Saturday, April 23, 2016

#AuthorApril: T is for Don Tate in our #AtoZChallenge

Dear Kim,

I interviewed Don Tate over on the Highlights Foundation's blog earlier this month. He spilled secrets about upcoming book releases, writing mentors, and even the big dreamer he sat next to on a plane trip. Now we get to honor him here in our #AtoZChallenge.  T is for the very talented, Mr. Don Tate.




Don's latest release, Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton won the Ezra Jack Keats Award this year. The book tells the true and moving story of George Moses Horton, an enslaved man from North Carolina, who taught himself to read and write. Horton memorized poems early on then cultivated his own poetry becoming the first African American published in the South.




The illustrations in Poet are classic Tate. Each character image brushed with such detail that we almost expect them to rise from the page. We journey through George Moses Horton's life under the glow of Tate's rich color palette. 






In May, Tate's illustrations for Whoosh! will arrive at a library near you (or better yet, in your mailbox). Based on the images Charlesbridge pre-released, I know we will fall in love with this story, told by Chris Barton. 



Chris Barton and Don Tate at book signing.
Thank you, Cynthia Leitich Smith for the photograph.

Tate and Barton produced The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch in 2015; the book gathered a lengthy list of awards and starred reviews. I'm certain that Whoosh!, a biography about Lonnie Johnson and his accidental invention of the Super Soaker, will leave an equally long list of awards in its wake.

Don seems drawn to biographical works, with several more coming out in the next few years. We are grateful for his skillful hand at illustrating the lives of many inspirational figures from history. His research doesn't surprise me because, like the people he brings to the page, Don is an inspiration to all of us in the writing community. He gives his time and talent to the children's book family through his work at We Need Diverse Books, The Brown Bookshelf, SCBWI, and the many, many state and local conferences.

Don Tate and Carmen Oliver at Texas Book Festival.

Don will host his first workshop for the Highlights Foundation this fall. He promises three days of engagement, collaboration, and mentorship. He said that with his special guest, Carmen Oliver, of the Booking Biz, the workshop will be a blast. I know that Don will, as he always has, inspire the workshop participants to bring their very best to the page. I hope every seat is filled for this one!

Happy #AuthorApril (#IllustratorApril too)!
Much Love,
Alison