Picture Book Review and Activity PLUS CRITIQUE Giveaway: 7 ATE 9

Is it Friday already?

Good thing, because I’m excited to share another 2017 picture book with you. The author, Tara Lazar, is a dear picture book mentor for this kid lit community. Her Storystorm Challenge (formerly PiBoIdMo) helped more than 1600 writers gather ideas this January. And she was a Will Write for Cookies guest back in 2014.

Since then, she’s had a bunch of picture books launch…and I’m thrilled to bring you her latest for Perfect Picture Book Friday.

AND GUESS WHAT TARA IS OFFERING AS A GIVEAWAY?

A PICTURE BOOK MANUSCRIPT CRITIQUE! OH YES! So please, tell all your friends and even people who aren’t your friends, to come on over and leave a comment. One lucky person is going to get that fabulous prize!

But first, we have a another fabulous prize to give away! Last week, Kristen Fulton offered a copy of her debut picture book, LONG MAY SHE WAVE. And the lucky winner is…

Ali Earle Pichardo

Congratulations, Ali…let’s connect and I will put you in touch with Kristen so she can get a copy of the book out to you!

And now for our Perfect Picture Book Friday review!

7 ate 9

7 ATE 9: The Untold Story

Written by: Tara Lazar

Illustrated by Ross MacDonald

Publisher: Disney/Hyperion (2017)

Ages: 4-7

Themes:

Mystery, numbers, humor

Synopsis:

From Amazon:

6 has a problem.

Everyone knows that 7 is always after him. Word on the street is that 7 ate 9. If that’s true, 6’s days are numbered. Lucky for him, Private I is on the case. But the facts just don’t add up.

It’s odd.

Will Private I put two and two together and solve the problem . . . or is 6 next in line to be subtracted?

Why I like this book:

  • It is funny. More than funny. It is one of the funniest books I’ve read. And kids LOVE funny.
  • Great illustrations…perfect for the text.
  • The story will engage kids from the first page to the last!

RELATED ACTIVITIES

Sensory Art with Numbers

sensory art with numbersPhoto courtesy: http://handsonaswegrow.com/40-number-activities-for-preschoolers/

You will need: Cardboard (you can even use the side of an empty cereal box), glue, marker, your choice of sand, rice, oatmeal, Cheerios, or glitter.

  1. Draw numbers on the cardboard.
  2. Trace over the numbers with a glue stick.
  3. Sprinkle with your choice of topping…sand (might be messy in the house), rice, oatmeal, Cheerios, or glitter (will definitely be messy in the house).
  4. Let dry.
  5. You can do this with letters also.

For many more number activities, click here: http://handsonaswegrow.com/40-number-activities-for-preschoolers/

Thank you all for stopping by today. My generous author friends have connected with the #50PreciousWordsforKids teachers and parents. Maybe we will get some feedback by next month and find out how much fun everyone had, connecting adult authors and kid writers on Skype.

And don’t forget to leave a comment today if you would like a chance to win a MANUSCRIPT CRITIQUE FROM TARA LAZAR. Please share this post on your social media…and if you have read Tara’s book, please leave a review for her on Amazon. 

Happy Memorial Day, dear friends…please be safe if you are traveling…and I will see you again in JUNE! Lots more picture book reviews, giveaways, author/illustrator Q&A’s!

Picture Book Review and Activity: WAY PAST BEDTIME

Happy Friday! I’ve got a wonderful Perfect Picture Book for you today, but I wanted to share a bit about the NESCBWI conference.

MPBM with Susanna HillI’m still processing the experience and I urge all of you who are writers or illustrators, but aren’t yet members of SCBWI, to please, run, don’t walk, and become a member.

with Carrie Finison and Hannah HoltIt is an organization that supports all writers and illustrators and the conferences are the best. The keynote speakers, like Jane Yolen and Melissa Sweet, provided inspiration and information by the bucketful. The accommodations and food were great. But truthfully, the best part of the weekend was getting to hug old friends

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and make new ones.

PTB 2017 group 

I also wanted to remind everyone to continue to spread the word about the #50PreciousWordsforKids Writing Challenge. This morning a teacher at the Birchwood School in Cleveland, Ohio emailed to say that her 5th grade class is going to participate. Woo-hoo!

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I’ll be putting up a post on Sunday, April 30 because the challenge starts May 1, but we may have international participants and on the other side of the globe they are many hours ahead of me. All entries should be emailed to me by either a teacher or parent. This is going to be GREAT FUN!

And before we get to today’s book, we need to giveaway a copy of Jackie Azúa Kramer’s THE GREEN UMBRELLA. And the winner is…

YVONA FAST

Congratulations, Yvona! Please email me so I can connect you and Jackie.

The author of today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday pick is well-known to most of this kidlit community. She’s the founder of Storystorm (formerly PiBoIdMo) and a force to be reckoned with.

way past bedtime cover

Way Past Bedtime

Written by Tara Lazar

Illustrated by Rich Wake

Publisher: Aladdin (2017)

Ages: 4-7

Themes:

Mystery, ingenuity, bedtime

Synopsis:

From Amazon:

Little Joseph turns into a bedtime super-sleuth as he tries to solve the mystery of what happens after the lights go out in this fun spin on classic bedtime stories.

Bedtime is Joseph’s least favorite time of day. When his parents tuck him in at night, Joseph imagines all kinds of things that he’s missing out on: big parties, hot-fudge fountains, exotic animals, and more.

But there is only one way to find out if what he imagines is actually true—and bedtime super-sleuth Joseph is determined to discover what happens way past bedtime.

inside photos

Why I like this book:

  • This book is a whole lot of fun…and kids will love sleuthing along with Joseph. I bet lots of kids wonder what goes on while they are sleeping.
  • Great cartoon-like illustrations…and that’s not a bad thing because I think it will encourage some kids, especially boys, to pick up the book and keep turning the pages…and that’s what it’s all about!
  • Oh, and did I say it was funny? Well, I’ll say it again…kids LOVE funny!

RELATED ACTIVITIES

Tons-of-fun-spy-activities-and-free-printables-for-kids-Perfect-for-planning-a-spy-themed-DIY-summer-camp-or-partyPhoto courtesy: http://www.coffeecupsandcrayons.com/spy-school-kids-activities/
  1. Start a secret agent spy school with the downloadable forms from http://www.coffeecupsandcrayons.com/spy-school-kids-activities/
  2. Set up a scavenger hunt with clues…my 8-year old grandson thinks being a detective is the coolest thing. I know I have to get a copy of this book for him!
  3. Talk about how codes have been used to deliver secret messages: http://www.mathsweek.ie/2012/puzzles/code-breaking-for-young-secret-agents
  4. Try writing a message in code and decipher it.

Have a wonderful weekend, dear friends…I hope you’ll visit tomorrow for:

 Will Write for Cookies

Anna Forrester

(we reviewed her BAT COUNT book a couple of months ago)

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This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susannah Leonard Hill. Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities.

Perfect Picture Book Friday PLUS Looking Back, Moving Forward, and the WInner is…

Today is Friday, December 30, 2016…which is significant for several reasons.

It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday…so I’ll be reviewing a wonderful picture book.

But I’ve got a couple of other things to tell you, so, hold onto your hats! Today’s post is chock full of good stuff!

12-days

First of all, for the last several years, Julie Hedlund has gifted the kidlit community with the 12 Days of Christmas for Writers. This daily video prompt gives you a chance to take a look at your accomplishments, pat yourself on the back for your successes, as well as your failures…because failures mean that you are one step closer to reaching your goals. There is still time to join in – this is the type of challenge that can help you get on the right track for 2017. And her post, The Anti-Resolution Revolution, is a must-read. As per her suggestion, here is a short list of what made me smile in 2016:

  1. There was a fabulous turnout for my #50PreciousWords writing contest in March that celebrated the birthday of Dr. Seuss. I expected perhaps a dozen friends to submit stories…but in the end, we had 128 awesome entries. I was blown away with the quality of the stories…and fifteen people walked away with prizes…a critique with my incredible agent, Essie White, a seat in Kristen Fulton’s Nonfiction Archaeology class, a critique from me, and a dozen brand-new books. As many of you know, the writer who won first place chose the agent critique and is now represented by Storm Literary Agency! Which just goes to show that entering contests and writing challenges is definitely a valuable step toward publication. I’m already planning the 2017 contest and hope to see all of you there. If you have something you’d like to offer as a prize (critique, signed art, book), your donation will be much appreciated.
  2. In April, I attended my first real SCBWI conference…in Chicago. It was fantastic. And in July, I spent a glorious week in Georgia at the WOW Retreat.
  3. Sweet Dreams, Sarah became available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes &Noble, and several Indie bookstore sites…and the cover is all I could have hoped for. Unfortunately, as sometimes happens in this business, there was a delay and the publication date has been pushed back till 2018. But I am turning lemons into lemonade and using this time as an opportunity to lift up the picture books that will launch in 2017.
  4. With the accountability of 12×12, I wrote 12 picture book drafts and revised them and others.
  5. Several of my manuscripts received very positive editor feedback…and I revised two of them for specific editors. Three stories are still out on submission and hopefully we will hear good news in 2017.
  6. Three new nonfiction picture book manuscripts are ready to send to my agent – who knows – maybe one of them will catch an editor’s eye. What I am finding out is that this business is 100% subjective…and if you’ve written a great story, there is an editor out there who WILL fall in love with it.
  7. Thanks to the prayers and positive thoughts of friends and family, I sailed through major surgery this summer.

I’ll stop with lucky number seven!

storystorm

Another thing I want to mention is that since 2009, countless writers and illustrators have participated in Tara Lazar’s month-long challenge, PiBoIdMo. But for 2017, she’s changed things up…so grab your snow boots and get ready for a blizzard of ideas and inspiration…STORYSTORM is on the horizon and it’s time to sign up.

I can tell you from my own experience that keeping a journal or notebook of ideas really works…my first Picture Book Idea Month notebook contained an idea about a pristine mountain river where animals converged…I wrote that picture book draft for 12×12…and, after dozens of rounds with critique buddies, the polished manuscript went out on submission and got lots of positive feedback from editors. Right now we are waiting to hear back from a major house…but whatever the outcome, it’s an indication that the process works and these challenges can help move you along towards your goals.

Plate of Cookies

Last of all, I want to share some changes I’m making in my blog posts. For the past four years, my Will Write for Cookies series has been honored to interview dozens of authors and illustrators. On the third Saturday of every month, we’ve all enjoyed an informative Q&A with Katharine Holabird, Iza Trapani, Duncan Tonatiuh, Josh Funk, Susanna Leonard Hill, Sylvia Liu, Jill Esbaum, and so many more. Each guest has shared an inside peek into their writing process, what they wished they had known from the start, plus a favorite cookie or other sweet treat recipe. And for 2017, it’s going to get even better!

When I discovered that the publication date of Sweet Dreams, Sarah was being pushed back to February 2018, I knew I had to find a way to turn disappointment into something positive. What about featuring ALL the 2017 picture books on Perfect Picture Book Friday and their authors and/or illustrators on Will Write for Cookies? YES! YES! YES! And many of those posts will offer a book giveaway as well!

p-and-w

Speaking of giveaways, it’s time for one of those, I believe. Earlier this month, we were fortunate enough to have a Q&A with author/illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh. And I promised a giveaway of his newest picture book, The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanos.

AND THE WINNER IS:

 

KATHY HALSEY

Congratulations, Kathy…PM me or email me with your address and I will get this beautiful book out to you ASAP.

And now, dear friends and readers, since many people take the opportunity of the New Year to make plans to reach their goals and follow their dreams, our Perfect Picture Book is all about believing in yourself and following your dreams.

cow-who-climbed-a-tree

THE COW WHO CLIMBED A TREE

Written and illustrated by Gemma Merino

Publisher: Albert Whitman (2016)

Ages: Preschool – Grade 3

Themes:

Be true to yourself, follow your dream, ingenuity

Synopsis:

From Amazon:

Tina isn’t like the other cows. She believes that the sky is the limit and that everything is possible. But her sisters aren’t convinced―and when Tina tells them she has climbed a tree and met a dragon, they decide that her nonsense has gone too far. Off they go into the woods to find her…and soon discover a world of surprises!

Opening Lines:

“Tina was a very curious cow. She had a thirst for discovery.”

Why I like this book:

  • I read this story to my grandson and he asked for it the next day.
  • I love the whimsical illustrations.
  • Most of all, I love the simple, concise way the author is able to convey the emotions of Tina and the message of the importance of following your dreams.

 

This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susannah Leonard Hill. Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities.

I’m wishing all of you a New Year that blossoms with joy, good health, and much success! See you next year!

 

Logo final BB2 1 inch 300dpi

Tara Lazar: Will Write for Cookies

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

DSCN7064

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

TARA LAZAR

 taraclose2014

Before the internet, if a writer wanted to connect with another writer, a trip to a known literary hangout might have to be made. Fortunately, we have the world-wide web now, filled with authors and illustrators who blog. One of the most generous and knowledgeable of those is our guest today. Tara Lazar, author, mom, entrepreneur and founder of the famous PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) is smart, savvy and spunky. I know there are quite a few published picture books out there now that got their start as ideas in aspiring authors’ PiBoIdMo notebooks.

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Welcome, Tara! I really appreciate your being here. I know how busy you are, so I’ll get to the interview right away.

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

Tara: Roald Dahl, Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary and William Steig. I was fascinated with Steig’s “CDB”. I thought it was marvelous that I could speak only in letters and make complete sense! Dahl, for me, was wickedly good because he seemed to know so much about how children thought, how I thought. His adult villains were always so despicable—brilliant! He taught me not only do you need a character to root for, but someone to root against!

 monstorefrontcover

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

Tara: That it’s not about selling a book to a publisher, it’s about selling a book to a child. That seems like a very simple thing to understand, a given, but I think you get so caught up in chasing this dream in the beginning, that you lose sight of who you’re truly writing for. The children must come first.

picturebooksareimportant

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

Monday Writing Magic – PiBoIdMo Success!

I’m happy to say I completed Tara Lazar’s Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo).

I now have more than 30 ideas for new picture books – some good, some bad and some downright ugly!

piboidmo2013-winnerbadge-700x700The challenge: write 30 picture book ideas in 30 days

The inspiration: read 30+ posts by authors, illustrators and others who are successful in the field of kid lit.

Some days it was hard to make the time to read the post and comment…but I didn’t miss a day.

My family thought it was hysterical every time I jumped up from the dinner table and ran willy-nilly to grab my PiBoIdMo notebook and jot down a phrase or catchy book title.

True story: We moved to New Hampshire at the end of September. I’ve been reading AND telling my 5-year old grandson LOTS of stories. This morning, Jeremy could not find Continue reading

Monday Writing Magic – Building Relationships Within the Kid Lit Community

Monday Writing Magic: Building Relationsips Within the Kid Lit Community

Writing can be one of the most solitary occupations. Many writers carve out time from busy schedules that often include family and job responsibilities. Setting the alarm early or staying up after everyone else is in dreamland are two ways to find ‘quiet’ time.

Even though most of us need to be ‘alone’ when we are creating, it is really important to be part of a community that can encourage, inspire and motivate…one that can provide needed resources and feedback. Two years ago, when I began blogging, I discovered a whole new world of incredible kid lit people like Continue reading

Don’t Be Afraid…Go Ahead…Write Picture Books!

Picture Books are…fun to read, a pleasure to look at, educational, wonderful to listen to.

Picture Books can: encourage a special bonding between parent and child, teach children about the world, help kids with the challenges they face.

I love to write and I love picture books…so I’ve taken the plunge and put myself out there several times in the past year, participating in a couple of writing contests.

If you’d like to read the EIGHT finalists’ entries (mine is among them 🙂 in Susanna Leonard Hill’s Halloweensie Contest, you can visit her blog and vote for the one you like best.  Maybe you will be inspired to enter the next contest!

If you need more encouragement, you can check out Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) where you will find amazing posts every day this month that will give you golden nuggets of inspiration to get you started and keep you going.

And if you just like to read them to kids, you can visit Susanna’s Perfect Picture Book resource page where she adds dozens of picture book reviews (with activities) every Friday or hop over to Dianne de Las Casas Picture Book Month website where every day this month she is featuring guest posts on the importance and joy of picture books, or check out my book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking, where you will find 100 classic picture book summaries with both a craft and a cooking activity for each…you can also follow my new weekly YouTube series, SHOW ME HOW: PICTURE BOOKS AND CRAFTS FOR KIDS.

By the way, Tuesday was Election Day in the U.S….I hope everyone voted…it is a precious right and we should cherish it!