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Friday, March 31, 2017

Let's Get Messy With Art

Art imitates life.

Life gets messy. 

Mess imitates books.

Okay, I kind of lost the thread there. Really, I just want to share some photos of messy art inspired by Edward Gets Messy (illustrated by the talented Olga Stern) that some lovely people have created and allowed me to post here. 


1) A wonderful library mom shared her toddler son's creation. Many artistic techniques (I assume, I know nothing about art) are being used here: 







2) Lauren Manu at the Poplar Creek Library District in the state of Illinois does a wonderful "Messy Art Monday" program at her library and used Edward Gets Messy as the book for one of the sessions. Here are some of the pointilism-esque (that's an art term, right?) paintings the kids made: 





3) A recent visit to a children's center on Long Island yielded many fantastically messy results:





Edward as drawn by one of the teachers! 













Sorry, parents. 


4) And this simple-yet-colorful Edward silhouette was created during a library visit with some "magic" no-mess Crayola paint and paper (which I think they don't make anymore, boo): 




If you have any Edward-inspired art, I'd love to see it! Please email me at ScrewyDecimalBlog@gmail.com. Thanks to all who have shared with me so far! 
Get messy, everyone. 

~Rita


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Edward Gets Nominated!

Just a quick note: I am very happy to tell you that my picture book Edward Gets Messy has been chosen as a finalist for the Anna Dewdney Read Together Award. This is is the first year of the award's existence - it "will be given to a picture book published in the U.S. during the previous five years that inspires empathy and connection and makes for an exceptional read-aloud." 

I wrote 'Edward' specifically to be read aloud and to be a resource that might help kids alleviate anxiety (or at least recognize that they are not alone in experiencing it), so being nominated for this particular award is especially meaningful to me. 

Thank you to anyone who may have nominated the book for this award, and thank you to all of those who have read the book to/with children, use it in library programs, review it online, etc. I appreciate it so much and I'm very honored to be in such fine literary company on the finalists list.

Happy reading, everyone! 







Monday, February 13, 2017

Kid Notes

I recently found a few cute kid notes in the library. They helped my day and I hope they help yours. 






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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Edward Goes to School

I'm not going to sugarcoat it: the world is a weird, scary place right now for a lot of people (to put it mildly). I'm thrilled to have published Edward Gets Messy, but it's honestly a bit strange to be promoting a kid's book during this time, because it feels self-important and almost a little crass when there are so many bad things happening all over the place. Like, "sign this petition to stop this particular human rights disaster, but also BUY MY BOOK!" It's hard to keep perspective about any one thing. 

However, I was reminded of something (something that I am always aware of, but don't always feel in a tangible sense) when doing my first big school visit as an author a couple of weeks ago. I was reminded that books ACTUALLY CAN provide hope and inspiration or at the very least spark conversations that leads to these things. For me, talking to kids about reading and writing was a way to get a handle on things at the ground level while still being able to look at the bigger picture. After all, our own problems (as well as our dreams, passions, and aspirations) don't go away just because there are other problems in the world. All we can do is deal with them, help other people, and try to make the world around us a better place as much as we can.  

So when I spoke to the students at this school, I was heartened by stories of their creativity, their own wishes to write a book someday, their love of art, and even the things they used to be afraid of and are not afraid of anymore. In this context, these discussions stemmed from talking about Edward Gets Messy and it's my hope that the kids came away from the presentation with a sense that they can someday be who they want to be and that they have the ability to create beauty in a world that is not always beautiful. Some of the teachers told me that I inspired the kids, but really it was the other was around. Thank you, kids. 

(Also, I got a whole bunch of wonderful notes like the one below, which is basically the best review I could ever ask for. The universe is a big place, you know.) 




If you'd like, you can read more about the visit here:

"Local Author Comes back to Northport!"


And I also came across this lovely review of Edward that I wanted to share with you because it gave me hope personally: 

"Read All About It: Persnickety pig loosens up in ‘Edward Gets Messy’"

"The book jacket for 'Edward Gets Messy' states that this is Rita Meade’s first picture book for children. She is a public librarian living in Brooklyn, New York. Here’s hoping she picks up her pen again soon for more adventures with Edward or some totally new tale."

Here's to hope in all shapes and forms, my friends. 

~Rita


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Elmo Reads Edward!

To follow up on my post from Halloween - this is ALSO the best thing ever. (More than one "best thing ever" can exist in the world, right?) Last week, Sesame Street used my library branch as a location for a photo shoot with local families and staff with their kids. My wonderful BPL Robin colleague attended with her adorable son (below) and while they were waiting for their turn, they started reading Edward Gets Messy at one of the tables.

At that exact moment, the actual, "real-life" Elmo came over to their table and started READING EDWARD GETS MESSY WITH THEM. (I have a video of this, which I'm not allowed to share, but, once again, it's the coolest thing EVER.) I'm not sure if "Elmo reading your picture book out loud in the library" can be considered a life goal, but if it is, I'm thrilled to have achieved it.



(Photo credit: Ryan Heffernan. Used with permission from Sesame Street. Thanks, Sesame Street!)

Monday, October 31, 2016

Edward Gets Pumpkined!

A kid had an assignment to decorate a pumpkin as her favorite book character and she chose Edward from EDWARD GETS MESSY! Happy Halloween to me! 


Saturday, October 15, 2016

Edward Gets Launched!

This post is a bit overdue, but that's okay, I'm a librarian and won't get charged. (BADUM CHING. Ahem. I'll see myself out.) 

My debut picture book Edward Gets Messy (illustrated by the super-talented Olga Stern) was finally released into the world a little over a month ago! We had a fun little storytime release party at my library branch on September 13th, the actual day of publication (thank you to my colleague Katya Schapiro for putting things together so nicely). 

Also, with the help of Shifa, my publicist at Simon & Schuster, my agent Brooks Sherman, friends and family, and several bookish Brooklyn residents, I had a wonderful, magical, dream-come-true book release party at Book Court in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn the following Saturday. Here are just a few photos from that event: 



I totally opened for Michael Rubens and Samantha Bee. (Three hours before, but still.)



The librarian in her natural state. (Photo by Brooks Sherman.)

Pig Balloons!

Thank you, Book Court and every one who attended! It was so much fun. 

On a random sweet note, a library mom recently brought in a cake she made that she told me was inspired by the colors found in Edward Gets Messy. Beautiful AND delicious. 




And while I have your attention, I will take this opportunity to mention that reviews and ratings are very helpful to new authors, so if you read the book and enjoyed it, I'd appreciate you taking the small amount of time it takes to leave a review at any of the following sites: Barnes & NobleAmazon, and/or GoodreadsAnd if you have a blog or website and have reviewed Edward Gets Messy, I'd love to see it! I thought this review from thSchreibenfreude blog was wonderful, especially this line: "Of the five books I read this morning, this was my 10 year old's favorite." It doesn't get better than that, folks! I've had many friends send me photos of their kids reading the book and I have to tell you, I die a little of cuteness every time. 

I'll be doing some readings and programs in the next few months, so if you live around Brooklyn or Long Island, I'd love to see you! (More to come - I'll update this as necessary.)

Saturday, October 22nd, 11am: Greenlight Bookstore

Sunday, October 30th, 1pm: Books of Wonder 

Sunday, November 6th, 12pm: The BookMark Shoppe

NEW: Saturday, November 19th, 11:30am: McNally Jackson Books

Thank you all so, so much for your support! Happy reading!

~Rita


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Edward Gets Reviewed!

Hello! I hope you have all had a wonderful summer. It's been busy here in Brooklyn, but I wanted to share with you some fun publishing-related things that have happened in the past few months/will happen soon. So, Edward Gets Messy, the picture book I wrote (which was illustrated by the glorious Olga Stern and is being published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers) comes out ONE WEEK FROM TODAY. Needless to say, I'm very excited and quite nervous. I can only imagine that this is what it feels like to prepare for childbirth, except without all the diaper-buying and abstaining from wine (thank goodness). 

I wanted to share a few nice reviews that the book has already gotten, and let you know about my book release event, should you find yourself in the NYC area next weekend. 

First, School Library Journal amazingly chose Edward Gets Messy for their August Popular Picks feature, saying "This debut title is a delightful tale and a storytime winner." I really could not ask for a better review, as I wrote this book with the hope that it would be read with and to kids for an interactive experience. SLJ was also kind enough to do an interview with me about Edward and why I wanted to tell this story. Thank you, School Library Journal! 

Side note: I don't think I've shown you my author photo yet, so here it is! Thank you to my wonderful husband Michael for managing to not make me look as tired as I feel. 



In terms of other mainstream reviews, Publisher's Weekly called the character of Edward a "Marie Kondo type," which I found hilarious (and they also said some other nice things), and even Kirkus called the book "a fine addition." I'll take it! (Side side note: if you want to add the book to your Goodreads to-read shelf and if you like it mmmmaybe leave a review for it someday, you can find it here! Positive reviews on this site and sites like Amazon can help a LOT, just FYI.) 

Lastly, I'm having a book release party at the wonderful BookCourt bookstore in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn on Saturday, September 17th at 4pm. If you're in the area (perhaps in town for the Brooklyn Book Festival?), please stop by! We'll have some refreshments, share some stories, and reflect on our love of all things porcine. 

Thanks so much, everyone!