Perfect Picture Book Friday: PLAY LIKE AN ANIMAL Plus Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends! I’m so happy to be back doing picture book reviews. The #50PreciousWords Contest kept me pretty busy – congratulations to ALL who participated…the generous industry pros who donated critiques, seats in writing classes, and books…my amazing judges, Maria Marshall, Julie Abery and Diane Tulloch…plus the 390 brave souls who shared their wonderful stories and the many people who took their time to leave 5734 positive, encouraging, and supportive comments. WOW!

We are in a new era – it almost feels like we are existing in a science fiction novel – and the author hasn’t finished the final chapters so we can’t skip ahead to find out how it ends. My heart goes out to those whose health has been impacted…to families struggling to keep things together as parents and children adjust to remote working/learning…to businesses trying to find new ways to create revenue.

I am, however, a very optimistic person…my sister used to call me Pollyanna because I could always find something to be glad about. We will get through this. I’m heartened to see how many people are reaching out to see how they can help others. And I’m impressed with how quickly people have found new ways of conducting meetings and events…with how many school districts stepped up to provide remote lessons. Employees who had previously begged to work from home, only to be told it was impossible…are doing it now…and making it work.

For the creatives in the kidlit world, working in isolation is not a new thing. But books that are launching are missing out on bookstore events, book festivals, school visits, and other venues that might help get the word out and sell books. With libraries and bookstores shutting their doors, social media becomes even more important as a vehicle to tell the world about these new books. And that’s why I’m especially thrilled to bring you a brand-new (comes out on April 7) picture book by one of my very favorite authors, Maria Gianferrari. And guess what? Maria and her publisher are going to send a copy of the book to one lucky winner of our giveaway!

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PLAY LIKE AN ANIMAL

Written by Maria Gianferrari

Illustrated by Mia Powell

Published by Millbrook Press (2020)

Ages:

Themes:

Synopsis: From Amazon:

Dash! Hide! Splash! Ride! Exuberant text celebrates all the different ways animals play, from rhinos taking mud baths and parrots somersaulting through the air to kangaroos boxing and dolphins diving through the surf. Additional text explains how playing benefits animals. Fascinating back matter gives more information about the featured animals in the book and encourages readers to make time to play every day!

Review from Booklist:

“This colorful nature book considers how and why various animals play. In most cases, a particular type of animal appears on a double-page spread with one or more illustrations and a few phrases of text. Nearby, a small red square carries a sentence or two explaining how those playful activities (tug-of-war, tag, etc.) can strengthen the animals, sharpen their wits, or improve their survival skills. For instance, in four illustrations on a double-page spread, a mother kangaroo boxes with her joey: ‘PUNCH, / KICK, / SMACK-SLAP!’ Within an adjacent red square, the text explains that play fighting prepares kangaroos for defending themselves against predators and mentions that mother kangaroos let their joeys win. The back matter includes information about the animals mentioned as well as a further reading list. Fun for sharing one-on-one, the book often shows animals engaged in activities that children enjoy. The lively artwork, created with ‘paints, handmade textures, and digital media,’ offers energetic scenes of animals in motion. The last double-page spread shows kids playing, too. An inviting choice for animal-lovers.

Why I love this book:

  • Fabulous illustrations that will keep kids engaged
  • Fun and informative text helps kids relate actions of animals to their own activities
  • Rich back matter makes this a must-have for schools and home-schoolers (which right now all kids are)

 

RELATED ACTIVITIES:

Super-Fun-Animal-Crafts-for-Kids.-A-lot-of-animal-paper-crafts-nature-materials-crafts-and-a-lot-more.-A-perfect-activity-for-kids-to-make-them-busy-and-entertained.Photo courtesy: https://www.easypeasyandfun.com/animal-crafts-for-kids/

For details on these incredible crafts (I want to make those butterfly rings at the top!): https://www.easypeasyandfun.com/animal-crafts-for-kids/

Here’a a bit about the author:

Maria Gianferrari’s childhood playground was nature: climbing trees, playing hide and seek in the cornfield and slapping cow patties for fun! Nowadays she tries to keep the spirit of play alive in her writing. She enjoys playing Dominion with her family sans the curse cards, and her late dog, Becca, was always ready for a game of “catch the flying biscuit.

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To find out more about Maria and her books:

www.mariagianferrari.com

Her book is available for pre-order on Amazon

Please remember, dear friends…with bookstores and libraries closing their doors, we need to support our favorite authors even more. What can we do?

  • Buy their book – many indie bookstores are shipping for free or are doing curbsite pickup.
  • Write a review on Amazon, Goodreads, or B&N.
  • Ask our library to purchase the book…some libraries have online patron request portals.
  • Tell our friends about the book.
  • Take a photo of a child reading the book and post on social media.

 

Please come back on Tuesday for a BOOK BIRTHDAY post for another dear friend, Darlene Jacobson. And we’ll have more Perfect Picture Book Friday reviews later this month. Plus, don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway of a copy of PLAY LIKE AN ANIMAL (mailed to US addresses only, please).

Also, to find more fabulous picture book reviews and activities, please hop over to Susanna Hill’s website.

Let us know how you are doing? And please message me directly if you are struggling with this situation…sometimes it can help to have a pair of listening ears and a remote shoulder to lean on.

Stay safe, dear friends.

A Couple More Giveaway Winners…and Tips on My Writing Process

Hello my friends.  This post is two-fold…I wanted to announce a couple of giveaway winners before I get too far behind again.

PLUS…I’m part of #Newin19 – a group of debut picture book authors and illustrators whose books are launching in 2019. We have a wonderful new website that will be chock full of peeks into the lives of the authors and illustrators, sneak peeks at their book covers, special events and happenings as we come into the new year, PLUS a blog where we’ll share insights and information of interest to all.

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But first, let’s get to the giveaways.

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Author Maria Gianferrari offered a copy of her brand-new picture book: OPERATION RESCUE DOG. And the winner is…

SARAH TOBIAS

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Author Beth Anderson offered a copy of her brand-new picture book: AN INCONVENIENT ALPHABET: BEN FRANKLIN & NOAH WEBSTER’S SPELLING REVOLUTION. And the winner is: 

ANNIE LYNN

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Hannah Holt, author of A DIAMOND AND A BOY, offered a Picture Book Manuscript Critique. And the winner is…

KAITLYN LEANN SANCHEZ

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And last, I offered a copy of Hannah’s debut pb, A DIAMOND AND A BOY. And the winner is…

PAMELA COURTNEY

Congratulations…and a big thank you to our generous authors. I will connect you all so the prizes can be distributed.

And now, as promised, the link for the post I wrote for the #Newin19 group. The article is called: SEVEN STEPS AND A FEW SECRET INGREDIENTS:

https://newin19.weebly.com/newin19/seven-steps-and-a-few-secret-ingredients

I hope you all stop by to visit our new blog – shout-outs and shares will be much appreciated by all of these talented new authors and illustrators – I’m honored to be part of their group. To tell you the truth, I almost feel like an imposter because this is the THIRD debut picture book author/illustrator group I’ve been in…I was in PicturetheBooks 2017 and also in Epic Eighteens…but they do say that third time’s a charm. Maybe that’s why I have three books debuting next year! 

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And just a heads up…the #Newin19 group is having a Twitter chat with one of kidlit’s favorite people, MATTHEW WINNER. So please, tune in at #Newin19 on your Twitter page on Thursday, October 11th at 8pm EST/7pm CST. He’s going to be asking us all sorts of fun questions!

I hope you all have a wonderful week…I’ll see you on Friday when Melissa Stoller’s Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush is in the spotlight! And then, looking down the road for the next few weeks, Amber Hendricks’ Sophie and Little Star; Viviane Elbee’s Teach Your Giraffe to Ski; Sherry Howard’s Rock & Roll Woods; Brian Lies’ The Rough Patch; and Lisa Amstrutz’ Finding a Dove for Grandpa! WOW!

 

 

 

 

 

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!!!!

Perfect Picture Book Friday: TERRIFIC TONGUES Plus Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends!

Today I’m sharing a brand-new book by one of my favorite kidlit authors, Maria Gianferrari. You’ve met her before when she stopped by last summer to chat on Will Write for Cookies about her then new book, HELLO GOODBYE DOG.  And now she has another one that just launched last week!!! And she is offering a copy as a GIVEAWAY! But before we get to our review and activity (which is going to be so much fun!), I need to make a few announcements.

The winner of a copy of SHARK NATE-O is…

SUSANNA TERPLEY.

Congratulations, Susanna! I’ll connect you and author Tara Luebbe.

And the winners of copies of SHOW ME HOW! BUILD YOUR CHILD’S SELF-ESTEEM THROUGH READING, CRAFTING AND COOKING are:

GINGER WEDDLE

VIRGINIA RINKEL

DANIELLE HAMMELEF

Congratulations, ladies…I will connect with all of you to make arrangements to send you the books so that you can present them to your local libraries in honor of National Library Week.

I also wanted to mention that the #50PreciousWordsforKids International Writing Challenge is coming up at the end of this month. It coincides with Children’s Book Week, April 30 to May 6. The official challenge post will go live on Monday, April 30th. And author Darlene Jacobsen is going to give the challenge a shout out on her blog on Thursday, April 19…I’ll post the link here and on my social media. Please, friends, start getting the word out to teachers and parents of kids in grades K-6. Although every child who participates is a winner, I would love to select one class per grade level and one homeschool family/group to receive a mini-Skype author or illustrator visit like we did last year. I’m hoping to get EIGHT authors or illustrators who would be willing to donate those.  So please contact me if you’d like to participate: viviankirkfield@gmail.

And now for today’s Perfect Picture Book!

TERRIFIC TONGUES

Written by Maria Giaferrari

Illustrated by Jia Liu

Published by Boyds Mill Press (2018)

Ages: 4-8

Themes: Nonfiction animal info about tongues, humor

Why I like this book:

  • Funny! Funny! Funny! Kids will love the humor.
  • Fabulous word play and nonfiction info about animals and their tongues.
  • Bold vibrant illustrations – and the expressions on the monkey who travels throughout the book are hilarious!

RELATED ACTIVITIESmonkey-craftsPhoto courtesy: https://iheartcraftythings.com/50-zoo-animal-crafts-kids.html

Lots of fun monkey projects! For detailed instructions, please go here: https://iheartcraftythings.com/50-zoo-animal-crafts-kids.html

And to add a funny tongue to any of these monkey crafts, just cut a long strip of construction paper, roll it up, and glue one end to the monkey’s mouth.

Enjoy the back matter in Maria’s book…so many amazing fun facts about animals and their tongues.

For more picture book reviews and activities for kids, hop over to Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday link up.

Please remember that book reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and other review sites are the best way we can thank authors for their wonderful stories.

And leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway of a copy of TERRIFIC TONGUES.

And don’t forget to pass the word around about #50PreciousWordsforKids and email me if you’d like to donate a mini-Skype author visit.

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#50PreciousWords Writing Challenge WINNERS

 

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CONGRATULATIONS!

The #50PreciousWords 2018 Writing Challenge was a HUGE success! You all made it so with your fabulous participation: 298 awesome stories and a comment thread that contained almost 1900 positive comments!

The guidelines were simple:

  1. Write a story appropriate for kids ages 12 or under, using only 50 words…they can all be different words, or you can use some of them over and over…just as long as the total word count of the story is 50 or less.
  2. It can be prose, rhyme, free verse, silly or serious…whatever works for you.
  3. Title is not included in the word count.
  4. No illustration notes please.
  5. Please post your story in the comment section below. If you have your own blog and want to post your story there also, please do. And let us know your post link.  I ask for the link so that people will visit each other and find new friends in the kid lit community. Please make sure you put your name in the post. If you have any trouble at all posting the story, please email me and I will be happy to do it for you: viviankirkfield@gmail.com.
  6. Deadline for posting the story in the comments is Tuesday, March 6, at 11:59pm.
  7. Winners will be announced in a special blog post on Sunday, March 11.

Here are the prizes: Continue reading

#50PreciousWords 2018 Writing Challenge is OPEN!!

 

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Today is the day, dear friends! Ready! Set! Go! The #50PreciousWords 2018 Writing Challenge is now OPEN!

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For those of you who have not participated before, let me give you a bit of back story. March 2nd is the birthday of the incredible Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. For the last two years, I’ve hosted a little contest based on Bennet Cerf’s challenge to Seuss to write a children’s book using only 50 words. And the classic Green Eggs and Ham was born. It’s true that the story has over 700 words…but only 50 unique words.

In 2016, I thought it would be fun to try to write a story for kids with ONLY 50 words. With a beginning, a middle, and an end. I wondered if I could do it. And then I opened the challenge to everyone. Much to my surprise and amazement, there were 128 entries! And last year, there were 253 entries. And I hope we have a great turnout again this year because I am passionate about helping others follow their dream of writing for children.

In 2012 I had a dream. I wanted to write picture books. And I wanted to be traditionally published. And one of the most important things I did was to participate in writing challenges like Susanna Hill’s contests. Why was that important? Because it got me writing. It got me revising. It got me submitting. Hmmm….writing/revising/submitting. I believe that if we do those three things enough times, our writing improves and agents and editors get a chance to see our work. And as much as I am thrilled with my own success, nothing makes me happier than to hear about the success of others in our kidlit community.

So, please sharpen your pencils. Fire up your computers. And share your #50PreciousWords with us. 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!

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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