Perfect Picture Book Friday: SALAMANDER SKY Plus Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday!

One of the first bloggers I connected with many years ago was already a published author. Her blog, Non-Toxic Kids, was near and dear to my heart. So when I discovered she had a picture book debut earlier this year, I knew I wanted to feature it here. And author Katy has graciously agreed to host a giveaway – she has several books and I’m not sure which one she will send the winner – don’t you love surprises!!!!

salamander sky

SALAMANDER SKY

Written by Katy Farber

Illustrated by Meg Sodano Continue reading

Perfect Picture Book Friday: NO PEACOCKS Plus Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends!

It’s been such a wonderful week so far…reconnecting with my dear friend Jane in her home on the New Jersey shore…we’ve known each other since we were two years old and have spent the last few days talking and hugging and talking some more! On Wednesday, we walked on the boardwalk,  listened to the waves crashing on the beach. and shared food I haven’t had forever like hot dogs and pizza and fries. 

Which made me think of NO PEACOCKS!, a brand new picture book by one of  my favorite kidlit authors, Robin Newman, about a bunch of birds who want to get some variety in their diet. And thanks to the lovely Robin, we have a giveaway of a copy of this wonderful book!

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NO PEACOCKS

Written by Robin Newman

Illustrated by Chris Ewald

Published by Sky Pony Press (September 2018)

Ages: 4-8

Themes: Humor, ingenuity, food

Synopsis: From Amazon: 

Every day, Phil, Jim, and Harry are fed sunflower seeds by the staff who care for them at The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. But one day, they decide they’re sick of them. They make a break for the New York City streets in search of pizza or Chinese takeout.

But everywhere they go, they’re told “No peacocks!” So they try to get an ooey, gooey, delicious meal closer to home. But how are they going to sneak into the school’s dining hall and get their wings on the school’s world-famous mac ‘n cheese? A little plotting, some stolen disguises, and help from the students, and mission mac ‘n cheese is a go! Will the peacocks finally get their mac ‘n cheese? Or will their cover be blown, forcing them to fly the coop?

Inspired by the real-life beloved, celebrity birds living on the grounds of The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, and brought to the page in bold, bright style, No Peacocks!is a hilarious romp and a perfect read-aloud.

Why I like this book:

  • Kids love funny books…I love funny books…and this is a very funny book!
  • Great diversity in the school children!
  • Bold bright colors will engage kids from the first page to the last!

And here is some more info about the book, straight from the author’s mouth!

My latest book, No Peacocks! A Feathered Tale of Three Mischievous Foodies, illustrated by Chris Ewald (Sky Pony Press) flies onto bookshelves on 9/4.

Let me introduce you to some friends of mine:

This is Phil. He’s a white leucistic peafowl.

white peacock

This is Jim or Harry.

jim or harry

Or Harry or Jim. They’re your traditional blue-green peacocks.

harry or jim

Phil, Jim, and Harry reside on the grounds of The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. From the moment I saw them, I knew I wanted to write a story about them. But it wasn’t until I was attending a meeting for The Cathedral School’s book fair, when my son was a student, and someone announced—Did anyone leave a stroller on the porch with a sandwich? Because one of the peacocks just ate it—that I knew the kind of story I was going to write.

No Peacocks! is a fictional tale about Phil, Jim, and Harry’s quest to taste the school’s very famous mac ‘n cheese. With a little plotting, some stolen school uniforms, and help from the students, Mission Mac ‘n Cheese is a go! No Peacocks! is a cheesy story of friendship and teamwork, with a mild sprinkling of fowl behavior. 

Every day tour buses line up along Amsterdam Avenue from 110th Street to 112th Street to see the three celebrity peacocks and visit the cathedral (which also happens to be where Madeleine L’Engle had worked as the librarian and writer in residence).

No Peacocks! is a quintessential New York story. There may be Eloise at The Plaza Hotel on the east side of town, but there’s no doubt that the peacocks at The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine are THE celebrities on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. 

WOW! Don’t you love getting a behind the scenes look at how/why a book came to be? Is this not fantastic? And just think…one lucky person is going to win a copy of this fascinating book!!! Make sure you leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway.

RELATED ACTIVITIES

Peacock-Crafts-and-Activities-for-KidsPhoto courtesy: https://www.easypeasyandfun.com/peacock-crafts-and-activities/

For detailed instructions on many peacock crafts: https://www.easypeasyandfun.com/peacock-crafts-and-activities/

Here are some great learning extension activities from Robin:

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more activities

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And for more picture book reviews, please hop over to Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

I hope you will all come back tomorrow to visit with author Robin Newman who is stopping by to chat with us on Will Write for Cookies. Please don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway…and remember that book reviews on sites like Amazon and Goodreads are one of the best gifts you can give to your favorite authors.

Perfect Picture Book Friday: ADVENTURES TO SCHOOL

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends!

I’ve been blogging a bit less in the last couple of weeks, but when I received this book in the mail, I knew I had to share it with you today. I’m a fan of anything written by Miranda Paul and this book is cowritten by her husband, Baptiste, whose debut picture book, THE FIELD, just launched earlier this year!

Adventures to School

ADVENTURES TO SCHOOL

Written by Miranda and Baptiste Paul

Illustrated by Isabel Munoz

Published by Little Bee Books (May 2018)

Ages: 4-8+

Themes: School, cultures around the world

Synopsis: From Amazon: 

Kids around the world get to school in unique ways. Take a peek inside this book and see how they reach their destinations!

Children all around the world go to school. Whether they’re from Japan, Ukraine, Ethiopia, or the United States, all students have the desire to learn about the world and shape the future. In Bhutan, children walk for three hours to make it to school, and in Pakistan, children travel by rickshaw. Some children in China must climb a heaven ladder, while children in Nepal must walk over a wire bridge. The treks of these students are unique, extraordinary, and even dangerous, and they signify the common determination, perseverance, and sense of adventure shared by young people around the world.

Read along as students from thirteen different nations embark on their journeys to get to school in the morning, and learn about the diverse landscapes and cultures of these countries along the way!

Why I like this book:

  • Love the content – amazingly personal stories of children on their way to school PLUS so much history and culture is included.
  • Love the illustrations – bold, bright, and filled with heart.
  • This is a perfect book for kids who want to/need to learn about cultures around the world.

RELATED ACTIVITIES

homework-finalPhoto courtesy: http://www.pbs.org/parents/crafts-for-kids

How about TEN awesome crafts for back to school? Check out PBS: http://www.pbs.org/parents/crafts-for-kids/10-favorite-back-to-school-crafts/

Illustrated above is a homework center to help young kids organize their pencils, crayons, and other school supplies.

Other activities…take a trip to your child’s school…by car or bus or walking…and draw a map, taking note of stores and other landmarks you pass along the way.

Thank you all for stopping by today and spending your precious time here. If you have a few minutes left over (I know this is Memorial Day weekend and many of you may be celebrating), please thank your favorite authors by posting reviews of their books on Amazon, Goodreads, or other book review sites. This is the best gift we can five them!

#50PreciousWordsforKids International Writing Challenge is OPEN

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The #50PreciousWordsForKids International Writing Challenge is now OPEN!

Last month, I hosted a challenge for writers. I invited them to create a story for children in 50 words or less. #50PreciousWords drew hundreds of participants. What amazed me was the incredible creativity that was unleashed by the restrictive word limit.

MAGIC HAPPENS WHEN YOU MAKE EVERY WORD COUNT!

Last year, one of the participants told me that she and her six-year old daughter had an amazing bonding experience. Seeing her mom writing, the little girl wanted to write a story also. And she did. And her mom shared it with me.

DINOSAUR SNOW by Bethany (age 6)

It snowed a lot through the day. Pteranodon and her sister Teethless were bored. Pteranodon said, “I planned to go outside and it’s almost time for lunch. Oh it’s 11:00. Let’s go wake Mom and Dad.” “You’re right,” said Teethless. So they did. And then they ate lunch.

And when my eight-year old grandson spent a day with me, he wanted to write one, too.

Locked Out by Jeremy (age 8)

One evening, when me and my mom got home from school, we tried to unlock our door. We heard a snap. Our house key broke! We went to our neighbors for help. They said, “Get a ladder and climb into a window.” We followed their advice. Unlocked the door. Home!

Those two stories got me excited! As a retired kindergarten teacher, I’ve always been on a mission to help kids become lovers of books and reading. As many of you know, now I write for children. And I love it! My four debut picture books will launch next year.

I thought, what if I could encourage kids to become the storytellers! And so, #50PreciousWordsforKids was born.

#50PreciousWordsforKids coincides with Children’s Book Week, April 30 to May 6.

EVERY CHILD in grades K-6 is invited to participate.

This is an INTERNATIONAL challenge…there will be stories flying in from all around the world!

Teachers can have each child write a story of 50 words or less…then the teacher and/or class will choose one story to submit. Perhaps this can be a whole-school event to celebrate Children’s Book Week. Or just a single class project. If several kids want to work together or the teacher wants to submit a collaborative class story, that would be lovely!.

Parents are invited to encourage their children to write a story at home (whether or not they are homeschooled) – parents can email me one story per child.

My only rule is that the stories must be emailed to me by a teacher or parent (or other child-care facilitator).

Here are the guidelines:

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  • Each child, grade K-6, writes a story of 50 words or less.
  • Title not included in word count.
  • Story must have a beginning, middle, and end.
  • Happy or sad, silly or serious, true or make-believe.
  • Teachers/students choose one story to submit per class.
  • Homeschooling parents submit one story per child.
  • Please email story to: viviankirkfield@gmail.com by May 7 at 11:59pm.
  • Stories post on my blog: viviankirkfield.com on May 11.
  • Teacher receives a certificate to copy and present to each child who wrote a story.
  • Giveaway of seven mini-Skype author classroom visits.

The challenge runs April 30 to May 6 and the stories need to be emailed to me: viviankirkfield@gmail.com by 11:59pm on Sunday, May 7th.

I’ll enter those stories on my Thursday, May 11th blog post.

All teachers and parents will receive a certificate that can be copied and personalized with the name of each child who participated.

Please, dear readers, help spread the word by sharing this post on your social media channels and by reaching out to your teacher and parent connections.

If you have any questions or need clarification, just email me: viviankirkfield@gmail.com. 

What a wonderful opportunity for kids to become the storytellers.

Last year we had entries from 15 states and four foreign countries! I wonder where the stories will come from this year. But, no matter where they come from…

…I’m excited to read all of their precious words.

Perfect Picture Book Friday: SELFIE SEBASTIAN and A CAMPFIRE TAIL plus GIVEAWAY

I had a lovely surprise the other day. I received two beautiful picture books in the mail. Written by author Sarah Glenn Marsh, they are bright and bold and so much fun. I knew I had to share them with you today. One is about taking selfies. How awesome is that! And the other is about camping and finding the courage to be a real friend. And because my bookshelves are overflowing, I plan to give both of these away. So please make sure you leave a comment. And don’t hop off until you scroll through the entire post BECAUSE after the picture book review, I’ll be giving everyone a heads up about #50PreciousWordsforKids which is COMING ON MONDAY!!!

SELFIE SEBASTIAN

Written by Sarah Glenn Marsh

Illustrated by Florence Weister

Published by Sterling Children’s Books (2018)

Ages: 5-8

Themes: Friendship, travel

Synopsis: From Amazon: 

You can’t take the perfect selfie if you’re all by yourself.
Sebastian is one handsome fox—and he really, really loves to take selfies. But somehow, no matter how camera-ready he is, his pictures always lack a certain something. And he can’t put his paw on exactly what. So Sebastian sets off on an elaborate quest to take the perfect selfie, dashing from a glamorous red carpet in Hollywood to the vast expanse of the Grand Canyon. He even zooms to the Moon! Still, none of Sebastian’s photos make him happy. Could it be that the secret to his special selfie is right where he started . . . at home, with his friends?

Why I like this book:

  • I loved the relevant theme of taking a selfie…even young kids want to do it.
  • I enjoyed the travel/geography layer to the story – kids will love to guess where Sebastian is.
  • GREAT illustrations – the front and back covers are amazing!

A CAMPFIRE TAIL

Written by Sarah Glenn Marsh

Illustrated by Ana Gomez

Published by Sterling Children’s Books (May 1, 2018)

Ages: 4 and up

Themes: Friendship, courage, camping

Synopsis: From Amazon: 

Ever been stuck with a friend who’s totally uncool—and worried that it will rub off on you?
Welcome to Camp Wildwood! It’s Dragon’s first day, and his buddy would LIKE to show him a good time. But Dragon doesn’t seem to fit in with the boys and girls. He overturns the boat, ruins the puppet show, and even sets the tent on fire. Then, just as his buddy is about to give up, Dragon comes through in a pinch. This sweet, funny picture book teaches an important lesson about the true meaning of friendship—and in accepting the strengths and weaknesses of others.

Why I like this book:

  • I love friendship stories!
  • The illustrations are fantastic…just love the main character!
  • Text is full of heart and humor…great combination for a picture book!

Activities for both stories: 

  • Make a list of how to be a good friend.
  • Take selfies with friends and create an album of friendship.
  • Role play with your kids…different scenarios where being a good friend might be difficult.

Please don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway. If you’d like to see more picture book reviews, please go to Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture book Friday link up. And remember the best gift we can give the authors of our favorite stories is to buy their book or ask the library to order their book or write a review on Amazon or other book review sites.

And now, dear friends, a few words about #50PreciousWordsforKids! Last year, I hosted an international writing challenge for kid writers in grades K-6. I invited them to create a story for children in 50 words or less. #50PreciousWordsforKids drew participants from 15 states and 4 foreign countries. What amazed me was the incredible creativity that was unleashed by the restrictive word limit. Click here to see the stories from last year’s challenge.

MAGIC HAPPENS WHEN YOU MAKE EVERY WORD COUNT!

As a former kindergarten teacher, I’ve always been on a mission to help kids become lovers of books and reading. What a thrill it was to invite them to become their own storytellers!

This writing challenge is ALL-INCLUSIVE and INTERNATIONAL!

#50PreciousWordsforKids coincides with Children’s Book Week, April 30-May 6. Every child in grades K-6 is invited to participate. Teachers can have each child write a story of 50 words or less…then the teacher and/or class will choose one story to submit. Last year, some classes formed teams and wrote collaborative stories – that is totally fine. Parents who homeschool their children can submit one story per child. The official #50PreciousWordsforKids post will go live on Monday morning!

Here are the guidelines.

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  •  Each child, grade K-6, writes a story of 50 words or less.
  • Title not included in word count.
  • Story must have a beginning, middle, and end.
  • Happy or sad, silly or serious, true or make-believe.
  • Teachers/students choose one story to submit per class.
  • Homeschooling parents submit one story per child.
  • Please email story to: viviankirkfield@gmail.com by May 7 at 11:59pm.
  • Stories post on my blog: viviankirkfield.com on May 11.
  • Teacher/parent receives a certificate to copy and present to each child who wrote a story.
  • Giveaway of seven mini-Skype author classroom visits.

 Questions? Contact me at viviankirkfield@gmail.com

I’m asking all of you who have connections with elementary schools or homeschooling families in any state and any country to please spread the word. Last year, I contacted the Children’s Book Council and they agree – it’s a perfect activity for Children’s Book Week. Click here to read last year’s stories.

The challenge runs April 30-May 6 and the stories need to be emailed to me: viviankirkfield@gmail.com by 11:59pm Eastern Standard Time on Monday, May 7th. I’ll post those stories on Friday, May 11th. Teachers and parents will receive a certificate that can be copied and personalized with the name of each child who participated. And there will be mini-Skype author classroom visits randomly awarded—one per grade level if I get enough volunteers. 

Let’s help our kids stretch and grow their imaginations.

Which brings me to the next request…I still need volunteers to do mini-Skype author or illustrator visits. If you would like to donate a mini-Skype author or illustrator visit, please contact me ASAP either by email or on FB or Twitter. It’s a wonderful way to connect with our audience of parents, teachers, and kids!

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Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

Baptiste Paul: Will Write for Cookies PLUS Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INSPIRATION – INFORMATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

baptiste_headshot

BAPTISTE PAUL

In 2016, I attended the Wild Wild West SCBWI conference in Chicago and got to meet our Will Write for Cookies guest. His wife, our own Miranda Paul, was signing some of her books and I had a chance to chat with Baptiste. I don’t know if he will remember…I’ll have to ask him. But we talked about books and families and it was lovely. And when I discovered he had a debut picture book coming out in March, I knew I wanted to have him stop by to share some of his journey with us.

Baptiste Paul is a man of many talents—from woodworking to gardening to entertaining hoards of children for hours on end. Born and raised in the Caribbean (Saint Lucia), Baptise is a native Creole/Patois speaker and enjoys roasting his own coffee and chocolate. Baptiste holds Degrees in Environmental Studies and Political Science from Bucknell University and currently resides with his family in Green Bay, Wisconsin. His debut picture book, THE FIELD, launched on March 6, 2018.

Welcome, Baptiste! Thank you so much for stopping by to visit with us. I’ve got a bunch of questions and we’d all love to hear your answers, so let’s get started. Continue reading

Perfect Picture Book Friday: THE FIELD Plus Giveaway

WOW…I’ve had an awesome week! Thanks to almost 300 incredible writers who shared their stories in the #50PreciousWords Writing Challenge. More about that on Sunday when we announce the winners and honorable mentions and hand out some prizes.

But we’ve got prizes today also. Oh yeah! A couple of weeks ago, author and circus guru Jackie Leigh Davis stopped by to chat and offered a copy of her brand-new book, DIY CIRCUS LAB FOR KIDS…and it is SIGNED! And the winner is:

ANGIE QUANTRELL

The next week, author Carol Gordon Ekster visited and generously donated a picture book manuscript critique as a giveaway. And the winner is:

BEV BAIRD

Congratulations! We’ll connect so you can get your prizes. And don’t forget, dear friends, on Sunday, we will hand out FIFTEEN super prizes for the #50PreciousWordChallenge.

And not to disappoint, our post today ALSO has a giveaway…thanks to debut picture book author, Baptiste Paul, who will answer some questions here tomorrow on Will Write for Cookies.

Are you ready for our picture book review? 

The field_cover

THE FIELD

Written by Baptiste Paul Continue reading