Today we are excited to have guest blogger Micha Archer, illustrator of Lola’s Fandango and The Wise Fool, share her experience attending the Children’s Book Festival at the University of Southern Mississippi. Read on to learn more!

In case you haven’t heard the great news yet, Lola’s Fandango received an Ezra Jack Keats Book Award Honorable Mention! The awards were given at a Children’s Book Festival at the University of Southern Mississippi, and I was invited!

The Ezra Jack Keats Awards honor new authors and illustrators of children’s picture books whose work reflects Ezra Jack Keats’ values: the universal qualities of childhood, a strong and supportive family and the multicultural nature of our world.  Hmm—sounds a lot like Barefoot Books’ values!

Ezra Jack Keats, a collage artist like me, wrote and illustrated The Snowy Day, among other classics. Learning that I would be able to see some of Ezra Jack Keats’ originals at the festival sealed the deal for me. I packed up and went to Mississippi!

At the festival, the other honorees and I were wined and dined until I was dizzy with all the attention. The authors and illustrators all sat together each meal and talked shop. I only wish that Anna Witte, author of Lola’s Fandango, could have come so we could celebrate together.

Here are a few photos of the highlights—enjoy!

Same, Same but Different and Tia Isa Wants a Car: winners of the Ezra Jack Keats Award!

Here we are after we received the awards; so happy! From left to right: Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw, illustrator of Same, Same but Different; Nicola Winstanley, author of Cinnamon Baby; Meg Medina, author of Tia Isa Wants a Car and me.

Book signings were great fun. I did a quick little Lola drawing for each book signed.

Here’s a piece from the de Grummond Collection, which features original sketches and illustrations for Ezra Jack Keats’ books. It was fascinating to see how he worked.

Cool cat shoes that Lola wants for dancing in her next book!

Wow, good job Lola—all tucked in and tuckered out!


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