"Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick skillful word choices are are enhanced by Chris Raschka's whimsical illustrations. This story will evoke discussion on flexibility and transitions and giving change a chance. It's an incredibly fun classroom story that will resonate with every kid." - Kirsti, Goodreads
Illustrations: Chris Raschka
Published: June 19th, 2018
When a substitute teacher named Miss Pelly comes to class, one student bristles at the change in routine-Miss Pelly doesn't follow the rules like Mrs. Giordano. But in time, our student learns that even though the substitute may do things a little differently, and she may be a bit silly, mixing things up might not be so bad.
Told in a series of epistolary poems, this funny, relatable picturebook is a great fit for classrooms and for any child nervous about new experiences.
with Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick
We think that those writers who describe their work as solitary and lonely really ought to try picture books. Our very favorite thing about the form is that, at every stage, it is a collaborative act. And by writing picture books together, we’ve added yet another level of collaboration to the process. Co-authoring doesn’t make every draft easy or every revision good, but it does seem to make the drafts and revisions less frustrating and often even fun.
When we’re working together on a project, we have two imaginations at our disposal, two sets of passion and also, patience. When one of us gets stuck, the other takes over. When one of us strikes gold, there’s someone on hand to run with it. And in the end, we’ve got a manuscript that is different than what either of us would’ve written, better than what we’d be capable of on our own.
And that’s only the beginning. Next there’s the editorial process where the text gets more thoroughly understood, clarified and massaged.
And then – illustrations. We’ve been absurdly lucky in this regard. Matthew Cordell? Chris Raschka? Good illustrations can bring whole new layers of meaning to a manuscript. Illustrations like the ones these guys deliver truly lift the text off the page and bring it life.
Ideally, when all these pieces come together, the joint efforts are invisible and what you have is just a book. Whole and complete.
Except a picture book isn’t just a book and the interactive experience doesn’t end upon publication. There are so many possible ways for a picture book to be enjoyed. There’s the adult reading to a child—the teacher in front of her class, the librarian in a story circle, the parent snuggling with children at bedtime. But there’s also the child lying on her tummy, “reading” aloud the words she remembers while trying to make out the others. There’s the picture-reader who doesn’t even look at the text. And there’s the older child – the proud, new reader – revisiting a book with a younger sibling, sharing an essential experience of childhood.
We think there is wonder in all of this. That the picture book experience is a shared one, a melding, pulled from thin air by collaborators who are rarely if ever in the same room together, and delivered to adults and children, readers and pre-readers alike, who will connect over, laugh at, and appreciate the final product. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that kind of magic, that alchemy, that love?
Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick both write picture books and middle grade novels on their own, but they really like writing together. Their first joint effort, BOB, NOT BOB, illustrated by Caldecott medalist Matthew Cordell, earned several starred reviews and countless laughs by stuffy-nosed kids. Their brand new book DEAR SUBSTITUTE, illustrated by Chris Raschka (yes, again with the Caldecott!) is a tender, funny ode to substitute teachers everywhere, and a child-friendly companion for children who aren’t keen on change.
About the author:
Audrey grew up in Whitestone, New York, where she lived with her parents and two sisters and a not very bright small white dog. She has a freaky memory about the names of the kids in her class at P.S. 184Q, and even remembers where most of them stood in size order.
She always loved to read and still rereads Harriet the Spy on a regular basis. She was not one of those children who always knew she wanted to be a writer; she didn't love to write until college. She's been writing ever since.
In addition to writing for children, Audrey has published more than a dozen short stories for adults in magazines and literary journals. She received an mfa from Sarah Lawrence College and has been honored with two fiction fellowships from the New Jersey State Council of the Arts.
Audrey divides her time between writing (which is mostly spent revising) and visiting elementary schools to talk about writing and publishing. (For school visit info, click here.) She also speaks at conferences around the country.
She lives near the ocean in New Jersey with her family and a semi-smart medium-sized dog.
Liz Garton Scanlon is the author of numerous beloved books for young people, including the highly-acclaimed, Caldecott-honored picture book All the World, illustrated by Marla Frazee, and her debut novel for middle grade readers, The Great Good Summer, as well as The Good-Pie Party; Happy Birthday, Bunny!; Noodle & Lou, and several others. Ms. Scanlon is also a poet, a teacher and a frequent & popular presenter at schools, libraries and conferences. She grew up in Colorado and Wisconsin, and now lives with her husband and two daughters in Austin, Texas.
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