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Storytime with the Steads October 15, 2012

Posted by ccbooks in Nerd Line.

There were two presentations at the National Book Festival a few weeks ago that I was bitterly disappointed I had to miss. One was Laura Amy Schlitz (who wrote Splendors and Glooms and Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!) and the other was Philip and Erin Stead, co-creators of the Caldecott-winning picture book A Sick Day for Amos McGee. Fortunately, the Steads were sticking around in DC a few more days to do another event at the bookstore Politics and Prose, so I was able to spend some time with them after all.

Their presentation was delightful. The two classes of children who came to the event (1st and 2nd graders) loved hearing them read aloud both A Sick Day for Amos McGee and their new book Bear Has a Story to Tell. After reading the books aloud, Erin Stead talked about how she created the art for each book, showing sketches, the wood blocks she carved for Amos McGee and the various stages of the art for Bear, which was created by painting with crushed chalk. As she pointed out, it is kind of like painting with mud. The students asked some great questions, especially about the tiny details included in the drawings, such as a mouse, bird and balloon, and they offered interesting theories for why these silent characters kept reappearing!

The Steads were kind enough to sign some books for me after the presentation, complete with handmade stamps. After seeing up close the kind of time and attention to detail that they put into the creation of both the words and the pictures for these books, it wasn’t surprising that their signatures involved special carved stamps, and details in silver Sharpie. I can’t wait to see what stories they will choose to tell next.


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