Perfect Picture Book Friday: THIS BOOK IS SPINELESS Plus Double Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, my friends!

In four more days, I’ll be hopping on a plane and winging my way to Sydney, Australia. But please don’t fret! Even though I may not be HERE…I will be hopping around the blogsphere, visiting with Kirsti Call on Writers’ Rumpus, sharing lists of female inventors with Mia Wenjen on Pragmatic Mom, answering questions for Maria Marshall on Picture Book Buzz, chatting with Darlene Beck-Jacobsen on Gold from Dust: Bringing Stories to Life, and more. Plus there will be several Perfect Picture Book posts right here as I continue to celebrate the fabulous 2019 debuts…like today’s wonderful book!

And as a special treat, I’ll be sharing the cover of author Lindsay Leslie’s SECOND debut picture book of 2019…PLUS, she’s offering a double giveaway.

spineless cover

THIS BOOK IS SPINELESS

Written by Lindsay Leslie

Illustrated by Alice Brereton

Published by Page Street Kids (February 19, 2019)

Ages: 4-8

Themes: Sensory Perception, Humor, Problem Solving

Synopsis: From Amazon:

“With suspense and humor, this wary and unadventurous book uses the five senses to try and figure out what kind of story might be on its pages.

Does it hear spooky wails from a ghost story?
Can it see a mysterious something peeking around a corner?
Is that the dizzy feeling of zero gravity it senses?
Might that be the stinky smell of animals in nature it detects?
Could it be tasting the saltiness of a story on the high seas?

The reader and book navigate the book’s contents together, becoming friends as the book becomes braver with every page turn. This multilayered book incorporates the five senses, multiple literary genres, and various book parts, with the relationship between book and reader bringing everything together.”

Why I love this book:

  • I love books that are interactive and encourage participation between reader/listener and the story.
  • This book has heart and humor…great combination for any picture book.
  • The illustrations are lots of fun and will engage children to keep turning the pages.

RELATED ACTIVITIES:

dream-catcher-craftPhoto courtesy: http://www.childrenandyouth.co.uk

Make a DREAMCATCHER to grab your dreams, both good and bad. For detailed instructions: http://www.childrenandyouth.co.uk/children/dont-be-afraid-god-is-with-us/

And check out author Leslie’s second debut picture book, NOVA THE STAR EATER that launches in May.

nova_cover-lowres

Here’s a little bit about the author of these brilliant books!

Bio: A diary keeper, a journal writer, a journalism major, a public relations executive—Lindsay Leslie has always operated in a world of written words. When she became a mom and began to tell her kids bedtime stories, Lindsay connected the dots to children’s literature. She likes to bring her unique outlook on life, quirky humor, and play with words to the page in picture books. Lindsay is the author of THIS BOOK IS SPINELESS, her debut picture book (Page Street Kids, Feb. 19, 2019). Her second picture book, NOVA THE STAR EATER (Page Street Kids), will launch on May 21, 2019. Her third picture book, DUSK RAIDERS WANTED (Page Street Kids), will launch in spring of 2020. Lindsay lives with her husband, two young boys, and two fur-beasts in Austin.

Links: www.lindsayleslie.com

Twitter: @lleslie

Instagram: @lindsaylesliewrites

Dear friends, one of the things I’m always encouraging people to do is to write reviews for the books that you love. Lindsay kindly supplied the links for Goodreads, so if you get to read either or both of her books, I hope you will hop over and post your review. This is the best gift you can give an author…other than buying their book, of course.

Goodreads:

THIS BOOK IS SPINELESS: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40046021-this-book-is-spineless?from_search=true

https://www.amazon.com/This-Book-Spineless-Lindsay-Leslie/dp/1624146589/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1531156153&sr=8-1&keywords=this+book+is+spineless

NOVA THE STAR EATER:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41150332-nova-the-star-eater?from_search=true

https://www.amazon.com/Nova-Star-Eater-Lindsay-Leslie/dp/1624146937/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1535051997&sr=8-1&keywords=nova+the+star+eater

Lindsay and I are actually members of one of the debut picture book author groups and I’ve gotten to know her a bit. She is mega-smart about writing and lots of other things, so, I asked her to share an author tip with us.

Lindsay says:

When I was in the throes of querying, I took advantage of every opportunity available to me. Not only did I have a targeted list of agents I was interested in working with, but also I participated in all of the Twitter #hashtag events, such as #PitMad and #PBPitch, as well as the online contests, including #PBParty, among others. I even submitted to a Writer’s Digest competition (and I placed fourth for children’s literature). What I felt was important was feedback. I wanted to see if my concepts caught eyeballs. Did my pitches make people pause? Am I getting a reaction? For the pitches that got no love, I knew I had work to do and needed go back to either rework the manuscript or figure out why my pitch wasn’t connecting. For the pitches that received a “heart,” I knew I was on the right track. This was all part of my market research. Of course, this process came after running my manuscripts by several critique partners. So, if you are feeling fearful or timid about putting yourself out there with these types of contest and opportunities, know that you aren’t the only one feeling that way and that there are so many upsides to participating! For me, it was a book deal with Page Street Kids.

How cool is that! And, if you’re in the market to win a copy of THIS BOOK IS SPINELESS and an F&G (unbound copy) of NOVA THE STAR EATER, please don’t forget to leave a comment. I’d love if you would share what, if anything, made you feel spineless as a child.

I hope you all have a safe and wonderful weekend.

Giveaway Winner Catchup and a NEW LOOK

I’m back from Chicago, dear friends, and the extra pounds were unfortunately not in my luggage. It’s really difficult to refrain from eating all the yummy foods during this holiday season…I do try not to take seconds, but I don’t always succeed. If any of you have a great plan to keep unwanted weight off, please share. (the tips…not the weight!)

It turned out to be a working vacation…for my daughter-in-law, that is. She’s so thrilled about my picture books that will be launching next year. “You are a picture book writer,” she said. “You are full of fun and your website needs to reflect that!” And so she made the magic happen and the new banner is the result – featuring characters from two of my 2019 debut picture books, PIPPA’S PASSOVER PLATE illustrated by the fabulous Jill Weber and FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK illustrated by the talented Mirka Hokkanen, are frolicking around me! Continue reading

Perfect Picture Book Friday: THE ROUGH PATCH Plus Double Giveaway

Sometimes things are just meant to be.

A couple of months ago, I noticed author/illustrator Brian Lies was promoting a new book and offering a signed copy and an original illustration sketch as a giveaway. All you had to do to enter was to share the post. Of course, everybody knows I love sharing the word about new picture books…so I did. And guess what? Continue reading

SHERRY HOWARD: Will Write for Cookies PLUS PB Critique Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Continue reading

AMBER HENDRICKS: Will Write for Cookies Plus PB Critique Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

updated author

AMBER HENDRICKS

Hello everyone! You are in for a treat today! It’s always such fun to chat with authors who are friends and critique partners – even I learn more about them during the Q&A.

Amber grew up reading everything she could get her hands on, including the morning cereal boxes. That passion melded into writing, and by the age of 11 she was writing and binding her own “books.” Over the years, Amber has worn many hats. Those include army wife, mother, visual merchandiser, certified pharmacy technician, and childcare professional. But she has always circled back to her first love of telling stories. SOPHIE AND LITTLE STAR is her first book for children.

To learn more about Amber and her writing:

Facebook, Twitter, Publisher website

Okay…so there you go! I just learned that Amber also read cereal boxes! I wonder how many other people do that? I’m so thrilled you stopped by today, my friend. Thank you for offering a pb critique as a giveaway…I can attest to the fact that your feedback is fabulous!

ME: Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?

AMBER: I don’t remember reading many picture books as a child, outside of Dr. Seuss. What I do remember is the feeling I would get when I held a book. A magical feeling that I was about to go on an incredible adventure and discover amazing new people and places I could only visit in my imagination. I still get that feeling every time I hold a book!

SALSCover_Final_RGB_NoBleed_Stars

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

AMBER: So many things! But one of the important lessons I learned was that publishing takes a very long time. Patience in publishing is a must! There will always be something you’re waiting for: responses to submissions, that new shiny idea, your book to release….  Once I learned to accept and embrace the waiting, I was able to enjoy the process even more and turn my focus onto writing something new.

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

AMBER: My laptop sits atop my fireplace mantle, so I write standing up! Standing gives me the freedom to pace around if I’m working through a particularly tough scene or if I want to grab another book for reference. After so many years of standing, I couldn’t imagine writing at a desk.

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

AMBER: I have two young children and work a full time job, so it is almost impossible to find time during the day to write. Often, you’ll find me typing away in the late evenings after the kids have gone to bed and all the chores have been done. Though sometimes an idea or perfect line will pop into my mind in the middle of the night!

Writing area

ME: Why do you write for children?

 AMBER: I think there is a certain magic in introducing a child to the love of reading. When I first got the idea to pursue publishing, I thought I’d write Young Adult novels. But I was running a preschool/daycare at the time and picture books were a huge part of our day. I began to see the complexity in those seemingly simple stories and challenged myself to give picture books a try. I fell head-over-heels in love. Four years later, I’m still honing that craft!

ME:  If you have any thoughts or advice for aspiring writers, please share. .

AMBER: To aspiring writers…… Publishing is full of ups and downs. There is no magic formula. Writing will always be hard, and will most likely get harder as you push yourself to learn more and hone your craft. The good news?  We belong to an amazing community of like-minded people who will lift you up and encourage you along the way. Keep reading. Keep writing. Keep learning. You CAN do this!

ME: WOW! Thank you so much, Amber. I love your advice…yes, definitely, there is no magic formula…although you’ve laid out the steps that must be taken: Keep Reading! Keep Writing! Keep Learning! 

I wonder if anyone else is amazed that Amber writes standing up…that is probably a great idea for the back…no bending over and rounding of the spine!  I just may have to try it! And something else I may have to try…Amber’s Mom’s No Bake Cookie! Take it away, Amber.

AMBER: I’m not the best baker, but my mom is and she makes a mean No Bake Cookie!

No Bake Cookies

NO-BAKE COOKIES

Ingredients:

2 cups sugar

½ cup milk

½ cup butter

¼ cup cocoa

3 cups quick oats

½ cup peanut butter

1 tsp vanilla

½ tsp salt

Directions:

Melt ½ cup butter in a saucepan over medium heat.

Add sugar, milk, and cocoa and mix well.

Bring to a boil for one minute, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and add peanut butter and vanilla. Stir until peanut butter is melted.

Combine oats and salt and add to the pot stirring until well mixed.

Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto wax paper.

Allow to cool thoroughly and enjoy!

This sounds like pure comfort food to me…I’m going to make them with my grandson the next time he comes over. Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to meeting a kidlit friend on Wednesday, one of my inperson critique groups on Thursday, and my local SCBWI group on Friday – so I’d better get busy revising an old nonfition pb bio I want to send to my agent and also get writing on the tentative follow up Pippa story.

And please stay tuned because one day early next week I’m going to have a SURPRISE COVER REVEAL for my FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN:An Animal Counting Book story with a special giveaway in honor of that.

What’s happening in your writing world, my friends? I hope you have a wonderful weekend – the New England foliage is probably coming into its peak…at least here in southern New Hampshire. Don’t forget to leave a commnet to be entered into the giveaway for the FABULOUS PICTURE BOOK CRITIQUE from Amber!

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday: SOPHIE AND LITTLE STAR Plus PB Manuscript Critique Giveaway

Did you know that my 5-year old granddaughter’s name is Sophie? She’s a ball of fun and energy…and she LOVES books and hearing stories and having the mailman deliver envelopes with her name on them. And so, when one of my dear friends and critique buddies, Amber Hendricks, wrote a story called Sophie and Little Star and it got published, I knew I’d be getting a copy for her. And of course, sharing it with all of you for Perfect Picture Book Friday!

And guess what? This talented and generous author is gifting some lucky reader with a Picture Book Manuscript Critique…yes! Just make sure you leave a comment and you will be entered into the giveaway.

SALSCover_Final_RGB_NoBleed_Stars

SOPHIE AND LITTLE STAR

Written by Amber Hendricks

Illustrated by Raissa Figueroa

Published by Clear Fork/Spork (2018)

Ages: 3-8

Themes: Friendship, helping one another, determination

Opening lines: 

“Every night, when the sun had set and the stars gathered in the heavens to shine their light on the world, Little Star watched, wishing she could join.”

Synopsis:

“Sophie and Little Star is a delightfully charming tale about friendship and finding where we belong. A wonderful bedtime treat!” -Marissa Meyer, New York Times bestselling author of The Lunar Chronicles

When a little star falls from her home in the sky, she finds help from an unexpected friend. Together, the new friends search for a way to send Little Star home, but soon discover that not everyone you meet is kind, or helpful. Little Star begins to wonder if she’ll ever find a way home, and if she does, will she be able to leave her new friend, Sophie, behind?”

Why I like this book:

  • I love stories about friendship, especially those with a bit of pixie dust and magic woven in.
  • I love stories where the main character shows determination – and this one is a mighty girl who just isn’t going to give up until she helps her new friend, Little Star.
  • The illustrations are beautiful and Raissa captures the dreamy night-time feel throughout the pages.
  • I love sweet bedtime stories and so do kids!

RELATED ACTIVITIES

Star-Crafts-for-Kids-10-Ideas-433x650Photo courtesy: https://www.powerfulmothering.com/10-star-crafts-for-kids/

STAR PROJECTS FOR KIDS: For detailed instructions, please go to: https://www.powerfulmothering.com/10-star-crafts-for-kids/

Bundle up and go out in the evening to look up at the stars. Get a book for kids on the constellations and see how many you can identify. Check you library for Child’s Introduction to the Night Sky by Michael Driscoll.

Thank you so much for stopping by. Please make sure you leave a comment to enter the giveaway…and come back tomorrow when Amber visits Picture Books Help Kids Soar and shares her writing journey and a very special No-Bake cookie recipe from her mom.

This post joins all the others on Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday link up where bloggers review their favorite picture books.

And please don’t forget that our favorite authors need our help to spread the word about their books. BUY THEM! REVIEW THEM! TELL OTHER PEOPLE ABOUT THEM!

 

 

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush PLUS PB Manuscript Critique Giveaway and Book Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday! Picture books are magical…especially when they are about a magical item. And Perfect Picture Book Friday posts are magical when they have DOUBLE GIVEAWAYS. Yes, author Melissa Stoller is donating both a pb manuscript critique AND a copy of her brand-new picture book! Woo-hoo!

scarlet's magic paintbrush

SCARLET’S MAGIC PAINTBRUSH

Written by Melissa Stoller

Ilustrated by Sandie Sonke

Published by Clear Fork/Spork (October 2018)

Ages: 4-8

Themes: Creativity, be yourself, self-esteem

Opening lines: 

“Years ago, Scarlet found a magic paintbrush and everything changed.”

Synopsis: From Amazon: 

What would it be like to have a magic paintbrush?

Scarlet knows. 
She paints perfect pictures . . . until her brush disappears. 
Will she ever be
able to create another 
masterpiece without it?

Why I like this book:

  • The element of magic appeals to kids…who wouldn’t want a brush that magically draws perfect pictures?
  • I loved seeing Scarlet come to the realization that her own creativity is important.
  • The illustrations are full of color…perfect for a book about a girl who loves to paint.

RELATED ACTIVITIES:

Painting With Kids

Painting-Activities-for-Kids-1

Photo courtesy: https://artfulparent.com/painting-activities-kids-60-ideas/

For detailed instructions for 50 painting projects: https://artfulparent.com/painting-activities-kids-60-ideas/

Ask your kids, what would they draw if they had a magic paintbrush? If they could imbue any item with magical powers, what would it be and what would it do? And wouldn’t we all like to have an item that had magical powers? What item would you want to be magical?

Please don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in this double-your-pleasure giveaway. And, when you read Melissa’s book, don’t forget to leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and/or other review sites. Reviews are like a birthday gift to your favorite author!

And speaking of picture books, for more wonderful recommendations and activities for kids, please hop over to Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday link up.

Have a wonderful weekend, dear friends. Safe travels if you are away from home.