Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School Song Reveal and an Interview with Deborah Diesen

Dear Teachers and Librarians, 

Happy Wednesday! I know many of you kicked off the 2014-2015 school year yesterday. (I'm looking at Travis Jonker, Colby Sharp, and Niki Barnes.) Which books are you reading aloud to your students this week? 


May I offer some unsolicited advice? Louise Loves ArtThe Story of Fish and Snail, and The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School are three perfect picture books to read aloud during this week. After you read aloud The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School, please share Gordon True's song with all of your students. I'm premiering it in 3, 2, 1...




Such fun, right? Wait! It gets even better. Deborah Diesen dropped by to finish my sentences. I wrote the words in red, and she wrote the words in black. 

Best,


-John 

The Pout-Pout Fish books have been fun to write!  When I wrote the first book (The Pout-Pout Fish), I didn’t know then that the story would become part of a series.  But I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Mr. Fish and his friends even better through their further adventures.  I loved going deep in the ocean with Mr. Fish as he helped his friend Ms. Clam find her pearl (The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark), and I had fun going back in time with Mr. Fish to his very first day of school (The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School).  I can’t wait to explore what they’ll do next!

Dan Hanna’s illustrations brought Mr. Fish’s pouty tale to life!  I’m not a very visual person, so when I was writing The Pout-Pout Fish, I had only a general notion of what Mr. Fish looked like.  But when I saw Dan’s art, I said, “That’s it!  Exactly!”  Dan captured Mr. Fish perfectly.  Dan Hanna brings the world of Mr. Fish alive for readers through his use of color, expression, and funny details.  I’m so grateful that he and I get to work together.


Gordon True wrote amazing music for The Pout-Pout Fish and for The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark. Everyone who hears his music can’t help but sing along!  I’m so excited that he’s written music for The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School, too.  I know it will be amazing!!

Did you know that when I’m bored, I get out my rhyming dictionary and browse?  I do.  I always find something interesting, fascinating or inspiring.  I think everyone should have a rhyming dictionary.  They’re a delight! 



Dan Santat and I worked together on the book Picture Day Perfection, which is a funny, non-rhyming story about a seemingly disastrous school picture day.  I was very lucky to be paired with him.  He’s extremely talented, and very prolific.  I love his art – in the Picture Day book, and in all his other books, too.

Whenever I visit a school library I feel immediately at home.  Each school library has its own character and unique contents, but all school libraries share a welcoming and encouraging energy that warms the imagination and opens the mind.  School libraries are the place I’m most drawn to when I visit schools!


Picture books are a unique blend of text and art that are more than the sum of their text and art parts.  Each picture book is an experience for its readers -- of sound and color, of words and images, of characters and plot.  Kids love picture books.  Adults love picture books.  And what’s not to love?  They’re wonderful.  The world needs them.

Reading is an entryway for each of us into the stories of others, and into our own stories as well.  Reading expands us and makes room within us for finding who we’re meant to be.


Mr. Schu, you should have asked me what my favorite word is.  I like it so much, it hangs on the wall in my home office:

This word, and a kajillion other lovely and intriguing words, can be found in my number one most favorite book of all:  The Dictionary!



Thank you so much for having me here today, and for hosting the reveal of Gordon True’s new song!

Thank you, Deborah! 



Borrow The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops. 

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