Monday, December 31, 2012

The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau: A Wrap Up

My humble thanks to all who devoted their time and energy to review The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau, to Amanda Hall for her gorgeous illustrations, and to Eerdmans for their enthusiastic support.

Since I haven't been posting regular updates about the book, here's a year end wrap up:

 Publishers Weekly (Starred)

School Library Journal 
"This is not only a visually exciting introduction to a well-known artist, but also an uplifting model of passion and perseverance." (Starred)

“The career of artist Henri Rousseau gets a wonderfully child-friendly treatment in a book that captures both his personality and the essence of his pictures. … Markel’s text has a sweetness and simplicity that allows children to understand the story’s underpinnings, giving them someone to root for.”  (Starred)
Junior Library Guild Selection
A NYPL's Title for Reading and Sharing With Children


One of Booklist's Top Ten Art Books for Youth
 The Guardian UK Christmas 2012 Best Picture Books for Children

It was reviewed by Elizabeth Bird at SLJ, Richie Partington, and at several places, including:

Jean Little Library
Books Together
The Fourth Musketeer
Nonfiction Detectives
Waking Brain Cells
Kiss the Book

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
CMU Public Radio

You can read interviews at:

I.N.K. Interesting Nonfiction for Kids

Finally, in case you missed the Eerdmans trailer:

TC&TF will be serving up posts on nonfiction, among other delights, in 2013.

May your new year be filled with health and happiness!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

What a year. The Cat & The Fiddle has largely been shuttered, whilst I've spent months in my writing chair, fighting off cats, hunger, and sleep. 2012 has been consumed with stories and promotion and lesson plans. Here are a few shap shots:

Signing books at the Eerdmans Booth, ALA
Much to my delight, The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau was published to critical acclaim (an update on that, in my next post). Though it originally had an August pub date, my publisher managed to arrange a book signing at ALA in June, with much success. So many local author and librarian friends came by!  Eerdmans also invited me to their table at the awards banquet. The highlight was listening to the speech of the inimitable Jack Gantos, whom I've admired for many a year. Yay.

Amy Koss, Principal Rebecca Witt, Joe Cepeda, and Mary Ann Fraser 
One of the schools I visited was Mountain Avenue, in Glendale (with, by happy coincidence, some of my colleagues in the Children's Authors Network). In one of the classrooms, I had to do my presentation without Powerpoint because the projector wasn't working. But the kids and I had a lively discussion anyhow. Liberating.

With co-presenter Susan Casey and 826 LA's Julius Panoringan

I taught three sessions of writing for children at UCLA Extension's Writers Program, and did a volunteer workshop at 826LA called "Advice for Zombies and More."  Zombies, vampires, superheroes and even squirrels sought and received help from advice columnists, ages 8 to 12.

Happy New Year to all from The Cat & The Fiddle!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Big Dreams for Common Core

Cat & Fiddlers,  you can imagine my delight about the new Common Core curriculum, with its emphasis on nonfiction in the classroom.

I read in the Pasadena Star News that my local school district will be implementing the changes:

Reading and writing will be integrated, instead of being treated as
separate subjects, and also will be incorporated into math lessons.

And kindergartners will be solving word problems, "the bane of math students everywhere."

A bane? When I started this blog, I wrote several posts about how to create entertaining, high interest word problems. Perhaps, with Common Core, there will be a stylistic renaissance in their style and content. A girl can dream.

Speaking of word problems, Tyrannosaurus Math has been published by Fukuinkan Shoten in Japan!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Goodreads Giveaway of The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau

Just wanted to let you know about the giveaway of The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau at Goodreads.

I hope your midsummer is dreamy!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Need ideas for summer reading? Check out this video from CAN!, the Childrens Authors Network:

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Cat and the Fiddle re-opens, after a long hiatus.

Much has occurred, meanwhile. I've been teaching, writing, researching, and working on a new website, where I'll be posting news about my appearances, classes and books, such as my latest, The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau.

For which Eerdmans has created a remarkable trailer.

At TC&TF,  I'll be posting, now and then, interviews, thoughts on children's literature, and the writing thereof.  More later.