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Perfect Picture Book Friday: THE FIELD Plus Giveaway

WOW…I’ve had an awesome week! Thanks to almost 300 incredible writers who shared their stories in the #50PreciousWords Writing Challenge. More about that on Sunday when we announce the winners and honorable mentions and hand out some prizes.

But we’ve got prizes today also. Oh yeah! A couple of weeks ago, author and circus guru Jackie Leigh Davis stopped by to chat and offered a copy of her brand-new book, DIY CIRCUS LAB FOR KIDS…and it is SIGNED! And the winner is:


The next week, author Carol Gordon Ekster visited and generously donated a picture book manuscript critique as a giveaway. And the winner is:


Congratulations! We’ll connect so you can get your prizes. And don’t forget, dear friends, on Sunday, we will hand out FIFTEEN super prizes for the #50PreciousWordChallenge.

And not to disappoint, our post today ALSO has a giveaway…thanks to debut picture book author, Baptiste Paul, who will answer some questions here tomorrow on Will Write for Cookies.

Are you ready for our picture book review? 

The field_cover


Written by Baptiste Paul Read the rest of this entry

Jackie Azua Kramer: Will Write for Cookies PLUS Giveaway



Plate of Cookies






Jackie and I connected in a couple of kid lit Facebook groups. I absolutely love her picture book, THE GREEN UMBRELLA, which we spotlighted during her book blog tour. I’m thrilled to announce that THE GREEN UMBRELLA was just chosen as a Bank St College Best Books.

 green umbrella cover

Her story melds so perfectly with the reuse/recycle/repurpose theme of  Earth Day knew we would want to welcome her to Will Write for Cookies today.

And because I think it’s fun for you to know a little bit about our guests, I grabbed a paragraph from her website about page:

Many lives ago I was an actor, singer & school counselor. Now I’m an author, and wile away my time writing children’s picture books. What ties these all together are my dreams and imagination. Most of the time you’ll find me reading, watching old movies, globe trekking and whenever possible sharing laughter & food with my family.

 Welcome, Jackie! Thank you so much for stopping by to visit with us.

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


It may sound cliché, but Maurice Sendak, Dr. Seuss and Arnold Lobel. They were my generations Mo Willems or Mac Barnett. I wore my copies thin of In the Night Kitchen, Horton Hears a Who and Frog and Toad are Friends. At the time, reading in school was very dry and uninventive. It was a welcome relief to discover these books at the library and simply laugh out load or see yourself in these stories. I remember crying when I read Frog and Toad because I knew as a child what it meant to feel lonely sometimes. 

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


Apart from the ‘ins and outs’ of the publishing industry, not much. I felt then, as I do now, that wonder is the secret sauce. Wonder allows you to stay curious, open and present, and from that can come great stories. There is one thing—I would have read more picture books.

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?


All the above. I love my writing space at home, but sometimes there are too many shiny distractions. When the weather is warm, I love to sit on my deck under a canopy of trees. I also love the back corner of my library that faces an old church.

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?


I’m writing ALL the time. Just not on paper or my computer. Much of the time, I write in what I call my ‘writerly mind’. In that space–I imagine, dream, think and wonder. Bit by bit, the idea for a story begins to form along with a possible structure. The Boy and the Eight Hundred Pound Gorilla (Candlewick Press, TBD) at 300 words lingered in my thoughts for almost two years.

ME: Why do you write for children?


Honestly, I write for children because I feel I have something I want to share with them. My hope is that my stories are conduits to feelings—joy, curiosity, sadness, laughter, surprise. Nothing is worse than knowing a child read my book and at the end there wasn’t an ‘AHA’ moment.

ME: Yes, you are so right, Jackie…those are crucial elements to strive to have in our stories. Is there anything else you’d like to share?


Join Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators—that’s a must. Have something where you can jot down inspirations, thoughts, ideas. Don’t edit or limit your ideas at this incubation stage. Quirky, nuggets or impossible, silly, bizarre and wrong ideas, collect them like a jar of penny’s. One day you’ll cash in BIG!

Thank you so very much, Jackie, for sharing your insights. I know everyone is walking away with a renewed (YES, renewed…pun intended) excitement for why we are all writing for children.

To find out more about Jackie and her books:

Twitter @jackiekramer422

Facebook: Jackie Azúa Kramer

The Green Umbrella on Amazon

Oh, wait a minute…don’t walk away yet. First check out the treat recipe. And then make sure you leave a comment to be entered in Jackie’s giveaway. And because it is Earth Day, please join the fun and post or tweet a photo of you doing your Earth Day thing…recycling/repurposing/reusing…make sure you tag me and Jackie so we can see it.

And because we are doing things a bit differently in honor of Earth Day, Jackie has a savory dish for us to try. When I saw it, I couldn’t believe she shared my hubby’s FAVORITE brunch.

JACKIE: I have a simple breakfast dish that we love in our family, Egg in a Basket. And eggs and spring also go well together.


Recipe for Egg in a Basket:

Cut a medium slice of your favorite round bread. I like a good sour dough. Take out most of the center of the bread. Place in a hot pan with butter and crack two eggs in the center. Flip once and cook eggs to your preference. I love the eggs over easy which compliments the crispy bread. Tip: In the last 30 seconds, add a slice of cooked bacon on top. Bacon makes everything special.

Vivian’s note: This is my husband’s favorite brunch…we call it Egg in a Nest and we add a slice of cheese…American, Swiss, or provolone…let it melt on top…mmmm…mmmm…good!

At this very moment, I am at the NESCBWI with so many of my kid lit friends…maybe even you! Next week, I hope you’ll stop by again for an NESCBWI recap, a Book Review and Giveaway from Rosie Pova in honor of Mother’s Day (doing it early so the prize will get to the winner by Mother’s Day), a Perfect Picture Book Friday with Tara Lazar and a Will Write for Cookies with Anna Forrester. And don’t forget to leave a comment and share a recycle/reuse/repurpose photo on social media.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Picture Book Review and Activities for THE GREEN UMBRELLA

Hello friends!

It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday…and I’ve got the PERFECT PICTURE BOOK for you! It’s another wonderful 2017 debut! We are part of the book blog tour…if you’d like to visit any of the other stops, please click here.



Written by Jackie Azua Kramer

Illustrated by Maral Sassouni

Publisher: NorthSouth Books (2017)

Ages: Preschool – Grade 3


Friendship, sharing, imagination


From Amazon:

When Elephant takes a peaceful walk with his green umbrella, he’s interrupted by Hedgehog, Cat, Bear, and Rabbit—all claiming that they’ve had exciting adventures with his umbrella. After all, it is an umbrella, and it certainly hasn’t been on any adventures more exciting than a walk in the rain. Or has it?

Here is what the reviewers are saying:

Illustrated in spreads that alternate the rainy-day narrative in vignettes with full-bleed spreads that allow the flight-of-fancy retellings to render a deeper mood, the animals’ stories are delightfully descriptive…The lesson about sharing and generosity is elegantly wrapped around lovely language. (Kirkus Reviews)

 Debut author Kramer’s imagination-fueled encounter makes good use of fellow newcomer Sassouni’s gift for conjuring up fairy-tale landscapes…And Kramer’s storytelling passages sustain their lofty tone with no off notes—no easy task. (Publishers Weekly)

A sweet story of a blossoming friendship between five lovable and imaginative characters, united by one special green umbrella. I want to jump right in to the lush paintings and join in their fun!(Lauren Castillo, Author/ Illustrator of Caldecott Honor Book “Nana in the City”)

Whimsical and cartoonlike animals, depicted with a touch of vintage style, will delight readers as the story shows all the imaginative ways an umbrella can be used. The brightly colored acrylic illustrations complement the conversational text, which is suitable to read aloud to an audience.  (Mindy Hiatt, Salt Lake County Library Services School Library Journal)

Here is a story for those who love an object, be it a blanket, a toy, or in this case a green umbrella, so much so that it’s very being is imbued with memories that make it unmistakably yours. And a story for those who have lost one such object and wish more than anything to have it back. Azúa Kramer reminds us all that many memories can be shared over a single prized possession. And as Sassouni’s art plays in the worlds of joy and longing over a green umbrella, we see a group of characters come together to discover what they can offer another in need. There’s no mistaking how easy it is to share this book. (Matthew Winner, All the Wonders Podcast)

 Opening Lines:

“One rainy day an Elephant was taking a walk with his green umbrella. Along came a Hedgehog.

“Excuse me,” said the Hedgehog. “I believe you have my boat.”

Why I like this book:

  • I love books that encourage young children to use their imaginations!
  • Wonderful read-aloud!
  • The illustrations are absolutely beautiful and match the text perfectly!
  • Each page turn compels you to…turn the page.


Paper Plate Elephant

elephant-paper-plate-med-300x225Photo courtesy:

Just like paper bags, paper plates are wonderful to use for crafting with kids.

You will need: 1 paper plate, construction paper, markers or crayons, scissors, glue.

  1. Color the paper plate with crayons or markets (or paint if you are adverturous)…what color does your child want the elephant to be…encouraging children to use their imagination is one of the most important things we can do. Maybe the elephant needs to be purple with green stripes…let your child be creative.
  2. Cut out ears, eyes, trunk, mouth and glue in place.
  3. Use markers or crayons to add detail to the features.
  4. For in depth instructions:

Other activities to do after reading the book:

  1. Take a walk in the rain, with and without an umbrella.
  2. Buy a small umbrella just for your child.
  3. Let your child chose a possession…mug, pillow, toy…who else could use this and how? For example, a mug might be a bathtub for a little mouse. This type of activity helps children start thinking out of the box.


 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.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Tomorrow’s post will be my entry into Susanna Hill’s Valentiny Contest…I hope you are able to stop by and let me know what you think of it.

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