Connie Schofield-Morrison and Frank Morrison have teamed up for the first time to capture the rhythm of the neighborhood. Connie has been writing since she was a young girl and is inspired every day by the big sounds and bright colors of the world around her. "I Got the Rhythm" is her first picture book. Frank works as a fine artist and is the award-winning illustrator of many books for children, including "Our Children Can Soar" and "Jazzy Miz Mozetta," for which he won the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award. Connie and Frank live in Atlanta, Georgia, with their five children.
CONNIE: Frank, how much time does the illustrator have to complete a picture book? Would you say working as a husband-and-wife team is atypical?
FRANK: Connie, it takes about three months to complete a picture book. As for a husband-and-wife team, it is peculiar. The illustrator rarely meets the author. It was a treat to see how you developed your story. It was also a plus to see your reaction when I brought the character to life.
CONNIE: I love your color schemes in the book, as well as your characters. What medium do you use and how do you develop your characters?
FRANK: Connie, for this particular book I used oils on canvas. I chose bright, lively colors to capture the reader’s attention. You helped when it came to developing the characters. I drew on how you dressed our daughters Nia and Tiffani. Then I added some of my old dance moves.
FRANK: Connie, I love the main character in the story! What is her name? How much of yourself is reflected in her?
CONNIE: Thank You, Frank! The main character in the story name is "MIRACULOUS"! Yes! She is a reflection of me; however I'm modeling her to be every little girl, mother, aunt, grandmother, sister, friend, etc. that will and can believe in making a dream a reality. I'm a true believer of "dreams do come true."
FRANK: Are you going to develop this character? What can we expect next from her?
CONNIE:Yes! Actually, I'm in the process of developing the "Miraculous" character even further in her new story entitled, "I Love To Sing." Miraculous loves to sing--however, she struggles with nervousness due to stuttering. She realizes that st-st- st-stuttering is a condition caused by her being nervous. You will have to read the book to find out what happens.
IRA: What can we expect from you at IRA 2014?
FRANK: You can expect to see some of my development sketches to my final art for "I Got the Rhythm." I will follow that with what it was like working with my wife/author for the first time. I will talk about the humorously different ways we develop stories. Finally, I will talk about the importance of dancing to the rhythm of your own drum.
See it for yourself! Frank Morrison will be speaking at IRA’s 59th Annual Conference in New Orleans. Come to “Creating Teachable Moments that Increase Reading Proficiency and Engagement: Presenting Authors and Illustrators Whose Books Inform, Engage, and Inspire a Lifetime of Reading and Learning” on Sunday, May 11th, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., to hear Frank and fellow authors Kirby Larson, Peter Sis, and Eric Velasquez.