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 […]

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 […]

Liar, Liar!

©Nina Crews from The Neighborhood Sing-Along 2011 I have just returned from Sheboygan Wisconsin. Spent a day talking about my books at the Mead Public Library and leading an art workshop at the Kohler Art Center. Spent two evenings talking shop with other authors and illustrators while tasting Wisconsin specialties like fried cheese curds. (Yes, fried cheese curds.) Here are some photos of me in an article about the festival from the  Sheboygan Press. You can look at them here.  (But be patient, there are lots of photos of Steven Kellogg first!) During my morning presentation I learned something new […]

Climbing the Beanstalk

Jack and the Beanstalk © Nina Crews. Published by Christy Ottaviano Books, Henry Holt Books for Young Readers. I am so pleased that my retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk will be published next week! I started thinking about the story way back in 2004 and wrote my first drafts in 2006. It’s about time! The visual possibilities excited me first. I loved the idea of a huge beanstalk curling into the sky past a brick apartment building. Jack and the Beanstalk © Nina Crews I then did a little online research and learned that that the story as I […]

A Neighborhood Photo Shoot: Expected and unexpected challenges

A couple of reviewers have commented (very nicely) on the naturalism of my photographs of children. Many of my favorite photographers like Helen Levitt, Andre Kertesz and Roy DeCarava created images that capture the beauty of unexpected and unguarded moments. But this, like all things, does require some effort. In my case I use an extra tool when things don’t quite go my way, Photoshop. Mega Sashes and Glass photo ©Nina Crews When I planned the image I wanted for “Do Your Ears Hang Low” I imagined a group of kids hamming it up in front of a shop window filled […]

Snowball

©Nina Crews 1997 Greenwillow Books, HarperCollins Publishers The weather report says “Snow.” Yet there is no sign of it on Monday, or Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday. But oh, when it comes, it is as thick and white and wonderful as the young narrator dreamed. Zip up your jacket and come outside. It’s snowing! Kirkus – A spirited companion to Crews’ debut, One Hot Summer Day (1995)…Every scene is fresh and unpredictable, and the model’s face perfectly reflects the exclamations of the caption-like text. It’s a short tale entirely from a child’s-eye view—from a child’s heart—and a celebration of snow […]

The Neighborhood Mother Goose

©Nina Crews, Greenwillow Books, HarperCollins Publishers ISBN 9780060515737 • ALA Notable Book 2005 • Notable Children’s Book in the Language Arts (NCTE) • Texas Library Association 2×2 Reading List 2005 • New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing 2004 • CCBC (Cooperative Children’s Book Council) Choice 2004 • Capitol Choices Noteworthy Books for Children • School Library Journal Best Books 2004 • Kirkus Reviews 2004 Editor’s Choice List • Parenting Magazine Books of the Year 2004 • Cuyahoga County Public Library Children’s Books to Read and Own Every day, children the world over sing, shout, and celebrate Mother […]

Jack and the Beanstalk

©Nina Crews 2011 Christy Ottaviano Books, Henry Holt and Company ISBN: 9780805087659   Jack receives beans from his neighbor and – lo and behold! – those beans lead him up a beanstalk and into the company of giants. How will he ever get back home? In her innovative photo-collage style, Nina Crews freshens up a beloved children’s tale for today’s young readers. Kirkus – A contemporary urban version of the ancient tale of beans and boy, with spiky parts rounded off. This Jack gets a jar of brightly colored beans for doing chores for his neighbor, and he plants them beneath […]

One Hot Summer Day

© Nina Crews 1995 Greenwillow Books, HarperCollins Publishers ISBN:9780688133931 • CCBC Choice 1995 • Junior Library Guild Selection 1995 It is summer and it is HOT. Dogs pant. Women carry umbrellas for the shade. But the running, dancing narrator is busy. Drawing. Teasing her shadow. Eating Popsicles. Here is a perfect book for all seasons: If you are cold, it will warm you, and if you are hot–well, the sky is darkening, and the big drops are ready to fall. Nina Crews makes a stunning debut with a book bursting with emotion, truth, and beauty. Horn Book July/August 1995 – […]