Sunday, November 27, 2016

Happy Birthday, Sergio Ruzzier - November 28

Happy Birthday, Sergio Ruzzier - November 28

Planning for the holidays is tough. For us to make it work, Thanksgiving dinners aren't always on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas gift exchanges aren't always on Christmas Day. The important thing is finding the time to celebrate together, right? Once we hear a plan for the celebration that is imaginable we run with it!

Our family didn't celebrate Sergio Ruzzier's birthday on his birthday. We actually celebrated two weeks ago.  The important thing is finding the time to celebrate together, right? Even if it is a little early. Besides, Sergio, without knowing, suggested to me the perfect activity to bring to life his book Broom, Zoom!, written by Caron Lee Cohen. And you should know from reading this blog, once we hear a plan for a celebration that is imaginable we run with it!

Sergio Ruzzier is the illustrator of over twenty books including Have You Seen My New Blue Socks? by Eve Bunting and his own, A Letter for Leo. He was born in Milan, Italy and as a child he loved his father's collection of art books, studied the line work in comic strips like Peanuts and Popeye, and liked reading books with pictures and little text. (Mazza Museum Fall Weekend Conference Keynote, November 2016). His favorite books were the Little Bear series by Else Holmelund Minarik and Maurice Sendak and Caro Bruco Capellone by Lucia Tumiati.

Sergio described himself as a child that was not a great student in school and was often frustrated with writing. He recalled his joy when a teacher allowed him to create a comic strip instead of one of the long writing assignments. It should come as no surprise that when Sergio grew older his first published work was a comic strip at the age of 19. (Mazza Conference Keynote and Miss Marple's Musings).  When he was a "struggling" comic strip artist for one of Italy's top comics, he visited the United States and had the opportunity to show his artwork to an art director at The New Yorker Magazine and he was hired to create an illustration during his short vacation.

New York offered promise for Sergio's illustration career. He returned in 1995 after a brief time back in Italy "refining" his portfolio. He was having success in editorial illustration, however his love of comic strips and picture books had him desiring to illustrate a children's book. His attempts to enter the children's book market were met with many rejections. Sergio called Peter Sís for help who helped connect him with editor, Frances Foster who "mentored" and "guided" Sergio during his early experiences in children's books.

 The Room of Wonders was one of the books France Foster helped Sergio with early in his career.
In 2011, Sergio participated in the Maurice Sendak Fellowship. Read about Sergio's experience in his own words here.
These are Sergio's drawing tools; 3H pencil, pencil, pen with nib, and a brush.
When Sergio autographed a copy of Broom, Zoom! for my children he drew this cool moon and he said, "There is Supermoon coming in a few days." 
I had completely forgotten that the end of Broom, Zoom! featured a Supermoon. Even though, Sergio Ruzzier's birthday wasn't for a few weeks I thought reading Broom, Zoom! in the light of the Supermoon would be the perfect way to celebrate.
On November 13th, two days after I met Sergio, the Supermoon was at its peak in Ohio.
We went out to our driveway to read. My daughter brought along her broom. 

Broom, Zoom! is a story about a witch and an alien who both need the broom, but there is only one. The alien needs to clean up a mess, so the witch decides to help. Then she shares with the alien her reason for needing the broom. It is much more fun than cleaning up a mess. Broom! Zoom!
Super Moon. Super Book.
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Back inside, I wondered if we could recreate the last page of Broom, Zoom! .
My son traced and colored in the characters.
I cut them out with an x-acto knife and taped them to a paintbrush.
All we needed was the Supermoon.
My son held it up. Unfortunately the moon was much higher in the sky. But, if we held it just right...


Sergio, we hope you have a wonderful birthday. It was a pleasure to meet you and to listen to your presentation at Mazza. Oh, and thanks for planning this celebration for us!

Check out Sergio's latest book, This is Not a Picture Book!:




Links:
1. Sergio Ruzzier's Blog
2. Follow Sergio Ruzzier on Facebook, Twitter
3. Interviews - Number Five Bus, Miss Marple's Musings, Kirkus Reviews, Pen and Oink, Cynsations, The Horn Book
4. Studio Visit - Pen and Oink
5. Bear and Bee Activity Sheets
6. For the Fear of Failure by Sergio Ruzzier - The Horn Book

Birthday source: Mazza, Sergio Ruzzier's Blog

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