Let’s Toot the Horn of our Award-Winning Author, Donna Love!

Author Donna Love has become a USA Best Book Awards Finalist for her latest picture book, The Glaciers are Melting!

USABookNews.com is an online publicaion that provides coverage for books from mainstream and independent publishers to the online community of the world.  JPX Media Group, in Los Angeles, California, is the parent company of USABookNews.com.

Jeffrey Keen, President and CEO of USA Book News, said that this year’s contest yielded an unprecedented number of entries, which were then narrowed down to over 500 winners and finalists. 

This is now the ninth year that these awards have been distributed.  Keen says, “The 2011 results represent a phenomenal mix of books from a wide array of publishers throughout the United States.  With a full publicity and marketing campaign promoting the results of the USA ‘Best Books’ Awards, this year’s winners and finalists will gain additional media coverage for the upcoming holiday retail season.”

The Glaciers are Melting! deals with the story of Peter Pika, who is certain that the glaciers are melting after a drop of water falls on his head.  He decides to go speak to the Mountain Monarch about it.  Joined along the way by friends Tammy Ptarmigan, Sally Squirrel, Mandy Marmot, and Harry Hare, they all wonder what will happen to them if the glaciers melt.  Where will they live, how will they survive?  When Wiley Wolverine tries to trick them, can the Mountain Monarch save them?  More importantly, can the Mountain Monarch stop the glaciers from melting?

Donna Love is an award-winning author whose husband is a district ranger on the Lolo National Forest.  Two of their three children are now in college.  In addition to The Glaciers are Melting!, Donna’s other books include Henry the Impatient Heron, Loons, Diving Birds of the North, and Awesome Ospreys, Fishing Birds of the World. Awesome Ospreys became a Skipping Stones Press Honor Award Winner in 2006, for promoting ecological understanding and cooperation around the world. With a background in art education, Donna substitute teaches at the elementary and high school level. Throughout her years as a substitute and while raising her own children, she found she had a gift for explaining nature to children. She and her husband have three grown children and one grandchild.

If you are interested in learning more information about Love visit her website at www.donnalove.com. Check out more one her book, The Glaciers are Melting! through our homepage.

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Sylvan Dell’s “Fur and Feathers” is a 2012 Teacher’s Choice Award for Children’s Books Winner!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learning Magazine has selected Fur and Feathers by Janet Halfmann and illustrated by Laurie Allen Klein, as a 2012 9th annual Teacher’s Choice Award for Children’s Books winner! 

The Teacher’s Choice Award is determined by a team of teachers from across the United States.  They judge the entries and provide reviews.  Sylvan Dell’s book, Champ’s Story: Dogs Get Cancer Too!  had the privilege of winning the Teacher’s Choice for the Family Award in November of 2011.  This is the only award that requires its judges to be both a teacher and a parent.  Winning titles are chosen based on qualities such as originality, creativity, safety and durability, and high-interest level and motivation for children. 

In Fur and Feathers, a young girl named Sophia dreams that strong winds whisk the fur and feathers right off her animal friends.  She decides to share some clothes with them, but as it turns out, her clothes don’t work so well on animals.  She offers to sew each one the “right” coat, and the animals line up to explain what they need and why.  Polar Bear needs white fur to stay warm and hide in the snow.  Fish needs scales, but with slime.  How will Sophia make a prickly coat for Porcupine?  This book brings animal coverings to life in an imaginative way.

Janet Halfmann is the award-winning author of more than thirty children’s books, both fiction and non-fiction.  Her other recent titles include Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea, Good Night, Little Sea Otter, Little Black Ant on Park Street, and Seven Miles to Freedom: The Robert Smalls Story.  Janet is a memeber of the Society of Chidlren’s Book Writers and Illustrators.  Before becoming a children’s author, she was a daily newspaper reporter, children’s magazine editor, and a creator of coloring and activity books for Golden Books.  For more information, visit her website: http://www.janethalfmann.com

Laurie Allen Klein has been a freelance aritst for nearly 20 years.  Over the last several years, she has worked as the on-staff artist for a marine park, where she does everything from painting life-size sea animal murals, to illustrating children’s activity books.  In addition to Fur and Feathers, Laurie also illustrated Where Should Turtle Be?, the award-winning Little Skink’s Tail, and If a Dolphin Were a Fish for Sylvan Dell.  Her website can be visited at http://www.lauriekleinart.com/.

Quick Q & A With Illustrator Susan Detwiler

Susan Detwiler is the award-winning illustrator of several picture books, including Pandas’ Earthquake Escape (Mom’s Choice Award), One Wolf Howls (Nautilus Book Award), and the new spring 2011 release Big Cat, Little Kitty for Sylvan Dell Publishing. She very kindly agreed to answer a few questions for the SD blog.

You have a very creative professional background—what led you to children’s illustration? 

I have loved making art from early childhood, and was always attracted to books with great illustrations. By the time I was in high school I decided that being a professional illustrator was my goal. I went to the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and studied graphic design and illustration. While I was a student I worked part-time as a sign painter. After that I got a job in the art department of a printing company, where I learned about how artwork is reproduced. Eventually, I was hired as a staff illustrator for an advertising agency and while I worked there I also began freelancing at night and on weekends. I liked freelance work so much that I decided to do it exclusively. My favorite assignments are for children’s publishing and so I seek them out, with help I have found from the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators.

What type of medium do you use for your illustrations? Any particular reason you prefer this?

Pencil is my favorite medium for drawing, but I like watercolor and gouache for painting, and I enjoy drawing in ink, either with a pen or a brush. The illustrations for One Wolf Howls were done in watercolor on Strathmore illustration board, but Pandas’ Earthquake Escape was done entirely in soft pastel on variously colors of paper, which was a fun departure from my usual style. For Big Cat, Little Kitty, I combined the two — I applied pastel details to watercolor paintings — because I wanted the colors to be vibrant. Also, I have become more adept at digital media, and use it to augment my images.

How much research do you do when getting ready for a book?

I spend a lot of time at the beginning of a book assignment doing research at the library and online. I like to have many photographs in front of me when I work so that I can fully understand the structure, texture, and light/shadows of what I am trying to depict. It also helps to know other details about the subject, so along with gathering pictures I also read about what I am illustrating. 

What is the most frequently asked question you are asked as an illustrator?

I am often asked how long it takes me to do an illustration. Each spread takes several weeks from start to finish.

Any tips for aspiring artists?

Make art often and practice different styles by mimicking your favorite artists’ work. Eventually you will have a style that is all your own. Use your ability to make images wherever possible in school, to illustrate reports, make posters for school events, etc.

What is your favorite aspect of the illustration process?

My ideas feed off the ideas of others. When I am given an exciting assignment, my head fills with images and I cannot wait to start to work in the morning. Each new job is an exciting challenge; sometimes I can hardly believe how lucky I am to get paid to do this! My new goal is that my pictures touch people in the same way that I was affected by the illustrations I saw as a child.

Be sure to check out Susan’s website at http://www.susandetwiler.com/
For more information about any of Susan’s Sylvan Dell titles, be sure to visit www.SylvanDellPublishing.com.