Perfect Picture Book Friday: THE ROUGH PATCH Plus Double Giveaway

Sometimes things are just meant to be.

A couple of months ago, I noticed author/illustrator Brian Lies was promoting a new book and offering a signed copy and an original illustration sketch as a giveaway. All you had to do to enter was to share the post. Of course, everybody knows I love sharing the word about new picture books…so I did. And guess what? Continue reading

Perfect Picture Book Friday: ROCK AND ROLL WOODS Plus PB Critique Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, my friends! 

Do you love music? I do! All kinds! From classical to rhythm and blues. From jazz to folk. But best of all, I love rock and roll. Continue reading

Perfect Picture Book Friday: SOPHIE AND LITTLE STAR Plus PB Manuscript Critique Giveaway

Did you know that my 5-year old granddaughter’s name is Sophie? She’s a ball of fun and energy…and she LOVES books and hearing stories and having the mailman deliver envelopes with her name on them. And so, when one of my dear friends and critique buddies, Amber Hendricks, wrote a story called Sophie and Little Star and it got published, I knew I’d be getting a copy for her. And of course, sharing it with all of you for Perfect Picture Book Friday!

And guess what? This talented and generous author is gifting some lucky reader with a Picture Book Manuscript Critique…yes! Just make sure you leave a comment and you will be entered into the giveaway.

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SOPHIE AND LITTLE STAR

Written by Amber Hendricks

Illustrated by Raissa Figueroa

Published by Clear Fork/Spork (2018)

Ages: 3-8

Themes: Friendship, helping one another, determination

Opening lines: 

“Every night, when the sun had set and the stars gathered in the heavens to shine their light on the world, Little Star watched, wishing she could join.”

Synopsis:

“Sophie and Little Star is a delightfully charming tale about friendship and finding where we belong. A wonderful bedtime treat!” -Marissa Meyer, New York Times bestselling author of The Lunar Chronicles

When a little star falls from her home in the sky, she finds help from an unexpected friend. Together, the new friends search for a way to send Little Star home, but soon discover that not everyone you meet is kind, or helpful. Little Star begins to wonder if she’ll ever find a way home, and if she does, will she be able to leave her new friend, Sophie, behind?”

Why I like this book:

  • I love stories about friendship, especially those with a bit of pixie dust and magic woven in.
  • I love stories where the main character shows determination – and this one is a mighty girl who just isn’t going to give up until she helps her new friend, Little Star.
  • The illustrations are beautiful and Raissa captures the dreamy night-time feel throughout the pages.
  • I love sweet bedtime stories and so do kids!

RELATED ACTIVITIES

Star-Crafts-for-Kids-10-Ideas-433x650Photo courtesy: https://www.powerfulmothering.com/10-star-crafts-for-kids/

STAR PROJECTS FOR KIDS: For detailed instructions, please go to: https://www.powerfulmothering.com/10-star-crafts-for-kids/

Bundle up and go out in the evening to look up at the stars. Get a book for kids on the constellations and see how many you can identify. Check you library for Child’s Introduction to the Night Sky by Michael Driscoll.

Thank you so much for stopping by. Please make sure you leave a comment to enter the giveaway…and come back tomorrow when Amber visits Picture Books Help Kids Soar and shares her writing journey and a very special No-Bake cookie recipe from her mom.

This post joins all the others on Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday link up where bloggers review their favorite picture books.

And please don’t forget that our favorite authors need our help to spread the word about their books. BUY THEM! REVIEW THEM! TELL OTHER PEOPLE ABOUT THEM!

 

 

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday: OPERATION RESCUE DOG Plus GIVEAWAY

Friday is one of my favorite days and I’m sure you all know why. It’s the day I get to review a brand new picture book! Hurray!

And today’s selection is from one of my favorite kidlit authors, Maria Gianferrari, who is so generous and kind. She is offering a copy of OPERATION RESCUE DOG as a giveaway. Please make sure you leave a comment for a chance to win!

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OPERATION RESCUE DOG

Written by Maria Gianferrari

Illustrated by Luisa Uribe

Published by Little Bee Books (September 2018)

Ages: 4-8

Themes:

Synopsis: From Amazon: 

This sweet story about a girl named Alma and a stray dog named Lulu shows how a girl and a dog can rescue each other.

Lulu’s ears flap in the wind

as the rescue truck rolls into the lot.

Lulu’s tail thumps—

Everything smells . . . new.

Lulu sleeps under the moon, drinking from mud puddles and is covered in ticks until she is rescued. She waits for the Operation Rescue Dog truck, scared and uncertain.

Alma misses her Mami, who is far away in Iraq. Alma wears Mami’s scarf around her like a hug. She wonders: Can a dog feel like a hug?

Why I like this book:

  • You’ve got a dog who needs a home and a little girl who needs a friend…that’s a formula for a book filled with heart…and I love books filled with heart.
  • Wonderful illustrations will keep the kids wanting to turn the page to see the next one.
  • Maria has such a wonderful understanding of dogs…and the relationship they have with people.

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RELATED ACTIVITIES:

Dog-Crafts-for-KidsPhoto courtesy: https://www.easypeasyandfun.com/dog-crafts-for-kids/

WOW…what a fabulous collection of dog crafts for young kids. If you’d like detailed instructions, please go here: https://www.easypeasyandfun.com/dog-crafts-for-kids/

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Autumn is definitely here…our leaves are already changing color and the temperature in the morning is decidedly crisp. I am fortunate to live in New England because the fall foliage is something many people travel here to see.

School is underway in just about every town and city…but this is a perfect season to do day or short weekend trips with the kiddos. Do you have any travel plans in the near future? My son is flying in from Chicago next week to participate in the Tough Mudder in Gilford, NH. What is a Tough Mudder you ask? Here a short video clip: https://toughmudder.com/events/2018-northeast

It’s a 10 mile race with 20 obstacles…like a slog through ice cold water (filled with ice cubes), a run between wires that have electricity going through them…and you…OUCH! As well as climbing up walls, swinging from rings and more! My daughter and I will definitely not be participating…only cheering him and her hubby on. And then the next day, we’ll be making a bittersweet drive to Connecticut to hold a tribute to my husband at the river where he fished for decades. 

And my writer friends…how is your writing life going? We are in the last quarter of the year…are you working on anything new? Revising manuscripts? I just finished a new story and just need to polish the author’s note (it’s another nonfiction pb) befoe I send it to my agent. And then…a new story! YAY! I just came back from visiting a dear friend in New Jersey. We stayed up late…talking for hours and hours. In fact, her husband was sure we would lose our voices. But we didn’t! And I came home with TWO fabulous story ideas that I can’t wait to start researching and writing.

Please don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway for a copy of Maria Gianferrari’s brand new book: OPERATION RESCUE DOG…it’s available for preorder and launches in just a few days!!!!

PB Manuscript Critique Giveaway over at Sarah Hetu-Radney’s blog

Hello dear friends!

I’m so excited to invite you over to Sarah Hetu-Radney’s new website. She’s one of my in person SCBWI buddies and she kindly asked if I’d be willing to do a three-part interview for her new blog, EYE ON WRITING.

You’ll find out a couple of interesting facts about me from when I was a little girl.

PLUS, I’m giving away a Picture Book Manuscript Critique to one lucky winner who leaves a comment on Sarah’s blogpost: https://sarahheturadny.com/meet-vivian-kirkfield-part-i-friendship-justice-and-determination/

Please share on social media, because I’m sure that everyone wants to find out what happened on that picnic in the park with my best friend, Jane, when I was seven years-old. And it will be nice for Sarah to get to meet all of you!

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I’m sure there will be no doubt as to which one is me and which one is Jane.

I hope you all have a beautiful weekend. I just finished the revisions for the big HMH compilation book – more news ahead as soon as they sign the illustrator. And I’ll soon be sharing information about my traveling plans for 2019…all I’ll say right now is that I’ll be traveling through FOUR continents! And hope to be hugging lots of kidlit friends in person!

Jen Betton: Will Write for Cookies PLUS Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INSPIRATION – INFORMATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

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JEN BETTON

 

I’ve always been a person who sees the silver lining in the storm cloud. My Sweet Dreams, Sarah may have been pushed from 2017 to 2018 and now to 2019, but I’m overjoyed to have connected with the debut picture book authors and illustrators of each of those years. Talented Jen Betton is one of the Epic Eighteens and I’m thrilled to know her and welcome her to Will Write for Cookies.

Jen Betton loves to draw and make up stories with her pictures. In Kindergarten she got into trouble for drawing presents on a picture of Santa, and she s been illustrating ever since. Her picture books include her debut as an author-illustrator, HEDGEHOG NEEDS A HUG, published with Putnam, and TWILIGHT CHANT, written by Holly Thompson, published with Clarion.

She has a BA in English, and a BFA and MFA in Illustration. She lives in Dallas with her husband and two children. You can see more of her work at www.jenbetton.com.

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ME: Jen, I’m so happy you stopped by today. I know everyone is excited to find out more about you.
Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?

 

JEN: Favorite authors were C.S. Lewis, Louisa May Alcott, Madeline L’Engle; illustrators were Pauline Baynes (you can tell I love the Narnia Chronicles), Trina Schart Hyman, and N.C. Wyeth. I still love all these people and their work.

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ME: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started writing? 

JEN: How helpful it can be to pay attention to different book structures. Certain ideas fit better into different structures, and being aware of them makes it possible to play with the plot.

Also, when a certain bit of critique resonates with you, or even more when it doesn’t, think about the heart of your story. What is the underlying theme, the core of your story, and how does this suggested change align with that heart? This helps me a lot when figuring out what changes to make.

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

JEN: I usually write on my computer, but I’ll also print out a copy of what I’m working on and make edits on the print out. That way I can work on little thumbnail drawings while I’m editing the text.

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

JEN: Definitely not morning! Midday is my sweet spot (because it’s nap time and the kids are asleep!), but really any time of day (other than morning) when I get the time and an idea.

ME: Why do you write for children?

JEN: In part because those are the kind of stories that I love the most, and the kinds of stories I want to write. C.S. Lewis said he told stories for children because that was the best medium for the stories he had to tell, and Neil Gaiman and Maurice Sendak have made similar comments.  

I also write children’s books because I’m an illustrator, and picture books allow me to tell stories visually, which I love to do. I tend to think of the story as separate from the medium in which it is told – it exists on its own and then takes form in either words or pictures, or both. The picture book is this wonderful alchemy where you share the story between two different languages – the verbal and the visual.

 And finally I write picture books because I enjoy sharing them with kids!

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ME: EXACTLY! I totally agree, Jen! Thank you so very much for sharing all of this. And I know you have a fabulous cookie recipe to share as well.

JEN: I do, I do! This one is perfect for kids, but for a more “grown up” cookie, you can soak the dried cranberries or cherries in bourbon for one hour ahead of time. 
Recipe: 
……………..
Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
1 cup (aka 2 sticks) of butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
3 cups oatmeal (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts 
1/2 cup dried cranberries or cherries*
Heat oven to 350 F
Beat together butter and sugars until creamy
Add eggs and vanilla; beat well
Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt, mix well
stir in oats and raisins, mix well
Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet 
Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet; remove to wire rack.
WOW…Oatmeal raisin cookies are one of my favorites!!! This Q&A has been lots of fun…and I can’t wait to try the recipe. Big thanks to Jen for stopping by and to all of you for spending your precious time here. Please don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway of a copy of HEDGEHOG NEEDS A HUG.
Have a safe and happy weekend, dear friends. I am still in Chicago, but will be flying home early Monday morning. It was great to be visiting with famiy and I was fortunate to connect with librarian Betsy Bird. I’d met her at an SCBWI conference, listened to her on one of the 12×12 webinars recently, and yesterday I enjoyed chatting with her at the Evanston Public Library where she is the Collection Development Manager in addition to being a blogger for School Library Journal.

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Hedgehog Needs a Hug PLUS Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday! I’m so happy to bring you one of the new 2018 debuts! This one is such a perfect marriage of text and illustrations – and one of the reasons for that is because it was created by the very talented author/illustrator Jen Betton. I fell in love with her heartfelt drawings of all of the animal characters and I think you will also. And guess what? Jen will be stopping by Will Write for Cookies tomorrow with an inside peek at her writing/illustrating life.

Don’t forget to leave a comment on this post and on tomorrow’s for a chance to win a copy of this wonderful book!

 

hedgehog needs a hug coverHEDGEHOG NEEDS A HUG

Written and illustrated by Jen Betton

Published by G.P.Putnam’s Sons (June 2018)

Ages: 4-8

Themes: Friendship

Synopsis: From Amazon: 

Everyone needs hugs, even if they’re prickly.

When Hedgehog wakes up feeling down in the snout and droopy in the prickles, he knows a hug will make him feel much better. But none of his animal friends are eager to wrap their arms around Hedgehog’s prickles, and he’s too smart to fall for Fox’s sly offer.

Then Hedgehog gets a surprise: Another animal in the forest is feeling exactly the same way.

Luckily, both are kind and brave enough for the perfect hug

Why I like this book:

  • Text filled with heart and humor is paired with gorgeous heartfelt illustrations
  • I LOVE friendship stories – and so do children
  • Kids will really relate to how Hedgehog is feeling

RELATED ACTIVITIES

25-cute-hedgehog-craftsPhoto courtesy: https://totallythebomb.com/25-totally-cute-hedgehog-crafts

Can you believe all of these awesome hedgehog crafts? For detailed instructions, please go to: https://totallythebomb.com/25-totally-cute-hedgehog-crafts

Matthew Winner gave a shout out to Jen’s new trailer for HEDGEHOG NEEDS A HUG:  http://www.matthewcwinner.com/single-post/2018/06/05/HEDGEHOG-NEEDS-A-HUG-Book-Trailer-Premiere

Don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the book giveaway…and please support your favorite authors and illustrators by buying their books, telling friends about their books, and writing reviews for their books.

And definitely don’t miss coming tomorrow when author/illustrator Jen Betton stops by to chat on Will Write for Cookies.

Happy Summer to all…and have a safe weekend!