Happy Book Birthday: NO FROGS IN SCHOOL Plus GIVEAWAYS

Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday, dear NO FROGS IN SCHOOL Happy Birthday to you!

book vobrt

NO FROGS IN SCHOOL

Written by Alexandria LaFaye

Illustrated by Egalitine Ceulemans

Published by Sterling Children’s Books (August 7, 2018)

Ages: 4-7

Themes: Pets, humor, working together

Synopsis: From Amazon: 

“Bartholomew Botts loves pets—but his teacher, Mr. Patanoose, says No Frogs in School! So what will happen when Bartholomew’s beloved creatures meet up with Mr. Patanoose’s rules? Lots of FUN!
 
Hoppy pets, hairy pets, scaly pets: Bartholomew Botts loves them all. And he doesn’t want to go to school without one. Unfortunately, when Bartholomew brings his brand-new frog to class, his teacher, Mr. Patanoose, declares: No frogs in school! How will Bartholomew keep his animal friends close at hand . . . and follow Mr. Patanoose’s rules, too? Illustrated with energetic and humorous artwork, this back-to-school story will be a favorite with every animal-loving kid!”

As a former kindergarten teacher, I love school stories…and this one is hilarious! The art work is so engaging and the text is filled with humor and will have every teacher and parent nodding their heads and kids will be rolling on the floor as Mr. Patanoose tries to restore order to his classroom.

The author, Alexandria LaFaye, is one of my Storm teammates…so I am doubly excited to help her celebrate her book’s launch. And because it is a book birthday, we need to have presents, right?

Alexandria’s publisher sent me a copy of NO FROGS IN SCHOOL and one lucky person is going to receive that as my book birthday gift. Just leave a comment on this blog post to be entered.

Plus there is chance to win another book birthday gift that is for K-2 teachers. Imagine a teacher starting the school year with THIRTY new books! WOW! Alexandria is hosting this giveaway on her Facebook page. She says:

Please help me spread the word about this book giveaway to help K-2 teachers building-expand their inclusive classroom libraries. Thanks.

It’s time for a great giveaway of 31 books for a K-2 classroom, including a signed copy of NO FROGS IN SCHOOL by A. LaFaye Kirkus says, “each page lends itself to an energetic seek-and-find storytime that promises new discoveries upon multiple reads.” See the rules in the comments below or visit Sylanocity and check out the pinned post athttps://bit.ly/2vs8fuq. I’ll be reviewing books from the giveaway each day in August. The contest runs Aug 1-30th. #kidlit #bookgiveaway#NoFrogs #TeachersRule #Diversity #Equity Sterling Publishing

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So dear friends, please share this if you know any teachers or school librarians…and don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway for NO FROGS IN SCHOOL And please remember that the best present you can give to your favorite author is to:
  • Buy a copy of their book
  • Ask your local library to purchase a copy for their collection
  • Tell your friends about the book
  • Post a review on Amazon or other review sites

I hope you enjoy the rest of your week. And stop by on Friday and Saturday when a dear writer friend of mine, Emilie Boon, will be in the house.

Anna Redding: Will Write for Cookies PLUS Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

ANNA Crowley Redding- Author of Google it! A history of google

ANNA CROWLEY REDDING

Anna is one of my favorite kidlit people. She is smart and kind, passionate about writing and compassionate about life. We’ve been critique buddies for several years and have had many long Skype one-on-ones. We live in contiguous states. But…

…we’ve never actually met in person. Each conference at which we were supposed to connect, something happened and one of us couldn’t go. I’m making a promise that, before the end of next year, Anna and I are going to hug each other for real! Anna…I hope you are listening!

Anna Crowley Redding is the debut author of YA nonfiction Google it: A history of Google (How two students’ mission to organize the internet changed the world). Her debut picture book RESCUING THE DECLARATION OF INDEPEDENCE (illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham) will hit the bookstore shelves in 2020.

Before diving into the deep end of writing for children, Anna Crowley Redding’s first career was as an Emmy-award winning investigative television reporter, anchor, and journalist. The recipient of multiple Edward R. Murrow awards and recognized by the Associated Press for her reporting, Redding now focuses her stealthy detective skills on digging up great stories for kids and teens — which, as it turns out, is her true passion.

Dear readers, thanks to Anna, we have a giveaway of a copy of GOOGLE THIS! Don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered into the drawing.

book cover

ME: It’s definitely an honor and a pleasure to welcome you, Anna.

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

ANNA: I loved Maurice Sendak’s In The Night Kitchen. I can remember being about 5 or 6 years old and poring over the illustrations and I can remember being completely captivated by the fact that illustrations spilled out of their borders. He went outside the lines of each spread and I LOVED that. He was a rule breaker and I identified with that immediately. I also loved that he used the cross-hatch technique for shadows, fill, and definition. My father, then, taught me how to do it. That technique gives children a lot of freedom when they are drawing and I loved that, too.

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

ANNA: Learn the rules of writing, craft, structure . . . so that you can break them really well, in just the right spot. This adds more depth and voice to your writing and punctuates your storytelling. But if you don’t learn the craft first, you can’t properly break the rules in compelling ways.

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

ANNA: There are four places I love to write. 1) My desk which is a piece of live edge pine from Maine. The trick is not staring off at the ocean endlessly. 2) On the floor in front of the fireplace. I love sitting in front of the fire. It’s such a creative and cozy spot. I stack up my favorite books and plop my laptop right on top. 3) At the coffee shop. There is something about writing in a public space with other people around that makes me super productive. I mean first of all you want to look like you are working which usually leads to actual work. 4) The Library. I love writing with lots of other books around and you cannot beat the expertise of real live actual librarians for help with research questions, mentor text ideas, and market knowledge. Plus, they are fun to be around.

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

ANNA: I write on a schedule, keeping normal business hours and adding a couple of nights and some weekend times. For me it’s like going to the gym. If I take a break, then starting up again is super painful. So, I try to keep it going all the time.

ME: Why do you write for children?

ANNA: I have wanted to write for children and teens since I was in early Elementary school. I think it’s a very creative time in life with tremendous purpose. And so creating books that might inspire and empower young readers or capture their imagination, really, there is nothing better!

ME: And Anna, your books are definitely going to do that! Thank you so much for sharing so much of your process. If you have any thoughts or advice for aspiring writers, please share.

ANNA: To young writers, don’t ever give up. Keep writing, keep learning, try new things, and learn as much as you can. All of your life experience, what you read, who you meet, the music you listen to . . . all of it informs and shapes your own writing. Get out there and experience life, soak up as much information as you can, and don’t forget to share what you learn with others along the way. And have confidence in your writing and your ability to grow. The pithy nature of social media writing is making your generation a really fabulously practiced group of writers. Social media really forces you to get to the heart of every story. That is such an exciting quality you guys are growing up cultivating. Once you have the heart of your story, you can build out from there. What a fun journey lies before young writers!

ME: WOW…what great advice for kids…and we, as older writers, can probably follow Anna’s suggestions, too.

One thing I know we will want to follow are the instructions for her delicious banana muffin recipe. Take it away, Anna!

ANNA: Here’s our Banana Muffin recipe. We love to make this when reading IF YOU GIVE A MOOSE A MUFFIN By Laura Numeroff :

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup of butter
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 maple syrup
  • 2 eggs or egg replacer
  • 4 mashed bananas (honestly I throw mine in whole)
  • 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoon chia seed (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon flax-seed (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cream butter  and sugar
  3. Add Maple syrup and apple sauce
  4. Add two beaten eggs
  5. Add bananas and combine well
  6. Add dry ingredients to combine
  7. Add vanilla and cinnamon
  8. Spoon into muffin tin
  9. Bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit or until an inserted knife comes out clean

Yield:  A dozen muffins (we had enough for two extra 

Thank you so much, Anna! I’m thrilled you stopped by to chat with us today. I hope everyone tries the muffin recipe, buys a copy of GOOGLE THIS!, and leaves a comment for the giveaway.

Have a wonderful weekend, my friends. I thank you so much for spending your precious time here with us. I hope you’ll be back often this month…we have a FULL schedule with Perfect Picture Book Friday reviews EVERY Friday and Will Write for Cookies author/illustrator interviews EVERY Saturday PLUS FOUR book birthday posts! Lots of giveaways, lots of insights, and hopefully, lots of fun!

)

Mira Reisberg: Will Write/Teach/Edit for Cookies

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

Mira-pic-flowerTRANS

MIRA REISBERG

Aspiring authors and illustrators often ask: what are the steps you need to take to climb the ladder of success in this industry. There is one thing the pros all agree upon: HONE YOUR CRAFT. And one of the ways to do that is to take classes. In 2014, I jumped in with both feet and signed up for five different picture book writing classes. Towards the end of the year, I realized that even though I was ‘only a writer’, it might be helpful to get the perspective of an illustrator. I thought this would help me become a better writer, especially with my pacing and page turns. So, in December of 2014, I signed up for Mira Reisberg’s Illustrating Children’s Picture Books, and was thrilled to connect with the mentor I had admired from afar. The class rocked. I did learn more about pacing and page turns…and even gathered my courage and posted a thumbnail storyboard at one of the interactive webinars that were part of the class. And now I have three pbs debuting in 2019 and two in 2020.  

 

Mira Reisberg has helped MANY authors and illustrators get published. She has worn just about every hat in the industry including award-winning illustrator, author, and literary agent. Mira holds a PhD in Education and Cultural Studies with a focus on children’s literature. She has taught children’s literature courses at Washington State University, Northern Illinois University, San Francisco City College Extension, and UC Berkeley Extension. Mira also works as an acquiring editor and art director at Clear Fork Publishing’s children’s book imprint Spork. Receive free goodies from her at bit.ly/CBA-Gift  and learn about the Children’s Book Academy here http://bit.ly/CreateKidsBooks

Hello Mira…it is such a pleasure to have you here. I know everyone is anxious to get an inside peek at this publishing industry from an editor’s POV

Hi Vivian, thank you for having me here. It was such a pleasure having you in the course and I’m so delighted that we’ve stayed friends and that you’ve been so successful.

ME: And what luck for me, Mira, that I will get to hug you in person next year at the Australia/NZ SCBWI conference in Sydney! I was lucky enough to take your Illustrating Picture Books class back in 2014. The content is fabulous. But can you tell us a bit about how you work with students in the course? Is it different from the way you work in your position as an editorial art director?

 

 MIRA: As you know I love helping people in a very hands-on, love-connected way. When I was a university professor, I wasn’t allowed to be so heart-centric but having my own school, I am. In both my teaching and art directing and editing I give very specific suggestions and provide examples. A long time ago I had a publisher who would just say “that’s not quite it yet,” which would make me crazy because I had no idea what “it” was. So I like to give very specific suggestions that the person can take or leave.

 

Our interactive courses, such as our upcoming illustration course, are very comprehensive with daily lessons that include worksheets and handouts for working with ideas, and creating children’s books along with video demonstrations teaching drawing, painting, collage, stamp making, dummy making, etc. along with interviews with experts sharing their techniques and experiences. It’s all the technical and business aspects of making a book and getting published.

 

There’s way too much to describe but besides sharing over 30 years of experience and learning in the biz, my favorite parts are about working directly with students in the courses and the folks that I acquire for Spork. In the courses, I get to do this through a very interactive Facebook group, the weekly live critiques, and the optional additional one-hour critiques that I do via shared-screen Skype and Photoshop. I do it this way so I can show and tell and teach at the same time.

 

In all aspects of my life, I am a teacher. In just the past 8 months I have art directed eight picture books from last year’s illustration course students including two writers who took the course and whose stories I fell in love with. I’ve developed a technique that I think has been very effective in art directing. I look at the work at each stage and make video critiques where I can literally point at things that I think can be strengthened. Sometimes I’ll take something into Photoshop and demonstrate how to make something recede or make a character cuter or play with body language and include that in the video as well. Then we’ll talk via email and also via Skype. It’s a wonderfully collaborative process where I often bring the author in as well because once the art stuff is happening the text often needs to change because it can be shortened or because the art will show that something isn’t clear in the text or that could be improved. I don’t want the author to be prescriptive about what the illustrator can or should do, but rather to have it be a collaborative love fest and it usually is.

ME: The Children’s Book Academy is a household word in our kidlit community. Why did you start CBA?

MIRA: The Children’s Book Academy started as the Picture Book Academy after I’d been a university professor teaching Kid Lit survey courses to future teachers and Children’s Book Writing and Illustration courses to graduate students. I didn’t like institutional teaching with grading and rubrics, where everyone needed to be on the same page at the same time. I really wanted to teach in a much more unconventional and love-centric way where people could learn at their own pace and in their own way and really help each other. I wanted my students to learn through pleasure and their own personal desire to grow and blossom, so I started the Academy. Because of my Ph.D. and university work, I knew how to set up comprehensive sequential systems of teaching and learning using scaffolding techniques, but the rest of it I developed myself through hard work and vertical learning curves. I am so grateful that it has paid off for our students.

 

ME: I know you’ve had a long and successful career as a mentor and teacher for kidlit. How have your own experiences as an author and illustrator, as well as an art director and editor and agent, helped you in your position as an instructor?

 

MIRA: I am very fortunate to have been in the business for over 30 years and to discover fairly early on my life’s work so that I could help others. I’m able to bring all of these experiences together to provide really rich experiences teaching both technique and business skills for my students to help them create fantastic books, many of which get published. I am so thrilled that my students have published over 220 books that I know of, and won many, many awards. It makes me feel like a proud mama.

72dpi-Spork-covers (2)this one

As a teacher, I continue helping my students long after the course ends as you can see in this video with just some of our now published students that we did a year ago – https://youtu.be/t3QRa3vovvI  With both the students that I hire to write and illustrate books for Spork, plus other now published former students, I’m doing all sorts of marketing stuff to help them succeed. It’s obvious, I do a little too much, but I truly love this work. I’m hoping to do less in the future but not sure how. I’ve also contracted two of my own books that I’ve written and am illustrating, which I’ll be sharing in the illustration course as well.

ME: What advice would you give aspiring authors and illustrators who are just starting their journey?

MIRA: There are three things I’d advise them to do. One, take courses like the Children’s Book Academy. The second is is to play, and experiment. If you take a playful approach rather than a work approach you’re going to be open to revising and experimenting, doing things over and over until you get your work where you want it to be. If you play and experiment, you’ll enjoy doing it more, you’ll get hooked on the endorphins and do it a lot, and this too will grow your skills. The third thing is to join a critique group so other eyes can see your work. We set these up for you in our interactive courses but you can also join a critique group through SCBWI.org, which is another fabulous resource for you.

ME: Oh WOW! This has been amazing, Mira! Lots of great insider info about the editing process and how your CBA Illustrating Chidren’s Picture Books class works. And I love your advice to play and experiment…I think sometimes we get so serious about our writing, we forget it needs to be fun!

MIRA: Vivian, thank you so much for interviewing me. I really got into this and it made me think about what I do and why. One of the things that came up for me is that when I die, I’ll go knowing that I’ve done a lot of good in the world, and that’s a wonderful thing.

ME: Oh my goodness…it’s always good to reflect on what we have accomplished as well as what we want to do as we move forward, Mira. But I’m planning on continuing our friendship for a good long time…so you’ll have decades more time to do more good things. 

And one good thing that appears at the end of our Write for Cookies post is always a recipe for a sweet treat. Since Mira doesn’t eat foods with gluten or with sugar, I’m sharing a link to a fabulous website with not one, not two, but FORTY Gluten-Free Sugar Free cookie recipes.

Paleo-Cookies-Horiz-728x381Photo courtesy: https://wholenewmom.com/recipes/paleo-cookies-sugar-free-cookies/

And dear friends, please let me know if you try any of them…I want to try ALL of them!

Thank you all for spending your precious time here – and I know we are all thanking Mira for stopping by. I hope this post gave you an inside peek at some of what goes on when a book is acquired by an editor. If  you are in search of online classes to help you hone your craft, I know Mira would be delighted to have you stop by CBA.  She often gives free webinars where she teams up with other editors to offer tips and techniques on writing picture books…and guess what? There is one coming soon:

webinar-jam-long-narrow-cbicb_1_orig

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