order of oddfish cover

The Order of Oddfish


90-Second Newbery at Printers Row in Chicago. (And thanks, SF!)

June 4, 2013

Chicagoans! This Saturday, June 8, we’ll be doing a “best-of” screening of the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival for the Printers Row Lit Fest. It’ll be at the auditorium at Jones College Prep, which is at 606 S State St (enter on Harrison St.) from 10:30 am – 11:30 am. The event is free, but you’re supposed to reserve a seat in advance. (You can reserve a seat here.)

The Printers Row Lit Fest is an annual book festival run by the Chicago Tribune, and there are many other events going on too—click here to find out more about it.

I never got a chance to blog a recap of the San Francisco 90-Second Newbery—and frustratingly, I never thought to get a photographer for the event, so we don’t have any pictures! However, it was a great time, and Newbery honoree Jenni Holm killed it as a co-host with her wit and charm. Thanks to everyone at the San Francisco Public Library for helping us pull it off—Toni Bernardi, Carla Kozak, Christy Estrovitz, and many more—plus San Francisco children’s literature advocates Sharon Levin, Summer Laurie, Amy Laughlin, and many more. Pulling off these screenings is always a big team effort, and I appreciate all the hard work and logistics that goes into them. Thanks!

I have a backlog of other great stuff to share, including Order of Odd-Fish fan art I’ve received lately and plans for upcoming projects. Coming soon!

90-Second Newbery comes to San Francisco; Betsy Bird comes to Chicago area!

April 23, 2013

Good news! We’re bringing the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival to San Francisco this May! It’s screening at the San Francisco Public Library main branch (Koret auditorium, lower level) on Tuesday, May 14, 6-7:30 pm. And it’s free! Bring the kids!

My co-host will be three-time Newbery honoree Jennifer Holm, who has won Newbery honors for Turtle in Paradise (2011), Penny From Heaven (2007), and Our Only May Amelia (2000). She and her brother Matt Holm are also the masterminds behind the Babymouse books. I’m honored to host the film festival with her!

But wait, what is the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival? It’s an annual video contest I started in 2010, in which kid filmmakers create movies that tell the story of a Newbery award-winning book in 90 seconds or less. No book trailers; the fun is compressing the entire plot into 90 seconds. These homemade movies are ingenious, hilarious, impressive, and surprising!

This film festival is in its third year, screening annually in New York City, Chicago, Portland and now San Francisco. This special San Francisco screening will be of the best movies of the hundreds I’ve received since the festival began—from a shadow-puppet version of Grace Lin’s 2010 Honor Book Where The Mountain Meets the Moon to a full-scale musical of William Pene du Bois’ 1948 Medal Winner The Twenty-One Balloons. For instance, check out one of the hits of last year’s festival, a Muppet-style retelling of Arnold Lobel’s 1973 Honor book Frog and Toad Together:

Come to marvel at the ingenuity of these young filmmakers . . . and maybe even to get ideas for your own 90-Second Newbery movie for next year’s film festival! Deadline is December 10, 2013. Full details, rules, and information about the 90-Second Newbery here.

(Wondering what a 90-Second Newbery screening is like? Here’s a recap of last year’s raucous screening in New York, co-hosted by me and kidlit titan Jon Scieszka (The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales), with special guests Newbery winners Kate DiCamillo (The Tale of Despereaux), Rita Williams-Garcia (One Crazy Summer), and Margi Preus (Heart of a Samurai).

In San Francisco, I will also be appearing at Books Inc. in Laurel Village on May 10 from 6:30-7:30 pm, where I’ll be doing readings from The Order of Odd-Fish.

(You might be wondering: hasn’t it been a while since I put out a book? And the answer is yes, it’s been a while. But that’s why I haven’t been blogging lately, I’m finishing something new, and I don’t want to ruin my momentum . . . !)

OH AND: Speaking of appearing at bookstores, and children’s literature, my dear old friend Betsy Bird of the New York Public Library (and the brains behind the influential Fuse #8 kidlit blog on SLJ) will be appearing at Oak Park’s Magic Tree Bookstore this Thursday, April 25 at 6:30 pm to promote her brand-new picture book, Giant Dance Party (illustrated by Brandon Dorman), which has already garnered rave reviews. Check out this cover:

Here’s Betsy talking on her blog about the book. Anyway, on Thursday I’ll be at the Magic Tree and you should be there too! If there’s someone who knows children’s books, it’s Betsy. She’s sat on the Newbery committee and she was the children’s librarian at the NYPL for years, doing storytime after storytime, so if anyone knows what makes for a good read-aloud, it’s Betsy!

I’m looking forward to getting my hands on this book for Lucy and Ingrid. So, Chicagoans and Oak Parkers, I’ll see you at the Magic Tree this Thursday. And San Franciscans, see you at the 90-Second Newbery in May!

It’s My 40th Birthday

March 9, 2013

It’s my birthday today, and so I’m staying off the Internet and hanging out with my family. But I received this great piece of Order of Odd-Fish happy-birthday art from Jacob of Portland and I want to share it with the world! I was lucky enough to meet Jacob when I was in Portland for the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival a few weeks ago. He was one of the remarkable animators behind this Frog and Toad Together. Thanks so much for the fantastic picture, Jacob!

Today I went to the Adler Planetarium with Heather, Lucy, and Ingrid. Heather took this picture of us on the rocket simulator. Lucy and I are ready for swashbuckling adventures in the stars! (Ingrid seems a bit more apprehensive . . . )

Can’t think of a better way to spend my birthday!

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