Tuesday, May 24, 2011


After 12 hours of travel that began at 4 am and involved a small mountain of luggage, two large, weary cats, and one large, cheerful baby we have at last landed back in Massachusetts! Spending the year in San Francisco was incredible experience I will never forget, but it feels really good to be home.

I was pretty nervous about the trip since I've never flown with a baby and we had so much stuff with us (toys! diapers! three cameras! 5 pounds of cat food!), but it all went off without a hitch. Tilda didn't cry even once. Her main complaint in life is being put down, so she was pretty psyched to be held for 6 hours straight. She flirted with everyone around us and napped happily to the white noise of the plane. Here she is playing airplane on the airplane:

And just hanging out:

While we were gone we subletted our apartment and left all our furniture and household items, including most of my studio. Coming back to our things after being away from them so long has been strange. I am not attached to anything and kind of want to throw it all away and start new. Maybe it has something to do with life being so different now that I'm a mother, that I need my space to reflect that change. But its funny, we writers and artists always say we need our "stuff" around us to be productive, or at least thats how I usually feel. After not having my stuff for so long it all seems totally unnecessary. Like on Clean House when a family swears up and down they can't function with out some raggedy old dishtowel that has sentimental value. Did I really need all those stacks of magazines and old paint brushes? Nope! Right now I feel like I need to get rid of it all. I'm sure once I'm absorbed in working on a new project I won't care either way, but til then I will be busy wiping the slate clean for the next phase: being a parent and getting back to work.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Taking flight

At long last we are packing up George, Wilbur, and tiny Tilda and flying back east to our home in Massachusetts. The blog will be a little quiet over the next week as we pack up and settle in, be back soon!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Greta in The New York Times!

Great news: A Photo for Greta was reviewed in this Sunday's New York Times Book Review, along with Grandma's Wedding Album (they called them both "heartfelt and personal" books about family photography). Yay! An excerpt:

"Alter’s paean to paternal love, strong despite the demands of the road, is at the same time a portrait of an only child who yearns for the limelight of her father’s attention. When Greta’s dad gives his daughter her own photo shoot, 'It was the best day she could remember.'"

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Photo for Greta is out today!

At last, A Photo for Greta is out in stores, hurray!

We've talked a lot in the past on Blue Rose Girls about the quiet birth of of a children's book, how you work at a story for months and years and when it finally comes out it can be a little anticlimactic. Trumpets do not sound unless you, yourself, get a trumpet to play. But today does feel kind of special. Maybe its because this is a personal book I wrote about my dad or maybe sometimes you just need to find a reason to celebrate. Or maybe I am just very excited to be back at work at last after many months of being at home with baby. But I am excited.

I've been working at redesigning parts of my web site, and just launched a page for Greta here. There you will find a curriculum guide, art activities based on the book, coloring sheets and some other goodies. There is also a handy new feature where you can click on thumbnails of the illustrations for a closer look. Take a look and let me know what you think! And stay tuned for a Father's Day book giveaway coming soon...

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

"I think I'm going to have it,"
I said, joking between pains.
The midwife rolled competent
sleeves over corpulent milky arms.
"Dear, you never have it, we deliver it."
A judgment years proved true.
Certainly I've never had you
as you still have me, Caroline.
Why does a mother need a daughter?
Heart's needle, hostage to fortune,
freedom's end. Yet nothing's more perfect
than that bleating, razor-shaped cry
that delivers a mother to her baby.
The bloodcord snaps that held
their sphere together. The child,
tiny and alone, creates the mother.

A woman's life is her own
until it is taken away
by a first particular cry.
Then she is not alone
but part of the premises
of everything there is:
a time, a tribe, a war.
When we belong to the world
we become what we are.

From Anne Stevenson
Poems 1955 - 2005
©2005 Bloodaxe Books

(Via Peonies and Polaroids)

Friday, May 06, 2011

Furball Friday

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Curled up with a good kid's book: Desmond review

Thanks for the lovely review of Disappearing Desmond!

"By applying a little baby powder to his fur, Desmond the cat can blend in with the statues at the museum. When he wears clothes to match the color of a chalkboard or tree, Desmond can be inconspicuous in the classroom and on the school grounds. Masks and props have kept Desmond invisible for a very long time.

Desmond’s days of hiding are over, though, when Gloria the rabbit moves into town. Not only can she see him - she talks to him. As their friendship grows, so does Desmond’s self-confidence. He starts wearing brightly colored clothes, plays the part of a cactus on stage and interacts with others while at the park or in school.

Alter’s acrylic illustrations add humor to this sensitive story about shyness. Desmond is hidden in funny ways throughout most of the book, with only patches of gray fur peeking out. A double-page spread ends the book with a smile by revealing how Desmond’s transformation influences 'almost everyone.'

Anna Alter studied illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design. She is the author and illustrator of the picture books What Can You Do with an Old Red Shoe? and Abigail Spells. She lives in Massachusetts."

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Getting ready: Greta coloring sheets

As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, my new book A Photo for Greta will be out in a week's time, so I've been making some goodies for free download on my web site. Soon these coloring sheets will go up:

Its been a lot of fun working on promo for this book, long in the making. I'll have more fun free stuff soon!