Thursday, June 29, 2017

The people have spoken...

... and the winer is: Pilsen/Chinatown!

What a fun pair of neighborhoods to work on! These two neighborhoods are actually the closest to my own, so researching them was the easiest in terms of logistics. The Little Dragans and I just walked across the river and got to work!

I learned so much in Pilsen about the history of the neighborhood. Originally a neighborhood for Czech immigrants from Bohemia, the neighborhood then became home to many of the city's Mexican-American population. There's so much for kids to see, taste, and experience in Pilsen! Even a walk along 16th street is a feast for the eyes: one colorful mural after the next.

Chinatown sits just southeast of Pilsen and while it isn't huge, it packs a punch of color, flavor, and culture into just a few blocks. This past weekend the 17th Annual Dragon Boat Races for Literacy were held by the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce. It's a fun event for all ages along the banks of the river in the picturesque Ping Tom park.

It was great to hear from everyone about the neighborhoods they were most excited to see! I know you'll love them all as much as I do when you see the book, and I hope it inspires you to go see the real deal in person someday soon!

You can check out more about the book and the art by visiting the website!:
or by following along with Rickshaw Reggie on twitter: @RickshawReggie

Monday, June 26, 2017

Map Reveal Contest!

One of the best parts of writing Rickshaw Reggie: Chicago Neighborhoods was working with the incredibly talented, insightful, and tireless illustrator, Ed Koehler.

From all of my gobbledy-gook and chicken scratch sketches, Ed has put together one of the most beautiful and interesting children's books I've seen in a long time. I catch myself staring at the map pages way more often than I should!

I want to share a map with you all before the book is even available, but let's make it fun!

Vote in the comments, or on Facebook, or on Twitter @RickshawReggie, for the neighborhood you'd MOST like to see first:
Lincoln Park
Rogers Park
Portage Park
Pilsen/Chinatown (2 neighborhoods, 1 map! What a deal!)
Hyde Park

I'll tally up the votes and reveal the map next weekend.
BONUS: Each vote earns you a chance in a drawing for a free copy of the book available in 3 weeks!!

Monday, June 19, 2017

When tales become a book!

If you've been reading here for awhile you know we Dragans love to get out and explore our city, our world, and basically everything we can get our hands on!

I was so delighted to get to work with Reedy Press for the last year on the first ever children's book starring Chicago's iconic neighborhoods. It's being published this July: Rickshaw Reggie: Chicago Neighborhoods.

Now, the hay is in the barn so to speak, and I am eagerly awaiting the day when I can get my hands on that first copy. I love the smell of old books--but I'm pretty sure the smell of the first new book to have my name on it will be pretty sweet too!

I'll still be checking in from time to time with random, funny news from our family, but I'll also be using the space to tell you about events related to the release of the book. It's been a wild and crazy ride, much like you might get with Rickshaw Reggie--my main character!

Hope you'll keep reading and checking back for events, giveaways, behind-the-scenes blog posts, and fun surprises.

Happy Summer from all of the Dragans!