Happy Book Birthday to FINN’S FEATHER

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to Finn’s Feather, Happy Birthday to you!

I’ve really been looking forward to the launch of this book! The author, Rachel Nobel, is one of my fellow Storm teammates. When my husband passed away last month, Rachel sent me a copy of her book because she hoped it would comfort me. And it did.

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FINN’S FEATHER

Written by Rachel Nobel

Illustrated by Zoey Abbot

Published by Enchanted Lion Books (June 12, 2018)

Ages: 4-8

Themes: Coping with loss

Synopsis: From Amazon: 

Finn knows his brother is gone. But he also knows that Hamish sent the beautiful white feather on his doorstep.
Finn runs to show his mother the feather from Hamish, but she only gives him a big hug. In school, Finn’s teacher responds similarly. Why isn’t anyone as excited as he is? Finn sits quietly, cradling the beautiful, amazing feather. “Why did Hamish give it to you?” asks his friend, Lucas. “Maybe he wanted to say hi?” wonders Finn. “Maybe,” Lucas says, “Hamish wanted you to have fun with it.” Finn’s Feather is a story about resilience and memory―about a child, his brother, and a friend who meets him where he is.

Why I like this book:

  • Fabulous illustrations
  • Kid-friendly scenes at school, playground, home with Finn and his friends doing and saying exactly what kids do and say…children will be able to identify with Finn
  • This is a story filled with hope and heart
  • Powerful example of how we can be the most help to someone who is grieving…often by just being there. 

Coping with loss is something we all have to do…and it can be especially difficult for young children who usually don’t have a lot of experience with it. Rachel used her own family’s personal loss to craft a story that would help others…and we are all so grateful to her. It takes a great deal of courage to do something like this. And now we have this perfectly  lovely story that is heading out into the world!

I’m also heading out into the world…flying to Chicago tomorrow to visit with family and hopefully hook up with some writer friends in the Chicago area.

 

 

Happy Book Birthday: DIY CIRCUS LAB FOR KIDS Plus Giveaway

Hello dear friends!

I know all about birthdays – I’ve had 71 of them! But there is nothing like the first one. And that’s why I’m so thrilled to wish a big Happy Book Birthday to:

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And big congratulations to author and circus-guru, Jackie Leigh Davis.

Are you a  camp director or counselor, looking for a great program to offer the kids?

Are you a teacher or after-school center youth leader needing a new activity?

Are you a parent looking to do something fun-filled and family-friendly with your children?

This book is a hands-on, step-by-step guide with easy instructions and clear photos that demonstrate each juggling, balancing, clowning, and show-making activity.

Jackie is one of my local SCBWI buddies and I’m totally excited to attend her book signing event at the Toadstool Bookstore in Milford, NH on Saturday, February 17th from 2-4pm. Yes, that’s right! It’s in only a couple of days. So if you are local to the Milford area, why not stop in and say hello! Toadstool is our wonderful Indie bookstore where I get to hang out with my local writer buddies sometimes.

By the way, I plan to buy a copy of DIY CIRCUS LAB FOR KIDS while I’m at Jackie’s book signing and I’ll be giving it away to one lucky winner! So, if you’d like to win that signed copy, please leave a comment below…and for an extra entry, come back on Saturday when Jackie stops by to chat on Will Write for Cookies.

And please make sure you are here on Friday. I’ll be posting a special Perfect Picture Book Friday with a peek inside this year’s guidelines for the #50PreciousWords Writing Challenge. There will be some awesome prizes, including a critique with my wonderful agent, Essie White of Storm Literary Agency.

A bit of news from me on the book front: I just got to see the tentative cover for the counting book that Pomegranate Books bought. My fellow Storm teammate, Mirka Hokannen is illustrating and oh my gosh…she is amazing! And the story that used to be called Visitors to Deep Pool is now entitled…hmmm…maybe we’ll have to have a TITLE REVEAL sometime down the road. The book hasn’t been announced yet, hopefully any day. But I have to tell you, it is heaven when author, illustrator, and editor are able to collaborate together…that is a recipe for a beautiful book!

I know many of you are participating in Susanna’s Valentiny Contest…there is still time to enter…or you can just hop over to read some of the wonderful stories.

Happy Book Birthday: LOVE, MAMA Plus Giveaway

I LOVE PICTURE BOOKS!
SO OF COURSE, I LOVE CELEBRATING NEW ONES!

CONGRATULATIONS

AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR JEANETTE BRADLEY!

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 Written and illustrated by Jeanette Bradley

Published by Roaring Brook Press (January 2018)

Ages: 2-6

Themes: Parent/child relationship

Synopsis: From Amazon:

With a heartwarming story and tender illustrations, Jeanette Bradley’s debut picture book Love, Mama is perfect for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and any day when a child needs a reminder of the strength of a mother’s love.

When Mama leaves her young penguin Kipling, he knows she’ll return home soon―yet he still can’t help but miss her. After all, Pillow Mama won’t read, Picture Mama won’t laugh, and Snow Mama is too cold to cuddle.

But then Kipling receives a special delivery from Mama, including a note that reads:

My love for you stretches across the wide ocean, 
through day and night, 
from earth to sky 
and back again.

And Kipling knows that no matter where Mama is, he is loved. Soon, Mama comes home, and Kipling ends the day where he belongs―right in her arms.

Why I like this book:

  • Heartwarming text…sparse yet beautiful lyrical language

  • Super illustrations engage the reader from the first page turn to the last

  • I love books that give children confidence in the love of their parents…and the realization that even if parents leave (for a day of work or for the night when they go to sleep) they will be back!

  • The perfect book for Valentine’s Day and a new favorite of mine for bedtime storytime.

 RELATED ACTIVITIES

TREASURE BOX

Jeanette was kind enough to share a super fun activity with us!

You can print out the template here: 

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What you need:

 

Small cardboard box

Paper for cutting out hearts (see templates)

Used postage stamps cut off envelopes

Glue stick

Stamps and stamp pad for “cancelling” the stamps

“Treasures” to put in the box, like rocks, feathers, pom poms, buttons, beads, or other found objects

 

Cut stamps off envelopes, or use Easter Seals:
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Print out the heart template on pink paper, if you have it:
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Cut out hearts:
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Glue old postage stamps onto box using glue stick.  Then “cancel” the stamps with whatever rubber stamps you have on hand
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Write a love note to someone you love:
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Fill your box with treasures, add your heart, and give it to someone special!
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I hope all of you will join me in celebrating the debut picture book authors and illustrators of the wonderful stories that will be coming this year. I’ll be shining the spotlight on them for book birthdays and for Perfect Picture Book Fridays.

But as parents or teachers or just picture book lovers, do you ever wonder how you can help your favorite authors?

1. One of the best ways is to post a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and other book review sites. 

2. Ask your local library to order the book…many libraries honor patron requests and some even have online request forms.

3. Buy a copy of the book.

4. And most importantly…TALK ABOUT THE BOOK…to friends, family, and anyone who will listen!

Please leave a comment below to be entered in a drawing for the copy of LOVE, MAMA that author/illustrator Jeanette is graciously giving away.

To learn more about Jeanette and her work and to download an educational guide for the book: http://www.jeanettebradley.com/

And just a few more important notes:

1. I’m participating in Julie Hedlund’s 12 Days of Christmas...an inspiring challenge to help kick off your writing year by looking back on 2017 and looking ahead to what you hope to accomplish in 2018.

2. Tara Lazar’s StoryStorm started yesterday…and I’ll be joining in as a participant as well one of the guest bloggers…I’m up on January 25th…I hope you’ll register and stop by as many days as you can on Tara’s blog…there are prizes and inspiring posts. In fact, two of my book deals this year were PiBoIdMo/Storystorm ideas from years past and in my post, I’ll be talking about how to take an idea to a published book.

3. I just received the color layouts for Sweet Dreams, Sarah…although there are still some tweaks needed…I’ve got my eyes on the October 2018 launch date, but am open to the possibility the book might not pub until Jan/Feb 2019. In which case I might just have FOUR books launching in ONE year. I will definitely need your help!

I’m looking forward to a stellar year with all of you!

Thank you for joining me on this grand adventure!

Happy Book Birthday: CHARLIE TAKES HIS SHOT Plus Giveaway

FIRST POST OF THE YEAR!!! 

So you know it is going to be special, right?

Last year I featured as many 2017 picture books as I could. This year I plan to do the same thing for the debut picure books of 2018. HOPEFULLY, my Sweet Dreams, Sarah will be one of them! But for today, I’ve got a really special book for you! From a dear friend and critique buddy of mine, Nancy Churnin, who has a knack for finding golden nuggets of history and turning them into fabulous nonfiction picture books that children and adults will want to read again and again.

HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY TO CHARLIE TAKES HIS SHOT

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CHARLIE TAKES HIS SHOT: How Charlie Sifford Broke the Color Barrier in Golf

Written by Nancy Churnin

Illustrated by John Joven

Published by Albert Whitman

Ages: 5-8

Themes: Determination, Civil Rights, golf

Synopsis:

From Amazon:  Charlie Sifford loved golf, but in the 1930’s only white people were allowed to play in the Professional Golf Association. Sifford had won plenty of black tournaments, but he was determined to break the color barrier in the PGA. In 1960 he did, only to face discrimination from hotels that wouldn’t rent him rooms and clubs that wouldn’t let him use the same locker as the white players. But Sifford kept playing, becoming the first black golfer to win a PGA tournament and eventually ranking among the greats in golf.

Why I like this book:

  • I love when authors can entertain, educate, and inspire by taking an impottant event in history and making it come alive for kids
  • The text and illustrations engage from the first page to the last
  • This is an important moment that built on what had come before and opened doors for those who came after

 

RELATED ACTIVITIES

tin-can-golf-header-1Photo courtesy: https://www.thecrafttrain.com

Tin Can Golf is fun for young kids and can be ramped up to make it more challenging for older kids. For detailed instructions: https://www.thecrafttrain.com/tin-can-indoor-golf-fun-from-recycled-junk/

Thanks to author Nancy Churnin, we have a giveaway of a copy of CHARLIE TAKES HIS SHOT.  Please leave a comment to be entered.  Remember, there is only one copy that can be won, but the book JUST launched TODAY…so you can hop over to your favorite bookstore and get a copy And don’t forget that leaving a review on Amazon or Goodreads only takes a couple of minutes, but it will mean the world to the author of that book you loved reading with your child.

Please come back tomorrow for the BOOK BIRTHDAY of LOVE, MAMA by Jeanette Bradley! 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO A YEAR FILLED WITH POSSIBILITIES!

HOW ABOUT YOU?

Happy Book Birthday: FINN FINDS A FRIEND Plus Giveaway

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO FINN FINDS A FRIEND, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!

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Hip hip hooray! There’s a new kid on the block and I’m so excited to welcome him. Finn is a fun-loving lemon shark who comes to life in this brand-new picture book written by the talented Jenna Grodzicki, illustrated by the gifted Alexis St. John and published by the wonderful Callie Smith at Clear Fork/Spork.

A few words about the book from Amazon

Finn is not your typical lemon shark. He likes to frolic and have fun in the water. But his brothers’ and sisters’ idea of fun is lying completely still on the ocean floor – BORING! While out searching for new friends, Finn encounters a sea turtle who hides in a rock cave. Clearly, he must want to play hide and seek. Then he comes across some humans who scream, “SHARK!!!” when he approaches. Obviously, they must be excited to see him. Will Finn ever find a friend who can see beyond his sharky appearance?

I love the message in this book…kids will definitely relate to Finn and how he scares off potential playmates with his appearance. If you want to find out if Finn is successful in finding a friend, grab a copy at your local indie bookstore or on Amazon. And thanks to author Jenna’s giveaway, leave a comment here and you might win a copy!

Another great thing to do is to leave reviews on Amazon and other book review sites for the books you love. I just left one for FINN FINDS A FRIEND!

I hope you all have a wonderful week…thank you so much for spending your precious time with us here.

 

It’s a BOOK BIRTHDAY: A COOKED UP FAIRY TALE

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR COOKED UP FAIRY TALE, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU.

cover for cooked up fairy tale

One of the first kidliters I met when I ventured out on this writing journey in 2011 was Penny Parker Klostermann. She was an active participant in all of the writing challenges and contests that Susanna Leonard Hill hosted. Reading her entries, I knew she’d be a successfully published author before long.

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Her debut picture book, THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT, is a joy to read. And TODAY, her second picture book launches!

To celebrate this auspicious occasion, Penny and I put our heads together. (and you know how much trouble two picture book writers can get into when they do that) In addition to a giveaway of a signed copy of A COOKED UP FAIRY TALE and a yummy recipe, we’ve cooked up a super fun interview. So hold on to your hats!

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OH MY GOSH! HOW MUCH FUN WAS THIS?

Huge thanks to Penny for arranging space for our interview on the front page of THE ROYAL REPORTER.

Penny Parker Klostermann is the author of There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight and the upcoming, A Cooked-Up Fairy Tale which is releasing today! She loves all kinds of books, but especially loves very silly picture books that make her laugh. Penny has been known to hug her favorite picture books and seriously hopes that someday her books will gain huggable status too. 

Penny grew up in Colorado and now lives in Abilene, Texas-the Storybook Capital of Texas!

To learn more about Penny and her books: https://pennyklostermann.com/

Please don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway (U.S. addresses only, please). And remember, one of the greatest gifts you can give to your favorite author is to leave a review on Amazon and /or Goodreads.

More picture book awesomeness this coming weekend when we welcome author Nancy Churnin and illustrator Danny Popovici and another soon-to-be-released picture book, Manjhi Moves a Mountain.

 

 

Happy Book Birthday: Applesauce Day PLUS Giveaway

What could be better than a birthday?

A birthday that promises a yummy snack, that’s what!

Today we are turning the spotlight on a BRAND NEW PICTURE BOOK from veteran author Lisa Amstutz. When I heard about her book, I knew I had to help her celebrate because I, too, spent many happy autumns, picking apples and  preparing applesauce with my family!

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Don’t they look amazing! When I moved to New Hampshire a couple of years ago, we went apple-picking with my grandson. And then, we made applesauce!

So Happy Book Birthday to APPLESAUCE DAY!

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APPLESAUCE DAY

Written by Lisa Amstutz

Illustrated by Talitha Shipman

Published by Albert Whitman (August 1, 2017)

Ages: 4-8

Opening Lines:

I spy the big pot on the counter right away. “Hooray,” I say. “It’s Applesauce Day!”

Synopsis:

From Amazon:

:Maria and her family visit an apple orchard and pick apples. Then it’s time to turn the apples into applesauce! Every year they use the special pot that has been in the family for generations to make applesauce. First they wash the apples. Then Grandma cuts them into quarters. Follow each step in the process as everyone helps to make delicious applesauce!”

Why I like this book:

  • Beautiful family-building story
  • Charming illustrations with a vintage feel
  • Wonderful launch pad for family activities with a great recipe and fun apple facts at the back of the book
  • Kids will see the child characters playing important roles in the applesauce making process

Related Activities:

Crockpot Applesauce

crockpot applesauce picPhoto courtesy: http://abeautifulmess.com

You will need:

  • Apples* (enough to fill your crockpot)
  • Cinnamon stick
  • Lemon juice
  • Water
  • Sugar, honey, or other sweetener
  • Paring knife
  • Potato masher or blender
  • Crockpot

 

Directions:

  1. Peel and core the apples and put them in the crockpot.
  2. Add a cinnamon stick, a drizzle of lemon juice, and about an inch of water.
  3. Simmer on low for 6–8 hours or until the apples are soft.
  4. Mash or puree the cooked apples using a potato masher or blender. The latter will make a smoother sauce.
  5. Sweeten to taste with sugar, honey, or other sweetener. Enjoy!

 

* Cortland, Jonathan, McIntosh, Winesap, Transparent, Gala, Golden Delicious, and Fuji are good sauce varieties.

Dear friends…Lisa’s publisher, the wonderful Albert Whitman, has generously offered a copy of APPLESAUCE DAY as a giveaway. Please leave a comment to be entered into the drawing. We’d love to hear about your apple-picking, applesauce-making, or applesauce-eating experiences!

To find out more about Lisa and her wonderful books, go here.

A nd PLEASE, don’t forget that reviews on Amazon and Goodreads are  a breath of life for authors and illustrators.

I appreicate you all spending a little of your time with us here at PIcture Books Help Kids Soar. Have a wonderful week!