Ten writers for children. All with something to say.


All My Days Were Circus Days! (almost!)

Painting Tumbleweed!
Most of this summer I spent painting the sets for SHOWDOWN, Circus Juventas's summer show set in the dust and tumbleweeds of the Wild West. I find many similarities between painting the illustrations for a picture book and painting sets. For instance, when I finish the illustrations they are merely a set of paintings-- and cannot be a book until the publisher, printer, art director, designers, and marketing all come together to turn it into a picture book...

When I paint the sets for circus they are not much to look at until performers, directors, coaches, lighting, sound, and choreographers all come together to bring them to life. And that is exactly what these talented performers do-- bring them to life in a big and breath-taking way! 

Wall Tramp- the final shoot-out in Showdown!
7 man pyramid on the high wire!
My son Cooper on the German Wheel (photo: Bill Raab)
Circus is truly the way I spend my summers as long as my son performs with them. I love writing the script in the fall, collaborating with the Artistic Director of Circus Juventas. I love designing the sets and working with hundreds of other volunteer parents making the entire show come together over three weekends- twenty performances! It is definitely a contrast to the quiet isolation of the studio.

But summer ended in a blink this year with only a week between the final circus performance and the beginning of my son's junior year in high school. Cooper started at Perpich High School for the Arts this fall and it was an excellent move for him. Just last week I saw my daughter off at the airport on her 8 month long adventure. Her trip begins in London working as an intern with Tender, a human rights program that uses theatre and the arts in the schools to educate young people about abusive relationships. After three months of interning, she will travel to France, Spain, Morocco, Italy and who knows? If you want to follow her travels, her blog is: wanderment

My life in picture books returned with excitement for my new book, Tell Me About Your Day Today, written by Mem Fox. It received a starred review in PW and a write-up in the NY Times which was a lovely way to start a book in the world! Like David and John, I spent a wonderful day at the Minnesota State Fair in the Alphabet Forest.

Sharing activities with Fair Goers
I never feel as if a book is properly launched until it has a birthday party. Once again I painted the 10 foot window at the Red Balloon Bookshop and a party with cake was held in honor of the book just last week.

Painted window at the Red Balloon
A delicious Cake! Happy Birthday Book!
With children and a book launched I am ready to settle into fall plans. I have begun the script for next year's circus show. I am in the sketching and storyboard stage for my next illustrated book, Deer Dancer, written by Mary Lyn Ray. I am beginning marketing plans for When Stravinsky Met Nijinsky which comes out next March. And I am quietly finding time to write stories of my own. Fall means time. I am glad to welcome time to my studio again.


john said...

What beautiful work Lauren and what a rich summer for you. I'm amazed your Stravinsky book is coming so soon. That's a remarkable achievement. I look forward to getting over to the Red Balloon to see your new book and your new window.

Christy said...

Lauren! Wow! You fit so much into your life. Congrats on those gorgeous sets as well as your many publications.

Your kids sound like they are pursuing wonderfully creative paths too.

Edie Hemingway said...

Lauren, one of these summers I'm going to get to Circus Juventas! I guess I'd better hurry before Cooper graduates. And congratulations on the latest acclaim for TELL ME ABOUT YOUR DAY TODAY. My best wishes to both your creative and adventurous children!

David LaRochelle said...

Your new book is beautiful, Lauren, and I was so pleased I was able to get a signed copy today for my great niece, Lauren.

I'm sad that I had to miss this year's Circus performance, but I'm hoping next summer will give me a little more freedom. What an enormous gift you give them with all the volunteer work you do.

Christy is so right: you fit a LOT into your life!

mark said...

I love hearing about the circus, Lauren (even when I'm a week overdue in commenting!). You've mentioned before that the sets are destroyed after the shows end, but now I'm wondering what happens to the scripts you write? As an aficionado of all things "Old West" I'm curious to know if it's something I can read....

And congratulations on your various publications and projects. Of course, my comments would not be complete without mention of that tasty-looking cake.

I know the first thing I'm doing when my first novel is published: order the cake!