Summer Reading Challenge Week 3

Happy summer and welcome to my #PBHOT62 picture book challenge update!  I joined this Summer Reading Challenge  hosted by Rena Traxel.  By the end of the summer I will have read 62 picture books (maybe more) in a variety of interesting places.  Here’s my list of all the picture books and fun places I’ve been reading this week:

  1. Read someplace blue. (my blue chair). Blue Whale Blues by Peter Carnavas. (Book #15) Imagine a whale who wants to ride a bicycle only it turns out that bicycle is actually a shopping cart.  Cute.  How will he go for a ride?  What will he do when he finds out it isn’t really a bike?IMG_4942

2. Read someplace calm. (fountain). Where the Giant Sleeps by Mem Fox and Vladimir Radunsky.  (Book #16) You cannot go wrong with Mem Fox.IMG_4956

3. Read someplace high. (2nd story window) Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Marc Barnett and Jon Klassen.  ( Book #17) This book reminds me of my childhood and I love the story in pictures that happens alongside the text.  Brilliant.IMG_5052

4. Read someplace odd (my car) If You Want to See a Whale by Julie Fogliano and Erin E. Stead.  (Book #18) This book was so poetic that I even took a photo of one of the pages of text because I loved the writing so much 🙂IMG_5026IMG_5027

5. Read someplace sunny. (my patio) How to Draw a Dragon by Douglas Florian  (Book #19)1442473991

6. Read someplace fancy (piano).  Lulu’s Piano Lesson by Arlene Alda (Book #20)IMG_4946

7. Read someplace inspired by Penny’s books (my kitchen…A Cooked Up Fairy Tale by Penny Parker Klostermann) Tiptoe Joe by Ginger Foglesong Gibson and Laura Ranking. (Book #21)

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It has been tons of fun to do all this reading research and I’m looking forward to the next batch of seven books as well as the next week of places to read in Rena’s Challenge. There are so many wonderful picture books out there!  What are you reading this week? Picture books? Romance? Thriller?  Feel free to share. 

Need Your Input for Books in Progress

Let’s have some fun and choosing which books to self-publish/send out on submission next… I need a little reprieve from making decisions so maybe you can help.

Here’s a synopsis of five different manuscripts I’m currently working on. I’d like to get your impression.  In the comments, let me know which story you’d most like to see made into a picture book!

1. Kelsey Meets the Monsters

Kelsey must face her greatest fear when her little brother is kidnapped by monsters.  Will Kelsey be able to overcome her fear and save Thomas?

2.  Dinosaurs by Design

Finlayson’s autism means he is just as passionate about loving dinosaurs as he is about hating the beach. One day there is no babysitter and no choice… Finlayson must go to his most feared and hated place… the BEACH!

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3. Allison’s Tree

Allison’s best friend is not a girl or a boy; her best friend is a tree.  In this gentle ode to trees, find out why Allison loves her best friend and what Douglas the fir tree can teach her about true friendship.

4. Honey Cakes for Oscar

Find out what happens when Oscar, a very hungry bunny, must reconcile his fear of bees with his love for honey.

5. Finn and Katrina’s Ferry Fairy Excellent Adventure

Journey with Finn and Katrina as they sort out how to keep their new friendship alive after a misunderstanding about what brought them together in the first place.

Which story gets your vote? Why?  I’m excited to hear your responses. Please share!

A Real Life Katie Shaeffer

Though this does not count as inspiration for the book, here’s a great example of a real life Katie Shaeffer.  One of my preschoolers, age 5, wanted to bring something for show and tell and it could not be a toy.  He and his Mom showed incredible initiative, resourcefulness and creativity to visit the beach, collect the items and then using a glue gun, put together this awesome pirate ship.

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Celebrating the real Katie Shaeffers of the world and their trusty assistants who help make it all happen! Creativity can be part of your lifestyle just like Katie’s in the story.

Check out Katie Shaeffer Pancake Maker, an inspiring book for you and your child!

Joining the 12 by 12 Picture Book Challenge

In January I did something that makes me feel nervous and excited at the same time.  I joined the 12 by 12 picture book challenge. And now I will immerse myself in writing all year long.

Although I’m very new to the world of writing, I believe in myself as a capable creator of children’s literature and I want to be part of that world.  For this challenge, I must write 12 picture books drafts in 2017.  One draft each month.  Revising a draft also counts.  I may need a little stronger tea in my mug this year to help me out with this 🙂

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Joining the 12 by 12 community gives the opportunity to get feedback from other writers in an online format.  This is so valuable as writing is all about getting feedback and doing revisions.  I have so many ideas swirling around in my head and hope to get them all down on paper into a solid draft form.

The challenge is open to new picture book writers and more seasoned writers as well.  There are lots of SCBWI members (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators).  So far I find it to be a very welcoming and supportive online community.

Now it is March and I am right on track with my writing.  The 12 by 12 challenge continues!

Collections

Katie Shaeffer would just love this tray of miscellaneous items!  

It always amazes me how a simple collection of items can be so inspiring for a child.  My group of preschoolers can do amazing things with the most random objects.img_3206

“Katie assembled and constructed; she glued and she taped; she stacked and she hammered, until finally her creation was done.” -from Katie Shaeffer, Pancake Maker

Here are some real examples of creations made by young children with miscellaneous items:

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I believe young children are capable and can do amazing things if given the opportunity! That belief together with the inspiring creations I see children make daily helped inspire the story Katie Shaeffer, Pancake Maker!

Here’s a synopsis of the story:

Join Katie and her friend Baxter in this fun story as they use a passion for collecting and building to find a way to realize Katie‛s pancake dream! This upbeat energetic tale with great potential for reading aloud will appeal to adults and young children alike. The book includes a predictable rhyme that will have children chiming in as the story unfolds. Children will celebrate with Katie and Baxter as their pancake dream becomes reality! Recipe included. Author: Cynthia Mackey Illustrator: Paula Nasmith

Contact me if you are interested in receiving an advance review copy of the story! I hope to have these available soon.

authorcynthiamackey@gmail.com

A Book Designed to Inspire

One of the many thoughts in my mind as I was writing Katie Shaeffer, Pancake Maker involved inspiration.  I love the way that picture books can inspire children’s play and I wanted to create a picture book that would inspire children to construct their own unique creations out of free reusable items that are readily available at home.

“Katie Shaeffer loved building things, she loved collecting things and most of all she loved pancakes.”img_2822

The story was written in part for myself as a preschool teacher, as I wanted a great picture book that could be a jumping off point for activities like this one.  I like to provide children with assorted sizes of cardboard boxes.  They use tape and scissors to construct a creation of their own choosing.

The learning opportunities here are so plentiful.  Children learn to use scissors and tape effectively.  This takes huge amounts of skill and focus for three and four year olds but they can do it.  Children develop confidence in their abilities as their fine motor skills improve.  Because the project is of a child’s own choosing, the child is highly motivated to complete the task and will spend more time working towards their goal.

I love this because it only requires scissors, tape and boxes.  Sometimes children like to paint their creations as well.  Some children have constructed creations and then taken them home to play with over and over again.  Just imagine how it would feel to be three or four years old and create your own toy!

I hope that Katie Shaeffer, Pancake Maker will inspire you and your children to construct unique creations from a panoply of recycled items just as Katie did in the story.

Katie Shaeffer, Pancake Maker will be available soon.  Check back here at my author website for updates!

Getting Inspiration

For me, inspiration comes from a variety of sources. Katie Shaeffer, Pancake Maker was inspired in part by the book Loose Parts , Inspiring Play in Young Children written by Lisa Daly and Miriam Beloglovsky.

The book is full of beautiful photographs of loose parts arranged to inspire play in young children.  Here are a few examples that I photographed from the book.  There are many many more in the book itself so I would highly recommend purchasing the book for your own inspiration as a parent or as an educator.  Or at least borrow it from the library!  It really highlights the endless possibilities that loose parts can present.

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And during the time I have been using loose parts theory in the preschool classroom I have witnessed many projects that children have undertaken.  These projects have also served as inspiration for the story.  I hope that Katie and Baxter from my story Katie Shaeffer Pancake Maker will inspire young children to take on more creative projects using items they and their parents or teachers have collected!

Snowflakes and buttons#snowflakes#buttons#creatingdesignswithlooseparts

A post shared by Cynthia Mackey SCBWI Member (@mackey_cynthia) on

#loosepartsplay #outdoorclassroom #creativeplay #earlyyears #outdoorplay

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Have you or your child created something using loose parts?  Maybe you are an educator who has been using loose parts theory in the classroom like me.  Send a photo of your project to authorcynthiamackey@gmail.com and I would be happy to feature it here on my author blog.

In any environment, both the degree of inventiveness and creativity, and the possibility of discovery are directly proportional to the number and kind of variables in it.”  -Architect, Simon Nicholson

This post was written in response to the Daily Post Discover Challenge   Mixing Media.