Perfect Picture Book Friday: HEY, HEY, HAY! PLUS PB Manuscript Critique Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, everyone!

The leaves are already turning color and the evening air has that autumn nip in it. What a perfect time for today’s picture book review!

Tomorrow, the author of this book, Christy Mihaly, will be stopping by to chat and she has graciously agreed to offer a picture book manuscript critique as a giveaway. Please leave a comment to be entered and come back tomorrow for the Q&A and, if you leave a comment there, you will have two chances to win.

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HEY, HEY, HAY! A Tale of Bales and the Machines That Make Them

Written by Christy Mihaly

Illustrated by Joe Cepeda

Published by Holiday House (August 2018)

Ages: 4-8

Themes: Farm machinery, farm life, girl power

Synopsis: From Amazon:

“A joyful rhyming story about a girl and her mother and the machines they use on their family farm to make hay.

Mower blades slice through the grass./A new row falls with every pass./Next we spread the grass to dry./The tedder makes those grasses fly!

A girl tells the tale of making hay as Mom uses a mower for mowing grass, then a tedder for aerating the grass, and eventually a baler. Told in rhyme and illustrated with fabulous art by JOE CEPEDA, each part of the process is a celebration of summer, farming, and the mother-daughter relationship. Back matter includes a glossary.”

Why  I like this book:

  • Growing up in the city, I didn’t know much about farm life…I think it is important for kids who grow up in the city to find out how life is on the farm. Plus, kids who grow up on a farm these days need to see themselves in a book other than Old Macdonald.
  • Great palette used by the illustrator with bold drawings.
  • LOVE the rhyme…and kids will love it, too.

RELATED ACTIVITIES

15-Baby-Animal-Days-Farm-Crafts-1-750x750Photo courtesy: https://iheartcraftythings.com

Who can resist baby farm animals? These crafts are so simple. For detailed instructions: https://iheartcraftythings.com/15-baby-animal-days-farm-crafts-for-kids.html

Please don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a Picture Book Manuscript Critique by author Christy Mihaly.  Then, come back tomorrow when she stops by to chat on Picture Books Help Kids Soar. And remember our authors need our help. Spread the word about the books you love and make sure you leave reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and other review sites.

I hope you all have a beautiful weekend. I am waving from Chicago today!

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday: RICE FROM HEAVEN

I’ve been waiting a long time to review this book for Perfect Picture Book Friday!

How long, you ask? Well, I will tell you. I’ve been waiting ever since I read one of the first drafts from my critique buddy, Tina Cho. Because honestly, even from the first drafts, I knew this was going to be a real live book one day!

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RICE FROM HEAVEN

Written by Tina Cho

Illustrated by Keum Jin Song

Published by Little Bee Books

Ages: 4-8

Themes: Compassion, courage, South and North Korea

Synopsis: From Amazon:

“Rice from Heaven is a true story about compassion and bravery as a young girl and her community in South Korea help deliver rice via balloons to the starving and oppressed people in North Korea.

We reach a place where mountains become a wall. A wall so high, no one dares to climb. Beyond that wall and across the sea live children just like me, except they do not have food to eat.
Rice from Heaven is a true story about compassion and bravery as a young girl and her community in South Korea help deliver rice via balloons to the starving and oppressed people in North Korea.

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We reach a place where mountains become a wall. A wall so high, no one dares to climb. Beyond that wall and across the sea live children just like me, except they do not have food to eat.

Yoori lives in South Korea and doesn’t know what North Korea is like, but her father (Appa) does. Appa grew up in North Korea, where he did not have enough food to eat. Starving, he fled to South Korea in search of a better life. Yoori doesn’t know how she can help as she’s only a little “grain of rice” herself, but Appa tells her that they can secretly help the starving people by sending special balloons that carry rice over the border.

Villagers glare and grumble, and children protest feeding the enemy, but Yoori doesn’t back down. She has to help. People right over the border don’t have food. No rice, and no green fields.

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With renewed spirit, volunteers gather in groups, fill the balloons with air, and tie the Styrofoam containers filled with rice to the tails of the balloons. With a little push, the balloons soar up and over the border, carrying rice in the darkness of the night over to North Korea.”

Why I like this book:

  • I love books that are based on true events…bringing history alive for young readers is so very important.
  • The text is lyrical and helps us connect to the main character.
  • The illustrations engage the reader/listener from the first page to the last.
  • This book is a perfect launchpad for any school or home discussion about helping others, compassion, and the world situation.

RELATED ACTIVITIES

All Kinds of Rice Crafts

RiceRoundUp-001-400x546Photo courtesy: https://funfamilycrafts.com/rice-activities-crafts-for-kids

75 crafts using rice! For more detailed instructions, please go here:

 https://funfamilycrafts.com/rice-activities-crafts-for-kids

Thank you for stopping by – I hope you will be back tomorrow for our chat with author Tina Cho…she is sharing some of her writing journey, a couple of author tips (like revision is a key ingredient to author success), and a treat recipe that includes…you guessed it…something rice-like.

And if you want to read the second installment of the peek inside my life, head on over to the blog of Sarah Hetu-Radney, Writer. She’s offering a giveaway of one of her own pb critiques!

Please have a safe and happy weekend!

 

 

 

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Edmund Pickle Chin and A Few Words To Honor Clara Bowman-Jahn


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Some of you in the kid lit community may have heard the sad news of the passing of Clara Bowman-Jahn. Clara was one of the first people who welcomed me into this picture book writing world. She was a bright light of kindness and was always looking for ways to help others.

Since today is Perfect Picture Book Friday, I am reblogging a portion of a post I did back in 2014 when her second picture book launched.

 

Edmund Pickle Chin – A Donkey Rescue Story

Written by Clara Bowman-Jahn and Susan April Elwood

Illustrated by Lynne Bendoly

Publisher: eTreasures Publishing (April 2014)

Ages: 4 and up

Themes:Animal rescue, animal abuse

Synopsis: From eTreasures

Edmund Pickle Chin, A Donkey Rescue Story is based on a true story. Edmund, the main character, is an abused donkey who is the first of many animals to call Evermay Farm, a small rescue in central Georgia, home. Susan, Edmund’s care giver in the story, not only gives the shy donkey the time and patience he needs but gives him a new name every day of the week. The title takes on one of those nicknames she so lovingly calls him. As Susan starts to take in new critters, Edmund finds himself changing. As his name grows, so does his trust and acceptance. Edmund soon learns that he is not only needed but wanted. This confused, frightened donkey’s life changes as he becomes a hero, a babysitter, and a companion to the other residents at Evermay Farm.”

 

Why I like this book:

  • Beautiful illustrations
  • Wonderful introduction for young children to the need to care for and be kind to animals
  • Helps children understand that everyone feels strange in a new place…but we get more comfortable as time passes
  • Based on a true story
  • When you can make a non-fiction book appealing to children, you have a winner!

How a parent can use this book:

  • Talk about how people need to be responsible pet owners – what do animals need?
  • How do different animals help us? How should work animals be treated?
  • Visit a local animal shelter
  • Older children can take part in a fundraiser for a local animal shelter

 

Related Activities:

paper-plate-donkey

PAPER PLATE DONKEY

If you visit my blog often, you’ll know that I love to use paper plates as the base material in crafts for young children.

You will need: 1 paper plate, construction paper, scissors, glue, markers or crayons.

  1. Color the plate gray or brown (depending on the crayon colors available or if desired, your child can paint it).
  2. Cut out the eyes, nose, hair, teeth and ears from construction paper and glue in place.
  3. Use the paper plate as a mask or puppet to role play parts of the story.

For more donkey crafts go here: http://www.dltk-kids.com/animals/donkeys.html

 

Clara Bowman-Jahn is one of the talented authors of Edmund Pickle Chin.

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Clara Bowman-Jahn worked as a registered nurse for thirty two years finally trading that job for her true love, writing. Clara’s short stories have been published in three anthologies, Campaigner Challenges 2011The ‘I’ Word and Charms Vol. 2. She is also the author of Annie’s Special Day, a children’s picture book. Her second picture book is a true story, Edmund Pickle Chin, a Donkey Rescue Story.

When Clara is not writing, she volunteers by teaching ESOL to adult students. She also likes Pilates, blogging, reading books and taking long walks with her husband. She is a member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Picture Book Challenge, Susanna Leonard Hill’s Making Picture Book Magic, Pennwriters, Bethesda Writer’s Center and Round Hill Writer’s Group. She lives in rural Loudoun County, Virginia with her brilliant husband, and two cats. She is the proud mother of two wonderful grown sons and a grandmother to a delightful grandson.

 

Susan April Elwood is the other talented author of Edmund Pickle Chin.

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Susan April Elwood has worked with children for over twenty years in Northern Virginia as a preschool teacher, kindergarten assistant, and a library assistant. With her passion for animals it made perfect sense to combine the two and write an animal story for children, teaming up with author Clara Bowman-Jahn.

Susan and her husband Tom moved from Northern Virginia in 2007 to central Georgia where they founded Evermay Farm, a non-profit rescue for farm animals. This is the setting for the book titled, Edmund Pickle Chin, A Donkey Rescue Story. The story is based on Edmund, a donkey, the first of many animals to call Evermay Farm home. Susan and her husband Tom have two treasured sons, a wonderful daughter-in-law and a precious grandson. In her free time, Susan enjoys photographing animals and antiquing.

 

To read more awesome picture book reviews, please visit Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday.

Thank you, dear friends, for spending your precious time here. I hope you will stop by tomorrow as I continue remembering Clara on Will Write for Cookies with a post she did for me several years ago on GOALS.

 

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Hedgehog Needs a Hug PLUS Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday! I’m so happy to bring you one of the new 2018 debuts! This one is such a perfect marriage of text and illustrations – and one of the reasons for that is because it was created by the very talented author/illustrator Jen Betton. I fell in love with her heartfelt drawings of all of the animal characters and I think you will also. And guess what? Jen will be stopping by Will Write for Cookies tomorrow with an inside peek at her writing/illustrating life.

Don’t forget to leave a comment on this post and on tomorrow’s for a chance to win a copy of this wonderful book!

 

hedgehog needs a hug coverHEDGEHOG NEEDS A HUG

Written and illustrated by Jen Betton

Published by G.P.Putnam’s Sons (June 2018)

Ages: 4-8

Themes: Friendship

Synopsis: From Amazon: 

Everyone needs hugs, even if they’re prickly.

When Hedgehog wakes up feeling down in the snout and droopy in the prickles, he knows a hug will make him feel much better. But none of his animal friends are eager to wrap their arms around Hedgehog’s prickles, and he’s too smart to fall for Fox’s sly offer.

Then Hedgehog gets a surprise: Another animal in the forest is feeling exactly the same way.

Luckily, both are kind and brave enough for the perfect hug

Why I like this book:

  • Text filled with heart and humor is paired with gorgeous heartfelt illustrations
  • I LOVE friendship stories – and so do children
  • Kids will really relate to how Hedgehog is feeling

RELATED ACTIVITIES

25-cute-hedgehog-craftsPhoto courtesy: https://totallythebomb.com/25-totally-cute-hedgehog-crafts

Can you believe all of these awesome hedgehog crafts? For detailed instructions, please go to: https://totallythebomb.com/25-totally-cute-hedgehog-crafts

Matthew Winner gave a shout out to Jen’s new trailer for HEDGEHOG NEEDS A HUG:  http://www.matthewcwinner.com/single-post/2018/06/05/HEDGEHOG-NEEDS-A-HUG-Book-Trailer-Premiere

Don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the book giveaway…and please support your favorite authors and illustrators by buying their books, telling friends about their books, and writing reviews for their books.

And definitely don’t miss coming tomorrow when author/illustrator Jen Betton stops by to chat on Will Write for Cookies.

Happy Summer to all…and have a safe weekend!

 

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday: IRVING BERLIN: THE IMMIGRANT BOY WHO MADE AMERICA SING

I’m sure nobody will be surprised that one of my favorite activities is reading picture books. And I’ll let you in on a little secret. It’s even more fun when the book is written by someone I know…someone I’ve met in person. Today’s Perfect Picture Book is one of those! Author Nancy Churnin has DONE IT AGAIN! She is on a roll with her fabulous nonfiction picture book biographies!

irving berlin

Written by Nancy Churnin

Illustrated by James Rey Sanchez

Published by Creston Books (May 2018)

Ages: 6-9

Themes: Music, The American Dream, Believe in yourself

Synopsis: From Amazon:

Irving Berlin came to the United States as a refugee from Tsarist Russia, escaping a pogrom that destroyed his village. Growing up on the streets of the lower East Side, the rhythms of jazz and blues inspired his own song-writing career. Starting with his first big hit, Alexander’s Ragtime Band, Berlin created the soundtrack for American life with his catchy tunes and irresistible lyrics. With “God Bless America,” he sang his thanks to the country which had given him a home and a chance to express his creative vision.

Why I like this book:

  • Inspiring story of overcoming the odds
  • The text sings, just like the songs Irving Berlin wrote
  • Amazing illustrations have rhythm and movement

RELATED ACTIVITIES:

12-flag-crafts-for-kids-fbPhoto courtesy: https://iheartcraftythings.com/12-fabulous-american-flag-crafts-kids.html

With Flag Day and the 4th of July just around the corner, here is a wonderful selection of crafts for kids! Irving Berlin was so proud to be an American…you can help your kids create something to help celebrate these important holidays.

For detailed instructions: https://iheartcraftythings.com/12-fabulous-american-flag-crafts-kids.html

And for a very detailed review of Nancy’s book, there’s a wonderful blog post at Books My Kids Read: https://booksmykidsread.wordpress.com/2018/05/30/irving-berlin-the-immigrant-boy-who-made-america-sing/

For more picture book reviews, please hop over to Susanna Hill’s resource list of over 1000 picture book reviews. And for today’s rainbow array of picture book reviews from some of our favorite kitliters, click here.

Thank you, dear friends, for stopping by. If you are traveling this weekend, please be safe. But wherever you are, if you have children, take time to read them a picture book. And if you don’t have kids, read one anyway!

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday: THE MANIC PANIC Plus Giveaway

Hello dear friends. I hope I am not confusing everyone in the middle of the #50PreciousWordsforKids Writing Challenge by posting a review for Perfect Picture Book Friday. But when I found out about this story, I knew it was one I had to share with all of you!

Picture this: you walk into a restaurant and notice a family already seated. Mother. Father. And a couple of kids. But something is odd. They are not talking with each other. Oh no. Each one is holding an electronic device. Tablet. iPhone. Video game player. 

I’ve seen this scenario many times. Have you? Believe me, as a parent of three children, I do understand the desire to have a peaceful meal. We used to bring crayons and paper…some restaurants even provided these supplies. I’m not sure if they do that now…maybe they just supply WiFi because they assume that even the youngest kids will be connecting electronically.

And yes…I agree…our kids need to be tech savvy…but screen-time is addictive and with this comes the inevitable disconnect with real people. And that is too, too sad. So, when I read Richa Jha’s fabulous THE MANIC PANIC, I realized she had found a way to put a humorous spin on this and perhaps, help everyone put down their devices and reconnect with life. PLUS…thanks to the generosity of Richa and Creston Books, we have a GIVEAWAY! Please leave a comment to be entered.

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MANIC PANIC

Written by Richa Jha 

Illustrated by Mithila Anath

Published by Creston Books (2018)

Ages: 5-8

Themes: Family interaction, limiting screen time

Synopsis: From Amazon: 

Some grown-ups have so much screen time that they just can’t cope when the wifi goes out. Luckily the grown-ups in Manic Panic live with a smart kid who loves to read and an adventurous grandma who knows how to have fun without the internet. Manic Panic is a wry look at the value of unplugged family time, even when someone is resistant to the real world. The illustrations add depth to the story, helping us to see all the small things we can miss when we’re glued to our phones.

Why I like this book:

  • Hilarious text that just about every modern parent and child will be able to relate to as the parents and child in the story switch roles.
  • Great illustrations that really help show the child’s frustration with her WiFi addicted parents. 
  • This is the perfect story to start a discussion on the importance of limiting screen time and increasing together time.

RELATED ACTIVITIES

  1. Visit CAMPAIGN FOR A COMMERICAL-FREE CHILDHOOD: http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/blog/who-needs-screens-70-ideas-family-fun
  2. Make a list of things your family can do instead of screentime and then do them!
  3. Set screen-time rules and stick to them.

Don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway of a copy of MANIC PANIC thanks to author Richa Jha and her publisher, Creston Books! And remember that there are several things we can all do to help our favorite authors:

1. If we can, buy a copy of their books.

2. Write a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and other book reveiw sites.

3. Ask our local library to purchase a copy for their collection.

4. Tell friends about the book.

There is still time to send in stories for #50PreciousWordsforKids International Writing Challenge – please email your child’s precious words by Monday, May 7 at 11:59pm. I will be posting all of the stories next Friday, May 11.

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I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I truly appreciate you spending your time here. And if you want to read more picture book reviews, please hop over to Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday link up.

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday: SELFIE SEBASTIAN and A CAMPFIRE TAIL plus GIVEAWAY

I had a lovely surprise the other day. I received two beautiful picture books in the mail. Written by author Sarah Glenn Marsh, they are bright and bold and so much fun. I knew I had to share them with you today. One is about taking selfies. How awesome is that! And the other is about camping and finding the courage to be a real friend. And because my bookshelves are overflowing, I plan to give both of these away. So please make sure you leave a comment. And don’t hop off until you scroll through the entire post BECAUSE after the picture book review, I’ll be giving everyone a heads up about #50PreciousWordsforKids which is COMING ON MONDAY!!!

SELFIE SEBASTIAN

Written by Sarah Glenn Marsh

Illustrated by Florence Weister

Published by Sterling Children’s Books (2018)

Ages: 5-8

Themes: Friendship, travel

Synopsis: From Amazon: 

You can’t take the perfect selfie if you’re all by yourself.
Sebastian is one handsome fox—and he really, really loves to take selfies. But somehow, no matter how camera-ready he is, his pictures always lack a certain something. And he can’t put his paw on exactly what. So Sebastian sets off on an elaborate quest to take the perfect selfie, dashing from a glamorous red carpet in Hollywood to the vast expanse of the Grand Canyon. He even zooms to the Moon! Still, none of Sebastian’s photos make him happy. Could it be that the secret to his special selfie is right where he started . . . at home, with his friends?

Why I like this book:

  • I loved the relevant theme of taking a selfie…even young kids want to do it.
  • I enjoyed the travel/geography layer to the story – kids will love to guess where Sebastian is.
  • GREAT illustrations – the front and back covers are amazing!

A CAMPFIRE TAIL

Written by Sarah Glenn Marsh

Illustrated by Ana Gomez

Published by Sterling Children’s Books (May 1, 2018)

Ages: 4 and up

Themes: Friendship, courage, camping

Synopsis: From Amazon: 

Ever been stuck with a friend who’s totally uncool—and worried that it will rub off on you?
Welcome to Camp Wildwood! It’s Dragon’s first day, and his buddy would LIKE to show him a good time. But Dragon doesn’t seem to fit in with the boys and girls. He overturns the boat, ruins the puppet show, and even sets the tent on fire. Then, just as his buddy is about to give up, Dragon comes through in a pinch. This sweet, funny picture book teaches an important lesson about the true meaning of friendship—and in accepting the strengths and weaknesses of others.

Why I like this book:

  • I love friendship stories!
  • The illustrations are fantastic…just love the main character!
  • Text is full of heart and humor…great combination for a picture book!

Activities for both stories: 

  • Make a list of how to be a good friend.
  • Take selfies with friends and create an album of friendship.
  • Role play with your kids…different scenarios where being a good friend might be difficult.

Please don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway. If you’d like to see more picture book reviews, please go to Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture book Friday link up. And remember the best gift we can give the authors of our favorite stories is to buy their book or ask the library to order their book or write a review on Amazon or other book review sites.

And now, dear friends, a few words about #50PreciousWordsforKids! Last year, I hosted an international writing challenge for kid writers in grades K-6. I invited them to create a story for children in 50 words or less. #50PreciousWordsforKids drew participants from 15 states and 4 foreign countries. What amazed me was the incredible creativity that was unleashed by the restrictive word limit. Click here to see the stories from last year’s challenge.

MAGIC HAPPENS WHEN YOU MAKE EVERY WORD COUNT!

As a former kindergarten teacher, I’ve always been on a mission to help kids become lovers of books and reading. What a thrill it was to invite them to become their own storytellers!

This writing challenge is ALL-INCLUSIVE and INTERNATIONAL!

#50PreciousWordsforKids coincides with Children’s Book Week, April 30-May 6. Every child in grades K-6 is invited to participate. Teachers can have each child write a story of 50 words or less…then the teacher and/or class will choose one story to submit. Last year, some classes formed teams and wrote collaborative stories – that is totally fine. Parents who homeschool their children can submit one story per child. The official #50PreciousWordsforKids post will go live on Monday morning!

Here are the guidelines.

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  •  Each child, grade K-6, writes a story of 50 words or less.
  • Title not included in word count.
  • Story must have a beginning, middle, and end.
  • Happy or sad, silly or serious, true or make-believe.
  • Teachers/students choose one story to submit per class.
  • Homeschooling parents submit one story per child.
  • Please email story to: viviankirkfield@gmail.com by May 7 at 11:59pm.
  • Stories post on my blog: viviankirkfield.com on May 11.
  • Teacher/parent receives a certificate to copy and present to each child who wrote a story.
  • Giveaway of seven mini-Skype author classroom visits.

 Questions? Contact me at viviankirkfield@gmail.com

I’m asking all of you who have connections with elementary schools or homeschooling families in any state and any country to please spread the word. Last year, I contacted the Children’s Book Council and they agree – it’s a perfect activity for Children’s Book Week. Click here to read last year’s stories.

The challenge runs April 30-May 6 and the stories need to be emailed to me: viviankirkfield@gmail.com by 11:59pm Eastern Standard Time on Monday, May 7th. I’ll post those stories on Friday, May 11th. Teachers and parents will receive a certificate that can be copied and personalized with the name of each child who participated. And there will be mini-Skype author classroom visits randomly awarded—one per grade level if I get enough volunteers. 

Let’s help our kids stretch and grow their imaginations.

Which brings me to the next request…I still need volunteers to do mini-Skype author or illustrator visits. If you would like to donate a mini-Skype author or illustrator visit, please contact me ASAP either by email or on FB or Twitter. It’s a wonderful way to connect with our audience of parents, teachers, and kids!

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Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!