This Is Not a Normal Animal Book, illustrated by Brian Biggs, is Julie Segal-Walter’s first picture book. It was inspired by the Yiddish proverb “If the cat laid an egg, it would be a hen.”
Before writing for children, Segal-Walters was the president and founder of Civic Action Strategies, a grassroots consulting firm. She was also a lawyer and a Congressional lobbyist for civil rights and civil liberties. She began writing for children when her son was young.
As a kid, her favorite picture book was Andrew Henry’s Meadow by Doris Burn, and her favorite novel was From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband, son and a cat named Lego.
Segal-Walters feels that the Noyes Library for Young Children is so important because “it is one of the few U.S. libraries dedicated to children. Further, picture books are often a child’s first window into the experiences and emotions of others. Our world could use more places like Noyes, where children are surrounded by books that build empathy, tolerance, and understanding.”
Read more about Ms. Segal-Walters at http://juliesegalwalters.com/ . Check out her book at the Noyes Library for Young Children and other Montgomery County Public Libraries.
By Beth Meyer for the April-May 2019 Make MORE Noyes Community Update
Growing up in Philadelphia, I was a HUGE reader and loved bringing home stacks of books from the library. I graduated from Cornell University in English and became a science writer for public audiences, covering all different areas of STEM. I wrote my first children’s book when my daughter was born, because I wanted to tell her wonderful stories about the world she would be discovering as she grew up. She and her younger brother have since inspired me through many books, both fiction and nonfiction, about science and school and the environment and families and more. My books are read by children across the country and around the world, so I try to include universal aspects in each book, often about the natural world.
Charlotte’s Web is my all time favorite children’s book, because the character of Charlotte is a writer like I am. She thinks a long time before she starts, she works when everyone else is asleep, she does research and chooses her words carefully, she checks her spelling, she shows off her writing in the best light possible, and she understands that words are powerful and can change lives. I am also a lifelong Dr. Seuss fan, and his playful rhythms, play with words, and subtle deep meaning have inspired and guided me in many of my books.
I will have a new children’s nonfiction book out in fall 2019, about scientists and their amazing work—including scientists who study the ocean, glaciers, volcanoes, dinosaurs, bats, pandas, and more. I love hearing from scientists about the challenges of their explorations, and how they became so fascinated with science that they made it their life career.
The Noyes Library, all public libraries, and books are critical to individuals and communities. They are part of people’s entire life span, and part of communities for even longer, as sources of reading, learning, exploring, networking, growing, and giving back in countless ways. My life and career and would not be what they are without libraries. I have volunteered and worked in libraries, met my husband when he worked for the Library of Congress, and started taking my kids with me to the local library even when they were babies. When people ask me how to get kids to read more, I say get them a library card and take them to the library as often as possible!
By Beth Meyer for the November-December 2018 Make MORE Noyes Community Update
Megan Wagner Lloyd is the author of two picture books for children - Finding Wild and Fort-Building Time, both illustrated by Abigail Halpin.
Ms. Lloyd grew up on the east and west coasts and moved from California to the D.C. area three years ago. Ever since the first grade, she knew that she wanted to be a children’s writer.
Her favorite books from her childhood were the Brambly Hedge stories by Jill Barklem; The Jolly Postman and Each Peach Pear Plum, both by Janet and Allan Ahlberg; and Annie and the Wild Animals by Jan Brett.
Her next picture book, Building Books, illustrated by Brianne Farley, will be released in October 2018. It is the story of two siblings who argue over which activity is best - building or reading. The story emphasizes the importance of finding that one special book to draw in reluctant readers.
She believes that the Noyes Children’s Library is so important because “early literacy builds a foundation for a lifelong love of reading—but even more importantly, it’s an incredibly fun and memorable bonding experience between children and their caregivers.” Adds Wagner Lloyd, “Reading is the best—it’s as good for you as vegetables, but it’s as delicious as dessert!”
Read more about Ms. Lloyd at https://meganwagnerlloyd.com. Check out her books at the Noyes Library for Young Children and other Montgomery County Public Libraries.
By Beth Meyer for the May-June 2018 Make MORE Noyes Community Update
Brian Floca is the author/illustrator and illustrator of numerous award-winning books for children. These include Locomotive, winner of the 2014 Caldecott Medal, Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11, Lightship, and The Racecar Alphabet.
Brian has illustrated Avi's Poppy Stories series; Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan's Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring; Lynne Cox's Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas; and the recently published Princess Cora and the Crocodile, by Laura Amy Schlitz.
In addition to the Caldecott Medal, Brian's books have received four Robert F. Sibert Honor awards, a silver medal from the Society of Illustrators, and have twice been selected for the New York Times' annual 10 Best Illustrated Books list.
Brian is excited to be one of the two Honorary Chairpersons for the Read! Dream! Fly! Make MORE Noyes Gala, to be held on April 14, 2018. Read more about Brian Floca HERE!
Juana Medina is the author and illustrator of Juana & Lucas; 1 Big Salad, A Delicious Counting Book and ABC Pasta, An Entertaining Alphabet, as well as the illustrator of Doreen Cronin’s Smick. Juana and Lucas is about a girl’s experience learning English. A sequel to Juana and Lucas and a new concept book called Sweet Shapes are in the works.
Ms. Medina grew up in Bogota, Columbia, in the Andes Mountains. As a child, she got in trouble for drawing cartoons of her teachers. She went to the Corcoran School of Art and Design and the Rhode Island School of Design. Currently, she teaches animation at George Washington University. She resides in Van Ness.
Her favorite children’s books are Nicholas by Goschinny & Sempé and Me and My Sister Clara, by Dimiter Inkiow. She also likes the picture books of Dick Bruna, best known for Miffy the bunny.
Ms. Medina believes that the Noyes Library for Children is so important because " Early literacy plays an essential role not only encouraging children to read, but offering an invaluable chance to discover other worlds and find themselves. Through stories, children develop curiousity and empathy. Places as unique as the Noyes Library also offer an important space, where young readers and their families can feel very much at home while reading. Developing strong bonds, as they get together to participate in activities, surrounded by a fabulous collection of books housed in this beloved one-room library.
Read more about Ms. Medina at http://www.juanamedina.com/. Check out her books at the Noyes Library for Young Children and other Montgomery County Public Libraries.
By Beth Meyer
Henry Cole has illustrated over 50 picture books and written – and illustrated – four of his own. His newest work is Spot, the Cat, a black and white, wordless picture book about a cat's journey through a city. Cole has most often collaborated with author Pamela Edwards Duncan. He has also illustrated books for Julie Andrews (the Little Bo books) and Harvey Fierstein (The Sissy Duckling). Among his other well-known titles are Moosetache and Moostletoe and And Tango Makes Three, as well as the award-winning Unspoken: A Story From the Underground Railroad, which Cole wrote and illustrated.
Mr. Cole grew up on a dairy farm in Virginia and enjoyed creating birthday cards for friends. He worked for over 17 years as a math and science teacher at an elementary school before he became an illustrator. Artists Norman Rockwell, Paul Klee, John Singer Sargent, and N.C. Wyeth have inspired him. His favorite children's books are Charlotte's Web by E. B. White and Who Really Killed Cock Robin? by Jean Craighead George. He lives in Old Town Alexandria.
Mr. Cole believes that the Noyes Library for Children is so important because "kids who enjoy reading and understand the importance of the written word are at an advantage both professionally and personally, all through their lives.”
Read more about Mr. Cole at http://www.henrycole.net/. Check out his books at the Noyes Library for Young Children and other Montgomery County Public Libraries.
By Beth Meyer for the January / February 2017 issue of the Make.MORE.Noyes Community Update
The coming elections provide a good opportunity to teach your children how the government works. North Potomac author Syl Sobel specializes in these kinds of books. He has written Presidential Elections and Other Cool Facts, How the U.S. Government Works and four other books about politics.
Sobel recently retired after working for over 30 years as the Director of Publications at the Federal Judicial Center in Washington, DC. When his older daughter was in first grade, she asked him to write a book explaining how the government works. Then, his younger daughter asked him to write another book about the presidents.
Four more books followed: The U.S. Constitution and You, The Declaration of Independence, The Bill of Rights, and Our Pledge of Allegiance. Sobel also has a blog called "Civics & Civility."
Growing up, Dr. Seuss was Sobel’s favorite children's book author. At an early age, he read books about U.S. History, especially World War II since his father was a WWII veteran. He also enjoyed biographies about the Founding Fathers.
Syl Sobel feels that the Noyes Library for Young Children is so important because "A child can go anywhere and learn about anything by reading. And reading improves writing." Read more about Sobel on his website http://www.sylsobel.com/. Check out his books at Montgomery County Public Libraries.
By Beth Meyer for the November/December issue of the Make.More.Noyes Community Update
Priscilla Cummings' picture books about the Chesapeake Bay make perfect beach reads for the younger set. They include Beddy Bye in the Bay, Chesapeake 1-2-3 and Chesapeake ABC. Her fiction series about Chadwick the Crab celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. She has also written a number of books for preteens and teens.
Cummings grew up on a dairy farm in Massachusetts. Her first stories were about the barn cats that lived there. Her pets included two horses, cats, white rabbits, hamsters, and goldfish. Her favorite children's book is Charlotte's Web. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire, where she majored in English Literature. She was a journalist before she was an author. Her first book was Chadwick the Crab about a crab who wanted to be a star at the Baltimore aquarium. Over the years she wrote several other picture books about animals found in the Chesapeake Bay. She lives in Annapolis with her husband and two cats.
Cummings believes the Noyes Library is an important place. “Libraries are a gateway to knowledge and exploring the world,” she says. “Through reading books we load up on information. Through reading we learn how to think and make good decisions that help us all to have better, happier lives. Best of all, reading can be a wonderful escape—and a lot of fun!"
Read more about Cummings at www.priscillacummings.com. Check out her books at the Noyes Library for Young Children and other Montgomery County Public Libraries.
by Beth Meyer for the SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER 2016 EDITION OF THE MAKE.MORE.NOYES COMMUNITY UPDATE
Chevy Chase, MD author Laura Gehl recently came out with her fourth children’s book, Peep and Egg: I'm Not Hatching, illustrated by Joyce Jan. The book is about an older sister who cannot wait for her sibling to hatch. It was inspired by the stubborn behavior of Gehl’s four kids. Gehl’s other books are: One Big Pair of Underwear, And Then Another Sheep Turned Up, and Hare and Tortoise Race Across Israel.
Due out in time for Halloween is Peep and Egg: I'm Not Trick-or-Treating. Growing up in Massachusetts, Gehl loved to read, write, and visit the library, and enjoyed making greeting cards with her brother. Her favorite books were Bread and Jam for Frances, George and Martha, and The Secret Garden. Favorite children's book authors include Richard Scarry, L.M. Montgomery, Gordon Korman, and Susan Cooper. She has a degree in psychology from Yale and a PhD in neuroscience.
Gehl believes Noyes Library is a special space "where adults relax and breathe, while children read and play." She says, "Because of Noyes' contained nature, kids can learn to love books without their grownups worrying that the kids will escape or shushing them in order to avoid disturbing adult patrons." Read more about Gehl at www.lauragehl.com, where you can also find free activity sheets and curriculum guides. Check out her books at the Noyes Library for Young Children and other Montgomery County Public Libraries.
by Beth Meyer for the April/May 2016 MAKE MORE NOYES COMMUNITY UPDATE
Karen Deans writes about inspiring people who do what they love and never stop, no matter what. Her two picture books are about some remarkable women in history: Playing to Win: The story of Althea Gibson, and Swing Sisters: The Story of the International Sweethearts of Rhythm. Both are illustrated with pizzazz by two super illustrators, Elbrite Brown and Joe Cepeda.
Deans was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia and always wanted to grow up to become a writer. Meanwhile, she played a lot of tennis with her older brother, read a lot of books with her younger sister, and spent a lot of time drawing and writing stories, and then turning them into little books with glue and tape. She loved reading the Madeline books, which inspired her college study in Paris, as well as any book by Richard Scarry or Beverly Cleary. (Yes, she named her cats Beezus and Ramona.) Currently she’s a big fan of graphic novels, like Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson.
She wrote her first children’s book after going to the library with her youngest daughter Maisy when she was in first grade. They were looking for a biography about the tennis champion Althea Gibson. They came up empty handed, because a book didn’t exist, so she set about writing one. She enjoys researching interesting people and learning about what makes them tick. It’s fun to make connections between the time period, the place and the special relationships that help build a person’s character. Everyone has a unique story! Deans is also a painter and is currently developing some illustrations for a children’s book manuscript which she has also written.
Deans believes the Noyes Library is a very special place. Aside from being the most inviting little cottage one could ever happen upon (like a fairy tale!), it is also a haven for young lives, a place to begin endless adventures and cultivate a lifelong respect for this magnificent institution. Long live libraries!
by Beth Meyer for the February/March 2016 MAKE MORE NOYES COMMUNITY UPDATE
(getting to know our local authors and illustrators)