Chris Barton

Smoke Alarm Epiphanies and Other Lessons from Mazza

Day One at the Mazza Museum Summer Conference was a grand success. Each year those Mazza magicians create a masterpiece on a corner of the stage featuring books and gizmos meant to introduce the authors and illustrators who will present. I think this year’s display is one of my favorites.





Chris Barton charmed the crowd with pictures and stories from his childhood, as well as reminding everyone that inspiration is everywhere…including the story of How Daddy Installed the Smoke Alarm…a simple story from real life that Chris’s toddler begged him to tell over and over and over. This inspired him to begin writing stories down for all children, and adults, to enjoy. 








Rosemary Wells told us true. Practice, she insisted is the key for writers and illustrators and anyone who wants to be good at what they do. Just as a pianist runs scales every morning, the writer must warm up with words, the artist must paint or draw or cut. Always be curious and learning. Write for your reader. Draw for your reader. Copy shamelessly! That’s how you learn. Work without ego entirely. She exhibited this trait brilliantly by taking time to talk to each person. Lucky me!









Barney Saltzberg helped us laugh and sing and remember that even an Oops can be Beautiful.








Hint of the Day: The artist is only the scribe, the vehicle. It comes from somewhere else.–Rosemary Wells

You never know what will start with only one–Chris Barton

There are no mistakes–Barney Saltzberg

Speak up:



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