Anna Grossnickle Hines                                        Home   Guide
December 1999 Report

My attention has been absorbed in finishing the quilt book.  Pieces is a collection of nature poems that I chose to illustrate with quilts.  My editor, Susan Hirschman, thought I was crazy, but she is very happy with the results.  In fact, everyone at Greenwillow is very excited about it. They have decided to publish it in their new Winter 2000 season, rather Spring 2001 as originally scheduled.  I delivered the quilts on December 2nd.
Here they are! All nineteen finished quilt pieces spread out on my bedroom floor.  The picture was taken on December 1, the day before I took them into New York to give them to the publisher.  It's a two and a half hour train ride into the city.
Ava Weiss (Art Director), Virginia Duncan (Editor), and Susan Hirschman (Editor-in-Chief) are looking at the work that I've just given them.  Virginia is holding the dummy.  They are happy.  After they admired the quilts they took me out to a very nice lunch.
Ever wonder what an editor's office looks like?  We are sitting in one end of Susan's office in the picture above and here she is at her desk.  She's a very busy and efficient person, never wasting a minute. Her walls and shelves are full of interesting things that writer's and illustrators have given her.
This is Ava's office. She has a drawing table and computer on the other side. She isn't sitting in her desk because as soon as they had looked at the quilts she got busy checking them in and writing up the orders for what has to happen tom them next.  I don't think I've ever seen Ava sitting at her desk.  Well, yes, I did, once when she sat down to make a phone call
After my visit I walked down Fifth Avenue to Rockefeller Center to catch the subway.  It's about six blocks from the Greenwillow office. Since I had my camera with me I decided to take a picture of the big Christmas tree.  Just a moment before I snapped this I nearly ran into Tom Brokaw coming out of the building to the left. 

January 2000 Report

Hope everyone had a happy holiday season. We had a few glitches, but mostly a good time. It's always great to be with our kids, and of course, our four-year-old grandson, Jacob, adds to the fun.  He looked out his window, in Southern California, on Christmas morning and was sure Santa hadn't come, because "he didn't bring the snow". He soon found that Santa had brought lots of other goodies though. We joined the rest of my family for Christmas dinner at my sister's...thirty-four of us as nearly as I can count.

Here's Jacob checking out the bounty in the Christmas stockings. The candles were knocked out of the fireplace onto the hearth by Santa.  At Grandpa's house they always left a fire ready to start and it would be logs and newspapers that got strewn, but when you have an old house with a faulty chimney, candles are the only thing you can burn. That's how traditions evolve!
This is the doll I made for Jacob.  I used my new sewing machine to embroider "Little Mann" on his sweatshirt. Jake's full name is Jacob Albert Mann. He's named the doll Andy. I didn't expect this gift to be as popular as the computer games or cars, trucks and motorcycles, and it wasn't, but a grandmother gets to indulge herself once in a while.

Now I'm back at work, doing the illustrations for the two Rookie Readers I wrote last year for Grolier. Those illustrations have to be done by the middle of March. I'm also working on some new poems, hoping to do another poetry book illustrated with quilts.  The first collection "happened" over a period of years, so this is the first time I've selected a theme and set out to write a collection of poems.  I'm enjoying the challenge.

Another thing I've started is to try to do some free drawing everyday, hoping to improve my skills, and maybe try some new things. You can never practice too much.  It's sort of like exercising the body, which I'm also trying to do daily, stretching some of those "muscles" that don't get regular use, even though I'm always drawing for my illustrations.

I'll soon be doing a lot of traveling, which makes it all the more important that I keep to my schedule while I'm home.  One thing I absolutely love in this cold weather is my commute--just two flights up!

Some happy news to report is that my What Can You Do?books have been collecting a few honors. They were selected by the Philadelphia Reading Round Table as their Book of the Month for September 1999,  the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia chose them as the best "Touch and Feel" books of year for zero to three year olds, and What Can You Do in the Rain?was selected by Child Magazine for their Best Books of the Year List.

Happy 2000!

Spring Report: Back to work on PIECES
We had a hard time deciding what to do for the cover.  I had an idea, but the editors weren't sure about my sketches, and the art director was confident that she and the designers could come up with something by piecing together parts of the interior quilts.  While they mulled it over,  I was chomping at the bit to do the quilt I could see in my mind.  Finally, when the designer admitted that she was having trouble making the pieces work together for the cover, I decided I was going to make a quilt whether they wanted it or not.  I told them I was going to do and then they could decide whether to use it or not.
I spent three days doing this design... ...and eight days cutting and sewing the 500 or so little bits of fabric to complete the quilt top.

2001 & 2002

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