Perfect Picture Book Friday: THIS IS NOT A NORMAL ANIMAL BOOK Plus CRITIQUE GIVEAWAY

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends!

We’ve got another super picture book review PLUS an awesome craft for kids PLUS an amazing picture book critique giveaway (or school Skype visit if the winner is a teacher) from debut author Julie Segal Walters who will be stopping by to chat tomorrow with loads of insights and a yummy treat recipe.

However, first we have some books to give away!

Author Katey Howes is giving away a copy of GRANDMOTHER THORN. And the winner is…

Jarm Del Boccio!

Suzy Leopold is giving away a personalized journal. And the winner is…

Maria Marshall!

Lori Alexander is giving away a copy of FAMOUSLY PHOEBE. And the winner is…

Barbara Cairnes!

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL! A huge thank you to our authors and illustrators…we’ve had 44 giveaways this year so far, and that doesn’t count the ones for #50PreciousWords and the Skype visits that were awarded to seven schools after #50PreciousWordsforKids. And of course, a huge thank you to all of my wonderful readers who bless me with their comments! I’m honored that you spend your precious time here at Picture Books Help Kids Soar. And I know you are waiting patiently for today’s selection…so here it is.

Animal Book cover

THIS IS NOT A NORMAL ANIMAL BOOK

Written by Julie Segal Walters

Illustrated by Brian Biggs

Published by Simon and Schuster (October 2017)

Ages: 4-8

Themes: Animals, humor

Opening Lines: “Animals can be classifed into groups by their unique traits. Read the rest of this entry

Lori Alexander: Will Write for Cookies PLUS Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

INFORMATION, INSPIRATION, INSIGHT

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

Author Photo_Lori Alexander

LORI ALEXANDER

2017 is bursting with super picture books and I’ve been thrilled to feature their authors on my blog. I’m especially happy to welcome Lori…she’s a fabulous writer and a super lovely lady.

 Lori Alexander is the author of BACKHOE JOE (Harper Children’s), FAMOUSLY PHOEBE (Sterling Children’s) and the upcoming ALL IN A DROP, a biography of scientist Antony van Leeuwenhoek (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). She lives with her husband and two children under the star-filled skies of Tucson, AZ. 

Welcome, Lori! Thanks so much for stopping by to chat with us today. We’ll get right to the Q&A.

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

LORI: I remember reading lots of Dr. Seuss and P.D. Eastman books. My brother and I loved Virginia Lee Burton’s MIKE MULLIGAN AND HIS STEAM SHOVEL and KATY AND THE BIG SNOW. Arnold Lobel’s FROG AND TOAD books were favorites, too. But above all, it was CHRISTINA KATERINA AND THE BOX by Patricia Lee Gauch. Oh, how I loved the wonderful things Christina Katerina crafted with that refrigerator box: a castle, a clubhouse, a race car, a dance floor. Time and again, she rescued her creations from her tidy mother (and the garbage bin!). And when the poor box got wet and disintegrated on the front lawn, there was still a happy ending—two new boxes!

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

LORI: Things get easier…and more difficult. The various aspects of writing get easier as you hone your craft. I’m much more comfortable with character development, plot structure, pacing, page turns, word choice, etc. But at the same time, writing is more difficult than when I first began. I tend to self-edit too early in the process. I don’t always give my ideas a chance because right from the get-go, I’m trying to judge their marketability. When I first started out, I wrote with more freedom because I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I suppose the learning never ends, no matter where you are in the process.

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

LORI: I usually write inside at the shared family computer in our great room. Needless to say, I get more done when my kids are at school.

workspace

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

LORI: As the muse strikes, but mostly mid-day when the kid count is zero. I haven’t had much luck sticking with a strict writing schedule.

desert view

ME: Why do you write for children?

LORI: The challenge! Holding the attention of a classroom of kindergartners is the very best kind of tricky. And making kids laugh is addicting.

reading with kids

 

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.

LORI: Advice to aspiring writers! When I read interviews, this is my favorite part. I always hope a seasoned writer will spill the beans and dole out some first-rate advice that will make my next story flow from my fingertips, sell to the first editor who reads it, and rocket to the top of the bestseller list. As soon as I find that seasoned writer with the stellar advice, I’ll be sure to pass it on! J

For now: read lots of current books in your genre, hone your craft, seek out critique partners, and don’t give up no matter how many rejections you collect.

As for educators and librarians, I’ve spent a ton of time volunteering at my kids’ public elementary school, in both the classrooms and the library. The energy, care, and grace you put into your work never ceases to amaze me. Thank you! Thank you!    

ME: WOW! This is fabulous, Lori! I especially love your advice to READ, JOIN CRITIQUE GROUPS, HONE YOUR CRAFT, and NEVER GIVE UP!!!!

And I’m sure part of the advice you didn’t add is to keep your energy up with yummy treats, right Lori? I’m a fan of the recipe you are sharing…it’s perfect to prepare with kids!

LORI: Although this is not a cookie recipe, it’s our go-to when we want a quick, sweet treat (and it’s been a hit at school bake sales). We call them something different each time we make a batch. In this case…

Famously Phoebe’s Star Bars

recipe photo

6 cups crisp rice cereal

1 bag mini marshmallows

3 bags white chocolate chips

1 bag mini chocolate chips

1 cup peanut butter (almond butter would work, too, if allergies are a concern)

Melt the white chocolate chips over low heat. Stir in peanut butter. Remove from heat and add rice cereal. Stir gently. Then stir in mini marshmallows (they don’t need to melt) and half bag of mini chocolate chips. Line rimmed cookie sheet with parchment. Pour mixture onto cookie sheet and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle top with remaining mini chocolate chips. Refrigerate for about an hour. Cut into bars and enjoy!

Dear friends, you can find out more about Lori on her website at lorialexanderbooks.com or follow her on Twitter at @LoriJAlexander

And don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of FAMOUSLY PHOEBE.

Phoebe cover JPEG

Have a wonderful weekend! I’m behind on awarding our giveaways, so next Friday, I’ll be announcing the ones from the last three posts.

Perfect Picture Book Friday: FAMOUSLY PHOEBE

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday! Fall is here in New England…leaves are changing color and the temps are decidedly chilly when I get up in the morning.

2017 has exploded with amazing children’s books and I’m thrilled to bring you one that will help older siblings when the new baby arrives. Author Lori Alexander is offering a copy of her newest picture book as a giveaway. Please make sure you leave a comment below and come back tomorrow to double your entries when she stops by to chat about the writing life.

Phoebe cover JPEG

FAMOUSLY PHOEBE

Written by Lori Alexander

Illustrated by Aurelie Blard-Quintard

Published by Sterling Children’s Books (2017)

Ages: 4-7

Themes: Sibling rivalry, family dynamics, self-worth

Synopsis:

From Amazon: 

Phoebe was the shining star of her family. Then someone came along to take her place.   
For as long as Phoebe can remember, she’s known the clickety click click of a photographer snapping her picture. Thanks to the camera-carrying “paparazzi” (aka Mom and Dad), she’s always been the star of the show . . . until the day a tiny newcomer arrives on set.
Will Phoebe learn to share the spotlight and assume the role she was born to play: big sister? This sweet tale of sibling rivalry resolved is perfect for every older brother and sister.

Why I like this book:

  • A story that engages from the opening lines to the last page.
  • Fabulous bold illustrations that invite the reader into the action.
  • A universal theme that never loses its appeal.

RELATED ACTIVITIES

Make a Family Newspaper

familynewspapers

Photo courtesy: http://www.artistshelpingchildren.org/

You will need: Paper, ruler, pencil/pen, markers/crayons, family photos, scissors, glue

What fun! Each family member can write a column for this newspaper!

For detailed instructions: http://www.artistshelpingchildren.org/kidscraftsactivitiesblog/2010/04/make-a-family-newspaper-to-talk-about-family-news/

Please make sure you come back tomorrow when we chat with Lori Alexander on Write for Cookies. And don’t forget that one of the greatest gifts you can give an author is to review their books on Amazon or Goodreads.

For more great picture book reviews and activities, hurry over to Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday post.

Wishing you all a safe and happy weekend!

 

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