Laura Roettiger: Will Write for Cookies Plus Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

 

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

 

LauraRoettiger Headshot 2019

TODAY’S GUEST

LAURA ROETTIGER

 

Happy 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Walk, folks! Our special guest knows all about reaching for the moon…she’s the author of ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON.

One of my favorite things is to meet kidlit friends in person. Happily, that happened not too long ago with this wonderful lady. Laura and I had been Facebook friends. Then we found ourselves in the same debut picture book author group. And when we realized she was going to be passing near my house on her way to a writing retreat, we knew we had to make a get-together happen! We did…and it was wonderful!

Laura Roettiger is the author of Aliana Reaches for the Moon, a picture book that draws inspiration from the moon and the curiosity of children. She has enjoyed working with children ever since she was no longer considered a child herself. She was a reading specialist and elementary teacher in Chicago, IL (where my son and his family live) before moving to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado (where I lived for 18 years) where she worked in Environmental Education and is now a mentor for literacy at a STEM school. Her superpower is encouraging curiosity in children and letting them know she believes in them. She has three children of her own (I have three children also…this is uncanny) whose curiosity and creativity led them into STEM related professions.

AlianaReachesfortheMoon-ebook

ME: I’m thrilled to welcome you to Picture Books Help Kids Soar, Laura!

LAURA: Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog, Vivian! I’m thrilled that we were able to meet in person in June and your contribution to the Kidlit community continues to amaze and impress me. So happy to have you as a friend.

ME: The feeling is mutual, Laura…that’s for sure! We talked about a lot of things when we meet, but here are some questions we didn’t cover. And I know everyone wants to hear your answers. Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?

LAURA: I have so many happy memories reading as a child. I loved reading all the Ramona, Beezuz, and Henry books by Beverly Cleary. RAMONA THE PEST was my favorite of all because when she takes a bite from each apple in the bushel, I could imagine what that would feel like and how much trouble I would be in if I tried something like that. She was a very relatable character for me as a little sister.

My favorite book of childhood was ALL OF A KIND FAMILY, by Sydney Taylor because it had so many similarities to my family and made me feel even closer to my grandma.

I also have wonderful memories of reading AMELIA BEDELIA, CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, and CHARLOTTE’S WEB at school.

inside spread

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

LAURA: I wish I had found SCBWI right away. I knew there must be a group for picture book writers, but it took me a year of writing to discover it. My local chapter is a strong group of amazing authors and illustrators who I have been fortunate to support and be supported by. Whenever anyone says, “I want to write a book” or “I have an idea for a children’s book,” I suggest they join SCBWI.

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

LAURA: I start writing by hand whether it’s a draft, research, or a brainstorm of words but then I switch to my laptop because it’s easier to organize and less likely to get buried in the archeological dig of paper on my desk.

I usually write in my dining room which is 99% my writing room and only called ‘the dining room’ because the furniture was originally purchased for that purpose. I have a desk that overlooks the forest, but I usually sit at the table which allows me views of a beautiful painting that belonged to my parents, the underside of a log staircase, and a floor to ceiling view of nature.

My creative work often happens when I am hiking or driving in the canyon. I use voice to text and text myself notes all the time. It’s fun to go back and look through my notes and hopefully remember what I was thinking. I’ve written poems, entire scenes, and thought of just the right word for revisions while I’m in nature.

charlie dog

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

LAURA: I try to write in the morning, but never early and only after breakfast and coffee. I know there are plenty of people who get up at 5am and write for an hour while their house is quiet, but I am definitely not one of them. If I hike or workout in the morning, I’m also productive in the afternoon or right after dinner. Rarely do I write something late at night that looks great in the light of the following day. I don’t write every day, but I try to do something writing adjacent every day such as researching agents, reading writing craft books, blogs, or mentor texts, or critiquing. All of these things are part of the process.

laura photography

ME: Why do you write for children?

LAURA: I have spent most of my adult life reading with children as a parent and a teacher. I love children’s literature and I love the way children view the world. When I was a reading specialist, I wrote stories for and with my students. I never wrote them with the expectation of publishing but I ALWAYS wanted to be a writer. Writing for children seems like a natural fit for me given my experience as a reading specialist.

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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. 🙂

LAURA: Vivian, you and I kindred spirits in so many ways. We both put our hearts and souls into children at home and at work. We understand how important that work is and continue that through our writing for children. We also both know how important it is to share our knowledge with others and encourage fellow writers along the way.

My advice for writers, which I am sure you have also shared many times: Join SCBWI. Learn about craft whether that’s through online classes or groups (such as Julie Hedlund’s 12×12), attending conferences and workshops, listening to writing podcasts, and reading craft books. Find critique partners who will help your writing shine and don’t be afraid to revise. Read extensively in the genre you write in. The more you read, the better you understand the market and the better your writing will be.

My advice for parents and educators: Enjoy reading with your children. Let them see you read for pleasure and information. When I worked in an at-risk pre-K program, I was admonished for bringing the newspaper in to read while the children napped. I was right next to my napping charges and didn’t understand what harm would happen if they woke up and saw me reading! I was told I could only read when I was off the clock. Clearly the administration didn’t understand the value of modeling.

We all process information differently so don’t judge what children are reading; encourage them to love reading and they will read more. I always said I didn’t want to teach my students to read. I wanted to teach them to love reading.

My advice to anyone who wants to support authors: Buy books if you can, but also talk about books you love, ask your library to purchase them, write reviews on GoodReads and Amazon. Word of mouth and reviews are both very important ways to help books you love be recognized and loved by others.

back cover

ME: Laura, I love all of your advice. All. Of. It. And I thank you so very much for spending all of this time with us.

To find out more about Laura and her books:

Website: LauraRoettigerBooks.com

Blog: https://lauraroettigerbooks.com/blog/

Aliana Reaches for the Moon

Facebook Page

Twitter: @ljrwritenow

Instagram @AlianaReachesfortheMoon or @ljrwritenow

ME: And here is an OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD sweet treat recipe – take it away, Laura!

LAURA: The pumpkin bread recipe is from a preschool cookbook we made for a fundraiser when my kids were little, so I’ve been making it for a long time. The original recipe calls for 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. nutmeg, and 2/3 cup chopped nuts but I make it with fresh cranberries and chocolate chips and omitted those ingredients. I often include the spices and use only cranberries or chocolate chips and it always comes out delicious so feel free to experiment on those things.

Pumpkin Bread (makes 2 loaves)

2/3 cup butter softened

2 2/3 cup sugar

4 eggs

1 can (15 oz) pumpkin – not pumpkin pie filling

2/3 cup water

3 1/3 – 3 2/3 cups flour (it should be creamy but not watery)

2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

2/3 12 ounce bag tollhouse semisweet chocolate chips (this is a guess because I never measure)

2/3 12 ounce bag of fresh cranberries (I actually stock up on these around Thanksgiving and keep a bunch in my freezer)

 Preheat oven to 350. Grease or use cooking spray on two loaf pans.

Using beaters, cream butter and sugar together. Mix in eggs. Add water and pumpkin and blend well. Add baking soda, salt, and baking powder and mix again. Add flour and mix well. If it looks to watery, add additional flour. Now, by hand mix in chocolate chips and cranberries. Pour into two pans and bake 70 minutes. I usually check the oven at 60 minutes and sometimes it even goes a bit longer than 70 minutes to make sure the center is completely cooked.

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Thank you so much, Laura…this looks quite yummy. And thank you, everyone, for sticking around till the end. Don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway of a copy of Laura’s wonderful new book, ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON.

And please make sure to be back tomorrow for an ultra special Sunday post that includes an inside look at the journey of self-published author Carmen Gloria, whose lovely Kid’s Astronomy Series has a new book, just in time for this special celebration of space…plus a giveaway of Dear Pluto. And Carmen has a special gift for all of us: click on the link: https://www.amazon.com/Dear-Pluto-Kid-Astronomy-Book-ebook/dp/B07T68GC74/ and you can DOWNLOAD FOR FREE a Kindle ebook version of Dear Pluto…JUST FOR THIS SPECIAL MOON-LANDING WEEKEND!!!

 

 

 

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday: ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON Plus Giveaway

On July 20, 1969, something momentous happened.

Two human beings walked on the moon!

It’s the kind of occurence that, if you were old enough to know what was going on, you probably remember exactly what you were doing. My husband and I were on our first cross-country trip. We’d left NYC at 11:30pm (because we were so excited, we couldn’t wait for the morning) on June 29, 1969. We were both teachers and were taking the entire summer to travel. And by July 20th, we had made our way to Bakersfield, California. Here is my journal entry:

It is Sunday, July 20, and we are at our motel. Today we drove about 150 miles and toured through the Italian Swiss Colony Wine factory and tasted a little, too. Tomorrow we will go into San Francisco and go to the AAA office to make reservations and plot out our stay in the city. By the way – it is really an historic night – the astronauts have landed on the moon and are walking around there – HALLELUJAH!!!

This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of that amazing feat. And to help celebrate, we’ve got a very special weekend planned here on Picture Books Help Kids Soar.

Today we are turning the spotlight on ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON…with a giveaway of a copy of the book thanks to the generosity of the fabulous debut author author. And tomorrow the lovely Laura Roettiger will be stopping by to chat and share a fabulous treat recipe. Then on Sunday, we have another special guest. But more about that later. Right now, it picture book review time!

AlianaReachesfortheMoon-ebook

ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON

Written by Laura Roettiger

Illustrated by Ariel Boroff

Published by Eifrig Publishing (2019)

Ages: 5-8

Themes: Moon, scientific method, family

Synopsis: From Amazon:

Aliana loves observing everything in nature. Noticing how bright the light of the moon is in her bedroom, she spends time learning about the moon and experimenting with light. As she prepares for her brother’s birthday, she plans for a wonderful surprise to be revealed at the next full moon.

inside spread

Why I love this book:

  • A strong mightygirl who loves science
  • Additional layer of family love
  • Wonderful story
  • Great illustrations that keep the reader turning the pages
  • A perfect story to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon walk

RELATED ACTIVITIES:

Moon-activities-for-kidsPhoto courtesy: https://www.howweelearn.com/moon-activities-for-kids/

For detailed instructions on various moon crafts: https://www.howweelearn.com/moon-activities-for-kids/

Please remember to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway of a copy of this awesome book. And also remember that the best gifts we can give our favorite authors are:

  1. Buy their books
  2. Review their books
  3. Tell our friends about their books
  4. Ask our local library to purchase the books for their collections

And last of all, don’t forget to be back here tomorrow for a super cool interview with the awesome Laura.

Plus on Sunday, we’ll have a special post from self-published author Carmen Gloria. You won’t want to miss that because she is going to chat about her writing journey…and many other journeys. Oh, and there will be a giveaway. of her newest book in her planet series, Dear Pluto. Plus, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the moon walk, Carmen is giving us a link for a free download on Amazon Kindle of the Dear Pluto ebook.

I hope you all have a safe and 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

Perfect Picture Book Friday: GLIMMER: SING OF SUN Plus Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, my friends.

When spring is in the air, you know it’s time for baseball season. And that means another double-header for us right here! This is truly a double-header in every sense of the word. We have TWO posts this weekend (Perfect Picture Book Friday and Will Write for Cookies) featuring TWO gifted creatives (author Raven Howell and illustrator Carina Povarchik) and you, dear readers, have a chance to win TWO of their wonderful books (Shimmer, Sing of Night and their newest collaboration that launches next week and is available for preorder right now: Glimmer: Sing of Sun).

But first, we need to announce some winners from recent blog post giveaways:

The lovely Callie Metler-Smith donated two copies of HOW TO BABY SIT A LOGAN. And the winners are:

Doreen Robinson and Lisette

The wonderful Mia Wenjen donated a copy of her brand-new picture book, SUMO JOE. And the winner is:

Nancy Ferguson.

Congratulations! I will connect with you all very soon. But now everybody….

…put on your sunscreen, grab a cool drink, and sit back and enjoy!

Glimmer Song of the Sun cover

GLIMMER: SING OF SUN

Written by Raven Howell

Illustrated by Carina Povarchik

Published by Clear Fork/Spork (2019)

Ages: 4-8

Themes: Nature, poetry

Why I Love This Book:

  • Joyful poem after joyful poem that celebrate nature and being outdoors
  • Fabulous illustration after fabulous illustration filled with light and life and love
  • Do I need another reason? No problem…this is a sequel to another collaboration of Raven and Carina: SHIMMER: SING OF NIGHT
  • Do I need another reason? No worries…both Raven Howell and Carina Povarchik are Storm Literary Agency sisters of mine.

RELATED ACTIVITIES:

nature-crafts-squarePhoto courtesy: https://www.howweelearn.com/breathtaking-nature-crafts-for-kids/

For detailed instructions on many wonderful nature crafts for kids: https://www.howweelearn.com/breathtaking-nature-crafts-for-kids/

Go for a walk in the backyard, playground, or park…and look for nature. Then, you and your child can each choose something you’ve seen and write a poem about it.

If you are looking for more picture book reviews and activities, please hop over to Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday website

And if you are in the Boston/Dedham MA area on Saturday, June 1 (that’s tomorrow), please stop in at Peter Reynolds’ Blue Bunny Bookstore at 1pm because I’ll be there, reading Four Otters Toboggan and doing a fun craft activity with the kiddos and chatting about how we can protect wildlife habitats.

Please don’t forget to leave a comment here to be entered in the double-header giveaway! Plus, do come back tomorrow for an extra special (because it’s a double-header, right?) Will Write for Cookies post where Raven and Carina chat about their collaboration and offer something might sweet to eat!

Perfect Picture Book Friday: How to Babysit a Logan PLUS Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends.

We have a double-decker weekend here – a book giveaway with today’s post and another book giveaway tomorrow thanks to our Will Write for Cookies guest, author/editor/publisher Callie Metler-Smith.

hOW TO BABSIT A LOGAN

HOW TO BABYSIT A LOGAN

Written by Callie Metler-Smith

Illustrated by Cindy Vattahil

Published by Clear Fork/Spork (2019)

Ages: 5-8

Themes: Autism, pet therapy, cats

Synopsis: From Amazon

Thunderbolt the Cat takes his position of babysitting Logan, his human, very seriously. Logan has autism so it is Thunderbolt’s job to protect and provide support for Logan throughout his day. In this heartfelt true story, view the world of living with someone with autism through the eyes of their beloved Cat.

Why I love this book:

  • I love the way the cat states in a matter-of-fact way that Logan like spaghetti and meatballs without sauce, that he needs comfy clothes with particular collars, and that because he prefers to sleep in a small space, they sleep in a tent. These needs are no big deal to the cat, and so they are no big deal to any child reading the story.
  • The illustrations are very vibrant and simple…we see everything from the cat’s vantage point and so we are able to get close into the picture from the cat’s POV.
  • The best way to help kids embrace inclusivity and encourage understanding is to provide stories about people with different needs.

RELATED ACTIVITIES:

cat-crafts-kids-will-lovePhoto courtesy: http://www.playideas.com/25-curiously-cute-cat-crafts-for-kids/

How about TWENTY-FIVE cat crafts? Check out this website for details on each one: http://www.playideas.com/25-curiously-cute-cat-crafts-for-kids/

Did you know that some libraries allow patrons to request particular books be purchased for that libraries collection? Why not check with your library…some even let you do it online. And, when you find a book you love, why not review it on Amazon or Goodreads? Those reviews really help the author by encouraging others to buy books that entertained, educated, or inspired you.

For more wonderful picture book reviews and activities for kids, please hop over to Susanna Leonard HIll’s Perfect Picture Book Friday.

Thank you so much for stopping by to visit. Please don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway of a copy of HOW TO BABYSIT A LOGAN. And definitely don’t forget to be back tomorrow for a wonderful Q&A with editor Callie Metler-Smith!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Maryann Coccoa-Leffler: Will Write For Cookies PLUS Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

Cocca-Leffler_MaryAnn-2018a_RGB

 

TODAY’S GUEST

MARYANN COCCOA-LEFFLER

As most of you know, one of the things I love best about this kidlit community is the connections we make. And what could be better than to have a multipublished author/illustrator who wants to critique with you and Continue reading

Perfect Picture Book Friday: GROWING SEASON Plus Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, my friends. And I’ve got a wonderful book to review that fits perfectly with this season of spring.

GrowSCOVERJ

GROWING SEASON

Written and illustrated by Maryann Cocca-Leffler

Published by Sterling House Books (2019)

Ages: 4-8

Themes: Friendship, gardening

Synopsis: From Amazon:

El and Jo are the shortest kids in class, and they’re inseparable. But what happens when Jo starts to grow? This sweet picture book explores the joys and challenges of friendship and growing up.
 
El and Jo are the smallest students in their class—and best friends, too, like peas in a pod. Even their names are short. But in springtime, something BIG happens: Jo starts growing like a weed, while El feels smaller every day. On the last day of school, their teacher asked every child to pick a plant to care for over the summer. All the other kids reach over El to grab their plant, and she has to take the very last one: a tiny, flowerless aster. At first, she’s disappointed. But as summer progresses, the aster begins to bloom—and so does El! Continue reading