Bullard, Lisa 1961-
BULLARD, Lisa 1961-
PERSONAL: Born August 10, 1961, in Waco, TX; daughter of James E. and Blenda J. Bullard. Education: Concordia College (Moorhead, MN), B.A. (summa cum laude), 1982; University of Denver Publishing Institute, graduated 1985.
ADDRESSES: Offıce—c/o Carolrhoda Books, 241 First Ave. N., Minneapolis, MN 55401. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Lerner Publications, Minneapolis, MN, member of marketing department, 1985-91; Coffee House Press, Minneapolis, marketing director, 1992-95; Graywolf Press, Saint Paul, MN, marketing director, 1995-2000; New Rivers Press, Minneapolis, interim executive director, 2000-01; freelance writer, 2001—. Loft Literary Center, Minneapolis,writing teacher, 1998—, member of education committee, 2003—. Minnesota Book Publishers Roundtable, member of board of directors, 1995-99, president, 1997-99; Upper Midwest Booksellers Association, member of board of directors, 1995-98. Cohost of Write on Radio, KFAI, Minneapolis, 1995-99.
MEMBER: Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Children's Literature Network, Loft Literary Center.
AWARDS, HONORS: Children's Resources Silver Award, National Parenting Publications, 2001, Honor Title, Storytelling World Awards, and Children's Choice Award, International Reading Association/Children's Book Council, both 2002, all for Trick-or-Treat on Milton Street; career initiative grant, Loft Literary Center, 2002.
Not Enough Beds! A Christmas Alphabet Book, illustrated by Joni Oeltjenbruns, Carolrhoda Books (Minneapolis, MN), 1999.
Trick-or-Treat on Milton Street, illustrated by Joni Oeltjenbruns, Carolrhoda Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2001.
Marvelous Me: Inside and Out, illustrated by Brandon Reibeling, Picture Window Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2003.
My Body: Head to Toe, illustrated by Brandon Reibeling, Picture Window Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2003.
My Day: Morning, Noon, and Night, Picture Window Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2003.
My Family: Love and Care, Give and Share, illustrated by Brandon Reibeling, Picture Window Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2003.
My Home: Walls, Floors, Ceilings, and Doors, illustrated by Brandon Reibeling, Picture Window Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2003.
My Neighborhood: Places and Faces, illustrated by Brandon Reibeling, Picture Window Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2003.
Powerboats, Lerner Publications (Minneapolis, MN), 2004.
Stock Cars, Lerner Publications (Minneapolis, MN), 2004.
Contributor of book reviews to Ruminator Review.
SIDELIGHTS: Lisa Bullard's first children's book, Not Enough Beds! A Christmas Alphabet Book, is a jaunting rhyme told by Zachary about the wonderful muddle that happens every year when the house overflows with relatives visiting for the holidays. Relatives with names beginning in every letter of the alphabet from A to Z cheerfully bed down in chairs, on the porch, or under a table because there just are not enough beds to fit them all. A contributor to the New York Times Book Review called this "engaging, cluttered fun," while Helen Rosenberg, writing in Booklist, described Not Enough Beds! as a "lively Christmas tale."
Another popular holiday with children of all ages sets the stage for Bullard's next book, Trick-or-Treat on Milton Street. In this story, Charley is sure that Halloween will be dull this year because he, his mother, and his new stepfather have just moved to a new neighborhood, one with very few children. Then, when Charley's mom gets sick on Halloween and cannot take him trick-or-treating, he has to go with his new stepfather, another disappointment. But behind every door in the neighborhood, Charley finds a friendly adult dressed in a funny costume, and when he arrives home, his new neighbors are waiting for him to join in a party in his honor. A critic from Kirkus Reviews noted that the story contains "an important lesson about giving new things and new people a chance." A contributor to Publishers Weekly argued, however, that while there are some scenes that Bullard gets "just right," others seem overly sweet, as sweet as "a gooey caramel apple." Young readers will find Oeltjenbruns' illustrations reward careful examinations, according to Maryann H. Owen in School Library Journal, who concluded that "though the story is a bit wordy in places, it is a warm and fuzzy holiday tale."
Bullard told CA: "One of the best critiques I received came through an anecdote. Someone was telling me that their five-year-old granddaughter enjoyed my first picture book so much that she had memorized the entire text and could 'read' the story out loud by herself (all 224 words). Halfway through one of her recitations, the little girl stopped cold. 'But Grandma,' she asked, 'just what is a hubbub?' 'Hubbub' is the word I worked hardest for as a writer, the one for which second-best wouldn't do: a celebration-dazed, noisy, overfull, lovely-to-say-aloud word that few contemporary children have heard. It works with the story's rhyme and meter, perfectly describes that moment in the story's action, and is a word with all sorts of wonderful possibilities. I'm delighted to have introduced it to at least one young reader.
"I write for children in an attempt to share with them some of my foundational beliefs, the ones that made me a writer in the first place: that words have an 'awful' power (in the old-fashioned sense of 'commanding awe'), and that we help shape our lives through the stories we tell and the words we choose to tell them. I have heard many writers whose books are packaged in a child-friendly format add a disclaimer that they aren't really 'children's writers' at all but rather all-purpose writers whom children might happen to read. I write books with children in mind as my intentional audience—if adults enjoy the books too, that's all to the good since they usually serve as the vehicle through which younger children hear a story. But I am mostly interested in converting children to lovers of language, in delighting them with word-play, and helping to turn them into lifelong book-lovers. That is one of the reasons that I was so proud to win an International Reading Association/Children's Book Council Children's Choice Award for Trick-or-Treat on Milton Street since it is one of the few awards actually chosen by children themselves.
"I begin with the subjects kids find the most compelling: families, friends, special holidays, the rituals of life. I believe children are most likely to respond to something that entertains them, and I have found humor to be especially appealing. If you can surprise a child with something just a little oddball or unexpected, you will have their complete attention, and their own imaginations will be immediately engaged. Rhyme and some of the other tools of the poets help to give language a playful feel. Picture books are meant to be read out loud, so the sound of the words is as important as the way they interact with the art on the page. At the same time, the story must provide a strong visual sense but leave room for the illustrator to have creative sway with their artistic enhancement. Altogether, I try to find an entree to the world children occupy, and use language and stories to draw them a little bit outside or beyond themselves."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, September 15, 1999, Helen Rosenberg, review of Not Enough Beds! A Christmas Alphabet Book, p. 266.
Horn Book Guide, July-December, 2001, review of Trick-or-Treat on Milton Street.
Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2001, review of Trick-or-Treat on Milton Street, p. 1022.
New York Times Book Review, December 19, 1999, review of Not Enough Beds! p. 30.
Publishers Weekly, September 27, 1999, review of NotEnough Beds! p. 60; September 24, 2001, review of Trick-or-Treat on Milton Street, p. 42.
School Library Journal, October, 1999, Tracy Taylor, review of Not Enough Beds! p. 66; September, 2001, Maryann H. Owens, review of Trick-or-Treat on Milton Street, p. 184.
Lisa Bullard Home page,http://www.lisabullard.com (May 28, 2003).