Childrensillustration

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!

Pioneer Press Article — The Mukluk Ball

link to article

New books provide teachable moments for young readers – and fun! 

by Mary Ann Grossmann

PICTURE BOOKS

“The Mukluk Ball” by Katharine Johnson, illustrated by Alicia Schwab (Minnesota Historical Society Press, $16.95.) 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.
Karhu laces up his mukluks and learns to dance; Millie twirls him in a polka; Mary Ann the librarian shows him the boogie-woogie, and Inga the folksinger teaches him the chachacha. But Karhu has a problem. The ball is in January and he can’t stay awake. So he takes a nap snug in his den until Zazaa wakes him to go to the ball, where the Finn Hall band plays and Karhu “twirled and whirled, twizzled and spun” until he fell asleep on Inga’s shoulder. It takes the Shagawa Square Dancers to take him to their bus and then he is pulled home on a dog sled.
Back home, Karhu snored and dreamed of dancing. His toes tapped in time to the music of the Mukluk Ball.
Author Johnson says she  wears mukluks all winter in Cloquet. Illustrator Schwab, who lives in Minneapolis, calls this a super fun project for which “I danced and listened to a lot of music to fall into the rhythm of the book’s illustrations.” Her colorful, muscular pictures leave no doubt this is a northern Minnesota story, from the log cabin-style buildings to Karhu’s den (with a round window), rabbits tobogganing, and happy dogs pulling the sleeping bear on the sled. Even the endpapers are covered with colorful floral designs and different pairs of mukluks. There’s lots of hugging and happiness in this book that will make readers of all ages smile.
Johnson and Schwab will launch their book at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, at Red Balloon Bookshop, 891 Grand Ave., St. Paul.

Mice Are Nice

I painted a series of mice going on an adventure in the woods. I grew up in the lush wooded hills of southern Wisconsin where spent many happy hours wandering the woods, building forts with my brother and sister. I love to the feel of earth between my toes.

In these paintings, I had a lot of fun with the mark making in the negative space.


Shoutout onTwitter #mailersandcoffee






Each week Giuseppe Castellano @pinocastellano shares on Twitter #mailersandcoffee — a weekly illustration mailer review with his design assistant @jayrosenfeld. This week he featured my illustration!  Here's a link to Giuseppe Castellano's tweet.  My postcard is also featured over at SCBWI-Minnesota Postcard Gallery page. You can find me on twitter @aschwabart.

2017 MN SCBWI Banner Contest

I am the Illustrator Coord. for SCBWI Minnesota. In 2015, I began hosting an annual Banner Contest for MN SCBWI members to participate in.

We have had great participation in years past when the contest was displayed at the MN SCBWI Fall Conference, but this year we moved the event online so that everyone can view the art at anytime.

The winning entry will be displayed in the regional SCBWI Minnesota website and the new! SCBWI Minnesota Postcard Gallery for one year. All MN SCBWI members are eligible to vote on the entries through a survey sent to their inbox.

Postcard Gallery

As the Illustrator Coordinator for SCBWI Minnesota, I created a Postcard Gallery for the SCBWI Minnesota illustrator members to showcase their postcards 4x/year!

This website gives participants the initiative to work on their marketing skills by submitting their postcards to the gallery up to four times a year.

The participants can increase traffic to their portfolio website by creating buzz on social media.