Yesterday morning on NPR I heard a report that public transportation riding levels are up. That means more and more people across the country are taking trains, subways, buses, and ferries and have more time to READ!
The basic concept is this: Using near field communications (NFC) technology, commuters select the desired book from a list of popular titles listed on subway ads and read its first ten pages. Upon finishing and exiting the subway, the reader will be informed of the closest library location on a map from which they can pick up and read the rest of the book. Want to see this is action? Watch the trailer!
There are still several questions about the technical aspect of pulling this off, but I love the connection between modern reading on ereaders and phones and linking it to lending books from the library (whether you want to borrow the actual book or ebook file). Libraries are still wonderful and relevant resources!
I just used our local library last week. When was the last time YOU visited your local branch?
Sometimes the the best answer is the simplest. And yes, that’s an actual yellow No. 2 pencil that fits into the cover. Pretty cool huh?!
The book itself is called American Odysseys: Writings by New Americans. It’s an anthology of 22 novelists, poets, and short story authors who immigrated to the US. It’s published by The Vilcek Foundation. The cover design was handled by YesYesYes Design, based in New York City. The art director was Joe Shouldice.
Apparently, YesYesYesDesign had to go through many pencils and hardback cases to get the fit just right. He was thankful the yellow No. pencils aren’t that expensive to buy in bulk!
Are you over thinking a project? Maybe a simple solution will work for you too?
One of the perks of being a book designer is that you get to read some truly amazing stories. This new book from Hyperion Books is no exception! It’s called Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone and it’s now available in bookstores and on-line.
The book takes place waaaaay back in 1995. I enjoyed hearing words like “Green Day” and “discmans” that I haven’t heard in quite awhile. The book is a romantic fantasy about Anna and Bennett. Anna lives in 1995 Chicago and Bennett lives in 2012 San Francisco. They weren’t ever suppose to meet, but Bennett has this very cool ability to time travel! A small happenstance one morning places them in the same moment in time and a relationship begins, but how will it work? Ha—you’ll have to read to find out!
I was also happy with my interior design of this book too. I used curved lines to visually reference movement and time travel. There’s a lovely romantic elegance to them as well.
Title page design
Chapter Opener design
I’m always interested in hearing about a book design opportunity. I work with all sorts of people looking to publish books: large publishers, not-for-profit organizations, and self-publishing authors. If you have a manuscript you’d like designed into a book, please send me an email. I’d love to hear about your story!
Books take years to publish, so I was extra happy to finally see one of my first freelance book design projects sitting on a shelf at my local Barnes & Noble! Hooray! This new young adult book is called A World Away. It’s published by Hyperion Books. To publish a book it “takes a village”. There are authors, artists, editors, copy editors, art directors, cover designers, and production coordinators just to name a few. For this project, I was the interior novel designer.
As an interior book designer, it’s my job to be sure the voice of the story is conveyed through the styling of the text fonts, chapter openers, and all the front matter—pages like the title page that appear before the start of the story.
I believe its so important to read the manuscript before I start to design! And let me tell you this is a great story about a teen Amish girl who becomes a nanny for a Chicago family living in the 21st century. Imagine making your first phone call, seeing your first movie, or having your first photo taken at age sixteen! A World Away is an engaging story of finding out where you belong and self discovery. Oh and there are a few twists and turns on the journey! Be sure to check this book out at your local book store or library.
Candlewick Press, one of my favorite children’s book publishers, is starting a FANTASTIC book campaign at the end of August. Picture book supporters everywhere will rejoice! Candlewick Press is starting the “WE BELIEVE IN PICTURE BOOKS!” project. It’s a year long celebration of the picture book told through videos by authors, illustrators, teachers, Candlewick staff, other supporters of this treasured format.
Here’s the trailer for this very special campaign:
Like the video above, each “We Believe in Picture Books” video will be short and informal as contributors share what the picture book means to them and share their favorite stories. I’m excited to see inside a few of the illustrators studios too!
As a children’s book designer and aspiring children’s book illustrator, picture books are close to my heart. One of my all time favorite picture books is: Brave Irene by William Steig. I remember my mom reading this book to me over and over again before bed. To this day, during very windy winter snow storms (and Rochester get a few) I always recall brave Irene. I hope this year you’ll celebrate picture books with me and with Candlewick Press!
I am totally in love with Little Free Libraries! Aren’t they so adorable? I want one in my front yard too. Happily, this fantastic organization has been getting some due props this week from the Etsy blog team and from artist, Jessica Swift.
Essentially, it’s an organization that supports sharing of books: “Take a book, return a book” now appears on each and every recorded Little Free Library. The idea started in 2009 by Todd Bol, to honor his mother, June. He built a schoolhouse structure, filled it with books, and mounted in on a pole. Voila—a little free library!
From the start of one, there are now more than 1,500 Little Free Libraries in more than 40 states and 20 countries. Interested in creating your own? The Little Free Libraries website offers fully built structures or directions for creating your very own one-of-a-kind design. There are all sorts of libraries—bird feeders, British phone booths, cute cottages, and barns. Some even have elaborate painted exteriors too! But above all, these structures are easily to use with a plexiglass door so about 20-50 books can be seen.
(all images from Little Free Library website)
Each new library can be registered with the Little Free Library organization and get an official number and be added to a Google map where interested book lovers can search for nearby little free libraries. I looked in Rochester, New York and there aren’t any here. Maybe D and I can be the first to build one! Little Free Libraries are great community builders. Neighbors can meet neighbors as books are browsed/returned or their curiosity draws them out. They simply make people smile. Do you have a Little Free Library in your neighborhood?
In light that this week is Passover, I would like to share with you images from The New American Haggadah published by Little Brown and Company. It’s a gorgeous book with fabulous type as art!
It’s designed by the Isrealis graphic and type designer, Oded Ezer. He went beyond just typesetting the manuscript. Instead, he took sections of the hebrew text and created works of art to illuminate the pages. He wanted the haggadah to only be typographic, but through his use of a variety of mediums including: wax from Chanukah candles, ink, cut paper, and even a kitchen torch, he created compelling works of art.
I truly love the feel of the traditional mediums to manipulate the hebrew letters. There’s an immediate human connection with the words when they are drawn by hand. Even Ezber said in an interview with Imprint-The Online Community for Graphic Designers, “If I touch the letters, I think and I hope that people will be touched by them.” It’s so true. Well done.
There are a couple of fantastic events happening this month in the world of children’s publishing.
Tomorrow, Saturday December 3rd, is Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day! This is the second year that this event has taken place and now over 250 bookstores in 45 states, Canada, England, and Australia are celebrating the day. Participating bookstores are offering door prizes, refreshments, special guests, and great discounts on books and toys.
A map of participating bookstore is available on their website. Don’t be shy, go and visit your local bookstore tomorrow!
Also this month is an art auction by the Children’s Book Council. From now until December 15th the CBC is offering an online auction of historic art pieces from their own collection of works created by illustrators to celebrate Children’s Book Week.
There are 5 works of art available to purchase on the CharityBuzz auction website. The works of art were produced from the 1950s to the 1970s by Ellen Raskin, Don Freeman, William Pene du Bois, Ray Cruz, and Jose Aruego. All the proceeds from the auction will be donated to Every Child a Reader, which is the literacy foundation created by the CBC. To find out more about how these 5 works of art were selected you can read the full article on the CBC auction here.
November is Picture Book Month! That’s right, those beautifully, illustrated printed children’s books are still important for literacy and still needed in our lives. I bet you can name your own treasured picture book from your own childhood without hesitation. These books need our support!
The plan of November is to highlight a daily post from a picture book champion to explain why he/she thinks picture books are a vital part of our society. The founders are doing this because a world where solely digital children’s books are available isn’t the right solution. Printed picture books offer their own unique benefits to early literacy education and cognitive development. Don’t believe me? Try sitting with a young child and reading a printed picture book. I bet you the early reader will ask you questions and pose comments beyond the narrative. Why? Because a printed book allows them to pause, reflect, and think for themselves. The early reader becomes the active component to the book. Sitting together reading a well crafted, printed picture book can truly be a magical experience.
Join the celebration and enjoy an old favorite book or see what’s new and exciting in the land of printed picture books.
Thanks to the Girl Scouts my youth was filled with memories of weekly troop meetings, camping overnights, and even a trip to Switzerland to visit a World Girl Scout Center. You could say, “I went all the way with the Girl Scouts”. I started as a First Grade Brownie and ended as a 12th Grade Senior Scout who earned her Gold Award (the Eagle Scout equivalent). The Girl Scouts are an amazing organization that offers girls hands-on opportunities to learn about leadership, teamwork, and expanding self-awareness. Sounds impressive, right?, but really when I was a Girl Scout, all of those skills were learned through truly fun activities. One of my favorites? Kicking a large coffee can around a field making homemade ice cream!
Knowing that I have a soft spot for the Girl Scouts in my heart I was utterly delighted to receive an email last Winter asking me to help create the new updated badge book for the Girl Scouts! I had come full circle and could give back to the organization that gave me so much. Needless to say, I jumped at this opportunity.
The scope of reworking The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting for all levels of Girls Scout was quite large, so the project was broken down into sections. I was part of the team working on the Senior Scouts badges. Today, these are girls who are in the early years of high school. Designing for this age group was even more fun with the addition of being able to reuse historical illustrations from previous badge books printed in the 40′s, 50′s, and 60′s. Having access to these assets was like being able to peak into the vaults at GS headquarters.
The new badge book has come a long way from my days of a plain text workbook. The redesigned layouts are colorful combinations of text, styled photographs, and illustrations. It was my goal to make the layouts visually inviting as well as be able to clearly convey information. Here are a few of my personal favorites.
With the start of the new school year means the start of another scouting year too. And this year each Girl Scout will be getting a copy of the newly designed badge book. I hope it inspires girls to try new things, see new places, and keep the Girls Scouts alive and well.