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Sunday, October 13, 2013


My friend David brought me a wonderful gift from the Heartland Fall Forum: Lois Ehlert's soon-to-be released The Scraps Book: Notes From a Colorful Life (in F&G format). Having loved her work as a librarian and as a mom and as a book-giver, I am thrilled to have this glimpse into her studio life and personal experiences. The book begins with these words:
"Don't read this book (unless you love books and art)"

Each page is a mixture of her own story, an piece or two from one of her published books, a photograph from her life, and often photographs of the tools she uses to create her art. Asparagus from Eating the Alphabet accompanies a photograph of her parents and the words, "I was lucky; I grew up with parents who made things with their hands." Her mom's love of sewing resulted in the sharing of scraps and scissors. Her dad's workshop allowed her to use tools and art supplies. They provided a space for her to dream and create. 

She addresses all the questions children want to know about authors and illustrators, like where book ideas are born, how to keep track of those ideas, what happens when an author revises an idea, how an illustrator organizes the artwork for a story. Interspersed with her story are ideas for readers to use in creating their own art. The collage art genius describes her process of cutting out pieces like a puzzle in a messy way to form her illustrations, integrating objects she adores and those nearby. Near the end she writes, "You might ask: why did I choose to be an artist? I think it's the other way around. Art chose me." 


  1. And Lois covers all this in a format that would be as accessible to preschoolers as it is too adults. I agree; it's a beautiful book.

  2. Well, as you know, I love books & art, so....Thanks for sharing this. I can see that art did indeed choose her. PS Is F & G format like an accordion book? Folded & gathered?

  3. An F & G is not like an accordion book, Rita. It would be easier to keep together that way. The pages are cut from the large print sheet, folded, and simply set in the book jacket. Nothing is bound yet.