Tag Archives: Gallaudet ASL Dictionary for Children

Stop the Presses…and START HERE!

This may be the first book cover that actually teaches how to letterspell "A B C"  in American Sign Language!

This may be the first book cover that actually teaches how to letterspell “A B C” in American Sign Language! (click to enlarge)

Let’s start with unveiling the cover itself. It features a lenticular!

And it’s going on press this month! I’m so excited!

Why? Because it all began as a list of words on a spread sheet almost five years ago.

The dictionary began as a Word doc, which grew into an Excel spreadsheet. (right-click to enlarge)

Gallaudet University Press lined up a team of illustrators for their upcoming definitive American Sign Language reference (think Merriam-Webster, but for signing), aimed at the pre-school through grade 3 level. It had to be usable for hearing families as well as the deaf and hearing-impaired.

Page 1 from the Dictionary

Page 1 from the Dictionary (click on any image to enlarge)

One of the illustrators already on board was Debbie Tilley. When agent Richard Salzman discovered it was (a) Gallaudet first foray into children’s books and general trade; and (b) they expected Debbie to produce the layouts too, he recommended they contact me to pull it all together for them. It was a dream project for all of us!

Dictionary_p-105_Page_011   Dictionary_p-105_Page_008 Dictionary_p-105_Page_007

 392 pages of full color! It looks like a graphic comic, with over 1,000 word entries, fully illustrated. Plus it includes a DVD featuring a rainbow of children signing. There’s also a special feature on forming sentences.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll guide you on the process. It will be like a diary on the making of a children’s reference classic. . .

Spread from pages 238-239

Spread from pages 238-239 (click to enlarge)

You will witness exclusive behind-the-scenes book making. Stay tuned. That’s why I’ve been away for so long. Been dictionary-ing…

You can pre-order the Dictionary through these links:
Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble
Shop Indie Bookstores

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The Next Big Thing

. . . comes in threes !

[1]  Blog hop* time!

It’s been awhile since my last post.  I’ve been deeply immersed in the world of online learning & teaching, at UCSD Extension. What an adrenaline rush!

illustration by Debbie TilleyI will share highlights (my students were awesome) next week. Alumni & friends will be invited to comment. In the meantime…

[2] I was tagged …

Slithery Snakes by Roxie Munroby the amazeing Roxie Munro , who shares links on creating apps for books at my public Got Story? Facebook page.  Her books are a maze of dazzling fact-filled wonders. Besides creating e-books, she takes you inside and outside of cities, events, and creatures (eggs, bugs, and snakes, oh my), and much more. Do check out Roxie’s blog-hop responses here.

* What is a blog-hop? An author is tagged to answer a set of questions at their own blog. They then tag two other authors with blogs, to keep the blog-hop going.

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I think I’m the first blogger/art director/book designer/teacher who’s ever blog-hopped this event! Here goes:
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1. What is the title of your work-in-progress? The Gallaudet American Sign Language Dictionary for Children  [as art director/designer, and production artist, that is].

2. Where did the idea come from?  *Gallaudet University Press editor Ivey Wallace.

[* Note: Based in Washington DC, Gallaudet University is the only institution of higher learning whose programs and services are customized to accommodate deaf and hearing-impaired students. Thomas Gallaudet (1787–1851) was a pioneering figure in the advancement of deaf education.]
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Illustration for ASL word entry, T.V.
[ASL sign for TV, by Debbie Tilley (l) and Peggy Lott (r)]
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Debbie Tilley was selected because her witty illustrations communicate well to children and adults. Debbie’s agent Richard Salzman recommended my services as a free-lance designer who’s fluent working with artists and editors; and in the prep of layouts and electronic files for print and other media.

ASL entry for twins

ASL entry for twins

3. What genre does your book come under? Children’s illustrated /Ages 3-11 / reference / American Sign Language / parenting / instructional / school / general trade

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?  A wide spectrum of fluent multicultural ASL signing children, ages 4 through 11, will be in the accompanying DVD. A joyous group!

5. One sentence synopsis for your book? A kid-friendly definitive children’s American Sign Language dictionary with companion DVD, of over 1,000 entries, humorously illustrated by Debbie (Hey Little Ant!) Tilley alongside easy-to-follow signing diagrams by an unparalleled team of ASL experts.

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6. Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?
Due out Fall 2014, from Gallaudet University Press.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? Debbie, the signing illustration team, and I were supplied with the final word list in December 2010. We’ve all bAaeen collaborating steadily since then. That’s over 1,000 illustrations from Debbie; and 1,000+ diagrams from the signing team. Sketches, approval process, revisions, final art, organizing, scanning, etc. Sentences are composed as layouts are formed.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? There’s none like it. Anywhere.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book? The Gallaudet University Board of Directors made this project part of their mandate. The jewel of the crown.

10.What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? In addition to instructors, students, and users, parents will want to teach ASL to their babies, who are often able to sign before they can talk! Imagine that. Real-life ASL, and it’s from Gallaudet, the go-to source!

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And now, I’m blog-tagging three friends. Visit their blogs for…

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[3] Tag 1, 2, 3…

My colleague Andrea Zimmerman [1] teaches the writing aspect of picture book creation at UCSD Extension  [Writing Children’s Picture Books (WCWP-40261)] with Sara Tomp. Check out her fabulous blog, Picture Book Party here. She is both an author and author/illustrator. Among her many titles are Train Man (with David Clemesha); Eliza’s Cherry Trees; and Trashy Town (illustrated by Dan Yaccarino).

Julian Hector [2] draws and writes stories in his inimitable way. Visit his blog here. Check out C.R. Curmudgeon (written by Leslie Muir); Monday is One Day (written by Arthur Levine); The Little Matador; and The Gentleman Bug. Here’s the trailer for his 10 Scary Animals: A Field Guide.

Kathleen Krull [3] roots out the most interesting aspects of a person’s life, and distills it into snappy delightful prose. Let’s peek at her über-awesome output:

KKrull_Facebook_cover

I knew her back in the days of Harcourt, San Diego (she was Senior Editor, I was Art Director), where she edited luminaries like Tomie dePaola, Eve Bunting, Patricia Hermes, Anne Lindbergh, Jane Yolen, and Amy Schwartz, before she left to launch her own writing career.

She also collaborates with husband Paul Brewer on projects — including The Beatles Were Fab (and They Were Funny), and Lincoln Tells a Joke: How Laughter Saved the President (and the Country). In 2011, she won the Children’s Book Guild Nonfiction Award for her body of work.

NOTE: Since Kathy uses her Facebook page in lieu of a blog as of this writing, her Q & As (and tagging) will happen here at the Got Story Countdown. Watch for announcements, and spread the word. . . 

♫. . . Research While You Sketch . . . ♪

Attention all new children’s book illustrators!

Seeking inspiration?

As you get ready to immerse yourself into your selected picture book story, write yourself a grocery list of what your story needs. This might include:

  • The names of each major character(s)
  • Subsidiary characters
  • The locale of the story
  • Time of year; day

Then turn each item into a new sub-list that will form the basis for your story scavenger hunt.

Example:

LalouImagine this is a main character, illustrated above (art by Debbie Tilley, from The Gallaudet ASL Dictionary for Children, coming 2013. See Debbie’s portfolio here. Check out her bibliography here.)She could be:

  • 5-years-old
  • has older brother who’s deaf (she’s not)
  • is fluent in American Sign Language
  • dances a jig when happy
  • loves movies with animals
  • hates celery
  • wants puppy badly
  • loves doggie-in-window on sight.
  • puppy understands ASL! (how?)

The above list can then be turned into a series of quick character sketches.

Then move on to the next item on your list, and repeat the exercise. Make sketches of each item. And so on.

Case in point:  Check out how artist Peter Brown applied himself to Aaron Reynolds‘ manuscript,  strategizing his approach to Aaron‘s tale, The Creepy Carrots.

Use the melody to “Whistle While You Work,” substituting the title heading at the top of this page for the first line of the lyric, then humming the rest.

You’ll jump start your creative juices as you discover a treasure trove of inspiration. Yeah!