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

Susanna Hill’s 7th Annual Halloweensie Contest

One of the most important things a writer can do is…WRITE!

Perhaps you set aside a large chunk of time every day to write. Or maybe, because of family and other obligations, you snatch precious minutes whenever you can.

Jane Yolen advises writers to BIC…Butt in Chair.

And one way that encourages writers to do that is to enter contests and writing challenges. One of my dear friends and favorite picture book authors, Susanna Leonard Hill, is holding her 7th Annual Halloweensie Contest.

halloweensie-pumpkin

If you are interested in joining in the fun, there is still time to do so. And even if you aren’t able to participate, you’ll have so much fun reading all of the entries.

The rules are simple: Write a 100 word Halloween story for children using the words monster, candy-corn, and shadow. For more details, go to Susanna’s website by clicking the link above.

I decided to take a trip around the world via the internet to see how Halloween is celebrated in other countries. Interestingly enough, it began in Ireland and has spread, in various forms, to many parts of the world. In some places it is celebrated on different days and in others, it is a more religious holiday to honor the dead. But costumes and candy seems to be present in most of the celebrations.

Here is my entry. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Maybe I need to do a picture book about HALLOWEEN AROUND THE WORLD.

THE HALLOWEEN CONNECTION (100 words)

It’s time to search for Halloween

Around the globe and in-between.

Jack-o-lantern in the shadow

Glowing eyes and burning smile.

Trick or treat,” a monster shouts.

Halloween—American style

Chinese children say Teng Chieh.

Lanterns glow to light the way.

Special foods are offered up.

Spirits come on Halloween Day.

In Mexico, kids decorate

With posies bright and candy-corn

And shout “Queremos Halloween.”

They trick or treat from dusk till dawn.

Disguised, Greek children come to call.

“Do you know who I am?” they ask.

A guessing game begins until

The treats are served and they unmask.

Hurray for Halloween!

Haloween-worldwide-web-e1445546580957Photo courtesy: https://www.google.com/search?q=halloween+around+the+world&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjqk-qr3ZTXAhVHSyYKHR3MBJ8Q_AUIDCgD&biw=1094&bih=408#imgrc=ZK8axJblvt5XUM:

And hurray for Susanna Leonard Hill and her wonderful contests!

Sara O’Leary: Will Write for Cookies PLUS Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT, INSPIRATION, INFORMATION

TODAY’S GUEST

headshot

SARA O’LEARY

One of the most fun things about this kidlit community is that it is composed of people from all of the world. I have critique partners in New Zealand, France, and South Korea.  Some of my fellow Storm Literary Agency authors and illustrators live in Switzerland, Australia, and Stockholm.  I hope to one day travel around the world, stopping in to meet all of these amazing friends. And perhaps, if I stop in the Canada, I will get to meet today’s guest, Sara O’Leary.

Sara O’Leary writes for both children and adults. Her most recent picture books are A Family Is A Family Is a Family with Qin Leng and You Are Three with Karen Klassen. She has a degree in screenwriting from University of British Columbia and has taught children’s writing at Concordia University in Montreal. Her first novel, The Ghost in the House, will be published next year.

And here is the cover of her next picture which will launch next year

blue moon

I’m so thrilled to welcome her to Picture Books Help Kids Soar!

ME: Hello, Sara! Thank you so much for stopping by to chat. Let’s start!

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

SARA: I loved Russell Hoban and Lillian Hoban’s Frances books. I remember being somewhat surprised as an adult to realize that Frances was a badger so complete was my identification with the character. Arnold Loebel’s Frog and Toad stories appealed to me for their gentle humour as did Else Holmelund Minarik’s Little Bear with those sweet Sendak illos. I loved Joan Walsh Anglund’s Look Out My Window and spent a good few years drawing trees because of that book. Alice was also very important to me and I still have my battered green cloth edition of Through The Looking Glass. I also loved fairy tales and nursery rhymes and verse by writers like R.L. Stevenson and A.A. Milne. I think the echoes of all that early immersion in literature run deep in my writing. And if I could ever write something I love half as much as I love Ogden Nash’s “Adventures of Isabel” I would consider myself a success. Maurice Sendak’s Nutshell Library books are such a perfect marriage of form and content and I love them as much now as I did when I was small.

     2. What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started writing?

SARA: When I first started writing children’s books I didn’t really think of it as being who I was but more as something I did. Now I consider myself a children’s writer and very lucky to be one.

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

SARA: Anywhere really. I write on a laptop for first draft and then somewhere along the line I write the whole thing out by hand. I also make a very, very rough dummy to get a sense of page turns and the amount of text on the page. At this stage I find I am able to eliminate a lot of text by imagining what the illustrator can do.

this is sadie

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

SARA: Anytime. And most of it is done in my head as I walk or do mundane chores. One of the reasons I like picture books so is that you really can carry the whole text around in your head for a spell and let it tumble around like a bit of dull, rough stone in a rock tumbler.

  1. Why do you write for children?

SARA: Because they are the very best readers. Because I know what it is to carry a line or two somebody wrote a hundred years ago around in your head throughout childhood and into adulthood. Because they laugh at my jokes.

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Also, if you have any thoughts or advice for aspiring writers, please share. As well as anything else you want to talk about that parents, educators, writers, librarians might want to hear.

SARA: Reading is key. I was a child who was read to often and I often think of the line from the poem by Strickland Gillian: “Richer than I you can never be–I had a Mother who read to me.”

ME: Oh my gosh…that is one of my favorite quotes!!!

To find out more about Sara and her books:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/saraoleary

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Sara-OLeary-246685492054006/

Blog: https://123oleary.blogspot.ca/

And now for the sweet treat…take it away, Sara!

SARA: My good friend, Marina Endicott, is a novelist and also writes the most beautiful recipes. Once she had a good laugh over one of my overly minimalist recipes. It might have been this one for my mother’s variation on her mother’s shortbread.

Ginger Shortbread

3 cups flour

1 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cups butter

salt

ginger

2 x 9 inch round pan

60 mins at 300

SARA: Looking at this recipe I now realize that I do sometimes let the reductive impulse go too far!  I fail to mention that the ginger referred to is the crystallized variety and that you’ll want to finely mince it. I also fail to mention the quantity required. But really that all depends on how much you like ginger.

ME: That’s okay, Sara…I think most of us would use our own tastes when it comes to adding the ginger.

Thank you so much, Sara, for sharing your insights with us. And thank you, dear readers, for spending some of your precious time here. Please leave a comment here or on yesterday’s Perfect Picture Book Friday post in order to be entered in the giveaway of a copy of A FAMILY IS A FAMILY IS A FAMILY. Big thanks to Groundwood Books for offering the giveaway. (U.S. and Canadian addresses only)

Groundwood Logos Spine

But wait! One more thing! We need to give away a copy of Melissa Stoller’s THE ENCHANTED SNOWGLOBE COLLECTION: Return to Coney Island.

And the winner is:

TRACY POTASH

Congratulations, Tracy…I’ll be in touch and connect you with Melissa.

Enjoy this next to the last weekend in August, dear friends. And please do come back next week for more book reviews and author/illustrator interviews…and of course, more giveaways!

 

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday: A Family is a Family is a Family PLUS Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends!

The summer is winding down. School has already started for some kids. And I’m thrilled to feature a picture book today that belongs in every preschool and early elementary classroom.

When I grew up, most kids I knew came from two parent families…a mom and a dad…and often, it was the dad who went out to earn money while the mom stayed home and took care of the children. But these days, there has been a tremendous shift in that cookie-cutter type family. We desperately need more books that portray the various family units that exist. Thanks to author Sara O’Leary and illustrator Qin Leng, we have the perfect one!

Groundwood Logos Spine

A FAMILY IS A FAMILY IS A FAMILY

Written by Sara O’Leary

Illustrated by Qin Leng

Published by Groundwood Books (2016)

Themes: families, diversity

Opening Lines: 

“We were talking about families at school. The teacher asked us what we thought made our family special. I went last because I wasn’t sure what to say. My family is not like everybody else’s.”

Synopsis:

From Amazon:

When a teacher asks the children in her class to think about what makes their families special, the answers are all different in many ways — but the same in the one way that matters most of all.

One child is worried that her family is just too different to explain, but listens as her classmates talk about what makes their families special. One is raised by a grandmother, and another has two dads. One is full of stepsiblings, and another has a new baby.

As one by one, her classmates describe who they live with and who loves them — family of every shape, size and every kind of relation — the child realizes that as long as her family is full of caring people, her family is special.

Why I like this book:

  • Talk about diversity. Not only do we find a varied array of family units…we also find characters of all sizes, shapes, and colors!
  • Very simple text will appeal to young listeners and early readers!
  • The illustrations are fabulous!

Related Activities:

Popsicle Stick Puppets

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Photo courtesy: http://kidsactivitiesblog.com

What a super bunch of Popsicle crafts for kids here! Take your pick of several that highlight the family. Why not help your child make a puppet for each member of the family and role play various situations. Let the fun begin!

You will need: Popsicle sticks, markets, scissors,  glue, photos of family members or construction paper to draw your own pictures.

For detailed instructions: http://kidsactivitiesblog.com/58976/childrens-crafts-with-popsicle-sticks

Dear readers, thanks to author Sara and her publisher, Groundwood Books, we will have a giveaway of a copy of A FAMILY IS A FAMILY IS A FAMILY. (U.S. or Canadian addresses only). Please make sure you leave a comment to be entered. If you get to read the book, remember that reviews on Amazon and/or Goodreads are the best gift you can give to an author. I just posted my review of the book on Amazon.

And hurry back tomorrow for a super Will Write for Cookies Q&A with author Sara O’Leary who is sharing awesome insights and an AMAZING Ginger Shortbread recipe with us…and oh, how I LOVE ginger!

Have a safe and happy weekend!

 

 

 

Will Write for Cookies: Duncan Tonatiuh PLUS Giveaway

 

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

headshot

DUNCAN TONATIUH

This summer I attended the WOW Retreat in Georgia. One of the most compelling presentations was from the incredible Duncan Tonatiuh. Lucky me…he was also one of my Round Table mentors. You can imagine how thrilled I was when he said he’d been willing to participate in Will Write for Cookies.

 Duncan Tonatiuh (toh-nah-tee-YOU) is an award-winning author-illustrator. He is both Mexican and American. He grew up in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and graduated from Parsons School of Design in New York City. His artwork is inspired by Pre-Columbian art, particularly that of the Mixtec codex. His aim is to create images and stories that honor the past, but that are relevant to people, especially children, nowadays.

p-and-w

I want to remind everyone that there will be a giveaway of a copy of Duncan’s newest book, The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanos (click here to read my Perfect Picture Book Friday review). Please stick with us throughout the post and then leave a comment at the end.

Welcome, Duncan! We are so very happy to have you here.

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

 DUNCAN:

 I remember reading and really liking Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss and The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I also remember liking a book in Spanish called Macario by B. Traven. When I was about eight years old, I really enjoyed the Choose Your Own Adventure books. I read all the ones they had in my school library.

In terms of illustration I was really into comic books and anime. That is what got me interested in drawing. I collected Spider-Man and X-Men comics and I would watch a cartoon about warriors called Knights of the Zodiac and another one about soccer called Captain Tsubasa.

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ME: What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started writing for children?

DUNCAN:       

It takes time to build a career. When I was first getting started as an author-illustrator, I also taught, tutored, painted houses, walked dogs, baby sat and did other odd jobs to make ends meet. It was frustrating at times to take on certain jobs because I had to, not because I was passionate about them. As I published more books though, more people became familiar with my work. I started to receive more recognition for it. Nowadays I dedicate myself to writing and illustrating full time and I am able to support my family doing so. I feel very lucky that I get to do something I love for a living.

 funny-bones

ME: Where do you like to write/draw – inside, outside, a special area in your home, on the computer, in a notebook? And when do you find time to write?

DUNCAN:

I like to write with a pen on a notebook before I type on the computer. My favorite place to write is the library, but often times I find myself writing on a bus or a plane.

pancho-rabbit

ME: When during the day (or night) are you most productive? Do you set a schedule for working or do you write/draw when the muse speaks?

DUNCAN:

I am definitely a night person and I get most of my writing and drawing done at that time. When I am able to, I like riding my bike to the library in the morning. I like to write and draw there for a few hours. In the afternoon, I type out what I wrote and I scan my drawings so I can start revising my work.

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ME: Why do you write for children?

DUNCAN:

I want children of color, especially Latinx children, to see themselves in books. There is a very small number of books where they can do that. I want them to feel proud of who they are. I hope my books help them know that their culture and their voices are important.

 dear-primo

I also want non-Latinx children to engage with my books. I think that when kids learn about people different than themselves they realize that we are all more alike than different regardless of our skin color, religion, physical abilities or sexual preference. If children learn about and care about people different than themselves through books, they are less likely to be afraid of others or have prejudices towards them when they are adults.

I couldn’t agree with you more, Duncan! And books like yours DO help! Thank you so very much for participating in Will Write for Cookies…this was so much fun!

 To find out more about Duncan and his amazing books or get in touch with him:

Website: http://www.duncantonatiuh.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DuncanTonatiuharte

Twitter: https://twitter.com/duncantonatiuh

And now for the sweet treat that ends all of our Will Write for Cookies posts. Duncan wanted to share his favorite Ria cookie made with walnuts, sunflower seeds, and chocolate…plus other deliciousness…the cookie is made by his cousins who own the fabulous Sweet Poppy in Hudson, NY…but unfortunately, the recipe cannot be shared…HOWEVER, I urge you to check out their Facebook page and if you live in the area, please give them a call and order some. https://www.facebook.com/sweetpoppyhudson/

sweet-poppy

But we knew that everyone wanted something special for the holidays. I found a traditional Mexican wedding cookie recipe to share…and believe me, you won’t want to wait for a wedding to make and eat these…they are PERFECT for the holidays! Many thanks to Bernie at AllRecipes.

mexican-wedding-cookiesPhoto courtesy: http://allrecipes.com/recipe

They are as easy as 1, 2, 3. You will need: 1 cup butter, ½ cup white sugar, 2 tsp vanilla, 2 tsp water, 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup chopped almonds, ½ cup confectioner’s sugar.

  1. In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Stir in vanilla and water. Add the flour and almonds, mix until blended. Cover and chill for 3 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  3. Shape dough into balls or crescents. Place on an unprepared cookie sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from pan to cool on wire racks. When cookies are cool, roll in confectioners’ sugar. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

Find complete details on ingredients and instructions here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/15542/mexican-wedding-cookies/

 

And now, dear friends, don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Duncan’s book. Why not share the title of your favorite folktale?  

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend…please don’t forget…Susanna Hill has posted the FINALISTS FOR THE HOLIDAY WRITING CONTEST…hop on over and read the 12 stories and VOTE for your favorite.

Beautiful Rainbow World – National Diversity Awareness Month

Today is Friday. TGIF for people who work during the week. And PPBF for those who love picture books. And National Diversity Awareness Month for EVERYONE!

The special book I’m featuring today is one that belongs on every diversity children’s book list. Through my parenting blog, I connected with the talented lady who wrote the song that the book is based on, Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou. She travels all over the world, sharing beautiful music with children. Daria graciously agreed to answer a few questions about the importance of music in the lives of children.

daria and shekere

Hello Daria! Thank you so much for stopping by. I know music is such an important part of your life.

Do you play an instrument?

 

Yes! I’ve been playing guitar and dulcimer since I was a little girl. When I was young I was part of the Bucks County Folk Music Society and the older folks there were really kind to young learners. That was where I learned a lot about folk music from lots of different cultures and began playing the dulcimer.


When did you realize that music was the path you wanted to follow?

I was a young child in the 60’s and loved protest music because it gave a voice to many issues I felt strongly about, such as working for peace and caring for the Earth. I discovered that writing a song was a way to be heard, to speak out and yet it was a positive, non-confrontational way to change hearts and minds. That was when I knew I wanted to make music as my life’s path!
Why do you use music with kids?

 

Although music in most modern cultures is mainly about entertainment, it is so much more in other cultures. I love using music as a way to listen, a way to teach and a way to encourage kids to understand the power of cooperation. When children are playing together – for instance on a pow-wow drum- they can hear and even feel how something special happens when everyone works together toward a goal! It’s a great life lesson!
How can parents and teachers encourage a love of music in children?

That’s simple! First of all they can relax and enjoy music with them. Share what they know and love with their kids. They can sing simple songs to them and if they feel shy about that, they can still tap or clap along as their child sings a song they love. They can share music from their culture of origin. Plus they can visit a library and discover new cd’s with their child or ask their librarian about “kid-friendly” concerts or music programs that are available in their community.


Is music a universal language?

 

Yes! Music IS a universal language. People may disagree over politics, geography and other important concerns but once we begin singing, dancing, cooking, eating or celebrating together, then the differences disappear. Music can touch hearts where mere words cannot – and that is a beautiful thing!

If you have never visited Daria’s website, please do go there…it is one of the BEST multicultural sites around…you will be in for a treat: http://www.dariamusic.com/monthly_song.php.

AND GUESS WHAT? WHEN YOU GET THERE YOU CAN ENTER A RAFFLECOPTER TO WIN A SIGNED COPY OF THIS PRECIOUS BOOK!

beautiful world

BEAUTIFUL RAINBOW WORLD

Book created by Suzee Ramirez and Lynne Raspet

Original lyrics by Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou

Publisher: Two Poppies (an imprint of Multicultural Kids, Inc. 2014)

Ages: 0-100

Themes: Diversity, children

 

Opening Lines:

“Today I woke up to see…a beautiful rainbow world.

Won’t you dream along with me…a beautiful rainbow world.”

Synopsis:

This is a photographic journey around the globe that shows us the beauty of children everywhere.
Why I like this book:

  • Simple read-aloud or sing along text
  • Incredible collection of photographs of children around the world

 

How a parent can use this book: Continue reading