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 […]

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 […]

Poor Guy!

Poor Guy has lost a leg! Jack’s fearless adventure companion featured in my two books, Below and Sky-High Guy, needs some repair. When I was first planning the photographs for Below, I knew that I wanted Jack’s favorite toy to be one that would only exist in that book. I didn’t really know how to make a doll, but I certainly played with enough as a kid, so I gave it a try. Guy was made out of a clay called Sculpey that can be baked in a toaster oven. I gave him dark brown hair and olive skin like […]

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 […]

I’ll Catch the Moon

©Nina Crews 1996 Greenwillow Books, HarperCollins Publishers The moon! There it is, outside the window, shiny as a new quarter. The child narrator imagines building a ladder to outer space, going up and up, until she can hold the silver circle in her hands. And what a magical time they have together! School Library Journal – The book has striking visual images and while there is no strong story line, it does capture and convey a child’s power to imagine and wonder. May 1996  

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 […]

Below

Below interior art

© Nina Crews 2006.  Nina Crews Studio Paperback Edition ISBN: 9780692434475 • ALA Notable Book 2007 • Junior Library Guild Selection 2006 • Read On Wisconsin book of the month December 2006 Jack and his action figure Guy have many adventures together, and the tall, narrow staircase in Jack’s house provides the perfect setting. Jack and Guy climb mountains, visit cities, and explore forests. But one day Guy falls down a hole in the stairs, and it’s up to Jack to rescue him. What is going on below the stairs? Only Guy knows. Publisher’s Weekly – “This fanciful look at […]