Storyfest at the Virginia Festival of the Book

This year, in addition to visiting schools, I gave a book talk as part of Va Book's Storyfest line-up. It was a rainy day, but we had a lovely group of families. Here are a few pictures, taken by my dad, our photographer for the day.

Coloring sheets for all:

Artwork on display:

Talking to kids about how to make a book:

Drawing demo:

Kids making their own illustrations:

And coloring in my drawings:

A quiet moment at the end of the day:

Festival interview

Just returned from a busy week in Virginia at the Festival of the Book. More on that soon! In the meantime, here is a clip from an interview I did for the local news while I was in Charlottesville. It was a total thrill being on a real news set... watching the weather guy in front of the green screen, the anchors chatting casually the second they cut to commercial, how all the graphics and pieces came together to create what you see on screen. One of the anchors spent each of the commercial breaks either surfing the web or texting. I guess once you're used to being on tv you have to fill up that time somehow. Anyhow, I had a blast. I hope it shows. Please pardon my frog voice (I had a cold).

Virginia Festival of the Book

Next week I will be packing up the car and heading south for the Virginia Festival of the Book. It takes place in my hometown of Charlottesville, so it's always a mix of visiting friends and family, visiting schools, giving book talks, and enjoying an early dose of spring. In the past I've flown down. But this year Bruno and Tilda will join me and given the mountain of stuff a traveling baby requires, we decided to drive. I am mildly terrified of 10 hours in the car with a toddler, but very excited about the festival.

This year I'll be visiting 5 schools (including the first elementary school I ever attended!), giving a couple of weekend events, and will be interviewed on the local news. I grew up watching my hometown news, so that will be an extra thrill.

If you are in the area, the festival is well worth checking out with hundreds of events around town. But most especially, come join me if you can for these gatherings:

Making a Picture Book with Anna Alter
Sat. March 24th, 2012 - 10:00 AM

A StoryFest Event! Anna Alter shares her latest picture book. Children learn how a book is created from start to finish and then participate in their own art project. Original artwork from Anna's books will be on display. Anna's own books available for purchasing and signing.

CitySpace--Charlottesville Community Design Center
100 5th Street NE

Book Signing at Alakazam
Sun. March 25th, 2012 - 1:00 PM

Author and illustrator Anna Alter shares her book A Photo for Greta and an art activity with her Alakazam fans.

Alakazam Toys and Gifts
100 E Main St

Getting ready

Next week I'm headed to Virginia and New Jersey for some book talk fun. In one week I will give 4 school visits as part of the Virginia Festival of the Book, 1 college lecture at James Madison University, two presentations at the New Jersey Association of Kindergarten Educator's spring conference, and attend a fabulous book party. A busy week for sure.

To get ready I've printed bunches of school visit brochures to give out to teachers, bookmarks to give out to kids, and just made this new book plate design:

Sometimes schools don't have all the books they've ordered when I come for a visit, or there is not time to sign all the copies at an event... so I these are for those who want a signed book but didn't get one.

Do you have a copy of one of my books and want it signed? If so just send me an email (and then a self addressed stamped envelope) and I'll send you one of these!

Virginia Festival of the Book

I am just settling back into Boston after a lovely in week in Charlottesville (my hometown) at the Virginia Festival of the Book. It wasn't quite as warm as other years, I didn't get to wear flip-flops like last year, but we did hit 70 on Wednesday! And I got to see some flowers in bloom before returning to the arctic north. Here is a little preview of spring for those of you weathering March in New England:

I was especially pleased to see these, clearly someone had an advance copy of What Can You Do with an Old Red Shoe?:

The festival itself went great! I visited three head start programs, two elementary schools and met the most delightful librarians. On Saturday I threw an event open to the public at an art center with my mom, a local art teacher. The response was overwhelming- families began arriving half an hour before we planned to start, and quickly filled the room! As most authors will attest, its pretty challenging to draw people out to book signings these days, so I was really quite thrilled to see such a crowd. I was lucky enough to have my dad the photographer there taking pictures, he got this great shot of the room during my talk:

I began by comparing my very first book to my most recent, then went about explaining all the steps in between:

I finished by drawing some of the characters in RED SHOE:

Then invited kids to come color them in, which was a big hit:

After the talk kids rushed our recycling craft table, grown-ups had a peek at the original art for the book and I busily signed books and chatted with folks. All in all a great day! Its going to be a lovely spring.

Virginia Festival of the Book

This March, I'll be returning to the Virginia Festival of the Book in my hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia to visit schools and give talks about my work. This will be my third trip down for the festival, which is by far one of the best organized, well run festivals I've been to.

This year in addition to visiting local elementary schools (I've had the amazing experience of going back to schools I actually attended- there is nothing like walking the halls of a school etched in your childhood memory), the festival is sending me to visit several Head Start classrooms, which I am really excited about. Makes me miss teaching the little guys.

Here is a clip from a tv ad for the festival, if you look closely they are reading my book The Three Little Kittens! Woohoo!