Friday, January 30, 2015

Newbery Honor Author/Illustrator Eugene Yelchin in Middle Shelf Magazine

As soon as I could hold a pencil, I began to draw. Soviet Russia where I was born was a perilous place to a growing child, so drawing provided a safe heaven. My pictures depicted fictional worlds full of adventure and risk-taking yet perfectly safe because it was not our communist leaders but I who controlled the outcome.  By the time I was ten, I was writing and illustrating my own books with character types and genre tropes lifted from adventure books I found in my dad’s library.

Official Soviet art was strictly realistic, and intuitively I resisted a formal art training. I knew that in an art school I would be taught by imitating reality, but Soviet reality was so oppressive that I had no desire to imitate it. Instead, I gravitated toward theatre, a place of magic and imagination. I graduated from St. Petersburg Academy of Theatre Arts and became a stage designer. I worked for wonderfully old, esteemed stage companies in St. 

To read the complete interview and the entire Jan/Feb issue of Middle Shelf Magazine, click HERE.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Interview with Sandra Waugh on The Enchanted Inkpot

And now, it is my great pleasure to introduce my fellow inkpot member, the immensely talented Sandra Waugh!
As you know, I loved LARK RISING! How did you come up with such an interesting and fresh premise?  
That a hawk stopped by on my porch one morning is old news by now, but truly—that was what that tied together loose threads of a story I’d been trying to understand. I sat down and wrote the first pages based on that brief moment and the rest followed, fleshed out over many, many lawnmowings (I think it’s also old news that I work out my stories while mowing the lawn!).  I followed a classic fantasy trajectory but hopefully (as you say!) from a fresh perspective.  It follows from all that mowing that so much of the story is about Nature and the fragility of Balance.

To read the rest of the interview on "The Enchanted Inkpot," click HERE.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Checking Out Jean Little Library

Eleven-year old Dinah isn't very hopeful about her feckless mother's newest venture; moving them into an abandoned and condemned old house at the behest of her newest boyfriend, Gomer. However, she slowly becomes invested in the vast, ancient house, especially when she discovers the animals along the wall come to life and protect her.

Or are they holding her prisoner? As the year wanes and Christmas approaches, Dinah sinks deeper and deeper into her fantasy world, trying to create the happy family she desperately wants but deep inside knows is impossible. In the end, not even her new friends can save her; only Dinah's determination and spirit give her a chance to break away from the past and find a family for herself.

To read the complete post at "Jean Little Library," click HERE.

Saturday, January 24, 2015


For Eleanor, in the middle-grade range: Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library, by Chris Grabenstein. This is a book for book-lovers, game-players, and decoders, which makes it an excellent fit. Twelve 12-year-olds are invited to the grand opening of a huge, state-of-the-art library designed by eccentric game-making genius Luigi Lemoncello. They're locked in for an overnight party, and the next morning discover that the game will go on: anyone who chooses to stay has 24 hours to find their way out, using clues and puzzles hidden around the library.

To read the complete post from "Annie and Aunt," click HERE.