How to Make an Elephant Craft – Dill the Little Elephant

Today is Friday – I have a children’s book review to add to the  Perfect Picture Book resource list that author Susanna Leonard Hill is building on her blog. For more wonderful reviews from authors, educators and others who contributed today, please go here

My picture book pick today is one of the treasures I scooped up in Singapore last week at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content. In addition to incredible presentations given by inspiring speakers, there were over a dozen book launches.

How to Make An Elephant Craft

Dill the Little Elephant Continue reading

Asian Festival of Children’s Content and PPBF

This post has three major parts: an update on the Asian Festival of Children’s Content, my review and activity for Perfect Picture Book Friday and the winner of the $25 check for International Book Giving Day.

Perhaps I need to give you a treat, as Susanna Leonard Hill does, to give you energy to get through this. In keeping with the Asian theme, I give you a serving of Basmati Rice Pudding with Pineapples and Grapes.

Asian Festival of Children's Content,

The Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC) brings together content creators and producers with parents, teachers, librarians, and anyone interested in quality Asian content for children.

According to the AFCC mission statement, “It provides an opportunity for writers, illustrators, editors, publishers, agents, distributors, parents, children, teachers, and librarians to meet, learn, develop their craft, and discover business opportunities.”

The Asian Festival of Children’s Content impacts 1.5 billion children in Asia as well as their parents, professionals, and businesses involved in their development. I’m immensely honored, extremely excited and somewhat nervous to have been invited to speak on two of the panels at the conference this May. In preparation for my trip to Singapore, I’ve been seeking out books by Asian authors and information about the Asian culture.

Today, as part of Perfect Picture Book Friday, I’m sharing The Inch-High Samurai.

Asian Festival of Children's Content,

The Inch-High Samurai

Retold/translated by Ralph F. McCarthy

Illustrated by Shiro Kasamatsu

Publisher: Kadansha International (1993)

Ages: 4 and up


Self-esteem, believe in oneself, caring about others, inner strength, outward appearances are unimportant, follow your dreams

Opening Lines:

“In Naniwa, in old Japan, there lived a woman and a man who hadn’t any children, so they spent their days alone.

But every evening, rain or shine, they’d go to Sumiyoshi Shrine and pray for just one tiny little baby of their own.”


A man and a woman’s prayers are answered when their little baby is born. They love and cherish this child although he never grows much taller than an inch. At the age of thirteen, he leaves his family to pursue his dream of becoming a samurai, one of the brave and noble warriors. After sailing to the Capital in a rice bowl, Inchy Bo introduces himself to the Lord of Sanjo and asks to be taken into the household. The Lord of Sanjo’s daughter is entertained, taught and protected by Inchy Bo. In the end, an encounter with a monster provides the means for the hero to realize his dreams.

Why  I like this book:

Ralph McCarthy has done a masterful job of retelling/translating this old Japanese folktale. The text is in both English and Japanese…what a wonderful resource! In the spirit of Tom Thumb, the story encourages us to discount outward appearances and look within for a person’s true worth. The illustrations by Shiro Kasamatsu are vibrant and colorful…I’ve always loved Oriental art.

How a parent can use this book:

Children will love this story…the colorful illustrations and lilting rhyme are charming. More than that, this is a story about setting a goal and facing one’s fears. The main character does not wait for success to come to him…he steps up, speaks out and is willing to take risks to get what he desires. This is good advice for all of us.

Related Activities:

Find step by step instructions with illustrations for this and many Japanese crafts at:

asian festival of childrens content,

Enchanted Learning Software’s
Origami Samurai Hat
More Kinder Crafts

You can wear this origami Samurai hat. Samurai were ancient Japanese warriors.

To make a Samurai hat wearable by a child, you’ll need a piece of paper about the size of a piece of newspaper, about 20 inches (51 cm) square.

Supplies needed:

  • A large piece of paper (you can use a sheet of newspaper)
  • Scissors
  • Markers or crayons


Start by making a square piece of paper. To start making the square, fold one corner of a piece of paper over to the adjacent side.


To finish making the square, cut off the small rectangle, forming a square (which is already folded into a triangle).


Position the triangle so that the fold (the long side) is on top.Fold one top corner of the triangle over so that it touches the bottom corner.Do the same with the other corner.


Fold both of the tips up (fold at the dotted line pictured on the left), so that they go to the top. For the rest of the detailed illustrations, please click on the link above.
Fold each of the upward-pointing tips outwards. Fold along the dotted line pictured on the left.
There are now two large triangles on the bottom. Fold the uppermost triangle most of the way up over the top half of the hat.
Fold the remaining strip of the triangle up and over the top part of the hat.
Fold the other large triangle up and into the hat.
Decorate your hat with crayons or markers.

For more origami projects, click here.

Perfect Picture Book Friday…come and join Susanna Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of picture book writers, illustrators, librarians and others who love books and kids.

As promised, we are awarding a check for $25 to a literacy organization in honor of International Book Giving Day. Thank you to all who left comments and nominated their favorite charity…and the winner is…The Nooksack Tribe, nominated by Dawn over at Tales from the Motherland. Please email me at to tell me how to make out the check and where to send it. And Dawn, if you think they would benefit from receiving a copy of Show Me How, I’d be happy to send that along as well.

All around the blogsphere, there were posts yesterday about International Book Giving Day and how others were donating books. Reading them restores one’s faith in the goodness of people…check out a few if you have the time. The first link is the one that explains all about this amazing grassroot’s celebration:

No batteries required…powered by a child’s imagination!   Click this link to purchase a copybook pic from wordpress blog

Super Bowl Sunday: Including the Kids with Snacks and Stories

Super Bowl Sunday is three days away. What does Super Bowl Sunday mean to you? Are you having a Super Bowl Sunday party at your home? Does your family cluster around the TV, watching all of the action?

If you have young children, you can include them in the festivities. Read this wonderful picture book. Invite them into the kitchen to help prepare some yummy and healthful Super Bowl Sunday snacks.

Super Bowl Sunday,


Written by Lisa Wheeler

Illustrated by Barry Gott

Publisher: Carolrhoda Books (August 2012)

Ages: 3 and up


Football, good sportsmanship


From School Library Journal:  “It’s Mega Bowl Sunday in the Lava Dome, and a crowd of excited dinosaurs are watching the Greenblade Snackers play against the Redscales. The rhyming running commentary contains the terminology and all the play-by-play excitement of a televised game. “Kentro gets the takeaway!/This Snacker rookie saved the day.” After the “Dino Halftime Show,” the score is close, but the last play allows small, young Mussaurus to score the winning touchdown. Gott’s illustrations of the tackles are more humorous than brutal, and he draws examples of good sportsmanship on and off the field. A detailed scoreboard and color-coded naming system in the text (the dinos’ names are in green or red depending on their team) make this game easy to follow”

Why do I like this book:

It’s important for parents to share their passions with their children. If you love football, invite your children to watch for awhile. But please don’t expect them to be able to sit through the entire game. Watching Super Bowl Sunday on TV might make more sense to a kid if he or she had heard this story. The book highlights good sportsmanship…a crucial life skill that extends to every area of our lives. Reading this story might also serve as a launching pad for outdoor family activity. Grab that pigskin and head outside with your kids for a football toss.

There are several other Super Bowl Sunday-related picture books out there:

From England, where football is soccer:

Related Activities:


super bowl sunday snacks,

Why not serve an assortment of fresh veggies with a homemade dip or hummus?


Fresh-cut fruits are sweet and nutritious!


A selection of flat breads or crackers teamed up with chunks of cheese make tasty and healthful munchies.

Each of these takes only minutes to prepare…and are so easy, even a child can do it…inviting a child to help in the kitchen is important:

  • Builds self-confidence and self-worth…helps a child feel useful
  • Develops an understanding of good nutrition…start when they are young
  • Encourages ‘picky’ eaters to try new things…kids will often eat what they have helped prepare

Here are a couple of links to posts I’ve done that have perfect foods for Super Bowl Sunday:

Yummy Vegetarian Chili:

Delicious Cock-a-Leekie Soup:

Some lovely healthful Super Bowl snacks here:,,20338949,00.html

On the other side of the world, the conference directors for the 2013 Asian Festival of Children’s Content are putting the finishing touches to their website:

Stop by and find out how their National Book Council is working to increase international awareness of quality Asian Content for children around the world and has partnered this year with the National Library Board of Singapore. The event will include authors, illustrators, educators, publishers, literary agents, producers, parents, librarians and anyone who cares about content for kids.


For great content for kids that will give you 100’s of picture book summaries, easy matching crafts and healthful child-friendly cooking activities, purchase a copy on Amazon (or my website) of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.  A PERFECT gift for any parent or teacher of children ages 2-8…as well as for daycare providers and grandparents.  No batteries required…powered by a child’s imagination!   Buy your copy today!

For more Perfect Picture Book Friday reviews…come and join Susanna Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of picture book writers, illustrators, librarians and others.perfect-pic-book-badge-e1325891994293

PPBF: Be The Kite…Inspiring Kids to Imagine and Soar

Perfect Picture Book Friday…come and join Susanna Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of picture book writers, illustrators, librarians and others who contribute a picture book review.

A fellow 12x12er and local critique partner of mine sent me a link to an amazing YouTube video this morning.  Watch this 80 year-old gentleman demonstrate multi-kite flying…he travels all around the world…I promise you will be entertained for five minutes…and inspired for the rest of your life.

Seeing the kite-flying video encouraged me to review Be The Kite!



Be The Kite

Written and illustrated by Cathi Bosco

Publisher: C & D Publishers (April 2012)

Ages: 2 and up


Imagination, friendship, perceiving the world around us, kite-flying


From Amazon’s book page: “Art – Literature – Imagination! Be the Kite is an inspired, original picture-book by artist Cathi Bosco. Her illustrations and story celebrate the nurturing nature of imaginative thinking. Each illustrated page from this book feature the kite-flying adventure of two great friends and are literally connected. If printed out, each page would fit together making one long continuous picture.”

Why do I like this book:

This is a beautiful book that encourages young children to use their imaginations and take a look at the world. In addition, the author/illustrator invites participation of young readers: ”all young artists are invited to participate in a collective drawing activity. Parents, teachers, librarians and kids can submit their artwork featuring Tilly, George and Pickles and we will proudly include all drawings at our website in The Young Artists Gallery! Details can be found at Be the Kite is a visually creative picture-book that children from 3 – 10 LOVE! Enjoying creativity and seeing the world in new and different ways are meaningful experiences for people of all ages.”

Related Activities:



Photo courtesy of eHow. You will find instructions for making many different types of kites with children here:

The author’s website where several activities can be found:

If you want a step by step video showing how to make a kite that will really fly:

I also wanted to share that the Asian Festival of Children’s Content has added to their website the speakers and program for this year’s event. I was thrilled to see my name…my trip to Singapore is definitely becoming more real:

I’m honored to be part of such a distinguished international line-up.

book pic from wordpress blog

If you want a great resource that will give you 100’s of picture book summaries, easy matching crafts (sorry, no kites) and healthful child-friendly cooking activities, purchase a copy on Amazon (or my website) of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.  At $24.95, this book makes a PERFECT gift for any parent or teacher of children ages 2-8…as well as for daycare providers and grandparents.  No batteries required…powered by a child’s imagination!   Buy your copy today!

Sunday Post: Favorite Spot – Wherever Loved Ones Are!

Jake at Time after Time has a Sunday Post Challenge and every week he provides a theme…this week’s theme is FAVORITE SPOT.

Horseback riding in the western hills above Steamboat Springs, CO.



Fishing in Rocky Mountain National Park


Great cast into the Big Thompson River in RMNP.

A perfect autumn day in New England.



Reading with kids at Tollhouse Preschool in New Hampshire.



Cooking with kids builds self-esteem, develops literacy skills and is just plain fun!




I’d love to have the opportunity to travel…I’ve driven across the country twice and next spring I may have the unbelievable opportunity to speak at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content in Singapore.

However, sipping wine and feasting on homemade bread and cheese al fresco under the Tuscan sun is a dream of mine. 

A writer friend of mine has organized an amazing retreat for women writers in Florence, Italy.  It will take place from April 7-13, 2013. I cannot attend (this time), but you might like to go. Julie has an overview of the retreat on her website, plus specific information about the ProgramFacultyAccommodation and Rates. If you do register, please let Julie know I sent you!

Speaking about Julie…today is the last day of September…time to check in with the 12×12 in 2012 Challenge.  In January, children’s author Julie Hedlund issued a challenge: write one picture book draft every month in 2012.  Over 400 writers answered that challenge!


 The challenge has definitely inspired me to write a picture book draft each month…and I’ve enjoyed connecting with dozens of members of this amazing kidlit community.  My September draft is done…I’m hoping that in the next few months, I will prepare several manuscripts for submission!


This is the last day for nominations to give a dozen free copies of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cookingto schools or other childcare facilities.  Nominate your child’s school, or your own school if you are a teacher, in the Show Me How School Initiative by leaving a comment and telling us why you’d like that school or classroom to have this book.  If you don’t have young children, but know people who do, please tell them about the free book their child’s school can receive!  On Friday, we will use to choose 12 lucky schools. 

You can purchase a copy of this award-winning resource on Amazon (only $19.95) and on Amazon Kindle (only $9.95).  This award-winning book is a great gift for parents, grandparents, teachers, daycare providers and every young child (ages 2-8) that you know!  Get started on your holiday shopping…no batteries required…powered by a child’s imagination and a parent’s positive participation!  Check out this wonderful review from a kid’s point of view.


Want more information about Jake’s Sunday Post? 

PPBF: Swimmy…Group Dynamics with an Awesome Upstander


Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday where I link up with Susanna Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of picture book writers, illustrators, librarians and others who contribute a picture book review and related resources for parents, teachers and children.

Before we begin the picture book review, here are some IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1.      The Show-Me-How School Initiative is still looking for A FEW GOOD SCHOOLS.   We only have a couple of days left for you to leave a comment on this post, telling which school or other child-care facility you would like to nominate to receive a free copy of Show Me How!  In the first week of October, we will pick 12 lucky schools via

2.      Show Me How! has received another lovely review…this time from Beth Stilborn, fellow 12x12er, and PPBF participant.  If you’d like to see what Beth had to say about it, please click this link.  If you’ve never been to her blog, By Word of Beth, hurry over…you’ll be glad you did…her posts are funny, informative and not-to-be-missed!

3.      Earlier this year I connected with a children’s author in Singapore, Emily Lim.  It was just before their big Asian Festival of Children’s Content, where kidlit publishers, editors, writers, illustrators, educators and all who are involved in helping kids become loves of books and reading meet for conferences, workshops and fun.  As Emily and I chatted via email, she mentioned that she wished I could be part of the conference.  I couldn’t believe my eyes when I opened my email yesterday morning and saw an invitation from her (she is on the Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference Committee) to speak at the conference!  What a great honor…I don’t know if I will be able to attend…but I hope we can work it out.

Is it Perfect Picture Book Friday yet?

You’ve all been so patient…so to reward you, you will be getting TWO FOR THE PRICE OF ONE!

October is National Bully Prevention Month!  I’ll be highlighting some amazing books and other resources for the next four weeks.

 I’ll share my picture book choice in a minute, but first I’m thrilled to tell you about a new anti-bullying app: AWESOME UPSTANDER.  Here’s the link:


Did you know that 13 MILLION kids…over one-third of all school-age children, are bullied every year?

Awesome Upstander, developed by HealthTeacher:

  • Empowers children to take action
  • Reinforces positive respectful behaviors
  • Teaches children to intervene by getting help from adults
  • Emphasizes group dynamics
  • Shows kids how to gather a group together to counteract the bully’s plan
  • Encourages kids to help when they see bullying

I encourage anyone who is involved with kids to visit the website at  There are free downloadable info sheets for parents and teachers that address positive action plans for kids and adults.  You can follow Awesome Upstander on Twitter or on Facebook.  You can also purchase the download for iTunes or Android.

The game identifies the participants to a bullying problem…the bully, the target and the bystanders.  The key to the game (and perhaps an important key to putting an end to bullying in real life) is to turn the bystanders into ‘Awesome Upstanders”…people who get actively involved to help the target or victim and stop the bullying.

This concept of group dynamics brings me to…FINALLY…my Perfect Picture Book Friday pick.



Written and illustrated by Leo Lionni

Publisher: DragonFly Books (1973)

Ages: 4 and up


Bullying, helping others, overcoming fears, self-esteem, creative thinking, cooperation


From the Amazon website: “Deep in the sea there lives a happy school of little fish. Their watery world is full of wonders, but there is also danger, and the little fish are afraid to come out of hiding . . . until Swimmy comes along. Swimmy shows his friends how—with ingenuity and team work—they can overcome any danger.”

Why do I like this book

Let me count the reasons:

1.      Written by one of my favorite author/illustratos, Leo Lioni

2.      Winner of a Caldecott Honor Award

3.      Amazing illustrations of the underwater world

4.      Teaches the power of positive group dynamics

5.      Encourages creative thinking and problem solving

Related Activities:

Watercolor Wash Picture

Photo from

You will need: 1 piece of construction paper, crayons or markers, blue food coloring and a brush.

1.      After reading the story, let your child draw a picture depicting his favorite underwater scene.

2.      Mix a drop or two of blue food coloring (you can use non-toxic blue watercolor paint) with some water.

3.      Your child can brush the watercolor wash over the entire picture…when it dries, it will have an underwater look to it.

4.      Hang it up in a place of honor in the house!

You can also make a fish mobile…with a bunch of little red fish and one little black fish.

More simple under-the-ocean activities from :

Great arts and crafts activities from eHow here:

Some parent/teacher materials on Scholastic here:


This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susanna Leonard Hill.  Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities.   This is an unbelievable resource for any parent, teacher or children’s librarian.

Related posts;

18 months on: The New Parent is the ultimate Transformer (Part 3)

18 months on: The New Parent is the ultimate Transformer (Part 3).

Emily Lim is a children’s author and first-time mom.  We connected earlier this year through the blogsphere…and have found we are on the same page about many things.

Her post today was so amazing, I felt compelled to ‘press’ it and offer it to my readers.

I agreed with all of the six ways she found her life had changed because of motherhood…but I especially loved the four points she considers before she takes on any new work.  As a WAHM, she puts her job as ‘mum’ first…not an easy thing to do.

I also wanted to share that I received an email from Emily this morning, inviting me to be a speaker at the 2013 Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference (part of the Asian Festival of Children’s Content)…needless to say, I am deeply honored and hope we can work things out so that I will get to meet Emily in person next May in Singapore and share my passion for helping every young child become a lover of books and reading.