FIVE THINGS WE LEARNED ABOUT PUBLISHING A NONFICTION PICTURE BOOK DURING THE PANDEMIC: THE TEACHERS MARCH Plus Giveaway

Many of you may know that my first dream was to be a teacher. What a happy moment that was when I walked into my first kindergarten class at P.S. 29 in Brooklyn, New York. Of course, we can have more than one dream – and I’m now living another one – the dream of writing for children. Another thing I love to do is turn the spotlight on new picture books that are launching – so, you can imagine how thrilled I am to sing Happy Book Birthday to a picture book about teachers!

Continue reading

Perfect Picture Book Friday: LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL Plus GIVEAWAY

Hold onto your beach hats, dear friends! Wednesday was the first day of summer and today we’ve got the perfect book to celebrate that.

Plus, today’s post is extra-special because author/illustrator Patricia Keeler is giving away a signed copy of LIZZIE and LOU SEAL 

cover

AND

a pair of Lizzie’s favorite flip-flop earrings!

flip flop earrings

Make sure you leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway!

LIZZIE and LOU SEAL

 Written and illustrated by Patricia Keeler

 Publisher: Sky Pony Press (2017)

 Ages: 3 – 6

 Themes:

 Independence, friendship, problem solving

 Synopsis:

From Amazon:

What will Lizzie do when Lou Seal loses his puff?

Lizzie loves her flip-flops. They go shuffle shuffle across the rug, smack smack on the floor tiles, and thwap thwap down the stairs. Lizzie also loves her blow-up toy, Lou Seal. Lizzie and Lou Seal are off to the beach, but beach fun turns to beach disaster when Lizzie loses her flip-flops and Lou Seal starts losing air! It’s a sink or swim scenario. What will Lizzie do?

This is a beautiful book with mixed media art and a lovely retro feel, for fans of Ladybug Girl at the Beach. Children will relate to Lizzie’s independence and creative problem solving and fall in love with Lou Seal themselves. Filled with lots of fun words and sounds, this is a perfect read aloud book for parents and children alike.

Why I like this book:

  • Charming, retro surroundings frame Lizzie’s seaside life.
  • The text marries perfectly with the illustrations and much of the story is briliiantly told in the illustrations…kids will enjoy discovering the leak in Lou Seal way before Lizzie notices it.
  • This story engages all the senses, while reeling out a picture book that is the perfect beach read as well as a great anytime read-aloud.
  • A great launch pad for a discussion about water safety.

RELATED ACTIVITIES

FAUX SNOW GLOBE: On The Beach or In The Ocean?

snow globes

We are so lucky. Author/illustrator Patricia Keeler has created a super fun craft for the kids!

You will need: Firm yellow heavy paper, firm blue paper, Krazy Glue, 2 clear lids from 32 oz Stonyfield Yogurt, sand, glitter & LIZZIE and LOU SEAL icon sheet below.

  1. Print out the LIZZIE and LOU SEAL sheet. Cut out Lou Seal and icons.
  2. Choose which items would most likely be found on land. Choose which items would be found in the ocean.
  3. Draw a circle around the yogurt lid on the yellow and blue sheets.
  4. In the center of the yellow circle, place sand, beach items and Lou Seal. In the circle on the blue paper, place blue glitter, ocean items and Lou Seal.
  5. Put Krazy Glue along the circle line. Stick the lid down and let it dry.​
  6. SHAKE, SHAKE, SHAKE and enjoy!

jpeg of icons

Dear friends…have a safe and wonderful weekend, don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway…

make sure you leave a review for LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL on Amazon and…

…please come back tomorrow–Patricia Keeler is stopping by for our Will Write for Cookies Q&A!

Laurie Wallmark: Will Write for Cookies

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR READERS AND WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

headshot

LAURIE WALLMARK

We are breaking new ground on Will Write for Cookies today!

Laurie Wallmark is back! This is her second visit for a Q&A…I am so in love with her books and if you’ve read them, you’ll understand why.

Award-winning author Laurie Wallmark’s debut picture book, Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine (Creston Books, 2015), received four starred trade reviews (Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and School Library Journal) and several national awards, including Outstanding Science Trade Book and the Eureka Award. It is a Cook Prize Honor Book. Her recently released picture book biography, Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code (Sterling Children’s Books, 2017), earned a Kirkus star and was well-reviewed in several trade journals. Laurie has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from VCFA. When not writing, she teaches computer science at Raritan Valley Community College.

 I’m thrilled to welcome you to Picture Books Help Kids Soar, Laurie!

ME:

 You seem to have found a wonderful niche in writing nonfiction picture books about strong women? Did you enjoy reading women’s biographies when you were a kid? If so, who were your favorites?

 LAURIE:

 When I was a child, you would have thought that Marie Curie was the only woman scientist who had ever lived. There were no biographies of any other women scientists or mathematicians. I did enjoy reading books about mathematicians like Euclid, Newton, and Fermat. In fact, I was convinced I would be the one to solve Fermat’s Last Theorem. (Spoiler alert. I wasn’t.)

Ada cover 72dpi

 ME:

In your opinion, what are the most important steps in writing a great nonfiction picture book?

LAURIE:

The most important part of writing a nonfiction picture book is research, research, research. Not only does that help ensure that your writing is accurate, but it’s through research that you find those fun little nuggets that really bring a person to life. For example, the fact that Grace Hopper couldn’t wait to ride in an airplane with a barnstormer exemplifies her spirit of adventure. Her words perfectly sum up her feelings about doing this: “I squandered all my money—it cost $10—and went up in the plane.” I found this event referenced in only one of my sources about Grace’s life.

unnamed

ME:

Is there a particular era in history that you prefer to write about? When it that? Or is it more important that your subject is a strong STEM woman?

LAURIE:

I’m more interested in the person than when she lived. So far, the women I’ve written about and/or researched for future books have lived in the 1800s and 1900s. By choice, I’m not writing about people who are still alive. Because of the limited word count of picture books, I’d rather be able to view someone’s entire lifetime of accomplishments before deciding which ones to include

ME:

Why do you write nonfiction picture books for children?

LAURIE:

Children absorb stereotypes about who should be a scientist or mathematician at a very early age. If all the people in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) biographies look the same, then children who are of a different sex, race, religion, etc. will assume that this is not a possible career path for them. By writing picture books, I can vaccinate children before they’ve been infected by these negative stereotypes.

hopper cover

ME:

If you have any special tips or thoughts for writers, teachers, parents…please share.

LAURIE:

My best advice for anyone interested in encouraging children to enter STEM is to show the fun side of these fields. Whether it’s through writing or engaging in activities with children, we can show counteract the idea that STEM is hard or boring or, most importantly, for someone else.

Thank you so very much, Laurie…I really appreciate you coming back to provide us with more wonderful insights.

And for all of you who want to find out more about Laurie and her awesome books or get in touch with her:

Click here to join Laurie as she travels from blog to blog to introduce her picture book biography, Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code.

Author Website: http://www.lauriewallmark.com/

And if you have a computer-loving kid at home, why not try Laurie’s clever cookie recipe.

GEAR-SHAPED COOKIES RECIPE

gear cookies

INGREDIENTS:

 Butter, softened: 1 and 1/2 cups

White sugar: 2 cups

Eggs: 4

Vanilla extract: 1 teaspoon

All-purpose flour: 5 cups

Baking powder: 2 teaspoons

Salt: 1 teaspoon

Food coloring

 DIRECTIONS

  1. Make dough
  2. Cream together butter and sugar until smooth
  3. Beat in eggs and vanilla
  4. Stir in dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Prepare dough for baking
  6. Separate dough into four or more batches
  7. Mix food coloring into each batch
  8. Shape each batch into a thick disk
  9. Chill disk for at least one hour (or overnight)
  10. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C)
  11. Make cookies
  12. Cut dough into shapes using gear-shaped cookie cutters
  13. Make sure to use a lot of flour to keep dough from sticking
  14. Place cookies one-inch apart on ungreased (or parchment covered) cookie sheets
  15. Bake 6-8 minutes in preheated oven.

 This was so much fun! A huge confetti toss to Laurie for joining us.

Thank you all for stopping by…I love chatting with friends!