Perfect Picture Book Friday: IF YOU HAD YOUR BIRTHDAY PARTY ON THE MOON plus #50PreciousWords WINNERS!

Hold on to your seats, everyone! We are ready to blast off! Our Perfect Picture Book Friday story is the obvious choice for such a momentous blog post that will also contain the WINNERS of #50PreciousWords.

Most of you know that I left home on February 19 and didn’t get back until April 8. That time was spent in Sydney at the Australia/NZ SCBWI conference (which rocked!) and sightseeing through the beautiful city and its lovely beach areas. Maria Marshall and I walked EVERYWHERE! Below is a photo of Maria and me at a beach where they had the most amazing poster art graffiti – since my slogan is Nothing is Impossible if You Can Imagine It…we had to take a pic with the bottle of dreams and me holding the little heart pillow my six-year old granddaughter had sewed for me to take on my trip as a little lovey.

viv and maria at sydney beach poster Continue reading

Maryann Coccoa-Leffler: Will Write For Cookies PLUS Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

Cocca-Leffler_MaryAnn-2018a_RGB

 

TODAY’S GUEST

MARYANN COCCOA-LEFFLER

As most of you know, one of the things I love best about this kidlit community is the connections we make. And what could be better than to have a multipublished author/illustrator who wants to critique with you and Continue reading

Perfect Picture Book Friday – – – – – – – – HEDY LAMARR’S DOUBLE LIFE

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, my friends! And Happy World Read-Aloud Day! Are you reading a story to children today? I hope you’ll share your experiences in the comment section below.

And guess what? It is FEBRUARY! Oh my gosh…my great adventure starts later this month. But does that mean you won’t be getting notification of blog posts from me? Heck no! I’m scheduling them in advance as much as I can. And although I’ve been busy working on guest posts that you will no doubt run into as you surf the blogsphere, I’ll also be shining a spotlight on a few of my very favorite 2019 picture books. Like today’s selection from an old friend of mine, Laurie Wallmark.

Many of you may know today’s author because I’ve showcased her books before. I absolutely positively love the way she writes and the strong women she writes about.

hedy cover

HEDY LAMARR’S DOUBLE LIFE: Hollywood Legend and Brilliant Inventor Continue reading

HEATHER MACHT: Will Write for Cookies Plus A FABULOUS TRAILER REVEAL for THE ANT FARM ESCAPE and a Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

heather macht

HEATHER MACHT

Continue reading

Laurie Wallmark: Will Write for Cookies

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR READERS AND WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

headshot

LAURIE WALLMARK

We are breaking new ground on Will Write for Cookies today!

Laurie Wallmark is back! This is her second visit for a Q&A…I am so in love with her books and if you’ve read them, you’ll understand why.

Award-winning author Laurie Wallmark’s debut picture book, Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine (Creston Books, 2015), received four starred trade reviews (Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and School Library Journal) and several national awards, including Outstanding Science Trade Book and the Eureka Award. It is a Cook Prize Honor Book. Her recently released picture book biography, Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code (Sterling Children’s Books, 2017), earned a Kirkus star and was well-reviewed in several trade journals. Laurie has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from VCFA. When not writing, she teaches computer science at Raritan Valley Community College.

 I’m thrilled to welcome you to Picture Books Help Kids Soar, Laurie!

ME:

 You seem to have found a wonderful niche in writing nonfiction picture books about strong women? Did you enjoy reading women’s biographies when you were a kid? If so, who were your favorites?

 LAURIE:

 When I was a child, you would have thought that Marie Curie was the only woman scientist who had ever lived. There were no biographies of any other women scientists or mathematicians. I did enjoy reading books about mathematicians like Euclid, Newton, and Fermat. In fact, I was convinced I would be the one to solve Fermat’s Last Theorem. (Spoiler alert. I wasn’t.)

Ada cover 72dpi

 ME:

In your opinion, what are the most important steps in writing a great nonfiction picture book?

LAURIE:

The most important part of writing a nonfiction picture book is research, research, research. Not only does that help ensure that your writing is accurate, but it’s through research that you find those fun little nuggets that really bring a person to life. For example, the fact that Grace Hopper couldn’t wait to ride in an airplane with a barnstormer exemplifies her spirit of adventure. Her words perfectly sum up her feelings about doing this: “I squandered all my money—it cost $10—and went up in the plane.” I found this event referenced in only one of my sources about Grace’s life.

unnamed

ME:

Is there a particular era in history that you prefer to write about? When it that? Or is it more important that your subject is a strong STEM woman?

LAURIE:

I’m more interested in the person than when she lived. So far, the women I’ve written about and/or researched for future books have lived in the 1800s and 1900s. By choice, I’m not writing about people who are still alive. Because of the limited word count of picture books, I’d rather be able to view someone’s entire lifetime of accomplishments before deciding which ones to include

ME:

Why do you write nonfiction picture books for children?

LAURIE:

Children absorb stereotypes about who should be a scientist or mathematician at a very early age. If all the people in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) biographies look the same, then children who are of a different sex, race, religion, etc. will assume that this is not a possible career path for them. By writing picture books, I can vaccinate children before they’ve been infected by these negative stereotypes.

hopper cover

ME:

If you have any special tips or thoughts for writers, teachers, parents…please share.

LAURIE:

My best advice for anyone interested in encouraging children to enter STEM is to show the fun side of these fields. Whether it’s through writing or engaging in activities with children, we can show counteract the idea that STEM is hard or boring or, most importantly, for someone else.

Thank you so very much, Laurie…I really appreciate you coming back to provide us with more wonderful insights.

And for all of you who want to find out more about Laurie and her awesome books or get in touch with her:

Click here to join Laurie as she travels from blog to blog to introduce her picture book biography, Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code.

Author Website: http://www.lauriewallmark.com/

And if you have a computer-loving kid at home, why not try Laurie’s clever cookie recipe.

GEAR-SHAPED COOKIES RECIPE

gear cookies

INGREDIENTS:

 Butter, softened: 1 and 1/2 cups

White sugar: 2 cups

Eggs: 4

Vanilla extract: 1 teaspoon

All-purpose flour: 5 cups

Baking powder: 2 teaspoons

Salt: 1 teaspoon

Food coloring

 DIRECTIONS

  1. Make dough
  2. Cream together butter and sugar until smooth
  3. Beat in eggs and vanilla
  4. Stir in dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Prepare dough for baking
  6. Separate dough into four or more batches
  7. Mix food coloring into each batch
  8. Shape each batch into a thick disk
  9. Chill disk for at least one hour (or overnight)
  10. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C)
  11. Make cookies
  12. Cut dough into shapes using gear-shaped cookie cutters
  13. Make sure to use a lot of flour to keep dough from sticking
  14. Place cookies one-inch apart on ungreased (or parchment covered) cookie sheets
  15. Bake 6-8 minutes in preheated oven.

 This was so much fun! A huge confetti toss to Laurie for joining us.

Thank you all for stopping by…I love chatting with friends!

 

Picture Book Review and Activity: GRACE HOPPER: Queen of Computer Code

Hurray! Another nonfiction picture book hot off the presses for today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday! And it is about another Mighty Girl! Woo-hoo!

But first, it’s time to award Tara Lazar’s special giveaway of a PICTURE BOOK MANUSCRIPT CRITIQUE.

There were over 80 comments on that post…Tara’s critique is a fabulous prize!

And the winner is…

LINDA HOFKE!

Congratulations, Linda! And thank you so very much, Tara, for providing this plum of a prize. I’ll reach out and connect you both.

Speaking of awards, today’s picture book is definitely going to win some! And tomorrow we’ll be chatting with the author, Laurie Wallmark.

 hopper cover

GRACE HOPPER: QUEEN OF COMPUTER CODE

Written by: Laurie Wallmark

Illustrated by Katy Wu

Publisher: Sterling Books (2017)

Ages: Kindergarten  and up

Themes:

Computers, science & technology, mighty girls

Synopsis:

From Amazon:

“If you’ve got a good idea, and you know it’s going to work, go ahead and do it.”

The inspiring story of Grace Hopper—the boundary-breaking woman who revolutionized computer science—is told in an engaging picture book biography.

 Who was Grace Hopper? A software tester, workplace jester, cherished mentor, ace inventor, avid reader, naval leader—AND rule breaker, chance taker, and troublemaker. Acclaimed picture book author Laurie Wallmark (Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine) once again tells the riveting story of a trailblazing woman. Grace Hopper coined the term “computer bug” and taught computers to “speak English.” Throughout her life, Hopper succeeded in doing what no one had ever done before. Delighting in difficult ideas and in defying expectations, the insatiably curious Hopper truly was “Amazing Grace” . . . and a role model for science- and math-minded girls and boys.

Why I like this book:

  • Wonderful STEM story.
  • Great illustrations.
  • I love the way the author sprinkled in actual quotations from Grace…I felt I really got to know the amazing woman she was.
  • We get to see many of the moments in Grace’s childhood that show how she loved math and science and finding out how things worked.

RELATED ACTIVITIES

MAKE A COMPUTER MODEL

creatifulkids-paper-laptop-HelloRuby-3Photo courtesy: http://www.creatifulkids.com/paper-computer/

You will need: Piece of cardboard, paper, markers or crayons, scissors, glue.

For detailed instructions: http://www.creatifulkids.com/paper-computer/

Watch a documentary about Grace Hopper here: http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-queen-of-code/

 

And Laurie Wallmark and I will see you tomorrow for her Will Write for Cookies Q&A.

And don’t forget that one of the nicest things you can do for an author is to give them a great review on Amazon or Goodreads: Grace Hopper on Amazon