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Author: Dave


Just One More Book

Andrea and Mark at Just One More Book (JOMB) did a wonderful podcast review of One Thousand Tracings in January at the JOMB coffee shop. I also read this Q&A interview about JOMB and I find their story and partnership quite interesting. Lita did an interview with Mark in early February—they discussed books and blogs and the topic of partnership. The interview was just posted on JOMB yesterday—you can listen to it here.

Born in Alaska

Lita has several presentations in Michigan next week so she's been preparing some slide images to go along with her talks. I thought these pictures of Lita in Alaska were great. Lita is a twin, and was born in Ketchikan, Alaska on Revillagigedo Island. Her dad worked as a soil scientist for the US Forest Service on the Tongass National Forest. Smokey Bear - Lita Judge Totem Poles This spot is Totem Bight State Park. Here's a recent picture. Totem Bight Ketchikan is in the southeast part of Alaska. It gets a yearly average rainfall of 152 inches, and also 40 inches of snow. Ketchikan is one of those places where they have rain storms with 100 mph winds, but they don't call them hurricanes. And they have thousand foot tall hills, but they don't call them mountains. Lita's family lived in Alaska for 2-3 years and then her dad got transferred (to Utah, then Nevada, Oregon, Wisconsin, and back to Oregon).

NH Chronicle, Part 1 and 2

Lita and One Thousand Tracings were featured on New Hampshire Chronicle in September, 2007. They filmed this last August, right after Tracings was released. Part 1 is about 8 minutes and part 2 is about 5 minutes. Here's part 1: And here's part 2: Thanks to Jennifer Crompton of NH Chronicle for sending us the video (with permission to post it), and for doing such a good job on this program!

The Eagle's Nest - Northwest Elementary School

Lita visited Northwest Elementary School (NES) in Manchester, NH last November. I remember she was so impressed with the school and the teachers and the kids after that visit. NES created a Lita Judge page on their school website with some notes from the visit. And the NES kids have been working on their own writing and illustrating - they just sent us their first issue of The Eagle's Nest. The Eagle’s Nest The cover artwork is by Monique Staples. We were so impressed with the writing and illustrating in The Eagle's Nest. Everyone at NES has done a great job! NES added a dedication to Lita: Dedication The inspiration goes both ways. Thanks NES, and keep up the good work!

Pinckney Michigan

One of the envelopes used in the collage on the back cover of One Thousand Tracings was this one: Envelope to Pinckney Michigan Nothing in the book mentions that the story takes place in Michigan. But it does. Lita's grandparents lived in Pinckney Michigan during the time they organized the relief effort. They didn't move to Plainfield Wisconsin until1949. Michigan readers found the subtle clue and the Library of Michigan contacted Lita last summer stating that One Thousand Tracings was nominated for the 2008 Michigan Notable Book selections. Hyperion sent off a pile of books to the committee. We didn't expect to hear back—about 300 books were nominated—but in January it was selected as one of twenty Michigan Notable Books! Only two of the selections were children's books—the other was Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis. So Lita's excited for two upcoming trips to Michigan this spring. On March 15-18 she'll be doing two presentations at the Michigan Reading Association Conference in Detroit, and then she's visiting 5 different elementary schools, including one in Pinckney Michigan. On April 26 she'll be at the "Night for Notables" which starts at the governor's mansion and then moves to the Library of Michigan. Then she's doing library visits and events in the Detroit area through April 29. I'll stay home and feed the cats. 2008 Michigan Notable Book Poster (Click here - PDF of Michigan Notable Book Poster - if you want to download the full sized pdf which is about 1MB.)

Web Site Design

Web sites can be expensive if you don't design and maintain them yourself. One of our local arts organizations just went through the process of hiring a graphic designer and a web designer. They put up a simple but nicely designed site. There are about 6 static pages and one group page where artist members can post a thumbnail which then links to an artist page with 6 images and a bio, artist statement, etc. The cost for this type of site—designed, hosted and maintained by a local company—is in the range of $3000 to $5000. Then there are yearly hosting and maintenance costs. I decided to do it myself for Lita's web site. I built Lita's main web site——a few years ago with Adobe GoLive CS2. Adobe later acquired Dreamweaver (DW) and all indications are that this is the software they'll continue to invest in. When we wanted a second website, specifically devoted to the book One Thousand Tracings, I used DW. I was psyched when Chris Barton mentioned the Tracings site as one he admires. I actually noticed a spike in visitors at that time. DW is more widely used and thus easier to search/google for solutions to common problems. I've tried to convert the first site from GoLive to DW but a few things have not looked maintainable (the underlying HTML looks confusing) so I still maintain in the CS2 version of GoLive. I have great intentions of correctly doing the conversion some weekend. The main difference in the two sites is that I learned about style sheets (CSS) for the Tracings website. Maybe everyone else already knew about style sheets, but I just discovered them last year. This site is much easier to maintain and the look is more consistent. I worked with Lita on the structure of both websites - she drew pictures of all the pages on paper and then I tried to make the thing somewhat similar to the plan. Lita usually does all the final layout tweaking, most of the image selection, and most of the writing. The third site—this blog—uses WordPress. I wanted a self hosted blog so I went with WordPress. But I like LiveJournal and the whole friend/community thing so I set up an account there also. I use a WordPress plug-in that automatically cross-posts to LiveJournal. A lot of people are just using blog software like WordPress to do their whole web site and I think this is not a bad idea. So that's where I am now with the web site development. Any questions?


Jeannine Atkins wrote a lovely review of One Thousand Tracings for Nonfiction Monday. We're looking forward to meeting her at the Cambridge Science Festival in May. Lita's planning to talk about dinosaurs at the festival. In early January Lita visited New Boston Central School (in New Hampshire). This week she received a package of wonderful Thank You notes from Ms Chase's class. I picked out a couple of nice dinosaur pictures. This first one is from Tucker who wrote, "I like dinosaurs too, you know". Tucker And from Maura, who drew a slightly dragon-like dinosaur, and "used to want to be an archaeologist, but now would like to be either a vet or an author": Maura I wish I could include all the pictures and letters. Thanks to everyone in Ms Chase's class who sent letters, and thanks to New Boston Central School!

Husband of the Artist

Lita will soon begin working on Yellowstone Moran. I'm getting a little nervous, because I am Yellowstone Moran! And I'm also the sleeping guy on the right, and I'm also the gunslinger on the left (but I couldn't find that photo). stagecoach.jpg dj_moran2.jpg dj_moran1.jpg

Jacket Art - Mogo and Ugly

The next book out for Lita is Mogo, The Third Warthog, written by Donna Jo Napoli. This is Lita's second project with Donna Jo. Here's an image of the book jacket for Mogo: Mogo Jacket And a closeup of Mogo—he's a likable looking warthog, isn't he? Mogo Front The scheduled on sale date is July 1st. Lita's first book book with Donna Jo—Ugly—is coming out in paperback at about the same time. The cover for Ugly has been redesigned. It used to look like this: ugly_cover.jpg But now will look something like this: Ugly PBK This last image is just a mock-up. I'll miss the ducklings in the lower left, but I like the blue sky and the new title font!

Reviews and Podcasts

I saw a couple of nice on-line reviews of One Thousand Tracings yesterday. One at the Cybils site and another at The Well Read Child. Also, there's a great podcast review at Just One More Book, done earlier in January. I've visited Just One More Book a few times and I really like the site - there's another good podcast with two of the Cybil panelists for Non-Fiction Picture Books here.