PW interviews Eric about A MOOSE BOOSH

Interview compiled by John A. Sellers for Publishers Weekly (Sep 15, 2014)

Interview compiled by John A. Sellers for Publishers Weekly (Sep 15, 2014)

Eric-Shabazz Larkin doesn't consider himself a "food expert," but in the children's poetry collection A Moose Boosh: A Few Choice Words About Food (Readers to Eaters, Oct.), he demonstrates himself to be not just a wordsmith but a bit of a vandal, too. "I wanted to create a look that was unique to the children’s book and food worlds," he told PW. "So I got rebellious and started vandalizing photos—a technique I use in an ongoing street project of mine. I think the mischievousness of vandalizing photographs is something that all ages are drawn to, and secretly want to do themselves."

The book consists of more than 40 poems on topics that range from the existential musings of corn on the cob to the joys of slurping noodles and an ode to Marcus Samuelsson's restaurant Red Rooster Harlem. "All my poems in A Moose Boosh came from little odd experiences that I turned into stories that were much larger in my head," Larkin said. " 'Doctor Food' is a poem about two people I made into one—the first was a therapist who helped a deep depression I was in just by changing my diet, and the second is the man in the picture in front of his actual shop in the Lower East Side called Stanley’s, where he sells all kinds of home remedies that don’t include drugs. 'Food Desert in Harlem' comes from a hungry Saturday afternoon in Harlem, where I could not find one vegetable anywhere without getting on a train and going to another neighborhood." (Click here to see a short video Larkin filmed at the Pike Place Market in Seattle, where an apple vendor inspired one of his poems.)

A Moose Boosh is Larkin's first book as both author and illustrator; it was after illustrating Jacqueline Briggs Martin's 2013 picture book Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table that Larkin began to read books like Michael Pollan's Food Rules and watch films like Food, Inc., and think about exploring food culture and gastronomy through poems and art. "When I was a kid I loved poetry, and dinnertime was the most precious time of every day," said Larkin. "As an adult, I love writing poetry, and I sometimes bring a poem to share at dinner parties. A Moose Boosh is a mashup of those favorites, a book of poems meant to be read at dinnertime and family time."

Eat, Play, Learn

School Library Journal article on Eat, Play, Learn: Food-Related Materials to Sink Your Teeth Into has a great lineup of children's books promoting food literacy, with a nice write-up about our books! 

From Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table 

From Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table 

 

MARTIN, Jacqueline Briggs. Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table. illus. by Eric Larkin. Readers to Eaters. 2013. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9780983661535. Gr 3-6– Martin shares the remarkable life story of former professional basketball player Will Allen, urban farmer and food educator. Straightforward prose and colorful illustrations done in muscular ink lines express the energy and confidence of the book’s subject as he works alongside smiling grownups and kids. Abundant back matter includes information about Allen’s work.

SWANN, Rick. Our School Garden! illus. by Christy Hale. Readers to Eaters. 2012. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9780983661504. Gr 1-6– The garden at Michael’s new school is full of fresh sensations. Thirteen poems describe holding a handful of compost, eating a leaf, watching a bug, and more. Richly textured mixed-media illustrations in earthy tones follow a diverse class as they plan, plant, harvest, and enjoy the fruits of their labor. Notes and resources expand on the text.

LAIR, Cynthia, with Scott Murdoch . Feeding the Young Athlete: Sports Nutrition Made Easy for Players, Parents, and Coaches. Readers to Eaters. 2012. pap. $12.95. ISBN 9780983661528. Gr 6 Up– This slender but info-dense book is packed with practical, concrete advice for fueling up, maintaining energy, and recovering from physical activity, backed up by research and explanations of physiological processes. Large sidebars and pull quotes get the point across—even to readers simply skimming the pages. Includes 33 appealing recipes.

 

 

A Delicious Poem

I'm so grateful to be editing books by talented people.

I've been working with Eric-Shabazz Larkin, who's making his debut as author/illustrator with A MOOSE BOOSH: A FEW CHOICE WORDS ABOUT FOOD, for almost a year now. And he continues to surprise me and make me laugh with his poetry and artwork. 

Look for the book this fall.  See Eric's first book he illustrated, Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table.

See Eric fall into the book gutter! This is something editors are always looking to avoid when presented with new artwork (from A Moose Boosh).

See Eric fall into the book gutter! This is something editors are always looking to avoid when presented with new artwork (from A Moose Boosh).