Happy Book Birthday: GROWING SEASON Plus Giveaway

Light the candles! Get ready to sing! It’s a Happy Book Birthday for a fabulous new picture book by one of my friends and critique buddies, Maryann Coccoa-Leffler!

GrowSCOVERJ

One of the loveliest things about being in this kidlit community is when a friend has a new book coming out. ESPECIALLY when you’ve seen the story in it’s early draft stages!GSReadingSpot

I’m so thrilled to be sharing this special day with such a special friend…today is the birthday of SWEET DREAMS, SARAH, as well! Woo-hoo!!!

And guess what??? If you leave a comment, you will be entered into the giveaway of a copy of this fabulous brand new book!

Julie Abery and I are training to the Bologna Book Fair today…and meeting up with kidlit friend Maria and fellow Storm agency teammate, Fiona. I’ll have the opportunity to connect with some of my editors…what fun! And we’ll be seeing some of the wonderful 2019 books on display…I’ll be looking for GROWING SEASON at the Sterling Books booth and my books at Creston, Holiday House, and Pomegranate.

Happy Book Birthday: NO FROGS IN SCHOOL Plus GIVEAWAYS

Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday, dear NO FROGS IN SCHOOL Happy Birthday to you!

book vobrt

NO FROGS IN SCHOOL

Written by Alexandria LaFaye

Illustrated by Egalitine Ceulemans

Published by Sterling Children’s Books (August 7, 2018)

Ages: 4-7

Themes: Pets, humor, working together

Synopsis: From Amazon: 

“Bartholomew Botts loves pets—but his teacher, Mr. Patanoose, says No Frogs in School! So what will happen when Bartholomew’s beloved creatures meet up with Mr. Patanoose’s rules? Lots of FUN!
 
Hoppy pets, hairy pets, scaly pets: Bartholomew Botts loves them all. And he doesn’t want to go to school without one. Unfortunately, when Bartholomew brings his brand-new frog to class, his teacher, Mr. Patanoose, declares: No frogs in school! How will Bartholomew keep his animal friends close at hand . . . and follow Mr. Patanoose’s rules, too? Illustrated with energetic and humorous artwork, this back-to-school story will be a favorite with every animal-loving kid!”

As a former kindergarten teacher, I love school stories…and this one is hilarious! The art work is so engaging and the text is filled with humor and will have every teacher and parent nodding their heads and kids will be rolling on the floor as Mr. Patanoose tries to restore order to his classroom.

The author, Alexandria LaFaye, is one of my Storm teammates…so I am doubly excited to help her celebrate her book’s launch. And because it is a book birthday, we need to have presents, right?

Alexandria’s publisher sent me a copy of NO FROGS IN SCHOOL and one lucky person is going to receive that as my book birthday gift. Just leave a comment on this blog post to be entered.

Plus there is chance to win another book birthday gift that is for K-2 teachers. Imagine a teacher starting the school year with THIRTY new books! WOW! Alexandria is hosting this giveaway on her Facebook page. She says:

Please help me spread the word about this book giveaway to help K-2 teachers building-expand their inclusive classroom libraries. Thanks.

It’s time for a great giveaway of 31 books for a K-2 classroom, including a signed copy of NO FROGS IN SCHOOL by A. LaFaye Kirkus says, “each page lends itself to an energetic seek-and-find storytime that promises new discoveries upon multiple reads.” See the rules in the comments below or visit Sylanocity and check out the pinned post athttps://bit.ly/2vs8fuq. I’ll be reviewing books from the giveaway each day in August. The contest runs Aug 1-30th. #kidlit #bookgiveaway#NoFrogs #TeachersRule #Diversity #Equity Sterling Publishing

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So dear friends, please share this if you know any teachers or school librarians…and don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway for NO FROGS IN SCHOOL And please remember that the best present you can give to your favorite author is to:
  • Buy a copy of their book
  • Ask your local library to purchase a copy for their collection
  • Tell your friends about the book
  • Post a review on Amazon or other review sites

I hope you enjoy the rest of your week. And stop by on Friday and Saturday when a dear writer friend of mine, Emilie Boon, will be in the house.

Anna Redding: Will Write for Cookies PLUS Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

ANNA Crowley Redding- Author of Google it! A history of google

ANNA CROWLEY REDDING

Anna is one of my favorite kidlit people. She is smart and kind, passionate about writing and compassionate about life. We’ve been critique buddies for several years and have had many long Skype one-on-ones. We live in contiguous states. But…

…we’ve never actually met in person. Each conference at which we were supposed to connect, something happened and one of us couldn’t go. I’m making a promise that, before the end of next year, Anna and I are going to hug each other for real! Anna…I hope you are listening!

Anna Crowley Redding is the debut author of YA nonfiction Google it: A history of Google (How two students’ mission to organize the internet changed the world). Her debut picture book RESCUING THE DECLARATION OF INDEPEDENCE (illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham) will hit the bookstore shelves in 2020.

Before diving into the deep end of writing for children, Anna Crowley Redding’s first career was as an Emmy-award winning investigative television reporter, anchor, and journalist. The recipient of multiple Edward R. Murrow awards and recognized by the Associated Press for her reporting, Redding now focuses her stealthy detective skills on digging up great stories for kids and teens — which, as it turns out, is her true passion.

Dear readers, thanks to Anna, we have a giveaway of a copy of GOOGLE THIS! Don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered into the drawing.

book cover

ME: It’s definitely an honor and a pleasure to welcome you, Anna.

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

ANNA: I loved Maurice Sendak’s In The Night Kitchen. I can remember being about 5 or 6 years old and poring over the illustrations and I can remember being completely captivated by the fact that illustrations spilled out of their borders. He went outside the lines of each spread and I LOVED that. He was a rule breaker and I identified with that immediately. I also loved that he used the cross-hatch technique for shadows, fill, and definition. My father, then, taught me how to do it. That technique gives children a lot of freedom when they are drawing and I loved that, too.

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

ANNA: Learn the rules of writing, craft, structure . . . so that you can break them really well, in just the right spot. This adds more depth and voice to your writing and punctuates your storytelling. But if you don’t learn the craft first, you can’t properly break the rules in compelling ways.

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

ANNA: There are four places I love to write. 1) My desk which is a piece of live edge pine from Maine. The trick is not staring off at the ocean endlessly. 2) On the floor in front of the fireplace. I love sitting in front of the fire. It’s such a creative and cozy spot. I stack up my favorite books and plop my laptop right on top. 3) At the coffee shop. There is something about writing in a public space with other people around that makes me super productive. I mean first of all you want to look like you are working which usually leads to actual work. 4) The Library. I love writing with lots of other books around and you cannot beat the expertise of real live actual librarians for help with research questions, mentor text ideas, and market knowledge. Plus, they are fun to be around.

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

ANNA: I write on a schedule, keeping normal business hours and adding a couple of nights and some weekend times. For me it’s like going to the gym. If I take a break, then starting up again is super painful. So, I try to keep it going all the time.

ME: Why do you write for children?

ANNA: I have wanted to write for children and teens since I was in early Elementary school. I think it’s a very creative time in life with tremendous purpose. And so creating books that might inspire and empower young readers or capture their imagination, really, there is nothing better!

ME: And Anna, your books are definitely going to do that! Thank you so much for sharing so much of your process. If you have any thoughts or advice for aspiring writers, please share.

ANNA: To young writers, don’t ever give up. Keep writing, keep learning, try new things, and learn as much as you can. All of your life experience, what you read, who you meet, the music you listen to . . . all of it informs and shapes your own writing. Get out there and experience life, soak up as much information as you can, and don’t forget to share what you learn with others along the way. And have confidence in your writing and your ability to grow. The pithy nature of social media writing is making your generation a really fabulously practiced group of writers. Social media really forces you to get to the heart of every story. That is such an exciting quality you guys are growing up cultivating. Once you have the heart of your story, you can build out from there. What a fun journey lies before young writers!

ME: WOW…what great advice for kids…and we, as older writers, can probably follow Anna’s suggestions, too.

One thing I know we will want to follow are the instructions for her delicious banana muffin recipe. Take it away, Anna!

ANNA: Here’s our Banana Muffin recipe. We love to make this when reading IF YOU GIVE A MOOSE A MUFFIN By Laura Numeroff :

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup of butter
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 maple syrup
  • 2 eggs or egg replacer
  • 4 mashed bananas (honestly I throw mine in whole)
  • 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoon chia seed (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon flax-seed (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cream butter  and sugar
  3. Add Maple syrup and apple sauce
  4. Add two beaten eggs
  5. Add bananas and combine well
  6. Add dry ingredients to combine
  7. Add vanilla and cinnamon
  8. Spoon into muffin tin
  9. Bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit or until an inserted knife comes out clean

Yield:  A dozen muffins (we had enough for two extra 

Thank you so much, Anna! I’m thrilled you stopped by to chat with us today. I hope everyone tries the muffin recipe, buys a copy of GOOGLE THIS!, and leaves a comment for the giveaway.

Have a wonderful weekend, my friends. I thank you so much for spending your precious time here with us. I hope you’ll be back often this month…we have a FULL schedule with Perfect Picture Book Friday reviews EVERY Friday and Will Write for Cookies author/illustrator interviews EVERY Saturday PLUS FOUR book birthday posts! Lots of giveaways, lots of insights, and hopefully, lots of fun!

)

Annette Bay Pimentel: Will Write for Cookies PLUS Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

2016 Head shot

ANNETTE BAY PIMEMTEL

One of my favorite things to do is to check out the blogs of authors, illustrators, and educators…I always find amazing resources and amazing people! Last year, when I hopped over to our guest’s website, I fell in love with her books and with her mission to bring history alive for young children.

Last year, Mountain Chef  (Charlesbridge, 2016) which next month will be awarded the National Council of Social Studies’ Carter G. Woodson Award. Here’s the link.  Next year, Girl Running  (Nancy Paulsen: 2018), and the year after that, Ann Brooks Goes West (with her piano) (Nancy Paulsen: 2019)…I hope Annette never stops!

Welcome, Annette! Thanks so much for stopping by to chat. I know my readers are excited to hear more about your writing journey.

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

ANNETTE: My first grade teacher read us the new Richard Scarry Busytown mysteries (oh how I age myself!) and I was totally entranced by his vision of a town filled with all sorts of different creatures with different backstories and different motivations that could be uncovered. Obviously his story was fiction, but in some ways it seemed more true to the multi-cultural city I lived in than the Sally, Dick, and Jane books that were our usual fare.

Girl Running cover

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

ANNETTE: I wish I’d known that—at least so far!—I would never discover the secret that would make it easy. Every project has its own challenges and problems—but also its own pleasures and delights.

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

ANNETTE: I write at my treadmill desk. My handwriting is horrible, so I draft on the computer, though I do at least one revision by hand, sometimes with literal scissors and tape.

treadmill

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

ANNETTE: I write during the day while my children are at school.

ME: Why do you write for children?

ANNETTE: I love the magic that happens when artist and writer collaborate, so picture books feel like the most wonderful spot in the publishing world.

ME: Thank you so very much, Annette. And I agree…it is definitely magic when artist and writer meet and create a wonderland for kids! Kind of like a batch of the Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies you gave of the recipe for!

ANNETTE: Here’s a recipe for Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies, based on a recipe by Mollie Katzen in her wonderful cookbook, Still Life with Menu. My family desperately wishes I had a photo of them to send you, as they would like to eat them, but no time to bake them up now.

Cream together:

3/4 c. butter

1/2 c. white sugar

1/2 c. brown sugar

 

Mix in: 

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. peppermit extract

Add:

1 1/2 c. white flour

1/4 c. cocoa

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 1/2 c. chocolate chips

Bake about 12 minutes in a 350 degree oven. 

cover mountain chef

To find out more about Annette: annettepimentel@gmail.com

Dear friends…thank you for stopping by and spending your precious time with Annette and me. Annette is generously offering a copy of Mountain Chef…so don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway.  And also don’t forget to leave reviews for your favorite authors on Amazon and Goodreads.

And an update on our visit to Mass General in Boston…Stuart’s cardiac catherization went well…and we should be bringing him home later today!!! Thanks to all who kept us close to their hearts and sent loving thoughts and healing prayers.

Perfect Picture Book Friday: SHOW ME A STORY – WRITING YOUR OWN PICTURE BOOK Plus Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday! 

WHAT BAD LUCK! My scheduled blog post had to be pushed because the author’s book was pushed

And then a happy accident happened. If any of you ever watched the late great Bob Ross painting on TV, you’ll remember that he said there were no mistakes, only happy little accidents.

WHAT GOOD LUCK! I reached out to dear writing friend Suzy Leopold and she stepped up to the plate. Suzy put together an awesome Will Write for Cookies post, created a super journal-making craft, and is giving away a personalized journal! More than that, she shared the name of a picture book she uses in her school visits. I fell in love with it and plan to use it with students next year when my debut picture book launches.

tell me a story cover

SHOW ME A STORY: WRITING YOUR OWN PICTURE BOOKS

Written by Nancy Loewen

Illustrated by Christopher Lyles

Published by Picture Winow Books/Capstone (2009)

Ages: 7-9

Themes: creating stories, writing your own book

Synopsis:

From Amazon: Ready to build a picture book? First, you’ll need the right tools. Open this title in the Writer’s Toolbox series and discover plenty of tips and tools to get you started. Soon you’ll be writing and showing stories like a pro!

Why I like this book:

  • Humorous story that serves as an example
  • Great illustrations that will engage kids
  • Breaks down the main elements of a picture book in simple terms

RELATED ACTIVITIES

Journal-Making by Suzy Leopold

September 2010 044 (1)

Materials Needed:

One composition notebook or student journal

Three pieces of 12 X 12 inch scrapbook paper

Glue stick

Hot glue gun

Scissors 

Paper cutter (optional)

Ruler

Embellishments

Di cut letters or letter stickers

Ribbon or Rick Rack 

Directions:

September 2010 049

  1. Using three sheets of scrapbook paper, cut two pieces of scrapbook paper 8 X 12 inches.
  2. Apply a generous amount of glue to the journal, position the scrapbook paper and smooth out any bubbles.
  3. Wrap and fold the extended edges of the scrapbook paper, creating mitered corners and secure with a generous amount of glue.
  4. Cut two pieces of scrapbook paper 9 X 6 inches. Using a glue stick adhere to the inside covers of the journal.

September 2010 053          5. Open the journal to the middle section of the notebook that reveals the stitching. Hot glue two or three 14 inch pieces of ribbon on the top edge. Drape the pieces of ribbon across sections of the notebook to become a bookmark. Tie a knot at the bottom of each piece of ribbon.

        6. Time to embellish your journal with scrapbook stickers and cutouts, etc. Use additional scraps of scrapbook paper. Recycle greeting cards. Use buttons and babbles. Be creative. 

September 2010 056 

Suzy  and I are both passionate about encouraging kids to read at home. She shared the info-graph below. I totally 100% agree with her…I used to hand out flyers to the students to bring home, asking parents to spend 15 minutes a day with their kids, reading, crafting, or cooking. But I like the 20 minutes better!

Why Read 20 m daily

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. For more picture book reviews, head on over to Susanna Hill’s website. But before you go, please leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway of a personalized journal made by the queen of craft herself…Suzy!

And don’t miss tomorrow’s Will Write for Cookies when Suzy shares her thoughts about using journals for this writing life and more.

 

Melissa Stoller: Will Write for Cookies Plus Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT, INSPIRATION, INFORMATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

head shot

MELISSA STOLLER

What a joy it is to connect with those in the kidlit community! I’d seen Melissa’s name as a participant in many of the challenges. I’d read her comments on blog posts. And when I discovered she had a new chapter book series launching, I knew I’d want to invite her to be my guest.

Melissa Stoller is the author of the debut chapter book THE ENCHANTED SNOW GLOBE COLLECTION: RETURN TO CONEY ISLAND (Clear Fork Publishing, July 2017); the debut picture book OLIVE’S MAGIC PAINTBRUSH (Clear Fork, March, 2018); and THE ENCHANTED SNOW GLOBE COLLECTION: THE LIBERTY BELL TRAIN RIDE (Clear Fork, April 2018).  She is also the co-author of THE PARENT-CHILD BOOK CLUB: CONNECTING WITH YOUR KIDS THROUGH READING (HorizonLine Publishing, 2009). Melissa is a Regional Ambassador for The Chapter Book Challenge, an Admin for The Debut Picture Book Study Group, and an Assistant for Mira Reisberg’s Children’s Book Academy. Melissa writes parenting articles, and has worked as a lawyer, legal writing instructor, and early childhood educator. She lives in New York City with her husband, three daughters, and one puppy. When not writing or reading, she can be found exploring NYC with family and friends, travelling, and adding treasures to her collections.

ME: I’m so thrilled to welcome you to Picture Books Help Kids Soar, Melissa!

MELISSA: First, I’m so honored to be chatting with you on your Will Write for Cookies Blog, Vivian! I’m a huge fan! You are the sweetest cheerleader for the KidLit World and I love your #50 Precious Words Writing Challenge. Also, I have benefited from your excellent critiques. I hope to meet you in person one day soon!

ME: I really appreciate your kind words, Melissa…and I’m sure we will meet…maybe at a conference one day soon!

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

MELISSA: I had so many favorite authors and books when I was a child! I loved the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories by Carolyn Keene, and Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh (I still love a good mystery). I also enjoyed The All-of-a-Kind Family books by Sydney Taylor (I still enjoy inter-generational family stories) and Eloise by Kay Thompson and Hillary Knight (Eloise is the classic precocious imp! My children and I loved the Eloise Tea at The Plaza in New York City). And of course anything and everything by Judy Blume! All these stories and more informed my own writing style. Continue reading

Happy Book Birthday: Hello Goodbye Dog PLUS Giveaway

Who doesn’t LOVE birthdays?

Especially BOOK BIRTHDAYS!

And when you add an energentic doggie, you know it’s going to be a lot of fun!

hello goodbye dog cover

This month, I was thrilled to feature HELLO GOODBYE DOG on Perfect Picture Book Friday.

And then we all enjoyed chatting with author Maria Gianferrari on Will Write for Cookies.

But today, I’ve got something else REALLY special. for you! A Q&A with…

MOOSE, the dog in Hello Goodbye Dog!

ME: Down boy! There’s a good little dog. Moose is an interesting name for a dog. How did your owner come up with that name? Do you like it?

 

MOOSE:

I love my name, since Zara gave it to me. I think it’s because I’m a big dog.

ME:You sit very quietly when people read to you. What is your favorite thing about being a reading therapy dog?

MOOSE:

I love to listen. The stream of words relax me, like a lullaby. And I love to be with people, especially kids.

ME: What are your favorite stories?

MOOSE:

My new favorite picture book is Dogosaurus Rex, by Anna Staniszewski.

I also love It’s Only Stanley, by Jon Agee.

Another favorite book has a reading dog like me—Bonnie. That’s Lisa Papp’s Madeline Finn and the Library Dog.

And Zara’s going to read A Dog Like Daisy, by Kristin O’Donnell Tubb, to me next!

ME: In the cafeteria, I noticed you were looking at Zara’s cookie. What are your favorite snacks?

MOOSE:

I love dog biscuits hidden in my KONG toy and plain yogurt. Zara lets me lick the yogurt containers.

ME: I can see it must be time for your snack, Moose. I’ll let you go. But thank you so much for stopping by to visit. You are welcome back anytime!

And for my dear readers, the lovely Maria Gianferrari is giving away ANOTHER copy of HELLO GOODBYE DOG. Please leave a comment to be entered into the drawing. And if you haven’t left a review on Amazon or Goodreads, please do. Reviews are the best way we can say thank you to incredible autors who write wonderful books for children.”

Plus, don’t forget we are stop #7 on the HELLO GOODBYE DOG book blog tour…hop over and visit some of the other posts when you can.

HELLO GOODBYE DOG BLOG TOUR!

GIVEAWAYS EVERY DAY!!

 

*Monday, July 24th:                                  Pragmatic Mom + THREE book giveaway!

*Two for Tuesday, July 25th:              Librarian’s Quest

Reading for Research

 

*Wednesday, July 26th:                         Homemade City

*Thursday, July 27th:                               Kid Lit Frenzy

*Friday, July 28th:                                      Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook

*Monday, July 31st:                                   Picture Books Help Kids Soar

*Tuesday, August 1st:                              Bildebok

*Wednesday, August 2nd:                      The Loud Library Lady

*Thursday, August 3rd:                           DEBtastic Reads!

*Friday, August 4th:                                  Mamabelly’s Lunches with Love

*Monday, August 7th:                               Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)

 

EXTRA: August 25th:                                Kidlit411—Interview with Patrice Barton

 

Please come back TOMORROW, for ANOTHER SPECIAL BOOK BIRTHDAY POST for…

APPLESAUCE DAY by Lisa Amstutz