Happy EARTH DAY 2019. I can hardly believe that next year will mark the 50th Anniversary. Where were you on that day in 1970? I think Stuart and I were collecting litter at one of our favorite fly-fishing spots on the Shepaug River in Washington, Connecticut.
It was a place like that which inspired me to write FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: An Animal Counting Book. And I was fortunate to have the amazing talent of Mirka Hokkanen to bring the story to life with her modern woodcuts. For more thoughts about how we can protect endangered animals, please hop over to Ronna Mandel’s blog, Goodreads with Ronna, and say hello – I’m chatting about Earth Day and the environment and why I wrote FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN in the hopes that it would encourage children to cherish their world and its wildlife.
We are all storytellers. One of the things that fills me with wonder and joy is when I interact with kids at schools, libraries, and bookstore events. They love listening to the story I read. But even more than that, they want to tell me THEIR stories.
And that is what #50PreciousWordsforKids International Writing Challenge is all about.
We want to encourage young kids to discover the storyteller that lives in them.
And we also want them to understand the value of each word. Continue reading
WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES
INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION
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.
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.
- Write and rewrite. Rinse and repeat.
- 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.
- 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.
- Join the SCBWI.
- Join a critique group.
- 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!
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!
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!
Written by Nancy Churnin
Illustrated by James Rey Sanchez
Published by Creston Books (May 2018)
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
Photo 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!
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.
Written by Richa Jha
Illustrated by Mithila Anath
Published by Creston Books (2018)
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.
- Visit CAMPAIGN FOR A COMMERICAL-FREE CHILDHOOD: http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/blog/who-needs-screens-70-ideas-family-fun
- Make a list of things your family can do instead of screentime and then do them!
- 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.
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.
WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES
INSIGHT, INSPIRATION, INFORMATION
Hey, dear friends! How lucky are we…this is a double your pleasure and double your fun post…TWO INCREDIBLE CREATIVES!
Nancy Churnin is an old friend – Danny Popovici is a new one…and I’m thrilled their soon to be launched picture book MANJHI MOVES A MOUNTAIN has brought them together and here to chat with us.
Nancy Churnin is the theater critic for The Dallas Morning News and author of THE WILLIAM HOY STORY, HOW A DEAF BASEBALL PLAYER CHANGED THE GAME (Albert Whitman & Company), which has been picked for the 2016 New York Public Library Best Books for Kids list, the 2017 Texas Library Association’s 2X2 and Topaz lists and the 2018 Illinois School Library Media Association’s Monarch Award Master List. MANJHI MOVES A MOUNTAIN (Creston Books), a Junior Library Guild fall selection, will be out later this month. Coming out in 2018: CHARLIE MAKES HIS SHOT: HOW CHARLIE SIFFORD BROKE THE COLOR BARRIER IN GOLF (Albert Whitman) in January; IRVING BERLIN, THE IMMIGRANT BOY WHO MADE AMERICA SING (Creston Books) in Spring and THE PRINCESS AND THE FIRST CHRISTMAS TREE (Albert Whitman) in September. A native New Yorker, she’s a graduate of Harvard University, with a master’s from Columbia University School of Journalism, who is happy to call Dallas her home. She and her husband, Dallas Morning News arts writer Michael Granberry, are raising four boys and two cats.
DANNY POPOVICI’s illustrations have appeared in many formats: animation, game, and comic art, but his favorite medium to tell stories is in the pages of magical picture books. He lives in Portland, Oregon, where there’s no shortage of mountains to hike, but he usually leaves his hammer and chisel at home.
Welcome to you both! Nancy, you are up first! I’ve noticed one thing about all the people you choose as your main characters…you become invested in their story. You become a passionate spokesperson for their accomplishments. And you strive to connect young kids with their inspiring tales. Please tell us how that happened.
NANCY: It was just last year, but it seems like yesterday and a lifetime ago that I was sharing my debut book, THE WILLIAM HOY STORY, HOW A DEAF BASEBALL PLAYER CHANGED THE GAME, on Vivian’s amazing, inspirational blog. That unexpected and joyful journey began as a gift from Steve Sandy, a Deaf man and friend of the Hoy family, who has become my friend. Steve has shared my joy as the book went into its 5th printing and racked up recognition, including being on the 2016 New York Public Library Best Books for Kids; the 2017 Texas Library Association’s 2X2 and Topaz lists; the 2017 Bank Street Books Best Books for Kids; and Illinois’ 2018 Monarch Awards Master List. Plus, one of Jez Tuya’s illustrations is featured in a traveling exhibit from the aMAZZAing Mazza Museum: International Art from Picture Books and it was translated into Japanese and is doing extremely well in Japan!
Knowing what it meant to Steve for kids to know the true story of this Deaf hero made we wonder about other untold stories of hidden heroes and heroines. I discovered the story of Dashrath Manjhi in an article about this ordinary man who did an extraordinary thing — he spent 22 years of his life chiseling a path through a 300-foot mountain so that the children in his poor village would have access to school and the sick could get to a doctor.
People in his village told Manjhi he was crazy and I identified with that, too. Writing a story about a man who spends 22 years chiseling a mountain seemed like a crazy idea, but like Manjhi I felt driven. It was something I just had to do! I am very grateful to my agent, Karen Grencik, who believed in this story from the beginning as did my wonderful publisher and editor Marissa Moss, who guided me through multiple revisions of MANJHI MOVES A MOUNTAIN and also to Danny Popovici, whose exquisite illustrations bring a symphonic majesty to the beating heart of the story. I am so grateful to the Junior Library Guild for putting MANJHI on its 2017 fall list and for wonderful early reviews, plus features and support from KitaabWorld, Flowering Minds, Asian Picture Books, A. Cole Books, Stephanie Bange, who was so kind to include MANJHI on her must-have list, Whats New in Children’s Books in the Content Areas?, and our own children’s literature treasure, Vivian Kirkfield!
It’s my dream that this story will encourage kids to be like Manjhi. When you read to the end of the book, you will learn about our MOVE YOUR OWN MOUNTAIN project. I am asking kids what they can do to make a positive difference in their schools and community. I look forward to parents and teachers to send me photographs and extended captions about the children’s projects that I can post on the Move Your Own Mountain page on my nancychurnin.com website. I am hoping that these good deeds will spread as kids give each other wonderful ideas of what they can do and the difference each of us can make.
Thank you so much Vivian for this opportunity to share the story of MANJHI MOVES A MOUNTAIN and for all you do, every day, to help children SOAR!
Here is the free curriculum guide: https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/68b71d_515070a02f9b496e9281ed433fce05f1.pdf
ME: WOW…thank you so much, Nancy! This is fantastic…I loved hearing the back story of how William Hoy and Manjhi got their start. But I know you are not finished yet…you are offering a wonderful giveaway, plus a super authentic recipe for roti.
NANCY: Make your own roti, like the bread the villagers left for Manjhi (Printed with permission of Manjula Jain of manjulaskitchen.com) Roti also known as Chapati or Fulka, is Indian flat bread made with whole wheat flour. In North India, roti is part of the main meal. Roti is served with a variety of cooked vegetables, lentils, and yogurt.
Makes 4 Rotis.
Ingredients: • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour • 1/8 teaspoon salt • 1/4 cup lukewarm water (Use as needed) Also needed • 2 teaspoons ghee (clear butter) • 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour for rolling
1. Mix flour, salt, and water to make sof dough, adding water as needed. Knead the dough for about one minute on a lightly greased surface to make it smooth and pliable. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and set aside at least ten minutes.
2. Divide the dough into four equal parts. Make smooth balls and press flat.
3. Before rolling the roti press both sides of the ball on a dry floured surface to make them easy to roll.
4. Roll to form a six-inch-diameter circle. Use just enough dry flour to roll the roti, as too much flour will make them dry. If the dough sticks to the rolling pin or rolling surface, lightly dust the rotis with dry flour.
5. Heat an iron or heavy skillet on medium high heat. To test, sprinkle a few drops of water on the skillet. If the water sizzles right away, the skillet is ready.
6. Place the one roti into the skillet. When the roti start to change color and start puffing flip it over. There will be some golden brown spots.
7. Flip again afer a few seconds. Using a flat spatula, press lightly on the puffed parts of the roti. This will help the roti puff up. Flip the roti again, until it has light golden-brown spots on both sides.
8. Repeat the same process for remaining roties. Butter the roti, the side that is facing the skillet.
9. Place the rotis in a container lined with a paper towel. Cover the container afer each roti.
10.Roti can be kept outside for up to 2 days wrapped in aluminum foil or in a closed container. For later use, roti can be refrigerated for 5-6 days. Re-heat in a skillet.
ME: Thank you so much, Nancy…we get several great takeaways…find your passion and then write about it…plus a yummy roti recipe. Indian food is my absolute favorite…I am definitely going to try this.
And now dear friends…please take a deep breath…maybe get up and stretch and grab a cup of tea or coffee…and then sit back down to enjoy ANOTHER RIVETING INTERVIEW !
Danny, welcome to Picture Books Help Kids Soar! I know you are sharing some of your process for MANJHI MOVES A MOUNTAIN. We can’t wait…so take it away, Danny!
DANNY: I was sent a manuscript titled Manjhi Moves a Mountain written by Nancy Churnin, and after reading it, I knew I wanted to take this on this project. I neglected to read the author’s note and delved straight into the story. Like most people I know, I have never heard of Dashrath Manjhi. Initially, I thought this was a character Nancy had created. I was pleasantly surprised when I read author’s note; I was left in awe. Not only are Manjhi and his incredible feat a true story, but all took place within the last half a century. Dashrath Manjhi was born in 1934 and died Aug. 17, 2007 at the age of 73.
My production process is never linear, as I jump all over the place from quick sketches, setting up pagination templates, color design, and even testing out what the final product might look like. It’s a large, jumbled mess that over time, pieces come together and begin to form an actual, cohesive, illustrated story. For me, this is one of the most fun parts of illustrating a picture book.
I had a lot of help with research through Nancy, my art director and editor. They made sure I was on the right track and that I didn’t illustrate a specific building or article of clothing that is not common in Bihar, India. Since I have never been to India, I wanted to illustrate the culture with the most upmost respect I could muster. Research was absolutely important during the illustration process.
Once environment and character sketches are approved, I like to move forward to finalizing storyboards and page count. Here is where I begin to break up the text and organize the rhythm of page turns. It’s a long process with many drawings scattered throughout the studio. I like to dedicate a wall for storyboards so I can easily take things down and replace while having my visuals notes right there where I can easily access drawings and mix-match as I see fit.
I like to photograph the final art, but for MMAM, I had to scan the images on a large format scanner. I take the scanned images into Photoshop and here is where I bring everything together, clean up smudges, and do color corrections. I really enjoy this process because it’s setting up the final work that people are going to see. I have a hard time picturing the final project before it’s complete, and this part helps me envision everything together much clearer.
Like Manjhi, I chipped away little by little. Great things don’t happen overnight. Manjhi’s story is a beautiful reminder of the human spirit and dedication it takes to reach a goal. I don’t think there is one person on this beautiful planet that couldn’t learn a thing or two about Manjhi’s persistence and love for community.
ME: No, Danny…thank YOU!!! This was incredible to get a peek at a rough storyboard…and then how you work up the colored illustrations…and then, of course, the actual pages of the book! I can guarantee that this post is going to be bookmarked by many writers…and of course, illustrators!
To learn more about Danny and his books:
ME: And guess what? We are not finished yet. Danny is sharing a recipe for his favorite treat.
-½ cup butter and ½ cup shortening (room temp)
-1½ cups sugar
-1½ tsp cream of tartar
-1 tsp baking soda
-¼ tsp salt
– 2¾ cup flour
Beat shortening, sugar, and eggs together until creamy. Then Blend in cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Then add flour and mix well. Chill for at least 2 hours.
Topping – mix in a bowl 3 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp cinnamon.
Drop dough balls into topping mixture and coat entire cookie. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Okay, dear friends. Take a deep breath. I know this was a mega long and chock full post. One more thing…please leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway from Nancy for a copy of MANJHI MOVES A MOUNTAIN and bookmarks designed by Danny.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. And I urge you to give the gift of a book review on Amazon and/or Goodreads to your favorite authors! It only takes a couple of minutes, but it helps other readers, it helps the author, and it helps spread the word about a book you love.
And with Hurricane Irma bearing down on so many after having caused so much destruction already, I add my prayers for those in her path.
We are back in the swing of things with school in session. Elementary teachers have always used picture books in the classroom, but now, more than ever, the nonfiction picture book bios are needed. And today, I’m bringing you what is sure to be one of the most popular books this year and a classic for the future!
MANJHI MOVES A MOUNTAIN
Written by Nancy Churnin
Illustrated by Danny Popovici
Published by Creston Books (September 2017)
Themes: Ingenuity, courage, persistance
From Midwest Review:
Manjhi Moves a Mountain” is an amazing story of dedication, persistence, vision, and steadfast love. It is a true story about a real man named Dashrath Manjhi, who lived in India from 1934 until 2007. Manjhi lived in a remote, poor mountain village, where a mountain divided his poor village from a sister village with water, fertile land, and access to health care and education. People from Manjhi’s village had to walk over 36 difficult miles to get to the sister village for access to crops, food, health care, and education, because of the difficult mountain obstacle between. Manjhi could see the differences between the two villages clearly, and he pondered the question of inequality between people at the top of the mountain. He came to a decision after throwing a stone against the mountainside in frustration, watching it dissolve into powder. This was his revelation! From then on, Manjhi spent every possible resource and effort to obtain a hammer and chisel and to use his full strength every day to work at pounding the stone of the mountain to make a road for the people from the poor village to travel to the rich village more easily. The work was hard, and had to be done in addition to the work of growing food and sustaining himself. Manjhi and his hammer became a common sight on the mountain, where he labored every day, chanting to himself, “Hold. Aim. Swing!” Though people told him he was crazy, that he should give up and accept inequality, he continued throughout his life, making slow progress in carving a pathway through the mountain. After 15 years, villagers could see real progress. People began to leave offerings of food, and new tools, to help him on his gigantic, self imposed task. Finally one day that was 22 years after Manjhi first had his vision, the last hammer blow was swung and the pathway that would become a road for everyone was open. Manjhi looked from one village to the other and saw not two villages, but one, “sharing water, hopes, dreams… and a man who had moved a mountain!” This true life story of an Indian sage who became revered and known as the Mountain Man is inspiring and moving to young readers age 5 and up. Beautiful earth-toned illustrations depict the mighty work of Manjhi and the awe and respect of his village friends. “Manjhi Moves a Mountain” is a true modern treasure and wisdom life story.
Why I like this book:
- The text engages from the opening lines to the satisfying ending!
- The illustrations are incredible (wait till you see tomorrow’s post when illustrator Danny Popovici shares his process AND his storyboard!
- The story is inspiring.
Photo Courtesy: Kimberly Klein Sweder
Paper Mache Mountain
Help your kids make their own mountain with paper mache. For detailed instructions: http://www.ehow.com/how_12138304_make-fake-mountain-school-diorama.html
- Visit the author’s website and have your child add his or her own story of the mountain they moved: http://www.nancychurnin.com/move-your-own-mountain/
- Draw a mountain and help children learn about values in color shading: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxOjun8pbAw
Please don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in Nancy’s giveaway of a copy of MANJHI MOVES A MOUNTAIN. And definitely don’t forget to be here tomorrow for a double your pleasure, double your fun Will Write for Cookies post featuring:
Author Nancy Churnin and Illustrator Danny Popovici
For more picture book reviews, check out Susanna Hill’s website, where picture book lovers link up their blog posts for Perfect Picture Book Friday.
To my friends and all those in the path of Hurrican Irma…we all join in praying for your safety!