One Book Two Book

February 22-24, 2019

One Book Two Book is an annual celebration of children’s literature in the City of Literature. This year’s special guest is award winning author and illustrator, Claudia McGehee!

Claudia McGehee is an American children’s picture book author and illustrator. Her mission is to create art and writings that inspire and connect people, especially children, with their natural world.

McGehee works in scratchboard, a medium that mimics traditional wood-cuts. She scratches out images from an ink-coated board, removing layers and revealing stories.

McGehee is the author/illustrator of three awarding winning non-fiction picture books “A Tallgrass Prairie Alphabet” (2004 Midwest Booksellers, Honors), “A Woodland Counting Book” (2006 Gold Moonbeam, Independent Publisher) and “Where Do Birds Live?”, all from University of Iowa Press. In 2007, “A Tallgrass Prairie Alphabet” was selected by the State Department’s Meridian International Center (Washington DC) as part of the traveling exhibit “This is Our Land: Discovering America and the World through Original Illustrations from Children’s Books”. Images from “A Tallgrass Prairie Alphabet” are also permanently displayed as an eight-foot graphic mural surrounding the rotunda lobby of the Flint Hills Discovery Center, in Manhattan, Kansas.

“My Wilderness, An Alaskan Adventure”, was McGehee’s first author/illustrator historical fiction picture book (Sasquatch Books, 2015). “My Wilderness”, part biography of painter Rockwell Kent, was chosen in 2015 to represent Iowa at the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival in Washington DC. It received Honors from the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute. “North Woods Girl” (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2015, written by Aimee Bissonette), was described as “a celebration of both family and nature with exemplary illustrations” (Kirkus Reviews). “North Woods Girl” received a Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award and the 2015 Midwest Booksellers picture book award. Published in March 2017, “Creekfinding” (University of Minnesota, written by Jacqueline Briggs Martin) is an uplifting true story of environmental renewal, about a creek brought back to its former life, a vibrant place teaming with fish and other wildlife. “Creekfinding” is the recepient of the 2018 John Burroughs Riverby award, and the Nature Generation Green Earth Book award, both honoring this picture book’s positive ecological message.

McGehee is a native of Washington state. She graduated from Central Washington University in anthropology and art history, with a focus in archaeology and graphic design. She also studied natural history at Oxford University in England. She lives in Iowa City, sharing a house on a hill with her husband and daughter, and two studio cats.

We’ll kick things off Friday evening, February 22, with our Once Upon a Time dinner at the Hotel Vetro.  “Once Upon a Time” is a magical literary experience created to celebrate stories written and performed by children from each elementary school in Iowa City.

Saturday hundreds of young readers and writers will converge downtown at the Hotel Vetro for the Children’s Book Fair.  Non-stop activities including the Mississippi River Museum, Absolute Science, Claudia McGehee, face painting, author readings and signings, Brio and Duplo trains, arts and crafts, and costumed characters will make for an extraordinary day.  Attendees can meet with authors, discover new books, play with storybook characters, watch a play and be inspired by fun programming and writing workshops throughout the day!

On Sunday we invite the community to come together and celebrate creative writing by outstanding “up and coming” young authors. Two students from each grade will be honored for “Excellence” in one of the following categories, The Write Stuff and From the Heart, and they will read their work on stage at Macbride Auditorium. Other student “Writers of Distinction” will be presented certificates for their writing.  Thanks to generous donations from community members and local businesses, each student author is eligible to win amazing prizes including e-readers, tablets, and gift certificates.