We had a fabulous day discussing children’s books at BookFest@Bank Street. It began with Leonard Marcus exploring the work of Margaret Wise Brown. Diane Muldrow, editor at Golden Books, focused her talk on the lyricism and preciseness of MWB’s word choices and the reasons re-illustrators are chosen for new editions of some of her titles. Wendell Minor showed his sketches and finished paintings along with the originals of Nibble Nibble. Stephen Savage took us through the journey of the manuscript of Fathers are Coming Home from its contract in 1943 to its finally being published in 2010. He showed slides of the evolution of the illustrations from simple sketches to the final linoleum block printed art.
The keynote from Laurie Halse Anderson was a thought-provoking sprint through American history focusing on the Revolution, the founding fathers and her research through secondary and primary sources, in order to anchor her book, Forge, the sequel to Chains. Below is video of her talk, shot by School Library Journal.
Lastly, the irrepressible Jon Scieszka partnered with his protege Mac Barnett and accompanied by a slyly deadpan David Yoo, implored the audience of librarians, teachers and writers to inspire boys to read by providing high interest materials. They specifically advocated humor, but they were supportive of weapons, hunting and perhaps graphic bloody imagery (mostly they were kidding, I think).