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Perfect Picture Book Friday: NO PEACOCKS Plus Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends!

It’s been such a wonderful week so far…reconnecting with my dear friend Jane in her home on the New Jersey shore…we’ve known each other since we were two years old and have spent the last few days talking and hugging and talking some more! On Wednesday, we walked on the boardwalk,  listened to the waves crashing on the beach. and shared food I haven’t had forever like hot dogs and pizza and fries. 

Which made me think of NO PEACOCKS!, a brand new picture book by one of  my favorite kidlit authors, Robin Newman, about a bunch of birds who want to get some variety in their diet. And thanks to the lovely Robin, we have a giveaway of a copy of this wonderful book!

cover

NO PEACOCKS

Written by Robin Newman

Illustrated by Chris Ewald

Published by Sky Pony Press (September 2018)

Ages: 4-8

Themes: Humor, ingenuity, food

Synopsis: From Amazon: 

Every day, Phil, Jim, and Harry are fed sunflower seeds by the staff who care for them at The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. But one day, they decide they’re sick of them. They make a break for the New York City streets in search of pizza or Chinese takeout.

But everywhere they go, they’re told “No peacocks!” So they try to get an ooey, gooey, delicious meal closer to home. But how are they going to sneak into the school’s dining hall and get their wings on the school’s world-famous mac ‘n cheese? A little plotting, some stolen disguises, and help from the students, and mission mac ‘n cheese is a go! Will the peacocks finally get their mac ‘n cheese? Or will their cover be blown, forcing them to fly the coop?

Inspired by the real-life beloved, celebrity birds living on the grounds of The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, and brought to the page in bold, bright style, No Peacocks!is a hilarious romp and a perfect read-aloud.

Why I like this book:

  • Kids love funny books…I love funny books…and this is a very funny book!
  • Great diversity in the school children!
  • Bold bright colors will engage kids from the first page to the last!

And here is some more info about the book, straight from the author’s mouth!

My latest book, No Peacocks! A Feathered Tale of Three Mischievous Foodies, illustrated by Chris Ewald (Sky Pony Press) flies onto bookshelves on 9/4.

Let me introduce you to some friends of mine:

This is Phil. He’s a white leucistic peafowl.

white peacock

This is Jim or Harry.

jim or harry

Or Harry or Jim. They’re your traditional blue-green peacocks.

harry or jim

Phil, Jim, and Harry reside on the grounds of The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. From the moment I saw them, I knew I wanted to write a story about them. But it wasn’t until I was attending a meeting for The Cathedral School’s book fair, when my son was a student, and someone announced—Did anyone leave a stroller on the porch with a sandwich? Because one of the peacocks just ate it—that I knew the kind of story I was going to write.

No Peacocks! is a fictional tale about Phil, Jim, and Harry’s quest to taste the school’s very famous mac ‘n cheese. With a little plotting, some stolen school uniforms, and help from the students, Mission Mac ‘n Cheese is a go! No Peacocks! is a cheesy story of friendship and teamwork, with a mild sprinkling of fowl behavior. 

Every day tour buses line up along Amsterdam Avenue from 110th Street to 112th Street to see the three celebrity peacocks and visit the cathedral (which also happens to be where Madeleine L’Engle had worked as the librarian and writer in residence).

No Peacocks! is a quintessential New York story. There may be Eloise at The Plaza Hotel on the east side of town, but there’s no doubt that the peacocks at The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine are THE celebrities on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. 

WOW! Don’t you love getting a behind the scenes look at how/why a book came to be? Is this not fantastic? And just think…one lucky person is going to win a copy of this fascinating book!!! Make sure you leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway.

RELATED ACTIVITIES

Peacock-Crafts-and-Activities-for-KidsPhoto courtesy: https://www.easypeasyandfun.com/peacock-crafts-and-activities/

For detailed instructions on many peacock crafts: https://www.easypeasyandfun.com/peacock-crafts-and-activities/

Here are some great learning extension activities from Robin:

activities from robin

more activities

more 2

more 3

more 4

And for more picture book reviews, please hop over to Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

I hope you will all come back tomorrow to visit with author Robin Newman who is stopping by to chat with us on Will Write for Cookies. Please don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway…and remember that book reviews on sites like Amazon and Goodreads are one of the best gifts you can give to your favorite authors.

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!

#50PreciousWordsforKids – Where Kids Become the Storytellers

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Last month, I hosted a challenge for writers. I invited them to create a story for children in 50 words or less. #50PreciousWords drew hundreds of participants. What amazed me was the incredible creativity that was unleashed by the restrictive word limit.

MAGIC HAPPENS WHEN YOU MAKE EVERY WORD COUNT!

One of the participants told me that she and her six-year old daughter had an amazing bonding experience. Seeing her mom writing, the little girl wanted to write a story also. And she did. And her mom shared it with me.

DINOSAUR SNOW by Bethany (age 6)

It snowed a lot through the day. Pteranodon and her sister Teethless were bored. Pteranodon said, “I planned to go outside and it’s almost time for lunch. Oh it’s 11:00. Let’s go wake Mom and Dad.” “You’re right,” said Teethless. So they did. And then they ate lunch.

Then my eight-year old grandson spent a day with me and he wanted to write one, too.

LOCKED OUT by Jeremy (age 8)

One evening, when me and my mom got home from school, we tried to unlock our door. We heard a snap. Our house key broke! We went to our neighbors for help. They said, “Get a ladder and climb into a window.” We followed their advice. Unlocked the door. Home!

Those two stories got me excited! I’m a retired kindergarten teacher. My debut picture book will launch next year. My book for parents and teachers, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking, recommends 100 picture books and provides hundered of activities to extend the reading experience. I’ve always been on a mission to help kids become lovers of books and reading. What a thrill if I could encourage them to become their own storytellers!

I decided to create a writing challenge for children!

An ALL-INCLUSIVE INTERNATIONAL ONE!

#50PreciousWordsforKids will coincide with Children’s Book Week, May 1-7. Every child in grades K-6 is invited to participate. Teachers will have each child write a story of 50 words or less…then the teacher and/or class will choose one story to submit. Parents who homeschool their children can submit one story per child.

Here are the guidelines.

final jpeg of flyer

I’m asking all of you who have connections with elementary schools or homeschooling families in any state and any country to please spread the word. Last month, I contacted the Children’s Book Council and they agree – it’s a perfect activity for Children’s Book Week.

The challenge runs May 1-7 and the stories need to be emailed to me: viviankirkfield@gmail.com by 11:59pm Eastern Standard Time on Sunday, May 7th. I’ll post those stories on Thursday, May 11th. Teachers and parents will receive a certificate that can be copied and personalized with the name of each child who participated. And there will be seven mini-Skype author classroom visits randomly awarded—one per grade.

I’m grateful to talented artist Vicky Fang who designed the perfect logo. And to Deborah Weed, Jennifer Petersen, and my daughter, Caroline, who all helped put the flyer together. It takes a village.

And it takes a village to help kids stretch and grow their imaginations.

I’m excited to read all of their precious words.

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