Gravity is a Tribute to Streetball

One look at Charly Palmer’s art and you know it makes bold statements. He has said, “I put all my focus, energy and love into us. I’m an extremist when it comes to the love of Black people,” and there is no doubt that is true. Visit his website here to view some of his magnificent fine art and picture book illustrations.

In his author-illustrator debut, this multi-award winning illustrator has created a book that is a loving tribute to streetball.  The Legend of Gravity: A Tall Basketball Tale is set in Milwaukee, where Palmer grew up, and the words and images show the fluid movement of the game throughout.

Charly will be  presenting his picture book at the Gaithersburg Book Festival on Saturday, May 21st, 2:15 – 3:05 pm in the Jim Henson Pavilion (a book signing immediately follows).  The festival will be at its new location – Gaithersburg’s Bohrer Park. 

How (or in what ways) do you hope librarians will promote your book? “My desire is to encourage children; to tell their story.  My message is teamwork and working together. “

What do you hope your readers will learn from reading your book? “Team work. Getting the message further from working together.

Who is the reader you are writing for?  Describe them. “Everyone! There is no age limit in learning.

What is one (or more) thing(s) that you really want your readers to know about you? “I do children’s books because I love children. I collected children’s books when I was a child. It a love for me.

This is your author/illustrator debut – what inspired you to try your hand at writing a picture book? “My conviction, is I believed I could do it; then I discovered I was good at telling a story. I’ve been inspired by all the great writers higher than myself.

What do you love most about your cover art and illustrations in your book?   Can you tell us about your creation process? “It’s hard to say. I’m critical of my own work. I’m proud to capture GRAVITY as an illustration. I think I did well with him.”

What has surprised you most about the characters in your book? “The children in my book represent everyone., and I relate to myself, as their narrator.”  It’s not about race or gender. It’s just about “being.

Which book review or award has been most meaningful to you? “I am happy that I am getting reviews. I don’t look to be confirmed or verified. That’s not my motivation. My motivation is children!

What are you most looking forward to at our book festival? “I’m looking forward to meeting new people, hearing their stories, sharing our stories; how my book may have inspired them. I am currently working on a follow-up to GRAVITY…stay tuned!

If you would like to learn more about Charly and his creative process, check out these two articles:

Charly Palmer’s picture book ‘The Legend of Gravity’ is a loving tribute to streetball (Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
 Meet the world-renowned artist from Milwaukee who’s pushing the way we read children’s books (WTJM-TV Milwaukee)

Charly Palmer is a graphic designer, illustrator and the Africana Book Award and Coretta Scott King-John Steptoe New Talent Award winner for “Mama Africa!” As a child, he was fascinated by Ezra Jack Keats’s illustrations for “The Snowy Day,” which inspired Charly’s own use of color and geometric shapes. He studied art and design at the American Academy of Art and the School of the Art Institute, both in Chicago. Charly will be presenting “The Legend of Gravity: A Tall Basketball Tale” at the Gaithersburg Book Festival.