Perfect Picture Book Friday: I AM A THIEF Plus Book Giveaway AND Manuscript CRITIQUE

Authors, illustrators, and publishing company publicity departments often reach out to bloggers to see if they can feature upcoming picture books. I try to do as many as I can – because I LOVE reading them and I LOVE sharing them with parents, librarians, teachers, and all of my kidlit friends. Sometimes I get a chance to read them to my six-year old granddaughter over Skype…and, when she asks me to read the book again and again and again, I know we’ve got a winner.

That’s what happened with today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday selection. Sophie absolutely loves I AM A THIEF…and I think you will also. PLUS, the author and publisher are donating a copy of the book as a giveaway AND…the illustrator is offering a picture book manuscript CRITIQUE to one lucky winner. Make sure you leave a comment at the end.

But before we get to the review, we have a giveaway to announce.

Several weeks ago, the lovely Shannon Stocker, author of CAN U SAVE THE DAY? was featured on my blog and she offered a Picture Book Manuscript Critique. And the lucky winner is:

ELEANOR ANN PETERSON

Congratulations! I will be contacting you shortly and putting you in touch with Shannon.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

I am a thief

I AM A THIEF

Written by Abigail Rayner

Illustrated by Molly Ruttan

Published by NorthSouth Books (2019)

Ages: 4-8

Themes: Honesty, courage, family

Synopsis: From Amazon:

When Eliza Jane Murphy—line leader, captain of the worm rescue team—impulsively pockets a sparkly green stone from her classroom’s “Exploring Green” display table, her heart crumples.

My heart stopped singing. My letters went wonky. I was too heavy to swing! 

I wanted to put it back . . . But what if someone saw? 

But when she discovers that nearly everyone in her family took something once in their lives—from her baby brother and mom, to her nana with her sausage-stealing dog—Eliza overcomes her shame to make things right.

A hilarious and heartfelt story about stealing and finding the courage to do the right thing.

I am a thief inner 1

Why I love this book:

  • Filled with heart and humor – from the first page to the last!
  • So relatable for all children
  • Fabulous illustrations that move the story forward to its VERY satisfying ending

RELATED ACTIVITIES:

Make a Family Tree

Family-Tree-CraftsPhoto courtesy: https://thecraftingchicks.com/my-family-tree-crafts/

So many ideas for family tree activities. For detailed instructions: https://thecraftingchicks.com/my-family-tree-crafts/

Thank you, my friends, for stopping by to visit. Please don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway of a copy of I AM A THIEF and for the picture book manuscript critique. We will have two winners…one person will get the book and another person will receive a pb critique! And if you get to read the book and love it,  why not post a review on Amazon or Goodreads.

I am a thief inner 2

Perfect Picture Book Friday: CAN U SAVE THE DAY? Plus Critique Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, my friends. It’s been a couple of weeks – a bit of a summer blog break, plus with the #PBChat Mentorship applications and manuscripts, I knew I’d be a bit buried for a while. I’ve started working with my mentee, the lovely Helen Ishmurzin – and we are both enjoying connecting and finding out more about each other.

Life here is busy as usual – I received a phone call from the publicity department at Continue reading

National Family Fun Day: A WONDERFUL DAY by Michael Samulak Plus GIVEAWAY

Did you know that almost every day is a national holiday of sorts?

It’s true! Yesterday was Mutt Day. And tomorrow is National Ice Cream Sandwich Day…and also National Beer Day…I guess you can take your pick, depending on what you love the most.

But the entire month of August is NATIONAL FAMILY FUN MONTH. Which is perfect for residents of the Northeast, where I live. The temps rise and the sun shines and it is wonderful to get out and do things, especially if you have young children. Today I’m sharing a lovely book from a dear writer friend of mine that is all about spending time with family and having fun. He was kind enough to send me two books…one for me and one for…a giveaway! Please leave a comment to be entered for a chance to win!

cover

A WONDERFUL DAY

Written by Michael Samulak

Illustrated by Louise Pulvera

Published by: Pen It (2019)

Ages: 3-7

Themes: Zoo animals, family togetherness, diversity

Synopsis: A child wakes and discovers that today the family is taking a trip to the zoo. Page by page, we travel alongside, seeing all the animals and also, all of the other zoo visitors. And when the day ends, the last page turn provides a sweet closure, as the tired child is tucked into bed.

What I love about this book:

  • It’s an easy reader – so an older child would be able to read it to a younger sibling.
  • Colorful illustrations harken back to a kinder gentler time
  • Diverse families populate the story

RELATED ACTIVITIES

20-paper-bag-animal-crafts-8-1Photo courtesy: https://iheartcraftythings.com

PAPER BAG ANIMAL PUPPETS

I’m a big fan of paper bags as a craft supply to keep on hand when you have little ones. They are inexpensive, safe, and oh so versatile.

For detailed instructions: https://iheartcraftythings.com/20-paper-bag-animal-crafts-for-kids.html

Here’s a mini bio about Michael:

Mr. Samulak obtained his bachelor’s in Elementary Education from Michigan State University (’96) and finished his master’s in Reading Curriculum and Instruction at Cleveland State University (’12). He’s been working as a full-time youth minister and educator for almost 20 years.

Michael uses his formal education, experiences, world travels and life’s adventures to write award-winning children’s picture books.
The author currently resides in the city of Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and five children.

Michael is also the author of two other books: A IS FOR AFRICA, illustrated by Sswaga Sendiba. Plus there is a companion coloring book that contains the same text, but the illustrations aren’t colored in, so children can use their own imaginations to create fantastical creatures.

To find out more about Michael and his books: http://www.michaelsamulak.com/

Thank you for stopping by, my friends. The selection process for the #PBChat Mentorship organized by Justin Colon has ended…but the mentorship itself is just beginning. I received over 100 amazing applications and manuscripts…writers poured their hearts onto the pages…and for the past two weeks, I have been struggling, not only to read them all (100 manuscripts is a lot of manuscripts!), but also to choose the ONE person I thought could benefit most from my help. Oh my, if only I was able to clone myself!

In the end, just under the wire, I did choose…Helen Ishmurzin. I am so excited to work with her over the next three months. And she speaks five languages….so I know that I will be learning a lot from her.

I also have been making plans for my trip to Colorado in August. And guess what? The day I am in Denver, I will be doing a book event at 10:30am on August 23rd at Second Star to the Right, an awesome bookstore on S.Pearl Street. Huge thanks go to our very own Laura Roettiger, author of the fabulous ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON, who was a major player in arranging this…I owe you big time, Laura!!! I’m hoping that lots of Colorado friends will be able to come…what better place for kidlit folk to meet than at a children’s bookstore, right? And maybe after the event, we can walk up S.Pearl Street and find a little cafe to sit and chat before I have to head off to meet up with my family and fly back home.

photo of store

And before I let you go, last night on Facebook I announced the winner of Laura Roettiger’s wonderful book. Congratulations, Ellen Leventhal…you will be receiving a copy of ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON, thanks to dear Laura.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend – stay safe and stay cool! Oh, and don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway of a copy of Michael’s book!

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

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: 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.

Perfect Picture Book Friday: SUMO JOE Plus Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, my friends! I had a fabulous time at the NESCBWI conference in Springfield, Massachusetts last weekend. The keynotes were amazing…Jane Yolen, Patricia MacLachlan and Lynda Mullaly Hunt. My presentations went really well…I think folks walked away feeling they had gotten something of value. And getting to hug lots of kidlit friends was so much fun!

Today’s book  is so much fun also and it’s from one of my fellow #Newin19 teammates, Mia Wenjen who hosts the fabulous Pragmatic Mom blog.

But, before we get to the review, we owe someone a book. Two weeks ago, Jodi McKay offered a copy of her newest picture book, PENCIL’S PERFECT PICTURE, and the winner is: Continue reading