One question I get during the “q&a” after some of my talks has to do with colors. You know, whether or not I still remember them.
I will admit, though — There are some new fashion colors I have trouble coordinating. Teal, for example. Terra cotta. Chartreuse. When in doubt, I Pair them with black.
One color combination I cannot get out of my head ( much as I might like to) is orange and blue. I graduated from the University of Illinois. I can safely say that even a blind woman could have chosen better school colors.
But to quote the school fight song, I’m “loyal to you, Illinois.” I even bought myself a tangerine-colored skirt and top (I didn’t pair it with any blue, thank you very much) the year Illinois played in the final game of the NCAA basketball championships.
And of course I am especially loyal to my alma mater when it gives me a nice plug – I just received an issue of The Media I — a newsletter put out every month by the University of Illinois College of Media. What a fun surprise to hear my name mentioned in the alumni section.
Beth Finke ’81 JOURN, author of the book, “Hanni and Beth: Safe and Sound,” recently received an ASPCA Henry Bergh Children’s Book Award. Based on publisher nominations and presented each year by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the awards are named for the founder of the ASPCA.
Henry Bergh was born in 1813, chartered the organization in 1866, and also spent time working to prevent child abuse. Finke is the 2007 winner in the Nonfiction
Companion Animals category.
Hanni and I leave for Anaheim a week from today to receive that award. My dress?A basic black number, to coordinate perfectly with Hanni’s shiny red manicured nails. We’ll be the belles of the ball.
This Saturday Hanni will be honored at a Champaign Public Library program called “Get Inspired! Meet a Hero at Your Library.” The Champaign library will be recommending favorite books about heroes for the next couple months, and “Hanni and Beth: Safe & sound” is one of their three picks for march:
1. Officer Buckle & Gloria
Recommended for preschoolers
by Peggy Rathman
The funny on-stage performances of a police dog, teamed with her new partner, teach kids how to be safe at home, in school, and around town.
2. Hanni and Beth: Safe & Sound,
Recommended for grades K to 2
by Beth Finke
How will Beth, who is blind, travel safely to work, to the park, or to a concert? Her good friend and guide dog, Hanni, helps her every day!
3. Charlotte’s Web
Recommended for grades 3 to 5
by E.B. White
A clever spider named Charlotte hatches a plan to save her dearest friend, Wilbur the pig
Hanni has been recognized for her heroism before, but being listed right up there with Charlotte the spider? Now, that’s an honor.
The Champaign Public Library’s calendar is full of hero-themed events for the next couple of months – Hanni is looking forward to her time in the spotlight this Saturday at 2 pm.
Safe & Sound ended 2007 right: our book was mentioned in the Chicago Tribune’s “For Young Readers” section on December 29:
“Hanni and Beth: Safe & Sound
By Beth Finke, illustrated by Anthony Alex LeTourneau
Blue Marlin, $17.95
Ages 7-10 years
Hanni, the author’s guide dog, is chosen to tell the story of their workday and home lives. Beth Finke also answers questions that young children especially might wonder about, like whether working dogs ever get to play.”
Back to me. Another thing readers might wonder about: how – and why – did Hanni and I write Safe & Sound in the first place? You can find the answer to this burning question in the Winter 2008 issue of Prairie Wind. Prairie Wind is the Newsletter of the SCBWI-Illinois Chapter. Safe & Sound blog readers might remember our first visit to a meeting of the Illinois Chapter of the Society of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators – I blogged about it in a post called “Say Cheese!” Hanni and I met Children’s Book Author and Writing Teacher Esther Hershenhorn at that meeting. Esther referred me to the Prairie Wind editors, they asked me to put together an essay about writing Safe & Sound, and…voila!
Happy reading, and…happy new year!
Hanni and I were interviewed on a radio show called “Walking on Air” today. The show’s title turned out to be the theme for the rest of the afternoon.
I checked my email once Hanni and I got home from the radio interview. Dee ding! A message! I opened it. For a moment I thought I was misunderstanding the robotic voice on my talking computer. I hit the keys to listen again, and sure enough:
“The following book has been nominated in the Fiction Picture Books category:
Hanni and Beth: Safe & Sound by Beth Finke and illustrated by Anthony Alex Letourneau
Congratulations on your nomination!”
Yes! It’s true! Safe & sound has been nominated for a CYBIL Woo hoo!
What’s a Cybil? You mean, you don’t know?
Okay, I’ll be honest, neither did I.
I know now, though! The Cybils are a series of book awards selected by a panel of children’s and young adult bloggers, “the only literary contest that combines both the spontaneity of the Web with the thoughtful debate of a book club.”
According to the email message, nominated books will go through two rounds of judging, and the winners will be announced on Valentine’s Day 2008. Stay tuned.
But speaking of being tuned in, our interview on Walking on Air was swell. If you have never heard “Walking on Air,” it’s Syndicated on WLBK, DeKalb, IL; KWPC, Muscatine, IA; WLRB, Macomb, IL; WBYS, Canton, IL; and on WRAM in Galesburg, IL.
If you don’t live near any of those cities you can hear “Walking on Air” streamed live, weekdays from noon to 1 pm (central time).
To hear Hanni and me from today’s show, though, you’ll need to link to the podcast.
The “Walking on Air” hosts are Betsy and Sal. They’re sisters, and the show’s title comes from their uncle. Every morning on his drive to work he passes pairs of women walking together. These women walk every day and never seem at a loss for topics. What, he wondered out loud to his nieces, do these women talk about day after day? Since Betsy and Sally walk together all the time, they know what gets discussed. They are tons of fun, and our half-hour together flew by. I’m still walking on air.