Jackie Azua Kramer: Will Write for Cookies PLUS Giveaway

 

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

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JACKIE AZÚA KRAMER

Jackie and I connected in a couple of kid lit Facebook groups. I absolutely love her picture book, THE GREEN UMBRELLA, which we spotlighted during her book blog tour. I’m thrilled to announce that THE GREEN UMBRELLA was just chosen as a Bank St College Best Books.

 green umbrella cover

Her story melds so perfectly with the reuse/recycle/repurpose theme of  Earth Day http://www.earthday.org/I knew we would want to welcome her to Will Write for Cookies today.

And because I think it’s fun for you to know a little bit about our guests, I grabbed a paragraph from her website about page:

Many lives ago I was an actor, singer & school counselor. Now I’m an author, and wile away my time writing children’s picture books. What ties these all together are my dreams and imagination. Most of the time you’ll find me reading, watching old movies, globe trekking and whenever possible sharing laughter & food with my family.

 Welcome, Jackie! Thank you so much for stopping by to visit with us.

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

 JACKIE:

It may sound cliché, but Maurice Sendak, Dr. Seuss and Arnold Lobel. They were my generations Mo Willems or Mac Barnett. I wore my copies thin of In the Night Kitchen, Horton Hears a Who and Frog and Toad are Friends. At the time, reading in school was very dry and uninventive. It was a welcome relief to discover these books at the library and simply laugh out load or see yourself in these stories. I remember crying when I read Frog and Toad because I knew as a child what it meant to feel lonely sometimes. 

ME: What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started writing for children?

JACKIE:

Apart from the ‘ins and outs’ of the publishing industry, not much. I felt then, as I do now, that wonder is the secret sauce. Wonder allows you to stay curious, open and present, and from that can come great stories. There is one thing—I would have read more picture books.

ME: Where do you like to write/draw – inside, outside, a special area in your home, on the computer, in a notebook? And when do you find time to write?

JACKIE:

All the above. I love my writing space at home, but sometimes there are too many shiny distractions. When the weather is warm, I love to sit on my deck under a canopy of trees. I also love the back corner of my library that faces an old church.

ME: When during the day (or night) are you most productive? Do you set a schedule for working or do you write/draw when the muse speaks?

JACKIE:

I’m writing ALL the time. Just not on paper or my computer. Much of the time, I write in what I call my ‘writerly mind’. In that space–I imagine, dream, think and wonder. Bit by bit, the idea for a story begins to form along with a possible structure. The Boy and the Eight Hundred Pound Gorilla (Candlewick Press, TBD) at 300 words lingered in my thoughts for almost two years.

ME: Why do you write for children?

JACKIE:

Honestly, I write for children because I feel I have something I want to share with them. My hope is that my stories are conduits to feelings—joy, curiosity, sadness, laughter, surprise. Nothing is worse than knowing a child read my book and at the end there wasn’t an ‘AHA’ moment.

ME: Yes, you are so right, Jackie…those are crucial elements to strive to have in our stories. Is there anything else you’d like to share?

JACKIE:

Join Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators—that’s a must. Have something where you can jot down inspirations, thoughts, ideas. Don’t edit or limit your ideas at this incubation stage. Quirky, nuggets or impossible, silly, bizarre and wrong ideas, collect them like a jar of penny’s. One day you’ll cash in BIG!

Thank you so very much, Jackie, for sharing your insights. I know everyone is walking away with a renewed (YES, renewed…pun intended) excitement for why we are all writing for children.

To find out more about Jackie and her books:

www.Jackieazuakramer.com

Twitter @jackiekramer422

Facebook: Jackie Azúa Kramer

The Green Umbrella on Amazon

Oh, wait a minute…don’t walk away yet. First check out the treat recipe. And then make sure you leave a comment to be entered in Jackie’s giveaway. And because it is Earth Day, please join the fun and post or tweet a photo of you doing your Earth Day thing…recycling/repurposing/reusing…make sure you tag me and Jackie so we can see it.

And because we are doing things a bit differently in honor of Earth Day, Jackie has a savory dish for us to try. When I saw it, I couldn’t believe she shared my hubby’s FAVORITE brunch.

JACKIE: I have a simple breakfast dish that we love in our family, Egg in a Basket. And eggs and spring also go well together.

treat.

Recipe for Egg in a Basket:

Cut a medium slice of your favorite round bread. I like a good sour dough. Take out most of the center of the bread. Place in a hot pan with butter and crack two eggs in the center. Flip once and cook eggs to your preference. I love the eggs over easy which compliments the crispy bread. Tip: In the last 30 seconds, add a slice of cooked bacon on top. Bacon makes everything special.

Vivian’s note: This is my husband’s favorite brunch…we call it Egg in a Nest and we add a slice of cheese…American, Swiss, or provolone…let it melt on top…mmmm…mmmm…good!

At this very moment, I am at the NESCBWI with so many of my kid lit friends…maybe even you! Next week, I hope you’ll stop by again for an NESCBWI recap, a Book Review and Giveaway from Rosie Pova in honor of Mother’s Day (doing it early so the prize will get to the winner by Mother’s Day), a Perfect Picture Book Friday with Tara Lazar and a Will Write for Cookies with Anna Forrester. And don’t forget to leave a comment and share a recycle/reuse/repurpose photo on social media.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Perfect Picture Book Friday: The Peddler’s Bed

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday. If you need more picture book recommendations, please head over to Susanna Leonard Hill’s for more picture book reviews.

And do I have a treat for you!

The author of today’s Perfect Picture Book is going to be here tomorrow as the featured author on Will Write for Cookies – hip hip hooray!

I’m so excited! I hope you will all come back on Saturday to find out more about this wonderful lady who runs the incredible Frog on a Blog. But right now, I can’t wait to share her lovely debut picture book which is slated to pub on September 1st and can be pre-ordered on Amazon:

Final Final Cover

The Peddler’s Bed

Written by Lauri Fortino

Illustrated by Bong Redila

Publisher: Ripple Grove Press (2015)

Ages: 4 and up

Themes:

Kindness, sharing

 

Synopsis:

From Amazon:

‘The peddler stopped his cart and climbed down from his seat.
“It’s a fine day,” he said.
“Truly,” answered the little man,”and that’s a fine bed you have there in your cart.”

In this tale of kindness and giving, a peddler attempts to sell a fine, handcrafted bed, guaranteed to never squeak, to a little man who has no bed at all. But the peddler’s heart is moved by the little man’s generosity. When it’s time to get back on the road, will the peddler leave behind the perfect gift of gratitude?
Continue reading

Sandra Beckwith – Will Write for Cookies

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

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INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

SANDRA BECKWITH

KJ2rS6

 

Let’s time travel back about four years…my self-published parenting book was due to come out in September of 2010…I had no blog, no website, thought tweeting was the sound a bird made, had never been on Facebook and didn’t know the first thing about how to market or promote my book or myself. YIKES!

Then I found out about Sandra Beckwith and her Build Book Buzz online class. I signed up and learned more in those 6 weeks than I could ever have thought was possible. But more importantly, I discovered that some people are just angels in disguise. Sandy was kind and patient and knowledgeable and delivered on her promises…always. The class was filled with personal interaction and hands-on assignments. And I know I will always have a friend who supports and encourages me.

Sandy’s written quite a few books and she knows the business from publishing to press release, from using social media to creating a media kit.

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Welcome, Sandy! I really appreciate your being here. I’m so happy you agreed to participate. You bring a very important perspective to the Will Write for Cookies interview.

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

SANDY:

My first favorite author was Carolyn Keene because she wrote the Nancy Drew series. My friends and I used to swap books on the school bus or in class so we all had access to as many of those wonderful mysteries as possible. Not long after that, I fell in love with Louisa May Alcott’s books. After I read Little Women, I wanted to write her a letter telling her how much I enjoyed that book. I was so sad when my mother told me that she died almost a hundred years ago!

Me: What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started writing?

SANDY:

It took me a while to discover that a good editor can both improve your writing and teach you how to do it better the next time. I still pay attention to edits now, a long time after I became a professional writer. Continue reading

Multicultural Picture Book Review and Activities for Kids

Today is Friday – time for a children’s book and an activity to keep the kids happy and busy!

Multicultural Picture Book Review and Cooking Activities

I found this book in a box at an open air town flea market when I was visiting my daughter and grandson in New Hampshire. I get into trouble at these places – how can you say no to a beautiful picture book for 25 cents? The seller wanted me to take the entire box of over a dozen hardcover beautifully illustrated multicultural books for two dollars. That’s right…two dollars. And did I buy all of them? No, I exercised GREAT restraint and only spent $1.00 because I knew I would have to lug those hardcover books back on the plane. After I made my frugal purchase, I walked over to the next seller. Oh no!!! She was selling children’s books also! There was  Frog and Toad, The Fire Cat and Danny and the Dinosaur – each for…you guessed it…25 cents. I couldn’t resist…I bought TWELVE…but I left those with my grandson!

Multicultural Picture Book Review and Activities

Mei-Mei Loves the Morning

Written by Margaret Holloway Tsubaklyama

Illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu

Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company (1999)

Ages: 4 and up

Themes:

Multigenerational activities, family bonding, urban China

Opening Lines:

“Mei-Mei loves the morning. When she wakes up, she always hears Bai-Ling rustling impatiently in his cage and Grandpa’s slippers sip-slapping on the kitchen floor. Mother and Father are still asleep, but Mei-Mei jumps out of bed.”

Synopsis:   Continue reading

Maria’s Mysterious Mission…Hiking the Colorado Rockies with John Fielder

The east coast has been pounded by massive snowstorms recently. But here in Colorado Springs, the last few days have brought some unmistakeable signs that spring is coming soon.

spring dragonfly from MalouPhoto courtesy of Malou, a fantastic photographer in the Netherlands.

The breeze carries with it the fragrance of warmth and new green day lily shoots are poking their spikes up through the decaying leaves of a past autumn.

Yes, I know. We may still get major snowstorms and plenty of frosty mornings…we often have heavier snowfalls in March and April than we do during the winter. But spring is definitely on my mind, especially since I’ve been working on my entry for Susanna Leonard Hill’s In Just Spring Children’s Story Contest. Head over there to check it out…submissions are due next Friday!

What luck! A book arrived in the mail yesterday. When I opened the package, I knew it was just the one to review for today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday. It demonstrates the beauty of Colorado’s majestic mountains and contains an important lesson about finding one’s way in a new place.

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Maria’s Mysterious Mission

Written by Claudia Cangilla McAdam

Illustrated by Anna-Maria Crum

Photography by John Fielder

Publisher: Westcliffe Publishers/John Fielder Publishing (2007)

Ages: 4 and up

Themes:

Homesickness, moving, new experiences, friendship

Opening Lines:

“Maria was homesick. She spent her days wandering in and out of the barn and poking around the corral. She hadn’t cut a trail or carried a pack in months, not since she’d come to this new place in Colorado, far from her home in South America.

I don’t belong here, she thought. Her eyes stung, and her throat felt tight. “I miss the Andes.”

Synopsis:

From the Amazon page: “Far from her native South America, Maria is homesick. When she sets off on a mysterious mission with a heavy pack on her back and a heavier weight on her heart, she forges a new friendship and comes to see her life in Colorado with very different eyes.

Why  I like this book:

Many children experience anxiety when they move to a new place or face the challenge of doing something different. The story of Maria, the llama, is one of realizing that we can be happy no matter where we are and that no matter where we go, there will be some things that are the same and some that are different. Stepping outside of one’s comfort zone can also be a stepping stone to new and wonderful friendships. This book was especially relevant to me because it spoke to the fears I had to face concerning my upcoming trip to Singapore  in May for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content.

The book is an amazing collaboration between author, illustrator and America’s foremost outdoor photographer, John Fielder. Each spread contains the text and illustrations against a background of Mr. Fielder’s fantastic photography. Living in Colorado…and having hiked many of the back-country and high mountain trails, I was overjoyed to see familiar scenes with the turn of  each page.

How a parent can use this book:

  • As a lovely read-aloud (let’s make a pact…let’s celebrate World Read-Aloud Day EVERY DAY of the year by reading aloud to children at every opportunity).
  • To encourage children to accept new challenges and try new things
  • To help kids whose families have just moved or are planning to move
  • As an introduction to hiking and outdoor pursuits as well as to photography
  • To show children the amazing natural resources and wildlife habitats that exist and that need our careful protection

Related Activities:

Here’s a great trail mix recipe from my book. Why not invite your child to help make a batch…and then go out for a hike together. Do you have a local nature sanctuary or botanic gardens nearby? If not, how about a walk to a nearby park or playground. First Lady Michelle Obama is encouraging parents and schools to make physical activity a priority in every child’s day.

HOMEMADE TRAIL MIX

trail-mix

Photo courtesy www.livelearnloveeat.com

You will need: 1 cup unsalted nuts (peanuts, almonds, etc.),1 cup hulled sunflower seeds, 1 xup coconut flakes, 1 cup raisins, 1 cup dried fruit cut into small pieces, 1 large bowl and a package of zip-lock sandwich bags.

  1. Mix together all ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Store in airtight container or large glass jar with lid.
  3. Scoop into sandwich bags, grab a bottle of water and take a walk.
  4. Makes about 5 cups of trail mix.
  5. If your child is allergic to nuts…or too young for them…you can substitute healthy dry cereals and mini-pretzels.

Join Perfect Picture Book Friday with Susanna Leonard Hill and dozens of other kid lit lovers who post a picture book review every week:

Would you like to take the muss and fuss out of planning fun activities with your child. No batteries required…powered by a child’s imagination!   Please click this link to purchase a copyshow me how build your child's self-esteem,positive parental participation, http://www.positiveparentalparticipation.com

Sunday Post: Delicious…Healthy Snacks for Kids’ Backpacks

Mommy, can I help in the kitchen?

Jake at Time after Time has a Sunday Post Challenge and every week he provides a theme…this week’s theme is DELICIOUS.

Fresh fruits and crisp veggies make some of the best snacks your child can eat.  It’s important to make every meal as nutritious as possible and snacks are a great way for kids to get important vitamins, minerals and fiber into their diet.

When my children were young, one of their favorite places to be was in the kitchen, helping me prepare meals and snacks.  Even though there might have been some additional cleanup…it was definitely worth it…for me and for them.

Here are two simple healthy snack recipes from Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.

 

Overnight Cookies (Gluten-Free)

You will need: 2 egg whites, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 cup ground almonds, 1 cup raisins, 1 large bowl, 1 mixer and 1 greased cookie sheet.

1. Beat egg whites in bowl till stiff peaks form.  Your little ones will LOVE watching how the runny egg whites turn to mountains of cream.

2. Add 1/4 sugar and fold in gently.

3. Add ground almonds and raisins and fold in gently.

4. Drop by tablespoonful onto the greased cookie sheet…I use a canola oil spray.  If you want a smaller cookie, use a teaspoon.

5. Place the cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven and bake for 5 minutes.  Turn off the oven and leave the cookies in at least 15 minutes…or overnight if you wish.  If you have a hot oven, you might want to check the cooling cookies at 15 minutes and remove them then…otherwise the raisins will taste burned.

6. Makes about 1 1/2 dozen, more or less, depending on the size cookie you make.

Traveling Trail Mix (Nut-Free)

 

You will need: 2 cups Corn Chex, 2 cups Wheat Chex, 2 cups Rice Chex, 2 cups mini-pretzels, 1 cup raisins, 2 tsp Braggs Aminos or low-sodium soy sauce and a 13x9x2 inch microwave-safe baking dish.

1.     Melt margarine, mix with Braggs Aminos or soy sauce and pour into baking dish.

2.     Add the cereals and pretzels and mix thoroughly to coat.

3.     Microwave on high for 3 minutes.

4.     Stir and continue to heat in microwave, one minute at a time, until evenly toasted.

5.     Add raisins and mix.

6.     Store in an airtight container.

You are invited to a Google+ Hangout!  This coming week you can check out ‘the parents that make Halloween happen’ on Google+ Hangouts.  On Thursday, October 11 at 2:30pm Mountain Time, I will be joining long-time educator and blogger, Susan Case, author of The Happy Mommy Handbook.  Susan is going to be reading a special Halloween story and I will be doing a simple craft.  We’ll chat about children and picture books and why reading with kids is just about the most important thing you can do with them.  I’ll post a link here and on my FB page as soon as I get one.

PARENTS MAKE HALLOWEEN HAPPEN ON GOOGLE HANGOUTS

This week celebrates “the parents that make Halloween happen”
A full line up of HOAs celebrating
#parenting , #kids , and all things #Halloween 

Monday
+ Join +Angelique Felix at 2:15 PM CST for a Witches story and cupcakes

Tuesday
+ Join +Angelique Felix at 2:15 PM CST for a Monster song and craft
+ Join +Susan Case and guest +Rachelle Doorley at 5:30 PM CST for Spooky Simple Science Recipes

Wednesday
+ Join +Holly Homer at 9:30 AM CST and guests as they discusses Candy Control
+ Join Kimberley Blaine and guests at 1:00 PM CST as they discuss children’s age differences and participation in Halloween
+ Join +Green Kid Crafts at 2:00 PM CST for Greening Your Halloween
+ Join +Angelique Felix at 2:15 PM CST for a Ghosts! story, song, and craft

Thursday
+ Join +Angelique Felix at 2:15 PM CST for a Black Cat! story and song
+ Join +Holly Homer at 9:00 PM CST for a discussion on Homemade Costumes
+ Join +Susan Case and +Vivian Kirkfield at 3:30 CST for Halloween book reading, craft and discussion on how picture books help children deal with their problems

Friday 
+ Join +Angelique Felix at 2:15 PM CST for a Pumpkins! rhyme and song

Want more information about Jake’s Sunday Post?

 http://jakesprinters.wordpress.com/ 

Sunday Post: Recipe for Self-Esteem

 

A recipe, according to the dictionary, is a list of ingredients and instructions for making something, especially a food dish.

Jake at Time after Time has a Sunday Post Challenge and every week he provides a theme…this week’s theme is RECIPE.

I love soup!  Do you?  Soup can be hearty or light, warming or cooling…soups are so easy to make and, when you make them yourself, you can use healthy nutritious ingredients and leave out the preservatives, high sodium levels and artificial colors that are rampant in most canned or packaged soups you buy at the store.

Here is a recipe for Cock-a-Leekie Soup…absolutely delicious…and very easy to make, even your kids can help!

COCK-A-LEEKIE SOUP

You will need: 1 large pot, 1 lb boneless chicken breasts cubed, 2 slices bacon, 1 large leek sliced (about 2 cups), 1 cup sliced fresh carrots, 2 cups cubed potatoes, 1 container low sodium vegetable broth (32 oz), 1 cup basmati rice, 2 Tbs single malt scotch (optional), ½ cup diced prunes, 1 Tb dried basil, 8 cups water.

1.      Saute bacon in pot…add chicken pieces and sauté a few minutes.

2.      Add sliced leeks, carrots and potatoes and stir well.

3.      Add vegetable broth, prunes, water and basil and stir well.

4.      Bring to a boil, add rice and scotch…lower heat, cover and simmer for 1½ hours.

5.      Serve with crusty bread and a simple tossed salad.

6.      Store in covered container in fridge.

7.      Makes about 12 cups of soup…you can easily make less by cutting the ingredients in half.

 

So what is the recipe for helping a child develop a high self-esteem?

1.      Help your child master tasks and skills.

2.      Encourage your child to value his own strengths and qualities.

3.      Help your child to feel appreciated and loved.

4.      Encourage your child to express his feelings.

5.      Help your child to acknowledge and cope with his fears.

6.      Encourage your child to accept himself and his body.

Kids love to help in the kitchen…not only does that time with you build self-esteem, but it also helps children develop reading readiness skills (or better literacy skills if they are older).  They also learn about good nutrition, and many picky eaters will try new foods that they have helped make.

If you would like more information about helping children develop a positive self-image or need some quick and easy ideas and self-esteem building activities, please pick up a copy of my book.  During the month of March, we are offering free shipping on my website (an additional $5 off the price of the book for participants in the PPP Reading Challenge) or you can purchase the book on Amazon.

 

 If you’d like more information about Jake’s Sunday Post:

 http://jakesprinters.wordpress.com/ 

Connie: http://connieemeraldeyes.wordpress.com/2012/03/17/weekly-sunday-post-recipe/

Colline: http://collinesblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/18/sunday-post-recipe/

Susan: http://tostir.wordpress.com/2012/03/18/sunday-post-recipe/

Franny: http://oregonsmiles.wordpress.com/2012/03/18/recipe-for-success/

Mara: http://africatoalgarve.blogspot.pt/2012/03/recipe.html

Cassie: http://worldofcassie.wordpress.com/2012/03/20/sunday-post-recipe/

I’ll add more folks who are participating in Jake’s Sunday Post as soon as their posts are up.

Soup image thanks to www.cookstr.com