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Box full of dreams

June 29, 2008

Anyone remember the scene at the end of Back to the Future when Marty McFly’s dad, George, becomes a famous sci-fi writer and opens the box full of his latest novels? That is totally what it is like when you get your complimentary books from the publisher (without the Delorean).

Box full o’ KENNY!

My editor, Kevin, is totally cool and will often send me his only advance copy fresh from the printer. This can be months (or even a year) before the book is released. One of Simon & Schuster’s VPs, Rubin, hand-delivered the first and only copy of Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide to me from New York City! (Okay, he was on his way to visit his son in Boston, but it was so awesome! And Ang cooked a great meal to celebrate.)

First copy of ASFG - 2004

I get so excited because I really like to draw, and I really like to spin a yarn, but I LOVE making books. I love the size of them in your hand, the paper texture, the printing effects on the cover, and the smell of the ink (yes, I smelled dittos when I was a kid – this was destiny my friends). My favorite feeling of all, though, is sitting alone on the couch with a cup of coffee, or in bed right before sleep, and immersing myself in the story presented in those bound pages with a little bit of ink printed upon them. It is true magic for me. (click the thumbnails for a bigger view):

“Kenny & the Dragon” spread

And I want to share some of this excitement with you. I have been so inspired seeing what everyone has done with the “Spiderwick Drawin’ Contest” that I want to keep that creativity going. So, next week, I will announce a “Design Your Own Dragon” contest and will give away some of my own fresh-off-the-press copies of Kenny & the Dragon…stay tuned!

“Kenny & the Dragon” spread

“Kenny & the Dragon” spread

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Never Abandon Imagination Tony DiTerlizzi: Never abandon imagination.

Imagination is a world of possibility that exists within each of us. It is what makes us uniquely human. It is our creative fingerprint that touches and influences the world around us. Imagination is essential to art and science; to innovation and prosperity. It gives us hope, calls us to action and leads to change.

Whether it’s fairies, dragons, robots or aliens, all of my children’s book characters are siblings born of my imagination – an imagination strengthened through years of encouragement from family, teachers and friends. While so many others abandoned it during their transition from childhood to adulthood, I fiercely held onto mine, hoping for a day when I could share it to inspire the next generation of dreamers. Innovators. World changers.

Imagination empowers us to envision and create a reality of what could be. We must hold it dear, foster it and never abandon it.