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Patricia Keeler: Will Write for Cookies PLUS Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

headshot

PATRICIA KEELER

I connected with our Will Write for Cookies guest early this year and fell in love with her beautiful art and wonderful stories. (Plus, she’s an awesome person!) When she said she’d be happy to stop in to chat, I was thrilled!

Welcome, Patricia! We are so happy to have you here.

ME:  What was your favorite book when you were a child? 

PATRICIA:

My favorite book was THREE LITTLE HORSES. This is a wonderful story written and illustrated by Piet Worm. The little horses liked playing games that they dreamed up wearing their colorful thinking caps. An artist, wearing a tree suit, befriended them and took them to town. He disguised them in elaborate princess costumes and masks.  

 You might think this a strange story, but it made perfect sense to my six-year old brain and heart. My mother was a textile artist. She spun and dyed her own wool. She wove the yarn into sweaters and dresses. She also created beautiful wedding dresses. Her clients, the brides-to-be, would stand in the middle of our living room to try on their new gowns. Imagine the twirling, the billowing, the excited laughter and chatter.

 So of course little horses could go to town wearing princess masks and wearing princess gowns. Better yet, an artist, like my mother, provided them. I still have the book, and will occasionally pull it down and page through it just for the joy of it.

three little horses

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

PATRICIA:

I mostly write in my studio. First drafts are usually with pencil on paper. I write later versions on my computer. I often take these to my writer’s group, where I get constructive feedback. While it’s still fresh, I’ll often start improving the manuscript on the subway on the way home from Brooklyn.

 I’ll almost exclusively do my illustrating in my studio, although I’ll take walks along the Hudson River to work out content, design, layout and color paletteconcerns. After sketching a dummy of my story, I’ll start painting with watercolors. I’ll scan each page spread, and then combine images in Photoshop. I also incorporate elements of collage and photography. With LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL I created ocean waves and Lou Seal with encaustic wax. If you’d like to see more of this process, look here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evADOs7z068

V AT THE DRAWING TABLEHere I am at my drawing table.

supplies Here are some of the art supplies I work with.

And if you’d like to see even more of my art studio and my illustration approach, look here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=St9cCm4T1V0

This You Tube video shows me at work on my current project, SCOOP the ICE CREAM TRUCK, (Sky Pony Press, Spring 2018).

ME: Why do you create picture books for children? 

PATRICIA:

One of my greatest joys is creating art for children’s picture books—art that shows the rich emotions of feisty, assertive little girls. I illustrate independent creatures who demand to solve their own problems and expect to enjoy the rewards of doing so.

 I’m especially interested in girls who run up playground slides, win watermelon-spitting contests, and dress in colorful layers. I love little girls whose voices are dainty-delicate but when they shout, trees bend back.

 When visiting parks and playgrounds I discover the unique characteristics of a child by noticing how a baby’s legs hang like noodles from a carrier, how a toddler in a diaper walks like a goose, and a child can bend in positions that are a yogini’s dream.

 My greatest challenge is to have a consistent character while keeping up with her ever-changing moods. Hair and clothes help keep the character looking like the same child, but over 32 pages keeping her 5 years old and not 4 or 6—or her look irritated, but not angry—is on me.

lizzie crash

 I want the world to be a place of true opportunity for girls. In my work I want to show that crying is a badge of courage, because she gave her all. Her hair and clothes are expressions of freedom, because they’re her own flag. And failure is a necessity, because she’ll never move forward without it.

 Little girls intuitively know these things. I want to create books that support them from the get-go.

V BEAHere I am at Book Expo America this May sketching Lizzie wearing everything she needs for her day at the beach on her beach tool belt!

 Now about those cookies, I’ve asked my wonderful husband, Francis McCall, chief cook, bottle washer, editor, my biggest supporter—and baker—to supply the recipe for the best cookies I’ve ever had, cookies I defy anyone to manage to only eat one and not go back for more!

 Grandmother Gera’s Almond Crescent Cookies

V HOT FROM THE OVEN

 

 1/2 pound butter

1/2 pound fine ground almonds

1 1/2 cups white flour

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup granulated sugar

Cream the butter and sugar.  Add almonds.  Add 1 cup of the flour.  Add vanilla.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup of flour over this mixture and mix by hand.  Place a handful of dough on a floured board.  Roll out a log of this mixture 1 inch in diameter.  Cut off 1/2-inch slices.  Roll small crescents from the slices with the heels of hands.  Place the crescents on a buttered cookie sheet and bake at 325 degrees for 10 – 12 minutes.  Slightly cool and remove.  Place in container and dust with powdered sugar while still warm.  Yield approximately 10 dozen cookies.

 yumYUM!

 

 Giveaways

 coverLIZZIE and LOU SEAL book

necklaceLOU SEAL necklace

 HURRAY! I can’t thank you enough, Patricia, for sharing all of these insights with us. And for your generous giveaways! And for the yummy cookie recipe…Almond Crescent Cookies are one of my favorites! Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever met a cookie I didn’t like…but these are melt-in-your-mouth awesomeness!

Dear friends, if you’d like to connect with Patricia or find out more about her many wonderful books:

LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL, Sky Pony Press (why not hop over and write a review?)

SCOOP THE ICE CREAM TRUCK, Sky Pony Press (Spring 2018)

patriciakeeler-author-illustrator.com

Facebook – PatriciaKeelerBooks

Instagram – @patriciakeeler

Twitter       – @patriciakeelerbooks

WOW…what a post! Patricia has been exceedingly generous in sharing so much of her process…we even have the YouTube videos to learn from. You definitely don’t want to leave without commenting because I know everyone would love to win the book and necklace. And don’t forget, leave a comment on yesterday’s Perfect Picture Book Friday review of LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL, and you’ll be entered in THAT giveaway for a copy of the book AND the earrings.

And guess what??? The goodness just doesn’t stop because we need to announce the winners of author/illustrator Denise Fleming’s giveaway!

A copy of Beetle Bop goes to….LESLIE GOODMAN

And a copy of 5 Little Ducks goes to…MANJU HOWARD

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

Please contact me so I can connect you and Denise.

Phew! I think I need to grab a big glass of iced tea and a plateful of those Almond Crescent Cookies! Have a wonderful weekend, dear friends.

Perfect Picture Book Friday: LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL Plus GIVEAWAY

Hold onto your beach hats, dear friends! Wednesday was the first day of summer and today we’ve got the perfect book to celebrate that.

Plus, today’s post is extra-special because author/illustrator Patricia Keeler is giving away a signed copy of LIZZIE and LOU SEAL 

cover

AND

a pair of Lizzie’s favorite flip-flop earrings!

flip flop earrings

Make sure you leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway!

LIZZIE and LOU SEAL

 Written and illustrated by Patricia Keeler

 Publisher: Sky Pony Press (2017)

 Ages: 3 – 6

 Themes:

 Independence, friendship, problem solving

 Synopsis:

From Amazon:

What will Lizzie do when Lou Seal loses his puff?

Lizzie loves her flip-flops. They go shuffle shuffle across the rug, smack smack on the floor tiles, and thwap thwap down the stairs. Lizzie also loves her blow-up toy, Lou Seal. Lizzie and Lou Seal are off to the beach, but beach fun turns to beach disaster when Lizzie loses her flip-flops and Lou Seal starts losing air! It’s a sink or swim scenario. What will Lizzie do?

This is a beautiful book with mixed media art and a lovely retro feel, for fans of Ladybug Girl at the Beach. Children will relate to Lizzie’s independence and creative problem solving and fall in love with Lou Seal themselves. Filled with lots of fun words and sounds, this is a perfect read aloud book for parents and children alike.

Why I like this book:

  • Charming, retro surroundings frame Lizzie’s seaside life.
  • The text marries perfectly with the illustrations and much of the story is briliiantly told in the illustrations…kids will enjoy discovering the leak in Lou Seal way before Lizzie notices it.
  • This story engages all the senses, while reeling out a picture book that is the perfect beach read as well as a great anytime read-aloud.
  • A great launch pad for a discussion about water safety.

RELATED ACTIVITIES

FAUX SNOW GLOBE: On The Beach or In The Ocean?

snow globes

We are so lucky. Author/illustrator Patricia Keeler has created a super fun craft for the kids!

You will need: Firm yellow heavy paper, firm blue paper, Krazy Glue, 2 clear lids from 32 oz Stonyfield Yogurt, sand, glitter & LIZZIE and LOU SEAL icon sheet below.

  1. Print out the LIZZIE and LOU SEAL sheet. Cut out Lou Seal and icons.
  2. Choose which items would most likely be found on land. Choose which items would be found in the ocean.
  3. Draw a circle around the yogurt lid on the yellow and blue sheets.
  4. In the center of the yellow circle, place sand, beach items and Lou Seal. In the circle on the blue paper, place blue glitter, ocean items and Lou Seal.
  5. Put Krazy Glue along the circle line. Stick the lid down and let it dry.​
  6. SHAKE, SHAKE, SHAKE and enjoy!

jpeg of icons

Dear friends…have a safe and wonderful weekend, don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway…

make sure you leave a review for LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL on Amazon and…

…please come back tomorrow–Patricia Keeler is stopping by for our Will Write for Cookies Q&A!

Perfect Picture Book Friday Review and Craft Activity: Mrs. McBee Leaves Room 3 PLUS Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends. This is a very special time of year, when two of the world’s major religions celebrate important holidays…I wish everyone who celebrates a Happy Passover and a Happy Easter. If only the people of the world could come together like our incredible kid lit community does.

To add to the celebrations, we have books to give away. THREE OF THEM!

Last week, Linda Whalen offered to give away a copy of her wonderful debut picture book, LITTLE RED ROLLS AWAY.book cover

AND THE WINNER IS

SHERRY ALEXANDER

Congratulations, Sherry! Please contact me so I can get your mailing information to Linda.

We also have a copy of LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL to award thanks to author/illustrator Patricia Keeler. lizzie-and-lou-seal-cover

AND THE WINNER IS

VIRGINIA FRAZIER

Splish-splash! What fun. Congrats, Virginia! Let’s connect so Patricia can send you your prize.

And last, but certainly not least, author Rosie Pova is gifting a teddy bear and swag package to celebrate the book birthday of IF I WEREN’T WITH YOU. swag giveaway

AND THE WINNER IS

ZARA

Hurray! Zara, we will connect so that Rosie can send your prize.

I also wanted to ask everyone to continue to spread the word about the #50PreciousWordsforKids Writing Challenge. logoHand the flyer to teachers you know – post it on homeschool forums – we want to enable as many children as possible to participate because Magic Happens When You Make Every Word Count.

Today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday also has a giveaway…so don’t forget to leave a comment. And shout outs on social media are always appreciated by the author!

book cover 1

MRS. MCBEE LEAVES ROOM 3

Written by Gretchen Brandenburg McLellan

Illustrated by Grace Zong

Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (2017)

Ages: Preschool – Grade 3

Themes:

Saying goodbye, dealing with change, working together, diversity

Synopsis:

From Amazon:

Join the children of Room 3 and Mrs. McBee as they find their own ways of helping each other get ready to leave and say good-bye. It’s not just the end of the school year at Mayflower Elementary. It’s time to say goodbye to Mrs. McBee, who is leaving the school. Jamaika, William, and the other kids in Room 3 have to figure out a special way to celebrate their beloved teacher. But everyone has a different idea. How can they arrive at an agreement? Gretchen Brandenburg McLellan brings readers an amusing and touching story about transitions and the importance of observing them. With Grace Zong’s charming illustrations, the distinct cast of lively characters comes to life on the page.

Why I like this book:

  • As a former teacher, what’s not to love about a book that tells how kids are trying to do something nice for their teacher?
  • I also love seeing how the diverse characters and personalities find their own ways to say goodbye…and especially how Mrs. McBee helps each of them feel special. The author did a masterful job showing us this.
  • Great illustrations…full of color and emotion…they really help us connect with the characters.

One of the best ways we can help authors, other than buying a copy of their receives a certain number of reviews (30 or perhaps 50), Amazon gives a bit of marketing/promotion help. Click here for the Amazon link to today’s Perfect Picture Book.

I know that Gretchen appreciates every review the book receives.

RELATED ACTIVITIES

Make a School or Classroom Craft

cardboard-crafts-for-kidsPhoto courtesy: http://mollymoocrafts.com/back-school-crafts-shoebox-school/

Young kids really love doing crafts. And the time they spend with a parent, cutting, coloring, creating…that is time that is well spent! It’s why I included 100 quick and easy craft activities in the parent-teacher book I wrote years ago. Why not grab an old shoe box or small shipping carton and build a school with your kids?

You will need: 1 box (shoe box, USPS priority box, even a large cereal box), construction paper or gift wrap or any paper that will cover the box OR you can paint it OR you can cover it with brown shipping tape, scissors, markers, glue.

  1. Cover the box as you and your child desire.
  2. Cut windows and doors
  3. Use markers or crayons to add details.

You can also create a classroom using a shoebox turned on its side. Line the ‘walls’ with wrapping paper as wallpaper. Cut pictures of furniture and people from magazines to glue in place.

For more great online crafts: http://mollymoocrafts.com/back-school-crafts-shoebox-school/

Another activity: Teachers work so hard for our children. Why not sit down with your child to write a thank you note to include with the end of year gift. I can guarantee the teacher will treasure that note long after the flowers die or the candy is eaten. I know I still have notes from the children I taught.

Have a wonderful weekend, dear friends…don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway of a copy of MRS. MCBEE LEAVES ROOM 3…and please come back tomorrow for:

 

Will Write for Cookies

Gretchen Brandenburg McLellan

_Logo final BB2 1 inch 300dpi

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.

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