Thursday, August 12, 2010

D is for Daniel (plus a contest!)

Daniel is the one on the left
I'm a little beside myself to introduce the next Back to School interviewee, Daniel Jenewein. (Too many Germans on my blog? Nah.)

Daniel grew up in a small secluded forest in the Rheingau, a wine-producing region in Germany. He studied Graphic Design at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA. Currently, he works as a freelance illustrator in Frankfurt, Germany. In 2010, his first children’s picture book, Is your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? was published by Balzer+Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins.

from Publisher's Weekly:
“Some people say kindergarten is no place for a buffalo. How crazy is that?” So begins this humorous story about standing out in order to fit in. A buffalo doesn’t look, eat, or act like anyone else, but it’s his differences that make him so lovable (“who can resist that furry face?”). This story’s simple lesson about individuality is cleverly expressed through Vernick’s gentle wit and Jennewein’s crayon-outlined kindergartners--most of all, the furry and ungainly reader surrogate with whom kids will readily relate, even if “he may the only one who eats grass, then throws it up in his mouth and eats it again. Remember: Everyone’s special in his or her own way.” Ages 4-8. (July)
Daniel lives with his wife, popular book blogger Lenore* of Presenting Lenore, and Emmy, a bratty Birman kitty who is a star of Lenore's blog.

* This interview is about Daniel, not Lenore. However, Lenore is a blogging celebrity and my heart is still fluttery that I get to interview her husband.

Contest Information below the Interview

Step #1
  • music or gym class? Gym Class
  • high school or college?  College
  • school lunch or sack lunch? school lunch
  • crayons or markers? crayons
  • first crush: The daughter of the owners of the first Chinese restaurant in Wiesbaden
  • favorite subject: art
  • favorite teacher: My kindergarten teacher

Step #2
TELL US about any of your weird drawing habits or idiosyncracies. (ie, What’s one “thing” you need to create, the thing without which the creative juices would cease to flow?)

I’m very extroverted in my process, so I like to have a sounding board - someone to go over my ideas with.

Step #3
TEACH US one or two of your favorite vocabulary words.

I’m German, and in our language we like to create huge compound words. So I think something like Krankenversicherungsbeitragsentlastungsgesetz (lawful reduction of health insurance fees) is really fun. I also like Neugier (curiosity) because it’s so logical. Literally it means greed for new things.

Step #4
  • The last book I finished reading was Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
  • I gave it 4 stars.
  • One word to describe it is tragic.
Step #5
QUESTION: What's your favorite school-age memory?

The day it was finally over

Step #6
QUESTION:What effect did school (elementary through college/grad school) have on your drawing?

Art classes in school were never taken seriously. Teachers and parents stressed science or history, subjects that weren’t my favorites. Art Classes, like Music or PE, were more seen as recreation classes. It didn’t matter much if you were good or bad. That was a little frustrating for me since drawing was the one area I really excelled in. The teacher did not push you and gave everyone good grades anyway. College was a little different. I studied Graphic Design and learned some basics and techniques. It also helps to have a design sense as an illustrator. Still I believe you don’t need to go to college to do good drawings.

Step #7
GIVE US THE SCOOP. Tell us something about yourself that’s exclusive to In Search of Giants (ie, has never been publicized in print or podcast interviews.)

My mother claims I was the most difficult of her 3 sons when I was small. She has a video of me where I am throwing a very dramatic tantrum, and she likes to show to it to people who mistakenly believe I am easy going.

TOMORROW: E is for Erica
(I hope)

(with thanks to HarperCollins)

One winner gets a copy of the book. 
Giveaway is open to US Residents only.

To enter, leave a comment on any Back to School Interview this week (the week of August 9).
One entry per interview, so a possible total of five entries.
Winner will be announced Monday, August 16.

Exciting News! The winner of the copy of Is My Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? will also be entered (along with blog owner) into a larger contest to win a personalized book bag! There are also extra chances to win with the more entrants we get here, so make sure to tell your friends!

Details: The winning team (blogger and blogger contest winner) each get to choose a personalized pose for the buffalo which Daniel will illustrate and then print onto a book bag for each.


  1. It's funny, Daniel because I remember being sooo jealous of my best friend, Tom Ward, because he was the most talented artist in our age group at school. Teachers were always holding up his work in class, and I couldn't help but notice how it found pride of place on the bulletin boards outside the class (or, more frequently, outside the principal's office). The few times when I did well were really memorable to me.

    But, as we grew older, art became less and less important to us because schools at the time made it so. He didn't even take art classes in junior high or high school, and initially studied to be an engineer at university. But eventually, he recognized his true calling, and he now paints realistic watercolors (in the east coast tradition). You can find Tom here, if you're interested.

    We'll most certainly pick up a copy of your book. I love buffaloes!

  2. Thank you Richard! I love the watercolors of Tom Ward. Very impressive! Have a great day, Daniel

  3. "greed for new things" - What a fantastic literal definition! And a great interview too!

  4. When I was in high school, my dad rattled off a few compound German words, thinking I'd be inspired. I ended up taking Spanish.

  5. An extraverted writer? Now THAT is truly weird. :)

  6. Curiosity is an interesting word :) Apparently my husband threw a few dramatic, head banging tantrums as a child. I wish his mom would have taken a video so that I could visually remind him of his own behavior when he gets upset when one of our kids has a melt down.



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