March was National Reading Month, and once again our pre-k classrooms partnered with prominent, award-winning children’s authors for our second annual “Reading on the Rug” series. Through March and into April, authors read their original works to the the little ones in our early childhood services to celebrate the importance of story time and reading to children regularly. Their books explored identity, representation, and community—themes that will create strong foundations for an ever-growing intellectual curiosity and a lifetime love of reading. Here’s who we read with this month:
Nina Crews has written and illustrated many energetic stories for young children including “One Hot Summer Day,” “The Neighborhood Mother Goose,” and “Below.” She uses photographs and photo collages to create distinctive illustrations. Her work has been recognized by the ALA Notable Committee, Cooperative Children’s Book Council, Junior Library Guild, and Bank Street College of Education. Her latest book is “Seeing Into Tomorrow: Haiku by Richard Wright.” She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son.
Bianca Diaz is an artist, illustrator, animator, and educator from Chicago currently living in New York. She grew up in Pilsen, the same Chicago neighborhood that her grandparents immigrated to. Bianca draws inspiration from her Mexican culture, family, and community. She uses collage, watercolor, and mixed media to make work that is colorful and immersive. Bianca received her B.F.A. in illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2013, and an M.A. in creative process from Uversity in Ireland. She received the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Honor 2018 for her first children’s book, “The One Day House,” which was also a Junior Library Guild Selection.
Sharee Miller has a B.F.A. in communication design from Pratt Institute. Her debut picture book, “Princess Hair,” came out in October 2017 on Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. She lives in Brooklyn, where she enjoys spending time with her two cats, illustrating fun stories, and playing with her princess hair.
Eric Morse is a writer and father of four living outside of New York City. He was the founder and editor of Trampoline House online magazine, and a music industry marketing executive. When he’s not listening to old hip-hop records, he’s listening to new hip-hop MP3s. He is the author of “What Is Punk?” and “What Is Hip-Hop?”
Christopher Silas Neal is an award-winning author and illustrator of picture books including “Over and Under the Snow” with author Kate Messner, which was praised for its "stunning retro-style illustrations" (New York Times) and was a 2011 New York Times Editor's Choice and an E.B. White Honoree in 2012. Neal's author debut, titled “Everyone,” was praised by Publisher's Weekly as "simple, honest, lyrical." He creates book jackets, art for magazines and posters, and occasionally directs and designs animated videos. He speaks about his books, the art-making process, and his career at schools, conferences, libraries, and book festivals across the country. He lives and works in Brooklyn.
Misa Saburi was born in Sleepy Hollow, New York, and raised in Tokyo. She makes illustrations using Photoshop, sometimes while watching soccer and silly Japanese TV shows. She has illustrated “Monster Trucks” (Henry Holt) and “Snow White” (Little Simon) and the upcoming “Bearnard's Book” (Henry Holt). She currently lives and works in Brooklyn.
James Yang was born in Oklahoma and graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a B.A. in communication arts and design. His work has appeared in prestigious trade publications such as American Illustration, Communication Arts, 3×3 Magazine, Graphis, How, Print, and The Art Directors Club of NY. James has won over 250 awards for design and illustration excellence including best of show from 3×3 Magazine. He has taught and lectured at SVA, Parsons, FIT, SCAD, American University in Lebanon, among others, and was an executive board member for ICON. James currently lives in Brooklyn where he happily works for clients, book publishers, and animators around the world. His new children’s book, “Bus! Stop!” for Viking Children’s Books was released March 2018. You can see his wallpaper for the MTA on trains in New York City.
Hyewon Yum is the author and illustrator of several acclaimed books for children, including “This Is Our House,” “The Twins' Blanket,” “There Are No Scary Wolves,” and “Last Night.” Her book “Mom, It's My First Day of Kindergarten!” received the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.