An excerpt from JOMB’s visit with writer/artist Lane Smith.
Just One More Book is the much-beloved podcast by Canadians Andrea Ross & Mark Blevis highlighting children’s books they and their daughters Lucy, 9, and Bayla, truly adore. Usually the couple record their audio episodes at their favorite table at the Wild Oat Café in Ottawa. But last November, the family brought their camera along on a six-day road trip around Connecticut and Massachusetts where they ate, socialized, painted and read with famous children’s book creators and visited some leading kidlit landmarks. The result is a video series they call “Rock Stars of Reading.” And their goal is to give children’s literature the “pop-culture treatment” enjoyed by movies, music and sports.
On their trip the family spent time with some of the people who created books my kids have loved, like Lane Smith, writer/illustrator of The Happy Hocky Family and numerous books with Jon Scieszka and Paul O. Zelinsky, whose paper engineered version of Wheels on the Bus became so worn out we had to replace it. In Massachusetts they also stopped at the Dr. Seuss Memorial in Springfield, toured the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst with museum director Nick Clark and attended the 19th annual Children’s Illustration Show at R. Michelson Gallery in Northampton (which also, as it happens, carries the work of photographer Leonard Nimoy).
As Mark says in his blog post about the series:
What I’ve noticed over time is that children’s books and their creators have been treated very traditionally in the media. In fact, I’ve even noticed this on the web where some of the most interesting interviews with authors and illustrators have been low on production value (e.g. ten-minute video interviews of a talking head). There is so much talk about the importance of children’s books and literacy and how fun it is to learn to read and to read aloud, but the way we promote this in the media suggests otherwise.