Book Giveaway: NOLA’S SCRIBBLES SAVE THE DAY by Cristina Lalli

Cristina Lalli has written and illustrated a new picture book, NOLA’S SCRIBBLES SAVE THE DAY. It’s published by Page Street Kids and hits bookstores on June 23rd. Page Street Kids has agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner. All you have to do to get in the running is leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Cristina, especially at this stressful time when authors and illustrators need to promote their books completely online.

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. Thanks!

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Nola loves her scribbles. They go with her wherever she goes. But she can’t seem to share her scribbles with others―no one seems to understand the imaginative world she’s created for herself. Frustrated and uninspired, Nola draws a blank. A big, boring blank.

But when Nola falls deep into a creative slump, she discovers she’s not alone. If she can find the courage to share her scribbled ideas again, she may just inspire others to think outside the box and give their ideas a try too.

With playful illustrations, this imaginative tale shows readers of all ages the power in persevering to create and embrace unique expression.

nola 1 - Book Giveaway: NOLA’S SCRIBBLES SAVE THE DAY by Cristina Lalli

BOOK JOURNEY:

Nola’s Scribbles… began as some of my own scribbles and a vague idea about a young girl and her difficulties with the creative process. I had wanted to focus on the idea of scribbling to portray the uninhibited way that children draw before they’re taught anything about the symbols we use to visually communicate, or the idea of perspective, or any kind of drawing instruction, and the immediate aftermath or crushing of the spirit once taught that something doesn’t look “right.” I think it’s relatable to anyone who has struggled with what they want to make and how to communicate it. In addition, whenever I get stressed out and don’t know what to draw or write, I make these almost meditative scribbles and doodles- so it lent itself perfectly to Nola’s character.

The initial concept began about 5 years ago, while I was living and working in the UK and completing the Masters of Children’s Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art. It was an amazing program, but I felt inadequate compared to my peers, as it had been several years since I had been able to focus on honing my drawing skills. That struggle to find a balance between what I wanted to express, and how I was going to approach it, was my own parallel narrative.

nola 2 - Book Giveaway: NOLA’S SCRIBBLES SAVE THE DAY by Cristina Lalli

I had shown an early dummy of the book at the Bologna Book Fair in Italy, and received lots of positive feedback from editors, but ultimately no publishing contract. From there, I was approached by a literary agent based in the U.S., and we signed a contract for one year. She had floated my dummy around a bit, but again a bit of interest but no promising future home for this story. I decided not to renew the contract with the agent and became much more proactive in marketing my own work. I joined SCBWI, attended a few conferences participating in portfolio and dummy reviews, and began to research publishers who would accept unsolicited manuscripts. I feel really grateful to have been able to send out my work to publishers and agents who were taking open and unagented submissions- this is how I found Page Street Kids. I remember the thrilling feeling when I knew they were serious about taking a chance on me, and they patiently worked with me to get my first book to where it is now. The concept, text, and illustrations all went through an incredible amount of restructuring but it was all a working lesson for me.

It is both an amazing and terrifying feeling now that my work is finally getting into the hands of children! I am worried that they won’t like it, or that it won’t be understood– but that is exactly the lesson Nola is giving in the book. I’m just going to continue making what I feel I connected with as a child, or I observe other children connecting with, and hopefully there will be a  lot of children out there who can relate.

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There will be a virtual storytime on the Page Street Kids Instagram page on the release date, June 23rd– please check it out! Thank you!

CRISTINA’S BIO:

Cristina Lalli has always believed that books have a special power. She received a Masters of Children’s Book Illustration from Cambridge School of Art and has worked in Chicago, New York, and London as a designer, illustrator, and educator. Now settled in Portland, Oregon, she is an active member of SCBWI.

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She received a Portfolio Honor Award at SCBWI LA 2018, and was the recipient of the SCBWI 2018 Don Freeman Grant for a pre-published work. This is her debut picture book.

nola 5 - Book Giveaway: NOLA’S SCRIBBLES SAVE THE DAY by Cristina Lalli

Cristina, thank you for sharing your book and its journey with us. I have a copy and the story of your art not be understood and the feeling of falling into a blank page and not being able to pull yourself out is something creative people can identify with. Besides it being a fun story, the illustrations are perfectly fun, too. Good luck with this very creative book!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

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Sep 13, Grand Remembrances

Today is Grandparents Day in the United States. Being a Grand is a special honor. I feel very blessed that my wife and I have two grandchildren. We were able to visit them today. Yes, we are still being cautious with the coronavirus, but we also find it very difficult to not see them when they live so close. So today we did drop by to visit Jacob (age 10) and Sophia (age 7) along with their parents. We brought donuts and caught up with them. Our grandchildren are still pretty young and this is a precious time in their lives – and ours!

I wish I had known my grandparents better. We never lived in the same place. Dad was a career Air Force pilot, so we moved around a lot. But we did get to see them once in a while when they would visit us, or we them.

A Plague of Giants

There are five known magical ‘kennings’ or types: air, water, fire, earth, and plants. Each nation specializes in of these kennings, and the magic influences the society. There’s a big pitfall with this diversity of ability and locale–not everyone gets along.

Enter the Hathrim giants, or ‘lavaborn’ whose kenning is fire. Where they live the trees that fuel their fire are long gone, but the giants are definitely not welcome anywhere else. They’re big, they’re violent, and they’re ruthless. When a volcano erupts and they are forced to evacuate, they take the opportunity to relocate. They don’t care that it’s in a place where they aren’t wanted.

I first read Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid books and loved them (also the quirky The Tales of Pell), so was curious about this new venture, starting with A PLAGUE OF GIANTS. Think Avatar: The Last Airbender meets Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series. Elemental magic, a variety of races, different lands. And it’s all thrown at you from page one.

But this story is told a little differently. It starts at the end of the war, after a difficult victory, and a bard with earth kenning uses his magic to re-tell the story of the war to a city of refugees. And it’s this movement back and forth in time and between key players in this war that we get a singularly grand view of the war as a whole. Hearne uses this method to great effect.

There are so many interesting characters in this book that I can’t cover them all here. Often in books like this such a large cast of ‘main’ character can make the storytelling suffer, especially since they don’t have a lot of interaction with each other for the first 3/4 of the book–but it doesn’t suffer, thankfully. And the characterization is good enough, despite these short bursts, that by the end we understand these people and care about what happens to them.

If there were a main character it would be Dervan, a historian who is assigned to record (also spy on?) the bard’s stories. He finds himself caught up in machinations he feels unfit to survive. Fintan is the bard from another country, who at first is rather mysterious and his true personality is hidden by the stories he tells; it takes a while to understand him. Gorin Mogen is the leader of the Hathrim giants who decide to find a new land to settle. He’s hard to like, but as far as villains go, you understand his motivations and he can be even a little convincing. There’s Abhi, the son of hunters, who decides hunting isn’t the life for him–and unexpectedly finds himself on a quest for the sixth kenning. And Gondel Vedd, a scholar of linguistics who finds himself tasked with finding a way to communicate with a race of giants never seen before (definitely not Hathrim) and stumbles onto a mystery no one could have guessed: there may be a seventh kenning.

There are other characters, but what makes them all interesting is that they’re regular people (well, maybe not Gorin Mogen or the viceroy–he’s a piece of work) who become heroes in their own little ways, whether it’s the teenage girl who isn’t afraid to share vital information, to the scholars who suddenly find how crucial their minds are to the survival of a nation, to the humble public servants who find bravery when they need it most. This is a story of loss, love, redemption, courage, unity, and overcoming despair to not give up. All very human experiences by simple people who do extraordinary things.

Hearne’s worldbuilding is engaging. He doesn’t bottle feed you, at first it feels like drinking from a hydrant, but then you settle in and pick up things along the way. Then he shows you stuff with a punch to the gut. This is no fluffy world with simple magic without price. All the magic has a price, and more often than not it leads you straight to death’s door. For most people just the seeking of the magic will kill you. I particularly enjoyed the scenes with Ahbi and his discovery of the sixth kenning and everything associated with it. But giants? I mean, really? It isn’t bad enough fighting people who can control fire that you have to add that they’re twice the size of normal people? For Hearne if it’s war, the stakes are pretty high, and it gets ugly.

The benefit of the storytelling style is that the book, despite its length, moves along steadily (Hearne is no novice, here). The bits of story lead you along without annoying cliffhangers (mostly), and I never got bored with the switch between characters. It was easy to move between them, and they were recognizable enough that I got lost or confused. The end of the novel felt a little abrupt, but I guess that has more to do with I was ready for the story to continue, despite the exiting climax.

If you’re looking for epic fantasy with fun storytelling and clever worldbuilding, check out A PLAGUE OF GIANTS.

The post A Plague of Giants appeared first on Elitist Book Reviews.

The Artwork Of Gary Choo

Gary Choo is a concept artist/illustrator based in Singapore. I’ve know Gary for a good many years ( 17, actually ), working together in animation studios in Singapore like Silicon Illusions and Lucasfilm. Gary currently runs an art team at Mighty Bear Games, but when time allows he also draws covers for Marvel comics, and they’re amazing –

The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo

To see more of Gary’s work or to engage him for freelance work, head down to his ArtStation.

The post The Art Of Gary Choo appeared first on Halcyon Realms – Art Book Reviews – Anime, Manga, Film, Photography.

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