#PPBF – My Love For You Is The Sun

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday – I review a picture book, provide a simple fun craft you can do with your kids and then I link up with dozens of other writers, moms, librarians and other lovers of picture books on Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog. If you are a mom, teacher or librarian, please check out Susanna’s amazing Perfect Picture Book page with over 1000 categorized picture book reviews and activities.

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I love reviewing picture books! It gives me the perfect excuse to read them myself, just in case I can’t find a willing child-listener. But most of all, I love reviewing picture books written by my friends! Julie Hedlund, founder of the 12×12 Picture Book Challenge, has a beautiful new picture book out – and I just had to tell you about it.

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MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN

Written by Julie Hedlund

Illustrations by Susan Eaddy

Publisher: Little Bahalia Publishing (2014)

Ages: 0 and up

Themes: Parent-child love, unconditional love, nature

 

Opening Lines:

“My love for you is the sun,

Rising to your tender heart.

It shines on you when we’re apart.” Continue reading

Emma Walton Hamilton – Will Write for Cookies

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WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

EMMA WALTON HAMILTON

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We are so very lucky! Our guest today is one of those rare people who has attained success and then is anxious to reach out and generously help mentor others.

EMMA WALTON HAMILTON is a New York Times bestselling children’s book author, editor and educator, and the host of the Children’s Book Hub. She has co-authored 20 children’s books with her mother, Julie Andrews, including THE VERY FAIRY PRINCESS (#1 NY Times bestseller), JULIE ANDREWS’ COLLECTION OF POEMS, SONGS AND LULLABIES (illustrated by James McMullan) and the DUMPY THE DUMP TRUCK series of picture books and board books and her own award-winning book, RAISING BOOKWORMS.

She offers unique resources for children’s book authors, including editorial services, workshops and courses and an online writers salon. Emma has graciously given her time and expertise to the 12×12 community with her query critique sessions…she definitely knows how to make your query sing. I’m thrilled to have her join us here.

Thank you so much for participating, Emma. I know everyone is excited to greet you!

 

We talk about how important books are for young kids. Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?

So many! And this list will date me, of course… but, in no particular order:

Dr. Seuss, Marguerite Henry, Enid Blyton, Beatrix Potter, Roald Dahl, Mary Norton, Beverly Cleary, E.B. White, A.A. Milne, C.S. Lewis, Mark Twain, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Gerald Durrell, Madeleine L’Engle.

Other books I loved – The Secret Garden, The Wind in the Willows, Anne of Green Gables, Watership Down, The Black Stallion, Pippi Longstocking, the Nancy Drew books and, probably my all time favorite, The Phantom Tollbooth.  That was my rainy-day book, and it taught me how delicious – and powerful – words could be.

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

How hard it is to do well – and how important it is to assess (and re-assess!) every single word for its right to exist on the page.  Writing for children and young adults is so much harder than it seems.  We have to be masters of economy and action. The kinds of indulgences one can get away with in adult fiction (lots of exposition, for instance) can kill a children’s book. Kids are much Continue reading

Monday Writing Magic – Building Relationships Within the Kid Lit Community

Monday Writing Magic: Building Relationsips Within the Kid Lit Community

Writing can be one of the most solitary occupations. Many writers carve out time from busy schedules that often include family and job responsibilities. Setting the alarm early or staying up after everyone else is in dreamland are two ways to find ‘quiet’ time.

Even though most of us need to be ‘alone’ when we are creating, it is really important to be part of a community that can encourage, inspire and motivate…one that can provide needed resources and feedback. Two years ago, when I began blogging, I discovered a whole new world of incredible kid lit people like Continue reading

Sunday Post: On-Going…Picture Books and Projects

Jake at Time after Time has a Sunday Post Challenge…today’s theme is ON-GOING.

www.positiveparentalparticipaiton.com

The seasons are on-going…soon it will be spring and the flowers will bloom.

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Black History Month is on-going during the month of February.

Chicago, www.positiveparentalparticipation.com

On January 1st, I celebrated my first day of retirement.

Now that I am retired, I have many on-going projects which I have shared with you.

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De-cluttering the garage is a project that is still on-going.

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School classroom visits are still on-going. This semester I am reading Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems and the children are constructing their own storyboards. I enjoy working with the kids and the teachers and, as a picture book writer, I believe it is important to stay connected with young children.

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I’m taking Emma Walton Hamilton’s “JUST WRITE FOR KIDS’ online picture book writing course…this 8-week class is on-going…fortunately, you can work at your own pace…it’s been WAY more than 8 weeks. What I love most about it so far is that it encourages me to look REALLY carefully at how classic picture books are constructed. With that understanding, I hope to write picture books that kids will want to read over and over again.

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Participating in Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Picture Book Writing Challenge is on-going. If you haven’t signed up yet, please check out the link…you have until February 28 and then it will be too late to hop aboard this year. As part of the program, I submitted a manuscript this month to agent Stephen Fraser and am currently working on a new manuscript for next month’s submission. I’m excited about this new one…it’s about wildlife conservation. My local and on-line critique group work is on-going as well…reading the manuscripts of others and the comments and suggestions they make on mine is like taking a workshop class. I never realized how helpful it would be to participate in a critique group…I recommend it to everyone who writes.

www.positiveparentalparticipation.com

The chance to win $25 for the literacy charity or organization of your choice is on-going. Simply leave a comment on last Friday’s post. Next Friday I will pick one of the comments using Random.org and that person’s choice will receive a check for $25…$25 is not a fortune, but it can purchase a couple of books…who can say what a difference those few books may make in a child’s life.

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Nancy Hatch’s Writer’s Desk Competition voting is still on-going. If you would like to vote, you can go here. All of the entries are great…I am honored to be among them with my piece…I Write, Therefore I Am.

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My desire to provide quick and easy activities for their kids is on-going. Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking, is a wonderful resource for parents and teachers with picture book recommendations, simple craft projects and child-friendly recipes.  Click this link if you would like a copy! Engage your child, encourage creative expression and, most of all, have fun together!

What’s on-going in your life?

 

sunday-post-logo-2013-gifCheck out Jake’s Year of the Snake logo!

http://jakesprinters.wordpress.com/

Sunday Post: Hope…The First Step to Success

Jake at Time after Time has a Sunday Post Challenge and every week he provides a theme…this week’s theme is HOPE. To hope is to have a wish to get or do something or for something to happen or be true. Hope is the first step to success. It’s important to take other steps to make sure what you hope for will actually happen.

Hope, First Step to Success, Show Me How Build Your Childs Self Esteem, www.positiveparentalparticipation.com

Many years ago, I hoped to write a book for parents and teachers. That was the first step and, in 2011, I went to Chicago for a book event at Lollie’s, one of the stores that sells that book.

This year, I hope to have some of my picture books published.

But hoping for this is only the first step. There are other steps that must be taken if I want to succeed.

One of those other steps involves Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Picture Book Writing Challenge. Last month I submitted a picture book query for a special critique from author Emma Walton Hamilton. This month, as a Golden Book member, I was able to submit a full picture book manuscript, The Boots of Dylan McGee, to agent Stephen Fraser.

Another step I’ve taken towards realizing my hope of having my picture books published is to take Emma Walton Hamilton’s online picture book writing course, Just Write for Kids. I’m only on lesson four out of eight…but I’ve learned lots already.

Entering contests and writing challenges is another important step in making this hope become reality. Last month I sent a children’s story to the Highlights Fiction Contest. In addition, I entered Nancy Hatch’s Writer’s Desk Contest with a poem about why and where and how I write.

The seven finalists were announced yesterday…and yes, I am one of them!!!!

For those of you who might not have seen it:

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I WRITE, THEREFORE I AM

A writing space by any name does serve me well.

By lamplight or with sunlight streaming

Ideas flourish while I’m dreaming.

From mind to pen words quickly teeming

Pages fill with stories beaming.

In quiet or with children screaming

Cluttered desk or table gleaming

I’ve found my heaven…not to write would be my hell.

If you would like to vote, you can go here. All of the entries are great…I am honored to be among them.

As parents, we also have to instill hope in our children…and then offer them opportunities to realize those hopes. If you have the time, please watch this video of Jarrett Krosocska’s TED talk on ‘How a boy became an artist’…it is inspirational and educational and Jarrett is an amazing speaker!

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How can a parent instill hope in a child?

  • Be a good role model…be hopeful about your own life
  • Encourage your child to try new things…go to museums, read books, etc.
  • Provide support when your child fails…but please allow your child to fail
  • Allow your child to pursue his or her talents and gifts
  • Spend positive time with your child

My book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking, is a wonderful resource for parents and teachers that build self-esteem, develops better literacy skills and creates a life-long parent-child bond. Isn’t that what we all hope for our children? It’s a one-stop book that provides quick and easy activities. Grab a copy! Engage your child, encourage creative expression and, most of all, have fun together!

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Want more information about Jake’s Sunday Post?

http://jakesprinters.wordpress.com/

Hello 2013…Turning The Next Page

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Happy New Year, Everyone! We say goodbye to 2012…and hello to 2013.

A new year gives us all the opportunity to:

  • Start afresh
  • Create a plan
  • Say sorry
  • Keep a promise
  • Make a vow
  • Get in shape
  • Change direction
  • Share love
  • Connect with nature
  • Eat healthy
  • Take a breath
  • Reach out
  • Stand up
  • Step in
  • Work smart
  • Practice time-management
  • Smile more
  • Move forward

I’m excited to be taking part in several writing challenges for 2013:

Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 (to write 12 picture book drafts in 2013)

Alayne Kay Christian’s Sub Six (to submit 6 picture books in 2013)

Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday (to review a picture book every Friday)

Nancy Hatch 1st ever SLTW Writing Contest

Highlights Fiction Short Story Contest (thank you, Hannah, for the heads-up about this)

I’ll also be doing Emma Walton Hamilton’s Just Write for Kids online picture book writing course that I won as part of Julie’s 12×12 Prize Extravaganza.

And I’ve just found another challenge that will add some balance to this picture book writing/submitting frenzy…No/Low Spend and De-cluttering January Challenge  sponsored by Carla at My 1/2 Daily Dozen

I’ve been wanting some encouragement and support for these tasks…not sure which will be more difficult…budgeting or throwing away stuff we don’t need! I actually think it will be the de-cluttering. But I know that a less cluttered workspace can mean less stress and more efficient use of time…no more hunting for hours for that slip of paper with the important story ideas. If these are areas where you need help, check out Carla’s link above.

So, this is my plan:

  • Stick to our budget by trimming spending to only necessary items.
  • Reevaluate at the end of the month to see if more cutting is necessary.
  • I already cook/bake almost everything myself…I treat myself to take-out Indian once a month.
  • Go through the house…one drawer, cabinet, closet at a time…perhaps there is money to be made (which will help the budget) by selling stuff we no longer need/want/use.

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I’ve connected with the most amazing people…writers, photographers, artists, teachers, librarians, moms, dads and kids…I thank all of you for visiting my blog and commenting on my posts.

We donated 20 copies of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking to libraries in 8 states and 3 provinces in Canada.

We also donated 12 copies of Show Me How to schools in the US and Canada.

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A portion of the proceeds from my book sales went to several children’s organizations:

  • JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation)
  • Bess the Book Bus (a mobile literacy outreach)
  • STAR (Sit and Read Together…a literacy program funded by CPCD in Colorado Springs)
  • Books of Wonder (for renovation of this NYC indie children’s bookstore)
  • Kids Are Heroes (recognize children all over the world who reach out to help their community)
  • Reach Out and Read (nationwide program that connects books and kids via pediatricians)

As most of you know, there are big changes in my life…I am retired as of January 1st.

What does that mean?

As my son so aptly wrote, “We wish you all the best as you turn the page to the next chapter in your book of life.”

I could not have said it better!

So on this first day of the New Year 2013, I wish all of you the best as you turn the page to the next chapter in your book of life!

PPBF: Hooway for Wodney Wat…Believe in Yourself!

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 and related resources for parents, teachers and children.

Can you stand some really good news?  Actually, two good newses…is that a real word?

GOOD NEWS NUMBER ONE: Julie Hedlund, founder of 12×12 in 2012, put together a cornucopia of amazing prizes to reward the people who are participating in her picture book writing challenge.

The prizes ranged from manuscripts critiques to autographed picture books to query critiques to helpful books on creative writing to…Emma Walton Hamilton’s 8-week online picture book writing course.  This last is something I have been wishing I could take…tongue hanging out as I visited the “Just Write For Kids” website and scrolled down the awesome list of lessons. 

Can you imagine how thrilled I was when I saw my name as winner of the gift certificate (provided by the generous Emma Walton Hamilton) that entitles me to take the course FOR FREE?  I don’t think you can…my husband came running downstairs, sure that some terrible catastrophe had befallen me, as all he heard was me yelling at the top of my lungs (and I have a pretty healthy set there), “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!!!!!

I’ve already connected with Emma and have downloaded the first week’s lesson…Hooray!!!!

GOOD NEWS NUMBER TWO: Kathy Ellen Davis is having an October challenge…31 in 31 .  She is encouraging everyone to read 31 picture books during the 31 days of October.  Needless to say, Kathy had me from ‘read picture books every day’.  If you are interested, you can click on her link or on her cute ’31 in 31’ button on my sidebar…I know she would be thrilled to have more people participating.

 To date, I’ve read “Neville” by Norton Juster, “Cloudette” by Tom Lichtenheld, “The Jellybeans and the Big Camp Kickoff” by Laura Numeroff and “Knuffle Bunny Too” by Mo Willems.  It’s been a lot of fun reading the newer books…and I just put two dozen more on hold at the library…all published in 2012!  I do have to say that there is a BIG difference between the classics of years ago and the new generation of picture books.   I notice that many of the newer books have humor that probably goes over the head of the young child…I guess parents are really having a great time while they read these stories to their kids…and that’s a good thing!

Since October is National Bully Prevention Month, I want to continue to highlight some amazing books and other resources that address this important issue.

If you stopped by last Friday, you might have seen my spotlight on a new anti-bullying app: AWESOME UPSTANDER.  Here’s the link: http://www.awesomeupstander.com for those of you who might have missed it.

I encourage anyone who is involved with kids to visit the website at http://www.awesomeupstander.com.  There are free downloadable info sheets for parents and teachers that address positive action plans for kids and adults.  You can follow Awesome Upstander on Twitter or on Facebook.

The game identifies the participants to a bullying problem…the bully, the target and the bystanders.  The key to the game (and perhaps an important key to putting an end to bullying in real life) is to turn the bystanders into ‘Awesome Upstanders”…people who get actively involved to help the target or victim and stop the bullying.

And, as with my Perfect Picture Book Friday pick last week, the concept of group dynamics brings me to today’s choice.

Hooway For Wodney Wat

Written by Helen Lester

Illustrated by Lynn Munsinger

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children

Ages: 4 and up

Themes:

Bullying, teasing, self-esteem, creative thinking, cooperation, group dynamics, being comfortable with who you are

Synopsis:  

From Amazon: “Poor Rodney Rat can’t pronounce his R’s and the other rodents tease him mercilessly. But when Camilla Capybara joins Rodney’s class and announces that she is bigger, meaner, and smarter than any of the other rodents, everyone is afraid. It seems she really is bigger, meaner, and smarter than all of the rest of them. Until our unwitting hero, Wodney Wat, catches Camilla out in a game of Simon Says. Read along with Wodney as he surprises himself and his classmates by single-handedly saving the whole class from the big bad bully.”

Why do I like this book

I love books that celebrate each individual’s uniqueness!  We each bring special gifts to the table of life…and Rodney Rat seems to embrace that concept.  Every child will understand how difficult it is to be different.  Rodney had a strong positive self-image and this helped him triumph over the bully.  The illustrations show us how each character is feeling…even I wouldn’t want to cross paths with Camilla Capybara!  What a wonderful story to read to a class during National Bully Prevention Month…or to a child who is having a hard time feeling good about himself.

Related Activities:

RODENT PAPER BAG PUPPET

Photo from www.EnchantedLearning.com

Role playing with puppets is a fantastic way to help kids express their feelings.

Here’s an easy paper bag hand puppet that even the youngest child can make!

You will need: 1 brown lunch-size paper bag, 1 brown oval piece of construction paper, 1 smaller pink oval, 2 small white circles, 2 smaller black circles, 1 small red circle, 1 black rectangle, scissors, glue and a marker.

1.      Cut the brown oval in two pieces and paste each at the top of the paper bag for the ears.

2.      Cut the pink oval in two pieces and paste each on top of the brown ears.

3.      Paste the white circles for eyes…then paste the smaller black circles on top for the pupils.

4.      Paste the red circle for the nose.

5.      Cut the black rectangle into six strips and paste on for whiskers.

6.      Draw in the mouth.

7.      Now read the story again and let your child use the puppet to speak Rodney’s words.

Play ‘Simon Says’…this is a wonderful game to help a young child learn to listen carefully and follow directions!

Lovely lesson plan from Scholastic: http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/lesson-plan/hooway-wodney-wat-lesson-plan

A lesson plan for second and third graders: http://www.drforgan.com/Adobe%20files/Hooway_For_Wodney_Wat_sample.pdf

 

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.