Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Nonfiction books of wonder

On 10/7/18, at the year-old Upper West Side outpost of Books of Wonder, I had the pleasure of sitting on a panel alongside Thirty Minutes Over Oregon illustrator Melissa Iwai and other creators of nonfiction Wendell Minor, Hudson Talbott, and Rachel Ignotofsky (the last two of whom I'd not met before).

I participate in events like this in part to hear from my peers. If I sell a few books in the process, I consider that a bonus.

 photo courtesy Meg Parsont

photo courtesy Florence Minor

The last time I was on a panel at Books of Wonder was 10 years ago (almost to the day), which was also the last time I appeared on a panel with one of my illustrators (Ross MacDonald), which was also the first time I appeared on a panel with one of my illustrators.

The only photo I have from that event:

The boy of drool with Boys of Steel is the son
of two of my best friends.

Books of Wonder ringleader Peter Glassman was, alas, home recuperating from surgery; I haven't seen him in years. A few months before that first panel, Peter and I had a sidewalk adventure during a sales experiment for Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman.

The adventure led to a confrontation.

Back in the present, Peter's Books of Wonder staff was the picture of warmth and professionalism. Friends and strangers alike turned up that warm early fall afternoon, including illustrator Justin LaRocca Hansen, which was so meaningful. 

Justin was one of the first to believe in Thirty Minutes Over Oregon and therefore one of its first illustrators:

Wait, what? 

This. (Speaking of experiments.)

We writers are lucky to get to work with any talented illustrator; I've gotten to work with many—even on the same book (though vastly different stages). 

Melissa pumped so much heart and thought into this book, even overcoming a hand injury to stay on schedule. I feel privileged to have worked with her and I am so enamored with how the book looks—you can feel the emotions throughout. Here's her flight path for this project.

Melissa is holding a model of Nobuo's plane
(bought off ebay; thanks Brian Floca).

While the panel was paneling, Justin was in the audience taking notes. Or so I thought till after, when I saw what he was really doing in that notebook.

artwork copyright Justin LaRocca Hansen

Another highlight: posing for a photo with both Justin and Melissa, who hadn't met before. Even though they're in the same industry, I felt like I was introducing a school friend and a camp friend.

Nobuo helped unite a town and now, years after his passing, he is uniting still.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

Aw, I love this post! You captured the event perfectly! 😊😊😊