unaccompanied by tracy white, ms magazine review

Ms Magazine: UNACCOMPANIED by Tracy White

From Ms Magazine's "June 2023 Reads for the Rest of Us":

"This is a powerful graphic novel focused on five teens who have desperately crossed the border into the U.S. to better their own lives and those of their families.

The author’s proceeds go to organizations supporting unaccompanied refugee minors."

Click to read more.

 


MY DAY WITH DAD: An Interview with Rae Crawford

Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from? How did you decide to become an artist?

My name is Rae Crawford! I’m a biracial full-time designer by day and freelance illustrator by night. I’m from the most mysterious regions of the Chicagoland suburbs. When I’m not at my day job, I’m working on my children’s books and my webcomic, I’m Broken, Send Help. I lived in NYC for 8 years until recently when I moved back to Illinois with my partner.

Rae Crawford, cartoonist and author of MY DAY WITH DAD early reader -- then and now

The decision to be an artist wasn’t mine. I just always have been. It’s been ingrained into my interests, hobbies and goals my whole life. My decision to pursue a professional artistic journey was made early into my life when I realized how much joy drawing brought me and others. I saw the need in the world for beautiful images. The journey has been a wild ride of ups and down but I am excited to be sharing my first book with the world!

On May 23rd you’re launching your debut children’s book, MY DAY WITH DAD – congrats!!! Tell us about the book. Where did the idea come from? What’s your favorite thing about it?

my day with dad by rae crawford with interior page

In many ways, my father-figure, Uncle David, and I wrote this story together through our fun adventures together as father and daughter. However, the story is mostly based on a series of images I drew for Father’s Day for him as a card. They were vignettes of my favorite things we’ve done together: watching movies, making breakfast, and having a pillow fight. I posted them to social media and a couple of people asked me if I had a story to go with it so I made one. This is that story. My favorite thing about it is the little details that included from my childhood. No one else will notice but I do and my parents do. It makes us smile and we bond over it. I hope people who read the book will feel the love I put into it.

Rae Crawford's uncle and art that inspired MY DAY WITH DAD

Who do you see as the audience for MY DAY WITH DAD, and why is it a great book for them?

When you create an early reader, which this is, there’s the technical answer. The audience is parents with kids around the age of 5 who want to share a nice story about a girl and her dad. However, I would like to think this story reaches kids who have and are growing up in unconventional co-parenting settings. I made it to celebrate fathers and their kids everywhere and I think that will come across to the audience.

Do you have a dream project in the future? If so, what is it?

It’s hard to choose one as I’ve been keeping a list since grade school. However, many of my recent projects are grounded in reality, so I’m craving working on something that’s surreal, whimsical, and fun. My dream is to make stories in lands of perfect nonsense and imagination with characters full of personality and heart.

What has been improving your creative process recently?

For me, since I recently moved, it’s been curating and customizing creative spaces within our new home. I think having the right environment sets the tone for a productive creativity session. I’m especially proud of my office space!

What artists, creators, books, or websites are particularly inspiring to you right now? Where do you go when you need a dose of creative inspiration?

Since most of my books are still packed away, I mostly google my inspiration! My go-to recent top searches from movies and media are anything from Cartoon Saloon (Wolfwalkers, Song of the Sea, The Breadwinner, The Secret of Kells), Studio Ghibli, Steven Universe, Adventure Time, or mostly recently, Bluey (Those backgrounds are gorgeous!!!)

I also reference comic artists frequently. I look up Craig Thompson (Particularly Habibi and Goodbye Chunky Rice), Lucy Knisley (Particularly Stepping Stones and Relish), and Lisa Hanawalt’s zines (Hot Dog Taste Test and My Dirty Dumb Eyes). I’m also very blessed to have a long list of inspiring artists in my circle to gain inspiration and insight from. This is not to mention the inspiration I find in everyday life. It’s all around!

You have a day job working in book design at Scholastic. How do you juggle graphic design with writing and illustration work?

Honestly, some days it feels impossible. With doing both, the hours are rough. I procrastinate, then I cry because I procrastinated. I literally ask myself, what am I doing?

But my dad always told me, "where there’s a will, there's a way." And I have so much will and love for what I do. It’s like living a double life and both lives are hard work. But in Japanese culture, there is a principle called Ikigai. At the intersection of what I’m good at, what the world needs, what I can get paid for, and what I love is Ikigai. And in my professional life, I have found that harmony in living in two worlds.

How do you market yourself as an illustrator, and how do you do it while holding down a day job and doing your art? (Lots of creators feel overwhelmed by this and are dying of curiosity about how other people do it!)

For me, the art is the easy part. It’s the marketing that’s so much energy for me! It’s been a struggle especially lately. On top of juggling things professionally, I’m juggling personally as well. But I think I have some fun and creative ideas coming to promote this title and others in the future!

That being said, I think the key to marketing yourself in the modern age is to keep it small enough to be able to do it consistently and across multiple platforms. Big marketing campaigns are only as good as their execution. I also find having a strong network of friends, family and colleagues really helps as they will be your support not only in marketing but through the process and in your life.

Rae Crawford's MY DAY WITH DAD interior page detail (1)

Do you ever feel “artist’s block”? If so, what do you do to get “unblocked”?

Is there a creative out there who doesn’t experience artist’s block? If there is, I haven’t met them. I experience it all the time.

First, I try to work on projects that play to my strengths. It is much easier to unblock yourself if you’re enjoying what you’re drawing and you’re good at drawing it. It also helps to choose projects to work in a style I’m comfortable in.

My second method is to look at inspiration. When I work on my books, I have stacks of art books, comics and children’s books to fuel me and to get me to think outside of myself. It’s also so important to look at references for what I’m drawing. You can burn yourself out trying to remember what trees look like.

Lastly, I try to keep in mind that perfection is the death of completion. I just have to trust in my abilities and work through it. If all else fails, I go to my artist friends for a good pep talk. Especially with deadlines, these methods help me immensely.

Do you have any advice you wish you could give your younger self? If so, what is it?

There are many things I would say to a younger version of myself. But top of my list is ‘Life is tough, but so are you. It doesn’t get easier, you just get stronger.’

I love that! Where can people connect with you and find out more about MY DAY WITH DAD?

You can find me on Instagram and Twitter @itsraecrawford! My website is www.raecrawford.com with even more details.

The book is on sale through most of the major retailers including Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Bookshop.org, and Target.


MY DAY WITH DAD early reader cover by Rae Crawford, published by Holiday House

MY DAY WITH DAD by Rae Crawford published today!

MY DAY WITH DAD early reader cover by Rae Crawford, published by Holiday House

Congrats, Rae Crawford, on the publication of MY DAY WITH DAD!

Games, kites, a bike ride, and mac and cheese–it’s fun to spend a day with Dad. First-graders can read this Level G story on their own!

A day with Dad is a day packed with fun! Eating too many pancakes is just the beginning. Morning rain means it’s time for board games. When the sun comes back out, so do bikes and kites. Pup the dog tags along, too! Back home, the evening continues with mac and cheese, movies, and a phone call from Mom. Then Dad has one more surprise: PILLOW FIGHT!

This is one adorable, irresistible early reader.

Buy on Bookshop.org.

Buy on Amazon.

Connect with Rae Crawford.


Kirkus Reviews UNACCOMPANIED by Tracy White, published by Street Noise Books

Kirkus Reviews: UNACCOMPANIED by Tracy White

UNACCOMPANIED graphic novel cover by Tracy White, published by Street Noise, about unaccompanied minors seeking asylum in the United States


From Kirkus Reviews:

"A documentary-style account dramatizes the situations of many teen asylum seekers.

Spare, striking, black-and-white illustrations portray five teens fleeing dangerous situations and making hazardous journeys to the U.S.... This fast-paced, relatable work is informative and enlightening, treating its subjects with respect."

Click to read more.


 

 


WUTHERING HEIGHTS by Gibson & Rori Acquired by Andrews McMeel

In Gibson and Rori’s creative graphic novel adaptation of WUTHERING HEIGHTS, set among the fairies and ghosts of 18th century English moors, young genderqueer Heathcliff uses his self-made fortune to rekindle the bond with his childhood love, Cathy. But in seeking revenge against the wealthy families that tore them apart, he sets a terrible tragedy in motion.

Pub Date: Fall 2025
Publisher: Andrews McMeel
Translation rights: Andrews McMeel
Film/TV rights: Janna Co
Merchandising/Commercial rights: Janna Co

 

 


2/5/2022: All About Graphic Novels Day, with Writer and Illustrator Master Classes

90 minute webinar panel with Megan Lloyd, Janna Morishima, and Kiara Valdez

Exploring writing or illustrating a graphic novel? Already have one in progress? Just want to learn more about a growing segment of children’s publishing? Learn more in the webinar offered by SCBWI.

In the morning panel middle-grade graphic novel author Megan Lloyd (Allergic, Scholastic, 2021), agent Janna Morishima (Janna Co.), and editor Kiara Valdez (First Second Books) will talk about craft, submissions, scheduling, the current market, and more, followed by Q&A.

RSVP Information

HOSTED BY: Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI)

WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022

11:00 am ET
10:00 am CT
9:00 am MT
8:00 am PT

WHERE: Online

Registration to view webinar live and access recording for 30 days: SCBWI Members: $15; Non-members: $25

Click here to register.


2 hour online masterclass for ILLUSTRATORS and writer-illustrators with Janna Morishima: Round Table Review of Finished Graphic Novel Spreads based on a Homework Prompt

Live participants will create a finished graphic novel page or spread based on the homework  prompt. They also have the option of attending an online peer-to-peer roundtable on Tuesday, January 18, 2022, at 7-8:30 PM EST to give each other feedback on work-n-progress, and will receive an in-webinar review of their work during the master class.

Homework Prompt: Tell the story of a moment from one of your strongest childhood memories that had a big impact on you.
Specifications: Prepare your assignment in a 6” x 9” format (single page) or 12″ x 9″ (spread), using as many panels as you like. It can be color or B&W, in your own style. Make sure it includes character development, panels, and treatment of text/dialogue.

RSVP Information

HOSTED BY: Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI)

WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022

3:00 pm ET
2:00 pm CT
1:00 pm MT
12:00 pm PT

WHERE: Online

Registration with in-webinar homework review: SCBWI Members: $60; Non-members: $80
Registration to access recording only: SCBWI Members: $15; Non-members: $25

Click here to register.

 


1/15/2022: Kathlyn J. Kirkwood, author of Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me 'Round, signing in Parnassus Books

Parnassus Books is pleased to welcome Kathlyn J. Kirkwood, author of Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me 'Round: My Story of the Making of Martin Luther King Day for a signing of her debut memoir for children. Drop in any time between 2-3 PM central to meet Dr. Kirkwood and purchase a signed copy of Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me 'Round: My Story of the Making of Martin Luther King Day.

 

Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me 'Round

 

RSVP Information

HOSTED BY: Parnassus Books

WHEN: 2:00 pm CST/ 3:00 pm EST, Saturday, Jan. 15

WHERE: 3900 Hillsboro Pike Suite 14, Nashville, TN 37215

Click here to learn more.

This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something I may earn a commission. Thanks!

Praise for Kathlyn Kirkwood's Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Round!

A review of Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ’Round from Fabulous nonfiction children’s books you need on your bookshelf: Part Two by Pamela Kramer:

This brilliant memoir-in-verse tells the moving story of how a nation learned to celebrate a hero. Through years of protests and petition, Kathlyn's story highlights the foot soldiers who fought to make Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a national holiday.

Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ’Round is a deeply moving middle-grade memoir about what it means to be an everyday activist and foot solider for racial justice, as Kathlyn recounts how, drawn to activism from childhood, she went from attending protests as a teenager to fighting for Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday to become a national holiday as an adult. A blueprint for kids starting down their own paths to civic awareness, it shows life beyond protests and details the sustained time, passion, and energy it takes to turn an idea into a law.

Deftly weaving together monumental historical events with a heartfelt coming-of-age story and in-depth information on law making, Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ’Round is the perfect engaging example of how history can help inform the present.

 

Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Round

"Memoirs like this one must be part of every library collection and classroom bookshelf."

- Fabulous nonfiction children’s books you need on your bookshelf: Part Two, Pamela Kramer, pamelakramer.com

 

The book has actually been in the works in one form or another for at least 10 years. It started as an oral history-a presentation I gave to young adults and teens titled “How Dr. King’s Day Came to Be.” Upon the suggestion of one of my church members, Jeanne Arradondo, I started thinking about turning that presentation into a book. It was still a number of years before I was ready to settle down and actually write the book that would become “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ‘Round.”

- School Library Journal (SLJ)

 

In this memoir-in-verse, Kirkwood describes how she was affected by King to push for racial justice as a young person and, 20 years later, for King’s birthday to be made a national holiday. Kirkwood doesn’t claim to be a central figure in these efforts or in reducing illiteracy, her current focus, but she writes movingly of being part of positive change.

- The Washington Post

 

This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something I may earn a commission. Thanks!

12/7/2021: The Power of Humor in Picture Books

Discover the power of silliness with a guy who knows how to get eye-level with kids and make them chuckle in this free webinar offered by Benchmark Education. New York Times best-selling author Ed Masessa will show educators ways to use picture books to spark joyful engagement. He'll focus on his two recent laugh-out-loud picture books, There Was an Old Dog Who Needed a Nap, and Snowman's Big Adventure.

 

There Was an Old Dog Who Needed a Nap
Snowman's Big Adventure

 

RSVP Information

HOSTED BY: Benchmark Education

WHEN: 1:00 pm ET/10:00 am PT, Tuesday, Dec. 7

WHERE: Online

Click here to register.

This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something I may earn a commission. Thanks!

Fall 2021 Good news

BOUNCE BACK is out -- great review in SLJ!

"This story hits all the middle school sweet spots—friendship struggles, bullying, popularity, and awkward crushes.... Though this book will have special appeal to manga readers, the universal story and engaging art will delight a wide range of middle schoolers." – School Library Journal

Bounce Back just published on November 16, 2021 from Feiwel & Friends / Macmillan.

Congratulations, Misako!!!!


Two new picture books from Ed Masessa: THERE WAS AN OLD DOG WHO NEEDED A NAP, and SNOWMAN'S BIG ADVENTURE

Ed Masessa is well-known in the children's book world for his quirky sense of humor... and these two books don't disappoint!

There Was an Old Dog Who Needed a Nap published on August 1, 2021, and Snowman's Big Adventure is coming out on Dec. 1st from Reycraft.

Congratulations, Ed!!!!


AIN'T GONNA LET NOBODY TURN ME ROUND Launch Event at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN

Kathlyn J. Kirkwood's debut book is a middle grade memoir in verse about her coming of age during the civil rights movement in 1960s Memphis.

She is planning an unforgettable launch event on January 8th featuring a concert of civil rights era spirituals at the National Civil Rights Museum, which is built around the former Lorraine Motel, the site of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968.

Contact me for more information.

Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Round is coming out on January 6, 2022 from Versify / HarperCollins.

Congratulations, Kathlyn!!!


MIMI AND THE CUTIE CATASTROPHE Chosen for Junior Library Guild!

Junior Library Guild is "the gold standard" subscription service for children's librarians. They've chosen Shauna Grant's debut early reader graphic novel, Mimi And The Cutie Catastrophe, for the next summer season.

Mimi And The Cutie Catastrophe is coming out in Summer 2022 from Scholastic Graphix.

Congratulations, Shauna!!!