Perfect Picture Book Friday: A BOOK OF BRIDGES – FROM HERE TO THERE – AND ME TO YOU

HAPPY PERFECT PICTURE BOOK FRIDAY, DEAR FRIENDS!

2017 is winding down…it’s been a whirlwind for sure. And here are some numbers to prove it:

# of blog posts in 2017: 112

# of followers (blog/Twitter/Facebook) : 4000

# of views: 44,565

# of picture book reviews: 56

# of giveaways: 96

# of picture book manuscripts written: 12+

# of book deals done: 3

Phew! 

Right now, I’m participating in Julie Hedlund’s 12 Days of Christmas…a challenge that is inspiring and helpful as we move ahead to a new year – and you can still sign up – Julie will send you emails for the days you missed.

I also urge all writers and illustrators to join in with Tara Lazar’s Storystorm…a month-long challenge starting January 1st that will help you brainstorm new story ideas.

And what’s up for today? One of the most beautiful and relevant books of 2017…a book that will hopefully encourage this divided world to come together in love. To find out more whyconnecting is important, check out Cheryl Keely’s 12×12 featured author post from January of this year.

a book of bridges cover

Written by Cheryl Keely

Illustrated by Celia Krampien

Published by Sleeping Bear Press (2017)

Ages: 5-8

Synopsis: From Amazon: 

Bridges are some of the most fascinating structures in our landscape, and they come in all forms. From towering suspension bridges to humble stone crossings, this book visits them all in sweet, bouncing text with expository sidebars. But while bridges can be quite grand, this reminds us that their main purpose is bringing people together. This is perfect for budding architects, as well as readers who can relate to having loved ones who live far away.

Why I like this book:

Please read the Publishers Weekly review and you will know why:

Keely makes her children s book debut with a contemplative exploration of bridges, citing real-life examples, such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Peru s Puente de Piedra, and more metaphorical ones, including the arches created by backbends and rainbows. The straightforward central narrative ( Some bridges join country to country, making a big world seem smaller ) is supplemented by facts and details about the specific bridges that appear in Krampien s artwork ( The Three Countries Bridge at the borders of France, Germany, and Switzerland only truly connects France to Germany. But Switzerland is only a hop, skip, and a yodel away! ). In her first picture book, Krampien uses a fresh, contemporary cartooning style to create expansive panoramas that showcase the bridges sizes and spans, as well the activity of the humans and animals they serve particularly in the wildlife bridges of Banff National Park, which allow bears, wolves, and other creatures to cross highways safely. Keely s tender closing example of the bridge formed through the simple act of holding hands cements the message of togetherness and connection that bridges (of all kinds) make possible.

To order a copy or leave a review for A BOOK OF BRIDGES go here.

 

RELATED ACTIVITIES:

If you live near a bridge that can be walked across, take a field trip and do it.

Make a paper bridge that can hold lots of pennies! For detailed directions and to read comments by kids who constructed one: http://pbskids.org/zoom/activities/sci/paperbridge.html

paperbridge Photo courtesy: http://pbskids.org/zoom/activities/sci/paperbridge.html

 

Dear friends…thank you for spending time with me this year…I’m wishing all of you a Happy and Healthy New Year! Please come back on Monday and Tuesday for special Book Birthday posts and Giveaways!

 

 

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday: MARTI’S SONG FOR FREEDOM

The year is winding down, dear friends. It’s been a whirlwind of political upheaval, natural disasters, and global unrest. But here in picturebookland, at Picture Books Help Kids Soar, we’ve tried to keep our eyes and hearts on beautiful books that will educate, entertain, and inspire our children!

I’m thrilled to say that my blog made Feedspot’s Top 100 Children’s Book Blogs…that means the world to me because it means that people are finding value in my posts and I’m truly honored to see my name in a list with bloggers I have long admired and respected: https://blog.feedspot.com/childrens_book_blogs/

Today, for Perfect Picture Book Friday, I want to shine a light on MARTI’S SONG OF FREEDOM by debut author Emma Otheguy. It came out earlier this year, but I missed doing a review and it is so special for so many reasons, I knew I had to share it before the year was over.

martis song for freedomMARTI’S SONG FOR FREEDOM

Written by Emma Otheguy

Illustrated by Beatriz Vidal

Bilingual translation by Adriana Dominguez

Ages: 7-10

Themes: justice, political activism

Synopsis: 

From Booklist: Cuban poet and political activist José Martí witnessed an injustice at a young age and gave his life trying to right that wrong. He opposed slavery in Cuba and knew that the only way to end it would be to free Cuba from Spain s rule. Cuban American author Otheguy illuminates the life of a young man endeavoring to make a difference through affecting bilingual verses, which make Cuba s complicated history with slavery and colonialism accessible to young readers. By incorporating excerpts of Marti s writing into the narration, Otheguy introduces a new generation of readers to an important champion of human rights. Vidal s gouache artwork captures the beauty and the injustice of which Martí wrote, showcasing his country s vibrant colors, as in the pinks and oranges of the sunset, and illustrating the harsh treatment of enslaved Africans, who are shown performing backbreaking labor in sugarcane fields. Dominguez s excellent Spanish translation makes Martí s story available to a wide audience, and the text offers significant additional information via an afterword on Cuba s history, a selected bibliography, and excerpts from Martí s Versos Sencillos. Otheguy and Vidal tell a timely story that will inspire many to fight for equality and sings songs for freedom. 

Why I like this book:

  • I’m a fan of nonfiction picture books…what a fabulous vehicle to help young kids see history come alive
  • This was a story I did not know much about – and I love the poetry and bilingual format
  • Author and illustrator combined their talents perfectly

RELATED ACTIVITIES:

american-flagPhoto courtesy: http://www.dltk-kids.com

  1. Make a Flag: to make the flag of a different country, find a picture online and copy the correct colors and design.

For detailed instructions for the American flag: http://www.dltk-kids.com/usa/flag-day.htm

     2. Talk about freedom…what does it mean to live in a country where you are free?

3. Write topics on slips of paper and pick one to write a poem about.

This really was a stellar year for brilliant picture books. To check out many more of them, please go to www.PicturetheBooks2017.wordpress.com

To give your favorite authors and illustrators the best gift, why not post a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and other review sites.

It’s been a fabulous year for me as well…nothing officially announced yet, but I just signed one book contract, will be signing another before the end of the year, and just waiting on the third contract to arrive. I can’t thank my agent, my critique buddies, and all of my friends and family enough for their unfailing support and encouragement. I hope to be able to share more details soon!

And I’d like to pass along a link to a wonderful mentorship opportunity. Writing with the Stars could be the jumpstart you need to get your manuscript where it needs to be: http://beckytarabooks.com/wwts-contest/

I’m wishing all of you a happy holiday season…if you are traveling,  please be safe. If you are home, I hope you are surrounded by friends and family. And I thank you for spending some of your precious time with me.

 

 

 

 

 

Alison Goldberg: Will Write for Cookies PLUS Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INSPIRATION – INFORMATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

Alison Goldberg headshot small

ALISON GOLDBERG

Our guest today is a debut picture book author this year–and I was thrilled to meet her when I joined Picture the Books 2017, a group dedicated to authors and illustrators whose books are launching this year.

Alison Goldberg is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Before becoming a children’s book author, Alison worked for economic justice organizations and wrote a resource guide about social change philanthropy. These days, she blogs about activism in children’s literature and loves researching everything from marine life to contemporary art for her books. Alison is also a board member of the Food Research and Action Center, an organization committed to ending hunger in the United States. Learn more at http://www.alisongoldberg.com.

ME: Welcome, Alison! I’m thrilled you stopped by to chat with us. 

ME: Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?

 ALISON: When I was in elementary school, Norman Bridwell visited my school. For months after, I drew fan art and even sent him a Clifford book that I made. I think this was the first time I understood that becoming a children’s author was an actual job that someone could do, so my love of his books was connected to that experience.

Clifford fan art

This is the Clifford book I sent to Norman Bridwell after he visited my school.

            Other favorite picture book creators from childhood include Maurice Sendak, Leo Lionni, Margaret Wise Brown, and Ezra Jack Keats.

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

 ALISON: I wish I knew what close friends and collaborators I would find in the children’s writing community! This knowledge would have inspired me in those early days when it felt like a big risk to change fields, when I was solely focused on learning about writing picture books and novels, and when I did not know if any of my stories could possibly ever become books. Then I would have known that through all of the ups and downs in this journey there would be such kind and generous book creators to share it with.

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

ALISON: All of the above. I like to write at my desk, while taking walks, at the library, in coffee shops, at the beach, in playgrounds, and on trains. The more I write, the more I realize writing isn’t something that’s easily shut off, so I’ve become comfortable with jotting down notes—whether on computer, phone, or on paper–wherever I am.

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

 ALISON: It depends on the project. Some picture book drafts arrive in a burst that last anywhere from an hour to a few days and at any time of day. In those instances, I just go with it (and sometimes forget to pull dinner together for my kids until the very last minute!).

            But when it comes to revision—especially for longer projects like the middle grade novel I’m working on—I prefer more scheduled, daytime writing sessions and setting concrete goals.

   Often what I choose to write about is connected to my desire to share stories with children that further social justice. I love writing about the topics that grab me and don’t let go—whether it’s the actions of inspiring activists, the art of creative individuals, or the journeys of fictional characters. When this happens I work on figuring out what makes the topic feel so meaningful and then how to introduce it to kids.

            And sometimes the process works the other way around, like in the case of I Love You for Miles and Miles. My kids were the ones hooked on trucks and trains, and I needed to understand their magic!

big rig page_Miles and Miles

ME: Also, if you have any thoughts or advice for aspiring writers, please share. As well as anything else you want to talk about that parents, educators, writers, librarians might want to hear. 

 ALISON: For writers: Don’t worry about the market. Or, understand the market, and then let go of its expectations. Write the books of your heart. If something grabs hold of you and won’t let go you’ll bring a passion to that subject that will come through on the page. Carrying that story to publication will likely take years, so make sure it’s truly a story you want to tell.

ME: Oh my goodness…that is awesome advice, Alison. We really have got to love our subject and  story because when you get to the 45th revision, you want to still enjoy reading it! Thank you so much, dear friend! I know everyone is going to remember  this, for sure!

CARRYING A STORY TO PUBLICATION WILL LIKELY TAKE YEARS, SO MAKE SURE IT’S TRULY A STORY YOU WANT TO TELL!

And to give you energy along the journey, why not try this delicious treat that doubles as a dinner for Alison and her family.

Cinnamon French Toast & Bananas

Recipe: Cinnamon French Toast & Bananas (for 2)

I am a huge fan of chocolate chip cookies, but here I thought I’d share a quick and easy recipe for writers like me who sometimes get caught up in writing, forget about dinner, and need to pull food together in a flash. This treat doubles as supper! My kids eat a lot of French Toast ☺

4 slices of bread (I like to use sourdough, ciabatta, or challah, but any bread will work.)

2 eggs

1/3 cup of milk

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. vanilla (optional)

Butter for the pan

Banana slices

Maple syrup, honey, jam, applesauce, or any other topping you like

INSTRUCTIONS:

Beat eggs with milk, cinnamon, and vanilla in a wide, shallow bowl. Dip the bread into the mixture until the bread is coated on both sides. Heat up a frying pan over medium heat, melt butter, and then cook the French Toast, flipping to cook both sides. Once done, serve with banana slices (or another fruit) and topping of choice.

Enjoy!

Thank you again, Alison. I know I will definitely enjoy this…French Toast used to be one of my childhood favorites.

Dear friends, thank you for spending your precious time with us. Please don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway of a copy of I LOVE YOU FOR MILES AND MILES.

LoveYouForMiles_biblio

And, with the holidays just around the corner, if you want to give a wonderful gift to your favorite authors, please remember to leave book reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and other review sites. For more information or to purchase I LOVE YOUR FOR MILES AND MILES, please go to the author’s book page or indie-bound.

Have a safe and happy weekend.

And if you are in the writing mood, why not enter Susanna Hill’s Holiday Contest!

Perfect Picture Book Friday: I LOVE YOU FOR MILES AND MILES Plus Giveaway

Hooray for reading picture book stories! That’s what Perfect Picture Book Friday is all about, right?

And Hooray for writing picture book stories. That’s what Susanna Hill’s Holiday Contest is all about…did you enter? There is still time to write your story and post it on your blog or on her page. Just click here. Great prizes…critiques and books!

And speaking of prizes, hooray and thanks to author Gregory Bray for the giveaway of a copy of THE BATH OF LEAST RESISTANCE. And the winner is…

SUE HEAVENRICH

Congratulations, Sue. Let’s connect so Greg can get you the book.

And now, since it is Friday, I have a super lovely review for you! It’s Alison Goldberg’s debut picture book and it launches the DAY AFTER CHRISTMAS!

LoveYouForMiles_biblio

I LOVE YOU FOR MILES AND MILES

Written by Alison Goldberg

Illustrated by Mike Yamada

Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (December 26, 2017)

Ages: 2-6

Themes: Reassurance, love, vehicles

Synopsis:

From Amazon: Love can be stronger than the strongest excavator, longer than the longest train, and taller than the tallest crane. And no matter where you go, love travels with you always. With exciting imagery and engaging, lyrical text, Alison Goldberg and Mike Yamada’s I Love You for Miles and Miles is an I-love-you book perfect for children who love things that go!

Why I like this book:

  • Simple yet lyrical rhyme that young kids will love
  • Bold colorful illustrations
  • So much heart in the text and in the expressions on the faces of each character…this is definitely an AWWWW book…perfect for bedtime or anytime

RELATED ACTIVITIES:

Advent Calendar Train

matchboxesPhoto courtesy: http://www.artistshelpingchildren.org

For detailed instructions: http://www.artistshelpingchildren.org/transportationartscraftstvehiclescarstrucksboatstrainskids.html

Paper Plate Cars

paper plate carsPhoto courtesy: http://www.gluedtomycraftsblog.com

For detailed instructions: http://www.gluedtomycraftsblog.com/2015/05/paper-plate-cars-kid-craft.htmlhttp://www.gluedtomycraftsblog.com/2015/05/paper-plate-cars-kid-craft.html

Dear friends, we are in a very busy time of the year. I know many of you are juggling home, family, job, and your writing career. Sometimes it just seems like there isn’t enough time for everything. Please make sure you do find the time to sit with your children…hold them…read with them (even if they are older)…and if you can, get out the craft supplies and make something together. Those are the memories that will last…not the expensive toy or gadget they see on TV.

Please leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway of a copy of I LOVE YOU FOR MILES AND MILES…if you want to find out more about the book or order it, check out the author’s page or an indie bookseller, and definitely be back here tomorrow for our Q&A with debut picture book author, ALISON GOLDBERG.

 

 

 

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday: The Bath of Least Resistance PLUS Giveaway

Hello dear friends. Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday!

Before we get started, thanks to the generosity of author Patricia Toht, we have a copy of PICK A PINE TREE to give away. And the winner is…

LIZ (who mentioned she had read a library copy of it with her 2-year old daughter)

CONGRATULATIONS, LIz! Now you’ll have a copy for your daughter’s own bookshelf! 

And heads up, all of you writers out there! Next week, Susanna Hill will be hosting her Holiday Contest. If you are interested in participating, go here for details and guidelines. There are going to be some fabulous prizes, I know! I’m busy writing and revising manuscripts for that book whose name shall still be nameless since I can’t yet shout out about it because the contract isn’t signed, but…busy or not, I’ll be hopping around to read as many of the entries as I can. The Halloweensie stories were awesome…and I know the holiday ones will be as well.

Today I want to share a lovely picture book by a friend who has participated in many of the writing contests and challenges in this wonderful kidlitland. And when I received a copy of his latest picture book, I knew I had to share it. Please don’t forget to leave a comment because author Greg Bray has generously offered to do a giveaway.

bath of least

THE BATH OF LEAST RESISTANCE

Written by Gregory E. Bray

Illustrated by Steve Page

Published by MacLaren-Cochrane Publishing (2017)

Ages: 5-8

Themes: Ingenuity, pets

Synopsis: 

From Amazon: THE BATH OF LEAST RESISTANCE is told from the perspective of Bogie the puppy as he watches his brother’s attempts to get him into the bath. It’s filled with laughs, loves and the incredible friendship between a little boy and his dog. THE BATH OF LEAST RESISTANCE is also an excellent way to coach your little ones about the joys of taking a bath…just in case you need a little help.

Why I like this book:

  • Kids will love the story of a dog who doesn’t want a bath.
  • I love the single-mindedness of both the dog and the boy.
  • Fun illustrations filled with color and action and adorable expressions on both the dog and the boy.

RELATED ACTIVITIES:

sponges paintingPhoto courtesy: https://buggyandbuddy.com/sponge-painting/

Sponge Painting

Kids love painting…and sponge painting is so much fun! With the holidays coming soon, you could sponge paint large sheets of paper…or even newspaper…for inexpensive homemade wrapping paper. For detailed instructions: https://buggyandbuddy.com/sponge-painting/

And please don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway of a copy of THE BATH OF LEAST RESISTANCE!

Thank you so much, dear friends, for stopping by. I truly appreciate the time you spend here and hope you have a beautiful weekend.