Friday, November 7, 2014

Author-illustrator Sergio Ruzzier

Hooray! It is the first Friday of Picture Book Month! I'm celebrating it with author-illustrator Sergio Ruzzier. We chatted about a mailweasel, Maurice Sendak, Sophie Blackall, picture books, and reading. I wrote the words in orange, and he wrote the words in black. Thank you, Sergio! 

Leo is the name of the protagonist of my new book A Letter for Leo. He is a mailman, or mailweasel, to be politically correct. The book is a story of longing, friendship, letter-writing, and very fresh, homemade eggnog. In one of the illustrations, I’ve hidden a little homage to Maurice Sendak.

I created the illustrations for A Letter for Leo in pen & ink and watercolors. I use a Brause nib, Schmincke watercolors, and Arches rough paper.

Eve Bunting, Emily Jenkins, Lore Segal, Karla Kuskin, and Caron Lee Cohen are the authors of some of the stories I’ve illustrated. I miss Karla very much. She was one of the wittiest people I have ever met.

The Maurice Sendak Fellowship was one of the best experiences of my life. And I got to cook gnocchi al rag├╣ for Maurice and my fellow fellows (Denise Saldutti Egielski, Frann Preston Gannon, and Ali Bahrampour).

I share a studio with four people. Okay, okay: Sophie Blackall (she always gets to be mentioned first, for some reason), Brian Floca, Eddie Hemingway (why do people often write his name with two Ms? Come on!), and Johnny Bemelmans Marciano. Yes, I know, “it’s great to be surrounded by such talent and pleasantness.” It is.

Picture books are indispensable and irreplaceable. (When they are good.) 

Illustration Credit: Sergio Ruzzier, from A Letter for Leo
Reading is difficult for some. It was difficult for me as a child, for sure. Pictures helped a lot. Now I can read long, pictureless books all by myself, sometimes.  But I still prefer books with pictures.

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me to name at least one author/illustrator to keep an eye on: Rowboat Watkins. A unique talent. His book Rude Cakes will be published by Chronicle next year.

I am giving away one copy of A Letter for Leo

Rules for the Giveaway 

1. It will run from 11/7 to 11:59 p.m. on 11/9. 

2. You must be at least 13. 

3. Please pay it forward. 

Borrow A Letter for Leo from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops. 

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