Perfect Picture Book Friday: ONCE UPON A TWISTED TALE Plus Giveaway

Hello dear friends! It’s another double-header weekend here at Picture Books Help Kids Soar. Up today for Perfect Picture Book Friday is a brand-new just-about-to-be-launched ONCE UPON A TWISTED TALE. And tomorrow, we’ll be chatting with the author, the lovely Gayle C. Krause who is generously offering the winner of the giveaway the choice of either a signed copy of her new book or a pb manuscript critique…WOW! So please make sure you leave a comment today AND tomorrow…and then you’ll have two chances to win.

But before we get to the review, we need to take care of the prizes from our last giveaway…the fabulous author – illustrator team of Raven Howell and Carina Povarchik. I’m celebrating that they are Storm sisters and the winner will receive a copy of their first book: SHIMMER: SONGS OF NIGHT and their brand-new book: GLIMMER: SING OF SUN. And the winner is:

MARSHAELYN

Congratulations, MARSHAELYN…I’ll be in touch soon for your address to I can send you the books!

And now, back to our regularly scheduled program: Perfect Picture Book Friday

ONCE UPON A TWISTED TALE

Written by Gayle C. Krause Continue reading

Will Write and Illustrate for Cookies: Raven Howell and Carina Povarchik PLUS Double Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

Carina Povarchik self portraitRaven Howell portrait by Carina

TODAY’S GUESTS

CARINA POVARCHIK AND RAVEN HOWELL

(That’s Carina up top and Raven below – both portraits were created by Carina)

KABOOM! This is going to be an explosively awesome post, my friends! So much talent in one spot – I feel blessed to Continue reading

Perfect Picture Book Friday: GLIMMER: SING OF SUN Plus Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, my friends.

When spring is in the air, you know it’s time for baseball season. And that means another double-header for us right here! This is truly a double-header in every sense of the word. We have TWO posts this weekend (Perfect Picture Book Friday and Will Write for Cookies) featuring TWO gifted creatives (author Raven Howell and illustrator Carina Povarchik) and you, dear readers, have a chance to win TWO of their wonderful books (Shimmer, Sing of Night and their newest collaboration that launches next week and is available for preorder right now: Glimmer: Sing of Sun).

But first, we need to announce some winners from recent blog post giveaways:

The lovely Callie Metler-Smith donated two copies of HOW TO BABY SIT A LOGAN. And the winners are:

Doreen Robinson and Lisette

The wonderful Mia Wenjen donated a copy of her brand-new picture book, SUMO JOE. And the winner is:

Nancy Ferguson.

Congratulations! I will connect with you all very soon. But now everybody….

…put on your sunscreen, grab a cool drink, and sit back and enjoy!

Glimmer Song of the Sun cover

GLIMMER: SING OF SUN

Written by Raven Howell

Illustrated by Carina Povarchik

Published by Clear Fork/Spork (2019)

Ages: 4-8

Themes: Nature, poetry

Why I Love This Book:

  • Joyful poem after joyful poem that celebrate nature and being outdoors
  • Fabulous illustration after fabulous illustration filled with light and life and love
  • Do I need another reason? No problem…this is a sequel to another collaboration of Raven and Carina: SHIMMER: SING OF NIGHT
  • Do I need another reason? No worries…both Raven Howell and Carina Povarchik are Storm Literary Agency sisters of mine.

RELATED ACTIVITIES:

nature-crafts-squarePhoto courtesy: https://www.howweelearn.com/breathtaking-nature-crafts-for-kids/

For detailed instructions on many wonderful nature crafts for kids: https://www.howweelearn.com/breathtaking-nature-crafts-for-kids/

Go for a walk in the backyard, playground, or park…and look for nature. Then, you and your child can each choose something you’ve seen and write a poem about it.

If you are looking for more picture book reviews and activities, please hop over to Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday website

And if you are in the Boston/Dedham MA area on Saturday, June 1 (that’s tomorrow), please stop in at Peter Reynolds’ Blue Bunny Bookstore at 1pm because I’ll be there, reading Four Otters Toboggan and doing a fun craft activity with the kiddos and chatting about how we can protect wildlife habitats.

Please don’t forget to leave a comment here to be entered in the double-header giveaway! Plus, do come back tomorrow for an extra special (because it’s a double-header, right?) Will Write for Cookies post where Raven and Carina chat about their collaboration and offer something might sweet to eat!

When a Dream Becomes a Reality PLUS Giveaway: H IS FOR HAIKU

A couple of years ago, I connected with a writer who had a dream. Her mother had written wonderful poetry…Haiku…and she wanted to see it published as a book. 

Amy Losak never gave up. That book she hoped for is now a reality! And I’m thrilled to share a bit about the book and the wonderful woman who wrote those amazing words.

H IS FOR HAIKU BOOK COVER PENNY CANDY BOOKS March 2018

H IS FOR HAIKU

Written by Sydell Rosenberg

Illustrated by Sawsan Chalabi

Published by Penny Candy (April 2018)

Ages:  5-11

Themes: Haiku, poetry, everyday happenings

Synopsis: From Amazon: 

“In H Is For Haiku: A Treasury of Haiku from A to Z, the late poet Sydell Rosenberg, a charter member of the Haiku Society of America and a New York City public school teacher, and illustrator Sawsan Chalabi offer an A-Z compendium of haiku that brings out the fun and poetry in everyday moments.”

But this short synopsis doesn’t begin to reveal the amazing personality that was Sydell Rosenberg. I was lucky enough to chat with Amy, and she shared a bit more about her wonderful mom.

AMY: 

Syd was a charter member of a vibrant organization that this year celebrates its 50th anniversary: the Haiku Society of America. Mom was among a group of gifted women who, decades ago, contributed to – and I think helped shape — English-language haiku and related forms, such as senryu. She studied, practiced, and wrote these forms for decades, and her work was widely anthologized. Mom “knew her haiku,” but she kept learning over the years, too.

Syd’s haiku – some poems were first published in journals and other outlets decades ago — have a universal, timeless appeal. Haiku are brief; they impel readers to slow down and linger over something they may ordinarily overlook. As I say in my introduction, haiku help make so-called “small moments” in our daily lives big. Haiku is a way to enter with awareness and appreciation into the world around us. I hope both children and the adults in their lives will relate to these evocative “word-pictures,” which capture both nature and human nature in “nuggets.”

ME: Oh my gosh…yes…word pictures.  When I saw the illustrations accompanying Syd’s Haiku, I was struck by the thought that these are so perfect for today’s electronic-savvy kids…they are used to sound-bytes and split second pictures flashing by them. Haiku is the perfect vehicle to introduce them to a love of words and poetry.

AMY:

Syd also was a teacher in New York, as well as a writer (prose such as short stories, and a pulp novel published in the 1950s; word and literary puzzles, more) and poet. She died in 1996, and decades later, I fulfilled her goal of professionally publishing some of her poems as a children’s book. Over time, her dream become mine — ours.

ME: So, right away there was a connection for me because I also taught in the NYC school system and then, when Amy and I spoke, I discovered anothere coincidence… her mom and I both graduated from Brooklyn College…Syd was a couple of years before me. In honor of our connection, I’m going to send a copy of H is for Haiku to one of my blog followers…please leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway.

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AMY:

Among other venues, Syd’s simple but striking poems have been used by Arts For All (arts-for-all.org), a NYC nonprofit arts education group, in two city elementary schools to help teach the basics of collage, drawing and painting; music; and theater. The teaching artists incorporated these visual poems into their lesson plans and used them as teaching tools. The students, mostly second-graders, also wrote their own haiku.

ME: EXACTLY! That’s what I thought as soon as I saw this book! I think every elementary school should have this book on the shelf and use it as a teaching tool.

And here are a few more thoughts from Amy:

  • Syd’s commitment to the craft of this lovely poetic form, haiku (“haiku” is both singular and plural) — which captures what I call “nature in nuggets,” as well as amusing facets of human nature (that is, senryu – also both singular and plural) –- spanned several decades. Some of her work for adults was published years ago, in journals, magazines, newspapers, etc.; and in influential books, including the Haiku Anthology and Haiku Handbook. One of her senryu also was featured in an unusual 1994 public art project, Haiku on 42nd Street, in which the marquees of abandoned movie theaters in the Times Square area were transformed into “frames” for the display of micropoetry.
  • A school teacher (i.e., English, literacy, and also adult ESL), I think Syd wrote a number of her compact yet evocative poems with children in mind.
  • As for myself, I tend to view haiku as poetic mindfulness. By its very brevity, the form encourages us to slow down, linger, and pay attention with all our senses to “small,” “everyday” moments. 
  • I think that just about any observation or impression can spark a haiku.
  • Haiku is also a kind of “eco-literacy”: a way, through “word-pictures,” to cultivate an appreciation for our surroundings. 
  • I have heard and read haiku described as “one-breath poetry.”

WOW! Thank you so much, Amy. I know everyone is applauding both your mother who wrote these amazing haiku and you who persevered and followed your dream of seeing her work published. 

And, dear friends, don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of this wonderful book.

Have a wonderful week. I’ll be flying to see family in Chicago on Thursday…but I’ve already scheduled the Friday and Saturday posts when the fabulous Chris Mihaly and her awesome book, HEY, HEY, HAY! will be in the PPBF and WWFC spotlight.

Perfect Picture Book Friday: MARTI’S SONG FOR FREEDOM

The year is winding down, dear friends. It’s been a whirlwind of political upheaval, natural disasters, and global unrest. But here in picturebookland, at Picture Books Help Kids Soar, we’ve tried to keep our eyes and hearts on beautiful books that will educate, entertain, and inspire our children!

I’m thrilled to say that my blog made Feedspot’s Top 100 Children’s Book Blogs…that means the world to me because it means that people are finding value in my posts and I’m truly honored to see my name in a list with bloggers I have long admired and respected: https://blog.feedspot.com/childrens_book_blogs/

Today, for Perfect Picture Book Friday, I want to shine a light on MARTI’S SONG OF FREEDOM by debut author Emma Otheguy. It came out earlier this year, but I missed doing a review and it is so special for so many reasons, I knew I had to share it before the year was over.

martis song for freedomMARTI’S SONG FOR FREEDOM

Written by Emma Otheguy

Illustrated by Beatriz Vidal

Bilingual translation by Adriana Dominguez

Ages: 7-10

Themes: justice, political activism

Synopsis: 

From Booklist: Cuban poet and political activist José Martí witnessed an injustice at a young age and gave his life trying to right that wrong. He opposed slavery in Cuba and knew that the only way to end it would be to free Cuba from Spain s rule. Cuban American author Otheguy illuminates the life of a young man endeavoring to make a difference through affecting bilingual verses, which make Cuba s complicated history with slavery and colonialism accessible to young readers. By incorporating excerpts of Marti s writing into the narration, Otheguy introduces a new generation of readers to an important champion of human rights. Vidal s gouache artwork captures the beauty and the injustice of which Martí wrote, showcasing his country s vibrant colors, as in the pinks and oranges of the sunset, and illustrating the harsh treatment of enslaved Africans, who are shown performing backbreaking labor in sugarcane fields. Dominguez s excellent Spanish translation makes Martí s story available to a wide audience, and the text offers significant additional information via an afterword on Cuba s history, a selected bibliography, and excerpts from Martí s Versos Sencillos. Otheguy and Vidal tell a timely story that will inspire many to fight for equality and sings songs for freedom. 

Why I like this book:

  • I’m a fan of nonfiction picture books…what a fabulous vehicle to help young kids see history come alive
  • This was a story I did not know much about – and I love the poetry and bilingual format
  • Author and illustrator combined their talents perfectly

RELATED ACTIVITIES:

american-flagPhoto courtesy: http://www.dltk-kids.com

  1. Make a Flag: to make the flag of a different country, find a picture online and copy the correct colors and design.

For detailed instructions for the American flag: http://www.dltk-kids.com/usa/flag-day.htm

     2. Talk about freedom…what does it mean to live in a country where you are free?

3. Write topics on slips of paper and pick one to write a poem about.

This really was a stellar year for brilliant picture books. To check out many more of them, please go to www.PicturetheBooks2017.wordpress.com

To give your favorite authors and illustrators the best gift, why not post a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and other review sites.

It’s been a fabulous year for me as well…nothing officially announced yet, but I just signed one book contract, will be signing another before the end of the year, and just waiting on the third contract to arrive. I can’t thank my agent, my critique buddies, and all of my friends and family enough for their unfailing support and encouragement. I hope to be able to share more details soon!

And I’d like to pass along a link to a wonderful mentorship opportunity. Writing with the Stars could be the jumpstart you need to get your manuscript where it needs to be: http://beckytarabooks.com/wwts-contest/

I’m wishing all of you a happy holiday season…if you are traveling,  please be safe. If you are home, I hope you are surrounded by friends and family. And I thank you for spending some of your precious time with me.

 

 

 

 

 

Groundhog Day – Happy 10th Anniversary, Punxsutawney Phyllis!

Today is a very special day! Yes, I know, it is Groundhog Day. And unfortunately, I believe we are in for another six weeks of winter. Right now, we are being hit with yet another BLIZZARD here in New Hampshire.

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But it is also the 10th Anniversary of the publication of Punxsutawney Phyllis, Susanna Leonard Hill’s lovely picture book about a feisty girl groundhog.

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Susanna has created a link up party on her blog.

– stop over and visit. Here is my entry for the celebration.

HAPPY 10TH ANNIVERSARY, PHYLLIS!

 

ODE TO PHYLLIS – ON HER TENTH ANNIVERSARY (With many apologies to the master of poetry, Edgar Allen Poe)

 

Once upon a morning cloudy, while I waited, kind of rowdy,

Wanting nothing more than just to dance and sing and trill —

    While I hip-hopped, in the shower, water running for an hour,

Getting ready for my party given by my uncle Phil,

Cross the window pane – a shadow – straight from Boulder, Colorado

         I grabbed my robe and screamed a scream that screamers said was shrill.

 

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,

In stepped Phil who said, “You will put on your lacy frill.”

    “Let’s get going, my sweet maiden; ‘cause my arms are heavy laden

    with some nuts and acorns – please be careful, they might spill.

We’ve a shadow to uncover and surprises to discover

Happy Birthday, Phyllis! It’s been 10 years – what a thrill!”

 

I hope you enjoyed my little ditty.

Last year, a bunch of us participated in a fashion contest for Phyllis.

My entry featured Phyllis, relaxing on her beach blanket in sunny Mexico!

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I also blogged about Groundhog Day and Phyllis in 2013: https://viviankirkfield.com/2013/02/02/groundhog-day-facts-and-fiction/

 

Stay safe and stay warm, wherever you are!