Perfect Picture Book Friday: A BOOK OF BRIDGES – FROM HERE TO THERE – AND ME TO YOU

HAPPY PERFECT PICTURE BOOK FRIDAY, DEAR FRIENDS!

2017 is winding down…it’s been a whirlwind for sure. And here are some numbers to prove it:

# of blog posts in 2017: 112

# of followers (blog/Twitter/Facebook) : 4000

# of views: 44,565

# of picture book reviews: 56

# of giveaways: 96

# of picture book manuscripts written: 12+

# of book deals done: 3

Phew! 

Right now, I’m participating in Julie Hedlund’s 12 Days of Christmas…a challenge that is inspiring and helpful as we move ahead to a new year – and you can still sign up – Julie will send you emails for the days you missed.

I also urge all writers and illustrators to join in with Tara Lazar’s Storystorm…a month-long challenge starting January 1st that will help you brainstorm new story ideas.

And what’s up for today? One of the most beautiful and relevant books of 2017…a book that will hopefully encourage this divided world to come together in love. To find out more whyconnecting is important, check out Cheryl Keely’s 12×12 featured author post from January of this year.

a book of bridges cover

Written by Cheryl Keely

Illustrated by Celia Krampien

Published by Sleeping Bear Press (2017)

Ages: 5-8

Synopsis: From Amazon: 

Bridges are some of the most fascinating structures in our landscape, and they come in all forms. From towering suspension bridges to humble stone crossings, this book visits them all in sweet, bouncing text with expository sidebars. But while bridges can be quite grand, this reminds us that their main purpose is bringing people together. This is perfect for budding architects, as well as readers who can relate to having loved ones who live far away.

Why I like this book:

Please read the Publishers Weekly review and you will know why:

Keely makes her children s book debut with a contemplative exploration of bridges, citing real-life examples, such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Peru s Puente de Piedra, and more metaphorical ones, including the arches created by backbends and rainbows. The straightforward central narrative ( Some bridges join country to country, making a big world seem smaller ) is supplemented by facts and details about the specific bridges that appear in Krampien s artwork ( The Three Countries Bridge at the borders of France, Germany, and Switzerland only truly connects France to Germany. But Switzerland is only a hop, skip, and a yodel away! ). In her first picture book, Krampien uses a fresh, contemporary cartooning style to create expansive panoramas that showcase the bridges sizes and spans, as well the activity of the humans and animals they serve particularly in the wildlife bridges of Banff National Park, which allow bears, wolves, and other creatures to cross highways safely. Keely s tender closing example of the bridge formed through the simple act of holding hands cements the message of togetherness and connection that bridges (of all kinds) make possible.

To order a copy or leave a review for A BOOK OF BRIDGES go here.

 

RELATED ACTIVITIES:

If you live near a bridge that can be walked across, take a field trip and do it.

Make a paper bridge that can hold lots of pennies! For detailed directions and to read comments by kids who constructed one: http://pbskids.org/zoom/activities/sci/paperbridge.html

paperbridge Photo courtesy: http://pbskids.org/zoom/activities/sci/paperbridge.html

 

Dear friends…thank you for spending time with me this year…I’m wishing all of you a Happy and Healthy New Year! Please come back on Monday and Tuesday for special Book Birthday posts and Giveaways!

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Alison Goldberg: Will Write for Cookies PLUS Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INSPIRATION – INFORMATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

Alison Goldberg headshot small

ALISON GOLDBERG

Our guest today is a debut picture book author this year–and I was thrilled to meet her when I joined Picture the Books 2017, a group dedicated to authors and illustrators whose books are launching this year.

Alison Goldberg is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Before becoming a children’s book author, Alison worked for economic justice organizations and wrote a resource guide about social change philanthropy. These days, she blogs about activism in children’s literature and loves researching everything from marine life to contemporary art for her books. Alison is also a board member of the Food Research and Action Center, an organization committed to ending hunger in the United States. Learn more at http://www.alisongoldberg.com.

ME: Welcome, Alison! I’m thrilled you stopped by to chat with us. 

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

 ALISON: When I was in elementary school, Norman Bridwell visited my school. For months after, I drew fan art and even sent him a Clifford book that I made. I think this was the first time I understood that becoming a children’s author was an actual job that someone could do, so my love of his books was connected to that experience.

Clifford fan art

This is the Clifford book I sent to Norman Bridwell after he visited my school.

            Other favorite picture book creators from childhood include Maurice Sendak, Leo Lionni, Margaret Wise Brown, and Ezra Jack Keats.

ME: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started writing?

 ALISON: I wish I knew what close friends and collaborators I would find in the children’s writing community! This knowledge would have inspired me in those early days when it felt like a big risk to change fields, when I was solely focused on learning about writing picture books and novels, and when I did not know if any of my stories could possibly ever become books. Then I would have known that through all of the ups and downs in this journey there would be such kind and generous book creators to share it with.

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

ALISON: All of the above. I like to write at my desk, while taking walks, at the library, in coffee shops, at the beach, in playgrounds, and on trains. The more I write, the more I realize writing isn’t something that’s easily shut off, so I’ve become comfortable with jotting down notes—whether on computer, phone, or on paper–wherever I am.

ME: When do you write – early morning, late in the day, middle of the night, on schedule, as the muse strikes?

 ALISON: It depends on the project. Some picture book drafts arrive in a burst that last anywhere from an hour to a few days and at any time of day. In those instances, I just go with it (and sometimes forget to pull dinner together for my kids until the very last minute!).

            But when it comes to revision—especially for longer projects like the middle grade novel I’m working on—I prefer more scheduled, daytime writing sessions and setting concrete goals.

   Often what I choose to write about is connected to my desire to share stories with children that further social justice. I love writing about the topics that grab me and don’t let go—whether it’s the actions of inspiring activists, the art of creative individuals, or the journeys of fictional characters. When this happens I work on figuring out what makes the topic feel so meaningful and then how to introduce it to kids.

            And sometimes the process works the other way around, like in the case of I Love You for Miles and Miles. My kids were the ones hooked on trucks and trains, and I needed to understand their magic!

big rig page_Miles and Miles

ME: Also, if you have any thoughts or advice for aspiring writers, please share. As well as anything else you want to talk about that parents, educators, writers, librarians might want to hear. 

 ALISON: For writers: Don’t worry about the market. Or, understand the market, and then let go of its expectations. Write the books of your heart. If something grabs hold of you and won’t let go you’ll bring a passion to that subject that will come through on the page. Carrying that story to publication will likely take years, so make sure it’s truly a story you want to tell.

ME: Oh my goodness…that is awesome advice, Alison. We really have got to love our subject and  story because when you get to the 45th revision, you want to still enjoy reading it! Thank you so much, dear friend! I know everyone is going to remember  this, for sure!

CARRYING A STORY TO PUBLICATION WILL LIKELY TAKE YEARS, SO MAKE SURE IT’S TRULY A STORY YOU WANT TO TELL!

And to give you energy along the journey, why not try this delicious treat that doubles as a dinner for Alison and her family.

Cinnamon French Toast & Bananas

Recipe: Cinnamon French Toast & Bananas (for 2)

I am a huge fan of chocolate chip cookies, but here I thought I’d share a quick and easy recipe for writers like me who sometimes get caught up in writing, forget about dinner, and need to pull food together in a flash. This treat doubles as supper! My kids eat a lot of French Toast ☺

4 slices of bread (I like to use sourdough, ciabatta, or challah, but any bread will work.)

2 eggs

1/3 cup of milk

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. vanilla (optional)

Butter for the pan

Banana slices

Maple syrup, honey, jam, applesauce, or any other topping you like

INSTRUCTIONS:

Beat eggs with milk, cinnamon, and vanilla in a wide, shallow bowl. Dip the bread into the mixture until the bread is coated on both sides. Heat up a frying pan over medium heat, melt butter, and then cook the French Toast, flipping to cook both sides. Once done, serve with banana slices (or another fruit) and topping of choice.

Enjoy!

Thank you again, Alison. I know I will definitely enjoy this…French Toast used to be one of my childhood favorites.

Dear friends, thank you for spending your precious time with us. Please don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway of a copy of I LOVE YOU FOR MILES AND MILES.

LoveYouForMiles_biblio

And, with the holidays just around the corner, if you want to give a wonderful gift to your favorite authors, please remember to leave book reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and other review sites. For more information or to purchase I LOVE YOUR FOR MILES AND MILES, please go to the author’s book page or indie-bound.

Have a safe and happy weekend.

And if you are in the writing mood, why not enter Susanna Hill’s Holiday Contest!

Joy Keller: Will Write for Cookies PLUS Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INSPIRATION – INFORMATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

Me&TreeEdited

JOY KELLER

Every year brings a new crop of debut picture book authors. I met today’s Will Write for Cookies guest through the PictureTheBooks2017 group and I’m thrilled to have connected with a talented author like Joy.

Joy Keller isn’t a monster, but she does have experience driving trucks on a blueberry farm. Her debut picture book, Monster Trucks (Henry Holt, 2017), is all about monsters and the vehicles that match their personalities, from the skeleton crew that fixes roads to the werewolf who digs, digs, digs. Joy currently teaches elementary students of all ages and lives in Fairport, NY with her husband, two children, and four cats. You can visit her at www.joykellerauthor.com or find her on Twitter @jrkeller80.

ME: Welcome to Picture Books Help Kids Soar, Joy! I’m so happy you were able to stop by to chat. If it’s okay, we’ll start with the Q&A.

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

JOY: That’s a hard question to answer! One picture book I loved was my grandfather’s copy of The Hungry Thing by Jan Slepian and Ann Seidler. I thought it was hilarious. What kid like reading about a monster that wants “shmancakes” and “feetloaf?”

I also vividly remember Margaret Wise Brown’s Fox Eyes. There was something about that sneaky fox, and Garth William’s mysterious drawings of the fox peeping in on the other animals, that was really intriguing to 5-year-old me!

As I got older, I was drawn to mystery and fantasy stories. I read all the Nancy Drew books, and the Bunnicula series, and all the tales of Narnia and Prydain and Middle Earth.

ME: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started writing?

JOY: It took me a while to learn that not all advice is good advice. Authors need to have critique partners they can trust to steer their writing in the right direction, but it’s very important to have the right critique partners. It took a few mismatches before I found people who “got” what I do, and who also weren’t afraid to tell me how my writing could be improved.

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

JOY: I’m an elementary teacher with two young children, so I take my writing time whenever—and wherever!—I can get it. Typically, this means writing for an hour or so on my laptop before I go to sleep. This might be on the couch, or on my bed, or at the kitchen table. I’m really not picky. I also keep a notebook handy so that I can jot down notes any time an idea strikes. I think the people at both my salon and my doctor’s office are used to seeing me working!

ME: Why do you write for children?

JOY: I’ve taught elementary students for many years, and part of being a good teacher is being a good storyteller. Nothing gets a room full of kids to pay attention quite like an entertaining story. But guess what? Kids are also a tough audience. They’ll let you know if your story is dragging or confusing. They don’t hold back! That’s why it’s so magical when you have twenty-four kids staring at you, a look of intense fascination on their faces, waiting to find out what’s going to happen next.

I think that when I write for kids, it’s an extension of what I’ve done for almost two decades now. I’m just telling fun stories. And I hope that somewhere there’s a kid with a copy of MONSTER TRUCKS, eager to see what happens on the next page.

MonsterTrucks_Cvrs

ME: Also, if you have any thoughts or advice for aspiring writers, please share. 

JOY: I would advise aspiring writers to write what they like. It’s important to know what books are out there, but it’s too easy to get caught up in the “will it sell?” worries. Write a good book, revise it to make it better, and then believe in your story. If my first three books can be about truck-driving monsters, a pet store that sells mythical creatures, and the world of fungus, then you can write about pretty much anything! (On a related note, picture book stories always sound silly when you try to explain them to other adults. It’s just a fact of life. Even typing that list felt kind of silly to me.)

ME: This is fabulous advice, Joy! WRITE A GOOD BOOK. REVISE IT TO MAKE IT BETTER. AND BELIEVE IN YOUR STORY!!!!!

I think that needs to be taped up near my computer!

Thank you so much, Joy! And I know everyone is waiting anxiously for the sweet treat at the end of the post, so please take it away!

JOY: Here’s the recipe. I thought no-bake Rocky Road Clusters fit nicely with the MONSTER TRUCKS theme!

cookies

Rocky Road Clusters

Ingredients

2 cups chocolate chips (1 cup chocolate and 1 cup butterscotch are also good!)

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1 10 oz package of mini marshmallows

1 1/2 cups honey roasted peanuts

Directions

  1. Line a couple cookie sheets with waxed paper and set them aside.
  2. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave. Heat them for 30 seconds at a time, stirring between heatings. When the chocolate has melted, mix in the peanut butter.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the marshmallows and peanuts. Pour in the chocolate/peanut butter mixture and stir to coat.
  4. Drop the mixture by heaping tablespoons onto the cookie sheets. Let the clusters cool. Chill them in the refrigerator for about an hour to help them set faster.

Store the clusters in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to a week…but they probably won’t be around that long!

YUM!!! These look amazing! What a great treat for Halloween parties! And speaking of Halloween, don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the Joy’s giveaway of a copy of MONSTER TRUCKS.

PLUS, do come back tomorrow for a special HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST post. I still have to write my story to enter into Susanna Hill’s fabulous writing challenge. There’s time for YOU to enter also!

Perfect Picture Book Friday: MONSTER TRUCKS Plus Giveaway

Is it just me, or does Friday come around really quickly every week?  I guess it’s a good thing that I LOVE Friday because we always have a super picture book review and activity.

And today’s choice is especially perfect with Halloween just around the corner.

MonsterTrucks_Cvrs

MONSTER TRUCKS

Written by Joy Keller

Illustrated by Misa Saburi

Published by Godwin Books – Henry Holt and Company (2017)

Ages: 4-8

Themes: Vehicles, monsters, humor, rhyme

Synopsis: 

From Amazon: 

All monsters love the autumn air,
just right to sneak and spook and scare.
But other seasons of the year,
they shift into a different gear.

Monsters get to work―paving roads, plowing snow, hauling muck―with their monster trucks in this fun, rhyming picture book. With a gentle bedtime ending, this not-too-scary story is perfect for young monster and truck lovers.

Why I like this book:

  • Fabulous rhyme filled with heart and humor
  • Super cool bold and colorful illustrations
  • Great addition to Halloween, monster, and/or vehicle shelves

RELATED ACTIVITY

Popsicle Stick Monster Trucks

monster-truck-4Photo courtesy: http://www.gluedtomycraftsblog.com

Do you have a monster truck lover at your house? Give this craft activity a try…the kids will have a ball!

You will need: Popsicle sticks, glue, markers, construction paper or poster board, scissors.

For detailed instructions: http://www.gluedtomycraftsblog.com/2016/04/popsicle-stick-monster-trucks-kid-craft.html

Take a walk in the neighborhood and see how many different types of trucks you can identify.

Play a rhyming game with your kids. Read the story and leave off the last word of the rhyming verse…see what words they come up with.

Debut picture book author Joy Keller is offering a copy of MONSTER TRUCKS, so please remember to leave a comment. Also, she is stopping by tomorrow to chat on Will Write for Cookies, and another comment there will give you another entry. PLUS, on Sunday, I’ll be posting my entry into Susanna Hill’s 7th ANNUAL HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST. Have you heard about it? Have you ever entered? It is one of the most fun filled writing challenges around..I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Here in New England, we’ve had a ton of rain and the fall foliage has to fight hard to hold on. If you are planning on going out Trick or Treating with the kids, stay safe. I know many neighborhoods organize Halloween parties so kids can come to one location to have fun. We used to do it at our church and the parishoners would dress up and take up residence in the many classrooms and offices and then the kids would parade through the halls, knocking on each door. There were games and prizes for costumes and lots of good food and safe fun. 

Katey Howes: Will Write for Cookies PLUS Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT, INFORMATION, INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

KathrynHeadshots-40 (2)

KATEY HOWES

Author Katey Howes is actually a very special person in my life. Facebook friends and fellow kidliters, we met online in writing challenges. Then, in March 2015, I noticed on Twitter that she had just signed with Storm Literary Agency. I had never heard of Storm, nor of the agent, Essie White. So, I hopped over to their website…and fell in love. And the rest is history!

Katey Howes is a fierce advocate of not just literacy, but of raising kids who love to read. She treasures those moments when books allow children to relate their experience to the greater world, or when their curiosity skyrockets from interest to obsession. Katey tries to weave her passion for nature, travel, science, and creativity, as well as her sense of wonder, into stories that make children think more deeply, explore more broadly, and laugh a little bit louder.

Katey is the author of GRANDMOTHER THORN (Ripple Grove Press, Aug. 2017) and MAGNOLIA MUDD AND THE SUPER JUMPTASTIC LAUNCHER DELUXE (Sterling, Jan. 2, 2018.) Katey is a team member at All the Wonders and founding member of Picture the Books.  You can get to know Katey better at www.kateyhowes.com or by following her on Twitter @kateywrites or on Instagram @kidlitlove. 

ME: Welcome, Katey! I’m so very excited to have you here today. I could chat with you forever, but first let’s get to the Q&A.

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

KATEY: I’ve always loved rabbits, so many of my favorite books as a child were bunny books. I still have my battered and much-loved copy of A Home For a Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown, as well as I Am A Bunny by Ole Risom. I think those two books shaped my illustration preferences for a long time – I still get a warm, fond feeling over illustrations that remind me of Garth Williams’ or Richard Scarry’s signature styles.

 

As an older child, I gravitated toward epic adventures, from The Chronicles of Narnia to The Dark is Rising. I also loved nature stories, science fiction, and historical fiction. Prolific authors were big favorites, too – I always wanted more of the characters and voices I loved. I had shelves dedicated to L.M. Montgomery, Anne McCaffrey, Piers Anthony and Cynthia Voight.  My fondness for bunnies continued – I’ve read my copy of Watership Down (given to me by my middle school librarian) so many times that the cover completely fell off.

ME: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started writing?

KATEY: I wish I had known how much a manuscript changes from inception to publication!  I must have wasted hours agonizing over illustration notes that wouldn’t matter to the illustrator, word choices that would change ten times after acquisition, word counts that would expand and shrink over rounds of revision. It’s important to realize that, while every detail is important, none is immutable, and that other voices and opinions and viewpoints will influence the manuscript many times before it sits on a bookshelf. I could have spared myself a lot of heartache and headaches if I knew that sooner.

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

KATEY: I prefer peace and quiet to write. For a long time, the only place I could really find that was in my little office in the basement. Now that we’ve moved to a more rural location, I can sit on my screened porch without interruption from anyone but the birds. It’s perfect.  I jot ideas in notebooks and on sticky notes, and I sketch out rough dummies by hand, but I prefer to do the real drafting of a manuscript on my laptop. There’s an option to turn the keystroke sound off – but I like it on. Loud. That tappity typing sound makes me feel very productive.  

61ZmxqpNLaL._SY497_BO1,204,203,200_

ME: When do you write – early morning, late in the day, middle of the night, on schedule, as the muse strikes?

KATEY: In the summer, my family keeps me busy, and while I have time to write, it has to be flex-time. Once the kids are back in school, I try to focus on writing, revising, studying, reading, promoting, and all that jazz from 8:30am until 3pm. I’m not much good at writing in the early morning hours (by which I mean all hours before my third cup of coffee) but I find I can use that time to read and critique my CP’s manuscripts while I load up on caffeine – and their work usually inspires me to buckle down and create my own. If the day goes according to plan, I take what I call “a writer’s nap” around two in the afternoon. With no plans to actually sleep, I curl up on the couch with a cozy blanket, set a timer for 20 minutes, and give my brain permission to drift and dream. I find a lot of solutions to writing problems that way, and always feel reenergized afterwards.

ME: Why do you write for children?

KATEY: I don’t think I have a choice. I’ve done a lot of other things with my life –  things I’ve enjoyed, things that came easily, things that made more sense or more money – but my path keeps bringing me inexorably back to children and to books.

ME: WOW…Katey…you struck several chords with me in this Q&A. Everything you said about spending time on the illustrator notes and worrying about word choices and word counts (which are, of course, important…but not the way we agonize over them since they ARE going to change) is true. And you’ve given me a wonderful plan of action…that 20 minute afternoon siesta sounds like a great idea! But now i know you have another Great Idea…the recipe you are sharing!

KATEY: My daughters and I love to cook together. We decided to try out a new recipe to go with GRANDMOTHER THORN. In the story, Ojisaan brings Grandmother sweets from the village each time he visits. On one occasion, he brings “a parcel of sweet dorayaki.”

Dorayaki are a traditional, casual Japanese treat made of two small, sweet pancakes sandwiched around a filing of anko – a sweet red bean paste. We watched several videos (I recommend Japanese Cooking 101 for a great instructional video) and read a few recipes, tried a package of pre-made dorayaki, and then tried our hand at making our own – with a twist. This is a very easy recipe for kids to participate in – they especially loved squeezing the “sandwiches” together at the end. We hope you enjoy!

Dorayaki-New-IVPhoto courtesy: https://www.justonecookbook.com/dorayaki-japanese-red-bean-pancake/

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 T honey
  • 3/4 c milk
  • Fillings: Traditional: Anko (red bean paste – can be found at an Asian grocery or ordered online. We bought ours through Amazon.)

Twist: Nutella, Peanut Butter, or Jam (we used our homemade blackberry jam)

 

Instructions

  1. Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
  2. In another bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, and honey together.
  3. Add milk to liquid ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  4. Add dry ingredients to liquid mixture. Stir or whisk until smooth.
  5. Spray a nonstick pan or griddle with a generous amount of cooking spray like Pam.
  6. Pour batter onto hot griddle or pan to make round, pancake-like cakes. About 1/8 cup of batter makes a nice-sized cake.
  7. Cook about 2 minutes – until the bubbles pop, leaving little holes. Flip over and cook 1-2 more minutes. Don’t let it dry out – moist cakes work best!
  8. Transfer to a plate. Cover with a wet paper towel to keep them moist until you cook all the batter.
  9. When you have all your cakes cooked, it’s time to sandwich them! Place one cake on a square of plastic wrap. Top it with a big spoonful of your favorite filling. Put another cake on top.
  10. Wrap the sandwich tightly in the plastic wrap and squeeze together. Pinch the edges to seal.
  11. Keep wrapped until ready to eat!

This is awesome, Katey! Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope everyone will leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway of an authographed copy of GRANDMOTHER THORN, compliments of Katey!

Have a safe and happy weekend, dear readers!

Perfect Picture Book Friday: I HAVE A BALLOON

Happy Friday dear friends! Lots of people love Friday because it signals the end of the week and for many, a couple of days off from work. But for me, it signals a chance to read and review another awesome picture book.  And tomorrow we’ll be treated to an insightful Q&A with  debut picture book author Ariel Bernstein.

But first, we have a copy of HELLO, MY NAME IS TIGER to give away.

And the winner is….

Elizabeth Curry

Congratulations, Elizabeth…I will contact you.

book cover

I HAVE A BALLOON

Written by Ariel Bernstein

Illustrated by Scott Magoon

Ages 4-8

Themes: Being happy with what you have

Opening Lines: “I have a balloon.”

Synopsis: 

From Amazon:

“Owl has a red balloon. Monkey does not. “That red balloon matches my shiny red tie,” says Monkey. “I’d look fancy walking to school with a shiny red balloon. The only thing I’ve ever wanted, since right now, is a shiny, big red balloon. It would make me SO HAPPY!” But Owl does not want to give it to him. So Monkey tries to find something that Owl wants: a teddy bear, a robot, a picture of TEN balloons. Owl does not want any of these things. But then, Monkey offers him…a sock!

Hmmmmm…Owl is intrigued. Will he trade his shiny red balloon with Monkey?”

Why I like this book:

  • Fun text!
  • Fun illustrations!
  • A message we can all relate to, parents as well as kids! And a great opportunity to talk about wanting what we have, not having what we want.

Related Activities

BALLOON BOWL

Balloon-Bowl-6Photo  courtesy:https://diyprojects.com/homemade-balloon-bowl/

You will need: 1 balloon (inflated), colored paper, scissors, glue.

For detailed instructions: https://diyprojects.com/homemade-balloon-bowl/

Just like the characters in I HAVE A BALLOON, kids often want what others have. This book is a perfect launchpad for a discussion about being happy with what you have. Perhaps this balloon bowl can serve as a blessing bowl for your child. Help your child fill out slips of paper with things he/she is grateful for and place them in the bowl.

By the way, dear friends, thanks to debut picture book author Ariel Bernstein, we have a giveaway of a copy of I HAVE A BALLOON. Don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered. And remember…the greatest gift you can give an author, other than buying their book and reading it to a child, is to write a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads.

Don’t forget to be back tomorrow when Ariel stops by to chat and to share a super recipe for a fabulous chocolate chip cookie recipe…this one is made with OATMEAL!

Be safe this last weekend of summer…and please join me in praying for all who are impacted by Hurricane Harvey…those who have lost everything…those who have left safe havens to help others…so many kidliters I know live RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF IT! Keeping you all close to my heart! Author Kate Messner has organized a KIDLITCARES auction to benefit the Red Cross Relief effort for Hurricane Harvey…please visit and bid: KidLitCares auction for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts

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