Sunday Post: On-Going…Picture Books and Projects

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

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

MLK Mini-poster

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


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.


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


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.


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.


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.

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 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.


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.

inner title page color smallppp

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!

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: for those of you who might have missed it.

I encourage anyone who is involved with kids to visit the website at  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


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


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:


Photo from

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:

A lesson plan for second and third graders:


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.

Top Ten Children’s Picture Books for 2010


Every year, thousands of new picture books are published.  Many are excellent.  Some are outstanding.  And a few are in a category all their own…to be read and savored, over and over again, by adults and children alike.  These are the books that will be the classics in the decades to come.  These ten books are my choices for the must-read children’s picture books published in 2010.

1.     SHARK VS. TRAIN written by Chris Burton and illustrated by Tom Lichtenhedd

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers – ISBN9780316

           A boy with a toy shark faces off against his companion who is holding a toy train.  Awesome cartoon illustrations depict the distinct personalities of the two competitors and will have young children cheering from both sides.  In some of the battles, the shark has the upper hand and in others, the train.  And neither is very good at keeping quiet in the library.

2.     THE QUIET BOOK written by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Renata Liwska

Houghton Mifflin Books for Young Children – ISBN9780547215679

               Exploring the many different kinds of quiet with understated text and subtle yet engaging illustrations, this book will soon become a favorite with little ones.  Various young animals – bears, rabbits, mice, owls and others – are placed in situations that will strike a chord of recognition with young children.  In the “first one awake quiet” a young rabbit is doing his morning stretches.  In “right before you yell, ‘Surprise’, quiet”, three animals hide behind a couch.  This is a book that will rank right beside GOODNIGHT MOON as a perfect book to read before bedtime.

3.     CITY DOG, COUNTRY FROG written by Mo Willems and illustrated by Jon Muth

Hyperion Books for Children – ISBN9781423103004

               This beautiful book is a journey through the seasons and through the natural cycle of the emotions of a friendship.  When City Dog ventures into the country one spring, he meets Country Frog who teaches him “jumping and splashing and croaking”.  Summer finds the two companions together with Frog learning “sniffing, fetching and barking”.  In the fall, because Frog is tired, they play remembering games, recalling all the things they did in the spring and summer.  When winter arrives, City Dog goes looking for Country Frog, but cannot find him.  When spring returns, City Dog meets a chipmunk who asks him the same question he had asked Frog – “What are you doing?”  And City Dog gives the same answer Frog had given him, “Waiting for a friend…but you’ll do.”

4.     ART AND MAX written and illustrated by David Wiesner

Clarion Books – ISBN9780618756636

               Max and Arthur are friends who share an interest in painting.  Although Arthur (Art) is an experienced painter, Max is just a beginner and his first attempt at painting has unexpected results.  This is a wonderful book for all young children who may question their ability as they grow up to master certain tasks and skills.

5.     THERE’S GOING TO BE A BABY written by John Burningham and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

Candlewick Press – ISBN9780763649074

               A young boy learns that he will soon have a new brother or sister.  Young children will identify with his conflicting emotions over the next several months as he and his mother talk about the new baby while walking in the park, visiting the zoo and going to the bank.  The author and the illustrator are husband and wife in real life and have created a wonderful book for siblings-to-be.

6.     LITTLE  PINK PUP written by Johanna Kerby

G.P. Putnam’s Sons – ISBN9780399254352

               This is touching and true story of Pink, the runt of his litter and Tink, a new dachshund mom who adopts him as one of her pups and nurses him back to health.  Simple text and full-color photos will make this book a favorite with very young children.

7.     FARM written and illustrated by Elisha Cooper

Orchard Books – ISBN9780545070751

               The author brings a farm to life with lyrical writing and beautiful illustrations.  The book takes readers through a year of farm life with planting, chores and good and bad weather.  Young children will enjoy the involvement of the farm children in their daily tasks and perhaps gain an appreciation for the hard work that results in the food we eat every day.

8.     THE CHICKEN THIEF written and illustrated by Beatrice Rodriguez

Enchanted Lion Books – ISBN978159700929

               When a fox runs off with one of the hens, bear and rabbit interrupt their peaceful lunch in the garden to join rooster in his chase to recover hen.  The fox seems always to be a step ahead, tenderly clutching the pretty white hen.  Is the fox intending to eat the hen or does he have something else in mind?  This wordless book will be enjoyed by children and adults alike, especially the surprise ending.

9.     OLIVIA GOES TO VENICE written and illustrated by Ian Falconer

Atheneum Books for Young Readers – 9781416996743

               Olivia is back – on a trip to Venice.  She has to dodge pigeons in the Piazza San Marco and barely stays afloat on a gondola ride.  Full of curiosity, Olivia appeals to the very young, but even parents will appreciate the comic ending when Olivia finds the perfect souvenir – a stone – and a bell tower collapses.

10.    BIBIOBURRO: A TRUE STORY FROM COLUMBIA written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter

Beach Lane Books – ISBN9781416997788

               Luis, a schoolteacher with a passion for reading, shares his over-abundance of books with the children in the remote villages of Columbia.  With two burros, he makes the trek across mountainous terrain and perseveres, even when challenged by bandits along the way.  Spreading literacy one child at a time, Luis reminds all of us of the pleasures books bring and the difference one individual can make.

Do you agree?  Any favorites from 2010 that I missed?  As soon as I can, I’ll post my choices for the top ten all-time favorite children’s picture books.  What would be your top choice…the book you loved as a child and want to read to your children and grandchildren?