Perfect Picture Book Friday: LIZZIE DEMANDS A SEAT Plus Giveaway of PB Critique or Book

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends! I already know that today’s selection is going to be one of my favorite picture books of 2020 – the author, the talented Beth Anderson, is one of my critique buddies and I saw the early drafts of this story and loved it then. As most of you know, nonfiction pb bios are near and dear to my heart…and this one is about Elizabeth Jennings who fought for the right to ride the streetcars in New York City. And guess what? This amazing author is offering a giveaway and the winner gets to choose either a copy of the book OR a Picture Book Manuscript Critique…WOW! Please make sure you leave a comment to get your entry. And then, before you go on to your other activities, check out the other wonderful books on review over at Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday post.

LIZZIE DEMANDS A SEAT! Elizabeth Jennings Fights for Streetcar Rights

Written by Beth Anderson

Illustrated by E.B. Lewis

Published by Cawkins Creek/Boyds Mills Press/Kane (January 2020)

Ages: 7-10

Themes: Discrimination, Courage, Civil Rights

Synopsis: From Amazon:

In 1854, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Jennings, an African American schoolteacher, fought back when she was unjustly denied entry to a New York City streetcar, sparking the beginnings of the long struggle to gain equal rights on public transportation.

One hundred years before Rosa Parks took her stand, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Jennings tried to board a streetcar in New York City on her way to church. Though there were plenty of empty seats, she was denied entry, assaulted, and threatened all because of her race–even though New York was a free state at that time. Lizzie decided to fight back. She told her story, took her case to court–where future president Chester Arthur represented her–and won! Her victory was the first recorded in the fight for equal rights on public transportation, and Lizzie’s case set a precedent. Author Beth Anderson and acclaimed illustrator E. B. Lewis bring this inspiring, little-known story to life in this captivating book.”

Why I love this book:

  • Powerful text brings history alive for young readers
  • I love that this little known event is brought to life – who would have imagined that 100 years before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, Elizabeth Jennings had already sued…and won…for the right to ride on a streetcar with white folks.
  • Captivating illustrations will engage kids – and keep them turning the pages

Here are a few of the STARRED reviews:

  •  “Anderson’s third-person text allows readers under Lizzie’s skin… Lewis’ dappled watercolors depict the action and extend it.  A two-page author’s note fleshes out the history, including mentions of Claudette Colvin and Rosa Parks. Necessary.” — Kirkus Reviews, starred review
  • “Anderson’s vivid, well-researched narrative includes dialogue that “closely follows” accounts of Jennings’ experience that appeared in newspapers at the time. Using brighter hues than his usual palette, Lewis creates a series of vibrant, expressive watercolor paintings that transports viewers back in time, while portraying characters as distinct individuals. A memorable picture book introducing a nineteenth-century defender of civil rights.” — Booklist, starred review
  • “…(T)he first victory in what would become a 100-year-long battle to end segregation on public transportation. Shimmering jewel-toned watercolors blur and delineate details in Lewis’s paintings.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

RELATED ACTIVITIES

There are many activities that parents and teachers can use to help promote racial and cultural awareness – the idea is NOT to ignore the differences among people, but to EMBRACE the differences. Ignoring the differences is like saying that the art of Picasso is the same as the art of Rembrandt. We can help children observe and appreciate different shades of skin and different textures of hair.

I found the following abstract – and although it may seem dated by the year it was created, I feel it gives a true picture of how young children perceive racial differences and it offers some really concrete activities that might promote inclusivity.

Children develop their identity and attitudes through experiences with their bodies, social environments, and their cognitive developmental stages (Derman-Sparks, 1989). As these three factors interact, young children progress through certain stages of racial and cultural awareness. In this article, we’ll talk first about the stages of racial awareness. Then we’ll give you some ideas for activities that will help children accept themselves and others.

When does it start?

The foundation of self-awareness is laid when children are infants and toddlers. At these stages, children learn “what is me” and “what is not me.” Toddlers are sensitive to the feelings of the adults around them, and they begin to mimic adult behavior. By age two, children recognize and explore physical differences. They are also learning the names of colors, and they begin to apply this to skin color. Natural curiosity will lead to questions about differences.

dancing kids5THE PRESCHOOL YEARS (age 3 and 4). Children of this age are better at noticing differences among people. They have learned to classify, and they tend to sort based on color and size. They can’t yet deal with multiple classification, so they get confused about the names of racial groups and the actual color of their skin. They wonder why two people with different skin tones are considered part of the same racial group. Many preschool children will comment – in words or through actions – on hair texture, eye shape, and other physical characteristics. They want to know how people got their color, hair texture, and eye shape.

Children at this age believe that because other parts of their body grow and change, skin color and other physical traits could also change. Some young black children prefer white dolls over black dolls (Clark, 1963). More often than white children, they may say that they don’t like their skin color, hair texture, or another physical trait. By age four, children begin to prefer one race.

At this age, children’s thinking is limited, distorted, and inconsistent. For these reasons, it is easy for them to believe stereotypes and form pre-prejudices. In the Anti-Bias Curriculum (1989), Louise Derman-Sparks states, “The goals are to facilitate children’s awareness that their racial identity does not change, to help them understand that they are part of a large group with similar characteristics (not “different” from everyone else) and to foster their desire to be exactly who they are.”

KINDERGARTEN (age 5 and 6). Kindergartners continue to ask questions about physical differences, and they can begin to understand the explanations for these differences. They can now make distinctions between members of the same racial or cultural group. At this age, children are developing social skills and becoming more group-oriented. They enjoy exploring the culture of their friends. By age six, most children understand the concept of fair and unfair, and they often use these concepts as they try to deal with issues.

child playsTHE EARLY PRIMARY YEARS (age 7 and 8). At this age, children acquire racial constancy. They now understand that a person’s skin color will not wash off or change but will remain the same as she grows up. At this age, children can also consider multiple attributes at one time. They can now understand how one person can be a member of several different groups. For example, a person can be part of a family, a classroom, a culture, and a race.

Children can also understand feelings of shame and pride at this age, and they are aware of racism against their own group. They are able to empathize, and they are interested in learning about the world. It’s the perfect time for giving them accurate information so they grow out of “preschool” ways of thinking (York, 1991).

Now that you understand how children develop their racial and cultural awareness and identities, it’s time to encourage them to accept and celebrate their differences. We want to help all children develop a positive self-concept and feel proud of who they are – although we don’t want them to feel better than other groups, either! If this positive sense of self and others is allowed to flourish, today’s children will become adults who accept and affirm differences, identify unfair situations, and strive to eliminate racism of any sort. A first step in helping children feel positive about racial and cultural identity is reflecting diversity in their surroundings. Children notice when the only dolls there are to play with don’t look anything like them. Books and toys that reflect racial and cultural diversity serve two purposes. They not only help children of color feel good about themselves, they help all children feel positive about differences. Here are some ideas you can try.

– Remove materials and visuals that promote stereotypes.

– Display images of all the children and families in your program.

– If your group is not diverse, display images of diversity in your community or in U.S. society.

– Add toys and materials that reflect the cultures of the children and families in your group. Then expand to include materials that mirror the diversity in the world.

Activities for Preschoolers

Skin-Color Match-Ups

Set out a number of nylon knee-high stockings in various shades, tan, black, white, pink, yellow, and red. Encourage children to try them on their hands and arms or their legs and feet. Ask questions to help the children increase their awareness of skin color. For example, “Can you find a stocking that is the same color as your skin?” Or “What color is that stocking you have on your arm?” Ask the children to “Try the _________ stocking. Is it lighter or darker than your own skin?” Tell the children no one’s skin color is really white, pink, yellow, or red. Emphasize that skin-color differences are interesting and desirable.

Hair

Ask parents to give you a tiny bit of hair from each child. If parents cannot do this, use photographs of different hairstyles and hair-care products for the children to use, explore, and talk about. If parents do give you the hair, paste the hair from each child on a 3″ x 5″ index card, put them in a box, and ask the children to identify each bit of hair. Talk about how hair has texture and curl. For instance, some people have fine hair while others have coarse hair. Some people have straight hair, and others have curly hair. Talk about how people have different hair colors and lengths. Take a photo of each child’s face and make a collage of different hairstyles.

Music and Dance

Ask parents to lend you recordings of music that their family enjoys. Teach the children songs and dances from different nations of the world. Children will begin to see that all people like to sing and dance, but every group has its own special ways of doing it. Talk with the children about how different music sounds: loud, soft, fast, or slow. Listen for the different instruments. Again, ask parents if they have any instruments children could listen to or try.

Activities for School-Age Children

Alike and Different (Thumbprints)

Set out white 3″ x 5″ cards, a black ink pad, a pen, and a magnifying glass. Ask the children to make prints of their thumbs by pressing them on the ink pad and then on the cards. Label each print with the child’s name. Let children use the magnifying glass to see how the prints are alike and different. Point out that everyone has patterns on the skin of their fingers and each person’s fingerprints are different from anyone else’s.

Reprinted with permission from the National Network for Child Care – NNCC. Biles, B. (1994). Activities that promote racial and cultural awareness. In Todd, C.M. (Ed.), *Family child care connections*, 4(3), pp. 1­p;4. Urbana-Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Cooperative Extension Service.

Please join me in celebrating Beth’s wonderful new book – the best way to do that is to

  • Buy a copy of the book
  • Review the book on Amazon/Goodreads/or other review sites
  • Tell your friends about the book
  • Ask your local library to purchase a copy for their shelves

Thank you for spending your precious time here – I hope you all have a wonderful weekend…and if you have a few more minutes, please hop over to Beth’s blog where I stopped by to share some thoughts, plus I’m offering a giveaway for her Mining for Heart series: The Voice of Heart.

Also, don’t forget to leave a comment here to be entered in the giveaway of the winner’s choice of either a copy of LIZZIE DEMANDS A SEAT or a PB manuscript critique from the amazing Beth Anderson! And remember…if you share on social media, you get an extra ticket in the giveaway hat…the more you share, the more chances you’ll have!

A Couple More Giveaway Winners…and Tips on My Writing Process

Hello my friends.  This post is two-fold…I wanted to announce a couple of giveaway winners before I get too far behind again.

PLUS…I’m part of #Newin19 – a group of debut picture book authors and illustrators whose books are launching in 2019. We have a wonderful new website that will be chock full of peeks into the lives of the authors and illustrators, sneak peeks at their book covers, special events and happenings as we come into the new year, PLUS a blog where we’ll share insights and information of interest to all.

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But first, let’s get to the giveaways.

operation rescue dog 1

Author Maria Gianferrari offered a copy of her brand-new picture book: OPERATION RESCUE DOG. And the winner is…

SARAH TOBIAS

inconvenient alphabet

Author Beth Anderson offered a copy of her brand-new picture book: AN INCONVENIENT ALPHABET: BEN FRANKLIN & NOAH WEBSTER’S SPELLING REVOLUTION. And the winner is: 

ANNIE LYNN

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Hannah Holt, author of A DIAMOND AND A BOY, offered a Picture Book Manuscript Critique. And the winner is…

KAITLYN LEANN SANCHEZ

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And last, I offered a copy of Hannah’s debut pb, A DIAMOND AND A BOY. And the winner is…

PAMELA COURTNEY

Congratulations…and a big thank you to our generous authors. I will connect you all so the prizes can be distributed.

And now, as promised, the link for the post I wrote for the #Newin19 group. The article is called: SEVEN STEPS AND A FEW SECRET INGREDIENTS:

https://newin19.weebly.com/newin19/seven-steps-and-a-few-secret-ingredients

I hope you all stop by to visit our new blog – shout-outs and shares will be much appreciated by all of these talented new authors and illustrators – I’m honored to be part of their group. To tell you the truth, I almost feel like an imposter because this is the THIRD debut picture book author/illustrator group I’ve been in…I was in PicturetheBooks 2017 and also in Epic Eighteens…but they do say that third time’s a charm. Maybe that’s why I have three books debuting next year! 

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And just a heads up…the #Newin19 group is having a Twitter chat with one of kidlit’s favorite people, MATTHEW WINNER. So please, tune in at #Newin19 on your Twitter page on Thursday, October 11th at 8pm EST/7pm CST. He’s going to be asking us all sorts of fun questions!

I hope you all have a wonderful week…I’ll see you on Friday when Melissa Stoller’s Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush is in the spotlight! And then, looking down the road for the next few weeks, Amber Hendricks’ Sophie and Little Star; Viviane Elbee’s Teach Your Giraffe to Ski; Sherry Howard’s Rock & Roll Woods; Brian Lies’ The Rough Patch; and Lisa Amstrutz’ Finding a Dove for Grandpa! WOW!

 

 

 

 

 

Beth Anderson: Will Write for Cookies PLUS Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

Beth Anderson head shot hi res

BETH ANDERSON

I first met today’s guest in June 2014 when I took a class in writing nonfiction picture books. I fell in love with writing nonfiction…and so did Beth Anderson. We enjoyed critiquing together then…and we still do.

Beth Anderson, a former English as a Second Language teacher, has always marveled at the power of books. Armed with linguistics and reading degrees, a fascination with language, and penchant for untold tales, she strives for accidental learning in the midst of a great story. Beth lives in Colorado where she laughs, wonders, thinks, and questions; and hopes to inspire kids to do the same.

Welcome, Beth! Thanks for stopping by. I’m so excited for your debut picture book, AN INCONVENIENT ALPHABET: Ben Franklin & Noah Webster’s Spelling Revolution. And I know you have more books in the pipeline…but for today, let’s find out a little more about you and your writing journey.

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

BETH: I don’t have a recollection of favorite authors or illustrators. I know the first book I bought with my own money (as recorded in my baby book, I have no memory of this) was Children of the World – which is interesting when you consider I became an ESL teacher! I remember The Cat in the Hat Came Back, a book of poems, and a book of Bennett Cerf’s riddles. (What’s black and white and red all over?) I was always checking out biographies and Nancy Drew books from the library. My mom also read to us each night from thick classics like Pinocchio and Winnie the Pooh. 

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

BETH: I wish I knew (and still wish I knew) more about the process of creating picture books! But in general, things unfolded as I was ready, so I don’t know if I’d change a whole lot. Sometimes if you know the road is littered with potholes and bumps and detours and barriers, you’re afraid to step out on the journey. There is so much information available now online that it’s immensely easier than when I took my first crack at writing for kids years ago. The most valuable bit of info now is knowing that there are endless resources for learning available.

inconvenient alphabet

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

BETH: I’ve claimed the study as my writing room where I have easy access to shelves of books, drawers of files, and the current pile of research. Sticking with one spot helps my focus – except that I can look out the window and watch the world go by. Initially, I use pencil and spiral to organize and make lots of notes. (See my post on how I organize HERE. I’ve found it’s really beneficial to brainstorm by hand. When I start drafting, it all goes on the laptop. At various points in the process, I print out a one-sided copy and start marking it up by hand with highlighters and notes. I like to be able to lay out the entire story and see how sections balance, where different plot points fall, where repetitions hit, identify page breaks, the conflict points, the emotional arc, etc. I think it helps to see the story in different formats.

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

BETH: I’m my best creative self in the morning. So as soon as I exercise and eat breakfast, I’m at it. Once in a while an idea hits when I’m about to fall asleep, so I have pencil and paper on the night stand. But I’ve learned that I shouldn’t work on a manuscript in the evening, or it will torture me all night. Most days, at least Monday through Friday, I’m researching, drafting, or revising. But now that I have a book coming out, there are some days that I’m working on other related tasks.

ME: Why do you write for children?

BETH: I’ve had the “someday” of writing for children in the back of my mind for a very long time. Finally, as I prepared to retire from teaching, that idea came out of hiding. When my students asked me what I was going to do, I admitted I’d always wanted to write for kids. Seeing their excitement gave me the encouragement I needed to give it a try. Also, they made me feel accountable. How could I tell them to chase their “somedays” if I wasn’t willing to?

But as to why I’m drawn to narrative nonfiction…it all comes from my years as an ESL teacher using literature to teach content as well as language. I saw the lightbulbs go on and heard the reactions. I watched wonder creep over a child’s face and listened to questions that came forth. I got to see the power of story to connect kids to their world, open minds, and inspire learning. My goal is to be a part of that.

Interior BF letters public

Jumping off from there, I’d say a story can teach us all something different, something we need. Certainly as a writer, I get multiple lessons, about life as well as writing, with every manuscript as I connect to the characters and learn from their experiences. With An Inconvenient Alphabet, the lingering idea gleaned from Ben Franklin was to let your ideas “take their chance in the world.” Once that book is out in the world, others will largely determine its success. But I’ll continue to learn from the experience.

ME: How about some thoughts for aspiring authors?

BETH: One of the most difficult things for any of us is to put our ideas out there and risk reactions that are not positive. When I started this kid lit endeavor, I couldn’t use the word “writer” about myself. When I got over that hurdle, I struggled with “author.” There seemed to be “requirements” I wasn’t sure I met. Am I a writer if no one reads what I write? Am I an author if my story is in my drawer? But…if we keep it to ourselves, no one will ever read that story in the drawer. We’ll never make the connections we desperately need to move ourselves forward. My first public “confession” that I was diving into this came at a weavers’ guild meeting, and lo and behold, I met a local author who told me how to connect with the kid lit community in the area. So…you just never know…one thing leads to another…a chance.

Thank you so much, Beth. I loved this entire Q&A…but I know that for me, your organizational tips will be so very helpful…I can’t wait to visit the link you provided!

And, my friends, Beth has provided something else just as sweet…her favorite treat recipe! Take it away, Beth!

 

Peach Cobbler

I got this recipe from a dear friend when we lived in Georgia, land of peaches. It’s fabulous!

¾ C. flour

2 C sugar (I cut down to justify eating more. Usually put ¾ c. into batter and ¼ to ½ c. with fruit.)

2 t. baking powder

Dash salt

¾ stick butter/margarine

¾ C milk

2 C. sliced peaches (be generous)

Melt butter or margarine in 8×8 pan (I use microwave, glass pan).

Combine flour, 1 C (or less) sugar, baking powder, milk, salt.

Mix peaches and 1 cup (or less) sugar.

Pour batter into the melted butter in pan. DO NOT MIX.

Dump peaches into batter (distribute evenly). DO NOT MIX.

Bake ~1 hour @ 350’ – you want a golden crusty top.

Oh my goodness…that sounds amazing! Thanks so much, Beth. I wonder how many people are going to try this…looks like the perfect dessert for company.

Don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway.  Have a safe and happy weekend, my friends. 

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday: AN INCONVENIENT ALPHABET Plus Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, my friends. Here is another book I’ve been anxious to spotlight…ever since I read an early draft of it during a manuscript exchange with one of my critique buddies. It’s actually just hot off the press as you’ll see by the publication date below. I am so darn excited for the talented Beth Anderson…and you’ll get to meet her tomorrow when she stops by to chat on Will Write for Cookies. Plus she’s graciously agreed to do a giveaway…so make sure you leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of her debut picture book, AN INCOVENIENT ALPHABET: Ben Franklin & Noah Webster’s Spelling Revolution.

inconvenient alphabet

AN INCONVENIENT ALPHABET: BEN FRANKLIN & NOAH WEBSTER’S SPELLING REVOLUTION

Written by Beth Anderson

Illustrated by Elizabeth Buddeley

Published by Simon and Schuster (September 25, 2018)

Ages: 4-8

Themes: American history, spelling, humor

Synopsis: From Amazon:

Delightful, relatable, and eye-catchingly illustrated.”School Library Journal
Deelytful and iloominaating for noo and seesuned reeders alyk.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Thought-provoking and entertaining.” —School Library Connection
“Engaging…A comprehensible, lively read.” —Publishers Weekly

Do you ever wish English was eez-ee-yer to spell? Ben Franklin and Noah Webster did! Debut author Beth Anderson and the New York Times bestselling illustrator of I Dissent, Elizabeth Baddeley, tell the story of two patriots and their attempt to revolutionize the English alphabet.

Once upon a revolutionary time, two great American patriots tried to make life easier. They knew how hard it was to spell words in English. They knew that sounds didn’t match letters. They knew that the problem was an inconvenient English alphabet.

In 1786, Ben Franklin, at age eighty, and Noah Webster, twenty-eight, teamed up. Their goal? Make English easier to read and write. But even for great thinkers, what seems easy can turn out to be hard.

Children today will be delighted to learn that when they “sound out” words, they are doing eg-zakt-lee what Ben and Noah wanted.

Why I like this book:

  • I love books that bring history alive – especially little known stories like this one. Why didn’t they have books like this when I was a kid?
  • The text is fabulous…punny and funny and shows a great depth of research on the part of Beth Anderson, the author. 
  • Illustrator Elizabeth Baddeley’s work is absolutely breathtaking! Bold! Hilarious! And totally Spot On! Kids are going to LOVE this book and so will teachers, librarians, and parents!
  • Wonderfully informative author’s note at the end of the book.
  • PLUS…there is also a super cool CURRICULUM GUIDE for teachers and school librarians who want to extend the learning experience after reading AN INCONVENIENT ALPHABET.

RELATED ACTIVITIES

letter a, letter b, letter c, letter dPhoto courtesy: https://www.123homeschool4me.com/2017/01/26-alphabet-crafts_20.html

There are crafts here from A to Z. For detailed instructions: https://www.123homeschool4me.com/2017/01/26-alphabet-crafts_20.html

For more wonderful picture book reviews and activities for kids, please hop over to Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday post where lots of lovers of picture books congregrate.

I hope you all have a super weekend. The fall foliage is in full swing in New England and I hope, wherever you are, you are getting out to enjoy your days. Please don’t forget to leave a comment below for a chance to win a copy of the book…when you read the book, don’t forget to leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads…and please do come back tomorrow to chat with Beth on Will Write for Cookies.