Kid Lit Love: Seven New Children’s Book Releases in 2020

A couple of months ago, I was able to connect with several authors in the kid lit community who have new books being released this year and would like to be included on the Kid Lit Love blog series. It was amazing to get such a positive response from creators of children’s books and has been a pleasure to help get the word out about them. Some of these are debut authors and though 2020 may not be the easiest year for a book release, it is a pleasure to celebrate book birthdays together! I want to express my heartfelt thanks to all who have participated and those who will be participating in the future. I hope you will take a closer look at these wonderful new releases. Let’s all spread some Kid Lit Love!

Here are the books and authors featured in March and April:

Thank you to readers for stopping by my blog. If you stop by on Mondays, you’ll find more new children’s book releases, both fiction and non-fiction. You are welcome here any time!

Sign up for my newsletter, Cindy’s Book News, and learn about release dates, pre-orders and free offers.

May is Child Care Month

Did you know that May is Child Care month in the province of British Columbia?

As we are in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, we have learned how essential child care is to our world and how interdependent we are on one another. At the University of British Columbia, medical students who are not yet fully trained are choosing to provide child care for health care workers in order to help out. Some child care centres have remained open, accepting only children of essential workers. Some centres have been forced to close due to the fact that many children are staying home with their families.

If you are looking for child care, it can be quite challenging to find a space in our province. Parents need to get their children on wait lists and be willing to consider different arrangements or driving to less convenient areas of the city. Child Care centres have trouble finding qualified staff because of shortages in the workforce. Retention of child care staff is also an ongoing challenge.

Preschool science

Now that we can see how essential a universal child care service is to our world, I hope that more citizens will ask questions of our government representatives and hold them accountable for working towards solutions that will be help everyone concerned. Add your voice to advocate for a better system. Our government needs to do better. Even if you do not have a child, it impacts you if and when you require medical services from a health professional whose ability to work is compromised due to inability to access child care services. It impacts our entire economy as it supports the workforce. Universal Child Care benefits everyone, in fact it improves our Health Care System by strengthening the work force. If we’ve learned anything from the fight against COVID-19, it is this: we’re all in this together.

Sign up for my newsletter and learn about release dates, pre-orders and free offers.

Thank you for stopping by my blog. You are welcome here any time!

Connecting Families With Nature Virtually

Although some teachers continue working in order to provide essential service for health care workers or education for students with special needs, many, like me, are at home and unable to be with their students. Because teaching is such a relationship focused profession, I am fairly certain that many teachers are missing their students and the role they play as educators.

Navigating how to keep up the relationships has been especially difficult for me, as I have been working casual, as more of a substitute, though I work with the same students quite regularly and still do miss them quite a bit.

Japanese Maple

One bright moment where I still felt like a teacher was when I shared a nature app called Seek by iNaturalist with a few families. I asked them if they would be willing to share any feedback they have if they happened to try out the app and how their children responded. It was such a pleasure to hear back that their children not only tried it out but took photos to every single living thing in their backyard using the app and had fun while doing it. It shows me the way forwards for families with young children is probably a three step process:

  • present an activity that is open-ended for the family to try
  • allow families a week to try it out
  • gather in a zoom meeting to share experiences with the activity

Do you teach young children? How have you been maintaining relationships with your students? It is challenging but there are ways to make it happen.

I hope you’ll share ways you have been able to keep relationships up with your students in the comments. Are you teaching virtually? Sending email assignments? What works well for you and what have you learned from trying new methods?

Thank you to readers for stopping by my blog. If you stop by on Mondays, you’ll find more new children’s book releases, both fiction and non-fiction. You are welcome here any time!

Sign up for my newsletter, Cindy’s Book News, and learn about release dates, pre-orders and free offers.

Kid Lit Love: A Doll for Grandma


Welcome to the Kid Lit Love blog series, celebrating new picture book releases every Monday! Today’s new release is by Paulette Sharkey, illustrated by Samantha Woo, titled A DOLL FOR GRANDMA: A STORY ABOUT ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE. I’m excited to showcase this book because my life has been personally touched by family members with Alzheimer’s disease. As a preschool teacher, I’ve had parents or grandparents ask me about how to explain this to young children and I’ve always felt picture books are one of the most natural ways to do so.

Synopsis

My debut picture book, A DOLL FOR GRANDMA: A STORY ABOUT ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE, is coming May 5th from Beaming Books, illustrated by Samantha Woo.

A little girl and her grandmother always find ways to have fun together. Then Kiera notices that Grandma is changing: leaving keys in the refrigerator, knitting hats too small to fit anyone’s head. When Grandma moves into a memory-care home, Kiera finds a new way to sustain their close relationship. She embraces the altered reality inside Grandma’s mind and gives Grandma a doll. Now they can take care of their “babies” together. This is a story about empathy and kindness and the special bond between grandparent and grandchild. It’s about loving and accepting people as they are, even when they change.

author, Paulette Sharkey

Bio

Paulette Bochnig Sharkey worked for many years as a librarian, first in her home state of Michigan, and later in Australia, Nevada, and Wisconsin. She has also been a proofreader, ghostwriter, developmental editor, recipe indexer, and transcriber of children’s books from print into braille. A DOLL FOR GRANDMA: A STORY ABOUT ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE (Beaming Books, May 2020) is her first picture book.

Interview

It was a pleasure to connect with Paulette through social media. She took the time to answer questions and share some advice.

1. Tell us how you came to write books for children.

I started writing nonfiction articles for children’s magazines in the late 1980s and sold quite a few to places like Highlights, Cricket, Spider, and Ladybug. But I really wanted to write a picture book, a genre I’ve loved since my daughter was little and we read stacks of them every bedtime. It took me until 2017 to realize that goal, when I signed up for a Writer’s Digest course on picture-book writing and drafted A DOLL FOR GRANDMA. Many revisions later, I sold the book!

2. Tell us about the inspiration for your book or how you came up with the idea.

Around the time I retired from my job as a reference librarian, about 15 years ago, I read that musical memories are held in a part of the brain often left undamaged by Alzheimer’s disease. I’m also a pianist, so I started visiting memory-care homes to play the piano for the residents. It was fascinating to see how they responded to the music. Even those who could no longer recognize family or friends could recognize old familiar songs, especially the World War II–era songs of their youth. Even those who could no longer speak could often sing along. My inspiration for writing A DOLL FOR GRANDMA came from these experiences as a volunteer pianist. I enjoyed including a scene in the book where the “piano lady” comes to play—that’s what many of my elderly audience members call me.

3. Please share a piece of advice for children’s writers.

One thing I’ve learned on my way to getting published is that it’s impossible to predict the twists and turns in the road. I certainly never expected that my debut book would be released during a coronavirus pandemic. All we can do is try our best to stay focused on our work and trust that our words will find a way to the children we’re writing for.

To order: paulettesharkey.com/books/

website: PauletteSharkey.com

twitter: @PBSharkey

Thank you for stopping by my blog. If you stop by on Mondays, you’ll find more new children’s book releases, both fiction and non-fiction. You are welcome here any time!

Sign up for my newsletter, Cindy’s Book News, and learn about release dates, pre-orders and free offers.

Kid Lit Love: National Regular Average Ordinary Day

Welcome to the Kid Lit Love blog series, celebrating new picture book releases every Monday! Today’s new release is by Lisa Katzenberger, illustrated by Barbara Bakos, titled NATIONAL REGULAR AVERAGE ORDINARY DAY from Penguin Workshop. This celebratory book will be available June 23, 2020.

NATIONAL REGULAR AVERAGE ORDINARY DAY by Lisa Katzenberger, illustrated by Barbara Bakos


Synopsis: Peter does not like being bored, so he comes up with a way to have some festive fun–he’ll celebrate a different holiday each day! He even rates them on a scale of 1 to 10. But when he wakes up one morning to discover there isn’t a holiday, he realizes he’ll have to take matters into his own hands and make up his own! That’s easier said than done, though, and nothing seems to go right–until Peter realizes that even a regular, average, ordinary day can be something worth celebrating.

Lisa Katzenberger

I had the pleasure of connecting with Lisa through social media and I asked her a few questions about her experience as a writer. We realized that both of us have done the 12×12 Picture Book challenge and loved that experience. Here’s Lisa’s interview:

1. Tell us how you came to write books for children.
I have always loved books and wanted to be a writer since I was a kid, taking creative writing courses in school any chance I could and studying journalism. I even landed a job after college as a writer — albeit a technical writer. As an adult, I kept writing on the side, focusing on short stories at first and then a few novels. It wasn’t until I had kids that I remembered the joy of books for children. Reading piles of picture books, I finally knew where I fit in!


2. Tell us how you came up with the idea for your book.
I used to work as a Social Media Manager and we began writing content around national holidays like International Women’s Day. Then I started to notice all the fun national holidays became popular on social media — like National Waffle Day. I wondered how a child might celebrate these different holidays and the story grew from there! 


3. Share a piece of advice for children’s writers.
My really basic, no-frills advice is to just keep writing. This week I was looking back on some of the picture books I wrote when I was starting out 5 years ago. Stories that I queried with, stories that went out on submission to editors but never sold, stories that I thought were good. Looking back, they were fine stories but they are not as strong as the stories I am writing today. What if I had given up when the first book I went out on sub with didn’t sell? I would have completely lost the opportunity to grow and hone my craft. I would have lost book deals. I would have lost my dream. But even in the face of rejection and frustration (which I still face today), I just kept writing. Keep writing everyone!

You can connect with Lisa here…

Website link: www.lisakatzenberger.com

Twitter link: www.twitter.com/fictioncity

Look for more Kid Lit Love posts on Mondays! Want to have your book featured? Send an email request to authorcynthiamackey@gmail.com

Sign up for my newsletter and learn about release dates, pre-orders and free offers.

Thank you for stopping by my blog. You are welcome here any time!

Connecting Families With Nature

As you may know, I’m living in beautiful British Columbia and if you listen to Dr. Bonnie Henry, she reminds us daily about how going outdoors is so important for our mental health, particularly during this time while we are in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. It will be Earth Day on Wednesday so there’s no better time to connect with nature.

Nature is Open to You!

You’re Invited to the Challenge!

I’d like to challenge you and your family to connect with nature in some way. This blog is small, so I know the comments may be limited but I would LOVE if people would be willing to share examples of how you connect with nature. These posts will give you a prompt to go out and try. After you try it, I hope you will share your experiences.

For those who love technology but haven’t yet discovered nature, here is a bridge to get you there. Look for nature apps for your phone. This is a great way to take your love for technology outside and see what you can learn. You will be truly amazed!

Seek by iNaturalist is one such app. You will love the immediate results. As you photograph plants, birds, and flowers, the name appears. Sometimes the app only gives a more general idea and sometimes more specific identification but it is a cool way to get kids involved in looking more closely at plants, flowers and really everything in nature. You can identify wildlife too and there’s a way to earn badges if that appeals to your children. I know the former girl guide in me would have loved this though I must say that girl guide badges were MUCH more difficult to earn.

Seek by iNaturalist
A Few of My Observations
Celebrate Earth Day by searching for signs of spring!

Here are a couple I haven’t tried yet…

There’s also Outdoor Family Fun with Plum. This offers family activities to explore nature in your neighborhood. It is a PBS Kids project. Get new missions each day!

PBS Kids offers another app called Nature Cat’s Great Outdoors. There are more than 100 nature prompts offered. Adventures get saved in a journal and kids can go back and view past adventures. There are opportunities to draw, paint, take photos and record sounds.

Have you tried any of these apps? Share your experience in the comments!

Thank you for stopping by my blog. If you stop by on Mondays, you’ll find more new children’s book releases, both fiction and non-fiction. You are welcome here any time!

Sign up for my newsletter, Cindy’s Book News, and learn about release dates, pre-orders and free offers.