Friday, March 18, 2011

Viva Picture Book Biographies!

JANICE:  The March/April issue of Horn Book, "Fact, Fiction, and In Between," grabbed my attention and did not let go until I read it through. The combination of fact and fiction is my beloved territory for both reading and writing.

The article, "What Makes a Good Picture Book Biography?" by Viki Ash and Thom Barthelmess was of  special interest to me. Admittedly I am disappointed that our picture book, I, Vivaldi, was not one of the examples. However, I am consoled by the fact that 12,500 children chose it as a 2008 International Reading Association Children's Choices book. Like Margarita Engle in Summer Birds, I told the story in first person which enabled me to express my passion for the music Vivaldi wrote.
Meanwhile Tom studied Canaletto's paintings among others in his research. Thus, when a Kirkus reviewer said, "Giving Canaletto a run for his money, the illustrator sets expressive, natural-looking figures against golden-toned backdrops of 17th-century Venice's rich interiors, splendid vistas, opulent churches and serene canals," Tom was wowed.

** Basilica San Marco, Venice, by Tom Shefelman — From I, Vivaldi **