Janeen Mason, author of The Gift of the Magpie was a featured interview on Page Turner Adventures’ website. Find the interview below or follow this link to see the book trailer as well:
Janeen, can you tell me a little about GIFT OF THE MAGPIE?
GIFT OF THE MAGPIE is a colorful picture book about two friends who miscommunicate. It’s funny and sweet, silly and – OH NO – (even a little embarrassing)! But in the end it’s a story about friends who love you “quirks and all.”
Can you talk a little about your creative process.
Sure! My life is a creative process. I bounce out of bed when it’s still dark, feed the cats. let the dog out, fix myself a cup of coffee, read the paper and skip into my studio by about 7:30 a.m. If I’m painting the illustrations for a new book I hit the lights, turn on an audio book and sit down at my drafting table with big dabs of bright new paint squeezed fresh on a porcelain plate. I spend hundreds and hundreds of happy hours like this, surrounded by animals, basking in colors and story.
Other times I might be away from home speaking at schools, or involved in meetings around the state. I loved being a kid, and of all the things I do, speaking to kids is right up at the top of my list of favorites. I think I may have met a future president or two, already! When I’m traveling like this, my calendar is full, my email gets cluttered, my studio is dark.
Whether I’m at home or away, I have to remember to ask myself: Am I journaling? Meditating? Reading for the fun of it? Making time for a quiet mind? Am I allowing space in my life for unexpected joy? You see, it is in the quiet times when new ideas bubble up and float into my awareness. I live for new ideas, because they are the very things that make me bounce out of bed when it’s still dark, feed the cats, let the dog out, fix myself a cup of coffee… well you get the idea.
I love to learn, and I love to share. By writing and illustrating children’s books, and by speaking at schools, conferences, and book festivals, I have a way to show others the things that I think matter.
Why do you think it’s so important to instill creativity and an appreciation of the arts in children
On a pragmatic level, children who are creative are fearless problem solvers. Kids who have been exposed to arts and culture produce good fruit for themselves and for our society. Many studies exist that quantify educational gains in students who have had arts in their curriculum. It’s easy to find these on Google.
I believe the inverse is also true. Communities that stopped funding for the arts later discovered they were required to increase their funding for the juvenile justice system.
On an intuitive level, children who learn to create learn to trust their inner voice, and use the experience throughout life. I doubt that many kids remember answers to specific questions on standardized tests, but kids who learn to paint, or sing, or dance, or play the french horn? They’re never going to forget the experience. They’ll always have the tools to self medicate in a healthy way.
On a philosophical level, the arts connect us directly through the heart, and they do so across the barriers of time and distance and language. We all share the human experience.The arts are one of our most powerful common denominators.
What can folks do to help children develop their own creativity and an appreciation for the arts?
TURN OFF THE TV!
PUT AWAY THE VIDEO GAMES!
Read books! Turn over rocks! Sing! Laugh! Tell stories! Read more books! Visit museums! Go snorkeling! Color! Visit the library! Take a walk! Go see a play! Learn to dance! Experience joy! Read more books! Make up a tall tale! Talk about ideas! Play the handbells! Weave a potholder! Write poetry! Play the flute! Bake cupcakes! Ride a bike! Collect marbles! Make puppets! Write a play with a friend! Sing some more! March in a parade! Draw a dog sleeping! Make a kite! Go to a musical! Talk about it! Paint what you see when you look through a microscope!
I believe the arts can be used to teach everything - and because we EXPERIENCE art, the material is likely to stick.
Did I say, READ BOOKS!
Pelican Publishing is proud to announce our new Fall 2012 catalog is now available and can be found via the links below.
Special thanks go out to our interns Alice Green and Abigail Pollokoff who assisted us in the preparations for this catalog. We wish them well as they graduate this summer!
Pelican Publishing Company, Inc. is pleased to announce the promotion of Kathleen Calhoun Nettleton from assistant to the publisher to publisher and president, effective immediately. As protégée of the late publisher Milburn Calhoun, Nettleton is well equipped to manage all levels of the company as Pelican moves into the future while remaining true to the vision established by her father.
Nettleton worked in the sales department during high school and college. She joined Pelican full time in 1983 upon graduating from Louisiana State University with a degree in marketing. She served as promotion director from 1985 until her promotion to assistant to the publisher in November of 2008. During Nettleton’s tenure as promotion director, she instituted the company’s intern program in the promotion department. The program has since expanded to the editorial, production, and sales departments and draws applicants from around the globe. Unique to the program is the intern’s level of participation in the daily needs of the company, allowing each a maximum learning experience.
Nettleton developed and instituted many progressive programs including seasonal conferences with authors. One aspect of her new position will be a closer involvement with manuscript development. “Manuscripts are the lifeblood of the company,” stated Nettleton, who is passionate about maintaining the quality of books presented by Pelican. “A publisher has to be able to see the forest and the trees and sometimes that means embracing the new while keeping the familiar. Nowhere is that more evident than in the transition to e-books as a major component of our industry. Seeing and understanding the big picture is more important than ever before.”
Nettleton served as a board member for the Publishers Association of the South and was a member of the Smaller and Independent Publishers committee, a branch of the Association of American Publishers. She represents the company on numerous panels at industry and community events across the country including the Tennessee Williams/ New Orleans Literary Festival. Nettleton continues to be fascinated by the process of publishing. “I was always one to ask ‘How did that book get on the shelf?’” she said, describing herself as an organizational geek. “I look forward to integrating what I’ve learned over the years. My father was always excited about every book we publish and I feel the same.”
Please watch for the many changes coming this month. For now, please enjoy these noteworthy events.
Pelican’s Spring 2012 catalog will be distributed nationwide beginning January 5 and will showcase forty-nine titles. Welcome to all of our new and returning authors and illustrators this season. Anyone who is interested in receiving a digital or paper copy of the catalog should contact Promotion Director Antoinette de Alteriis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sonya Jones’s Sweet Auburn Desserts: Atlanta’s “Little Bakery That Could” ($24.95) took off as soon as it was released in Fall 20ll, and a second printing has been ordered. The book was featured in Food Network’s Holiday Gift Guide, and 2012 is starting out just as sweet. Jones’s labor of love is featured in the January/February issue of Cooking with Paula Deen and the chef herself has managed to schedule signings during America’s most health-conscious month. No doubt such irresistible recipes as Raspberry Cream Pie and Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Bars are to thank. Chef Sonya Jones is a recipient of an Ebony magazine “2008 Taste of Ebony Awards” for being one of the top black chefs in the nation.
Best Editorial Cartoons of the Year: 2012 Edition ($14.95), was edited by the late Charles Brooks, who passed away at the end of the book’s creation. The 2012 edition marks the fortieth year of the series’ publication. We encourage cartoonists to continue submitting to us and look forward to continuing Brooks’s tradition.
Dr. Samuel A. Forman, author of Dr. Joseph Warren: The Boston Tea Party, Bunker Hill, and the Birth of American Liberty ($29.95), has started a series of radio interviews that will take place along the East Coast in 2012. The buzz about the book is connected to the political discussion on healthcare reform and the reminder of how the founding fathers envisioned it. Dr. Warren was one of those legendary founders who died during the Revolutionary War.Forman has posted a YouTube video in which he uses crime scene investigation-type visuals to describe the climactic last moments of the Battle of Bunker Hill and of Joseph Warren’s life: http://www.drjosephwarren.com/press/ Click on the video with the picture of the skull.
Dianne de Las Casas launches a new title this month called Dinosaur Mardi Gras ($16.99). With many signings scheduled in the crescent city, this New Orleans author is ready for the annual parades. From Lee Circle to Canal Street, follow these crazy creatures as they boogie down the parade route. Notoceratops swings and swoons, while Spinosaurus taps his blue suede shoes and Brachiosaurus tosses colorful beads to the crowd below. Clever rhymes and repetition are accompanied by a glossary and instructions for creating a shoebox Mardi Gras float.
Please watch for the complete PELIGRAM in the coming weeks. You may also check our calendar for the most complete event listings.