Today was the first class in my second series of teaching in Sacramento and what a treat. My courses usually attract amazing students and we go on this journey together that is pretty mind blowing. I love the total unknowingness of - here's our starting point, here's what we are going to do, and all we know is that we are going to be in a very different place than where we started and have a fabulous time along the way. I often provide the bus analogy of - I'm the driver and we're all in this together going off on a big adventure. I have a deal with my students where if they get published, they take me out for a fancy dinner and give me a signed copy of their books. Today I upped the ante that if they sell millions of books they take me on a fabulous vacation. Not sure if this is ethical but it sounded good to all of us.
I love teaching this course and have taught it in San Francisco at UC Berkeley Extension, SF City College Extension, and Northern Illinois University. I taught a kid lit course at Washington State University but the 2 university courses involved grading, accountability, standards, and all that stuff that makes it less of a free exploration/adventure. I've also taught 3 hr intensives at schools for teacher-in-services, which is also a blast. Now that 17 of my students have been published I feel like a proud mama. My area of research as a PhD student and professor was the intersection of race, place, and culture in children's picture books. I imagine that I am one of the few people who has illustrated, written, art directed, designed, researched, edited, published, presented on, and taught about children's picture books. I also have this amazing library (yes, kid lit is one of my major passions/obsessions).
After teaching my last course and assigning a text book, I realized that I was frustrated that some books had some info and others had other info but none of them combined all the info that I wanted to share with my students so, I wrote my own book. Because of copyright, I only included my own art from my kid's books and personal art, wrote accessible text to cover everything I believe is important, created my own exercises for writers and illustrators and wrote synopsis and recommendations for kids books supporting the text. Am delighted to announce that it's now on my etsy site www.MiraArt.etsy.com as a downloadable pdf (or e-book) for $12. I hope this is reasonable for 20 plus years of experience and a lot of hard work, heart, and soul, but there are a few typos, which when time allows I will correct. Still, I think I like the idea of imperfection, like Turkish carpets where they pull a small thread because the only thing that should be perfect is God.