Why not toss some of your holiday gift budget toward a visual journalist who might be selling just what you need for that special someone on your list?
Today’s topic: Children’s books…
If you have kids on your Holiday shopping list and you’d like to be the one uncle or aunt or family friend who buys them something other than shoot-’em-up video games, then try a book by longtime newspaper illustrator Don Tate.
Don has been working on the side as a children’s book illustrator for more than a decade with more than 40 books to his credit. Two years ago, however, Lee & Low Books published the first one Don’s actually written.
It’s called: It Jes’ Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw.
The official blurb:
As an enslaved boy on an Alabama farm in the early 1860s, Bill Traylor worked in the hot cotton fields. After slavery ended, Bill’s family stayed on the land as sharecroppers.
By the time he was 79, Bill was all alone in the world. Lonely, poor and eventually homeless, he wandered the downtown streets of Montgomery, Alabama. But deep within himself Bill had a reservoir of memories of his lifetime spent on the land. When he was 83 years old, these memories blossomed into pictures. Bill began to draw people and places from his earlier life, as well as scenes from the busy city around him.
Don wrote this one. But the publisher had someone else illustrate it: R. Gregory Christie. Find the book at Amazon for $15.34.
There are lots of other books out there written by others and illustrated by Don, however.
On the left: She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story by Audrey Vernick tells the story of the only woman inducted into the baseball hall of fame. Find it at Amazon for $14.52.
In the center: Ron’s Big Mission by Rose Blue and Corinne Naden, is the true story of a young boy in rural, segregated South Carolina who faces the daunting task of applying for his first library card. The boy grows up to become NASA astronaut Ron McNair. $14.52 at Amazon.
On the right: I am My Grandpa’s Enkelin by Wangerin Walter Jr. is a touching story of a little girl who learns much about life and death from her grandfather, a German immigrant farmer. $7.58 at Amazon.
Here’s the blurb for Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite by Anna Harwell Celenza:
Ellington’s band members were not so sure that a classical ballet could become a cool-cat jazz number. But Duke and Billy, inspired by their travels and by musical styles past and present, infused the composition with Vegas glitz, Hollywood glamour, and even a little New York jazz.
That book includes a CD and sells for $17.05 at Amazon.
Don’t most recent project is The Cart that Carried Martin by Eve Bunting.
The book was released on Nov. 1. Amazon is selling it for $12.20.
And yes, Don has more more work on the way. He’s sold his second book as an author. The tentative title: The Slave Poet of Chapel Hill, to be published by Peachtree Publishers.
A 1984 graduate of Des Moines (Iowa) Area Community College, Don had been working at the Des Moines Register for nearly two years when I became graphics editor there in April 1999. Shortly before the end of that year, he left for Austin (I have that effect on some people).
Don spent about 12 years as a news artist for the Austin American-Statesman until his job was phased out last winter when Cox newspapers went to a hubbed editing and design system. Since then, he’s gone full-time with his illustrating and writing of children’s books.
If your little reader is just a little too young for Don’t fare, perhaps a simple learn-to-read alphabet book might be in order. Dan Garrow — graphics director for the Wilmington, Del., News Journal — published one such book in 2011 called Alphasillymals.
Dan’s illustrations accompany fun rhymes involving animals and, of course, the ABC’s.
The book sells for $26.99 softcover and $36.99 in hardcover with a dust jacket. Order Alphasillymals here.
A product of Buffalo State College, Dan has free-lanced for the Washington Post Magazine, Newsweek, USA Today, the New York Times and BusinessWeek. He’s worked at the News Journal for more than 30 years.
You’re reading the fifth of a series of blog posts offering up ideas for Holiday gift giving, but with items created by your visual journalism colleagues around the world.
The schedule, so far:
MONDAY: Comics and cartoons
TUESDAY: Novels and fiction books
WEDNESDAY: Nonfiction books
Also, check out the gifts for geeky collector-types that I wrote for the O.C. Register‘s Holiday Gift Guide in the Thanksgiving day paper.
Do you know of anything — or anybody — I should add to my list? Give me a ho-ho-holler.