the story was long and there were a lot of lists that characters read which felt cumbersome to read, but I LOVED the innovative and creative way the lists were illustrated. I also like the child-friendly resolution to the story.

It's also been interesting to note years when a now relatively obscure book won the medal while a now beloved classic took an honor.

I feel like reading the old books is like studying art history. It's understanding one's roots. It's good for a tree's roots to reach deep so its branches can reach higher into the sky. Is that too cheesy to say?

Oh and did I mention it's been really fun?

Someday I'd love to finish all the honor books too. I honestly don't have many left -- a few dozen I think. The main problem is that they are kind of hard to get a hold of. Maybe I'll make a push for it in the next month. I could read picture books at bedtime instead of novels (my son does). Ya... I like this idea. After all,

I'm loosing regular access to my beloved library soon


Wish me luck.