Thursday, October 22, 2009

Library Visit on Oct. 16, 2009

The event was held at the Savage Public Library and then again at the Elkridge Public Library. I read from both BE GENTLE WITH THE DOG, DEAR! and PANDA AND POLAR BEAR, and spoke about the process of publishing. After that I took challenges from the crowd to draw whatever they wanted me to. I drew T-rex but it turned out looking like Barney (Let us not forget that Barney is a T-rex).

Elementary Reading Specialist Symposium

Speaking at the Howard County Elementary Reading Specialist Conference on Oct. 12, 2009

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Book Signing at Hooray 4 Books in Alexandria, Virginia

On October 10, 2009, I visited Hooray for Books in Alexandria, Virginia.
I read PANDA AND POLAR BEAR and did some sketches and took questions. The store folks and visitors were so nice. I loved visiting Hooray for Books. I met a girl named Min Joo, she was adopted from Korea. I was excited that God has blessed her with loving parents.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Baltimore Book Festival

I was at the Baltimore Book Festival speaking at the Children's Book Store Tent. Despite the rain there was a big turnout. Wish I could have been there longer to enjoy the festival.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Check out what readers think about PANDA AND POLAR BEAR

Book Reading and Signing at Gaithersburg Barnes & Noble

The book reading/signing was held at Barnes & Noble in Gaithersburg, Maryland to an attendance of about 20 people. The book was read by a school teacher and she really made the book come alive.
My next book signing is at Towson Barnes & Noble.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Be Gentle with the Dog, Dear! recommended by Independent Children's Booksellers

Be Gentle with the Dog, Dear! has been selected by the independent children's booksellers from across the nation in 2008 ABC Best Books for Children Catalog

The ABC Best Books for Children Catalog is a full-color 20 page consumer circular which is distributed through ABC member stores in the fall.
The catalog features 225 frontlist and 30 backlist titles, with an annual print run of about 400,000. The catalog is fully vetted, and features bookseller favorites, award winners, and critically acclaimed titles.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

2009 SCBWI Summer Conference

Just came back from SCBWI summer conference weekend. It was a blast, I met so many great members and learned a lot. The photo is of Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, author of Shiloh, and me. She is such a sweet lady.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

PANDA AND POLAR BEAR Book Tour Schedule for 2009

Saturday, August 15
Story Time - 11:00 am
Barnes & Noble Booksellers - Bowie
Address: Bowie Town Center
15455 Emerald Way
Bowie, MD 20716

Saturday, August 29
Book Signing - 11:00 am
Barnes & Noble Booksellers - Gaithersburg
Washington Center
21 Grand Corner Ave.
Gaithersburg, MD 20878

Saturday, September 12
Book Signing - 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Barnes & Noble Booksellers - Towson
Towson Circle
1 East Joppa Road Suite 100
Towson, MD 212860

Saturday, September 19
Book Signing - TBD
Book Nook Bookstore
5606 Baltimore Avenue
Hyattsville, MD 20781

Saturday, September 26
Speaking and Signing - 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Baltimore Book Festival

Monday, October 12
Speaking and Signing - 12:00 pm
Howard County Teachers Conference

Saturday, October 10
Book Reading and Signing - 11:00 am
Hooray for Books!
1555 King St.
Alexandria, Virginia 22314

Friday, October 16
Book Reading and Signing - 11:30 am
Savage Library
9525 Durness Ln
Laurel, MD 20723

Friday, October 16
Book Reading and Signing - 4:00 pm
Elkridge Library
6540 Washington Boulevard
Elkridge, MD 21075

Saturday, November 14
Book Signing - 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
Onley Book Festival
17301 Old Vic Blvd
Olney, Maryland 20832

Saturday, December 5
Book Signing - TBD
Barnes & Noble Booksellers-Rockville Pike
Montrose Crossing
12089 Rockville Pike
Rockville, MD 20852

Monday, July 6, 2009

Review from Booklist

Panda and Polar Bear.
Baek, Matthew J. (Author) , Baek, Matthew J. (Illustrator)
Jun 2009. 32 p. Dial, hardcover, $16.99. (9780803733596).

While exploring, a curious little polar bear slips off a snowy cliff and lands in an unfamiliar, muddy environment. With his white fur spotted with brown, he meets a young panda, who thinks the polar bear is one of his own species. Soon, though, they discover differences. The panda loves eating bamboo, but the polar bear prefers fish, and while diving for a snack, his spots wash away. The polar bear worries, “What terrifically splotchy panda bear would want to be friends with a plain white polar bear?” But the panda is eager to hear about the polar bear’s snowy life. And when the polar bear realizes that he is homesick, the panda helps him find his family. The simple, lively text folds in light humor as it delivers a positive message about appreciating differences and finding commonalities, themes that are reflected in the soft watercolor illustrations, which culminate in a final overview of a world that is bigger and more diverse than the animated little bears realize. — Shelle Rosenfeld

Book review from Publishers Weekly

Panda and Polar Bear Matthew J. Baek. Dial, $16.99 (32p)
ISBN 978-0-8037-3359-6
In Baek’s (Be Gentle with the Dog, Dear!) second outing, a cuddly polar bear tumbles down a cliff into the “green and grassy” world of a panda. There’s an early case of mistaken identity, with the now-muddy polar bear resembling a panda himself; when he’s washed clean, he worries that his new buddy might reject him: “What terrifically splotchy panda bear would want to be friends with a plain white polar bear?” (His fears turn out to be unfounded.) When the polar bear gets homesick, they make a ladder out of bamboo so the polar bear can climb back up the cliff (“My mother told me never to play with food... but I think it’s okay this time,” the panda decides). The final spread pulls back to reveal a zoo, with the polar bear exhibit overlooking the pandas. It’s a quiet book—a feeling echoed in the serene green and blue watercolors—but Baek’s pacing is steady, his artwork is nicely balanced against the text and the issue of difference in friendship is treated with respect. Ages 3–5. (June)

Review from School Library Journal

BAEK, Matthew J. Panda & Polar Bear. illus. by author. unpaged. CIP. Dial. 2009. RTE $16.99.
ISBN 978-0-8037-3359-6. LC 2008046231.
PreS-Gr 1–In a mysterious location, pandas live at the base of a tall cliff, while polar bears reside at the top, so they never meet. Then a curious polar bear cub falls off the edge into a mud puddle, giving him pandalike markings. He meets a “splotchy” cub and they enjoy playing together, until the polar bear’s muddy spots are washed off after a swim. The polar bear worries that the bear, which he learns is a panda, will not want to be friends now that their differences are known. To the contrary, the young panda is fascinated by the polar bear’s stories of snow and, as he describes his habitat, he grows homesick. Working together, the two build a ladder out of bamboo, allowing each to visit the other’s home, which readers learn on the last spread is in a zoo. The muted watercolors of spot art and spreads perfectly evoke the playful energy of the young animals in their respective environs. The lesson that we can get along despite our differences is presented in an age-appropriate and lighthearted manner in this simple and delightful tale.–Rachel G. Payne, Brooklyn Public Library, NY

Be Gentle selected to 2009 CCBC

BE GENTLE WITH THE DOG, DEAR! has been selected to be a part of the 2009 CCBC Choices list. The 2009 edition of CCBC Choices features annotated entries for 247 books for children and young adults published in 2008 and recommended by the Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC) staff. For more information please visit:

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Junior Library Guild

Panda and Polar Bear has been selected for the Junior Library Guild's Spring 2009 span. They are pretty selective about their choices, so it’s a nice compliment