Archive for June, 2012


Saturday, June 30th, 2012

Just a quick post to let folks know that my favorite children’s bookstore in New York is having a big summer sale. If you are near Manhattan you can stop by Books of Wonder and pick up some great books before devouring some tasty treats at the side counter.  The major sale lasts another week and ends July 8th.  With the whole store on sale from 20-80% off list price, it will be easy to stock up on summer reading for the little ones.  Plus, I believe they have a few autographed copies of my Baby Signs book with a 20% discount for your baby shower and birthday gift needs.  (In fact they have many signed children’s books from some of the top authors and illustrators who stop by for their great events.)  If you are not in the area you can still order online and receive the discount, so don’t worry if you cannot make it in time.  I’ll be stopping by the shop in the next few days to say hello to the gang and check out some of the new picture books and pop-up books.  Maybe I’ll see some of you there.


Telsa, Tempest and TED

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

I’ve been thinking a lot about Nikola Tesla lately.  It seems like he haunts New York, as I find evidence of him everywhere I turn.  Technically, I find evidence of him all over the world through his alternating current electrical system and research in wireless transmission over a hundred years ago.  Last night I watched the bizarre and highly dramatic 1980 movie “The Secret of Nikola Tesla” which I did not prefer as much as the entertaining novel “The Invention of Everything Else“, even with the cameo by Orson Welles.  Earlier that day, I had been watching multiple videos on TED looking for inspiration from many of the important innovators and creative thinkers featured on the site.  After seeing a lovely presentation by paper cut artist Beatrice Coron, I stumbled upon a video of New York-based magician Marco Tempest.  This was a perfect storm of delight for me as it combined: magic, cutting edge technology, Tesla and….pop-ups!

Nikola Tesla in Sound and Light from Marco Tempest on Vimeo.

I found out that the pop-up books were created by German paper engineer Peter Dahmen (a man who I just missed speak in Berlin last month, but hope to meet with someday.)  You can read more about his process and see a neat behind-the-scenes video through his Popupkarten website.

Telsa’s personal story was a difficult one as he tried to navigate and invent in a world of great uncertainty and transition.  One cannot help but compare his times to today, where the U.S. economy is depressed and the publishing industry is in such flux.  With this video it is comforting to see that paper craft and pop-ups (considered antiquated by some) can collaborate with and compliment new digital trends, creating rich environments for learning and inspiration.


“The Stunning Pop-up Books”

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

Collector Michael Yang. Photo credit: CNA

Today is the opening day for a new exhibition of pop-up books in Taipei (although technically it was yesterday if you are reading this in Taiwan).   Collector Michael Yang loaned 160 rare examples of movable titles to the National Museum of History in Taipei City in an effort to raise awareness of pop-up books in the area. “Our biggest goal is to send the message that pop-ups are not just ordinary books or children’s books, but interactive visual art,” said Michael Yang.  While a majority of pop-up books are manufactured in the Far East, currently readers in Taiwan and mainland China do not have large appetites for movable books.  I suspect this will change with the rapid growth of China’s middle class.

Hong Kong Pop-Up

There are various tie-in events with “The Stunning Pop-up Books” exhibit that include a visit by Matthew Reinhart and Hong Kong paper engineer Liu Sijie, the creator of Hong Kong Pop-up and Pop-up China who I believe also goes by Kit Lau.  (I have only recently seen Lau’s two pop-up books and was very impressed with the designs coming from this young artist.  I look forward seeing more from him and other Chinese designers.)  The promoters are also providing free programs for local school children and donating pop-up books to kids in rural areas of Taiwan which truly speaks to the organizers goals of share pop-up books with the community.  The show will run for three months and closes on September 16, but I hope that the museum is so successful that more ‘stunning’ exhibitions pop up.