It’s Time for Halloweensie and Picture Book Month!

Knock, knock!

Who’s there?

Boo!

Boo, who?

Don’t cry! It’s time for Susanna Hill’s 5th Annual Halloweensie Contest!

friendly jackolanternCourtesy Google Images

That’s right—the contest runs from today till Friday…so there is still plenty of time to participate. Here are some of the rules from Susanna’s post.

The Contest: write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (title not included in the 100 words), using the words costume, dark, and haunt.   Your story can be scary, funny or anything in between, poetry or prose, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words and is 100 words (you can go under, but not over!) Get it? Halloweensie – because it’s not very long and it’s for little people. 🙂 (And yes, I know 100 words is short but that’s part of the fun and the challenge! We got over 130 fantastic entries last year so I know you can do it!) Also, you may use the words in any form – e.g. haunt, haunts, haunted, darkness, darkening, costumed, whathaveyou 🙂 No illustration notes please!

For more details, please click here: http://susannahill.blogspot.com/2015/10/its-about-that-time.html

I love this contest—all of my previous entries have been rhyming, so I thought I would change it up a bit this year. I hope you enjoy my story. And when you finish reading it, please hop over to Susanna’s website where you will find many more Halloween tales.

 

Halloween Fever (99 words)

 

Philpot blew his nose. His eyes watered. His throat tickled. His skin flushed red with fever.

“Oh no!” he moaned. “Whoever heard of a red ghost?”

Never had Philpot missed going a-haunting on Halloween. Opening Wanda Witchner’s spell-book, he flipped to the ‘C’s’. Exploding CAKES. Flying CATS. Disappearing COLDS.

“Hocus Pocus Mucus Phlegm!”

Blink. No more watering.

Swallow. No more tickle.

Sniff. No more dripping snot. But his skin still glowed red.

“If magic won’t do the trick, I can use my imagination!”

And grabbing a white sheet as his costume, Philpot floated out into the dark night.

 

 I hope you enjoy my little Halloween tale…for many more incredible stories, please visit Susanna’s Halloweensie Contest page: http://susannahill.blogspot.com/2015/10/the-5th-annual-halloweensie-writing.html

MORE GOOD STUFF – Please keep reading!

On Friday, I mentioned that November is a great month because of the PiBoIdMo Challenge. Well, there is another awesome picture book event coming up…Picture Book Month. Organized by author and literacy advocate Dianne de las Casas, this event is supported by everyone who loves picture books. Visit her website http://picturebookmonth.com every day during November and be prepared to be inspired and informed with posts by: Sudipta Bardan-Quallen, David Biedrzycki, Paulette Bogan, Mike Curato, Matthew Gollub, Julie Gribble, Julie Hedlund, Carter Highins, Molly Idle, Joe Kulka, Jennifer Gray Olson, Kathryn Otoshi, Anne Marie Pace, Rukhsana Khan, Robin Newman, Penny Parker Klostermann, Eric Litwin, Loren Long, Deb Lund, LeUyen Pham, Matt Phelan, Stephen Shaskan, Trisha Speed Shaskan, TJ Shay, Whitney Stewart, Holly Stone-Barker, Mo Willems, Natasha Wing, Matthew Winner, and Paula Yoo.

PBMLOGO-COLOR_WEBRES

How lucky are we to have these incredible mentors sharing their love of picture books with us!

Thank you for stopping by. Your visit is much appreciated!

Dianne de las Casas – Will Write for Cookies

DSCN7064

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

DIANNE DE LAS CASAS

IN LIBRARY

I connected with today’s Will Write for Cookies guest of honor because she shares my love for picture books. I had heard about Picture Book Month as I followed the blogs of writers, illustrators, educators and parents. A month devoted to picture books? What brilliant person had thought of that?

Dianne de Las Casas is an award-winning author, storyteller, and founder of Picture Book Month. Her performances, dubbed “revved-up storytelling” are full of energetic audience participation. The author of 24 books, Dianne is the International Reading Association LEADER 2014 Poet Laureate, and the 2014 recipient of the Ann Martin Book Mark award. Her children’s titles include The Cajun Cornbread Boy, There’s a Dragon in the Library, The Little “Read” Hen, The House That Santa Built, and Cinderellaphant.

When Dianne agreed to participate and share her thoughts with us, I was thrilled. There are lots of golden nuggets of inspiration and information that you will take away from this interview…and wait till you see her cookie recipe! So, without further ado…here’s Dianne! Continue reading

Check in – Check out – Check up: November Challenges

November appeared on the end of Halloween’s black cat tail…and it’s going to be a busy month!

Have you reached your writing goals so far this year?

jeremys first day at soccer made a goal 9_7‑13

Check-in: At the end of each month, Julie Hedlund requests that we check-in to let her know if we have completed a picture book draft as part of the 12×12 Challenge. I’m happy to say that I have! And please keep in mind that registration for 12×12 in 2014 is just around the corner. If you are looking to be inspired, motivated and encouraged in your picture book writing…THAT IS THE PLACE TO BE! This year, members at the Golden Book level had the opportunity to submit picture book manuscripts to ELEVEN awesome literary agents!

Check-out: I hope you will check out Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog because she will be announcing the FINALISTS in the Halloweensie Contest. There were almost 80 entriesclick here for her link up post to read some amazingly creative stories. Click here to read my submission: HALLOWEEN DANCE PARTY COUNTDOWN. I’ll add Continue reading

PPBF: Parenting Advice from Andy Griffith…Set the Rules!

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday where I link up with Susanna Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of picture book writers, illustrators, librarians and others who contribute a picture book review.

Before I get to the picture book review, I wanted to share some thoughts about parenting.

Last night, my husband and I enjoyed watching an old Andy Griffith  Show from the 1961 season…”Opie’s Hobo Friend”…guest starring Buddy Ebsen.

These days, single parent homes are pretty common.  But the Andy Griffith Show, starring Andy Griffith as single dad Sheriff Andy Taylor and Ron Howard as his son, Opie, was a ground-breaking concept for television in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s.

Every episode was filled with warmth, good humor and the charm of a bygone era.  Amazingly, every episode was also filled with sound parenting advice.  Unlike many family situation comedies we see on television these days where the mother and/or father are portrayed as bumbling fools, Andy Griffith was a strong, compassionate and loving father, not above making a mistake and saying he was sorry, but always cognizant of his role as the parent and all that entailed.

In this particular episode, Opie becomes enthralled with a drifter and starts to imitate him.  Andy insists that the drifter leave town, but the drifter challenges him and says that Andy should let his son decide what kind of life he wants to have.

Andy’s reply is one that every parent needs to take to heart and remember.

“You can’t let a youngun’ decide for himself.  He’ll grab at the first flashy-with-shiny-ribbons-on-it-thing he sees.  It’s difficult for him to tell the difference between right and wrong.  When he finds out there’s a hook in it, it’s too late.  The wrong kinds of things come packaged in so much glitter, it’s hard to convince him that the other thing might be better in the long run.  All a parent can do is say, “Wait…trust me”…and try to keep temptation away.”

This single dad was not afraid to set the rules and enforce them…he always did it with love and compassion, but he was never swayed from being the parent.

I know this is ‘only’ an old TV series…but I believe this is a powerful message for all parents today…set the rules with love, enforce them with compassion and remember to be the parent!

Our perfect picture book today is about another single-parent family.

A Chair for My Mother

Written and illustrated by Vera B. Williams

Publisher: Greenwillow Books (1984)

Ages: 4 and up

Themes:

Single-parent family, working together, believing in yourself, surviving hard times, loss, patience, goal-setting

Synopsis:

When all of their possessions burn in a fire, a little girl and her mother and grandmother begin saving their coins so they can buy a special armchair that they can all sit in.  Each day they add coins to the jar until it is so full they cannot put another one in.  The chair they buy is gloriously colorful and it epitomizes the hope they have for the future.

Why do I like this book:

This book is a Caldecott Honor Award winner!  The illustrations are glorious…the sweet story relays how resiliant children are…the shared goal brings the family together and strengthens them.  A lovely story-time choice for any child, but especially powerful for single parent families or those who have experienced the disasterous loss of fire or flood.

Related Activities:

SHOEBOX DIORAMA

Photo courtesy http://www.firstpalette.com

One of my most favorite memories is sitting at the kitchen table with my mother, working together on a diorama.

You will need: 1 shoebox, small boxes and/or styrofoam, construction paper, scissors, glue stick, magazine pictures.

  1. Decide what scene the diorama will portray.
  2. Cover the ‘walls’ of the room (shoebox) with decorated construction paper or pictures cut from a magazine.
  3. Help your child cover the boxes/styrofoam with construction paper to form ‘furniture’.
  4. Glue the pieces in the box.

Great diorama crafts here: http://www.artistshelpingchildren.org/dioramasartscraftsideasprojectskids.html

More wonderful diorama crafts here: http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/diorama/

And more here: http://familycrafts.about.com/u/sty/craftstechniques101/Publish-Your-Craft-Projects/Shoebox-Diorama-Craft.htm

Lesson plan here: http://www.homeschoolshare.com/a_chair_for_my_mother.php

Printables here: http://printables.familyeducation.com/mothers-day/general-skill-builders/55053.html

Because November is such a special month and there is so much going on, I want to reshare some links to wonderful events going on in the kidlit/picture book community because I never know when someone new visits my blog who might not know about them.

  1. Picture Book Month: Visit the website of Dianne de Las Casas to join in the month-long celebration of PICTURE BOOKS!  Every day, a different picture book champion (author, illustrator, etc.) is guest posting…you won’t want to miss these….they will inspire you and help you remember just why you love to read and write picture books.
  2. Picture Books and Crafts for Kids: This Sunday I will be sharing “Gift Bear for the King”  and we will be making a king/queen crown.  Each YouTube segment highlights a parenting problem such as setting up good bedtime routines or a children’s challenge like learning to be a good friend and believing in oneself.  Last week’s link: http://youtu.be/jMvyNgM2wiM
  3. PiBoIdMo:  Picture Book Idea Month is the brain-child of children’s author,Tara Lazar.  If you signed up, you are already immersed in the world of picture books…trying to come up with 30 fresh ideas for picture book manuscripts during this month.  But, even if you have not joined the challenge, please run over there…don’t walk… to read an AMAZING guest post EVERY DAY this month…these posts will instruct and educate you…as well as motivate you to write the picture book that every child will want to read over and over again.
  4. Please don’t forget about Reach Out and Read…we need to GAB (Give a Book) before they can ROAR (Reach Out and Read).  If everyone who loves to read donates enough to buy just one book, the New York City Bellevue Hospital program (one of the largest in the country) will be able to replace the books that were lost in Hurricane Sandy.

 

HOLIDAY GIFT IDEA

Young children don’t need fancy electronic gadgets…they only need a good picture book, a few simple inexpensive art supplies (like paper, crayons or markers, safety scissors and glue stick) and your positive participation.  If you are looking for a great resource that will give you 100 picture book summaries and easy matching craft (like the diorama above) and cooking activities, you can purchase a copy of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.  At $19.95, this book makes a PERFECT gift for any parent or teacher of children ages 2-8…as well as for daycare providers and grandparents.  No batteries required…powered by a child’s imagination!   Buy your copy today!

Are you still hesitating?  Author/illustrator/humanitarian Lesley Fletcher just did an amazing review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/461240610

PPBF: Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse…Be Thankful for Who You Are

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday where I link up with Susanna Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of picture book writers, illustrators, librarians and others who contribute a picture book review.

Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse

Written and illustrated by Leo Lionni

Publisher: Pantheon Books (1969)

Ages: 3 and up

Themes:

Believing in yourself, friendship

Opening lines:

“Help!  Help!  A mouse!”  There was a scream.  Then a crash.  Cups, saucers, and spoons were flying in all directions.  Alexander ran for his hole as fast as his little legs would carry him.”

Synopsis:

Alexander, a real mouse, is jealous of the toy wind-up mouse who lives in the warm house and is loved by the children.  He courageously asks the powerful lizard wizard if there is some way he can become a wind-up mouse.  When he finds the wind-up mouse has been thrown away, he decides to use his magic wish to turn the wind-up mouse into a real mouse so that the two can live together and be friends.

Why do I like this book:

This book is a Caldecott Honor Award winner!  Mr. Lionni’s simple yet bold illustrations capture the pathos of the story.  And the message is so powerful…children (and adults) often think that ‘the grass is greener’ and that they would be happier being someone else.  Our happiness comes from within ourselves…being someone else cannot make us happier.   When Alexander realizes that he is the fortunate one, he also realizes that life would be sweeter if he had a friend to share it with him.  This is a perfect story for the Thanksgiving season…and I will be sharing it this coming Sunday in my new Show Me How Picture Books and Crafts for Kids series on YouTube.

Related Activities:

PAPER MOSAIC FLOWER FROM THE LIZARD WIZARD’S GARDEN

Photo courtesy of http://www.education.com/activity/article/Paper_Mosaics/

You will need: One piece of dark construction paper, several small pieces of colored construction paper cut into small squares, glue stick and a pair of scissors.

  1. Talk to your child about the illustrations in the book…many of them look like cut-paper collage and mosaic…in fact, if you have old wallpaper sample book or old magazines, you can use those instead of the small pieces of colored construction paper.
  2. Help your child plan out the flower (or whatever your child decides to create on the page)…you can help draw the picture with marker to define each section…or your child might decide to just fill the page with the small cut paper in his own design.
  3. Use a dab of glue to stick each piece onto the paper.
  4. When dry, hang in a place of honor.

Lesson guide for teachers: http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/lesson-plan/alexander-and-wind-mouse-discussion-guide

Dramatization of the story for students: http://www.csuchico.edu/~cguenter/FourArts/DR/DRalex.html

Because November is such a special month and there is so much going on, I want to reshare some links to wonderful events going on in the kidlit/picture book community because I never know when someone new visits my blog who might not know about them.

  1. Picture Book Month: Visit the website of Dianne de Las Casas to join in the month-long celebration of PICTURE BOOKS!  Every day, a different picture book champion (author, illustrator, etc.) is guest posting…you won’t want to miss these….they will inspire you and help you remember just why you love to read and write picture books.
  2.    Picture Books and Crafts for Kids: Please pass the word about this new YouTube series for parents and teachers and kids…every Sunday, I’ll be choosing a picture book to read aloud…and then I’ll do a simple related craft project.  Two weeks ago, I spotlighted Yes We Can by Sam McBratney and last Sunday I read The Little Red Caboose by Marian Potter and we created a geometric-shape train picture.  This coming Sunday, I will be reading Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse and we will be making the flower mosaic.  Each segment highlight a parenting problem such as setting up good bedtime routines or a children’s challenge like learning to be a good friend and believing in oneself.
  3. PiBoIdMo:  Picture Book Idea Month is the brain-child of children’s author,Tara Lazar.  If you signed up, you are already immersed in the world of picture books…trying to come up with 30 fresh ideas for picture book manuscripts during this month.  But, even if you have not joined the challenge, please run over there…don’t walk… to read an AMAZING guest post EVERY DAY this month…these posts will instruct and educate you…as well as motivate you to write the picture book that every child will want to read over and over again.
  4. Please don’t forget about Reach Out and Read…we need to GAB (Give a Book) before they can ROAR (Reach Out and Read).  If everyone who loves to read donates enough to buy just one book, the New York City Bellevue Hospital program (one of the largest in the country) will be able to replace the books that were lost in Hurricane Sandy.
  5. 12×12 in 2012: November is already half-way gone…and I’ve finished my November picture book draft for Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Challenge to write a picture book draft each month…hurray!
  6. I also wanted to share an article from the University of New Hampshire’s Penman Review…three tips for writers before their book is published.

 

HOLIDAY GIFT IDEA

I know the media is starting its holiday campaign to turn our young children into super-consumers…but young children don’t need fancy electronic gadgets…they only need a good picture book, a few simple inexpensive art supplies (like paper, crayons or markers, safety scissors and glue stick) and your positive participation.  If you are looking for a great resource that will give you 100 picture book summaries and easy matching craft and cooking activities, you can purchase a copy of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.  At under $20, this book makes a PERFECT gift for any parent or teacher of children ages 2-8…as well as for daycare providers and grandparents.  No batteries required…powered by a child’s imagination!   If you order from my website in the month of December, there will be a special bonus gift included with each book (more about that next week)…the price is a little more than on Amazon…but I’m also offering FREE SHIPPING…so it evens out the cost.  Take your pick…whichever site you want to use…just make sure you grab a copy for those special people in your life who would benefit from having this award-winning resource!

This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susanna Leonard Hill.  Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities.   This is an unbelievable resource for any parent, teacher or children’s librarian.

PPBF: The Little Red Caboose…Building Self-Esteem in Children

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday where I link up with Susanna Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of picture book writers, illustrators, librarians and others who contribute a picture book review.  When you visit her website on Friday, in addition to finding lots of links to other wonderful picture book reviews, you will also find out the winners of the Halloweensie Contest!!!

Before we get to today’s picture book review (I’ll give you a hint…I’m back to the classic picture books), I want to reshare some links to wonderful events going on in the kidlit/picture book community.

  1. Picture Book Month: Visit the website of Dianne de Las Casas to join in the month-long celebration of PICTURE BOOKS!  Every day, a different picture book champion (author, illustrator, etc.) is guest posting…you won’t want to miss these….they will inspire you and help you remember just why you love to read and write picture books.
  2. Picture Books and Crafts for Kids: Please pass the word about this new YouTube series for parents and teachers and kids…every Sunday, I’ll be choosing a picture book to read aloud…and then I’ll do a simple related craft project.  Last week I spotlighted Yes We Can by Sam McBratney and this Sunday I will be reading The Little Red Caboose by Marian Potter and we will create a geometric-shape train picture.  Each segment will highlight a parenting problem such as setting up good bedtime routines or a children’s challenge like learning to be a good friend.
  3. I’m also teaming up with author and educator Susan Case to do a Thanksgiving Google+ Hangout/YouTube video on Monday afternoon as part of a week-long Thanksgiving celebration by parent bloggers.  Our segment, Acts of Random Kindness, will include a reading of Norman the Doorman by me and a super craft project done by Susan.
  4. PiBoIdMo:  Picture Book Idea Month is the brain-child of children’s author,Tara Lazar.  If you signed up, you are already immersed in the world of picture books…trying to come up with 30 fresh ideas for picture book manuscripts during this month.  But, even if you have not joined the challenge, please run over there…don’t walk… to read an AMAZING guest post EVERY DAY this month…these posts will instruct and educate you…as well as motivate you to write the picture book that every child will want to read over and over again.  For example, today’s post, by author Ame Dyckman, encourages us to revisit the picture books of our youth to recapture the magic we felt back then as each page turned and we eagerly anticipated the next one.

Ame’s advice conveniently leads into my Perfect Picture Book Friday pick for today.

The Little Red Caboose

Written by Marian Potter

Illustrated by Tibor Gerbely

Publisher: Golden Press (Western Publishing Company) 1953

Ages: 3 and up

Themes:

Building self-esteem, believing in yourself, courage, determination, friendship

Opening lines:

“The little red caboose always came last.”

Synopsis:

The little red caboose is attached to the end of a long train of oil cars, coal cars and flat cars.  The people who come to wave at the train are gone by the time the little red caboose passes by and the little red caboose wishes he was one of the other cars.  However, when the train almost slips down the mountain, the little red caboose saves the day!

Why do I like this book:

You recapture a ‘kinder gentler’ time as you turn the pages of this beautifully illustrated classic.  Kids love books about trains (this is the great-grandfather of the Thomas series).  The message of being disappointed in who you are and wishing you were someone else is one that children (and adults) will understand and relate to…and the joyous triumph of the little red caboose will encourage kids to believe in themselves.  I love books that help build self-esteem in children.

Related Activities:

GEOMETRIC TRAIN PICTURE (http://mamasmiles.com/geometric-shapes-train/)

You will need: One piece of light colored construction paper, several pieces of different colored construction paper, scissors, glue stick and crayons or markers.

  1. Use the light colored piece as the base.
  2. Cut small circles (wheels), squares  and rectangles and triangles (the different cars of the train).
  3. Help the child put the shapes together to form the train.
  4. Paste each piece in place.
  5. Let the child decorate the train…perhaps drawing the train number and the tracks.
  6. Hang up in a place of honor!

Another great website here with a page devoted to books about trains: http://www.readingtoknow.com/2011/06/train-picture-books.html

 

HOLIDAY GIFT IDEA

Young children don’t need fancy electronic gadgets…they only need a good picture book, a few simple inexpensive art supplies (like paper, crayons or markers, safety scissors and glue stick) and your positive participation.  If you are looking for a great resource that will give you 100 picture book summaries and easy matching craft and cooking activities, you can purchase a copy of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.  At under $20, this book makes a PERFECT gift for any parent or teacher of children ages 2-8…as well as for daycare providers and grandparents.  No batteries required…powered by a child’s imagination!

This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susanna Leonard Hill.  Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities.   This is an unbelievable resource for any parent, teacher or children’s librarian.

Don’t Be Afraid…Go Ahead…Write Picture Books!

Picture Books are…fun to read, a pleasure to look at, educational, wonderful to listen to.

Picture Books can: encourage a special bonding between parent and child, teach children about the world, help kids with the challenges they face.

I love to write and I love picture books…so I’ve taken the plunge and put myself out there several times in the past year, participating in a couple of writing contests.

If you’d like to read the EIGHT finalists’ entries (mine is among them 🙂 in Susanna Leonard Hill’s Halloweensie Contest, you can visit her blog and vote for the one you like best.  Maybe you will be inspired to enter the next contest!

If you need more encouragement, you can check out Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) where you will find amazing posts every day this month that will give you golden nuggets of inspiration to get you started and keep you going.

And if you just like to read them to kids, you can visit Susanna’s Perfect Picture Book resource page where she adds dozens of picture book reviews (with activities) every Friday or hop over to Dianne de Las Casas Picture Book Month website where every day this month she is featuring guest posts on the importance and joy of picture books, or check out my book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking, where you will find 100 classic picture book summaries with both a craft and a cooking activity for each…you can also follow my new weekly YouTube series, SHOW ME HOW: PICTURE BOOKS AND CRAFTS FOR KIDS.

By the way, Tuesday was Election Day in the U.S….I hope everyone voted…it is a precious right and we should cherish it!