Category Archives: Will Write for Cookies

Annette Bay Pimentel: Will Write for Cookies PLUS Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

2016 Head shot

ANNETTE BAY PIMEMTEL

One of my favorite things to do is to check out the blogs of authors, illustrators, and educators…I always find amazing resources and amazing people! Last year, when I hopped over to our guest’s website, I fell in love with her books and with her mission to bring history alive for young children.

Last year, Mountain Chef  (Charlesbridge, 2016) which next month will be awarded the National Council of Social Studies’ Carter G. Woodson Award. Here’s the link.  Next year, Girl Running  (Nancy Paulsen: 2018), and the year after that, Ann Brooks Goes West (with her piano) (Nancy Paulsen: 2019)…I hope Annette never stops!

Welcome, Annette! Thanks so much for stopping by to chat. I know my readers are excited to hear more about your writing journey.

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

ANNETTE: My first grade teacher read us the new Richard Scarry Busytown mysteries (oh how I age myself!) and I was totally entranced by his vision of a town filled with all sorts of different creatures with different backstories and different motivations that could be uncovered. Obviously his story was fiction, but in some ways it seemed more true to the multi-cultural city I lived in than the Sally, Dick, and Jane books that were our usual fare.

Girl Running cover

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

ANNETTE: I wish I’d known that—at least so far!—I would never discover the secret that would make it easy. Every project has its own challenges and problems—but also its own pleasures and delights.

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

ANNETTE: I write at my treadmill desk. My handwriting is horrible, so I draft on the computer, though I do at least one revision by hand, sometimes with literal scissors and tape.

treadmill

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

ANNETTE: I write during the day while my children are at school.

ME: Why do you write for children?

ANNETTE: I love the magic that happens when artist and writer collaborate, so picture books feel like the most wonderful spot in the publishing world.

ME: Thank you so very much, Annette. And I agree…it is definitely magic when artist and writer meet and create a wonderland for kids! Kind of like a batch of the Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies you gave of the recipe for!

ANNETTE: Here’s a recipe for Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies, based on a recipe by Mollie Katzen in her wonderful cookbook, Still Life with Menu. My family desperately wishes I had a photo of them to send you, as they would like to eat them, but no time to bake them up now.

Cream together:

3/4 c. butter

1/2 c. white sugar

1/2 c. brown sugar

 

Mix in: 

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. peppermit extract

Add:

1 1/2 c. white flour

1/4 c. cocoa

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 1/2 c. chocolate chips

Bake about 12 minutes in a 350 degree oven. 

cover mountain chef

To find out more about Annette: annettepimentel@gmail.com

Dear friends…thank you for stopping by and spending your precious time with Annette and me. Annette is generously offering a copy of Mountain Chef…so don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway.  And also don’t forget to leave reviews for your favorite authors on Amazon and Goodreads.

And an update on our visit to Mass General in Boston…Stuart’s cardiac catherization went well…and we should be bringing him home later today!!! Thanks to all who kept us close to their hearts and sent loving thoughts and healing prayers.

Suzy Leopold: Will Write for Cookies PLUS Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT, INFORMATION, INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

headshot 1

SUZY LEOPOLD

Whenever I think of Suzy, I think of flowers. She is well-known in the kidlit community as the official giver of the most beautiful flower photos. If someone is sick or in need of cheering up…if someone has just gotten a book contract or signed with an agent, Suzy gifts them with virtual flowers. Birthday, anniversary, you name it, this lovely lady finds the perfect bouquet. I’ve known Suzy online for several years and was fortunate enough to meet her in person last summer at the WOW writing retreat. And she is even sweeter in person!

flowers on piano

When I asked Suzy for a bio, this is what she wrote:

I am a wife who is adored by my husband, Perry. We are proud parents to five boys and three daughters in law. Pa Perry and Oma Sue [grandparents] adore their seven sweet, smart, and sometimes sassy grandkids, who reside in Texas. I am an educator of hundreds of students, from preschool through eighth grade, including college level students, administrators and colleagues. Currently I teach a Reading course at Lincoln Land Community College and share summer school and after school reading and writing lessons in our community.

I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education, a Bilingual certification, Reading Recovery certificate, and a Master’s of Science in Reading.

My husband and I are organic gardeners on the Illinois prairie, who enjoy cooking and baking for family and friends. I am a reader and a writer. I am a painter of acrylics & watercolors and a creative crafter. I am a cyclist on a pink Marin Portofina. The proprietor of Afterwords Book Store calls me a reading extraordinaire, as I participate in story time and share the love of reading.

Leaving the world a better place is important to me.

Read, write & create every day.

yellow flower

WOW! And now you know why I love her! And why, when I had an opening in my blog schedule, I invited her to share her knowledge and her spirit with all of us.

Welcome, Suzy! I’m so happy to have you stop by today. I know you are going to chat about the importance of writing in journals. Thanks to you, yesterday we had a journal-making craft to go along with the Perfect Picture Book Friday selection which was a book you use in your classroom.

So, please take it away!

As a reader, writer, and an educator I use journals. I have a collection of them. Journals help me stay organized and become an excellent resource to refer to over time.

There are many purposes for keeping a journal or two or more. A journal has many functions and uses. Some of my journals list numerous book titles, including summaries, and my thoughts and recommendation about books. Many of my journals include tips, ideas, titles of mentor texts, even rough drafts for my fiction and nonfiction stories I write. I use journals to write notes about my students’ and their progress. My students and I keep reading and writing skills and strategies in classroom journals that become interactive notebooks.

mix of journals.jpg

Let me share some more ideas with you on how to keep a journal and encourage children to do so as well. Parents are our children’s first teacher. Empowering parents and guardians with tips and tools needed to support their child’s learning at home and at school, prepares the child for a successful future.

Many readers keep a journal to write about books. A journal is an excellent place to create a reading log of books being read. Scribe your thoughts about the book. Write a quick book report. Summarize and evaluate the book. Would you recommend the book to others? A journal can be used as a wish list of titles a reader wants to read. A double-entry journal, is a way to share, read and respond while rotating the journal between two writers. Most often a double-entry journal dialogue is between a teacher and a student or a parent and a child. These journals become a written conversation for learning, growing, and reflection.

Many writers use journals to create stories. Consider recording ideas, information, data and facts, or rhyming words about topics you wish to write about or are currently researching and writing. Many students and writers brainstorm thoughts and make lists in a journal. A journal can be used for pre writing. Make it spontaneous and write in a first draft form. Try a strategy referred to as quick writing. It is an informal ramble of words on paper to develop and generate ideas. Create a graphic organizer. Jot down words and more words. Just focus on your thinking and ideas; not grammar and spelling. The revisions and editing can follow later.

IMG_3486

Many people, young and old, keep journals-artists, students, teachers, librarians, gardeners, farmers, athletes, politicians, scientists, writers, chefs, and many more. Writing in a journal is an excellent place to jot down personal experiences, thoughts, favorite quotes, and Bible scriptures. The journal may turn into a mini scrap book filled with memories. Add mementos and ephemera. Doodle. Sketch. Be creative. Most writers use a journal to record everyday events and topics that interest them. These journals may include daily entries that record news and events that are personal in nature. They are private and not intended for others to read as one writes about personal experiences, thoughts and dreams, turning the journal into a diary.

Journals come in a variety of sizes and styles, making them portable. Carry one in your purse or backpack. Use a variety of writing implements. You can use more than a pencil. Try writing with colored pencils, markers, or even a collection of rainbow colored pens.

leo inventions

Did you know that Leonardo da Vinci kept over forty notebooks? He wrote about his activities, and recorded plans for his engineering projects. If Meriwether Lewis had not kept a journal, while exploring across North America, we would not have a glimpse of his travels, during the time he lived, nor the geographical information that he recorded in his journal. The beloved, best known child diary, The Diary of Anne Frank, was written while Anne and her family hid from the Nazis during World War II.

anne frank

Don’t place limits on what you write and put in your journal or notebook. Reading and writing are reciprocal. Reading and writing are thinking. If readers are writers and writers are readers, then all readers and writers should keep at least one journal.

YAY! Thanks so much, Suzy! I’m definitely a paper person. I love journals…and especially love the one you made for me. And I’m so excited you are giving away a personalized journal as a prize today! 

my journal

To find out more about Suzy:

Grog Blog: https://groggorg.blogspot.com/2017/02/meet-jennifer-ward-by-suzy-leopold.html

Through the Prairie Garden Gate: http://sleopoldblog.wordpress.com

Twitter:  SuzyK5

Facebook: suzy.leopold

I’m also excited about the yummy recipe she is sharing! The floor is yours, Suzy…or should I say, the kitchen!

journals group

Sugar Cookies

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 cup softened butter

1 egg

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

2 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cream of tarter

Instructions:

Mix sugar and butter. Add egg and vanilla; mix thoroughly, set aside. Mix flour and dry ingredients in another bowl. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Refrigerate 2 to 3 hours or overnight.

Heat oven to 375°. Divide dough in half and roll 1/4 inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Cut with cookie cutter; sprinkle with sugar. Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until delicately golden. Makes about 4 dozen cookies. While they may not last long, these cookies can be wrapped in stored in the freezer.

Please leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway – you might be the lucky winnr of a personaized journal from Suzy!

Have a safe and happy weekend, everyone!

 

Tracy Marchini: Will Write for Cookies Plus Giveaway

Will Write for Cookies

Plate of Cookies

Insight, Inspiration, Information

For Writers

Today’s Guest

Marchini-Agent-Photo-cropped (1)

TRACY MARCHINI

Our kidlit community is populated with amazing people…writers, illustrators, mentors, agents, and editors. Sometimes, these amazing people wear more than one hat. And that is true for our guest today.

 

Tracy Marchini is a Literary Agent at BookEnds Literary, representing fiction, non-fiction and illustration for children and teens. Prior to joining BookEnds, Tracy worked as a freelance editor, a Literary Agent’s Assistant, a children’s book reviewer, and a newspaper correspondent. She holds an M.F.A in Writing for Children.

 

But, she is also a debut picture book author and we reviewed her fabulous CHICKEN NEEDS A NAP yesterday. Please don’t forget to leave a comment on that post to be entered in the giveaway of a copy of her book.

 

Welcome, Tracy! Thank you so much for stopping by to chat with us here on Picture Books Help Kids Soar. I can’t wait to get to the Q&A, and I know there is also a sweet treat at the end.

 

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

TRACY: My favorite picture book was Chatty Chipmunk’s Nutty Day by Suzanne Gruber and illustrated by Doug Cushman. There was something about the refrain that I just loved, and has stuck with me all this time.

I also loved Princess Furball by Charlotte Huck and Anita Lobel. The idea of three dresses that fit in tiny walnut shells fascinated me, as well as Lobel’s gorgeous illustrations of the dresses that reflected the sun, moon and stars. (I think even as a kid I liked the idea that you could pack your whole wardrobe in one bag – always ready for travel!)

Finally, I think I still have my copy of The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith. (And as a Literary Agent and reader, I still love more subversive picture books with a bit of dark humor!)

 

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

TRACY: Besides learning craft, patience is one of the greatest things you can learn as a writer. Publishing is a slower paced business and learning to write a good picture book takes a lot of trial and error before you get it right!

 

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

TRACY: I like to write by hand when I’m stuck on something. So if I’m revising, I tend to break out a notebook and write out my inner monologue until I hit the right fix for a manuscript. Sometimes the result is just a page of me asking myself the same question over and over again – but eventually I hit on an answer that works!

 

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

TRACY: I agent during the day, so my writing tends to happen in spurts outside of working hours. I’ll take a whole weekend day to do nothing but work on my writing, or I’ll break out a manuscript in the evening.

 

ME: Why do you write for children?

TRACY: I just love how the world has infinite possibilities for children. There’s an incredible sense of freedom (and opportunity for humor!) when you can write from a number of implausible premises.

As someone who read a lot as a child, I also think that reading itself is a fundamental childhood activity and I hope to write (and as an agent, represent) books that foster a love of reading well throughout adulthood. It does make me a little sad when I hear that an adult doesn’t read (and not just because I’m in the book business!)  I can’t help but wonder if they just never found that book that spoke to them as a child.

CHICKEN cover

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. 🙂

TRACY: Make sure to stay current! Picture books that sold twenty years ago might not sell today, because the market has and will continue to change. Today’s picture books – particularly in fiction – have a lower word count, but still have all the same layers (emotional and physical) that earlier, longer works had.

As an agent, I can always tell when an author has written a picture book but hasn’t read a picture book in a long, long time.

WOW! Thank you so much, Tracy! I love that we have been able to get your take on things from two perspectives…as an author AND as an agent. I know this post is going to be shared quite a bit on social media…your comment about knowing when an author hasn’t read a picture book in a long, long time is going to create a run on the libraries, I think. Although with all of the online kidlit challenges throughout the year, I know that most of us read picture books like crazy.

But I will admit that when I first started writing, before I had taken any classes or joined any writing groups, my head was still back in the picture books I had read to my kindergarten students and my own children, so many years before. I needed a wake up call which I got from online challenges and critique buddies.

 

Thank you so much, Tracy!

To find out more about Tracy, as an agent and as an author:

Website: www.tracymarchini.com

Twitter: @TracyMarchini

CHICKEN NEEDS A NAP is available for preorder at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Target.

 

And now, a very special treat…actually one of my favorites. Take it away, Tracy!!!!!

TRACY: I’ve been making my own pizza lately and it’s been working really well!

I use this recipe to make the dough: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/pizza-dough-recipe-1921714

and then I cook at 500 degrees for 5 to 6 minutes on a sheet of parchment paper. Then I pull the dough out, add my toppings, and bake it again for another 7 to 8 minutes.

We’ve experimented a lot with trying to get a good crust without a pizza stone, and even though we use a pizza pan to get the dough in and out of the oven more easily, baking directly on parchment paper on the oven rack gives you a great crispy crust that still has a bit of depth/lightness to it.

The recipe makes two 14 inch pizzas, so we almost always have a ball of dough in the freezer now for quick baking!

This is fabulous, Tracy! I can’t wait to try this! You’ve been a delightful guest and we are all very appreciative of your insights.

I’m wishing everyone a wonderful and safe weekend and hope you’ll be back on TUESDAY when my special guests will be the pirates from Henry Herz’ new picture book, CAP’N REX AND HIS CLEVER CREW.

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