Ten writers for children. All with something to say.


Summer's Summary

How comforting to return to our One Potato... Ten! blog after a summer of launches! It started early last June with the graduation of my daughter from high school, which began the launching of her towards Oberlin College where she began classes just last week. The next launch was my new book, The Princess and Her Panther. The author, Wendy Orr, arrived all the way from Australia just on time for a celebration at one of our local independents, The Red Balloon Bookshop. Making a tent of red silk fabric, inspired from the story, Wendy read from the book while I used shadow puppets on the tent wall behind her to add to the drama of the night time camp-out scenes. We also presented at various other venues. For our more formal presentations, I created a movie of the book, with music composed by my husband, Matthew Smith, (pictured here with Wendy Orr and myself), and a wonderful reading of the story by Wendy, with her lovely Australian accent.

After successfully launching our book, I rushed Wendy to the airport then rushed to the Circus. When I am not writing and illustrating picture books, I am writing the script and designing and painting sets for the fabulous Circus Juventas! -- a youth circus school in St. Paul. This year's August show, which features their most advanced performers was SAWDUST. The story was based loosely on the book, Water for Elephants, but was set during the Golden Age of the American Circus, just before the Depression.
Sawdust was launched with great success! There were nineteen performances to sold-out audiences. I tried to usher as many shows as possible to see the script and sets come to life. These kids are amazing performers. I have come to see my work at Circus Juventas as bringing a story to life- like a giant picture book! (Also, my son performs with Circus Juventas. He is the clown in the poster.)
There were other events, including reading from my books on the Lake Harriet Trolley in Minneapolis. It happened to be the hottest, humid-est day of the summer (ending with tornados!) so after reading from my new book, I read from my books, Winter is the Warmest Season and Snow, just to cool us off!

I did have time for reading too- every morning with my cup of tea, my best reading time. Some favorite books are:
THE BOG CHILD and THE LONDON EYE MYSTERY, by Siobahn Dowd. I had read her book, A SWIFT PURE CRY, two years ago and was so moved by the story and Dowd's gorgeous writing that I was determined to read all of her books. She tragically died of breast cancer too young, but has left her mark on children's literature, winning the Carnegie Medal posthumously for THE BOG CHILD, among many, many other awards.
Another book I enjoyed and found provocative was LIFE AFTER GENIOUS, by M. Ann Jacoby. A quirky first YA novel about a boy genius who drops out of college at 16 and tries to re-enter normal family life, with a lot of emotional fall-out for all of the characters.
These books along with others wove in and out of a very full summer. At last it is fall. My studio is cleaned up and ready to begin my next illustrated book, Tell Me About Your Day Today, by Mem Fox.


Mark said...

A very busy summer! Congratulations on the play and your new book launch, and thanks for the reading recommendations.

Diane Adams said...

Circus Juvenitas is so fortunate to have you as their resident writer/creator, Lauren! What magical memories these children will carry with them for the rest of their lives.

(Sorry I jumped in on your day!)

Edie said...

Oh my, Lauren, what an amazing summer you have had! Congratulations on your many launches--including launching your daughter off to Oberlin (my mother went there, too). Can't wait to look for your newest book.

David LaRochelle said...

I was lucky enough to catch your Red Balloon performance and this year's (always) entertaining Circus show, but I'm sorry I missed you on the trolley. What a wonderful venue for reading children's books! I wasn't aware of this program. And a huge congratulations for your next project; what a spectacular team you and Mem Fox are going to make!

P.S. Yikes, my reading list is growing long!

Edie said...

Lauren, do you have a link to the movie you've made of your book? Sounds wonderful--especially with the music composed by your husband!

Stephanie said...

I was reading all that, thinking about what to comment, when I got to the end and all the words flew out of my head. Mem Fox! WOW!!

Christy said...

Life is full and rich for you! Wish I could see your circus (loved Water for Elephants). Congrats on all your launches--they seem to be continuing as you launch into your next book project.

Lauren said...

Edie, there is no link yet to the movie I made. I am still negotiating with Simon & Schuster. In Australia, Allen & Unwin is working on a partial short of it to put on their website. I will let you know when it is up.
Thanks for all of your comments- it has been a very full summer. David, it was so fun to have you at the Red Balloon event. Wendy really enjoyed meeting you. And yes, the story by Mem Fox is exciting- a gorgeous story to work with.

Lauren said...

One more thing...
David, the Trolley reading is wonderful and sponsored by Wild Rumpus books. They sell tickets and all of the proceeds go to the Lake Harriet Trolley Museum. The kids come in their pajamas and get milk and cookies, then ride the trolley-- it is wonderful!