Last year my picture book, A PERFECT HOME FOR A FAMILY, went out of print at the same time it was selected by CBC (Children’s Book Council) for its 2015 Gifts Galore list. I retrieved my rights and Roberta Angaramo did the same for her charming illustrations.
I sent out a query to another publisher to bring the book back into print. I received an expression of interest for the story only, which would be re-illustrated by an artist they had in mind. Roberta and I decided we didn’t want to split up so I passed. She then tried a publisher in South Korea, Kyowon CO., LTD. Yesterday we received a contract offer for a Korean translation of our book with a first printing of 8,000 copies. I have a few questions to resolve but am hopeful that we’ll reach an agreement and sign an amended contract soon.
I’m particularly pleased because I’ve never been translated in Korean before. My books and poems have been translated by seventeen publishers into nine languages (including four times in Japanese, three times in German, and twice in Lithuanian) since THE BOY WITH A DRUM came out in Japanese in 1969, but never in Korean before. Other translations have come out in Africa, Norway, Israel, Netherlands, Italy, and France. My poetry has been published in English in India, France, and elsewhere.
I’ve been blessed to work with many gifted artists over the years. This morning I happened to pull down A THOUSAND COUSINS, illustrated in 1996 by Betsy Lewin. The cover shows a crowd of faces, all cousins no doubt. Each face is different and alive and funny, made so my just the right dot here, crooked line there, raised brow, tongue out — all tricks of the trade and none of which I could pull off.
Above my desk are two paintings, one by Chris Demarest from WHEN COWS COME HOME and one by Dan Burr from PIRATES. I always smile at Chris’s picture of a clueless farmer looking the other way while his cows are breaking out of the barn behind his back. Dan’s haunting image of a marooned pirate makes me feel sorry for the guy even though he had done terrible things. Totally different styles to help bring two very different books to life. On my desk are two framed drawings by Rob Shepperson who always brings his special brand of humor to his characters through body language, expression, activities, and general attitude. BUGS is one of my favorites.
Hans Wilhelm’s characters frolic through A MONSTER IS COMING! a story for the very young. Roberta Angaramo’s raccoons invite you into their world in A PERFECT HOME FOR A FAMILY.
Currently I’m working with Giles Laroche on our second book. Our first, NOW YOU SEE THEM, NOW YOU DON’T, comes out in a few weeks and we’re already deep into another project. I love how Giles goes about his craft through cutting paper, gluing pieces into a picture, and painting the result.
The list goes on but my point is that every artist is special and brings his or her own particular talent to bear on the writer’s work. Words on a manuscript page leap to life in ways that I never see coming. I have rarely been disappointed in my collaborations.
So today I salute all those talented artists who represent the other half of the team. We don’t always meet but the success of our partnership has everything to do with the way our readers see, understand, and enjoy the finished effort. I can’t do what you can, but I’m grateful that you can!
BULLETIN: B.J. Lee just added a new ekphrastic poem in response to Steven Withrow’s challenge posted on December 10. Scroll down and check it out.
I’ve been asked to post the cover of my picture book, which is due out on January 7. Here’s a peek. The link to Amazon is http://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Home-Family-David-Harrison/dp/0823423387/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1356014101&sr=8-1&keywords=a+perfect+home+for+a+family+david+harrison and the link to Barnes & Noble is http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-perfect-home-for-a-family-david-l-harrison/1029278460?ean=9780823423385 .
As I’ve said before, Roberta Angaramo’s artwork is sensational! We hope to do something else together one of these days.
Keep those Christmas poems and memories coming. I got another one yesterday.
BULLETIN: The new word of the month for December is WINDOW.
As I was leaving town for Portland last week the mail brought an f&g copy of my new picture book, A PERFECT HOME FOR A FAMILY. I’m delighted by the gorgeous artwork by Italian artist Roberta Angaramo (http://www.robertaangaramo.com/index.html ) It’s due for release on January 7. I’m sorry it isn’t available for Christmas but you can order it now for shipment as soon as it’s available. Here’s a link on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Home-Family-David-Harrison/dp/0823423387/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354278561&sr=8-1&keywords=a+perfect+home+for+a+family+by+david+l+harrison . I apologize for not making these links live. Something has gone wrong with my computer and I haven’t figured out yet how to fix the problems.
Some of you know the story behind this book. Three years ago raccoons moved into our attic. We eventually had to replace the roof in the process of ridding ourselves of the constant nightly patter of little feet. I wondered what they were thinking up there and decided that they were just as unhappy as we were. Who wants an infestation of people in the basement? I hope I make enough from this book to pay for that new roof!