#PPBF: A Day With The Duchess…of Cambridge

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday. Before I share an amazing book that has JUST hit the shelves…I want to encourage you to hop over to Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog where you will find TEN amazing fractured fairytales that are the finalists in the March Madness Writing Contest. READ THEM! They are GREAT! And then you can VOTE for your favorite!
I think writing children’s books is probably the most enjoyable AND the most difficult occupation a person can have.
And that’s why I am always so impressed when I see a writer with multiple books out there. You have to be tenacious and talented…and that describes the author of Sam, Sebbie and Di-di-di – A Day with the Duchess to a tee.


Sam, Sebbie and Di-Di-Di – A Day with the Duchess
Written by David Seow
Illustrated by Soefara Jafney
Publisher: Epigram Books (2014)
Ages: 4 and up
Themes: Problem-solving, siblings, teamwork


Opening Lines
“Sam, Sebbie and Di-Di-Di live in sunny Singapore. While Sebbie and Di-Di-Di like soldiers,pilots and action heroes, Sam likes princesses. She even named one of her hamsters Kate, after her very favorite princess in the whole wide world, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge .
Sam, Sebbie and Di-Di-Di are three siblings who love doing things together. When Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, is visiting Singapore, the siblings try to meet her. Unfortunately, Continue reading

Building Self-Esteem Through Books, Cooking and More – Teleseminar Opportunity

I’m thrilled to be participating with Jill in a new teleseminar series…learn how to help your child say, “I can do it!”


Teleseminar banner

Jill Vetstein Presents A

Teleseminar Partnership:

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 Building A Child’s Self Esteem Through Books, Cooking and Other Activities


April 1, 2014 

7:30 PM-9:00 PM ET (4:30 PM-6:00 PM PT)

(Geared to parents and caregivers of children birth – age 6, however the info can be related to caregivers of all ages )
  • This workshop will help parents, caregivers, and educators build self-esteem in children using books, crafts and cooking activities.
  • Participants will learn how to promote the six elements of self-esteem: mastering tasks and skills, valuing our strengths and talents, feeling loved, appreciated and accepted, expressing feelings, acknowledging and overcoming fears, liking our bodies and ourselves.
  • We will change children’s mindset of ‘I can’t do it!’ and ‘I’m not worthy!’
  • Parents and caregivers will walk away from this workshop with a clearer concept of how to use story time and other activities to build their children’s self-esteem. 

 FYI: Early Childhood educators you will automatically receive 1.5 Professional Development Training Hours for attending.
Massachusetts, Indiana and Wisconsin have already approved Jill’s trainings for Early Childhood Educators.  Maine requires you to get it pre-approved. Jill is in the process of getting approved by all 50 states. All educators from other states should check with their state or just ask me.
Based on MA this training counts towards:
Core Competency Area 5: Learning Environments and Implementing
Subcategories: B. Curriculum

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Your co-facilitators are:

Vivian Kirkfield, BA, MS
Vivian is a Parenting Speaker & Author at MoneyPenny Press, Ltd. She presents to parent groups and teacher organizations on building literacy and self-esteem utilizing the messages in picture book stories. She provides programs of reading and crafting for schools (PreK through grade 2) and libraries. Vivian also writes children’s picture books and a series of parenting books to help parents build self-esteem and develop better literacy skills.
Vivian was a contributing writer of articles on parenting and early childhood education, a featured member, and top blogger at Pikes Peak Parent.

Vivian is a former Kindergarten teacher at the NYC Public School System.

Vivian Kirkfield is the author of the award-winning book for parents and teachers of children ages 2-8.

The title of the book is:
Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.
About the book:
Vivian’s book has been endorsed by parents, teachers, self-esteem experts and national organizations such as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) with a portion of the book sale proceeds going to the JDRF and various other children’s outreach programs. 
The Show-Me-How Story-time Program has been implemented in local kindergartens and she recently partnered with PBS, crafting with hundreds of children.
It is the perfect book for time-short parents and teachers…great fun for everyone involved! Flip it open and find 100 classic picture book recommendations, each with a quick and easy craft project and child-friendly healthful cooking activity. If there is room for only ONE activity book on the shelf…this is it! Makes planning fun-filled educational activities a snap for parents, grandparents, daycare providers, teachers or any child-care facilitators of kids ages 2-8.
 To learn more about her book and her mission to help every young child become a lover of books and reading, please visit http://www.viviankirkfield.com or email her at viviankirkfield@gmail.com.
Learn more about the book and/or order by clicking here

Jill Vetstein, LICSW, MSW, CEIS

Jill Vetstein is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, Developmental & Early Intervention Specialist, Certified Infant and Toddler Teacher , as well as a writer, blogger and professional speaker. She has been empowering families and educators for over thirteen years focusing on children from birth through age eight.

Jill has spent a great deal of time in the field working alongside many wonderful and talented Therapists and Educators in a wide array of disciplines.


Jill is also a Parent of two amazing children. 

This rich experience has given Jill a unique perspective of the challenges that children face as well as teachers, caregivers and



Jill’s passion for helping children and educators prompted her to start “Nurturing Parents and Teachers” – a one stop resource for parents, early childhood educators and teachers.


Jill offers a wide variety of education and consulting workshops and trainings in various formats such as teleseminars/webinars, private coaching, e-coaching, distant learning programs, enrich- ment handbooks, empowering products and live trainings.


She presents and offers consults and programs to individual parents and to various types of agencies including childcares, preschools, summer camps, parent education organizations, parenting groups, and more.


These programs, and trainings are for the every day parent and educator that struggle with the everyday challenges and frustrations. Participants gain a fresh new understanding of their children’s behaviors so they can ignite positive changes.

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March Madness Writing Contest Entry – Singerella: Soprano for the Met

When I was five years old, I had to go into the hospital to have my tonsils removed. Back in the 1950s, that was the most popular operation for kids. My parents came to visit me and brought me a book…Cinderella…one of my favorite fairy tales.


These days, there’s a new tale in town…the fractured fairy tale.

The incomparable Susanna Leonard Hill is having another of her infamous writing contests – a fractured fairy tale writing contest, that is…and here are the rules.


The March Madness Writing Contest!

The Contest: Write a children’s story, in poetry or prose, maximum 400 words, that is a fractured fairy tale.  Feel free to add a theme of spring, or mix in one of the spring holidays if you like – St. Patrick’s Day, April Fools Day, Easter or Passover, Arbor Day, Earth Day…  Have fun with it !  The madder* the better! 🙂
*as in wild and wacky, not angry 🙂

You do not have to include spring – that is optional.

The story can be a picture book or a short story – whatever you like.

So, here is my entry.. Continue reading

Emma Walton Hamilton – Will Write for Cookies







We are so very lucky! Our guest today is one of those rare people who has attained success and then is anxious to reach out and generously help mentor others.

EMMA WALTON HAMILTON is a New York Times bestselling children’s book author, editor and educator, and the host of the Children’s Book Hub. She has co-authored 20 children’s books with her mother, Julie Andrews, including THE VERY FAIRY PRINCESS (#1 NY Times bestseller), JULIE ANDREWS’ COLLECTION OF POEMS, SONGS AND LULLABIES (illustrated by James McMullan) and the DUMPY THE DUMP TRUCK series of picture books and board books and her own award-winning book, RAISING BOOKWORMS.

She offers unique resources for children’s book authors, including editorial services, workshops and courses and an online writers salon. Emma has graciously given her time and expertise to the 12×12 community with her query critique sessions…she definitely knows how to make your query sing. I’m thrilled to have her join us here.

Thank you so much for participating, Emma. I know everyone is excited to greet you!


We talk about how important books are for young kids. Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?

So many! And this list will date me, of course… but, in no particular order:

Dr. Seuss, Marguerite Henry, Enid Blyton, Beatrix Potter, Roald Dahl, Mary Norton, Beverly Cleary, E.B. White, A.A. Milne, C.S. Lewis, Mark Twain, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Gerald Durrell, Madeleine L’Engle.

Other books I loved – The Secret Garden, The Wind in the Willows, Anne of Green Gables, Watership Down, The Black Stallion, Pippi Longstocking, the Nancy Drew books and, probably my all time favorite, The Phantom Tollbooth.  That was my rainy-day book, and it taught me how delicious – and powerful – words could be.

What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started writing for children?

How hard it is to do well – and how important it is to assess (and re-assess!) every single word for its right to exist on the page.  Writing for children and young adults is so much harder than it seems.  We have to be masters of economy and action. The kinds of indulgences one can get away with in adult fiction (lots of exposition, for instance) can kill a children’s book. Kids are much Continue reading

#PPBF: Vivaldi and the Invisible Orchestra – Music for Children

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday. For more great picture book reviews, hop over to Susanna Leonard Hill and a list of over 1000 reviews and activities on her blog.

The story I chose was inspired by a video I saw.


Don’t you wonder why music education is the first to go when school budgets are cut? The beauty of the video is as much in seeing the reactions of the children as it is to listening to the wonderful music.

And, after you read this picture book to your kids, perhaps they will be inspired as well.


Vivaldi and the Invisible Orchestra

Written and illustrated by Stephen Costanza

Publisher: Henry Holt (2012)

Ages: 4 and up


Music, cooperation, appreciating our talents, helping others

Opening Lines:

“In Venice of long ago, there lived a man who daydreamed in music.”


From Amazon: “Every day, Antonio Vivaldi composes a new orchestral piece, and every day, the orphan Candida transcribes Vivaldi’s masterpiece into sheet music for the Invisible Orchestra. Nobody notices Candida or appreciates her hard work.

But one day Candida accidentally Continue reading