It was with the excitment of a child that I attended my final session for the book festival. Driving all the way up to Seymour, I met up with my mom, niece, and nephew at the Muehl Public Library.
I Like Me arrived from my Grandma the year I turned 6. I was a 1st grader who was completely charmed by this book. The story of a pig who thinks she is amazing no matter what was very inspiring for me – the often picked on runt of the class. I loved that book. Years passed and I forgot about it. My mom tucked it away among her bookshelves until 2008. I’d already graduated college and moved out on my own. Living in Milwaukee was incredible, but I struggled with a bad boss and felt awful about myself. That spring, I Like Me shipped through the mail to my apt. Rereading it was like reliving part of my childhood. I hung the words of the story on my mirror and read it everyday. Somehow, it helped me to reconnect and “pick myself up”.
At the library, the author Nancy Carlson spoke about her ever popular I Like Me and the other 61 children’s books she has created. She spoke to a crowd of children and adults, but most of her talk was geared towards the kids. My niece and nephew enjoyed it nearly as much as I did.
The main part of Carlson’s talk centered on a show and tell of her favorites from all the books she wrote and illustrated. She explained to all the kids what inspired certain characters and storylines. After showcasing many, she pulled out a giant sketchpad on an easel to teach the kids how to draw one of her first characters: Harriet.
She then took suggestions from the audience for friends for Harriet’s visit to Jupiter. There were kitties in diapers, 3 headed aliens, a superhero poodle, and a disco dancing lion that my niece quite liked.
“I decided to be an illustrator when I was four, and that’s the only job I ever wanted.” She credited all the books her parents read her early on for her love of the children’s book genre.
It was one of the best presentations from the entire book festival, in my opinion. Carlson was comfortable and direct speaking to both adults and children. I loved hearing how she came up with book ideas – especially for I Like Me and her thoughts on art education. I’m so glad I was able to finally meet her!
BIO: Nancy Carlson is a children’s book author and illustrator who has published more than 60 books, including I Like Me!, Get Up and Go! and Henry’s Amazing Imagination. Ms Carlson believes life should be fun, especially for children, and her stories help children feel good about themselves and others. After graduating from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design with a major in printmaking, Ms Carlson worked at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and shortly afterward became fascinated with children’s books. She soon began writing her own stories and accompanying them with drawings and became a published author. In addition, each year she is a guest author and illustrator at over 150 school classrooms and has touched the lives of children across the country. Recognition for her published work includes several Reading Rainbow selections and the Children’s Choice Award from the International Reading Association and Children’s Book Council. VisitNancy Carlson’s Blog to see her artwork and keep up on her news. Ms Carlson lives in Minnesota with her husband, three children, and her dog named Lily.
A Visit With Nancy Carlson
Date and time: Saturday, April 16, 2011 – 1:00pm
Venue: Kaukauna Public Library
Where does Nancy Carlson get her ideas and imagination? Come and find out!