Kidlit County, Little Elliot's Neighborhood

Little Elliot, Big New York Times Book Review!

nyt_logoElliot is hot off the presses of The New York Times! Mark Rotella reviewed Little Elliot, Big City today, alongside Hug Me by Simona Ciraolo, A Good Home for Max by Junzo Terada, and The Misadventures of Sweetie Pie by Chris Van Allsburg. As if being written up in the Times isn’t enough of an honor, Rotella compares my work to one of my personal heroes:

“Mike Curato beautifully renders the images in rich earth tones that are soft and smooth, calling to mind ‘The Sweetest Fig’ by Chris Van Allsburg.”

Click here to read the full article!

NYT_review

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Illustration Station, Little Elliot's Neighborhood, Mikesville

2014 Society of Illustrators Founder’s Award

photo credit: Society of Illustrators

photo credit: Society of Illustrators

Last night I was deeply honored to receive the 2014 Original Art Show Founder’s Award at the Society of Illustrators. It was a wonderful evening. It’s amazing to be counted among so many talented people working in children’s books today. Benjamin Chaud won the gold medal for Bear Song, while 2 silver medals went to Carson Ellis  for Wildwood Imperium and Gary Kelly for Harlem Hellfighters. Lane Smith won a Lifetime Achievement award, as well as Arnold Lobel (posthumously). My heart swelled when the award was given to Lobel’s daughter. He has been an illustrator and storyteller who I have looked up to for many years.

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Frog and Toad has been one of my most cherished books, and it’s been loved by countless others.

I’m still feeling overwhelmed by all of the beautiful pieces that Elliot is (literally) hanging out with. I need to get back to the show to see everything up close and personal, without hundreds of people crammed into the gallery. I’m proud to call some of these artists my friends. You can click here to see a full list of all of the artists who were accepted into the show. Also, the Original Art Show will be traveling the country for the next year, making stops in Memphis College of Art, Peninsula Fine Arts Center, and more to be announced.

Kelly Light and me at a show that our books got into, holding a Publisher's Weekly article about our books. #Metaland

Kelly Light and me at a show that our books got into, holding a Publisher’s Weekly article about our books. #Metaland

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Celebrations ended with cake bigger than Ruth Chan’s head…and maybe a few other treats.

 

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Little Elliot's Neighborhood

Polka Dotting the US: The Little Elliot Book Tour Recap

Wow! It has been a very busy few weeks! Elliot and I criss-crossed the country on a book tour to promote Little Elliot, Big City. We met lots of new friends! Here are some highlights from each stop…

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9/19 Norfolk, VA

I started my journey at SIBA (Southern Independent Booksellers Association).

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FIRST TIMER ribbon = all hugs & no hazing ;)

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I did a book signing, and spoke on a panel featuring Little Elliot, Big City; Pout Pout Fish Goes to School illustrated by Dan Hanna; The Stick by Clay Rice; and Louise Loves Art by my friend Kelly Light.

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It was nice to see a familiar face on my first day! Kelly Light was also on tour, and supplied me with some helpful pointers.

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Little Elliot Around the World

Little Elliot is going to be making his way to shelves all over the world! You’ll be able to find Little Elliot, Big City sometime in the future in these countries! Meanwhile, check out my US Tour dates to see if I’m coming to a town near you!

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Translated Books

Mandarin (China)
publisher: Dolphin

German (Germany/Austria/Switzerland/Luxembourg/Liechtenstein)
publisher: Fischer Verlage 

Hebrew (Israel)
publisher: Kinneret

Italian (Italy)
publisher: Il Castoro

Korean (South Korea)
publisher: Froebel

Catalan (Spain)
publisher: Ediciones B

Available in English

publisher: Five Mile Press
Australia
India
Ireland
New Zealand
South Africa
UK

publisher: Henry Holt Books for Young Readers
Canada
Philippines
USA

Stay tuned for specific release dates! 

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Little Elliot's Neighborhood, Mikesville

Little Elliot Blog Tour Recap

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In case you missed the Little Elliot Blog Tour, here are links to all the sites I visited!

Librarian in Cute Shoes 
Find out why I chose the city as the backdrop for Elliot’s world.

Teach Mentor Texts
Read about all the historical research that went into the making of the book.

Read. Write. Reflect. 
Check out what my studio looks like!

Kit Lit Frenzy
I talk a little bit about what inspired the story of Little Elliot, Big City.

Daddy Mojo
Find out who that cute little girl is who sees Elliot in the crowd.

The Trifecta:
Sharp Reads - Mr. Sharp shares 5 reasons why he’s reading  Little Elliot, Big City to his class.
Watch. Connect. Read. -  I finish Mr. Schu’s famous sentence starters (find out where Elliot lives!).
Nerdy Book Club - I talk about my reading journey, with all of its highs and lows.

Miss Print
Find out what my favorite illustration from the book is!


 

Also, these fine folks weren’t part of the official tour, but are some of my favorite interviews and reviews:

Let’s Get Busy Podcast
Matthew Winner and I talk about the book and my road to publication.

7 Impossible Things Before Breakfast
What don’t we talk about in this interview???

Librarian’s Quest
Ms. Meyers gives the sweetest review, and talks about how she relates to Elliot.

Celebridot
I was invited to create my own dot!

 

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Little Elliot's Neighborhood

Little Elliot, BIG TOUR!!!

Now that Little Elliot has finally made it to the shelf (YAY!), I’ll be hopping around the country to promote the book! I’ll be doing school visits and in-store events, as well as a few independent bookseller conferences. I’ll be reading Little Elliot, Big City, doing a drawing demo, and talking a little about my process. There might even be some Elliot swag at the in-store events ;) Hope to see you there!

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Here’s a list of public events and conferences:

9/19 Norfolk, VA
SIBA (Southern Independent Booksellers Association):
Meet Louise, Elliott, Pout Pout & The Stick Panel

9/21 Arlington, VA
NAIBA (New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association):
Discover New Authors Moveable Feast

9/22 Seattle, WA
Third Place Books (Ravenna) at 7PM

9/23 Bellingham, WA
Village Books  at 11AM

9/26 Petaluma, CA
Copperfield’s Books at 4PM

9/27 Portland, OR
Powell’s Books
11AM at Powell’s City of Books on Burnside
12:30PM at Cedar Hill’s Crossing

9/27 Tacoma, WA
PNBA (Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association):
Sweet & Greet

9/29 Washington, MO
Washington Public Library at 6PM

9/30 Naperville, IL
Anderson’s Bookshop at 7PM

10/4 Southern Pines, NC
Country Bookshop at 12PM

 

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Illustration Station, Little Elliot's Neighborhood, Mikesville

Today, I Have a Book

Today is the day that I have everything I’ve ever wanted. Who knew it was possible? There was a time I didn’t think it was.

I’m back in Seattle this week, celebrating my book release at Elliot Bay Books, going to my friends’ wedding, and spending some much needed time with old friends who I haven’t seen in a long while. I was having dinner with one friend, who is amidst a life-changing project. She relayed to me how tumultuous it’s been since she made the decision to really commit to her dream, how one minute she experiences euphoric highs, and the next she’s weeping in the pits of doubt. Her story sounded very familiar to me.

It wasn’t long ago that I had a full time job in graphic design, a career I was proud of that paid the bills and also served as a creative outlet. But it wasn’t my dream. I was telling other people’s stories through branding, but not my own. It didn’t fill me up the way creating a drawing did. What was I making that spoke my own truth? What would I leave behind? How on earth could I get a deal making a picture book, the one thing that gleamed like a beacon in my daydreams, when the odds seamed so slim.

blizzardI was a failure. I would try to make a painting, and it didn’t come out how I wanted it to. Or I would start and never finish. Or I would write down ideas and never start. Or I wouldn’t do anything but sit and stare into space and think about how it was all totally impossible. I prepared myself to accept that it probably would never happen for me. That being a grown up meant facing realities. That it was vain to put faith in one’s talent. That it was folly to think you could live up to your heroes. How arrogant. How stupid.

But amidst it all, there was Elliot, a friendly face that I would doodle in my sketch book. He was so kind and forgiving. He did not judge these hostile feelings. His heart was so pure that he glowed in my darkness. He was the innocent part of myself that I managed to protect, the vulnerable child that didn’t quite fit in. He was so little, but pressed on. Into Elliot, I poured my empathy, love and hope. I couldn’t deny him these things. When I finally started to create finished drawings of him, I felt as though I was fighting for my life. He was the key to keeping my dreams alive. I would give him my hands and eyes and heart. I would make something just for me, something that made me happy.

In hindsight, it’s all quite clear. When faced with the prospect of real happiness, our inner demons are unleashed. The saboteur whispers in your ear, “no, you can’t.” But what it’s really saying is: “No, you can’t try to be happy because what if you fail? We will never recover.” But those are convenient lies. I did try, and I did fail, but it didn’t break me. I tried and tried and tried and tried, because what’s the use in giving up? Eventually, I tried and I won. I’m not even talking about my book deal. I’m talking about the magical day that I finished a drawing of Elliot and I was proud. I felt transported to a time when I was little, just making drawings to give to my Mom. It felt easy, and made me smile. I loved Elliot so much. He felt alive, and that meant my dreams were alive. And yes, I decided then that I would muster the audacity of pursuing my dream, because if I didn’t, then why was I even here?

Today, I have a book. It’s about my friend Elliot, whose little spots and big heart saved my life. He means so much to me, and I hope that you all take very good care of him.

xoxo
Mike

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