Thursday, August 9, 2012

Antoinette Portis

Another workshop I attended at the SCBWI 2012 Summer Conference was with Antoinette Portis. Antoinette wrote and illustrated the charming and very popular Not A Box and A Penguin Story.

When Antoinette spoke of a child's imagination, she mentioned Bill Watterson, of Calvin and Hobbes. She highly recommended Stitches by David Small.

She also listed her reasons of why she (we) makes children's books. To sum up what I got from it, kids' books are made to be read aloud, made for "picture readers," and good ones are written for the target age group but also have plenty to acknowledge and entertain the reader (the adult). Kids' books tell the truth. They speak to children. A book she recommended that finds the right balance, and speaks the truth to kids and adults is Owl Moon by Jane Yolen, illustrator John Schoenherr.

Antoinette's books are beautifully designed, thoughtful and inspiring. She has a high sense of what is right and has even pulled a book back to redo it after it had been approved because she felt that there was an ethical error. As she quoted, "With great power comes great responsibility" attributable to Voltaire, not Spider Man.

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