The Loft Wordplay Festival-May 2019

Last weekend (May 11-12, 2019) was packed with amazing speakers, workshops, books, food trucks and more. I had lots of fun at our book signing with several other fabulous Minnesota authors and illustrators in the Children’s Expo Area E. We are looking forward to next year’s event!

From Left to Right: Alicia Schwab, Yvonne Pearson, Amanda Huneke, Quinette Cook, and Rebecca K. S. Ansari

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SCBWI Marvelous Midwest Conference

What a fantastic conference! The Marvelous Midwest Conference is a multi-region event that is held every three years. There were lots of great speakers and events. I volunteered as a Caricature Artist at the “Going to the Fair” party. I had a great manuscript and portfolio review. And I won Honorable Mention in the People’s Choice Award in the Art Show.

My friend/critique partner, Louise Aamodt won the manuscript contest for her picture book, FOREST FIRE!

My friend/critique partner, Louise Aamodt won the manuscript contest for her picture book, FOREST FIRE!

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Three Mice won People’s Choice Award Honorable Mention in the Art Show.

May 6th : Picture Book Salon–Portfolios & Postcards with Alicia Schwab

Come to the Picture Book Salon at the Loft.org on May 6th to hear all about creating a Children’s Book Portfolio and what to include on your self-promotional postcard mailings. You will also hear about my book, THE MUKLUK BALL and get a sneak peek at my upcoming book, THE GOAT THAT ATE THE REMOTE.

Put Your Best Foot Forward: Portfolios & Postcards

Put Your Best Foot Forward: Portfolios & Postcards

Book Cover Reveal

I have a new picture book coming out in 2019. THE GOAT THAT ATE THE REMOTE, written by Eunice Pera Hafemeister and illustrated by Alicia Schwab.

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School Visits

 Alicia Schwab does school visits! I read my books to the students and we make up and perform our very own "Bear Hug Twist" dance from THE MUKLUK BALL, by Katharine Johnson and illustrations by Alicia Schwab.

Contact me for your next school visit.

In March 2018

Michelle Cusolito

and Jeanette Bradley put launched this very informative survey on 

“Transparency in Pay for Author and Illustrator School Visits”

. It was featured in the September 12the, 2018 issue of the Pro Insider (a publication for PAL "Published and Listed" members os SCBWI.) I have also been learning all about school visits from this blog and from Emma Walton Hamilton's

self-paced courses

.

Inspiring children to learn and grow is really fun! I look forward to reading and dancing with the kids in schools in the near future.

Minnesota SCBWI Banner


Alicia Schwab created the 2019 image for all our Minnesota SCBWI social media sites (SCBWIFacebook, Twitter and our Postcard blog). I hand-made the type as well. And I used my digital illustration skills to crop and resize the type in the design of each format. Every social media site has different image size requirements which makes it tricky to design and illustrate an image to be used across several sites. Enjoy!

Steger Mukluk Encore Book launch

 We are so pleased to be going back to Steger Mukluk store in Ely, MN February 9th, 2019 at 11 am! Author Katherine Johnson and I will whoop it up with our fans in Ely, MN this weekend. In the bold north, not only are we not afraid of winter we celebrate it. There will be lots of activities in the region celebrating the Winter Festival. On February 16th, there will be a Mukluk Ball at the Grand Ely Lodge. And on February 9th, there will be a Mukluk Ball at the Hygge Festival in Grand Marais, MN. Come read, dance and get a signed book at our book party, Steger Mukluks, 33 East Sheridan St., Ely, MN 55731



Outdoor Book Events


With the release of my new picture book THE MUKLUK BALL, I have been doing a large variety of events around the Midwest since mid-summer, including outdoor events. As we know, the Midwest region offers a wide degree of temperatures. One of my first events this summer was at Target Field Stadium in Minneapolis–in which, I read my book to families in 95 degrees F. Later in December, I read my book to families at the Holidazzle event in Loring Park (near downtown Minneapolis) in only 27 degrees.

If you're doing an event outside when it is hot, it is important to wear sunscreen, drink lots of water, and pace yourself during time there. When it’s cold be sure to wear fingerless gloves so you can turn the pages of the book. Keep your presentation short so the audience doesn’t have to sit too long. Pen and cameras can freeze in cold temperatures too and you may have to warm them up before you can sign books or take photos. The Norwegians have a saying, “"Det finnes ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlige klær / There no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” In other words, prepare yourself, wear extra layers and good boots. “TIP: Weather, like most things in life, is as bad as you make it to be. Change your mind-set, buy a proper jacket and do not let the weather stop you. You will feel as happy as a Norwegian.” (source)

I hope to see you at my next event!

November Drury Lane Books Newsletter

From the newsletter, WINTER AT DRURY LANE BOOKS, Garnd Marais, MN
Vol 24, November 2018

"GRACE'S RECOMMENDATION
The Mukluk Ball — Katherine Johnson, illus. Alicia Schwab
3-year-old Grace loves dancing with her stuffed bear; he even has his own tutu. So this wintery Northwoods picture book of a Bear preparing for a Mukluk Ball was an instant hit. Bear learns to polka, tango, and chachacha...and then just has to figure out how to wake up from hibernation to attend the Ball!"

I love Indie's and this recommendation made my day! Grace is a girl after my own heart. I began dancing in the living room around 3-years-old. My parents bought a cassette tape of the Chieftains (Irish folk music) and when I heard that I couldn't stop myself. I had to cut a rug. Mind you, our living room was wall-to-wall shag carpeting. And if I shuffled my feet fast enough and touched the lamp...ZAP!–I could do static electricity experiments, as well! Keep on dancing, Grace!

The Mukluk Ball Dance Party

The Book Launch Party on November 17th, 2018 at The Red Balloon Bookshop for THE MUKLUK BALL, by Katharine Johnson and illustrated by Alicia Schwab 2018 Minnesota Historical Society Press. It was not only a success but a blast as well. The kids had a lot of fun. Katharine read the book to them and Alicia danced The Twist with Angela, sales associates. What a ball!  We look forward to doing more events together.

Star Tribune & The Pioneer Press—The Mukluk Ball


Minnesota Flavor
Sunday, November 25th, 2018 Star Tribune article "Picture Books with Minnesota Flavor" by Laurie Hertzel featuring THE MUKLUK BALL, by Katharine Johnson and illustrated by Alicia Schwab. "A young bear sells blueberries to make money for mukluks — and then worries that he'll be hibernating during the midwinter mukluk ball. An entertaining tale of cooperation and fun, with illustrations that place the bear and the dance in a place that looks a whole lot like Ely (MN)."

Other notable Minnesotan Children's Books author and illustrators such as: Mary Cassanova, Stephanie Watson, Marion Dane Bauer, Cori Doerrfeld, Katharine Johnson, Alicia Schwab, Elizabeth Verdick, Laura Purdie Salas, Mélina Mangal, and Alexs Pate. Here in Minnesota we have a rich literary community with lots of talent and meaningful voices.

December Midwest Connection Picks
The Midwest Independent Booksellers Association listed THE MUKLUK BALL for its Midwest connections. Both the author and illustrator live in Minnesota, and the book is set in a snowy Northwoods setting. Karhu the bear wants to go to the Mukluk Ball. He will need mukluks, dance moves, and someone to wake him up from hibernation. Will the Ball live up to Karhu's dreams? The music and fellowship filling Finn Town Hall might just make for the best night of his life. Read more

Top 60 Books Guide
The Mukluk Ball is also listed on Star Tribune's online Holiday Books article: "Your Guide to nearly 60 books to give (and love) over the holidays"  THE MUKLUK BALL made the top 10 Picture Books in this article! Read more

Teachable Moments
THE MUKLUK BALL,
by Katharine Johnson,
illus. Alicia Schwab
October 7th, 2018 The Pioneer Press also featured THE MUKLUK BALL in this article: "New Books Provide Teachable Moments for Young Readers — and Fun! Put this “up north” picture book at the top of your Christmas gift list. It is one of the most joyful tales (tails?) of the season. Karhu, the bear, tells his owl friend Zazaa that this is the year he’s going to the Mukluk Ball, Finn Town’s liveliest winter event. But he has to earn money to buy mukluks, so he picks blueberries and sells them at the Blueberry Festival. It’s $2 “for a PAW-ful” that comes with a real bear hug." Read more

Dance Like Nobody Is Watching


On October 27th, 2018 Katharine Johnson, her husband Dale and I drove up to Ely from their home near Duluth, MN. We went to our picture book launch for THE MUKLUK BALL at Steger Mukuluks in Ely.

After a warm welcome we held our book event and had so much fun. Katharine read the story to the children and I got the kids to dance!

In the book, during the Mukluk Ball, Karhu the bear and Millie the do-si-do champion made up a new dance called The Bear Hug Twist. I showed the kids some dance moves and then I had them make up three dance moves to combine into our very own Bear Hug Twist. We twizzled and hopped, some in shoes and others in boots. The kids were great and now they are ready to dance with Karhu the bear.

The Mukluk Store is featured in THE MUKLUK BALL, Karhu the bear wants his own pair of Mukluks to wear to the Mukluk Ball. Karhu picks blueberries and sells them with bear hugs at the blueberry festival to earn money for his new boots. We were astounded by our own good fortune. Steger's was very generous and gave Katharine and I each a pair of boots! I have never had such nice, comfortable boots. And they were very supportive of our book. What a wonderful way to begin the long cold season with beautiful, warm mukluks!

Writing and Illustrating Books on Craft


Over the years, after going to countless SCBWI Children's Books Writing and Illustrating Conferences and Workshops, I have assembled this large list of books on craft. Please share with me your favorite books on craft in the comments. Check out my blog post: Paths to Publication on the different ways to get your book produced for readers.

Writing Craft

A Kick in the Head, by Paul B. Janeczko

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, by Anne Lamott

Characters and Viewpoint, by Orson Scott Card

Crafting Stories for Children, Nancy Lamb

Picture Writing, Anatasia Suen

What’s Your Story: A Young Person’s Guide to Writing Fiction, Marion Dane Bauer

Writing it Right, by Sandy Asher

Writing Picture Books, by Ann Whitford Paul

Illustration Craft

Cartoon Animation, by Preston Blair

Children’s Picturebooks–The Art of Visual Storytelling, by M. Salisbury and M. Styles

Comic and Sequential Art, by Will Eisner

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, by Betty Edwards

Drawn to Life, by Walt Stanchfield

Expressive Anatomy for Comics and Narrative, by Will Eisner

Film Directing—Shot by Shot, by Stephen D. Katz

Illustrating Children’s Books, by Martin Salisbury

Picture Book Primer, by Denise I. Matulka

Picture This! by Molly Bang

Prepare to Board! Creating Story and Characters for Animated Feature Shorts, by Nancy Beiman

The Art of Animal Character Design, by David Colman

Writing with Pictures, by Uri Shulewitz

Author and Illustrator Platform and Social Media

Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market

Create Your Writer Platform, by Chuck Sambuchino

Get Known Before the Book Deal, by Christina Katz
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