‘Neath Ice and Snow, the Waters Flow

under snow and iceI know it’s been a bit since I’ve posted a blog entry, and that’s partly because I’ve been getting ready for what’s to come in 2014, including the appearance of books 2 and 3 in my picture book series published by Albert Whitman & Company and illustrated by the very talented Susan Swan.

Cheers for a Dozen Ears: A Summer Crop of Counting, due out March 1, just received a nice review in Publisher’s Weekly (see below). And I recently got to take a look at the gorgeous cover art for book 3 (due out September 1), which focuses on winter and colors as it follows a family on a sweet and frosty excursion to a local farm to see how maple syrup is made—something my own family will do when we visit Howell Living Farm near Lambertville, New Jersey, in February.

Just before Christmas, I learned that Albert Whitman will move ahead with book 4, which features spring and the early learning concept of opposites—and that makes the whole series! I couldn’t be more delighted, and thankful to my agent, Susan Hawk (so many Susans! so many feathers!) and the wonderful Wendy McClure, senior editor at Albert Whitman, for being patient, supportive, and instructive guides along the way. Talk about a harvest hayride!

There are other projects in the works as well, so I am looking forward to continuing to being productive this year. I’ll be updating this website this winter, posting dates for forthcoming workshops and appearances, and getting back into the social media swing of things—the most challenging part of publishing for me. Above all things I love to be busy and useful, so I am grateful to be a newly working cog (as author) in this process. Encouraging fuel comes in the form of notes and kind words from family and friends (like Colorado Susan), and from teachers and (grand)parents whose students and children are fond of Pick a Circle, Gather Squares. That has been a joy.

Every winter I recall reading and rereading The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats as a child. It’s still my favorite picture book! I vividly remember picking it out for purchase from a Scholastic Books flyer in early grade school, because it was the first time I made such a choice myself. Once I had that precious copy in my hands, I worked through the words on my own and poured over the richly textured illustrations, never tiring of Peter’s snowy adventure.

Just as I’m certain that my mother reading Longfellow, Poe, and selections from The Best Loved Poems of the American People to me and my sisters put me on the poetry path, I’m sure those good first experiences with a picture book fostered my ardent love of reading. And when I look at  Susan Swan’s color-drenched, collage-style illustrations in the unfolding Albert Whitman picture book series, it really does feel as if things have come full Pick a Circle.

Here’s the Publisher’s Weekly review of Cheers for a Dozen Ears:

Final Cover for Cheers for a Dozen Ears, by Felicia Sanzari Chernesky

The team behind the shapes-focused Pick a Circle, Gather Squares returns with a counting book that emphasizes eating fresh, local produce. A mother and her two children with sun-varnished faces and mussed hair, visit a farm stand, first selecting “1 watermelon so smooth and round./ 2 purple eggplants that weigh two pounds.” Vibrant variations in color and composition in Swan’s collages point to the myriad of edible treasures to be discovered at the fruit stand or farm. Chernesky closes by underscoring the importance of supporting local growers: “But first, put some money in the can./ Farmers work hard to feed the land.” Ages 4–7. Author’s agent: Susan Hawk, the Bent Agency. (Mar.)

I’m counting my Jersey corn blessings. Abbondanza!

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinby feather