Monthly Archives: October 2009

Iranian Children’s Literature

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Last week, I went to a Sufi (a sect of Islam) whirling ritual for my Iranian cinema class. Know the term whirling dervishes?  Yep, I did that (minus the really sweet skirts)!  It was completely outside the range of anything I had ever seen or experienced, as it was the first time I had ever been to a worship service outside of the Christian faith.

I was completely struck by the conclusion that no matter how foreign the traditions are, the act of prayer is still the same in any culture.  The prayers, minus the Arabic, sounded so familiar that I could have been with someone close to me, in a place where I felt comfortable (like Camp Calumet!). The evening completely reinforced my personal belief that, no matter what faith you practice, all religions are just many paths to the same big guy upstairs.

This got me to wondering (of course)… what is their children’s lit like? I found a great research project in Iran devoted to just this topic.  WIth such a rich artistic and poetic culture, it’s no surprise that there is much Persian literature relating to children.

Then, I found an INCREDIBLE site (thanks to this blog!), called the International Digital Children’s Library, where you can read entire books – and their illustrations – from ANY country in the world!   BLEW MY MIND.  I could go into this for hours, but here’s just a few Persian/Farsi books (pictured above), whose drawings I LOVED:

Classic:  Book of Anecdotes by Hosayn Mo’llem, illustrated by Bahram Khaef. A Collection of Persian classic short stories, with an admonition or moral.

Modern: For You by Farideh Khalatbaree, illustrated by Valeria Valenza. A little girl watched a film that took the actors to the past, so she and her brother make a wish on a lamp to do the same.

There are plenty of other materials for Iranian and Islamic kids, too!  Here are a few great resources I found…

Arab and Muslim Children in Children’s Books

Books for Kids about Ramadan and Islam

Khodahafez!

– ABE


Sneak Peek – Turtles Everywhere!

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Blog friends, take a first look!  Here are some sketches from my latest book project, senior thesis and first collaboration (of hopefully many!) with my madre (author Jennifer A. Ericsson) . . . Turtle and Logger!

Okay, well, the title in progress.  It’s gone from Turtle In Love to Turtle and Logger and the Not-A-Jelly… but we haven’t settled on one that works.  Any suggestions??

The book is an early reader, so with 48 pages, it’s longer than the average picture book, but is still full of easy language and bright pictures on every page.  Think: Henry and Mudge, Frog and Toad, and any book with an “Easy To Read” Level on it.

The story centers on Turtle (name suggestions??), a happy young sea turtle who loves the world around him, especially his dependable rock ledge.  But when he starts running into pieces of litter, and his hungry friend, Logger, almost chokes on one, the two turtles have to find a way to return the things to the land, where they belong!

Right now, I’m deep in sketch phase – I’ve got everything drawn out, but am trying to solve all the “issues” that came up.  My main issues are: 1) trying to get more sea, and less turtles, so that each page is new and exciting, and 2) to rework Logger so that, even though they are similar turtles, they look VERY different from each other.

Well . . . enjoy the sketches, and any help or suggestions would be appreciated!

-ABE

Everyone’s reading: What’s In My Garden?

Guess what is everyone’s new favorite bedtime story*?

What’s In My Garden?, illustrated by Annie Beth Ericsson!

Annie's bookMandy, a Tri-Sigma sister from New Orleans, reading to her 2 1/2 yr old granddaughter, Sophie.  Thanks for the photo, Mandy!

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Me and two best friends, Caitlin-Marie and Rebecca, enjoying a post-book signing reading in our Holiday Inn hotel room in Concord, NH.

Did I mention that they both happen to be super-fierce bloggers?

For extra-sharp copyrighting, sketches and gritty bodega wisdom, check out Caitlin-Marie.

For a refreshingly creative dose of fashion, design and personality, check out Rebecca.

– ABE

*for children under 3 yrs old

That’s Like Me! by Jill Lauren, is out!

Book Designed by Annie Beth Ericsson:

That’s Like Me! Stories About Amazing People With Learning Differences.  By Jill Lauren, foreword by Jerry Pinkney.  (Star Bright Books, $7.95)   ISBN: 978-1-59572-208-9  BUY IT ON AMAZON TODAY

That's Like Me!(Jacket)

In addition to the board books, my first full book design project is also on sale now!  That’s Like Me!, by Jill Lauren, is an uplifting series of success stories, told through the eyes of real children and adults, who have overcome learning differences and achieved their goals.  The book is perfect for children and young adults, particularly 8-12 year olds, who are trying to get through obstacles at school.  Jill has really put together a book that is unlike anything else out there!

Personally, this was a really important book for me.  When I worked on That’s Like Me! this summer as a freelancer, I was faced with a task that was larger than anything I had previously accomplished in design.  It was my first time dealing with a non-fiction project for older readers, and I had to incorporate a lot of text, photos and collage elements in a way that would capture the attention of middle-grade kids.  I also learned a ton about working as a team, drawing from the help of Jill Lauren, editor Rena Grossman, and Star Bright Books to communicate everyone’s vision.  I feel confident that, thanks to working on That’s Like Me!, I have a much better understanding of what it takes to execute your point-of-view as a designer.

It feels amazing, after working so hard on a project like this, to finally hold it in my hands!  Plus, isn’t it’s exciting that the legendary children’s book illustrator, Jerry Pinkney (who is dyslexic) and I both have a stake in the same book?

I hope it does fabulously well and that the stories in this book can help many children struggling with LD!

– ABE

Back on the blog… and my books are out!

Books Illustrated by Annie Beth Ericsson:

What’s In My Garden? A Book Of Colors (Star Bright Books, $6.25)   ISBN: 978-1-59572-166-2   BUY IT ON AMAZON TODAY

What’s In My Toybox? A Book Of Shapes (Star Bright Books, $6.25)  ISBN: 978-1-59572-164-8  BUY IT ON AMAZON TODAY

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While I’ve been away, there has been much exciting news!  Most importantly, my first two books that I’ve illustrated have been published, and are on sale now!  What’s In My Toybox? and What’s In My Garden? are two in a series of interactive board books.  Children can learn simple shapes and colors by pulling out bright toys and veggies from the pocket on each page.

For anyone with kids (or future kids!) in my target age bracket of 0-3 years, check them out on Amazon!  The books are also available in bilingual Spanish/English. I’d be happy to sign and return any copies for friends, family or… fans?

As the word has gotten out, I am so thankful to have had some publicity for my little board books!  In September, I traveled to my hometown of Concord, NH, for a book signing at Gibson’s Bookstore (plenty of photos to come).  And I have been so excited to have an overwhelming amount of support from the women in my sorority, Sigma Sigma Sigma.  They even put a news article about it on their website!

More recent news in future posts…

-ABE

(NOTE: I know I’ve lapsed from updating this (bad blogger, bad blogger…), but I’m back, and I promise that I’ll be here to stay.  Consider it an early New Year’s resolution.)