Marc Simont: The Beautiful Planet: Ours to Lose

978-1935212-09-6 – Easton Studio Press – Paperback – $15.00

The Beautiful Planet: Ours To Lose is an impassioned anti-war cartoon book by one of America’s foremost illustrators. Marc Simont’s drawings, taken from five decades of editorial cartooning, capture the essence of a brooding Nixon, a smiling Reagan, a bland Bush One, and a dumbfounded Bush Two as they prosecute their wars. Simont’s fierce portrayals of the Military-Industrial Complex are intimately linked to his passionate indignity on behalf of all civilians, soldiers, and prisoners who have suffered.

Continually struck by the majesty of the planet as it floats in space like a jewel, Simont asks, will it survive?

 Born in Paris in 1915 to Catalonian parents (his father was himself a world renowned illustrator), Marc Simont spent his childhood in France, Spain and finally the United States, where he settled in 1934. After serving time in the U.S. Army during World War II, Simont went on to illustrate over a hundred books working with a wide range of authors, including Margaret Wise Brown, Red Smith, and James Thurber.  Simont received the Caldecott Medal in 1957 for his illustrations to A Tree is Nice by Janice May Udry and a Caldecott Honor in 1950 for The Happy Day by Ruth Krauss.

 He is the author/illustrator of seven books, most recently The Stray Dog (2001), which won yet another Caldecott Honor, was chosen by The New York Times as one of the ten best illustrated books of the year, became an ALA Notable Children’s Book and received the Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book Award.

Internationally acclaimed for its grace, humor and beauty, Marc Simont’s art is in collections as far afield as the Kijo Picture Book Museum in Japan.  He was chosen as the 1997 Illustrator of the Year in his native Catalonia and received the Hunter College James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism in 2008.

Interviewing Marc about this terrific book was a special occasion for me.  I love the illustrations he has done for so many exceptional children’s books, many of which I know well, having read them to my own children.   I was lucky to have the opportunity to work with him in producing The Beautiful Planet, which collects the pithy, humane and piercing political cartoons he has been making and publishing in The Lakeville Journal since the 1940′s.  In this conversation, we talked about his early life, coming to America, his early work as an illustrator, his many well known collaborators, and of course his political cartoons that are collected here in this, his newest book. Marc’s approach is never to attack, but always to expose fallibility.  He is a wonderful man whose work is marked by a love for humanity and an appreciation for actual human beings; he is a true humanist and a brilliant artist.

Publishing Talks: David Wilk interviews Brian O’Leary

December 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Children's Authors, PublishingTalks

brian-olearyIn this series of interviews, called Publishing Talks, I am talking to book industry professionals who have varying perspectives and thoughts about the future of publishing, books, and culture.  This is a period of disruption and change for all media businesses.

Publishing has been a crucial part of human culture for as long as people have been writing and reading.  How will publishing evolve as our culture is affected by technology, climate change, population density, and the ebb and flow of civilization and its economics? Publishing Talks interviews help us understand the outlines of what is happening, and how we might ourselves interact with and influence the future of publishing as it unfolds. Publishing Talks interviews give people in the book business a chance to talk about ideas and concerns in a public forum that are often only talked about “around the water cooler,” at industry conventions and events, and in emails between friends.

This series of talks will give people inside and outside the book industry a chance to hear about some of the thoughts, ideas and concepts that are currently being discussed by engaged individuals within the industry.

Brian O’Leary is a publishing industry consultant with broad and intelligent experience in books and magazines and who operates Magellan Media Partners.  Brian is a thinker and researcher whose writing about publishing I have always found interesting and solidly grounded in data and its intelligent analysis and application.  As he says, he tries to help publishers work faster, better and smarter.  His (shortened) bio: In addition to his consulting assignments, O’Leary is the author of a research report on the impact of free content and digital piracy on paid book sales, as well as the editor and primary contributor for a study of the use of XML in book publishing.  Both reports were published by O’Reilly Media in 2009.  Brian was a senior executive at Hammond, and prior to that spent a dozen years working for Time, Inc.  He earned an A.B. in chemistry from Harvard College and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

In this interview Brian and I talked in depth about his very interesting work in analyzing the impact of piracy on books sales, the lack of real data in the book business, and his compelling views about the future of publishing in a digital environment.

P.W. Catanese – Happenstance Found (The Books of Umber Series)

June 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Children's Authors, Fiction

fc97814169751991978-1416975199 – Hardcover

Aladdin (Simon & Schuster) $16.99

P.W. Catanese is the author of a number of books for children and young adults who lives in Connecticut.  In this podcast, Writerscast host David Wilk interviews Catanese, who talks in detail about his life as a writer, his earlier series of fairy tale retellings for younger readers, and his latest novel, the excellent Happenstance Found, which is the first in a new series he has created called The Books of Umber.  The novel opens with Happenstance, a strange boy of undetermined age, waking up in a cave with no memories of who he is or anything about the fantastic world in which he lives. He soon encounters Lord Umber, an adventurer who seems familiar with our world as well as his own, and his two companions — a brute cursed to be forever truthful and a one-handed artist and archer… As the group attempts to learn about his origins, they’re forced to confront a supernatural assassin and secrets from Umber’s own mysterious past.  The world Catanese creates in this novel is highly compelling; his new series should appeal both to adults who love a good fantasy and to the younger readers to whom it is aimed.

Tony Abbott-The Postcard-a Mystery within a Mystery-Pt 2

March 21, 2009 by  
Filed under Children's Authors, Fiction

33331868978-0316011723 (Hardcover)
Little Brown Young Readers, $15.99
(paperback is due out in May 2009)

Writerscast host David Wilk interviews Tony Abbott, the author of over 60 books for young readers, including the extremely popular Droon series, which has sold over 4.5 million books, and the Golden Kite winner Firegirl.

This is part two of Wilk and Abbott’s in depth and wide ranging conversation about books and writing. Wilk and Abbott talk extensively about Tony’s latest book, The Postcard , an exciting and well written mystery set in Florida in the sixties that is based to a great extent on Tony’s experiences visiting there as a child. They also talk about some of Abbott’s many other books and how his newest projects are developing. Abbott’s many fans will find this a great opportunity to get to know him as a writer and person. Part One of their conversation was posted earlier in March 2009.

Tony Abbott – The Postcard – a Mystery within a Mystery

March 11, 2009 by  
Filed under Children's Authors, Fiction

33331868978-0316011723 (Hardcover)
Little Brown Young Readers, $15.99
(paperback is due out in May 2009)

Writerscast host David Wilk interviews Tony Abbott, the author of over 60 books for young readers, including the extremely popular Droon series, which has sold over 4.5 million books, and the Golden Kite winner Firegirl.

This is part one of Wilk and Abbott’s in depth and wide ranging conversation about books and writing. Abbott talks about what he did before he became a full time writer and discusses in detail his writing methods and how he develops ideas that turn into books. Wilk and Abbott talk extensively about Tony’s latest book, The Postcard , an exciting and well written mystery set in Florida in the sixties that is based to a great extent on Tony’s experiences visiting there as a child. Abbott’s many fans will find this a great opportunity to get to know him as a writer and person. Part Two of their conversation will be posted soon.

Interview with Alan Katz

January 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Children's Authors, Poetry

goinggoinggonekatz
Going, Going, Gone!: And Other Silly Dilly Sports Songs
Alan Katz and David Catrow
ISBN# 978-1416906964
Simon & Schuster, Hardcover $16.99

The first WritersCast podcast of 2009 has host David Wilk interviewing author humorist Alan Katz, author of more than 20 books for children and adults. His newest book is Going, Going, Gone, coming in February 2009. Wilk and Katz talk about a wide range of subjects, including Katz’s writing methods and experience as a writer. Alan Katz gives his first public performance of songs from his newest book.