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Saturday, December 6, 2008

My bookshop!


I spent four hours in my bookshop in Dedham Square today. I love our store. I am hoping that you all get a chance to visit it at some point - especially during the holiday. There is a magic there during the holidays. The air inside The Blue Bunny is sweet and dreamy. I have a theory that this air can keep a person young - young at heart... : )

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Stellar Girl



I found this among my archives.
This is dated on the reverse side of this wooden shingle
(from a barn restoration in Barnstable, Cape Cod -- 1988. Strange for me to think it is over twenty years old. Feels like yesterday. It was the beginning of my connection to the star theme. I enjoy painting on wood. It is a good reminder that any surface is a possible place to create art. I like painting on eggs, cardboard, cloth, walls, floors, windows, mirrors...

I'd like to do more experimenting and
bring more of that experiementation into my books.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Stellar Friend


This is my well-worn bear friend. I bought him from the 5 & 10 in Chelmsford Center in 1968. I was 7. Four decades later, he is still with me. His felt nose is long gone and his felt paws have been nibbled on. He is one of the characters who have shared the journey with me!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Stellar Eve

Have I shared this yet? I think I did when I first was tapped on the shoulder by Marlo Thomas and Carol Hart to help design the 35th Anniversary edition of the classic "Free to Be You and Me." Well, here I sit staring at the finished book in my studio - proud of having helped bring this influential book back to life for the next generations. As I typed this, Barack Obama was just named president-elect! I can't help but feel that the stars are aligning. This book is about being able to dream and become who we are meant to be. On the cover, the lead boy is perhaps young Barack?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Which Way?

I painted this a decade ago. It seemed very appropriate to share this on the eve of the U.S. presidential election. In the USA, we will be facing a choice tomorrow, like this boy. Making choices requires some deep, thoughtful reflection, as well visioning where a path might lead. If we keep our "stars" in view, we'll find our way out of the swamp we're in and find an easier journey ahead.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Stellar Birthday


Wishing a stellar friend - a stellar birthday! Maribeth Bush is a shining star for many reasons... she has been a great friend to me, to FableVision and to The Blue Bunny. She has helped cyber-sculpt our sites for years. She also built and is caretaker of my children's book studio site. She is an amazing educator - not only caring for the children at Lunt School in Maine, but also educators and children around the world with her abilities-focused website she created and continues to build. She is also an author and artist. Her recent book, Sharing Friends, shares her wisdom of how to deal with playground dynamics.

She provides so much inspiration and wisdom to the world... I am lucky to call her a friend.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Halloween 1969


I was eight when I drew this in school. Seemed like a good one to share this Halloween Week! This was created by drawing the yellow and brown with crayon and then using a big brush to cover the whole thing with black paint. The paint rolled off the waxy crayon. Cool effect!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Broadcast Your Story

People write and ask me for tips on writing stories.
I often will share my strategy of telling the story -- before you even write it.

I called my brother, Paul, this week and left a "story message" on his voice-mail. I was driving along and the story began flashing in my head. In the message, I pulled the ideas from my head and crafted them into sentences "on the fly." I guess, if you can make the story idea make sense in a 4 minute message, you probably have something on your hands. This technique is handy. I was able to get Paul to bounce the message back to me.

What might have been an "idea flash" that vaoprized among all the incoming stimuli of the day, became instead - a little radio show. The only images were the ones my words attempted to conjure in Paul's head. If you're a fan of old radio shows or books-on-tape, you'll attest to the fact that good stories can survive on words alone.

Once you have a story written down, go "test-drive" it with a group. Hearing the story told aloud is very instructive. If you're aiming at the story being a picture book, resist the tempation to show images. Try it first with spoken words only. Later on, you can always exchange some or all of the words with art or photos.

Your choice.

Good luck tuning into your own internal radio station. The one that broadcasts your inner stories.

When you're ready - share them with the world.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Stories Wanted



The American Red Cross is always low on blood and trying to get folks to roll up their sleeves to donate. In an effort to develop a more effective campaign, they did some research on why people don't donate. The most common response was: "No one asked me." So, they launched their "Consider Yourself Asked" campaign!

I feel the same about art, writing and other creative, constructive endeavors. I meet a lot of folks who have either "been meaning to" write that book, or pick up the brush, or write that song, or film their grandparents telling the famous family stories... or those folks who have not thought of it - or haven't done so in a very long time.

SO - consider yourself asked. Write a Post-it note and put it on your bathroom mirror. Tell a friend, "I've started a book!" (Try to avoid: "I'm thinking about writing a book." Thinking about it, in my world, IS part of the process of DOING it. Combine the two for success. Dream and do. Some people dream. Some people dream and do!)

The drawing above I made today to help me share something to help people to take action. The surprise invitation that might trigger the "next step." This image reminds me of when I was walking by a restaurant under construction in Harvard Square in the winter of 1986. There was a sign on the door: "Artist Wanted." I thought: "That's me!" I walked into the noise place, sawdust flying, sparks shooting from welding torches, and found the manager, Mike Eberly. "We're calling this place "The Border Cafe" and we want big murals of old Tabasco labels and the like. Do you paint murals?" I, of course, said yes. I had not YET painted a mural, but I could imagine it wasn't much different than painting on a sheet of paper. I had a LOT to learn! And boy, did I learn! (My mentor, Aldo Servino and I ended up painting 17 murals for the Border Cafe!)

I'll save the details of that story for another time, but the lesson from my story is that a simple sign from the universe might be your invitation in... and do not worry if you lack the experience.

The experience begins by accepting the challenge, sometimes bravely, and making it real.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Rose's Garden

My FableVision Team just put the finishing touches on the animated "Telefable" version of my new story "Rose's Garden." My good friend, colleague, and children's book author/artist, John Lechner, lent his directorial and artistic direction to the project.

Rose Kennedy Greenway park grand opening is this weekend. Tonight we'll be unveiling the telefable at the kick-off gala. Senator Kennedy might be there if he is feeling up to it. Caroline Kennedy will be there - as well as 350 other guests. A high school student, Jennifer Sanchez, from Boston, will be reading the story live to the audience. The story is dedicated to Rose Kennedy. The character in my book is also named Rose, but she is really based on the spirit of the park. The mission of the Greenway is to bring diverse neighborhoods together, to provide a wondrous place to pause and reflect in the midst of a busy city, a place that took vision and patience, creativity and hard work to make real. My story weaves these together and encourages those who read it to bring more color to their own neighborhoods.

There will be a book version coming - but probably not until Spring of 2010. Such is the reality of traditional publishing. My experience though is that when you do what you love and love what you do - time flies.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Stellar Alignment


Here's another peek into my hypnagogic journal.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

He Was Me

Here's another animation - a four minute animated film I made a few years ago. I was inspired by a boy whose voice we were recording at FableVision - a rather straightforward software demo. His voice was terrific!! I thought I'd write something to honor that voice - and quickly record it before his voice changed! I realized that my hurry to catch him before he stepped out of that warm and wonderful child voice and into the deeper, more serious adult voice - world - THAT was the story. Watch He Was Me and tell me what you think.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Ish-mation

Here is a little video I made using my program Animationish! 
I am trying to figure out how to loop it... but here it is!

video

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Stellar Conference

I meant to blog about this earlier in the summer, but here it is! While it was an event held in late July, it is actually part of an ongoing initiative by my colleagues and friends, Gary Stager and Sylvia Martinez.

The Constructing Modern Knowledge conference, which I was invited to come speak at, (oh yeah, and I was tapped on the shoulder to do the poster above!) is a terrific hands-on, minds-on experience that dares the participants to play, to imagine, to create. Reading a book about "experiential learning" might be enlightening, but to absorb it fully requires a JUMPING IN, splashing around, diving deep, and then a good picnic on the shore with your friends. Gary Stager, who I have known two decades, has been a passionate and provocative advocate for authentic learning. He brought together a stellar group and inspired hours of projects including animation, clay animation, film-making, Scratch and Logo programming, and more - as well as reflective dialogue about the benefits and challenges of this kind of creative learning. If every school on the planet could experience two days like this, I think we'd push fast forward on making schools the kind of places kids and teachers would find hard to leave in the afternoon!

Sylvia has been a friend on the journey for an equally long stretch. She is also a mission-driven educator - dedicated to the wonderful work at GenYes which enlists the tech talents of students worldwide to improve education! A brilliant organization.

Gary, Sylvia and I are all founding members of The Constructivist Consortium. We rounded up like-minded organizations creating technology tools to inspire creativity and innovation in schools and places of learning. Check these sites out and... "connect the dots!"

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Dusty Dreams


Short and sweet tonight. (remember that you can click on the image to enlarge it) This is a never-before-shared image from one of my hypnagogination Journals.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Stellar Sculptor



I took a break today to savor a glorious summer afternoon with my wonderfully talented and inspirational friend, Nancy Sch
ön. Nancy is the sculptor who created the beautiful bronze ducklings in the Boston Gardens. The installation is a tribute to Robert McCloskey's classic "Make Way for Ducklings." It has become a landmark in Boston.

Nancy and I are currently brainstorming a few collaborations!

I'll share more in the coming months. As I walked around Nancy's studio today, I marveled at all the "works in progress," all the sketches, all the inspirational photos of giraffes (she is working on a terrific giraffe leaning its long elegant neck down to sip water),
and of course, there they were - the original ducklings!

The giraffe project is a tribute to Nancy's husband, Donald Schön, whose seminal book "The Reflectective Practitioner" celebrates the idea that we are a work in progress - that we can continually improve our craft. He was a fan of jazz music - inspiring his belief that improvisation and "thinking on one's feet" was the key to growth. I'm a huge fan of this thinking. In my own work. In our studio. In the workplace, in general.
In schools.

Experiential learning should be at the core of every classroom if we are to transform them into wonderful classrooms. The most creative teachers I know are the ones willing to "wing it" (to use a duckling term!) and to dive into new projects, new ideas, new questions - without having the "road map."

Navigating WITH learners is an adventure!

What a day! Now... back to my studio. I have a book to sculpt!


Nancy in her studio!

Visit Nancy's site at
http://www.schon.com

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Creative Compost Heap


I enjoy going "art diving" in my computer. I search for ".jpeg" or ".gif" files and just sift through the hundreds - thousands - of images I have accumulated over 10 years. Some images are from 30-40 years ago - things I have found in the boxes in my "museum" (in the cellar) and scanned. 

Here is an idea I brainstormed while working on a project. "Frannie Williams: Audio SuperStar Supreme." Has a ring, no? A girl who starts recording books - adding music and sfx -- her books get kids reading more - she becomes a sensation -- hits the road - recording kids' stories around the world. I can almost see the book now. And the TV series! 

When I help a FableVision client envision a solution for their mission, my brain switches to "high-speed" then to "puree." I will often come up with a dozen ideas (or more) before I get to the final client approved one. I try to save all my ideas, whether on notecards or on the backs of envelopes, scraps of paper or the side of a coffee cup. I hate to see an idea thrown out!

 "Frannie" is one those "idea scraps" that got tossed on to my creative compost heap. 

As you might know, a compost heap - once big enough - will start generating energy and heat. Up here in New England, I have seen the steam pouring off hearty heaps. It is quite a sight!

 I feel the same way about all my ideas: piled high. They are not forgotten. They are part of an organic eco-system of creativity - throwing off energy - combining with new ideas - generating fertile, rich soil in which to plant the seeds of new ideas. My blog is part of that co
mpost heap. All the files on my computer. All the books I have published. All the stories in the "shoe boxes under my bed." All the conversations I have ever had. All my memories. 

All my visions, hopes and dreams. 

When you hear, "Go Green" - also think of your own creative compost heap. Throw a doodle on it and think of me. 

Friday, August 15, 2008

Throne of Books


This is some of the art I did for the upcoming 10th Anniversary Literary Lights for Children sponsored by the Boston Public Library. The event will honor some stellar creative folk: Susan Cooper (who visited us at The Blue Bunny!), Christopher Paul Curtis, Laura Amy Schlitz, Chris Van Allsburg (who I ate dinner with at his marvelous house)! I was honored at the same event last year and was tapped on the shoulder to provide the invitation art for this year! I called this piece: "The Throne of Books." I am in the process of making it a Giclee print.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

My Hypnagogination Journals























I have loads of journals - just blank paper - no lines - that I keep handy by my bedside. Just before I head to sleep, my brain "down-shifts" and I let my brain open up to possible words and images. This state is known as Hypnagogia: the transitional state between wakefulness and sleep. Here's a page from one of my "hypnagogination" books. Some pages feature scrawled lines and text that slowly disintegrates into unintelligible marks. One evening, I was so tired that my marker left a single mark. I fell asleep, marker still pressed against the page. When I awoke I found a huge dot. I looked at it and thought, "Wow. Looks pretty cool." I then wrote "The Dot" above it and "Peter H. Reynolds" below it. A story emerged from this page. Perhaps you've read it?

Monday, August 4, 2008

I Love My Voice!























Here's an image I created on a big pad of paper during a visit to the Lunt School in Falmouth, Maine in 2006. My friend, Maribeth Bush, who is the stellar guidance counselor at Lunt,  took a photo of this page from the pad I left behind. I almost had forgotten about this, so I'm happy Maribeth sent it along. She has a much better memory than I do and can probably tell us what prompted the art, but I do know that this is theme I love exploring. In "The Dot," Vashti's teacher prompts her to sign her work. I am always reminding people to be proud of their work, their name, their contributions and ideas - their voice! Reminding others helps remind myself.

I'm still learning to love my voice. 

More on that to come. 

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Stellar Art Friend: Betsy Lewin


This past week I rolled on the rails along the beautiful seacoast from Boston to Philly, and from there I went to Simon & Schuster's warehouse to sign 2000 books! This is part of a special promotion for Toys R Us "Signature Series" - they selected 12 books to be signed by the author/illustrator. Among them: Chris Van Allsburg, Mo Willems, Alison McGhee, and ME! I spent the day signing with another artist partaking in the Mega-Signing: Betsy Lewin. Betsy is a wonderful and talented person. Her brave, bold, and splashy line is a signature of the Click, Clack, Moo series. Her husband, Ted, is also an artist - amazing watercolors! Check out his site too. Betsy and I are both represented by Pippin Properties in NYC.


By the way, the books that Alison and I signed for this promotion are "Someday" and "Little Boy." We have two more collaborations in progress. Stay tuned to the blog and I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Emily's Trials


I bought a book at church fair a few years ago. I rummaged through loads of books looking for some older books that would sit on the shelves of my 200 year old home in Dedham Square. One of the books fell apart when I pulled it out of the shopping bag when I got home. Pages spilled on the table and I picked one up and read the title on the page. "Emily's Trials." The crumbling of the book seemed an apt "next chapter" in her story - and perhaps it was Emily calling out and saying: "I'm still here." I saw this image appear on the page in my mind and grabbed a China marker to sketch directly on to the yellowed page. The water-damage on the lower left gives the piece some wonderful color. Read the text (by clicking the image which will enlarge it) -- it is a eerie little conversation by two children comparing their woes.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Stellar Tree House






















I am still working on Tess's Tree -- a new book with my friend Jess Brallier. I was on a Google "image-inspiration  hunt" for some maple trees and came across this slightly blurry - but wonderfully creative drawing. It was not properly labeled so I have no idea where this is from, but I am guessing it from the late 1800's. This image reminds me of the gentle and magical work of one of my "stellar mentors" -- Garth Williams. I'd love to find our family's copy of "The Tall Book of Make Believe." If you know that book, you'll see why this image echoes its spirit.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

1969: Brotherhood

While I was sifting through the archives I found this... drawn by yours truly in 1969. I was eight years old and tuning in to the world around me. We had lost Martin Luther King on April 4th, 1968 and that was a big topic in school. Teachers helped us understand what had happened and what MLK stood for. Those lessons helped inspire me to think big and believe that the best was yet to come. 

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Early Art


Sifting through some boxes in my basement I came across this yellowed sheet of paper with a cartoon strip I created for my 7th grade school newspaper in Chelmsford, MA. Pretty sure it was 1973. I am relieved to see that my early work featured a hero doing good. The world might be ready for "SuperMoose" to return!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Stellar Pen

This is my favorite pen nib. It is a dipping quill pen - a Schaeffer. I go through loads of nibs. As you can see in this image, it is crusty and thick... it has to be, for me, in order for it to hold more ink. If it is too new - the ink has a habit of sloshing out and onto my art! This particular pen nib has just been busy creating art for the upcoming book, Tess's Tree.

The Stellar Brush


Finding the right art tools is liking finding the perfect dance partner. The right brush seems to be in perfect step with what your mind is constructing, your heart is feeling, your spirit is directing. I 'm a big fan of Winsor Newton No. 4. The brush above is W&N Regency Gold 520 No. 2. which is a great one too. I like natural bristles, not the synthetic. I often see plastic-icky brushes in children's paint sets that have a shock of bristles poking out in all directions - unable to actually hold any paint. A good brush is a like a closed hand - able to hold onto a dollop of color for when you need it. Now, having said all this... I have also used my fingers, match sticks, a wad of tissue fashioned into a point, - anything that would allow me to add color to my art when I am suddenly caught brush-less. The results have actually been unexpectedly surprising. When you DO find that perfect brush, buy a few and keep them near. Remember Clark Kent's closet with all those Superman outfits?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Dots and Dreamtime


As you probably know, I love dots. So do the Aboriginal peoples of Australia. Dots are a common element in their work. Aborigines call the beginning of the world the "Dreaming," or "Dreamtime." In the "Dreamtime," aboriginal "Ancestors" rose from below the earth to form various parts of nature including animals, bodies of water, and the sky.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Stellar Mentor

Derek was a wonderful man.  


His spirit will be with me on my journey – he and I had some marvelous conversations – 

one especially that sticks with me — he said... 


 “Tell your story to the whole world. Be sure you’re speaking their language.”  He went on to say that we often muddle up our storytelling with details, stereotypes, and narrow thinking that shrinks our audience.  He posed this to me: if someone was to ask you to draw a classroom - what would you immediately begin to draw? A room full of desks?  A teacher, lights, maybe an American Flag, some writing on the board?  But think more deeply, a classroom might be a room with nothing in it.... just a safe place to gather.... or it could be  a field  with a wise friend sharing a story.  Thinking  globally is very challenging, but the feeling of having your brain stretch is wonderful! 


I feel blessed to have some “Derek spirit” tucked inside me.


Explore Derek's work including the film "Every Child" celebrating UNICEF's Declaration of Children's Rights. 



Derek Lamb 
(1936 - 2005) 


Born in Bromley, Kent, England, Derek Lamb started his animation career with the National Film Board of Canada in the 1960s. He worked extensively as a writer, director and producer in Canada, the US and Europe, both in commercial and experimental film. Lamb was also a teacher of animation and writing, most notably at Carpenter Center for Visual Arts, Harvard University and McGill University, Montréal. For six years, during the 1970s and 1980s, he served as Director of the English Animation studio at the National Film Board of Canada, and he produced over 50 films for the NFB. His work was honored with numerous international awards, including Academy awards from Hollywood and Great Britain, for films he produced. 

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Boys of Summer


This is a fun pic of me and my twin brother, Paul, in Chelmsford, MA - taken about 1968. The pitcher is our stellar brother, Andrew. Paul and I were on the Belvadere Dodgers that year. I got hit with a ball the first time up at bat and I think that experience urged me to find a safer past time. I picked up a pencil and started drawing and writing!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Bruno Munari: Drawing A Tree


I discovered this lovely book and wonderful man while at the Bologna Children's Book Fair. I highly recommend any of his books. Anyone interested in creativity, art, teaching and learning - and in becoming better at really seeing the world around us - these books will be an inspiration.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Accidental Discoveries

I was searching for "umbrella" on Google images when I saw their list of suggestions on what I might be searching for , after typing "umbrel..." and I saw the word "Umbrello" and I thought "What a great word!" I was curious and found this. It's a whimsical and wonderful structure in England. As it turns out, it is being choked with weeds, forgotten on a huge estate, and falling victim to vandals who stole its leaded domed roof. It is as if Umbrello is reaching out to the cosmos to be noticed - to be saved.  

Tess's Tree

I am working on the art for a new collaboration with my stellar friend, Jess Brallier. What started out as a gift for Jess's neighbor who had gone through the loss of a favorite tree became a book deal with Harper Collins. They read about it the New York Times when Jess was interviewed about digital publishing. He talked about this little story "Tess's Tree" and how he and I made a TeleFable (FableVision's siganture on-line book format) and how we posted it on Pearson's FunBrain site (which Jess is in charge of) and how the story began getting a 100,000 hits a day. Brenda Bowen is the editor at Harper Collins who spotted this gem about dealing with grief and in these eco-aware times, the theme packs a two-fer. 

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Stellar Little Houses


I have always been captivated my miniatures. Model train sets have magical little cities and towns with roads and rails that seem ready to spring to life. I fully expect to see little people wandering the train set landscapes. Techno-folk will probably figure this one out! I love small "micro-cars" - not toys, but real cars you can drive. I love small houses too. Here's a nifty one. This was built by a carpenter who wanted to show off his skills. I found this on tinyhouses.net. This building looks as if it sprung from one of my sketchbooks. I'd like to eventually try my hand at architecture to create never-before-seen spaces to live, play, think, and create.  

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Chris Greene

Some human beings are born with scoops of extra talent and energy. My good friend, Wade Whitehead, "connected the dots" to Chris Greene's fantastic work! I loved these birds! Quintessentially bird-ish!

Explore the rest of his work at:

http://chrisgreenkinetics.com/

A Stellar Friend


David Smith's Mapping the World by Heart and If the World Were a Village are brilliant works both of which should be on every shelf in every home and school. David is an old friend and a passionate educator. Please check out his site - www.mapping.com and drop David a line and say, "Pete sent me!" : ) 

Saturday, May 17, 2008

SURTEX in NYC

Here in NYC for the SURTEX show and Stationery Show.
I made a few new pieces to hang in the booth. Here is one...




Thanks, Linda

Connecting the dots.... super-creative Linda Ragsdale made a nice mention of my books, The Dot and Ish! It is wonderful when like-minded folk resonate with the mission of the books and use the stories in creative ways. Check out the mention below - but also explore her site, her own books and terrific ideas designed to inspire!

http://www.lindaragsdale.com/teachers-pet.aspx

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Farewell, Robert

Robert Rauschenberg has left for the Great Gallery in the Sky this week. He was daring and bold. I love this quote from him... "I feel as though the world is a friendly boy walking along in the sun."

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Governor Deval Patrick signs our poster





Gov. Patrick asked me to wave the design wand over his civic engagement poster for children.  We signed copies of the poster for the children at Greenlodge School in Dedham. 


Done

I am over the finish line with the Free to Be You and Me project. I worked through the night and tumbled into bed exhausted. When  I woke up it was the morning after a storm. Quiet. Calm. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Idioglossia

My twin brother, Paul, and I were the hosts of our hometown spelling bee in Chelmsford, MA. Also known locally as "Chemzfid." It was a joy to be back in our hometown. We grew up there - from 1st grade to 12th. Old Skip's Ice cream and Lounge which crouches on Route 110, we learned tonight, was slated to be demolished to make way for a strip mall. Sigh.


ANYWAY.... the night was a grand success - raising much-needed funds for school kids in Chelmsford. (What a world it would be if public schools funded the "investment" in our future properly and saved us all from school fundraisers!)

ANYWAY..... We rattled off a bunch of words for the teams at the Bee. One of the words caught my ear. Fun to say and the meaning, as it turns out, quite ishfully resonates with me.


From Wikipedia:

"Idioglossia refers to an idiosyncratic language, one invented and spoken by only one or a very few people. Most often, idioglossia refers to the private languages of young children, especially twins. It is also known as cryptophasia, and commonly referred to as twin talk or twin speech.

Children who are exposed to multiple languages from birth are also inclined to create idioglossias, but these languages usually disappear at a relatively early age, giving way to use of one or both of the languages introduced."

Cool. Twin speech. Language-ish.

I can not help but see the parallel between the loss of "private language" and the "drying up" of "artifidence." Art confidence. The abandonment of original marks, original song and dance, original expression.

What if we allowed children to keep developing "private languages?"

Would they perhaps better understand the mysteries of the universe? Would they know a vocabulary into a better future. A future which demands delicate nuance and sensitive prose?

We have, as a society, managed to do one thing QUITE well - to trample on the originality.

I'll end for tonight with that word: Idioglossia. It is fun to say, and I like the general notion of it, but it worries me that it sounds like "idiot" as if to say that freedom of thought and expression might result in the diagnose of brain mis-function.

Monday, May 5, 2008

My new animation program for kids (and grown up kids!)


Well, my dream has come true! For years I have been teaching animation, but the tools were a bit daunting to those I tempted to give it a whirl. My pals at ToonBoom in Montreal teamed up with my company FableVision to create Animation-ish. If you have read my book, "ish"(Candlewick Press), you'll understand why we dubbed it ishfully. Check out http://www.animationish.com for the full scoop.  I am hoping that schools will see that animation is a way for kids to express what they know across the curriculum. Animation and art do not belong in a "box." They should not be relegated to an hour on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Creative tools belong at the fingertips of teachers and educators all day long. 

Little Boy


The "companion book" to our NY Times Best Selling "Someday" is now on the shelves. Alison McGhee wrote it and I inked and watercolored it. These images are some of the ideas for the cover of the book. The one on the lower left was the direction we went. I like all these images. Especially the "wild and crazy boy" image! 

Free to Be You and Me


I'm busy working with Marlo Thomas and Carole Hart on the 35th anniversary edition of Free to Be! Quite an honor. The book is a classic with messages as important and powerful as the day it was published. My team at FableVision is helping me craft the book - building on the work done by Running Press. Samantha Oliver is our new art director. She is incredibly talented and a delight to work with - as is Erika Welch, our FV producer on the project. Here is the cover I inked and watercolored. 

Thanks, Maribeth Bush

A salute to one of my best friends - the talented, tireless Maribeth Bush. She constructed  my site about my children's books - - http://www.peterhreynolds.com. She has her hands full with her own work, but she manages to keep my site alive and well. 

My Journal on My Creative Output


I've started jotting a few notes before I drift off to sleep to get me reviewing how much progress I made on my creative projects. I have several book contracts currently - yet another Judy Moody book, a book about a goat named Huck, my collaboration with Jess Brallier called "Tess's Tree." But I also have loads of stories in progress... and loads of ideas that have come to me as I go through my days. I have roughly estimated that I have 300 stories in my "vault." I realized that if I don't start speeding up the process that I'll never finish before I go to that Great Creativity Camp in the Sky.  

The Cafe is now open

Another late night... the cafe is open.