O, A-mazz-ing

What is a book without a reader?
It could be a doorstop, an aspiration, dry paper.


What is a book with a reader?
It can be a living thing, a friend, the start of a conversation.

1825 Punctuation in Verse

This week I was lucky to be part of two communities of readers where books are opened, explored, read, shared and celebrated.

On Monday I was a guest speaker at Oakland University in Michigan, where Dr. Linda Pavonetti and Jim Cipielewski run an amazing program. On Tuesday I spoke at the summer conference at the Mazza Museum of Findlay University in Ohio, which is well run by Ben Sapp.

In both places I felt deeply appreciated for what I do – in fact I felt like Cinderella at the ball.

Paschkis, mazza, oakland ball

In both places I was inspired by the work of other authors and illustrators. Oakland had an exhibit of Ashley Bryan‘s work, including sketches, prints and paintings.

Ashley Bryan Mountain

At the Mazza Museum I saw original art from Maud and Miska Petersham, Wanda Gag and scores of more recent artists, such as Chris Raschka, who will be speaking at Mazza today.

gag, raschka

Jon Klassen was leaving as I arrived ( and yes, he had his hat). James Dean spoke about the origins of Pete the Cat. Michael Hall gave an elegant presentation which made me see shapes and letters in different ways.

dean, klassen, hall

I felt especially lucky to meet and hear Ed Young who spoke about his life and work with candor, calm, wisdom and grace.

Ed Young, Julie Paschkis photo by Barbara Katz

When I create a book I start my work alone. I collaborate with many others along the way. But the final collaboration with the reader is often abstract. It was a pleasure to be among readers, teachers, students and librarians who care so much about children’s books and who share that passion with the world.

paschkis penguin

Now I am home from the ball. Unlike Cinderella, my daily life is pretty good. But the memories of Oakland and Mazza will  feed me as I get back to work.

Paschkis glass slipper ball

10 responses to “O, A-mazz-ing

  1. Julie your trip sounded inspirational. I love the way you celebrate books. I hope to bring that enthusiasm to all of the young readers I work with come September.

  2. A wonderful wrap-up, swept up with glorious art! I’m thrilled, soaking this all in. Thank you, Julie.

  3. So glad you had such good experiences and you deserve all the princess treatment you can get!

  4. I hope to see these prints of your, or something like them, in fabric. 😀

  5. Julie I LOVE that image of the man and the girl and the penguin parading with their books–what is that from? Greetings from Maine!

    • Julie Paschkis

      Thanks! That was the cover of a book called Deconstructing Penguins: Parents, Children and the Bond of Reading by L. & N. Goldstone. I painted it in 2004.

  6. Julie, Mazza was as thrilled with you as you were with it! My cup was full listening to your presentation and viewing your beautiful, colorful, fanciful, and delightful art! Come back! We readers love your books!

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