Launch of an Imprint & Launch of a Book – Good News for Kidlitland

Hello everyone! Today’s post is filled with GOOD NEWS!

First of all, a dear friend of our kidlit community, the incredible Callie Metler-Smith of Clear Fork Publishing, is announcing the launch of a new imprint and a limited-time ABOVE THE SLUSH opportunity for readers of this blog.

&mg

TAKE IT AWAY, CALLIE!

We are accepting submissions for our Spork Children’s Imprint and for our new imprint &MG.
&MG will feature Middle Grade books and we are asking for submissions right now that deal with some of the tough issues that kids ages 9-14 are dealing with. 
Submissions can be made by going to http://bit.ly/2NZN7pp or by emailing the submissions directly to callie@clearfork.media. Please put Above the Slush somewhere in the header of the query letter.

Oh my gosh…what an opportunity! If you’ve got a polished manuscript you think would fit the Spork vision or you’ve been holding on to that MG work, wondering who you should send it to…here is your chance!

A big thank you to Callie for this generous offer!

So, the title of this post was Launch of an Imprint and Launch of a Book. We’ve revealed the Imprint launch…and now for the Book Launch.

Are you ready to sing a big Happy Book Birthday to…

MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: THE INSPIRING FRIENDSHIP OF
ELLA FITZGERALD AND MARILYN MONROE
ella and marilyn

Launching January 28, 2020

Illustrated by Alleanna Harris
Published by Little Bee Books

Here’s what the reviewers are saying:


Kirkus Reviews:
This warm story emphasizes Ella’s role in her  (Marilyn’s) success, thus avoiding the trap of the white-savior narrative. Many white artists have benefited from imitating black ones; this is the rare narrative to acknowledge that.
Harris’ illustrations capture the iconic looks of the two stars.
A good volume to include in a larger conversation about friendship, allyship, and social justice.(author’s note, sources) (Picture book/biography. 5-10)

School Library Journal:

The relatively simple text is supported by an author’s note and extensive sources, both primary (videos and interviews) and secondary (books and online resources). Kirkfield makes clear that both women brought deep personal feelings to their performances. Harris’s digital illustrations are varied, from vignettes to full and double-page spreads.

VERDICT An inspiring story about 20th-century icons that will be unfamiliar to most young readers. Recommended for schools and public libraries. 


Booklist:
Sometimes even stars need a little help to shine.” Focusing on the friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe, this picture book highlights the similarities between the two women and the ways in which they helped each other succeed.
Back matter includes an author’s note and primary and secondary sources. A solid purchase for larger collections.

I’m excited for all of the upcoming book events that will help spread the word:

Jan 29 at 7PM: Andersons Bookstore in Naperville, IL
Jan 30: School visits to Naperville and Aurora, IL
Feb 4: School visits to Skokie and Evanston, IL
March 10: Kids’ writer workshop at Amherst Town Library, Amherst NH
March ?: Author Event at Books of Wonder in NYC
March 21 at 10am: Story time at Silver Unicorn Bookshop in Acton, MA
April 4 at 11am: Story time at Toadstool Bookstore in Nashua, NH
April 18: Sustainability Fair in Wilton, NH
April 25: Children’s Festival of Stories in Denver, CO
May 18: Wilkins Elementary in Amherst, NH
June 25-30: Annual ALA in Chicago, IL
July24-27: LASCBWI Conference

Thank you, dear friends…having your support and encouragement means the world to me.

And thank you, dear Callie, for providing this fabulous submission opportunity to my blog followers.

Show-Me-How Story-time with Miss Vivian Travels to New Hampshire

For me, the greatest joy in the world is to be with those I love doing what I love.

So you can imagine how joyful I was this past week, spending time in New Hampshire with my daughter and her family…and visiting Toll House Preschool in Merrimack, NH where I read a picture book story and did a simple craft with my grandson’s class of three and four-year olds.

The children were seated on the floor in their story circle and as soon as Jeremy caught sight of me, he jumped up and cried, “You came to my school…you really came!”  The teacher welcomed me and ushered me to her story chair.  “What’s your name?” asked one of the children.  “I’m Miss Vivian” I answered, smiling down at their eager faces.  “I traveled here on an airplane so that I could read you a special story.”

The children sat, listening attentively, as I read Yes I Can by Sam McBratney.  They loved hearing about the three animal friends who are having fun in the autumn leaves.  When the three friends begin to argue and make fun of each other, Little Roo’s mother comes over and encourages each one to show what they do best.  Little Roo jumps VERY high, Country Mouse catches his tail and Quacker Duck floats on a puddle.  The friends compliment each other…they are learning to give respect and value their own and others qualities and strengths.

When the story was over, we talked about the different talents that each animal had and we all got up and jumped like Little Roo, turned round and round chasing our “tails” like Country Mouse and pretended we were swimming in a puddle like Quaker Duck.  This activity helped the children get a little exercise after sitting so quietly for the story.  It’s important to provide a good balance of activities for young children…if we try to keep them sitting too long, they will get restless.

The next activity for this preschool class was “centers” where the children can choose painting, clay, etc.  This was the perfect time for some of the children to work on the simple leaf family craft project I had planned.  Using leaves of different sizes and shapes, each child picked a few leaves to trace on the page.  Each shape became a member of their family as they added hair and features and colored them in.

As the children worked on their project, they told me about their families and their pets.  I’m always amazed at how verbal young children are…especially when they are relaxed and at ease…which seems to happen all the time when children are engaged in arts and crafts activities.  Parents can use this time as they participate with their children to listen and learn what is on their children’s minds. 

  

I’m sure the next time I return to New Hampshire, I’ll have the opportunity to visit with the children at Toll House Preschool again.  The teacher told me she had never seen them sit so attentively for a story before.  Although I believe in the policy of “No Rules…Just Read”, I also know that there are certain things we can do when we read a picture book to young children that will help make the experience more enjoyable and rewarding for both parent and child. 

1.    Find a comfortable place to read…child on your lap in a comfy chair or sitting side-by-side on the couch.

2.    Make sure your child can see the pictures as you read the story.

3.    Allow your child to point out things on each page and talk about them.

4.    When the story is finished, encourage your child to retell the story as you turn the pages again.

These are some of the tips I give in my book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.  In addition to lots of story suggestions, you’ll find a matching craft and also a cooking activity for each recommended picture book.

 

PLEASE DON’T BE INTIMIDATED BY THE SIZE OF THE BOOK!  Don’t think of it as a BIG BOOK…IT’S A BOOK WITH BIG IDEAS!  Every parent and teacher who uses it says it makes planning and doing activities QUICK AND EASY!

“Kirkfield lays out a brilliant and simple program with activities that will inspire parents and teachers.”  – Diana Loomans, best-selling author of The Lovables in the Kingdom of Self-Esteem and many other books

It’s available in the original print version with lots of lined spaces on every other page for recording your child’s memorable moments.

It’s also available on Amazon’s Kindle for those of you who don’t like a bunch of books taking up space in your home.

The gift-giving holidays are quickly approaching…there’s an online special on my website that can’t be beat…it would make the perfect present for any parent, grandparent, daycare provider, nanny, babysitter, nursery or preschool or kindergarten teacher.

To see the latest review of Show Me How by Lea, a homeschooling mom, please click here.

Follow-Me-Fridays: Where’s Miss Vivian?

Group of children in a primary school in Paris

Image via Wikipedia

St. Patrick’s Day was yesterday…and the luck of the Irish was definitely with me. 

I had the most wonderful day!

Early morning found me at Taylor School again, visiting with the kindergarten children in back-to-back story presentations.

We read Cornelius P. Mud, Are You Ready For Bed?

When I walked into the first kindergarten room, I did a double-take!  The children were dressed in pajamas!  At first, I thought that the teacher had requested this because the picture book story is about a little pig who is getting ready for bed…and putting on his pajamas is one of his tasks.

It turns out that Thursday was Pancakes and Pajamas Day…and all of the kindergarten children were dressed in their favorite PJ’s.  Some even had robes and slippers…I was definitely jealous…they looked so comfy.

So it was really the perfect setting to read a story about getting ready for bed…and the children did not disappoint…they were eager to discuss the story and knew right away how silly Cornelius was when he fed the gold fish his chocolate chip cookies. 🙂

After reading and discussing the story, the children were ready to move to their tables to construct a No Tick-Tock Clock with movable hands.  I was impressed with their ability to write all of the numbers of the construction paper clock face and I know they will enjoy taking the clocks home and using them to help them get to bed “on-time”.

The second presentation differed a little because we ran out of time and were not able to do the craft project.  The teacher found a wonderful alternative…she handed out small resin-board clocks to groups of three students each…and then drew a digital clock on the board.  Each child had an opportunity to read the digital time and then use the  numeral clock with movable hands to show the correct time.

Telling time is an important skill for young children to learn…and especially today, with digital clocks in most places, parents and teachers need to make sure that children know how to tell time “the old-fashioned” way.

Leaving Taylor School, I headed over to Columbia School, where I had an appointment to be interviewed by two students who had a job shadow assignment.  As each of them aspires to be an author, they wanted to talk to someone who had published a book so that they could find out what was involved.  I had brought the rough drafts of my SHOW ME HOW! book and also the original mock-up of one of the picture books I’ve written.  That mock-up was written over 30 years ago…so it was interesting for them to see it and then to see the finished product with illustrations by my talented daughter-in-law.

The 4th-graders had LOTS of questions…when did I know I wanted to be a writer…and what inspired me to write?  What do I do in a normal day and do I use paper and pen or the computer?  How did I contact a publisher?  Does the author hire the illustrator or does the publisher handle that. 

My advice to them was to follow their dream and never give up.  It takes a lot of patience and hard work and perseverance to succeed at ANYTHING…and writing is no different.  I encouraged them to have confidence in themselves and in what they hope to accomplish.

SHOW ME HOW! BUILD YOUR CHILD’S SELF-ESTEEM THROUGH READING, CRAFTING AND COOKING is all about instilling a sense of competence and confidence in your young children.  Children with a positive self-image are more likely to take on new tasks and accept new challenges.  Isn’t that what we want for our children?

Please visit my website to take advantage of the 50% OFF SALE PRICE on each copy.  You can also enter to win a FREE Crafty Easter Basket which will be awarded on April 10th.  All you have to do is fill out the contact form.

Follow-Me-Fridays: Where’s Miss Vivian?

Work with schools : a librarian's assistant te...

Image by New York Public Library via Flickr

Yesterday was a GREAT day!

Taylor School in Colorado Springs is a tucked away in a lovely residential neighborhood. 

As you enter the school, you hear the low hum of children, busy at their appointed tasks.

Smiling faces greet you in the office…these days security is an issue for every school, so visitors need to sign in and get a badge to wear.

I made my way to the first kindergarten class…actually 1½ classes…the teachers split up one of the classes so that every student in the three kindergarten classes can take part in the 2 back-to-back presentations.

  

The children were excited to hear about KATY AND THE BIG SNOW by Virginia Lee Burton.  Several of the children had already heard the story…some of them had the book at home.  But these classic picture books were written to be enjoyed over and over again.

It always amazes me how perceptive young children are.  I’ll share what one little girl said.  “Katy must have a really big gas tank because she plowed all day and still kept going.”  And one of the boys observed that the burning house was right in the path of a bunch of skiers and he hoped Katy would clear the road for the fire department really quickly.  How many adults would have seen that amidst the busy illustrations on that page?

The craft project consisted of drawing a picture of a street scene and then adding features like houses, trees, clouds, sun, people, and, of course, cotton-ball snow.  Watching young children work on a picture is a revelation in creativity.  Each child used the cotton balls in a different way…spread out, cut in little pieces, piled up on the sidewalk…some even put some on the house roofs.

I’m looking forward to next Thursday, when I visit with the kindergarteners at Taylor School again.

If you or anyone you know is looking for great picture book recommendations, please stop by my website: www.positiveparentalparticipation.com and take advantage of the wonderful half-price sale going on right now.  You can also qualify for a BONUS PRIZE of a Crafty Easter Basket filled with craft supplies for your preschoolers.  Purchasers of the book are automatically entered to win, but you can get a free entry by filling out the contact form on the website.