Perfect Picture Book Friday: MOTH AND WASP, SOIL AND OCEAN

Hello dear friends! I hope you haven’t given up on me. With a March 1st deadline, I’ve been writing and revising for the past three weeks. I’m happy to say that four of the manuscripts for the compilation book are already on the editor’s desk. I have one more ready to go, another almost there, a third that needs a bit more research, and a fourth…well…let’s just say that one is still a rough draft. 

January was also Tara Lazar’s STORYSTORM challenge and I now have a notebook with 30+ new story ideas. If you didn’t get a chance to hop over to read my post, you can click here. I shared how I got ideas for all of the books that are now under contract – and a few that are out on submission. If you are writing with the view to getting traditionally published, I urge you to read Jane Yolen’s post – I am always inspired by her words.

Speaking of being inspired…our Perfect Picture Book Friday selection does exactly that! The text by award-winning author Sigrid Schmalzer is glorious and the illustrations by debut picture book illustrator Melanie Linden Chan are incredible!

moth and wasp soil and ocean

MOTH AND WASP, SOIL AND OCEAN: Remembering Chinese Scientist Pu Zhelong’s Work for Sustainable Farming

Written by Sigrid Schmalzer

Illustrated by Melanie Linden Chan

Published by Tilbury House Publishers (2018)

Ages: 6-9

Themes: Sustainable farming, Chinese culture, conservation

Why I like this book:

  • A true gem of history that will inspire adults and kids
  • A beautiful diverse story that will help children get a better picture of life in other places and times
  • Incredible illustrations from debut picture book illustrator Melanie Linden Chan…just incredible!
  • I love the message of sustainable farming!

RELATED ACTIVITIES

Plant Seeds

plants14Photo courtesy: https://www.prekinders.com/category/themes/plants-seeds/

One of the favorite activities of my kinders was planting seeds. They loved getting their hands in the soil, pressing the small beans, peas, or other seeds with their fingers. Best of all, the loved watching the little green sprouts push up and flourish. For detailed instructions, go here: https://www.prekinders.com/category/themes/plants-seeds/

For more wonderful picture book reviews, please go to Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog. And for today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday link up, go here.

And while you are there, why not check out her Valentiny Contest that starts soon!

And last, but definitely not least, if you’d like to get a peek at the 2018 Debut Picture Books, please visit the Epic Eighteens website.

I hope you all have a wonderful and safe weekend. Stay warm or stay cool, whichever you prefer.

 

 

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday: LET THE CHILDREN MARCH

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends. I missed last week, so we have some giveaways to award before we get to the special book featured today.

From author Nancy Churnin – a copy of CHARLIE TAKES HIS SHOT. And the winner is…

Julie LaCombe

From author/illustrator Jeanette Bradley – a copy of LOVE, MAMA. And the winner is…

Suzy Leopold

From author Kerri Kokias – a PICTURE BOOK MANUSCRIPT CRITIQUE. And the winner is…

Kaye Baillie

CONGRATULATIONS!!!! 

I’m so excited about the coming year…so many fabulous picture books are debuting…and I hope to share many of them with you. 

let the children march

LET THE CHILDREN MARCH

Written by Monica Clark-Robinson

Illustrated by Frank Robinson

Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for Young Readers (2018)

Ages: 6-9

Themes: Civil Rights, segregation

Synopsis: 

From Amazon:

I couldn’t play on the same playground as the white kids. 
I couldn’t go to their schools.  
I couldn’t drink from their water fountains.  
There were so many things I couldn’t do. 
In 1963 Birmingham, Alabama, thousands of African American children volunteered to march for their civil rights after hearing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak. They protested the laws that kept black people separate from white people. Facing fear, hate, and danger, these children used their voices to change the world. Frank Morrison’s emotive oil-on-canvas paintings bring this historical event to life,
while Monica Clark-Robinson’s moving and poetic words document this remarkable time. 
Why I like this book:
  • I love stories that inspire children to become doers as well as dreamers.
  • I love books that bring history alive for young readers.
  • I love illustrations that capture our attention…and our hearts.
  • I love when the partnership of author and illustrator works as it does so beautifully in this book.
  • No doubt about it…this is a 5-STAR picture book…don’t miss it!

RELATED ACTIVITIES

handprint bigPhoto courtesy: http://www.artistshelpingchildren.org/kidscraftsactivitiesblog

Martin Luther King Day may have passed, but it’s never to late to celebrate diversity. Kids will love tracing their hand prints. For a classroom, why not have kids trace as many hand prints as there are kids and decorate them. Then kids can trade, so each child has a wreath made from hand prints of the entire class.

For detailed instructions: http://www.artistshelpingchildren.org/kidscraftsactivitiesblog/2012/01/how-to-make-a-colored-hands-wreath-for-martin-luther-king-day/

Thank you all for stopping by…I appreciate your time and your company! I’ve been less active on social media because I’ve been writing and revising…but I’ve been keeping up with STORYSTORM. Each day, another author shares how they get ideas for stories. My notebook is filling up and I’m so excited about that. I’m also excited because on January 25th, it will be my turn to share my thoughts with everyone. I hope you’ll all stop by Tara’s blog to say hello!

And for more perfect picture book reviews, please visit Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog where all lovers of picture books join her Perfect Picture Book Friday link up.

Kerri Kokias: Will Write for Cookies Plus Critique Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INSPIRATION – INFORMATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

Kerri Kokias Headshot

 

KERRI KOKIAS

I met today’s guest in Picture the Books 2017. Debut picture book authors together, we really had no clue as to how the process of publication worked. As Robert Burns said in To a Mouse: The best laid schemes o’mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley.” Which in plain English means, sometimes your plans don’t work out exactly as you thought they would. There can be all kinds of hold-ups in the publishing industry…that’s just how it is. So here it is 2018, and Kerri and I are part of Epic Eighteens, the group formed to give support and encouragement to debut picture book authors and illustrators with books coming out this year.

Now it looks like there is a chance Sweet Dreams, Sarah may be pushed back even further to 2019, but I’m thrilled to welcome Kerri and congratulate her on her exceedingly beautiful 2018 picture book debut!!! 

Kerri’s writing features unique structures, playful language, humor, tension, tenderness, simple text, and complicated characters. She has a good vision for how text and art can work together to tell a complete story. Kerri credits most of her story ideas to her “fly on the wall” personality. This means she’s both a keen observer of social interactions and a nosey eavesdropper.  Kerri lives in Seattle, Washington with her husband, two children, and three dogs.

book covers for sisters

Hello, Kerri! Thanks so much for stopping by! We enjoyed finding out about SNOW SISTERS yesterday on Perfect Picture Book Friday and everyone is excited to hear a little bit more about you.

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

KERRI: In my youngest reading memories I was a big fan of anything written by Shel Silverstein, James Marshall, Arnold Lobel, Judith Viorst, and William Steig. As I got a little older I liked books by Beverly Clearly, Roald Dahl, Judy Blume, and Ann Martin. I still treasure these author’s books and expect that I’ll never outgrow them.

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

KERRI: Hmm, I started to say that I wish I knew how long it was going to take me to get published, but then I realized that it was probably a good thing that I didn’t.  (12 years!) I guess I would reframe that a little and say that I wish I knew that a career as an author doesn’t really come easy for anyone, even if it may look like it from the outside. I’ve been fortunate to make a lot of author friends through the years and everyone’s path to publication is different, but every one includes a lot of hard work, determination, grit, a little luck and some disappointment along the way.  And as best as I call tell, this doesn’t change post publication either.

SnowSistersLargeCover

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

KERRI: I can tell you the most unusual place I have even written- at the swimming pool while swimming laps. There was one particular manuscript I was working on that I kept getting ideas for while I was swimming. So I kept a waterproof notebook at the end of the pool and would jot down notes between laps. But more ordinarily, I have a nice space with my picture book collection set up in my basement but I usually prefer to just sit on my living room couch or at my kitchen table and write on my laptop. Occasionally, if I’m having a hard time staying focused I’ll go to the library or a coffee shop to work. One thing that I’ve noticed is that I often come up with my best ideas when I’m driving or falling asleep. So a surprising amount of my writing originates as notes taken on my phone or whatever scrap of paper happens to be nearby. I have learned the hard way that these pieces of inspiration are lost if I don’t record them immediately, so I know to pull the car over when I need to jot something down and that it’s worth it to turn on that bedside lamp at record my idea even if it’s tempting to just roll-pver and fall asleep.

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

KERRI: I’m not very structured with my writing time (gasp!) and have never had much luck with the old butt in the chair technique. I’m more prone to just go about my day and write as the muse strikes. However, projects are ALWAYS stewing in my brain, even if I don’t have anything on paper to show for it. I take notes throughout the day and typically when enough of them build up I feel motivated to sit down and pull them together.

ME: Why do you write for children?

KERRI: Kids are my favorite kind of people!

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

KERRI:  I often hear beginning aspiring authors say that they can write better stories than what’s already out there. My advice here is that people’s tastes vary, and there is an audience for just about anything. So don’t compare your writing to books that are outside of your taste; compare it to the books that you most admire.  Take your time striving to get your work the best that it can be.

ME: What awesome advice, Kerri. TAKE YOUR TIME STRIVING TO GET YOUR WORK THE BEST THAT IT CAN BE!!! That’s a great mantra for all of us!

I know we are want to thank Kerri for her insights, her generous picture book manuscript critique giveaway, and for spending this precious time with us. But we’re not done yet!

I guess Kerri is part seer…she must have known that here on the East Coast, we have been hit by a blizzard and record cold temperatures and we are in need of some warm beverages. So pull out some of those previous cookie recipes and bake up a hatch and then…

KERRI: How about some hot cocoa to go with all of those cookies?

Homemade Hot Cocoa

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 Tablespoons cocoa powder

2 Tablespoons sugar

1 Cup milk

Dash of salt

Multiply by desired number of servings. Heat until warm. Snuggle up and enjoy!

YUM! And while you are sipping your hot chocolate, don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway of A PICTURE BOOK MANUSCRIPT CRITIQUE from the lovely and talented Kerri Kokias! And after you do that, choose one or more of the following to help your favorite author:

1. One of the best ways is to post a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and other book review sites. 

2. Ask your local library to order the book…many libraries honor patron requests and some even have online request forms.

3. Buy a copy of the book.

4. And most importantly…TALK ABOUT THE BOOK…to friends, family, and anyone who will listen!

Amazingly, it is almost time to start talking about the #50PreciousWords writing challenge. The challenge opens March 2 – it celebrates the birthday of Dr. Seuss – last year we had 253 incredibly wonderful entries and 40 prizes! I’ve already got two kidlit powerhouses to help me. So, if you have a prize you’d like to donate (book, critique, original art, or anything a writer would love to have), please contact me at viviankirkfield@gmail.com or via FB or Twitter PM. This challenge brought out amazing talent…the 1st place winner in 2016 already has a contract for that story and a sequel to it! Many people who participated said it was the FIRST time they had ever submitted anything. That is a huge accomplishment for them right there! And the camaraderie and positivity that wove through the thread of over 2000 comments was a testament to what a beautiful kidlit world we are creating! The informational post will go up in mid February, but I just wanted to get the ball rolling.

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