Balloons Over Broadway

Housekeeping Alert!

I updated the look and layout of this little blog. New header! New Widget-y thingys!

If you are seeing this in a Reader or via email, click over and check it out! I also made updates to the About and Book Trailers pages, and added a link to Other Work. AND, the carousel of images at the top of the Home page holds 5 images, and will rotate through older posts. I love this, because it’s so hard to say goodbye to one favorite book when it’s time for another! Ahem….like this one:

by Melissa Sweet

I adore Melissa Sweet’s work. And now that I just lost myself in her website for a good while, I adore her even more! I imagine she’s just like her site: vibrant, colorful, and exciting.

And this book is PHENOMENAL. Really. I have always been a huge fan of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, and even wrote it into one of my defunct picture book manuscripts. That parade as a setting was a million times better than anything else that was in that book. Truly.

So three whooping cheers for a REAL book about this parade…a fantastic, beautiful, stunning book!

Melissa Sweet brings alive the work of Tony Sarg, the marionette engineer and puppeteer whose legacy bobs high above the street in massive helium creatures. Never heard of him? Me neither. But now I’m so thankful to know his story. It’s wildly creative and inspiring.

This. A flat, shiny title page. But doesn’t it look like you could plunge your arms directly into that shoebox diorama? Even though I know better, I still found myself running my fingers over the page, expecting to feel knots and bumps and holes.

In design, texture is used to create the appearance of a tactile surface. In the real world, you can touch and feel surfaces, and in graphic design, your eye reads the texture. Melissa Sweet’s mixed-media collages illustrate this principle beautifully.

Right?  I hope I’m not the only one whose paws have tried to flick off that button or lift the kooky puppet.

I love this gorgeous combination of painted illustration, torn paper, and a true to scale map of Manhattan.

Same here! The graphic panels combined with hand drawn typography and more paper scraps. A lot of story information is handled in the pictures and the way these textured graphics serve as both extra illustrations and extra words.

And in case you needed any more proof that Balloons Over Broadway is visually stunning, the inside back cover reveals the original New York Times ad for the 1933 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Trust me when I tell you there is SO MUCH MORE within the pages of this book. I didn’t want to spoil all the surprises, but you are in for a real treat with this book.

RUN TO THE LIBRARY OR YOUR NEAREST BOOKSTORE! Seriously! I don’t like to yell unless it’s extremely important.

{Balloons Over Broadway received both the 2012 Robert F. Sibert Medal and the 2012 NCTE Orbis Pictus Award, which both recognize outstanding non-fiction for children.}

Want more? Read this interview with Melissa Sweet about her research for Balloons Over Broadway. And don’t forget her’s filled to the brim with treats!


  • Posted July 11, 2012 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Great post, Carter. I’ll add this to my library list. And I *love* the new design of your website! The header looks incredible.

  • Posted July 11, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, Priscilla! And for the tweet tweet RT. You are so encouraging!

  • Posted July 11, 2012 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Love this book! And the new blog layout!

  • Posted July 11, 2012 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Thanks, Tara!

  • bonnieadamson
    Posted July 11, 2012 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    I love the new look, Carter–such yummy colors!

  • Posted July 11, 2012 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Big compliment from a real ar-teest! And hey, can’t wait to see you soon?!

  • Posted July 11, 2012 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Yowza! So inviting, so exciting! Nice use of complementaries: a pale robin’s egg background, pumpkin-squashed type, and shapely layers in your header. Love your biz-card widget too! And ‘stunning’ book is right – actually shed tears of joy in admiration – no kidding! Keep up the brilliant work!

  • Posted July 11, 2012 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Yowza!! You are brilliant.

  • Posted July 11, 2012 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    I am RUNNING to my nearest bookstore now! Book looks amazing!

  • romellebroas
    Posted July 11, 2012 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    P.S. LOVE the new look of your blog!

  • Posted July 11, 2012 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Thanks, Romelle! Enjoy the run to the bookstore:)

  • Posted July 11, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Your assessment of Melissa Sweet is right on. I was lucky enough to see her keynote address at the SCBWI Western Washington conference where she talked about working on this book. It was amazing and inspiring.
    The new blog look is great. Very lively. Keep up the good work.

  • Posted July 11, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Oh, how wonderful! She seems like a total joy. I’m hoping to attend her workshop at SCBWI LA in a few weeks! And thanks for your kind words!

  • Posted July 11, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Hi! Fab new layout, and what a great sounding book! You are not helping me on my not spend any money on new books until I work quest 😉 hahaha

  • Posted July 11, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    At least we are in it together! I just need more bookshelves. See you soon?!

  • tinamcho
    Posted July 11, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    I love your new blog design and colors!! Congrats! I have perused M. Sweet’s web site and stared in awe. You know, as I was reading your post, I was thinking her “illustrations” are sort of like scrapbooking, which I love doing. A little of this, a little of that, all combined to a fabulous page!

  • Posted July 11, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Tina! You’re right…scrapbooking is a great way to describe it since it looks so intentional and tactile and wild all at once.

  • Posted July 11, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful new blog layout Carter! Gorgeous.

  • Posted July 11, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    Aww, thanks, Cathy!

  • Posted July 14, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Love this post Carter! What an interesting book! I used to work at Macy’s (long ago) and I remember we had the option of being in the parade each year.

  • Posted July 14, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    OOOH. I would’ve totally done that. Carried a balloon, dressed up like a fool, ANYTHING!

  • Posted July 15, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    I so want to read this book!

  • Posted July 19, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Love the new blog look. It’s perfect!

    Great post! I won this book earlier this year and it is simply amazing from the story to the art.

  • Posted July 19, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    There are a lot of books I look at once and enjoy, and even rave about…but this one is always open on my desk.

  • Your seester
    Posted July 20, 2012 at 4:33 am | Permalink

    best part = sarg rhymes with arghh!

  • Posted July 20, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    I loved this book and its design is such a large part of its appeal. It is my new favorite Thanksgiving book!

  • Posted July 20, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Love that! Made me extra excited to shop at Macy’s the other day. Odd?!