Wednesday, October 29, 2008

the unexpected in forgotten purses

Last night, I went to Barnes and Noble to hear author, Joan Holub, read and talk about some of her books. It was so cool sitting on the floor, surrounded by mostly toddlers and preschoolers and hear her explain the process of how books get published. One of her books, BooWho? was one of her first books, and she showed us the "Dummy," which was the product she sent to a publisher. She illustrated this book as well, and all of it was just on plain white paper with the story typed and the pictures were not in color. Then, she showed us what the book looks like after a publisher prints it; none of the pages are folded- they look like posters, and Joan can look through and make changes needed. Then, the final editing process is sent back to her, and the book is folded into pages, but there's no official cover. Here is her last chance to look and check for mistakes. Then, it becomes a book! I was surprised to find out she's written around 120 books for children! Her range spreads from humorous fiction to nonfiction books, including informational texts about famous painters and also answers to questions like, why do dogs bark?

While Joan was still reading, I quietly left and headed back home. But, as I was driving home, I realized I couldn't find my purse. After looking through my car (which was filled with library books, CDs, games, yeah, i need to clean it out) I realized I left it at Barnes and Noble. So, I returned to the children's section and what luck! Joan was still there talking with one of the store clerks. I got to talking with both of them about books and how Joan gets her inspiration. She told me that she used to just illustrate books and then she started writing and illustrating. Now, she mostly just writes. I was really interested hearing her thoughts about KnuckleHeads, the book that made me want to come to her reading in the first place. This book is so cool, it's a take-off of different fairy tales, but each character is a hand or a foot! Handerella was so funny because the whole story has all these funny puns about hands, and I was definitely laughing in the store while reading it! Joan told me that she would look up, "hand," in the dictionary and see all the different words associated with it. She got many of her puns from that dictionary. And, the best part is she agreed to come to my classroom when I start teaching again! How amazing to let my students interact with an author who grew up as they did and learn how to become an author or illustrator if they want to!

She was so nice and friendly, and for once, was really thankful I forget things! Or else, I never would have had this chance to get to know the store clerk, Linda, a creative, original lady who was so genuine and interesting. And, of course, a chance to meet Joan Holub!

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