At the end of last year, I went to a wonderful literary party at Debra Frasier‘s house (of On the Day You Were Born and other fabulous books). The guests of honor were Mem Fox, Lauren Stringer, and Allyn Johnston, the author, illustrator, and editor, respectively, of the beautiful picture book, Tell Me About Your Day Today (Beach Lane Books, 2012).
When I taught 8th-grade English in the very late 80s, Australian author and reading expert Mem Fox came and presented an inservice in my school district. I was a brand new teacher, and she inspired me enormously! It was such a treat to see her again and tell her what an impression she made more than 20 years ago!
Lauren Stringer is a Minnesota illustrator/author whose luminous art makes every picture book she’s involved in beautiful–and this picture book is a perfect example.
Allyn Johnston, Publisher of Beach Lane Books, is so passionate about picture books. I’ve met her briefly several times, and she’s always so smart and down-to earth.
In addition to those literati, just about everybody involved in the Twin Cities publishing world was there. Writers (like Michael Hall, whose book Cat Tale I read while at the party and Susan Marie Swanson and John Coy and about 30 more), editors, the curator of the Kerlan Collection–everyone! It was a little intimidating, but great fun, too. I couldn’t stay long, and I’m usually terrible at cocktail parties, but I was so glad I went for a little while. A room full of book lovers catching up in a cozy home on a brisk Minnesota fall night–fantastic.
And Tell Me About Your Day Today, the book that brought the guests of honor together, is just gorgeous. In it, a little boy shares stories of his day with his stuffed animals, and they share their stories with him. I generally focus on text and that’s where I want the story to happen. (Wordless picture books just don’t do it for me.) But in this case, much of the action happens in the art. The text is great, and it’s necessary, but the humor and drama is largely in the art. And it totally works. It’s a super bedtime story and a great example of point of view and how the same events look from different points of view.
The pictures below are not too flattering, and I apologize for that. The lights were low, and my iPhone photo skills are limited. But here are a few shots that remind me of this fun celebration: