BRIAN LIES: Will Write for Cookies Plus Double Giveaway



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Perfect Picture Book Friday: LET THE CHILDREN MARCH

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends. I missed last week, so we have some giveaways to award before we get to the special book featured today.

From author Nancy Churnin – a copy of CHARLIE TAKES HIS SHOT. And the winner is…

Julie LaCombe

From author/illustrator Jeanette Bradley – a copy of LOVE, MAMA. And the winner is…

Suzy Leopold

From author Kerri Kokias – a PICTURE BOOK MANUSCRIPT CRITIQUE. And the winner is…

Kaye Baillie


I’m so excited about the coming year…so many fabulous picture books are debuting…and I hope to share many of them with you. 

let the children march


Written by Monica Clark-Robinson

Illustrated by Frank Robinson

Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for Young Readers (2018)

Ages: 6-9

Themes: Civil Rights, segregation


From Amazon:

I couldn’t play on the same playground as the white kids. 
I couldn’t go to their schools.  
I couldn’t drink from their water fountains.  
There were so many things I couldn’t do. 
In 1963 Birmingham, Alabama, thousands of African American children volunteered to march for their civil rights after hearing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak. They protested the laws that kept black people separate from white people. Facing fear, hate, and danger, these children used their voices to change the world. Frank Morrison’s emotive oil-on-canvas paintings bring this historical event to life,
while Monica Clark-Robinson’s moving and poetic words document this remarkable time. 
Why I like this book:
  • I love stories that inspire children to become doers as well as dreamers.
  • I love books that bring history alive for young readers.
  • I love illustrations that capture our attention…and our hearts.
  • I love when the partnership of author and illustrator works as it does so beautifully in this book.
  • No doubt about it…this is a 5-STAR picture book…don’t miss it!


handprint bigPhoto courtesy:

Martin Luther King Day may have passed, but it’s never to late to celebrate diversity. Kids will love tracing their hand prints. For a classroom, why not have kids trace as many hand prints as there are kids and decorate them. Then kids can trade, so each child has a wreath made from hand prints of the entire class.

For detailed instructions:

Thank you all for stopping by…I appreciate your time and your company! I’ve been less active on social media because I’ve been writing and revising…but I’ve been keeping up with STORYSTORM. Each day, another author shares how they get ideas for stories. My notebook is filling up and I’m so excited about that. I’m also excited because on January 25th, it will be my turn to share my thoughts with everyone. I hope you’ll all stop by Tara’s blog to say hello!

And for more perfect picture book reviews, please visit Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog where all lovers of picture books join her Perfect Picture Book Friday link up.

Will Write for Cookies: Andria Warmflash Rosenbaum PLUS Giveaway



Plate of Cookies




 Andria W. Rosenbaum


I’m excited to welcome another 2017 debut picture book author today. Please don’t forget to leave a comment to qualify for the giveaway of a copy of Andria’s debut picture book, Trains Don’t Sleep.

 trains dont sleep

Here’s a bit of the bio from Andria’s wonderful website:

 Reading didn’t come easily to me, but making up stories and poems did. It took a lot of hard work, frustration and a few buckets of sweat and tears until I got the hang of it. Along with help from my parents and teachers, I finally figured out why everyone was so excited about reading. I earned a master’s degree in special education from Bank Street College of Education so I could help other kids learn to read faster than I did. Now I live in New Jersey with my husband and children. I can usually be found in the library stuffing shiny new books into a bottomless book bag. Too bad it isn’t weightless too Continue reading

Picture Book Review and Activity PLUS Giveaway: TRAINS DON’T SLEEP

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Right now, I am in Chicago, visiting family! Thank goodness for being able to schedule posts in advance.

It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday and I’m thrilled to present another 2017 debut picture book.

I also wanted to remind everyone to continue to spread the word about the #50PreciousWordsforKids International Writing Challenge. final jpeg of flyerThere are only a few more days for teachers and parents to email the stories to me – it’s a wonderful activity for schools who want to celebrate Children’s Book Week or for parents who enjoy providing creative projects for their kids. I’m grateful to everyone who shared on social media or who contacted teacher and parent connections.

Today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday also has a giveaway…so don’t forget to leave a comment.

trains dont sleep


Written by Andria Warmflash Rosenbaum

Illustrated by Dierdre Gill

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Ages: Preschool – Grade 3


Trains, travel,


From Amazon:

Puffing, chuffing, never yawning

Climbing hills as day is dawning.

Trains don’t sleep, they


 Cross bridges and canyons, plow through snow, charge down mountains, and meander across fields filled with sheep. And when it is time to rest and dreams are just ahead, never fear—trains don’t sleep so that you can.

 With the feel of a classic and vivid artwork that captures the power and majesty of trains, this is a  fast-paced rhyming ode to the locomotive.

Why I like this book:

  • Debut picture book author Andria Rosenbaum has nailed the rhythm and rhyme – I love the pacing that enables the reader/listener to feel like they are on a train.
  • Beautiful illustrations…with a slightly muted dreamlike quality!
  • And even though this is a book about how trains don’t sleep, I think it would make a perfect bedtime read for young kids because of the wonderful rhythm and circular story.


14-Train-CraftsPhoto courtesy:

  1. Make sure you chuga-chuga choo choo over to this website…they have the best train crafts for young kids:
  2. If you live in the city, hop on a train with your child – if you live in the suburbs, check the train schedules and take a ride.
  3. Visit a train museum if there are any in your region.

Have a wonderful weekend, dear friends…don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway of a copy of TRAINS DON’T SLEEP.

And please come back tomorrow for:

 Will Write for Cookies

With debut picture book author


And I hardly wait for May 11th when I post the #50PreciousWordsforKids stories!

This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susannah Leonard Hill. Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities.

Pat Miller: Will Write for Cookies PLUS GIVEAWAY



Plate of Cookies




Reading today


I’m often going on and on about what an incredible community we have here. And for good reason! After all, we’ve got authors like Pat Miller, who give back so much in their presentations and critiques, who reach out with amazing programs and conferences like NF4NF, and who are ready, willing, and able mentors for all of us.

I was honored when Pat agreed to connect with us for this month’s Will Write for Cookies. Pat Miller is the author of Substitute Groundhog (a Junior Library Guild selection), Squirrel’s New Year’s Resolution, and We’re Going on a Book Hunt. Her newest book is a nonfiction PB, The Hole Story of the Doughnut, (May 2016, HMH), also a Junior Library Guild selection. I featured it yesterday on my Perfect Picture Book Friday post. And guess what? If you leave a comment on that post or on this one, telling what nonfiction topic YOU”D like to see a picture book written about, you’ll be entered into the drawing to win a brand new copy of this awesome book!

Cover of Hole Story

 She and her husband live near Houston. Pat’s three children have given them six grandkids, ages 5 and under.

 As I mentioned earlier, Pat is the organizer of NF 4 NF, a writing conference for children’s nonfiction writers. The third annual conference will be September 22-25, 2016. She is a master gardener, enjoys traveling, and counts dark chocolate as a vegetable.

Hold on to your hats, dear readers, she’s going to take us on a rollicking ride!

Welcome, Pat! Thank you so much for joining us. I’m excited to get started.

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

 PAT:  We had few books in our house when I was young. My father was in the Air Force and we moved often, so my mother kept a trim household. Instead, Dad would stop by the library every week to bring home books.

 Cow book

I remember the first book he chose for me. It was The Cow Who Fell in the Canal by Phyllis Krasilovsky. Hendrika was a cow in Holland who was bored with farm life. She accidentally fell in a canal, but cleverly figured out how to climb aboard a handy raft and had quite the adventure floating the length of town.

 I was a school librarian when I unpacked the book fair and found a stack of my beloved Hendrikas! Yearling re-released the book in 1993 and I promptly bought one for each of my children. There she was, as cunning and sweet as I remembered her.

 My parents gave books for birthdays. One I loved was a picture book of Heidi. In one illustration, Grandfather had a little cabinet where he kept his two plates, two cups, and two bowls. I loved that cabinet and its snug inclusiveness. Today I have a similar cabinet in my kitchen, and I revel in that memory each time I put the plates away.


Two other gift books were a Disney Treasury of 21 stories and my first nonfiction book. It was filled with questions and answers. One of my favorites was “How many bubbles will a pound of soap make?” Answer: 25,500,000. I imagined how hard it must have been to count them all.

 Another beloved book was lost in a move. It was about Pandora and her tempting box. It had a thick front cover with a treasure box cut into it. You could lift the lid and a large, gross bug popped out on a tiny spring. I was as weak as Pandora about opening the box!

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

PAT: It would have made my writing life less lonely if I had known about SCBWI. I began writing before there was social media and the Internet. None of my friends were writers. Now I may look like I’m alone in my office, but I’m surrounded by virtual colleagues and fellow writers—lots of company who commiserate, inspire, listen, and critique.

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?

PAT: When our children moved out, I inherited one of the boys’ bedrooms for my office, complete with Chris’ model planes still hanging from the ceiling. We have since moved, and I have a wonderful room of my own with a bay window and French doors—so much light and a wonderful view of my gardens and the forested hill beyond.

 My desk

I have a laptop that I use on flights. Writing when you are suspended thousands of feet above the earth feels both daring and cozy. There’s the private view from my window seat, my airline hot chocolate snug in its tray table corral, and a snack bag of miniature cookies. It’s thrilling how my keyboard can take me far outside the plane without a parachute!

 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?

PAT: I’m a morning person who likes to get up with the sun when the day itself is like a fresh new page. My brain is usually well-rested, my subconscious has done its work, and I’m filled with hope and possibility. I work until it’s time to head to the gym. I take classes in line dancing and water aerobics, which I LOVE!

 By afternoon, my writer’s brain is tired, so I try to get out—into the garden, into the community, or about my errands. My dog is great about taking me for daily walks.

 ME: Why do you write for children?

PAT: I started writing as a kid because I was so enchanted that ideas could be put between covers and would always be available.

 Reading to the kids

I loved being read to (still do). It was such a calm and cuddly time reading to my three kids. Storytime at school was as much my favorite as my students’. And now I get to read to six little grandkids. Books and reading are so important!

 I began writing for professional library magazines. An editor who’d read one of my articles asked if I could expand it into a book. I could and I did. In fact, my passion as a library teacher eventually filled more than 20 books.

 A kindergartner’s unlikely response to “What animal pops up on February 2?” inspired my first book, Substitute Groundhog. He had guessed an armadillo—sweet Texas boy that he was—and that’s exactly who pops up on Groundhog Day in this book. I wrote fun books about library procedures (We’re Going on a Book Hunt) and book care (Library Monkeys) because I needed them. Squirrel’s New Year’s Resolution came about because there were no books about making a resolution—and my first grade teachers asked for one each year. I wrote two others, A Pet for Every Person and B-FARM: Exploring Animal Groups, because I needed books that included all the text features in one big book. Luckily, others needed these books as well!


 ME: Pat, do you have any other tips or thoughts you’d like to share with everyone?


  1.  Read! Write! Repeat! Get a library card and wear it out. Befriend the librarian in the children’s section and strive to read every new book that appeals to you. Analyze how the ones you love are written, and imitate!
  2.  Store chocolate bribes in your desk drawer. I’m big on setting ridiculously small goals that I usually surpass. I use chocolate for motivation (writing two paragraphs is worth a mini-Dove bar).
  3. Carry a notebook with you so you always have paper. Cell phones have note features, but they also have a battery that dies on you at the worst times.

 wallet book

I carry one literally in my wallet—it’s as important as my credit card. It was here that I wrote the tour guide’s sentence that inspired my Hole Story of the Doughnut. Without it, I would have long forgotten those words.

4. Be aware that writers are expected to promote their work. I highly recommend Chris Syme’s blog and book SMART Social Media for Authors. It comes with incredibly helpful videos

5. Remember, being a writer is hard for EVERYONE! Persevere and create something so good you feel fizzy inside.

 WOW! Just so you all know, I’ve already signed up on Chris’ email subscriber list and immediately received a free tip sheet that I know will be uber helpful as I prepare for my debut picture book launch next spring. Pat…we are all wildly applauding and throwing confetti…thank you so very much!!!

If you’d like to connect with Pat or find out more about her books and conference:

 Website: Pat Miller Books

Blog: Pat Miller’s Write Mind

FB Author Page: Writing Nonfiction for Kids

NF 4 NF (Nonfiction for New Folks) Conference Page

NF 4 NF Facebook Group: Join the conversation

 And just when you thought this sweet goodness was over, Pat has a special treat recipe for all of us.

Ginger Snaps


(from a 1959 recipe submitted by M. Mills)

 12 Tbsp. shortening (Substitute 1 ½ stick butter)

1 c sugar

4 Tbsp. molasses

4 Tbsp. beaten egg

2 c sifted flour

2 tsp soda

¼ tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp cloves

1 tsp ginger (I use freshly grated ginger)

 Cream shortening (butter) and sugar. Add molasses and egg. Beat well. Sift dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture. Mix well. Roll into small balls. Dip into sugar. Place 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheet. Bake in moderate oven (375 degrees) for 15 minutes.

You know, gingersnaps are one of my favorite cookies. I can’t wait to try this recipe! Recently I’ve been adding lots of raw ginger to salads because I heard it is really good for you…I’m thrilled to find a sweet treat that uses it as well.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend – the air smells like spring…and my soul is smiling. My grandson and I planted a couple of seeds…and they are sprouting already. But I am waiting for Memorial Day to get my veggies in the ground. Are any of you putting in a kitchen garden this year?

Logo final BB2 1 inch 300dpi