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Children's & Fantasy/Sci-Fi Books


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Interview with Picture Book Author/Illustrator Karen Lechelt

Karen Lechelt is a writer, illustrator and artist. She was born in South Korea, raised in New Jersey and currently lives in San Francisco. Most of her stories have animals  wearing pants. Making books is something she finds impossible and impossibly wonderful. I had the opportunity to meet her at this year’s LA Times Festival of Books.

For what age audience do you write? 

Early readers (1-5), picture books

Tell us about your book. 

It’s about a young girl who while playing with her toys imagines asking them one simple question, WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOU? Their responses are sweet, silly and unique.

What DO YOU LOVE ABOUT that book? 

I hope readers and non-readers will begin to think about what it is they love about themselves…obvious I know, but that’s what I’m really hoping for.

Henry: Very nice.

What aspect of writing or illustrating do you find most challenging? 

Finishing a story or an idea is difficult for me. Ideas can come to me rather quickly. But completing the idea and the ending is almost always a struggle for me. I’m not a tidy person, and find it impossible to come up with tidy endings.

Henry: I’m a very tidy person, and it’s still a challenge to come up with tidy endings.

What is a powerful lesson you’ve learned from being a writer/illustrator? 

To never give up on myself. After a hundred rejections and many moments of self doubt, ultimately it was MY voice (both verbal and graphic) that shined through the massive slush piles and landed me a wonderful publisher, agent and editor. I have to believe in myself otherwise no one else will.

Henry: Solid advice. That, and grow a thick skin!

What has been a memorable experience that you never would have had if you had not been a writer? 

I’ve never been a fan of public speaking…actually I used to loathe it.  But since becoming a published author and presenting my book to over 500 students, children and adults, I’ve learned to enjoy the experience. And reading on the children’s stage at the LA Times Festival of Books is something I never expected to do and will NEVER forget. Also getting my picture taken with Jon Klassen AND Mac Barnett at LATFB was a huge treat for this fan.

Henry: I saw you there. Great job!

What advice would you give to aspiring authors or illustrators? 

I’m too much of an imposter to give advice.  But if forced, maybe I’d say no matter what, just enjoy the artful journey of storytelling.

Henry: Good advice. The artistic road is hilly, so enjoy the high points.

Do you have any favorite quotes? 

Not really a quote, but a cartoon by Jack Ziegler. A man walks into a party and thinks to himself “Yipes! Grownups!”. That happens to me almost every day…not the party, just the feeling.

Do you have any strange rituals that you observe when you work? 

I don’t, but my dog does. He follows me to my desk, waits for me to turn around in my chair and say “I see you” and then jumps onto the small sofa. If I don’t acknowledge him, he stares through me until I’ve relented. Oh, and I do eat a lot of chocolate, but there’s nothing strange about that.

Henry: “Acknowledge me, hooman! One does not simply work without acknowledging me. It is folly.”

If you could have one superpower, what would it be? 

Having a 10 year old daughter, I have discussed this quite a bit. I would absolutely fly. I love traveling and eating.  So if I could fly I would wake up in the morning and eat bagels in NY, then fly to Paris for a ham baguette and croissant, then I’d go and eat Udon in Japan and end my day in Florence with waffles and gelato.  I’d be a very selfish superhero and happily very plump. If I couldn’t fly I’d maybe like to control the weather. I think I could do a lot of good if I could control the weather.

Henry: If you get too plump, it would affect your aerodynamics. Flying is a lot trickier than it first appears. I wrote a mock interview of Edna Mode, discussing the challenges of flying and other superpowers. 

If you could have three authors over for dinner, who would it be?

I would love to have Haruki Murakami over for dinner because he is my favorite all-time author. I would want to ask him about the inklings and cats and shadows in his books. I would also love to eat with Mary Blair, although technically she’s not an author, but illustrator.  She illustrated one of my all time favorite picture books, I CAN FLY.  Her color, style and creativity are unrivaled. And lastly I would have Charles Bukowski at the table, because I love his writing, but more importantly, I think he would be horribly fun. Either I’d love him or end up kicking him out.

Henry: Wikipedia helpfully offers:
“Haruki Murakami is a Japanese writer. His books and stories have been bestsellers in Japan as well as internationally, with his work being translated into 50 languages and selling millions of copies outside his native country. The critical acclaim for his fiction and non-fiction has led to numerous awards, in Japan and internationally, including the World Fantasy Award (2006) and the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award (2006). His oeuvre received, for example, the Franz Kafka Prize (2006) and the Jerusalem Prize (2009). Murakami’s most notable works include A Wild Sheep Chase (1982), Norwegian Wood (1987), The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (1994–95), Kafka on the Shore (2002), and 1Q84 (2009–10).

Mary Blair, born Mary Robinson, was an American artist who was prominent in producing art and animation for The Walt Disney Company, drawing concept art for such films as Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Song of the South and Cinderella. Blair also created character designs for enduring attractions such as Disneyland’s It’s a Small World, the fiesta scene in El Rio del Tiempo in the Mexico pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase, and an enormous mosaic inside Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Several of her illustrated children’s books from the 1950s remain in print, such as I Can Fly by Ruth Krauss. Blair was inducted into the prestigious group of Disney Legends in 1991.

Henry Charles Bukowski was a German-born American poet, novelist, and short story writer. His writing was influenced by the social, cultural, and economic ambience of his home city of Los Angeles. His work addresses the ordinary lives of poor Americans, the act of writing, alcohol, relationships with women, and the drudgery of work. Bukowski wrote thousands of poems, hundreds of short stories and six novels, eventually publishing over 60 books. The FBI kept a file on him as a result of his column, Notes of a Dirty Old Man, in the LA underground newspaper Open City. In 1986 Time called Bukowski a “laureate of American lowlife”.”

What is your favorite creature that exists only in literature?

I like the cats in Murakami’s books because they are delegates from another world. When I read a Murakami story I may be entering a world that I actually feel like I belong to. I believe my dog, Mr. Jones, often tries to lead me down a rabbit hole.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

Right now I’m really into painting…and chocolate.

Henry: Chocolate is becoming a theme here…

What would you like it to say on your tombstone?

Lived a long happy life.

Where can readers find your work?

Tell them to check their local library! And if they want to buy it they can go to their local book store, Barnes and Noble, Amazon and the like.

Henry: Thanks for spending time with us, Karen.


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Bookstore Employees Gone Wild

Little did you know what a wild crew bookstore employees are. Now, thanks to Greta J. and the mad geniuses at Bored Panda, you do.

“The Librairie Mollat in France is attracting quite a lot of attention to their Instagram page after employees started noticing how closely their store’s books resembled their customers and themselves.

Their cheeky photos show how book covers fit unusually well into the frames of everyday life, especially when they mirror the people holding them. It’s a classic example of clever French wit, and Mollat’s 21.2k followers are hooked on it. Mollat was the first independent bookstore in France, opening its doors in 1896 in Bordeaux, a legacy its current employees are only helping to bolster.

Have a peak at some of the funniest – and eeriest – juxtapositions below.”

Book Cover

Book Cover

Book Cover

Book Cover

Book Cover

Book Cover

Book Cover

Book Cover

Book Cover

Book Cover


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Famous Movie Scenes Recreated Using Cardboard Boxes & a Two-Year Old

I never imagined that parents could have a two-year old AND too much time on their hands. But I was wrong. From Vaiva Vareikaite and the mad geniuses at Bored Panda.

“Sometimes what you need to get creative is just a pile of cardboard boxes and a baby, who needs to be entertained. This is exactly what inspired Leon Mackie and Lilly Lang to recreate their favorite film scenes after moving into their new home.

A young couple with a baby on their hands recently moved from Melbourne to Sydney, Australia, and got left with a lot of spare cardboard boxes. The boxes were a perfect source of inspiration for some astonishing things that were about to happen. Lilly and Leon are passionate cinephiles, so they didn’t take long to come up with an idea to bring most memorable moments from their favorite films back to life, except this time starring their 2-year-old son.

The beautiful initiative to have a quality family time became an inspirational project titled Cardboard Box Office and a source for quite a successful weblog. The adorable couple and the little one have already re-enacted such movie classics as Alien (Bubbalien), Jurassic Park (Goo-Goo Gaa-Gaa-Rassic Park), Castaway (Castababy), and Jaws (“You’re Gonna Need A Bigger Baby…”).”

#1 Game Of Thrones

Game Of Thrones

 #2 Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad

#3 Mad Max

Mad Max

#4 Lord Of The Rings

Lord Of The Rings

#5 Batman

Batman

#6 E.T. : The Extraterrestrial

E.t. : The Extra Terrestrial

#7 Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump

#8 Beetlejuice

Beetlejuice

#9 The Revenant

The Revenant

#10 Home Alone

Home Alone


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Action Figures Come To Life

Finally, a use for all those collectible action hero figures gathering dust on the shelf, thanks to Hot.kenobi and the mad geniuses at Bored Panda.

“Japanese photographer Hot.kenobi plays with his action toys and uses photography to tell their entertaining stories. Osaka-based Hot.kenobi creates a universe where box office rivals DC and Marvel comics (sometimes Disney’s Star Wars as well) not only battle each other, but also have some fun in both surreal and everyday situations. Most of his compositions are explosive and feature a lot of movement, perfectly supplemented by special effects and a healthy dose of humor.

Whether it’s Hulk smashing a can of soda, or Spiderman trying to ‘play’ Captain America’s shield on a CD player, these images bring the colorful personalities of unlikely friends and foes.”

Action Figures

Action Figures

Action Figures

Action Figures

Action Figures

Action Figures

Action Figures

Action Figures

Action Figures

Action Figures


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Russian Fairy Tales Brought to Life

As an author of fractured fairy tales, this speaks to me. Haunting recreations of Russian fairy tales, thanks to Margarita Kareva and the mad geniuses at Bored Panda.

“I started taking pictures about 5 years ago, had not even suspected that it will be my profession. Since then, I often say thanks to the Universe for giving me a passion for my life.

I love to read since childhood, and perhaps my love of reading has made me a dreamer and a person living in their fantasies.

And I’m glad that I had a way to play out my fantasies with the camera. It is very important for every person – to have their own way of expression.

My way – is to share photos from a fairy tales. Photos with unusual models, with animals, with a combination of quaint colors.

Most of the photos in my portfolio is a creative photography (noncommercial) because I think it is very important to do something that you really like.”

Little Fairy Worlds

Little Fairy Worlds

Little Fairy Worlds

Little Fairy Worlds

Little Fairy Worlds

Little Fairy Worlds

 Little Fairy Worlds

Little Fairy Worlds

Little Fairy Worlds

Little Fairy Worlds

Little Fairy Worlds

Little Fairy Worlds

Little Fairy Worlds

Little Fairy Worlds

Little Fairy Worlds

Little Fairy Worlds

Little Fairy Worlds

Little Fairy Worlds

Little Fairy Worlds

Little Fairy Worlds


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Sculpted fantasy yard creatures

Fantasy sculptures that inspire me to write more picture books, from Scott Radke and the mad geniuses at Bored Panda.

“My name is Scott Radke and I’m an artist from Cleveland Ohio. I create dream-like characters from out of my imagination and photograph them in natural environments. I keep the meanings behind my work simple and just create and let my work speak for itself. It’s very meditative for me to create and I’m fortunate to have this as my purpose and livelihood.”

Scott Radke

Scott Radke

Scott Radke

Scott Radke

Scott Radke

Scott Radke

Scott Radke

Scott Radke

Scott Radke

Scott Radke


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World-Class Kid Bedroom Designs

From the mad geniuses at Bored Panda.

“We love to write about interior design at Bored Panda, but we often forget to cover one important group – kids! Most parents will agree that providing their children with a wonderful living space in which they can thrive, learn and play is of paramount importance, which is why we’ve collected this list of 22 awesome interior design ideas for children’s rooms.

A child’s surroundings can have a huge impact on how they grow and develop, so parents always try to make their children’s living spaces as comfortable and fun as possible within their means. I’m not sure my parents could have afforded an indoor treehouse, but I still had plenty of pictures and bright, colorful artwork up on my walls. Sleeping in a bed that looks like a pirate ship or a princess’ wagon, as one can imagine, would probably fill a child’s life with endless hours of joy.

Of course, arguments can be made for and against these designs. Sure they all look pretty cool, but how safe is a children’s room with ladders, ropes, and strange out-of-place edges? There are plenty of opportunities here for kids to hurt themselves, depending on their age and how much they like to horse around, so these designs may not be for everyone. And as much as we like providing for our children, spoiling them rotten is also a bad idea!”

 

1. Pirate Ship Room

2. Calvin and Hobbes Bedroom

Designed by Katri Nurmela

3. Secret Chronicles Of Narnia Room

4. Personal Teepee

5. Spaceship Captain’s Console

6. Tree House Bedroom

7. Secret Slide Passage And Play Room

8. Secret Treehouse Play Room

9. House Within A House

10. Fairy-Tale Nursery

11. Ship Captain’s Bedroom

12. Adventure Treehouse Room

13. Circus Bedroom

14. Princess’ Carriage And Bedroom

15. Ship Captain’s Lookout And Bedroom

16. Forest Wonderland Bedroom

17. Racetrack Bedroom

18. Hideout Tubes

19. Basketball Court Bedroom

20. Island Shipwreck Bedroom

21. Super Mario Room

22. Or Just Give Your Kids Thousands of Stickers And See What Happens