Kid Lit Love: Tea Party in the Woods by Akiko Miyakoshi

Hello Readers and Lovers of Picture Books!

Since I have a newfound appreciation for book reviews, I’m on a mission to post one picture book review each month of a book I loved.  So January’s book is right here: Tea Party in the Woods by Akiko Miyakoshi.

There is something about walking through the woods that goes along with stories.  Like tea and crumpets, cookies and milk or peanut butter and jam.  Anyway, this gentle story has a few unexpected twists and turns that keep the pages turning.  The book can be enjoyed for its delightful surprises and re-read for its kid appeal.  Who wouldn’t want to attend a tea party in the woods?

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Kikko, a likeable main character, wants to deliver a pie to her grandmother’s house.  It’s a simple idea, but when her father leaves in advance, all she has to go on are some footprints in the snow and a figure in the distance. The story has a dreamlike quality with an appreciation of bravery and independence.  The black and white illustrations with splashes of colour are delightful and different.  Reminiscent of Little Red Riding Hood, it is full of fun, friendship, encouragement and whimsy.  A sure hit with little people and their significant adults! I’m happy to add this one to my library.

Appreciate what you’re reading here?  I’d be happy to have your twitter follows and facebook likes. Thanks and have a great day!

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Kid Lit Love: Lion and Rabbit’s Opposite Day by Tara J. Hannon

Hello Readers and Lovers of Picture Books!

Since I have a newfound appreciation for book reviews, I’m on a mission to post one picture book review each month of a book I love.  All the picture books I review in 2018 from this point forward will be the books of 12×12 members! So here is my featured picture book for March: Lion and Rabbit’s Opposite Day by Tara J. Hannon.  It is also important to note that Tara self-published this book, which is a journey all its own.  Congratulations, Tara!  I’d also like to note that Tara is one of my critique partners and I really value her input and writing expertise.

My preschool class and I thoroughly enjoyed Lion and Rabbit’s Opposite Day.  In this simple story, Rabbit and Lion go through their day together with each page featuring opposites such as bottom/top, near/far, open/closed.  The illustrations are adorable with changing scenes of Lion and Rabbit indoors and out.  They are friendly and playful characters that are very relatable for children.  This is a simple story but an important one to add to your collection as there are few children’s picture books on the market that feature opposites in such a fun and relatable way.  The end of the book has an opportunity to help rabbit remember some of the opposites he learned.  My class loved trying to come up with the opposites when the story was done and were pleased with their own success in remembering the words.

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I was fortunate to have the opportunity to ask Tara a few questions.  Here’s my interview with Tara.

What’s the best thing about being a writer?

For me, the best part of writing is creating and exploring worlds that only exist in my mind’s eye. There is nothing quite like sitting in a quiet room and letting my mind create something from an empty canvas. And very rarely there is a moment when something within those vast creations ‘clicks’ and an idea is born. That is the best.

What’s your advice for aspiring writers?

Do the work. Research. Read. Study. Connect. Like any art, writing for children requires practice and knowledge. Sign up for the webinars, buy the books, find a critique group. Go whole hog and let yourself dive into it. You will never look back. Honestly, it took me a while to realize this. Once I did, my work improved tremendously.

Where does your inspiration come from?

The five year old that lives inside of my head. (haha) But really, she is still in there somewhere and I am always trying to see things the way she would.

Why do you write for children?

There are so many reasons. But if I had to pick one, I’d say its because they see things we adults can’t. Their imaginations are enviable and it is an honor to contribute to that magic… And I want them to think I’m cool.

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

Friends don’t steal pancakes. Oh, and that everyone is different. Embrace it. Enjoy it. Befriend it. 😉

Want to find out more about Tara’s book? Check out the Amazon reviews here.

 

Kid Lit Love: A Morning With Grandpa

Hello Readers and Lovers of Picture Books!

Since I have a newfound appreciation for book reviews, I’m on a mission to post one picture book review each month of a book I love.  All the picture books I review in 2018 from this point forward will be the books of 12×12 members! So here is February’s book: A Morning With Grandpa by Sylvia Liu with illustrations by Christina Forshay.

This book, published by Lee and Low Books,  is the winner of the New Voices Award!

I was expecting to appreciate this book, but honestly, the writing and illustrations just shine beyond what I had imagined.  I plan to use this as a mentor text for myself as a new writer and would recommend it for other new writers out there.

A Morning With Grandpa follows Mei Mei, who is eager to learn tai chi from her Grandpa while he is practicing in the garden. Mei Mei has her own unique style, performing the movements with youthful enthusiasm.  Then Mei Mei teaches Grandpa the yoga she has learned at school.  The stretchy poses are a challenge but Grandpa is a willing participant.

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The book celebrates relationships with grandparents and the joy of being physically active together.  Sylvia expertly uses similes and metaphors in a child friendly way, introducing emergent readers to the richness of language.  A truly beautiful picture book to share with a child.

I had the fortunate opportunity to interview Sylvia Liu for this post. Here are my questions along with her answers.

What’s the best thing about being a writer?
I love how everything that happens or that I read about is fodder for my writing. And I never feel guilty when reading for pleasure, because I can justify it as doing writerly research.
What is the most difficult thing about being a writer?
How difficult it is to write really well. How do writers get to the point where their writing is so seamless that the reader forgets they are reading and just becomes immersed in the story? I’m still trying to learn that.
What’s your advice for aspiring writers?
Keep actively learning your craft, which means finding mentors, teachers, and critique partners to give you feedback on your work. Take writing classes and read craft articles and books. And never give up – remember, only you can tell your stories in your own way.
What do you hope readers will take away from your book, A Morning With Grandpa?
It’s never too late to learn a new skill and to spend time with your loved ones.
Which books are on your reading list?
I’m writing a middle grade cyberpunk novel, so I’m reading a lot in the genre, from classics in the adult arena (William Gibson, Phillip K. Dick) to recent MG and YA novels like Armada, by Ernest Cline and the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.
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Have you got a picture book you love? I hope you’ll post a review.  Amazon and Goodreads are great places to post.  Let’s spread the love around!

Kid Lit Love: Tea Party in the Woods by Akiko Miyakoshi

Hello Readers and Lovers of Picture Books!

Since I have a newfound appreciation for book reviews, I’m on a mission to post one picture book review each month of a book I loved.  So January’s book is right here: Tea Party in the Woods by Akiko Miyakoshi.

There is something about walking through the woods that goes along with stories.  Like tea and crumpets, cookies and milk or peanut butter and jam.  Anyway, this gentle story has a few unexpected twists and turns that keep the pages turning.  The book can be enjoyed for its delightful surprises and re-read for its kid appeal.  Who wouldn’t want to attend a tea party in the woods?

img_6486

 

Kikko, a likeable main character, wants to deliver a pie to her grandmother’s house.  It’s a simple idea, but when her father leaves in advance, all she has to go on are some footprints in the snow and a figure in the distance. The story has a dreamlike quality with an appreciation of bravery and independence.  The black and white illustrations with splashes of colour are delightful and different.  Reminiscent of Little Red Riding Hood, it is full of fun, friendship, encouragement and whimsy.  A sure hit with little people and their significant adults! I’m happy to add this one to my library.

Appreciate what you’re reading here?  I’d be happy to have your twitter follows and facebook likes. Thanks and have a great day!

Remember_-7

 

 

 

Raising a Reader Tip #10

Welcome to my Raise a Reader series with weekly tips for encouraging early literacy!

Tip #10: Make a book of favourite words with your child.  Choose one word each day.  Write it on a piece of card stock.  Punch a hole in the corner and add a new word each day.  Keep them on a ring so that you can easily add more words. Draw a picture or paste a photo beside each word to help your child identify the word.

Raise a Reader Tip #9

Welcome to my Raise a Reader series where I share weekly tips for encouraging early literacy!

Tip #9: Help your child to make connections between stories and real life.  Choose books that are relatable for your child.  Talk about parts of the story that connect with your child’s life.  Listen to your child’s ideas about the story.  Questions to ask, “Did that story remind you of anything?”  “What did that story make you think about?”

Raise a Reader Tip #8

Welcome to my Raise a Reader series with tips for encouraging early literacy.

Tip #8: When reading to your child, stop occasionally in the middle of the story and ask your child to predict what might happen next.  This keeps your child engaged in the story and excited to continue reading!

Raise a Reader Tip #7

Welcome to my “Raise a Reader” series where I share tips for encouraging early literacy.

Tip #7: Try writing some dictated stories for your preschooler.  After all the daily stories you’ve been reading, your child may have a story of his/her own.  It does not need to be a full story.  Just write down their ideas for them and read it back to them.  Then pass their story on to other people who can read it to them.

If your child doesn’t have story ideas, try writing dictated lists or letters.  Help them get the idea that writing and reading is all about communication.  If they have an idea they want to communicate, write it down. For example: “This is my lego castle.  Please keep it together so I can show it to Grandma this weekend.”  Look for opportunities to help your child communicate in writing and see the benefits of written communication.