Sunday, May 22, 2016

Barnacle is Bored by Jonathan Fenske

Good afternoon, Jonathan! Welcome to Watch. Connect. Read!

Good afternoon, Mr. Schu! 

Thank you for stopping by to chat with me 
about Barnacle Is Bored, school libraries, picture books, and reading. 

Thank you for having me! 

Barnacle is Bored tells the story of a common human foible. How our tendency to compare our “boring” lives to what we perceive as the “exciting” lives of others is a mistake we are doomed to make repeatedly.

I created the illustrations for Barnacle is Bored in a mad tear at 3 a.m. in my sketchbook. The rough storyboards fell into place rather quickly (unfortunately, it doesn’t always happen that way). From there, I did black and white pencil sketches, tweaking expressions (I spend lots of time making crazy faces in the mirror) until I was satisfied. Then I translated the illustrations to a digital format and added color. 

The 2016 Geisel Award committee called to tell me the good news, but they did not have my updated phone number! I actually found out about the Geisel Honor by email. Right before taking the kids to school, I checked my inbox and saw several congratulatory emails. Puzzled and intrigued, I opened one from an editor I had not spoken to in a while, and his kind note was how I discovered I had been given the honor.

Needless to say, I drove the kids to school in a haze 
of stunned happiness.

School libraries are such a wonderful haven for children. To have that kind of access to books is an invaluable part of a child’s development. And how I love librarians! They truly do make the children’s book world go ‘round. Warning! Shameless Plug ahead! I am especially fond of the librarians at my local Anythink library: knowledgeable, helpful, and unfailingly friendly.

Reading to my kids is one of the most fulfilling things I do as a parent. Snuggling on the couch and taking imaginary journeys together…it’s hard to top that, especially when compared to all the less glamorous parenting chores that come with the territory! 

Picture books are not only my job, but also a hobby. I love to peruse the shelves of bookstores and libraries looking for new picture books. We live in what I consider to be an idyllic time for children’s literature…there is such a wealth of talented artists and writers telling so many varied and unique stories. I am a great fan of adult fiction as well (George Saunders, anyone?), but nothing pushes my creativity buttons like an awesome picture book.    

Purchase a Barnacle Is Bored print here. 
Mr. Schu, you should have asked me how does Mr. Barnacle feel about the liberties taken in his depiction? And my answer would have been: He is not happy, but, then again, he rarely ever is.

Borrow Barnacle Is Bored from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops. 

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