Sophie Blackall Illustration

Drawings and Snippets and Breaking News, (but more snippets than breaking news).

Saturday, September 12, 2015

This Drawing Could Be Yours to Keep!

Help me turn this drawing into picture books for schools!

A few weeks ago I visited the Eric Carle Museum at story time. I read A Fine Dessert and did a painting demonstration, (which was pretty much an ode to frisket, the masking film which allows you to leave areas white when you do a watercolor wash.) Afterwards, signing books, a librarian leaned in close and sighing, said, “I adore this book. I wish I could buy it for my school, but we have no budget for new books this year.”

Sadly this was a refrain I heard all Summer. (And yes, it occurred to me that they might be trying to find a polite excuse to avoid buying my books, but it was a general concern!) Librarians in public schools across the country are lamenting budget cuts. Which is a particular shame considering this is being called a golden year for picture books.

I looked at the painting I made at the Carle, and thought, Maybe there’s a way of turning this drawing into a pile of new picture books. Because while there’s nothing as comforting as curling up with an old favorite, there’s something about starting a new school year with a stack of fresh ones. So here’s the plan:

I have listed the painting on eBay. The auction is live and runs until September 22nd. I am hoping it will go for a significant amount, enough to buy at least six sets of ten 2015 picture books.
Which ten books, you ask? Well this was hard, because there are SO many good ones. I consulted librarians and educators I trust and admire, (special thank you to Susannah Richards!) and was inspired by Donalyn Miller and Mr.Schu’s #pb10for10 lists. Here are ten new picture books I wish every kid had access to:

Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson, illus. by Sydney Smith
Wolfie by Ame Dyckman, illus. by Zachariah OHora
Yard Sale by Eve Bunting, illus. by Lauren Castillo
Rude Cakes by Rowboat Watkins
Swan by Laurel Snyder, illus. by Julie Morstad
A Fine Dessert by Emily Jenkins, illus. by Sophie Blackall
Toys Meet Snow by Emily Jenkins, ills. by Paul O Zelinsky
Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña, illus. by Christian Robinson
Two Mice by Sergio Ruzzier
Float by Daniel Miyares

I have reached out to my local independent bookstore Greenlight, who have generously agreed to ship the books to the schools.
So now I just need
a) People to bid on the drawing. Click here!
b) Librarians and teachers to enter the draw. (Which you can do by leaving your name and the name and location of your school in the comments below. Only US schools, I’m afraid.)
c)  You to help spread the word!

It’s a small idea, but if it works, it’ll make me happy. (And if it does work, maybe I can do this regularly!)

Thank you so much for your help!


Katie Schaefer said...

This is wonderful! I'm Katie the art teacher at P.S. 63 in New York City.

Angie Moore said...

How wonderful! I am beyond blessed to work at a school w/ a fairly decent budget but know many many others who are not so lucky. I'm Angie Moore & I work at Windemere Park Charter Academy in Lansing Michigan. These are 10 awesome books for sure! Thanks for what you are doing! ❤️

Rebecca Flowers said...

I'm Rebecca, a school librarian at Walker Upper Elementary School in Charlottesville, VA. Thanks for helping teachers!

Jana Eschner said...

What an awesome and generous thing to do for schools and children! I'm Jana Eschner, a teacher at West Mound Elementary School in Columbus, Ohio (Columbus City Schools). Thanks for this opportunity!

Gale Lewis said...

What a generous gesture! I know that whatever school wins these books, their young readers will be thrilled with them.
Gale c. Lewis, reading teacher at Prince Edward County Elementary School, Farmville, Va. Thanks so much!

Kari Routledge said...

Wow!! This is so cool! Kari Routledge, 2nd grade teacher, Commerce Elementary, Commerce Township, Michigan

Susan Polos said...

Thank you for helping school librarians and drawing attention to the impact of cutting budgets - the need to get these beautiful, important books in the hands of our students! I am school librarian at a Title I school in NY - our budget was cut for the third year in a row. I actually bought your book with my own money for our children after hearing John Schu speak so reverently about it at a Scholastic Book Fair event. We could sure use that collection - as so many others could, too! For the drawing: Susan Polos, Mt. Kisco Elementary School, 47 W Hyatt Avenue, Mt. Kisco, NY 10549

readerreed said...

This is wonderful! I was part of a Houston team that serviced two Houston book deserts with a bookmobile this summer. After teaching in a poverty-ridden area for more man years, I didn't expect to be surprised. I was. Some middle-grade children came aboard. Thy had never had a school librarian. They did not know what to do with books! It made my colleague and I very sad. I'm more appreciative than ever of kind gestures that get quality books into children's hands. I am JoAnne Reed, honored to be the librarian at Scroggins Elementary School. @JoReeding

Andrea Walkup said...

What a wonderful thing to do. It breaks my heart when there are so many great books I want to share with my students and I have to pick and choose very carefully because of financial constraints. We have none of these 10 books in our library collection, but I would love to be able to add them all! Andrea Walkup, Librarian at Community Academy of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA

Literaticat said...

Hey Sophie - I bid but if you don't end up with enough $ let me know and I'd be happy to just donate some books to the cause. :-) x Jenn Laughran

Cally Flickinger said...

Hello, I have purchased this book after it received accolades from librarians on Twitter. I read it to three third grade classes and then we proceeded to make blackberry fool. Many of the students had never cooked with their families. Go this was quite endearing. We sent home the recipe for them to experiment. We poured over the history in the book as well. Your artwork is beautiful. Chamberlin school 262 white Street South Burlington, Vermont 05403 this is a lovely thing to do.

Michelle U'Ren said...

This is absolutely amazing! I love this idea!
My name is Michelle U'Ren and I teach at Pinewood Elementary in Jenison, Michigan!
@Muren1821 on twitter

Kathy said...

Thanks for working to get books into the hands of kids. I am a librarian at West Birdville a Title 1 elementary school right outside of Fort Worth Texas.

Adrienne Wiley said...

What a lovely idea! I had such great fun cooking fool with my kiddo this summer! I am a literacy coach at Cedarhurst elementary in burien, Washington!

Eric Carpenter said...

this is fantastic. Eric Carpenter. school librarian, Fred A. Toomer Elementary, Atlanta Georgia.

Mitchell Linda said...

Wow! Great idea! I will gladly share & promote!
Linda Mitchell
Stonewall Middle Manassas, VA

Mitchell Linda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jake Rideout said...

What an amazing idea! Thank you for your support! My school library has no book budget this year either.

Jake Rideout
Cayucos Elementary School
Cayucos, CA

Lori said...

Thank you for supporting school libraries!
Lori Dearmore
South Bend School Library
South Bend, WA

lariza liner said...

Thank you for sharing the love of picture books. I am an elementary principal at a high needs campus. We are completely surrounded by apartmemts and our students walk to school every day. Unfortunately the public library is across the highway. Our school library is it for our st to get access to books! This would be a wonderful addition since we currently do not carry these picture books. I am Lariza Liner at Forest Lane Academy in Dallas, TX.

jemeg said...

St Bartholomew School in Chicago.

jemeg said...

St Bartholomew School in Chicago.

Julia Liszka said...

What a beautiful thing to do! We were one of the members at the Carle during your visit and my daughter and I spent the next day making our first batch of blackberry fool (although she was more excited about the Chinese ink than the frisket!) Thank You Sophie Blackall!!
Julia Liszka, East street Elementary School, Ludlow Massachusetts.

Ms. Longanecker said...

What a thoughtful way to share your creativity with school libraries! Thank you so much!

Krishna Longanecker, Library/Media Specialist
Wolf Swamp Road School
Longmeadow, MA 01106

Kay Atkins said...

What a most gracious and generous gesture! While awarding the books is "the grand finale", your kindness is the true award to all who have entered. Kay Atkins,Resource Room teacher at George C. Weimer Elementary in Saint bans,WV. Again, your kindness, generosity, and thoughtfulness are the true awards,but the books wouldn't hurt.:)

Cara Cahill said...

What a kind gesture. Thanks for supporting educators and students.

Cara Cahill
4th grade at Spring Branch Elementary
Independence, Missouri

summergold77 said...

Beautiful, beautiful of you to think of and take on this project! You are a very giving person. I'm Sandy Holmberg, librarian at Stephens Elementary, Title ! school in Rowlett, Texas. Heading to ebay....

Anne Veselik said...

Thank you for your generosity and your support of school libraries! I am Anne Veselik, a K-8 librarian at St. Isaac Jogues school in Hinsdale, IL

Mrs. Porter said...

We need help. Thank you! I'm Kate Porter, Library Media Tech at Garden Road ES in Poway CA.

Donna Sullivan-Macdonald said...

Thank you so much for supporting school libraries, Sophie. It is ever so thoughtful that you would make such an amazing effort! I'm a K-5 public school librarian at Orchard School in South Burlington, Vermont.

Anonymous said...

You are amazing and generous.

Thank you,
Darsa, who is in the process of building up our school's very small library collection

(Mackintosh Academy, Boulder, CO)

Rachel Steiner said...

This is a fantastic idea. I am a high school librarian, but I feel it is so important to use picture books with kids of ALL ages and think the set you've chosen is truly high quality.

- Rachel Steiner, Halls High School, Knoxville, TN

Elizabeth Peter said...

Hooray for generosity, kid lit, and when those two things come together!

I am a middle school teacher in Grand Blanc, Michigan who has recently dived into the deep end with Jillian Heise's #classroombookaday. I have fallen in love with using picture books with my students and they love it, too.

-Elizabeth Peter, West Middle Schoo, Grand Blanc, MI

Angie said...

Angie Headley at AB Combs Elementary in Raleigh, NC You are very generous and no matter who gets these books, it means kids will be reading somewhere! That is a great thing!

Diane Jensen said...

Thanks for supporting school libraries.
Eagle Cliffs Elementary
1201 Kootenai
Billings, MT 59105

Books, etc. said...

Thank you so much for your truly generous idea! I have invested so much personal money (not that I have much to spare) back into books for the library. I used to go and buy books that I wanted to read and then donate them before I ever read them. Now, unfortunately, I buy some picture books and finding myself using them in school, but holding them back from donation. I saw A Fine Dessert at a conference last summer. It is a lovely book! Melissa Schulte, Orwell Village School, 494 Main Street, Orwell, VT 05760.

Kathy Ellen Davis said...

This is a great idea!
I am posting for my friend
Sara Sobkoviak.
She is a teacher at Mt. Madonna School
8750 Hirasaki Ct, Gilroy, CA 95020

I am sitting in her kitchen right now as I enter her.
She's cooking up breakfast for three kids, two of which are heading to school,
one of which I'm going to watch while they are in school :)

Lisa Edborg said...

I love this! 😍
Lisa Edborg, Library Media Specialist
Harris Hill Elementary
2126 Penfield Rd.
Penfield, NY 14526

Debbie Alvarez said...

What a wonderful opportunity!
Debbie Alvarez, LITT, Library Information and Technology Teacher
7485 SW Scholls Ferry Road
Beaverton, OR 97008-6534

Anonymous said...

Anjie Trusty
Arcadia Local Schools
19033 SR 12
Arcadia OH 44804

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful idea, Sophie. And your selection of books is delightful. You are a hero!
Kathy Shepler
Aurora School
40 Dulwich Rd
Oakland, CA 94602

Stacy said...

Stacy Meier, School Librarian, Sayre School, Lexington, KY

Jennie said...

This is wonderful! I'm the school librarian over at Franklin Elementary School in Newton, MA.

Katherine said...

Thank you for supporting school libraries and for bringing these wonderful books to our students!

Katherine Hlousek
Emiliano Zapata Academy
2728 S. Kostner Ave.
Chicago, IL 60623

Anonymous said...

April Leischner
JD Lever Elementary School
2404 Columbia Hwy. N
Aiken, SC 29805

Joanna said...

Joanna Battaglia (
Niagara Falls Public Library
1425 Main Street
Niagara Falls, NY 14305

Our library would love all of these beautiful books to add to our collection!

Becky said...

Thank you for supporting schools! I would love to add these to my school library on Clarendon Hills, IL