FIONA HALLIDAY: Will Write for Cookies Plus Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

 

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

FIONA HALLIDAY

Blogger error alert!!!!

This post was supposed to go live NEXT SATURDAY! But for some reason (we all know the reason – Vivian is kind of distracted because she has her book launch at Barnes and Noble this morning) it posted today, instead of Laura Renauld’s WWFC post. So some of what I say in the post refers to NEXT WEEK. Please forgive me, everyone…especially Laura and Fiona! What follows is what should have made sense if this was posted on January 25…

You may be thinking this is Fiona Halliday week over here at Picture Books Help Kids Soar. Tuesday we had a Happy Book Birthday celebration for her new picture book, NUMENIA AND THE HURRICANE, which just launched from Page Street Kids. Yesterday, we featured that beautiful book for Perfect Picture Book Friday. And today, I’m thrilled to welcome Fiona as our guest for Will Write for Cookies. She’s one of my Storm Literary Agency sisters…and I was fortunate to meet her in person at the Bologna Book Fair last year. She is a brilliant author/illustrator – and a really lovely lady – and here are a few words about her…in her own words:

Since childhood I always wanted to be a writer, but I had no real aspirations to be an illustrator. (My family are all very artistic.) I have a degree in English Literature from Edinburgh University, 2004. In 2012, I moved to Austria without being able to speak a word of German. It was then I started dabbling with illustration, I think perhaps out of frustration at not being able to communicate very well! I was always a very keen photographer, but it is quite limiting compared to illustration.

Since then I haven’t really looked back. I signed with Essie White of Storm Literary Agency in 2016. I didn’t sign my first PB deal until summer of 2018, but now I have ‘Numenia and the Hurricane,’ to be followed in May 2020 by ‘Hello Little One,’ written by Zeena Pliska, I illustrated, and then in 2021 comes ‘The Storm Goose’ (written and illustrated by myself), all with Page Street Kids.

ME: And now, my friends, you can see why I just had to make this FIONA HALLIDAY week! Welcome, Fiona…it’s so lovely to have you stop by to chat and I know everyone is waiting to hear a bit about your journey, so let’s get started.

Who were your favourite authors/illustrators when you were a child?

FIONA: My favourite illustrator when I was small was Errol Le Cain, because he illustrated ‘Hiawatha’s Childhood’ (by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I think this version is out of print?) My sister and I were entranced by his depictions of the forests, the animals, the simmering sunsets and old Nokomis. He had a very dark, luminous palate and his images crackled with a lovely dark energy.

ME: What do you now know that you wish you knew when you first started writing?

FIONA: Haha, that question could produce a book in itself! I wish I had known just how much dedication and patience it requires to produce a picture book, and how much easier and nicer the journey is when you surround yourself with others who understand and love the craft.

ME: Where do you like to write – inside, outside, special room, laptop, pen and paper?

FIONA: Honestly, I will write anywhere I can. My phone is cluttered with notes written whilst I am at work, on the train, sitting on the couch… I find my phone better than scraps of paper which tend to get lost. I dream of a tranquil, light-flooded studio, but it is still a building site!

 

ME When do you write – early morning, late in the day, middle of the night, on schedule, as the muse strikes?

FIONA: I tend to write/illustrate in the afternoons simply because I work in the mornings. Depending on whether I’m working to a deadline I will often work evenings as well.

ME: Why do you write for children?

FIONA: his may sound deeply selfish, but honestly, firstly, I write/illustrate for myself. The idea that I could enchant a little stranger with my words and images is so lovely, but as a debuter, that feels somehow unreal to me still! I must admit I feel a strong sense of loyalty to and love for the characters I create. They feel real to me.

ME: Fiona, is there anything else you’d like to share – advice for aspiring writers and illustrators, perhaps.

FIONA: The most valuable thing I have learned in the last few years is that the Kidlit Community is utterly amazing and if you are a budding writer, the best thing you can do is to jump in and join it – there are hundreds of doors through which you can go: SCBWI, online courses like 12×12, Kidlit 411, local and online writing and critique groups, mentorships of every kind to help you hone your craft… they and the people they contain are invaluable. Writing can be lonely, rejections are tough, the waiting is excruciating, but the landscape of Kidlit is enchanting and full of friends and magic. I live in the depths of Upper Austria but I feel like in the KidLit community I have my own personal Hogwarts.

This is wonderful, Fiona! Thank you so much. And I know there is a bit more to this post…a special recipe that pairs beautifully with your book…so take it away, my friend!

FIONA: This is a recipe for Birsay Biscuits made from Beremeal. Beremeal is the ancient flour (which possibly predates the Vikings) used to make the famous Orkney Bere bannocks, a traditional flat bread (eaten normally with cheese ) which my mother loved. You may want to increase the amount of sugar in this recipe!!

RECIPE for BIRSAY BISCUITS

8 oz. Plain Wholemeal (you can use more Beremeal and less Wholemeal)
6 oz. Sultanas
8 oz. butter/marg
6. Oz sugar
8 oz. Beremeal
2 eggs
2 teasp. baking powder

Directions:

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs, slowly add dry ingredients and sultanas. Roll out and cut out on floured board. Place on greased tray and bake at 175 degrees celsius for 15 mins.

Thank you again, Fiona. I would love to try these biscuits. It’s a very simple recipe…something my daughter-in-law would love for my granddaughter…I’m in Chicago right now with them…maybe we will give it a whirl. (Blogger error alert…I am not in Chicago right now…I will be there next week!)

To learn more about Fiona:

Website:Thedoodlesack.com

Twitter: @Fdhalliday

And please don’t forget to leave a comment and share this post on social media for more chances to win a copy of this amazing book!

Thank you for spending your precious time with us, my friends. As I mentioned,  I am in Chicago right now…last night was the Author Night event at my granddaughter’s school…and now I’ll be heading out to the Chicagoland suburbs for a visit with my sister, some school programs, and a bookstore event at Andersons in Naperville…looking forward to seeing lots of Chicagoland kidlit friends. (Blogger error alert! No, I am not in Chicago yet…I fly out on Sunday, January 19)

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. On Sunday (Blogger Error Alert! The Grammys are NEXT Sunday, January 26 – but there’s no error about Ella being the best jazz singer around!) it’s the GRAMMYS…did you know that Ella Fitzgerald won TWO Grammys the very first year they were awarded, in 1959? What an amazing singer she was.

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday: MY FOOTPRINTS

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends! I’m coming to you today to share a very special picture book that is part of Multicultural Children’s Book Day which is celebrated this year on January 31st.

The founders of MCBD, authors Mia Wenjen and Valarie Budayr, are all about diversity, and inclusion and making sure that all kids have books they can relate to, books they can see themselves in. I’ve been a proud sponsor of MCBD for several years and I love the books that they feature.

MY FOOTPRINTS

Written by Bao Phi

Illustrated by Basia Tran

Published by Capstone Press (September 2019)

Grades K-4

Themes: family, bullying, diversity

Synopsis: From Amazon:

Every child feels different in some way, but Thuy feels “double different.” She is Vietnamese American and she has two moms. Thuy walks home one winter afternoon, angry and lonely after a bully’s taunts. Then a bird catches her attention and sets Thuy on an imaginary exploration. What if she could fly away like a bird? What if she could sprint like a deer, or roar like a bear? Mimicking the footprints of each creature in the snow, she makes her way home to the arms of her moms. Together, the three of them imagine beautiful and powerful creatures who always have courage – just like Thuy.

Why I love this book:

  • I love stories that help the child reader find new ways to deal with bullying
  • I love when diversity is a thread that is woven skillfully into the story
  • The illustrations and color palette are wonderful

RELATED ACTIVITIES

Photo courtesy: https://www.craftymorning.com/adorable-footprint-crafts-kids/

There are so many footprint crafts…for detailed instructions on these https://www.craftymorning.com/adorable-footprint-crafts-kids/

Take a walk in the woods, park, or even around the neighborhood with your kids – what signs can you find that animals have been around? Footprints, poop, dropped feathers, etc.

MY FOOTPRINTS is only one of the many wonderful diverse books that will be featured for Multicultural Children’s Book Day. I was gifted this book to review it for the event – how lucky is that!

 

 

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2020 (1/31/20) is in its 7th year! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those book into the hands of young readers and educators.

Seven years in, MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves continues.

MCBD 2020  is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board

 

Super Platinum

Make A Way Media/ Deirdre “DeeDee” Cummings,

Platinum

Language Lizard, Pack-N-Go Girls,

Gold

Audrey Press, Lerner Publishing Group, KidLit TV, ABDO BOOKS : A Family of Educational Publishers, PragmaticMom & Sumo Jo, Candlewick Press,

Silver

Author Charlotte Riggle, Capstone Publishing, Guba Publishing, Melissa Munro Boyd & B is for Breathe,

Bronze

Author Carole P. Roman, Snowflake Stories/Jill Barletti, Vivian Kirkfield & Making Their Voices Heard. Barnes Brothers Books,  TimTimTom, Wisdom Tales Press, Lee & Low Books,  Charlesbridge Publishing, Barefoot Books Talegari Tales

 

Author Sponsor Link Cloud

Jerry Craft, A.R. Bey and Adventures in Boogieland, Eugina Chu & Brandon goes to Beijing, Kenneth Braswell & Fathers Incorporated, Maritza M. Mejia & Luz del mes_Mejia, Kathleen Burkinshaw & The Last Cherry Blossom, SISSY GOES TINY by Rebecca Flansburg and B.A. Norrgard, Josh Funk and HOW TO CODE A ROLLERCOASTER, Maya/Neel Adventures with Culture GrooveLauren Ranalli, The Little Green Monster: Cancer Magic! By Dr. Sharon Chappell, Phe Lang and Me On The Page, Afsaneh Moradian and Jamie is Jamie, Valerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, TUMBLE CREEK PRESS, Nancy Tupper Ling, Author Gwen Jackson, Angeliki Pedersen & The Secrets Hidden Beneath the Palm Tree, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 by Mia Wenjen, Susan Schaefer Bernardo & Illustrator Courtenay Fletcher (Founders of Inner Flower Child Books), Ann Morris & Do It Again!/¡Otra Vez!, Janet Balletta and Mermaids on a Mission to Save the Ocean, Evelyn Sanchez-Toledo & Bruna Bailando por el Mundo\ Dancing Around the World, Shoumi Sen & From The Toddler Diaries, Sarah Jamila Stevenson, Tonya Duncan and the Sophie Washington Book Series, Teresa Robeson  & The Queen of Physics, Nadishka Aloysius and Roo The Little Red TukTuk, Girlfriends Book Club Baltimore & Stories by the Girlfriends Book Club, Finding My Way Books, Diana Huang & Intrepids, Five Enchanted Mermaids, Elizabeth Godley and Ribbon’s Traveling Castle, Anna Olswanger and Greenhorn, Danielle Wallace & My Big Brother Troy, Jocelyn Francisco and Little Yellow Jeepney, Mariana Llanos & Kutu, the Tiny Inca Princess/La Ñusta Diminuta, Sara Arnold & The Big Buna Bash, Roddie Simmons & Race 2 Rio, DuEwa Frazier & Alice’s Musical Debut, Veronica Appleton & the Journey to Appleville book series  Green Kids Club, Inc.

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

Co-Hosts and Global Co-Hosts

A Crafty Arab, Afsaneh Moradian, Agatha Rodi Books, All Done Monkey, Barefoot Mommy, Bethany Edward & Biracial Bookworms, Michelle Goetzl & Books My Kids Read, Crafty Moms Share, Colours of Us, Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes, Educators Spin on it, Shauna Hibbitts-creator of eNannylink, Growing Book by Book, Here Wee Read, Joel Leonidas & Descendant of Poseidon Reads {Philippines}, Imagination Soup, Kid World Citizen, Kristi’s Book Nook, The Logonauts, Mama Smiles, Miss Panda Chinese, Multicultural Kid Blogs, Serge Smagarinsky {Australia}, Shoumi Sen, Jennifer Brunk & Spanish Playground, Katie Meadows and Youth Lit Reviews

FREE RESOURCES from Multicultural Children’s Book Day

TWITTER PARTY! Register here!

Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

I’m also a Bronze Sponsor of the event.

I hope you’ll check out Multicultural Children’s Book Day…and take advantage of the wonderful FREE teacher materials they provide on their website…you’ll find some of the links above.

Also, the NF Fest Registration is open…please don’t miss this opportunity to receive a link to an informative blog post every day via email for the whole month of February…great topics for anyone writing or thinking about writing nonfiction for kids. My post comes up on February 17: Crafting a True Story When Information is Scarce. Andt the other posts are fabulous:  www.nffest.com.

Plus, for more wonderful picture book reviews, please hop over to Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday post.

And just in case any of you are in the Nashua, New Hampshire area tomorrow, Saturday, January 18 at 11am…I hope you’ll hop over to the Barnes and Noble for the launch of MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: THE INSPIRING FRIENDSHIP OF ELLA FITZGERALD AND MARILYN MONROE (Little Bee Books, illustrated by Alleanna Harris). I’ll be reading the story and signing books! Woo-hoo! And then I leave for a month in Chicago…and more bookstore and school activities…I’m hoping to connect with some of you in the Chicagoland area.

Have a wonderful weekend. Stay safe and stay warm, my friends.

 

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday: LIZZIE DEMANDS A SEAT Plus Giveaway of PB Critique or Book

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends! I already know that today’s selection is going to be one of my favorite picture books of 2020 – the author, the talented Beth Anderson, is one of my critique buddies and I saw the early drafts of this story and loved it then. As most of you know, nonfiction pb bios are near and dear to my heart…and this one is about Elizabeth Jennings who fought for the right to ride the streetcars in New York City. And guess what? This amazing author is offering a giveaway and the winner gets to choose either a copy of the book OR a Picture Book Manuscript Critique…WOW! Please make sure you leave a comment to get your entry. And then, before you go on to your other activities, check out the other wonderful books on review over at Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday post.

LIZZIE DEMANDS A SEAT! Elizabeth Jennings Fights for Streetcar Rights

Written by Beth Anderson

Illustrated by E.B. Lewis

Published by Cawkins Creek/Boyds Mills Press/Kane (January 2020)

Ages: 7-10

Themes: Discrimination, Courage, Civil Rights

Synopsis: From Amazon:

In 1854, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Jennings, an African American schoolteacher, fought back when she was unjustly denied entry to a New York City streetcar, sparking the beginnings of the long struggle to gain equal rights on public transportation.

One hundred years before Rosa Parks took her stand, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Jennings tried to board a streetcar in New York City on her way to church. Though there were plenty of empty seats, she was denied entry, assaulted, and threatened all because of her race–even though New York was a free state at that time. Lizzie decided to fight back. She told her story, took her case to court–where future president Chester Arthur represented her–and won! Her victory was the first recorded in the fight for equal rights on public transportation, and Lizzie’s case set a precedent. Author Beth Anderson and acclaimed illustrator E. B. Lewis bring this inspiring, little-known story to life in this captivating book.”

Why I love this book:

  • Powerful text brings history alive for young readers
  • I love that this little known event is brought to life – who would have imagined that 100 years before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, Elizabeth Jennings had already sued…and won…for the right to ride on a streetcar with white folks.
  • Captivating illustrations will engage kids – and keep them turning the pages

Here are a few of the STARRED reviews:

  •  “Anderson’s third-person text allows readers under Lizzie’s skin… Lewis’ dappled watercolors depict the action and extend it.  A two-page author’s note fleshes out the history, including mentions of Claudette Colvin and Rosa Parks. Necessary.” — Kirkus Reviews, starred review
  • “Anderson’s vivid, well-researched narrative includes dialogue that “closely follows” accounts of Jennings’ experience that appeared in newspapers at the time. Using brighter hues than his usual palette, Lewis creates a series of vibrant, expressive watercolor paintings that transports viewers back in time, while portraying characters as distinct individuals. A memorable picture book introducing a nineteenth-century defender of civil rights.” — Booklist, starred review
  • “…(T)he first victory in what would become a 100-year-long battle to end segregation on public transportation. Shimmering jewel-toned watercolors blur and delineate details in Lewis’s paintings.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

RELATED ACTIVITIES

There are many activities that parents and teachers can use to help promote racial and cultural awareness – the idea is NOT to ignore the differences among people, but to EMBRACE the differences. Ignoring the differences is like saying that the art of Picasso is the same as the art of Rembrandt. We can help children observe and appreciate different shades of skin and different textures of hair.

I found the following abstract – and although it may seem dated by the year it was created, I feel it gives a true picture of how young children perceive racial differences and it offers some really concrete activities that might promote inclusivity.

Children develop their identity and attitudes through experiences with their bodies, social environments, and their cognitive developmental stages (Derman-Sparks, 1989). As these three factors interact, young children progress through certain stages of racial and cultural awareness. In this article, we’ll talk first about the stages of racial awareness. Then we’ll give you some ideas for activities that will help children accept themselves and others.

When does it start?

The foundation of self-awareness is laid when children are infants and toddlers. At these stages, children learn “what is me” and “what is not me.” Toddlers are sensitive to the feelings of the adults around them, and they begin to mimic adult behavior. By age two, children recognize and explore physical differences. They are also learning the names of colors, and they begin to apply this to skin color. Natural curiosity will lead to questions about differences.

dancing kids5THE PRESCHOOL YEARS (age 3 and 4). Children of this age are better at noticing differences among people. They have learned to classify, and they tend to sort based on color and size. They can’t yet deal with multiple classification, so they get confused about the names of racial groups and the actual color of their skin. They wonder why two people with different skin tones are considered part of the same racial group. Many preschool children will comment – in words or through actions – on hair texture, eye shape, and other physical characteristics. They want to know how people got their color, hair texture, and eye shape.

Children at this age believe that because other parts of their body grow and change, skin color and other physical traits could also change. Some young black children prefer white dolls over black dolls (Clark, 1963). More often than white children, they may say that they don’t like their skin color, hair texture, or another physical trait. By age four, children begin to prefer one race.

At this age, children’s thinking is limited, distorted, and inconsistent. For these reasons, it is easy for them to believe stereotypes and form pre-prejudices. In the Anti-Bias Curriculum (1989), Louise Derman-Sparks states, “The goals are to facilitate children’s awareness that their racial identity does not change, to help them understand that they are part of a large group with similar characteristics (not “different” from everyone else) and to foster their desire to be exactly who they are.”

KINDERGARTEN (age 5 and 6). Kindergartners continue to ask questions about physical differences, and they can begin to understand the explanations for these differences. They can now make distinctions between members of the same racial or cultural group. At this age, children are developing social skills and becoming more group-oriented. They enjoy exploring the culture of their friends. By age six, most children understand the concept of fair and unfair, and they often use these concepts as they try to deal with issues.

child playsTHE EARLY PRIMARY YEARS (age 7 and 8). At this age, children acquire racial constancy. They now understand that a person’s skin color will not wash off or change but will remain the same as she grows up. At this age, children can also consider multiple attributes at one time. They can now understand how one person can be a member of several different groups. For example, a person can be part of a family, a classroom, a culture, and a race.

Children can also understand feelings of shame and pride at this age, and they are aware of racism against their own group. They are able to empathize, and they are interested in learning about the world. It’s the perfect time for giving them accurate information so they grow out of “preschool” ways of thinking (York, 1991).

Now that you understand how children develop their racial and cultural awareness and identities, it’s time to encourage them to accept and celebrate their differences. We want to help all children develop a positive self-concept and feel proud of who they are – although we don’t want them to feel better than other groups, either! If this positive sense of self and others is allowed to flourish, today’s children will become adults who accept and affirm differences, identify unfair situations, and strive to eliminate racism of any sort. A first step in helping children feel positive about racial and cultural identity is reflecting diversity in their surroundings. Children notice when the only dolls there are to play with don’t look anything like them. Books and toys that reflect racial and cultural diversity serve two purposes. They not only help children of color feel good about themselves, they help all children feel positive about differences. Here are some ideas you can try.

– Remove materials and visuals that promote stereotypes.

– Display images of all the children and families in your program.

– If your group is not diverse, display images of diversity in your community or in U.S. society.

– Add toys and materials that reflect the cultures of the children and families in your group. Then expand to include materials that mirror the diversity in the world.

Activities for Preschoolers

Skin-Color Match-Ups

Set out a number of nylon knee-high stockings in various shades, tan, black, white, pink, yellow, and red. Encourage children to try them on their hands and arms or their legs and feet. Ask questions to help the children increase their awareness of skin color. For example, “Can you find a stocking that is the same color as your skin?” Or “What color is that stocking you have on your arm?” Ask the children to “Try the _________ stocking. Is it lighter or darker than your own skin?” Tell the children no one’s skin color is really white, pink, yellow, or red. Emphasize that skin-color differences are interesting and desirable.

Hair

Ask parents to give you a tiny bit of hair from each child. If parents cannot do this, use photographs of different hairstyles and hair-care products for the children to use, explore, and talk about. If parents do give you the hair, paste the hair from each child on a 3″ x 5″ index card, put them in a box, and ask the children to identify each bit of hair. Talk about how hair has texture and curl. For instance, some people have fine hair while others have coarse hair. Some people have straight hair, and others have curly hair. Talk about how people have different hair colors and lengths. Take a photo of each child’s face and make a collage of different hairstyles.

Music and Dance

Ask parents to lend you recordings of music that their family enjoys. Teach the children songs and dances from different nations of the world. Children will begin to see that all people like to sing and dance, but every group has its own special ways of doing it. Talk with the children about how different music sounds: loud, soft, fast, or slow. Listen for the different instruments. Again, ask parents if they have any instruments children could listen to or try.

Activities for School-Age Children

Alike and Different (Thumbprints)

Set out white 3″ x 5″ cards, a black ink pad, a pen, and a magnifying glass. Ask the children to make prints of their thumbs by pressing them on the ink pad and then on the cards. Label each print with the child’s name. Let children use the magnifying glass to see how the prints are alike and different. Point out that everyone has patterns on the skin of their fingers and each person’s fingerprints are different from anyone else’s.

Reprinted with permission from the National Network for Child Care – NNCC. Biles, B. (1994). Activities that promote racial and cultural awareness. In Todd, C.M. (Ed.), *Family child care connections*, 4(3), pp. 1­p;4. Urbana-Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Cooperative Extension Service.

Please join me in celebrating Beth’s wonderful new book – the best way to do that is to

  • Buy a copy of the book
  • Review the book on Amazon/Goodreads/or other review sites
  • Tell your friends about the book
  • Ask your local library to purchase a copy for their shelves

Thank you for spending your precious time here – I hope you all have a wonderful weekend…and if you have a few more minutes, please hop over to Beth’s blog where I stopped by to share some thoughts, plus I’m offering a giveaway for her Mining for Heart series: The Voice of Heart.

Also, don’t forget to leave a comment here to be entered in the giveaway of the winner’s choice of either a copy of LIZZIE DEMANDS A SEAT or a PB manuscript critique from the amazing Beth Anderson! And remember…if you share on social media, you get an extra ticket in the giveaway hat…the more you share, the more chances you’ll have!

Happy Book Birthday: PATRICIA’S VISION Plus Giveaway

I hope you’ve been exercising your vocal chords becasue we are going to have quite a few books that will need the Happy Birthday song this year! And this one is the first for 2020…and for me, a very important one. That’s because I’ve had quite a few eye surgeries over the past 20 years…and if it weren’t for Dr. Patricia Bath, I might not be able to read or write picture book stories. So, I’m thrilled to join the chorus for Michelle Lord’s newest picture book. AND, it’s illustrated by one of my favorite artists, Alleanna Harris. Author Michelle is generously donating a copy of this beautiful book as a giveaway, so, don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered.

Continue reading

Perfect Picture Book Friday: THE OLDEST STUDENT – How Mary Walker Learned to Read PLUS Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends! This is the FIRST post of the new year!

I’m so excited about this book…for many reasons. The subject of the story is an amazing woman! The author and her publisher are generously offering a copy of the book as a giveaway! And the text and illustrations are INCREDIBLE! You are in for a real treat.

the oldest student

THE OLDEST STUDENT: How Mary Walker Learned to Read

Written by Rita Lorraine Hubbard

Illustrated by Oge Mora

Published by Scwartz and Wade (January 7, 2020)

Ages: 4-8 (that’s what Amazon says, but I’d say it is suitable for 9-12 as well)

Themes: Perseverance, learning to read, overcoming obstacles

Synopsis from Amazon:

Imagine learning to read at the age of 116! Discover the true story of Mary Walker, the nation’s oldest student who did just that, in this picture book from a Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator and a rising star author.

In 1848, Mary Walker was born into slavery. At age 15, she was freed, and by age 20, she was married and had her first child. By age 68, she had worked numerous jobs, including cooking, cleaning, babysitting, and selling sandwiches to raise money for her church. At 114, she was the last remaining member of her family. And at 116, she learned to read. From Rita Lorraine Hubbard and rising star Oge More comes the inspirational story of Mary Walker, a woman whose long life spanned from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement, and who–with perseverance and dedication–proved that you’re never too old to learn.

Why I love this book:

  • I love true stories…and although the author had to fill in some assumptions to creative an engaging narrative, I would consider this nonfiction…such a picture book is a wonderful vehicle to spark interest on the part of kids and to inspire them to never give up on their dreams!
  • This is a story that is filled with heart – the unbelievable story of a woman who learned to read at the age of 116…her motto was: You Are Never Too Old To Learn – Mary Walker is my hero!
  • The wonderful illustrations add another layer of emotion – I love the color palette and the focus that is always on Mary.

And here are a few STARRED reviews the book has already received:

“A lovely, inspirational picture-book biography about beating the odds and achieving your dreams.” —Booklist, starred review

“Walker’s determination and her long, long life—she died at 121—offer genuine inspiration.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

Enjoy this book with every child you know; let Mary Walker become a household name.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

RELATED ACTIVITIES:

Make an ABC Book

alphabet-booksPhoto Courtesy: https://www.artistshelpingchildren.org

For details on how to construct an book: https://www.artistshelpingchildren.org/bookmaking-crafts-make-books.html

Do your children have their own library cards? If not, please visit your local library and help them get one – our libraries are wonderful resources, not only for books, but also for programs for the entire family. And don’t forget to ask your library to purchase your favorite books for their collection – check to see if they have THE OLDEST STUDENT in their catalogue…and if they don’t, please request that they add it to the shelves.

Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of THE OLDEST STUDENT…and please share on your social media so I can put another ticket in the giveaway hat for you.

Thank you all so much for spending your precious time with me…I’m wishing you all a very Happy and Healthy New Year. Have you made resolutions or a set of goals or do you have a dream you are building into reality?

 

12 Days of Christmas – SUCCESSES of 2019

Children’s author Julie Hedlund, challenged participants of her 12 Days of Christmas for Writers series to post SUCCESSES (rather than resolutions) on our blogs this year. She believes the way New Year’s resolutions are traditionally made come from a place of negativity – what DIDN’T get done or achieved in the previous year.  Instead, she suggests we set goals for the New Year that BUILD on our achievements from the previous one. I decided to participate in this Anti-Resolution Revolution! Here is my list for 2019. Continue reading

Cover Reveal: NO PARTY POOPERS

It’s holiday time…and that means it’s party time.

Perhaps you love celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanza. Or maybe you get wild, whirling noisemakers and watching the ball drop at Times Square. Whatever way you party, I’m sure that no matter what, you absolutely positively don’t want to have any Party Poopers at your place.

Did someone say Party Poopers? Definitely NOT. What I say is…

A COVER REVEAL FOR:

Look at this cover! So much going on here…just like at Continue reading