Peaks Island Press

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Archive for children’s books

Book Launch for Island Author Beth Rand’s “ABC Gulls”

savethedatebethrandDon’t miss the book launch for Beth Rand’s first children’s book, ABC Gulls (Islandport Press) on April 6, 2017 from 6:30-8:30 pm at Arabica on Commercial Street in Portland. All are invited, so bring your friends and family.

Beth described her path to publishing ABC Gulls in a Peaks Island Press article recently. Check it out if you haven’t read it yet.

Please come by boat, car, bike, or spaceship— like one of her seagulls— and congratulate the new author/illustrator yourself on her debut.

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Written by Patricia Erikson, Peaks Island Press offers behind-the-scenes glimpses of a vibrant, literary community perched on Peaks Island, two miles off the coast of the beautiful and award-winning city of Portland, Maine. If you haven’t already, you may subscribe in the upper right corner at http://www.peaksislandpress.com.

Beth Rand’s “ABC Gulls”

bethrandBeth Rand didn’t plan on writing a children’s book from her Peaks Island, Maine home, but she couldn’t be happier that Islandport Press is publishing her “ABC Gulls” in hardcover.

abcseagulls2coverVisiting Beth on a bitterly cold day, we looked out over Whitehead Passage to Cushing Island and she described her surprising path toward becoming a children’s book author and illustrator,

I was just teaching myself how to use a computer program for drawing. I picked a seagull as a fun character to draw. Then I wanted to focus more and draw one seagull for each letter of the alphabet. All of a sudden, I had drawn from A to Z and had the beginning of an alphabet book.

d-dogThis rollicking and colorful alphabet book introduces more than 26 seagulls, each named for a Maine Island. Beth imagined a mini-adventure for each letter of the alphabet and let alliteration drive the story.

Then I realized the pun in the name “ABC gulls.” To my surprise, no one had taken this as a book title.

After composing the children’s book, Beth decided to approach Islandport Press in Yarmouth,

It was a cold day in March last year, just like this one, and I submitted the book with the pages all laid out. This is not how you’re supposed to do it and I figured I would never hear back from them. But, they called just a few days later. I was surprised.

r-roofA quick glance through an advance copy reveals Beth’s connections to the island; the “D” page features a seagull riding a dog who looks remarkably like Beth’s schnauzer, Charlie (although the book dedication assures us that Charlie would rather chase seagulls), and the “R” page reveals the classic rooflines of Peaks Island cottages. And since lobstermen do live on Peaks Island, who could resist having the “L” page feature Maine’s most iconic seafood?

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“ABC Gulls” will be available by April 1, 2017. Stay tuned for information about a Portland, Maine book launch.

Written by Patricia Erikson, Peaks Island Press offers behind-the-scenes glimpses of a vibrant, literary community perched on Peaks Island, two miles off the coast of the beautiful and award-winning city of Portland, Maine. If you haven’t already, you may subscribe in the upper right corner at http://www.peaksislandpress.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Iterative Writing: How Scott Nash Put Shrunken Treasures into Our Hands

When you’re reading a book, have you ever wondered: how do writers translate their imagination onto a page? I a

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Cover of Scott Nash’s Shrunken Treasures

lways assumed that other writers work like I do by first conjuring, inhabiting, and experiencing a three-dimensional model of a scene in the mind before writing it onto the page. Peaks Island author and illustrator Scott Nash; however, does this iterative draw-write-draw magic that looks to me like a channeling of the subconscious through the hand. That was what I discovered sitting in his living room, asking him about his children’s book that Candlewick Press releases this month-Shrunken Treasures.

The origin story of Shrunken Treasures goes like this: while on a long car ride from Belfast, Maine, Scott and his wife, artist Nancy Gibson Nash, entertained themselves through long hours by condensing Moby Dick into children’s verse. Scott recounts,

“I’ve always loved doing mashups, even before it was trendy. So this was a challenge to mash up classics like Moby Dick and The Odyssey into a children’s poem. When I got home, I sketched out the Ulysses and Captain Ahab characters (see below) and sent off the idea to my editor. My editor is like the benefactor of my nutty ideas. I show up with a pile of sketches and a draft of a novel about bird pirates [referring to his High Flying Adventures of Blue Jay the Pirate] and they see the possibilities. This time I presented two sample poems and in iPad full of clunky sketches of the characters in the book. They’re risk takers. It’s lovely.”

That children’s book pitch became the beautiful picture book that I now hold in my hands. Short verses. Lean, yet rich and playful illustrations. I recognize Scott’s

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An inspiration for Shrunken Treasures

nostalgic nod to one of his inspirations, the Big Golden Book of Poetry. My own dog-eared copy of this childhood treasure was cherished for decades and was one of the items that I kept when I had to clean out my parents’ house.

Lucky for us, Scott moved on from sketching Ulysses and Captain Ahab to Mary Shelley (yes, of Frankenstein).

“I draw to inspire the writing and then write to inspire the drawing. When I get stuck with a character or a plot, I stop writing and draw.”

In Scott’s verse, Mary “first made one monster and then that monster made another one [Frankenstein].” Scott comments that, “the book would never have worked if the verse was more free. The classic stories are complex so that keeping the structure familiar helps to simplify the story.”

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A character sketch of Mary Shelley, on Scott Nash’s iPad.

I predict this book will become a new classic and prove popular with multiple generations at once. Two upcoming events will allow you to hold Shrunken Treasures in your hands and seek the author’s autograph:

  • The Cape Author Fest on April 9 at the Cape Elizabeth High School and
  • a book launch event at Longfellow Books on April 14th at 7 PM.

Prepare yourself for literary frolic.

Written by Patricia Erikson, Peaks Island Press offers behind-the-scenes glimpses of a vibrant, literary community perched on Peaks Island, two miles off the coast of the beautiful and award-winning city of Portland, Maine. If you haven’t already, you may subscribe in the upper right corner at http://www.peaksislandpress.com.

 

 

Author/Illustrator Jamie Hogan Exhibits at Portland Public Library

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Jamie Hogan signing a book

Peaks Islander Jamie Hogan – illustrator of ten books and author of Seven Days of Daisy – presented at the Portland Public Library this evening with Matinicus Island author Eva Murray, with whom Jamie collaborated on a new release, Island Birthday. What an extraordinary event, the coming together of two island talents, one who came by ferry, the other who came by plane!

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Jamie Hogan’s original artworks on display

If you missed this event, the Sam L. Cohen Children’s Library in the Portland Public Library is exhibiting several of Jamie’s beautiful, original colored pencil and pastel book illustrations until September 25th. The exhibit, titled The Storybook Waters of Illustrator Jamie Hogan, features those artworks that treat the theme of water in Jamie’s book illustrations.

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Original of illustration in Seven Days of Daisy

Written by Patricia Erikson, Peaks Island Press offers behind-the-scenes glimpses of a vibrant, literary community perched on Peaks Island, two miles off the coast of the beautiful and award-winning city of Portland, Maine. If you haven’t already, you may subscribe in the upper right corner at http://www.peaksislandpress.com.

A Path of Stars: Anne Sibley O’Brien contributes to “I’m Your Neighbor, Portland” City-wide Read

Anne Sibley O’Brien’s “A Path of Stars”

Stories build understanding.
Understanding builds neighborhoods.
Neighborhoods build a strong city.

Support the sharing of stories of Maine’s “new arrivals” and the cultural fabric of the City of Portland.

Peaks Island children’s book author/illustrator Anne Sibley O’Brien has made an important contribution to the upcoming city-wide read of books supported by the Maine Humanities Council called “I’m Your Neighbor, Portland.” When she’s not crossing the globe by plane to visit fans, crossing the harbor by ferry or the island by bicycle to go home, she’s adding to her impressive list of children’s book publications.

Mostly recently, Anne has authored “A Path of Stars” (Charlesbridge Publishing), the story of a Cambodian immigrant grandmother, Lok Yeay, who tells her granddaughter about her homeland and how her family would sit in their yard and watch the stars that glowed like fireflies. To write a picture book that captured the Cambodian American experience here in Maine, Anne explains,

I started by reading every survivor memoir I could find, until the outline of life in Cambodia before 1975, the Killing Fields, the escape, and life in a new land became familiar. I talked with several scholars about trauma survival and the sociology of Cambodian Americans. Most significantly, I listened to my friends Veasna and Peng Kem, who spent hours sharing their own memories with me. Many of the details in this story come from their accounts, or were inspired by them.”

A Path of Stars has been named a Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2013 by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) and the Children’s Book Council (CBC); it has also been named an Honor Picture Book of the Asian Pacific American Award for Literature 2013 based upon its literary and artistic merit, as selected by the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association.

Anne illustrated another one of the nine books chosen for this city-wide read: Moon Watchers, an inside view of daily life in a modern Muslim family during Ramadan. A launch event for the city-wide read of books set in Maine’s new arrival communities will occur on May 25th from 3-6 p.m. at the Portland Public Library.

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