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Robin Newman: Will Write for Cookies PLUS Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

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ROBIN NEWMAN

I met today’s guest early on in my kidlit writing journey and was always impressed with her passion and determination.

Raised in New York and Paris, Robin is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and the City University of New York School of Law. She’s been a practicing attorney and legal editor, but she prefers to write about witches, mice, pigs, and peacocks. She’s the author of the Wilcox & Griswold Mystery Series, The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake and The Case of the Poached Egg, and Hildie Bitterpickles Needs her Sleep. She’s a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, National Writing Project’s Writers Council, and the Bank Street Writers Lab. She lives in New York with her husband, son, goldfish, and two spoiled English Cocker Spaniels, who are extremely fond of Phil, Jim, and Harry.  

ME: Welcome, Robin! Thank you so much for stopping by to chat…and a big thank you for offering a copy of your awesome new picture book, NO PEACOCKS! as a giveaway. I know everyone is excited to learn more about you, so let’s get started.

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

 

ROBIN: I will seriously date myself but here goes:

 

  • Maurice Sendak—My twin sister and I grew up with Max and Pierre. By age 3, I’m pretty sure we knew every single word in The Nutshell Library. And we can still sing all the stories out of tune with some help from Carole King in the background;

 

  • Ludwig Bemelmans—We lived in Paris when we were kids and fantasized about going to school with Madeline. Boohoo! Who wouldn’t want their appendix out too?;

 

  • Jean de Brumhoff—Loved Babar, Celeste, and the Old Lady. In fact, one of our English bulldogs was named Babar; and

 

  • Beatrix Potter—How could you not love The Tales of Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny?

 

 

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

 

ROBIN: It may seem very obvious, but writers need a gene for patience. Patience for writing and developing story ideas. Patience for working on rewrites. Patience waiting for agents and editors to review your submissions and patience for implementing and processing feedback. Patience, as well as a good box of tissues and chocolate, for dealing with lots of rejection.

 

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

 

ROBIN: I work on a laptop. Most of the time, I work in my teeny tiny office that’s been overtaken by swag and books with my dogs, Cupcake and Madeleine, under my feet. But I also like to work in coffee shops while waiting for my son to get out of camp or school.

 

Now, if I don’t have my laptop with me, I always have a notebook or two that I use for marking down ideas and sketching/outlining stories. When I finally have a solid draft, I like to print it out and mark it up on paper. I seem to see the story more clearly when I’m reviewing it on paper. And if I’m working on a picture book, once I have a solid draft, I always always always make one or several dummies so that I can cut, see where the page turns are going to fall, and cut some more.

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

 

ROBIN: I write in the morning after my son heads off to school or camp. And I have till school or camp pick up to finish my work.

 

ME: Why do you write for children?

 

ROBIN: I LOVE it! I love getting kids excited about reading and writing, including my own son, who’s a difficult customer to please. And it’s an absolute privilege to write for children.

 

Prior to writing for children, I had been a miserable attorney (that’s miserable with a capital M), and then a legal editor before switching gears completely to writing picture books and early chapter books. I still remember the day when I walked into my first children’s fiction writing class, it just felt so right. I knew I had found my people.  

 

Bottom line: there’s no better job in the world than writing for children. (And I’m extremely grateful to my amazing husband who supports my writing habit.)

 

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

ROBIN:

  1. Write and rewrite. Rinse and repeat.
  2. Follow Publishers Weekly, familiarize yourself with the children’s publishing industry and the business of publishing children’s books, and be aware of what editors are buying.
  3. Do your homework when looking for an agent. And yes, it is easier to sell a story with an agent who can get your work in front of the right editor.
  4. Join the SCBWI.
  5. Join a critique group.
  6. Don’t give up!

ME: HURRAY! What amazing advice, Robin! Thank you so much. I know everyone is applauding. We appreciate that you shared so much with us. And I know you have a very special treat to share with us.

ROBIN: Although I will most definitely write for cookies, I must confess that I prefer carrot cake. Here’s Molly Katzen’s awesome carrot cake recipe from The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake. It’s super easy and super yummy!

recipe

Thank you so much, Robin! This is a fabulous recipe…and you’ve been so generous in sharing your thoughts on writing!

Don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway, dear friends.

I hope everyone has a safe and wonderful weekend! 

 

 

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday: IRVING BERLIN: THE IMMIGRANT BOY WHO MADE AMERICA SING

I’m sure nobody will be surprised that one of my favorite activities is reading picture books. And I’ll let you in on a little secret. It’s even more fun when the book is written by someone I know…someone I’ve met in person. Today’s Perfect Picture Book is one of those! Author Nancy Churnin has DONE IT AGAIN! She is on a roll with her fabulous nonfiction picture book biographies!

irving berlin

Written by Nancy Churnin

Illustrated by James Rey Sanchez

Published by Creston Books (May 2018)

Ages: 6-9

Themes: Music, The American Dream, Believe in yourself

Synopsis: From Amazon:

Irving Berlin came to the United States as a refugee from Tsarist Russia, escaping a pogrom that destroyed his village. Growing up on the streets of the lower East Side, the rhythms of jazz and blues inspired his own song-writing career. Starting with his first big hit, Alexander’s Ragtime Band, Berlin created the soundtrack for American life with his catchy tunes and irresistible lyrics. With “God Bless America,” he sang his thanks to the country which had given him a home and a chance to express his creative vision.

Why I like this book:

  • Inspiring story of overcoming the odds
  • The text sings, just like the songs Irving Berlin wrote
  • Amazing illustrations have rhythm and movement

RELATED ACTIVITIES:

12-flag-crafts-for-kids-fbPhoto courtesy: https://iheartcraftythings.com/12-fabulous-american-flag-crafts-kids.html

With Flag Day and the 4th of July just around the corner, here is a wonderful selection of crafts for kids! Irving Berlin was so proud to be an American…you can help your kids create something to help celebrate these important holidays.

For detailed instructions: https://iheartcraftythings.com/12-fabulous-american-flag-crafts-kids.html

And for a very detailed review of Nancy’s book, there’s a wonderful blog post at Books My Kids Read: https://booksmykidsread.wordpress.com/2018/05/30/irving-berlin-the-immigrant-boy-who-made-america-sing/

For more picture book reviews, please hop over to Susanna Hill’s resource list of over 1000 picture book reviews. And for today’s rainbow array of picture book reviews from some of our favorite kitliters, click here.

Thank you, dear friends, for stopping by. If you are traveling this weekend, please be safe. But wherever you are, if you have children, take time to read them a picture book. And if you don’t have kids, read one anyway!

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday: THE MANIC PANIC Plus Giveaway

Hello dear friends. I hope I am not confusing everyone in the middle of the #50PreciousWordsforKids Writing Challenge by posting a review for Perfect Picture Book Friday. But when I found out about this story, I knew it was one I had to share with all of you!

Picture this: you walk into a restaurant and notice a family already seated. Mother. Father. And a couple of kids. But something is odd. They are not talking with each other. Oh no. Each one is holding an electronic device. Tablet. iPhone. Video game player. 

I’ve seen this scenario many times. Have you? Believe me, as a parent of three children, I do understand the desire to have a peaceful meal. We used to bring crayons and paper…some restaurants even provided these supplies. I’m not sure if they do that now…maybe they just supply WiFi because they assume that even the youngest kids will be connecting electronically.

And yes…I agree…our kids need to be tech savvy…but screen-time is addictive and with this comes the inevitable disconnect with real people. And that is too, too sad. So, when I read Richa Jha’s fabulous THE MANIC PANIC, I realized she had found a way to put a humorous spin on this and perhaps, help everyone put down their devices and reconnect with life. PLUS…thanks to the generosity of Richa and Creston Books, we have a GIVEAWAY! Please leave a comment to be entered.

manic panic

MANIC PANIC

Written by Richa Jha 

Illustrated by Mithila Anath

Published by Creston Books (2018)

Ages: 5-8

Themes: Family interaction, limiting screen time

Synopsis: From Amazon: 

Some grown-ups have so much screen time that they just can’t cope when the wifi goes out. Luckily the grown-ups in Manic Panic live with a smart kid who loves to read and an adventurous grandma who knows how to have fun without the internet. Manic Panic is a wry look at the value of unplugged family time, even when someone is resistant to the real world. The illustrations add depth to the story, helping us to see all the small things we can miss when we’re glued to our phones.

Why I like this book:

  • Hilarious text that just about every modern parent and child will be able to relate to as the parents and child in the story switch roles.
  • Great illustrations that really help show the child’s frustration with her WiFi addicted parents. 
  • This is the perfect story to start a discussion on the importance of limiting screen time and increasing together time.

RELATED ACTIVITIES

  1. Visit CAMPAIGN FOR A COMMERICAL-FREE CHILDHOOD: http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/blog/who-needs-screens-70-ideas-family-fun
  2. Make a list of things your family can do instead of screentime and then do them!
  3. Set screen-time rules and stick to them.

Don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway of a copy of MANIC PANIC thanks to author Richa Jha and her publisher, Creston Books! And remember that there are several things we can all do to help our favorite authors:

1. If we can, buy a copy of their books.

2. Write a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and other book reveiw sites.

3. Ask our local library to purchase a copy for their collection.

4. Tell friends about the book.

There is still time to send in stories for #50PreciousWordsforKids International Writing Challenge – please email your child’s precious words by Monday, May 7 at 11:59pm. I will be posting all of the stories next Friday, May 11.

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I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I truly appreciate you spending your time here. And if you want to read more picture book reviews, please hop over to Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday link up.

 

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