About viviankirkfield

Writer for children - Reader forever - Mom of 3, educator, author of FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK (PomegranateKids, PIPPA'S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House), SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books); MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: THE INSPIRING FRIENDSHIP OF ELLA FITZGERALD AND MARILYN MONROE (Little Bee Books, Spring 2020); FROM HERE TO THERE: INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAY THE WORLD MOVES (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Fall 2020) picture book junkie, lover of travel, hiking, fly-fishing, cooking, and playing Monopoly with my young grandson.

Critique Winners, Book News, and a VERY SPECIAL GIVEAWAY

I don’t have a regularly scheduled blog post until the weekend of the 19th, but I missed you!

Plus, I have several critique giveaways thanks to several generous authors. And I also wanted to share some great book prices as well as some photos from the Tough Mudder competition last month AND news of a special giveaway that I am doing for my upcoming Ella Fitzgerald/Marilyn Monroe book.

The lovely Lydia Lukidis, author of NO BEARS ALLOWED, is giving away a PB manuscript critique.

no bears allowed cover

And the winner is: MARY NOON

The delightful Pj McIlvaine, author of LITTLE LENA AND THE BIG TABLE, is giving away two PB manuscript critiques.

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And the winners are: DIANE TULLOCH and CORINE TIMMER

The wonderful Gayle Krause, author of ONCE UPON A TWISTED TALE, is giving away either a copy of her awesome book OR a pb manuscript critique.

book cover

And the winner is: DAVID MCMULLIN

Congratulations to all of the winners…and a huge thank you to the generous authors!

Please remember that the best gift we can give our favorite authors is to: buy their books, review their books, tell our friends about their books, and ask our local library to purchase copies for their collection.

Many of you may enjoy purchasing your picture books at local indie stores…I know I do. But sometimes, Amazon has a really great deal and it makes it hard to resist. Or sometimes, my local store doesn’t have a book in stock and I really want it quickly…that happened this weekend when I wanted to grab a copy of Anna Redding’s ELON MUSK: A MISSION TO SAVE THE WORLD because I wanted to read it with my grandson who was staying over for a couple of nights. And sure enough, it arrived Saturday morning…and we have already started reading it. The introduction talks about how actor Robert Downey, Jr. was going to be portraying Iron Man and wanted to get into the character of a real live billionaire entrepreneur so he met with Elon Musk. And my grandson, a fan of the Marvel Comic movie adventures, was able to rattle off the words from the movie that describe Tony Stark, the alter-ego of Iron Man – genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist – before I even read them!

While noodling around Amazon, I also noticed that PIPPA’S PASSOVER PLATE is only $8.02…oh my gosh. And SWEET DREAMS, SARAH is only $12.77. Plus FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK is reduced to $14.74. Honestly, I know it doesn’t seem possible, but even though we are in the dog days of summer here in New England – today was in the 90’s – it will be gift-giving time before you know it.

I’m also so excited about starting the new year with another picture book, MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: THE INSPIRING FRIENDSHIP OF ELLA FITZGERALD AND MARILYN MONROE (Little Bee Books, January 14, 2020) illustrated by Alleanna Harris. I did a cover reveal the other day – but here’s an inside spread, just to whet your appetite to see more!

inside spread 1

I’m going to be asking the incredibly talented Alleanna Harris if she’d like to stop by to chat here on Picture Books Help Kids Soar.  If you have any questions you’d specifically like to ask her, please put them in the comments and I will include them in the interview. PLUS, one lucky person will win a copy of this brand new book…as soon as I get my author copies, which might not be until close to the end of the year.

Last weekend, I accompanied my son and son-in-law and grandson to cheer them on for their Tough Mudder competition which took place in Chelton, Massachusetts. It was a beautiful day…until it wasn’t. What a torrential downpour! They had to stop the event for about an hour to wait out the thunder and lightning storm. But we all had a great time.

The rest of my summer will be kind of quiet, I think. Except for a trip to Colorado in late August, that is. I’m hoping to connect with some of you who live in and around the Denver area. And I’m also working on an R&R for an editor…fingers crossed that I revise in a way that makes her unable to resist.

What are your plans for the rest of the summer? Traveling? Or perhaps you are working and trying to squeeze in time to read or write.

Please don’t forget to leave a comment to enter the giveaway of a copy of MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: THE INSPIRING FRIENDSHIP OF ELLA FITZGERALD AND MARILYN MONROE. And if you have a question for illustrator Alleanna, please include that in your comment.

I hope you all have a beautiful week ahead of you!

Perfect Picture Book Friday: LITTLE LENA AND THE BIG TABLE Plus Double-Header PB Manuscript Critique Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends!

Today’s picture book is so darn relatable for kids – in fact, it stirs memories of my own. I’ll bet lots of you can remember family gatherings and wanting to sit at the ‘big’ table. Well, author Pj McIlvaine has tapped into those memories to create a story that is sure to strike a chord with everyone who reads it. And the lovely Pj is offering not one, but TWO Picture Book Manuscript Critiques as a giveaway!!!! So please make sure you leave a comment.

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LITTLE LENA AND THE BIG TABLE

Written by PJ McIlvaine

Illustrated by Leila Nabih

Published by Big Belly Books (2019)

Ages: 4-8

Themes: Growing up, family

Synopsis: From Amazon

Little Lena has her heart set to sit at the big table. But every year her family tells her she’s just not big enough. Little Lena is determined to show everyone how big she is.

Why I love this book:

  • Sweet story about something most kids will be able to relate to
  • Charming illustrations with a hint of Mary Engelbreit
  • I think this will be a favorite at all holiday times and family gatherings

RELATED ACTIVITIES

Make a Placemat

pic-cutout-placematPhoto courtesy: https://www.artistshelpingchildren.org/placematsartscraftideaskids.html

Kids love creating! They love cutting! They love pasting! And these placemats can be designed for any holiday or occasion. All you need: a sheet of paper, two sheets of wax paper for each placemat, pictures cut from magazines, catalogs, old greeting cards, glue, scissors. To make: cut pictures and glue in place on sheet of paper. Lay paper on one piece of wax paper which is about an inch wider and longer than the decorated paper and cover with the other piece of wax paper. The next step must be done by an adult!  Press a hot iron over the wax paper…the wax paper sheets will stick together all around the edges and will form a lovely waterproof placemat. For more detailed instructions and directions for other placemats: https://www.artistshelpingchildren.org/placematsartscraftideaskids.html

And as much as kids love creating, they love feeling useful even more. Give your children’s self-esteem a boost by including them in the planning of your next family event. They can help with the shopping and with the food prep and with getting the house ready. Feeling useful and needed builds self-worth.

With the summer upon us, some things slow down while others speed up. Please don’t be too busy to take a few minutes to review a favorite book or recommend it to a friend or to your local library…other than buying the book (which is also a lovely thing to do), those are the best ways we can help our favorite authors!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I will be away in Massachusetts, cheering my son and son-in-law as they compete in the Tough Mudder. Here’s a  photo from last year’s event.

tough mudder hand in air

Cover Reveal: Making Their Voices Heard: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe

OH MY GOSH! A couple of days ago, I found out that my Ella Fitzgerald/Marilyn Monroe book had a definite launch date: January 14, 2020. So, I started thinking about who I should ask to do a cover reveal…I thought perhaps I should ask the editor if the cover image I had was the final one. And then, this morning, guess what I discovered?

MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: THE INSPIRING FRIENDSHIP OF ELLA FITZGERALD AND MARILYN MONROE is available for preorder on Amazon. With the most glorious cover image I’ve ever seen!!!

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This was a manuscript that was very close to my heart. I’m a long-time admirer of the velvety tones of Ella Fitzgerald…and I always believed Marilyn Monroe was so much more than she was given credit for. But it wasn’t until I came across a picture of them at a nightclub that the idea for this story came to me back in 2014.

ella and marilyn in nightclub

 

And the more I researched, the more I came to admire both of these women…trailblazers in the fight for equality! Did you know that Marilyn Monroe was the first movie star to own her own production company? Or that in 1956, Ella Fitzgerald won a lawsuit against Pan Am for racial discrimination?

A few years ago, Bonnie Greer wrote a play about the nightclub incident and it was performed in London.

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I’m so grateful to Essie White, my incredible agent, who had faith in me and in this story. And to Little Bee editor, the fabulous Courtney Fahy, who fell in love with the manuscript and believed it should be a book. And to the talented Alleanna Harris whose illustrations have brought the story to life!

I am over the moon excited and just had to share with all of you, my dear friends! And to all my critique buddies whose feedback on dozens and dozens of revisions resulted in this stellar story – I thank you!!!

 

 

Cover Reveal: SUPERHEROES DON’T BABYSIT

Earlier this month I visited several elementary schools in the Chicagoland suburbs and one of the questions the kids asked me was: ARE YOU GOING TO WRITE A BOOK ABOUT A SUPERHERO?

Well, I haven’t…but my dear friend, author Amber Hendriks, has! And it was a pure pleasure to be asked to do the COVER REVEAL!

So, without further ado…

TA-DA!!!!

Cover for Superheroes dont babysit

SUPERHEROES DON’T BABYSIT

Written by Amber Hendricks

Illustrated by Kyle Reed

Published by Beaming Books – due out Spring 2020

Here are a couple of photos so when you run into these amazing creatives at a conference somewhere, you’ll know who they are and be able to go up and say hi!

updated authorBorn and raised in the Midwest, Amber Hendricks grew up reading everything she could get her hands on- including the morning cereal boxes. That passion melded into writing as well, and by the age of 11 she was writing and binding her own “books”. Amber has worn many hats in her career but she has always circled back to her first love of telling stories. Amber currently resides in Missouri with her husband and two children.

Kyle Reed illustrator SUPERHEROESKyle Reed is an illustrator whose work has appeared in children’s books, magazines, animation, and advertising. He lives in Ontario, Canada. To see more of his work visit cutdrawglue.com, and @cutdrawglue on instagram.

Oh my goodness…it’s going to be hard to wait till next Spring to get a copy of this book, don’t you think. Kids are going to LOVE it!

Perfect Picture Book Friday: NO BEARS ALLOWED and Picture Book Manuscript CRITIQUE Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, my friends!

Today is the first day of summer…and what could be a more perfect selection for our picture book review? Here’s a story about bears and summer and…well, you’ll find out.  Plus, to celebrate the summer solstice and the launch of this adorable book (July 1, 2019), the author, the lovely Lydia Lukidis, is offering a Picture Book Manuscript Critique as a giveaway! What a fabulous prize!

no bears allowed cover

NO BEARS ALLOWED

Written by Lydia Lukidis

Illustrated by Tara J. Hannon

Published by Blue Whale Press (2019)

Ages: 4-7

Themes: Overcoming fears, friendship

Synopsis: From Amazon:

“Rabbit is afraid of many things, but most of all he’s afraid of gigantic, monstery, BEARS! The very nervous Rabbit is soon confronted by his worst fear who appears to be far more interested in making new friends than causing Rabbit any real harm. Despite his apprehension, Rabbit agrees to join his jovial new acquaintance for dinner, but wait a minute . . . is Bear planning to “have” Rabbit for dinner? In this tender story about a very nervous rabbit and a lovable bear, Rabbit discovers that things aren’t always as scary as they seem, and sometimes you may just have more in common with others than you think.”

“Tara J. Hannon’s whimsical, fun, colorful drawings enhance a fine picture book story highly recommended for either independent pursuit by ages 4-7, or read-aloud pleasure.” — D. Donovan, Sr. Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

“This adventure offers an effective brain exercise in graphic storytelling for young readers. . .” — Kirkus Reviews

Why I love this book:

  • Love the refrain about the pointy teeth and sharp claws
  • Love the humor
  • Love the simple message of friendship helping to conquer fears
  • Bold, bright kid-friendly illustrations will have children turning the pages

RELATED ACTIVITIES

paper-bag-puppet-bear-craft-for-kidsPhoto courtesy: https://www.craftymorning.com/paper-bag-bear-puppet-kids-make/

I think you all know how much I love paper bag crafts…inexpensive and so easy for the little ones to work with. For detailed instructions: https://www.craftymorning.com/paper-bag-bear-puppet-kids-make/

For more information about this talented author, please visit: http://lydialukidis.com/

Lydia Ludikas headshot

And remember, Lydia is giving away a picture book critique…which is AWESOME! Just leave a comment below…and don’t forget the best way to let our favorite authors know how much we love their books is to: buy their books, review their books on Amazon, Goodreads, and other review sites, tell friends about the books, and ask our libraries to purchase copies for their collections.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Perfect Picture Book Friday: ONCE UPON A TWISTED TALE Plus Giveaway

Hello dear friends! It’s another double-header weekend here at Picture Books Help Kids Soar. Up today for Perfect Picture Book Friday is a brand-new just-about-to-be-launched ONCE UPON A TWISTED TALE. And tomorrow, we’ll be chatting with the author, the lovely Gayle C. Krause who is generously offering the winner of the giveaway the choice of either a signed copy of her new book or a pb manuscript critique…WOW! So please make sure you leave a comment today AND tomorrow…and then you’ll have two chances to win.

But before we get to the review, we need to take care of the prizes from our last giveaway…the fabulous author – illustrator team of Raven Howell and Carina Povarchik. I’m celebrating that they are Storm sisters and the winner will receive a copy of their first book: SHIMMER: SONGS OF NIGHT and their brand-new book: GLIMMER: SING OF SUN. And the winner is:

MARSHAELYN

Congratulations, MARSHAELYN…I’ll be in touch soon for your address to I can send you the books!

And now, back to our regularly scheduled program: Perfect Picture Book Friday

ONCE UPON A TWISTED TALE

Written by Gayle C. Krause Continue reading

Gayle C. Krause: Will Write for Cookies plus Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

 

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

GAYLE C. KRAUSE

I run into today’s Will Write for Cookies guest at so many kidlit online forums, and I even got to meet her at a conference a couple of years ago. But I got to know her a bit better through our interactiion in the #PictureBookBuzz debut picture book author group this year with her beautiful book, DADDY, CAN YOU SEE THE MOON?

As a Master Educationalist, Gayle C. Krause has taught Children’s Literacreative writing, and storytelling techniques to prospective teachers and children’s authors. Her work has been nominated for the Boston Globe /Horn Book and The International Reading Association Award. She’s a PAL member of SCBWI, the 12 x 12 Picture Book Challenge, a past member of the Historical Novel Society, and The Poets’ Garage. She serves on Angie Karcher’s Rhyming Revolution Committee, selecting the best nationally acclaimed rhyming picture book award from 2015-2018. Ms. Krause writes Picture Books, Middle Grade, and Young Adult novels. Rebecca Angus of Golden Wheat Literary Agency represents her. You can find the latest news about her books at www.gayleckrause.com Continue reading