Perfect Picture Book Friday: PENCIL’S PERFECT PICTURE Plus Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, my friends!  I’m still in Chicago, but I wanted to make sure I shared this lovely new book by Jodi McKay. Think THE DOT meets THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT. It’s a story that will encourage kids to draw for pleasure, do their best, and have fun…and it launches in just a few days. And author McKay is donating a copy of the book as a GIVEAWAY…YAY! Please make sure you leave a comment to be entered for a chance to win.

61ue4z8Xu+L PENCIL’S PERFECT PICTURE

Written by Jodi McKay

Illustrated by Juliana Motzko

Published by Albert Whitman (2019)

Ages: 3-5

Themes: Do your best; art; believe in yourself

Synopsis: From Amazon:

Pencil is trying to draw the perfect picture for his dad. So, he asks his friends Brush, Pastel, Marker, Crayon, and Chalk what makes their art perfect. But they each have a different answer. How will Pencil be able to create his own perfect picture?

Why I love this book:

  • Wonderful text that will encourage discussion about tackling projects we are unsure of
  • Creative illustrations that help us connect with the main character, even though it is a pencil
  • I love that the author used art supplies as the characters to show how kids feel

RELATED ACTIVITIES:

Deocrated Pencils

Decorative-Pencils-Family-Craft-thediydreamer.com_Photo courtesy: https://thediydreamer.com/crafts/decorative-pencils-family-craft/

How about making the perfect pencil? For detailed instructions: https://thediydreamer.com/crafts/decorative-pencils-family-craft/

And remember, the greatest gift we can give an author is to buy their book, review their book, tell a friend about their book, and ask our local library to add the book to their colloection.

Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of PENCIL’S PERFECT PICTURE. We’d love to hear how you felt about your art when you were a kid.

For more wonderful picture book reviews, please visit Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday post.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Please stay tuned for the #50PreciousWordsforKids International Writing Challenge: April 29-May 6…if you know any teachers or parents who might want their children to participate, please pass along the information.

Perfect Picture Book Friday: FOLLOW ME DOWN TO NICODEMUS TOWN Plus Giveaway

Hurray! The first Perfect Picture Book Friday post of 2019! This year is shaping up to be a wild rollercoaster of adventure for me. So it made sense to review a book about a group of pioneers who also experienced a challenging journey. Oh, by the way, did I mention these pioneers were African Americans? The book is fiction, but based on true events – the story of the town of Nicodemus, Kansas, where, in 1877, former slaves could purchase a large tract of prairie land for $5…all they had to do was chop down trees to build their homes, hunt animals to provide food for their families, plow the hardscrabble ground to plant crops, and survive the harsh winters, frozen rivers, and lack of supportive neighboring towns.

Follow Me Cover Continue reading

Perfect Picture Book Friday: FINDING A DOVE FOR GRAMPS Plus Critique Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends. The year is winding down, but the windfall of fabulous picture books of 2018 is not. And the author of today’s book is offering a VERY special giveaway: a Picture Book Critique OR the first 10 pages of a novel. Continue reading

VIVIANE ELBEE: Will Write for Cookies Plus Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

Viviane Headshot

VIVIANE ELBEE

Continue reading

Perfect Picture Book Friday: TEACH YOUR GIRAFFE TO SKI Plus Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, my friends. The mailbox has been a flurry of awesome activity this week…lots of new picture books! And since this one is launching in just a couple of days, I wanted to share it with you. PLUS, the author, Viviane Elbee, will be stopping by tomorrow to chat on Will Write for Cookies AND she is offering a copy of her debut picture book for a giveaway!

TeachYourGiraffeToSki_cover_final

TEACH YOUR GIRAFFE TO SKI

Written by Viviane Elbee

Illustrated by Danni Gowdy

Publlished by Albert Whitman (November 1, 2018)

Ages: 3-6

Themes: Facing fears, friendship

Opening lines: “Uh-oh. It’s snowing and your giraffe wants you to teach her to ski.”

Synopsis: 

What do you do when your giraffe wants to learn how to ski—but she wants to go down the big scary slope and you are NOT a fan of skiing even on the bunny slope? As the boy tries to control his giraffe and lead her to safer spots, he learns something about courage along the way and the reader learns about ski slope etiquette and the rudiments of skiing.

Why I like this book:

  • The illustrations are absolutely adorable as humans and animals strap on skis and share the slopes.
  • Kids will love the story…so over the top hilarious, but with important underlying messages of friendship and facing fears.
  • I enjoyed the larger typeface and I think beginning readers will be encouraged to try to read this themselves.

RELATED ACTIVITIES:

Paper Plate Giraffe

giraffe craftPhoto courtesy: https://familymaven.io

Paper plates are one of my favorite classic craft materials. For detailed instructions: https://familymaven.io/kidsactivities/kidsactivities/easy-giraffe-craft-for-kids-NQNcWRx1Z0SwCkAYeJjZ6w/

Please don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway. And come back tomorrow when we chat with Viviane Elbee about her writing journey.

I hope all of you have a wonderful weekend. I’ll be at a local apple orchard with my grandson. Whatever you are doing, stay safe, and remember that authors need our support. Leaving a review, on Amazon, Goodreads, or other review sites, can really give a boost to the potential success of your favorite book!

 

 

 

Happy Book Birthday: CHARLIE TAKES HIS SHOT Plus Giveaway

FIRST POST OF THE YEAR!!! 

So you know it is going to be special, right?

Last year I featured as many 2017 picture books as I could. This year I plan to do the same thing for the debut picure books of 2018. HOPEFULLY, my Sweet Dreams, Sarah will be one of them! But for today, I’ve got a really special book for you! From a dear friend and critique buddy of mine, Nancy Churnin, who has a knack for finding golden nuggets of history and turning them into fabulous nonfiction picture books that children and adults will want to read again and again.

HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY TO CHARLIE TAKES HIS SHOT

charlie takes his shot

CHARLIE TAKES HIS SHOT: How Charlie Sifford Broke the Color Barrier in Golf

Written by Nancy Churnin

Illustrated by John Joven

Published by Albert Whitman

Ages: 5-8

Themes: Determination, Civil Rights, golf

Synopsis:

From Amazon:  Charlie Sifford loved golf, but in the 1930’s only white people were allowed to play in the Professional Golf Association. Sifford had won plenty of black tournaments, but he was determined to break the color barrier in the PGA. In 1960 he did, only to face discrimination from hotels that wouldn’t rent him rooms and clubs that wouldn’t let him use the same locker as the white players. But Sifford kept playing, becoming the first black golfer to win a PGA tournament and eventually ranking among the greats in golf.

Why I like this book:

  • I love when authors can entertain, educate, and inspire by taking an impottant event in history and making it come alive for kids
  • The text and illustrations engage from the first page to the last
  • This is an important moment that built on what had come before and opened doors for those who came after

 

RELATED ACTIVITIES

tin-can-golf-header-1Photo courtesy: https://www.thecrafttrain.com

Tin Can Golf is fun for young kids and can be ramped up to make it more challenging for older kids. For detailed instructions: https://www.thecrafttrain.com/tin-can-indoor-golf-fun-from-recycled-junk/

Thanks to author Nancy Churnin, we have a giveaway of a copy of CHARLIE TAKES HIS SHOT.  Please leave a comment to be entered.  Remember, there is only one copy that can be won, but the book JUST launched TODAY…so you can hop over to your favorite bookstore and get a copy And don’t forget that leaving a review on Amazon or Goodreads only takes a couple of minutes, but it will mean the world to the author of that book you loved reading with your child.

Please come back tomorrow for the BOOK BIRTHDAY of LOVE, MAMA by Jeanette Bradley! 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO A YEAR FILLED WITH POSSIBILITIES!

HOW ABOUT YOU?

Rebecca Colby: Will Write for Cookies PLUS Double Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INSPIRATION – INFORMATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

Rebecca author photo 2017

 

REBECCA COLBY

I’ve known our Will Write for Cookies guest for just about as long as I’ve been active in kidlitland. And I’m so thrilled to finally get a chance to have her visit here.

Rebecca Colby is a children’s picture book author, poet, and screenwriter. Her fourth book just launched, CAPTAIN BLING’S CHRISTMAS PLUNDER (Albert Whitman). Her other books include MOTOR GOOSE (Feiwel & Friends, 2017)…which I just reviewed yesterday on Perfect Picture Book Friday, IT’S RAINING BATS AND FROGS (Feiwel and Friends, 2015), and THERE WAS A WEE LASSIE WHO SWALLOWED A MIDGIE (Floris Picture Kelpies, 2014).

Rebecca, I am so very happy to welcome you to Picture Books Help Kids Soar!

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

REBECCA: There were lots but the ones that stand out from when I was of picture book reading age are James Marshall of the George and Martha stories, Dr Seuss, Garth Williams, Tasha Tudor, and Esther and Eloise Wilkin.

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

REBECCA: That networking is as important as writing. You can’t write in isolation and expect to get anywhere. You’ve got to get out there and meet ‘your tribe’ and lift each other up!

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

REBECCA: I prefer writing outside, but because of all the rainfall in England, that’s not always possible. I try to make the most of the spring and summer months by taking my laptop to a nearby garden and writing amongst the birds and flowers. During the colder months, I sit at home in bed, snuggled under the comforter where it’s warm and toasty. Another place I enjoy writing is on trains, but as a general rule, I prefer an environment that is quieter. For that reason, I’m not much of a coffee shop writer.

As to paper or laptop, laptop wins hands down. I learned to touch-type in high school—a course I wish schools would introduce alongside their IT classes for younger children—and as a result, I can write quicker and more efficiently (not to mention neater!), if I’m on my laptop. 

motor cover

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

REBECCA: The earlier, the better. My Twitter handle is @amscribbler because, for many years, I did most of my writing between 5 and 7 am. I rarely write in the evening as, after 8pm, my brain starts to shut down. I tend to reserve the evenings for marketing, e-mails, reading and watching films.

Wait for the muse to strike? You must be joking! No, this is a job–one I love, but a job. I write because I want to be a career-author and that means showing up for work regardless of whether the muse has graced me with her presence or not.  Writers write!

ME: Why do you write for children?

REBECCA: Two main reasons: I enjoy children’s books far more than adult books and I want to bring more laughter into the world–and what better place to start than with kids’ books! My family would probably add that I’m a 7 year old at heart, so that probably has a lot to do with it also.

 

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. 

REBECCA: Advice to writers:

I see a lot of writers posting their frustrations and disappointments on Facebook after receiving a handful of rejections, and I want to tell them that a handful is nothing. If they really want to get published they’ll stop counting the rejections and start counting the manuscripts they’ve written. My advice is: Up your game and keep getting better, and that means KEEP WRITING!

It’s a numbers as well as a talent game. I’ve had more than one published picture book author in the UK tell me that only about 1 in every 5 manuscripts they write is acquired—and this is from established authors. Don’t waste valuable time counting those rejections, or you may quit. I racked up about 140 rejections in 7 years (but, hey, who’s counting—shame I don’t take my own advice) but if I’d counted all the rejections as I’d gone along, I probably would have dropped out of the game. It was hard enough counting the years pass. So don’t count your failures, count your triumphs, and before you know it, you will ‘beat the odds’.

For educators and librarians:

I don’t consider my work finished on a book until I’ve completed an accompanying resource guide. If you’d like to use my books in a classroom or library setting, please feel free to download these free guides from my website at www.rebeccacolbybooks.com/teachers

Thank you for having me today, Vivian! Though I must admit, I’m much more of a cookie eater than a cookie maker. In fact, that’s why I’m here—you promised cookies! 😉

ME: Oh my goodness…you are so funny, Rebecca. And you are right…for all of your wonderful insights, you definitely deserve cookies!!! But I know you aren’t done yet…so please share your cookie recipe!

REBECCA: Here’s a recipe from my THERE WAS A WEE LASSIE WHO SWALLOWED A MIDGIE resource guide. It’s a recipe for Midgie Shortbread. Enjoy, and thanks again! 

 Midgie Shortbread

 midgie shortbread cookies

Cook shortbread with chocolate sprinkles.

Note: Be aware of any food allergies.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup butter
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¼ cup chocolate sprinkles, plus some additional for topping
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Mix butter and sugar together.
  • Add vanilla and flour.
  • Fold in chocolate sprinkles.
  • Roll out dough until a half inch thick.
  • Cut into shapes.
  • Place on a baking tray.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  • Shake additional chocolates sprinkles over the top and cool.

 

ME: Wow! These look amazing, Rebecca! I am definitely a shortbread fan! Thank you so very much for all of your insights. And I’m thrilled to talk a bit about your newest book that just launched yesterday! I know it is a book everyone would love to win, especially with Christmas around the corner…so thank you so much for offering a double giveaway!!! And I encourage all of my readers to be writers also…when you read a book that you love, please take the time to leave a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads or other book review sites. This will mean so much to your favorite authors and illustrators!

Captain Bling updated cover

Captain Bling and his merry crew set off to find treasure, but they get blown off course and end up at the North Pole. When they spy the elves carefully wrapping presents, the pirates think they have found the ultimate booty! They quickly steal the presents and make their way back to the ship. By the time Santa Claus catches up to them, the pirates are well on their way to escaping. But Santa has a surprise for Captain Bling and his crew!
I can’t wait to read Rebecca’s newest book…it sounds like there are thrills and chills and perhaps, even some spills.
Have a wonderful weekend, dear friends. Thank you so much for spending your precious time here…I truly appreciate your visits and your comments.