Growing Ideas

Every writer or illustrator must face the challenge of how to make the exciting ideas that inspire them concrete for the reader. This isn’t always a simple task. The thoughts that set off sparks can easily fall flat when first put down on the page. Sometimes it seems tempting to stop after the first attempts and decide that the idea wasn’t so good after all. But good ideas require hard work to become something that can inspire someone else. So how do creators grow an idea from the first internal spark? Late last month I gave some tips on developing […]

SEEING INTO TOMORROW Book Launch Party!!

Thank you to Greg Shanck and City College Center for the Arts for hosting the SEEING INTO TOMORROW book launch party on Saturday, March 24th! Here are a few photographs of this wonderful afternoon. Thanks so much to all who were able to join us! We had art and writing activity stations, a dance workshop led by a dancer from the company Batoto Yetu, a book reading and signing. All children at the event received a book compliments of City College Center for the Arts!      

Welcome to a New Year!

Happy New Year! A new year and a new book! SEEING INTO TOMORROW: Haiku by Richard Wright, is less than one month away from publication! The image above was a style frame for the book. In my early drafts, I planned on using haiku that represented all four seasons, but at my first editorial meeting, held on a magnificent spring day with clear skies and warm sunshine, it was agreed by all that the optimism that spring brings was the right emotion to carry this book. This winter image was filed away, but feels so right on this cold January […]

Mystery Beans Make Magical Squash!

Back in 2006, I came across a short article in The Park Slope Courier about a young boy who planted some mysterious beans. The article went on to describe how the boy and his father had come across a seed packet in a local hardware store, but they had not been able to identify the plant. There was a picture of the fourth grader holding up what looked like a four and a half foot long string bean. That and the headline were enough to inspire me to write my own version of Jack and the Beanstalk. The book came out […]

School Visit Art!

Like most authors and illustrators I know, I regularly do school visits. School visits are a great opportunity to have children see my work and for me to get a sense how my work is seen by them. Here are a few thank you notes sent to me from children at PS 321 in Park Slope, Brooklyn, a school that I have regularly visited for more than 15 years. These drawings really give a sense of what aspects of my presentation captured their imaginations. I love the details in this drawing of my visit. I gave a power point presentation and my art is pictured on the […]

New look for Nina Crews Children’s Books!

I have given my website and blog a makeover! Check out ninacrews.com’s fresh look and more streamlined interface. Now the site should be easy to navigate on mobile devices and my blog is at the same url. Because I love a DIY project, I took on the challenge of rebuilding the website myself (I built the first site, too). This time I used a wordpress template, asked a tech savvy friend a lot of questions and spent loads of time reading websites on coding css and html. There are still elements I’d like to tweak, so expect that more small changes will come. The background was inspired by […]

A good book for a hot summer day

One Hot Summer Day © Nina Crews, HarperCollins Publishers August in New York City – “Dogs pant. Hydrants are open. Women carry umbrellas for the shade.”  Those words were written over twenty years ago during another hot, sticky New York summer and come from my very first picture book, One Hot Summer Day – now in print for twenty years! One Hot Summer Day sketch for page 4-5 Much has changed in the Brooklyn neighborhoods I photographed for this book and the young girl, who stars in the story, is now a grown woman. Not everything changes, however, the experiences of young children at play […]

BELOW – paperback edition!

© Nina Crews 2006. BELOW – “Jack lived in a tall narrow house…”[/caption]   BELOW is now available as a print-on-demand paperback! Last fall, I got the news that one of my favorite books, BELOW, was going out of print. I’ve had other books go out of print before and I have always felt disappointed, but rarely surprised. This time I was surprised. BELOW had been named an ALA Notable book and a Junior Library Guild selection. Sales were never big, but steady, and the book was always a hit when I read it aloud to school groups. I was also in the midst of […]

Reflections: The work of Ann Jonas

©Ann Jonas – Bird Talk 1999 There is an exhibition of my mother, Ann Jonas’s, picture books on display now at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Central branch. We are so pleased with this exhibition that includes many of her books, early student work and design work. It has given us a great opportunity to reflect upon her wonderful career. When mom passed away last fall, it was easy to talk at length about how much we loved her and all of the special things she did for us. She was a loving mother and wife; nearly a daughter to her […]