Perfect Picture Book Friday: MY SCHOOL STINKS Plus Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends. Kids often complain about their school. They don’t like the teacher. Their best friend isn’t in their class. And the work is too hard or too boring. The pandemic didn’t help matters – going to school with a mask or attending remotely was definitely a challenge for kids as well as parents and teachers. But it’s Becky Scharnhorst to the rescue with this hilarious new book about a school where the challenges are WILD! And the lovely Becky is offering a super cool giveaway: a copy of this awesome book or a picture book critique – winner’s choice! Make sure you leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway.

MY SCHOOL STINKS

Written by Becky Scharnhorst

Illustrated by Julia Patton

Published by Philomel (July 6, 2021)

Ages: 4-8

Themes: First day of school, humor, SEL

Synopsis: From Amazon:


A hilarious back-to-school story told through journal entries about a boy who finds himself at a new school where the other students are REAL animals. Perfect for fans of Ryan T. Higgins’s We Don’t Eat Our Classmates and Elise Parsley’s If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, Don’t!

Dear Diary,

Today is the first day at my new school and I think there’s been a mistake. My desk mate stinks, my locker buddy bites, and my teacher is unbearable! I told Mom my classmates are WILD ANIMALS but she said all little kids are wild animals. I think I’m going to be sick tomorrow.

Celebrate back to school (and even calm some back-to-school nerves) with this clever and funny story about a boy who accidentally winds up at a school for animals, but soon realizes friends can come in all shapes, sizes, and species. A great read for kindergarten through second grade!

Praise for My School Stinks!:

“Along with being a good choice for children anxious about their own upcoming “first day,” this offers a nifty exercise in reading between the lines.”–Booklist

“An encouraging new-kid narrative told from an entertaining perspective.” —Publishers Weekly

“Just might convince complaining children that their school isn’t so bad after all.”–Kirkus reviews

Why I LOVE This Book:

  1. Funny! Funny! And more funny! Humor leaps off the pages.
  2. The illustrations are fabulous – engaging…and…FUNNY!
  3. I love the turnaround at the end…the story is so clever…what a great lens to view a school experience. And I love the diary approach – it really connected me with the main character.

RELATED ACTIVITIES

Animal Bookmarks

I hope everyone is set to have a wonderful weekend. I’m leaving tomorrow for a week at an Air B&B on Lake Winnipesaukee – looking forward to doing lots of writing – and I’m also participating in Nerd Camp PA…are you signed up? It’s on July 15 and it’s for educators and librarians and parents and students. It’s all about literacy and encouraging kids to love books – to find topics that rock their boats and then discover books that can help them learn more – to find books where they are validated because they see themselves – to find books that are a window to the wider world so they can connect with other cultures. There are dozens of awesome author/illustrator panels – my panel is speaking about Using Picture Books to Inspire Self-Advocacy and Student-Led Learning.

nErD Camp PA is being held via Zoom from 9:00 AM – 3:45 PM EST on Thursday, July 15th.Here is the link to register:https://tinyurl.com/21nerdPAreg

  And please remember to leave a comment to be entered in the SUPER AWESOME Giveaway – the winner will choose either a copy of MY SCHOOL STINKS or a picture book critique from the fabulous Becky Scharnhorst. Maybe you can share what YOUR biggest challenge was in elementary school. Plus, don’t forget the the best way we can thank our favorite authors is to buy their books, review their books, tell friends about their books, and ask local libraries to purchase copies…also, if your library already has copies of the book, borrow it! When there isn’t activity for a book, the library might not keep it on the shelves.

Perfect Picture Book Friday: BIRDS OF A FEATHER Plus Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends. You are in for a treat today! Our book is beautiful, inside and out. And so is our debut picture book author, Sita Singh, who is generously offering a copy of BIRDS OF A FEATHER as a giveaway.

BIRDS OF A FEATHER

Continue reading

Mike Malbrough: Will Write for Cookies PLUS Giveaway

 

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

head shot

MIKE MALBROUGH

Hip, hip hooray for another incredible 2017 debut picture book author/illustrator. Please welcome our Will Write for Cookies guest of honor.

Mike Malbrough was a freelance graphic designer, comic book artist, performer and teacher with a career spanning two decades before beginning his career as a picture book author-illustrator. He is an active teacher and mentor for young artists in his community, and has received several awards and honors for his work with children and teens. Mike lives in Orange, New Jersey, with his wife, two adventurous kids, and a cat named Agnes who hates him.

cat on desk

Mike, I’m so excited to welcome you to Picture Books Help Kids Soar!

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

MIKE:

I was always enamored with the work of Mercer Mayer, especially how his creature characters crowded the pages in PROFESSOR WORMBOG IN SEARCH FOR THE ZIPPERUMP-A-ZOO. And of course Shel Silverstein, Maurice Sendak, Dr. Suess and Ludwig Bemelmans. I also remember the HENRY books by Mark Taylor and Graham Booth always being around.

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

MIKE:

That having terrible ideas and writing even worse sentences was just part of the path as opposed to a cosmic sign that you should never write. Putting that stuff down on the paper/ screen is important to getting somewhere as a storyteller.

ME: Where do you like to write – inside, outside, a special area in your home, on the computer, in a notebook?

MIKE:

I am constantly in flux, like I am trying to tune in a radio. I gravitate towards whatever gets me somewhere. As an author and illustrator, I interchange disciplines fluidly. Sometimes I can “write” quite a bit by designing a character’s clothes or setting, but there are times when just pounding the keyboard gets me there faster.

storyboard and illustration

ME: When do you write? Set schedule? When the muse strikes?

MIKE:

Early morning at a coffee shop is the best time to plow through a first draft. I haven’t quite exited the world of dreams while having enough caffeine in me to work quickly.

ME: Why do you write for children?

MIKE:

I think of storytelling, and art in general, as a call and response, a dialogue. You “see” certain things in the world and then reflect those back through your creativity to a certain audience. The things that I find fascinating and fill me with a sense of love and wonder radiate strongest in the world of children, and I find that the work that I find most pleasing to do resonates with the hearts and minds of young people.

MarigoldBakesCake_interior_1

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

MIKE

My advice for writers: It’s never too early to take it seriously. Also, it’s never too late to take it seriously. And lastly, you should never take it too seriously.

MarigoldBakesCake_interior_2

I LOVE THAT ADVICE, Mike! We’ve got to buckle down and do the writing and rewriting, right? But we also have to find joy doing it and have fun with it…like kids. And it is NEVER too late. EVER!

If you’d like to find out more about Mike and his work:

www.mikemalbrough.com)

Twitter: @studiomalbrough.

Now dear friends, Mike has a very special treat recipe for us. Take it away, Mike.

Kourabiedes

A traditional Greek shortbread cookie, that is dense and delicious. The texture is amazing. Have some with tea!

Ingredients should be at room temperature.

Bake at 300 degrees for 22 minutes. Makes 2 ½ dozen.

 

2 ½ sticks of unsalted butter

1 cup superfine sugar

2 egg yolks

1 ½ tbsp. brandy

1 ½ tsp. vanilla

3 cups all-purpose flour

Whole Cloves (optional)

1 package 10x confectioners’ powdered sugar

 

Beat butter and superfine sugar in a large bowl with electric mixture at high speed for 15 MINUTES, or until light and fluffy. (Should have a white pearlescent look when ready.) Don’t skimp on the time it makes a difference. Scrape side of bowl with rubber spatula occasionally.

Add egg yolks, brandy and vanilla. Add flour, ½ cup at a time. If dough is too heavy, work it by hand. (Dough should be soft but firm.)

Break off walnut-sized pieces. Shape into crescents and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Insert a clove (optional) in each crescent.

 

Bake in slow oven (200 degrees) for 22 minutes or until pale brown. (Color should not change too much.) Remove cookies from oven and place on a platter. Cool. Remove cloves. Dust generously with confectioner’s sugar. (The cookies will look like a mound of sugar.) Store in a metal tin with a tight-fitting lid.

WOW! These look amazing! I think I am gaining a pound every week with all of these fabulous treat recipes. But it is worth it, right?

Please don’t forget to leave a comment today…it will give you an entry into the giveaway of a copy of MARIGOLD BAKES A CAKE. And for another entry, make sure you comment on yesterday’s Perfect Picture Book Friday review of the book.

Marigold_COVER

And, if you have a little extra time, why not hop over to Amazon and/or Goodreads and leave a review for Mike and all of your favorite authors and illustrators. It will mean the world to them!

Have a safe and happy weekend!