Giveaway Time!

Okay, I’m a little behind schedule with my giveaway but here we go! This is great for picture book lovers, teachers, librarians, parents and grandparents. You can win Picture the Sky, by Barbara Reid and a signed copy of Katie Shaeffer Pancake Maker! The winner will also receive a pdf copy of my story stretchers for 10 great picture books.  See my previous post, Ten Picture Books Every Preschool Teacher Must Have! for a list of the books.

 

The contest is open to US and Canadian residents over 19 years of age.  If you are outside of Canada and the US, you can still enter to win my story stretchers just in time for Back to School.

How to enter:

  1. Comment on this blog post; What book do you remember loving as a child (It could be a novel or a picture book)
  2. Like my Facebook page
  3. Visit my facebook post and tag a friend

Entries will be assigned a number and winners will be chosen by random number generator.

This contest will stay open unti August 28th!

Wednesday Writing Update

Hello Readers,

I’m keeping myself honest with weekly writing updates.

So this week I’ve been on vacation. Just keeping it real. Even so, I’ve done four critiques on picture books in progress. So that’s something.

And today I spent a little time revising a fiction pb that is loosely based on an actual person of historical significance. I’d say it’s a slice of life from their childhood as I’ve imagined it.

And that’s all folks! Tune in next Wednesday for more updates.

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!

Raise a Reader Tip #3

Welcome to my Raise a Reader series where I share tips on encouraging early literacy.  Check back for a new tip each week!

Tip #3: Let your child see you reading.

It could be a book or a magazine but make sure your child sees that you like reading. When your kids are playing on the floor, sit down with something to read.  If your child is old enough you can take the opportunity to explain about the difference between reading aloud and reading silently in your head.  This probably goes without saying but reading on your phone doesn’t count.  Role modelling is a most powerful teacher so if your children see that you like reading, they will get the idea that reading is a worthwhile pursuit.

 

 

Raise a Reader Series: Tip #1

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Welcome to my Raise a Reader series where I share tips on encouraging your young child to get into reading!  Stop by weekly for simple tips.

Tip #1 Make reading part of your routine.

It doesn’t matter when but make it part of your day.  Every day.  You could do this first thing in the morning.  My daughter used to love to get in bed with us every morning for a few minutes.  This was the perfect opportunity to read a book.  She was still a little sleepy and not quite ready to be on the go.

Bed time, bath time, right after breakfast or lunch….any time can be your regular reading time if you stick with the routine.  For awhile, just before dinner was book time for my four year old, who learned to work the CD player and could listen to a story on his own while I made dinner each day.

So, pick a time of day and stick with it.  Read every day.