Quand j'étais petite

So sweet: L'Étagère du bas has published a French edition of When I Was Small. It was nice of the publisher to send over a package, She even used very cute tape for the address! If only I could mail myself back to Paris. Too bad I'm not small...


And yes, I'm back up on my Instagram @robinmitchellcranfield . I am kind of rusty, but I'm catching up!


word festival

Yesterday I held a small workshop on the Word festival in Vancouver, meeting with aspiring children's book authors. It was fun, hope to do it again next year. I couldn't take a good picture in the middle of everything, so no photo :)

Everyone had different projects, but I think two statements which applied to everyone were:

1. Identify the specific age range you're trying to reach (3–5 etc.)
2. Have a clear synopsis of your story

Most people are not sure where to begin a conversation about their project: the best way is to describe your audience, their needs, the main characters in the story and the story itself. Also, it's very helpful bring samples of your work with you. Good luck, everyone!


Yesterday I gave a talk at Simon Fraser University on book design and publishing practices — while I was researching I found a new moomin app. Of course there are moomin apps, why didn't I think of it! 


Today I'll be at the Alcuin Society's symposium on the printed and the electronic book called The New/Old Book. Chipp Kidd and Marian Bantjes will be speaking. It's been a while since I took a day off for professional practices.

anno's aesop

My favourite edition of Aesop's Fables is a 1987 edition by Mitsumasa Anno. It's not just a book of fables, it's a book about books, about different interpretations and points of view and in a way it is also about parenting.

The structure of the book is a book within a book. One day a little fox named Freddy finds a book in the woods, which he brings home to his father, Mr. Fox. Mr. Fox cannot read, being a fox, so he pretends to read the book to his son by interpreting the pictures.

Each page contains a page with a classic fable on it. Underneath is the version told by Mr. Fox. 

 In Anno's explanation, Mr. Fox pretends to be able to read the book so that his son won't lose respect for him. But it reminded me of Gordon Neufeld's advice to parents that they must act as though they are in control of situations in order to make children feel protected, which has sort of fallen out of fashion.

Sometimes this book is very touching, as in the two stories of the Ant and the Grasshopper.  The original story is in the image. I will put down Mr. Fox's version below.

It's cold outside, and snow is on the ground. People have to play indoors, where it is warm. But look, someone has come walking across the snow. This must be the farmer from the story before [The story of the Farmer and the Fox is on the previous page in which a farmer's wheat fields are set on fire]. He has been travelling all over, disguised as a musician, in search of the thief who stole his wheat. And now winter has come. It is too cold for him, and he doesn't have any food, but he sees a house ahead and he walks toward it. He can hear people dancing and talking inside. I hope they will let him come in.

But what is the grasshopper doing, you ask? Well, Freddy, it looks as if he is running away. But, yes, as you say, the grasshopper has an alibi, so he doesn't really need to run away. You're absolutely right. I had forgotten to read what it says here. It says, "The grasshopper isn't running away. He just stopped by to warn the ants that they should watch out for the farmer who has come looking for them." 

Insects should look after one another, you see.