Perfect Picture Book Friday : NEEMA’S REASON TO SMILE – Multicultural Children’s Book Day Selection

Hello my friends…Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday!

Today’s story is very special – it’s part of Multicultural Children’s Book Day. Bloggers from around the world have been reviewing selected books and posting them on their websites and shouting out about them on Facebook, Twitter, and other social medial channels. I’m thrilled that my own Sweet Dreams, Sarah was also chosen and will be reviewed by bloggers who want to share diverse books with kids. And I’m honored to have the pleasure of sharing NEEMA’S REASON TO SMILE with you!

81brb8jvucl Continue reading

Perfect Picture Book Friday: HONEYSMOKE: A Story of Finding Your Color…Plus Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, my friends.

We are moving forward into 2019 and it will be my pleasure to share with you my reviews of the some of the year’s fabulous new picture books. Sometimes, we’ll even have giveaways, like today, thanks to our generous author, Monique Fields.

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Perfect Picture Book Friday: SALAMANDER SKY Plus Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday!

One of the first bloggers I connected with many years ago was already a published author. Her blog, Non-Toxic Kids, was near and dear to my heart. So when I discovered she had a picture book debut earlier this year, I knew I wanted to feature it here. And author Katy has graciously agreed to host a giveaway – she has several books and I’m not sure which one she will send the winner – don’t you love surprises!!!!

salamander sky

SALAMANDER SKY

Written by Katy Farber

Illustrated by Meg Sodano Continue reading

Leah Henderson: Will Write for Cookies PLUS Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INSPIRATION – INFORMATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

hnderson

LEAH HENDERSON

As many of you know, I’ve stepped back a bit from the number of blogs I post. Last year I had three or four Fridays and Saturdays filled each month. This year, I’m only doing one or at most, two, Will Write for Cookies post each month and a few Perfect Picture Book Fridays. Which makes each one all the more special.

Special…now that is a perfect word to describe today’s guest. I met Leah at a writing retreat in Georgia and I fell in love immediately with her passion for writing and her sincere, honest, and compassionate approach to life. So when I found out her award-winning middle grade novel, ONE SHADOW ON THE WALL, was coming out in paperback on June 12th, I knew I had to ask her if she would stop by for a Q&A. And she said YES!

Leah’s novel One Shadow on the Wall, is an Africana Children’s Book Award notable book and a Bank Street “Best Book of 2017” starred for outstanding merit. Her short story “Warning: Color May Fade” is part of the YA anthology Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America and her debut picture book is entitled Mamie on the Mound. Leah mentors at-risk teens, is an avid traveler, and her volunteer work has roots in Mali, West Africa. She attended Callaloo Writing Workshop at Oxford University, is on Highlights Foundation faculty, and volunteers with Kweli Journal and We Need Diverse Books. She received her MFA from Spalding University and lives in Washington, D.C.

You can find her on Twitter @LeahsMark or at her website: leahhendersonbooks.com.

But today, fortunately, you can find her right here!!!!

And if you leave a comment, thanks to our generous guest, you’ll be entered into the giveaway of a brand new paperback copy of ONE SHADOW ON THE WALL.

ME: Hello Leah. Thank you so much for stopping by to chat. I know everyone is excited to find out more about you.

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

LEAH: Hi all! I’m excited to be here!

One of the books I always passed on my family’s sunroom coffee table was THE PEOPLE COULD FLY by Virginia Hamilton with illustrations by Leo and Diane Dillon. And from time to time one of my parents and I would open it just to read a few pages. That was a definite comfort book, and still is a reminder of home. I also loved Corduroy by Don Freeman because it was the first time I saw a black girl like me with her mom as part of an everyday adventure. The Bernstein Bear books were also big in my house because they showed a family doing so much together, just like mine always did.

people could fly

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

LEAH: I am still working on this, but I wish I had known to be kinder to myself and my writing, and to trust that even if I don’t figure something out right away that I will not give up until I do. Over the years, I’ve added a lot more stress to my writing hours than I needed to. I’m not saying I don’t still stress about every little thing, but now when I tell myself to take a couple breaths I actually try to.

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

LEAH: So, I write all over the place, inside, outside—on rooftops, in gardens, on planes, and in Bedouin tents, wherever inspiration strikes (or wherever I am when I have to get something done). Though my ideal place is anywhere my dog is curled nearby. I usually start a story in one of my favorite notebooks with one of my favorite pens. Then I move to my laptop or desktop depending where I am.

real laptop

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

LEAH: Again, I’ve learned I need to be flexible if I’m ever going to get anything done. But years ago when I started to take my writing more seriously I was shocked to find that the early morning hours were a magical time for me (basically I worked in a nightclub and all my friends were asleep then.

I have always been a night owl and get a lot done under the cover of night, but purely by accident I found that the early morning hours were the best time for me to write new scenes. I’ve never been too fond of morning unless I’ve already been up half the night. But one morning I popped up during the early stages of a new story and realized my characters were buzzing to get on the page when the sun had still barely pushed its way into the sky. Now, when writing a new draft I get excited to see how the ideas have been playing in my head all night.

working outside

ME: Why do you write for children?

LEAH: Because children have the most open hearts and the most expansive minds!

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

LEAH: My advice to aspiring writers is the same advice I give to myself now: Be kind to yourself and your writing. Don’t cringe at your mistakes. Sometimes the most magical things come from these stumbles—these true moments of learning. But we have to be open to seeing them. So keep your eyes open to everything! And write for you . . .

one shadow cover

Thank you so much for having me, Vivian!

ME: The pleasure is mine, Leah…and I know that you aren’t done yet. I took a peek at the treat recipe and it looks amazing!

LEAH: Not exactly cookies, but this is a common treat you’ll see at outdoor street vendors and it’s also a wonderful snack during Ramadan and other occasions.

                                                                                       donuts         Photo: Eat Your World

Senegalese Donuts (Beignets)

3 tbsp vegetable oil

3 cups of flour

1 cup of sugar

½ cup of milk

4 eggs

2 oranges

1 tbsp of baking powder

½ tbsp of butter (melted)

Optional:

Powdered sugar

Coconut flakes

Raisins

Nutmeg

Instructions:

  1. Add flour, sugar, baking powder, eggs, and melted butter into a bowl
  2. Add squeezed orange juice and milk
  3. Mix together
  4. Add zest of orange for flavor
  5. Add vegetable oil
  6. Continue to mix until soft, not too sticky
  7. Add raisins (optional) and mix
  8. Add a bit more orange zest and mix
  9. Sprinkle a little more vegetable oil on top
  10. Add a bit of coconut (optional)
  11. Then let rest for 2-3 hours. Best results: let sit overnight
  12. Sprinkle a bit of nutmeg on top (optional)
  13. Mix a little more
  14. Create little balls and drop them into a pan of hot vegetable oil

*put a little vegetable oil on your hands for stickiness.

  1. Flip the donuts as they cook
  2. Let them fry for 10 mins or until golden brown
  3. Remove from pan and place on paper towel to absorb extra oil
  4. Sprinkle with powdered sugar

And enjoy!!!

Oh my goodness…thank you, Leah. You brought me right back on a Saturday morning with my grandmother who used to bake a lot. I’d sneak downstairs while everyone slept in, and help her. Fried doughnuts were one of her specialties. I will definitely have to try these!

Dear readers, thank you so much for spending your precious time here with us. Please don’t forget the the greatest gifts you can give your favorite authors is to buy their books, review their books, and tell others about their books. Make sure you leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway.

Have a safe and happy weekend! I’ll be leaving for a 10-day trip to Chicago on Wednesday to visit family…but I hope to be able to connect with some Chicago area writer friends as well.

Perfect Picture Book Friday: ADVENTURES TO SCHOOL

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends!

I’ve been blogging a bit less in the last couple of weeks, but when I received this book in the mail, I knew I had to share it with you today. I’m a fan of anything written by Miranda Paul and this book is cowritten by her husband, Baptiste, whose debut picture book, THE FIELD, just launched earlier this year!

Adventures to School

ADVENTURES TO SCHOOL

Written by Miranda and Baptiste Paul

Illustrated by Isabel Munoz

Published by Little Bee Books (May 2018)

Ages: 4-8+

Themes: School, cultures around the world

Synopsis: From Amazon: 

Kids around the world get to school in unique ways. Take a peek inside this book and see how they reach their destinations!

Children all around the world go to school. Whether they’re from Japan, Ukraine, Ethiopia, or the United States, all students have the desire to learn about the world and shape the future. In Bhutan, children walk for three hours to make it to school, and in Pakistan, children travel by rickshaw. Some children in China must climb a heaven ladder, while children in Nepal must walk over a wire bridge. The treks of these students are unique, extraordinary, and even dangerous, and they signify the common determination, perseverance, and sense of adventure shared by young people around the world.

Read along as students from thirteen different nations embark on their journeys to get to school in the morning, and learn about the diverse landscapes and cultures of these countries along the way!

Why I like this book:

  • Love the content – amazingly personal stories of children on their way to school PLUS so much history and culture is included.
  • Love the illustrations – bold, bright, and filled with heart.
  • This is a perfect book for kids who want to/need to learn about cultures around the world.

RELATED ACTIVITIES

homework-finalPhoto courtesy: http://www.pbs.org/parents/crafts-for-kids

How about TEN awesome crafts for back to school? Check out PBS: http://www.pbs.org/parents/crafts-for-kids/10-favorite-back-to-school-crafts/

Illustrated above is a homework center to help young kids organize their pencils, crayons, and other school supplies.

Other activities…take a trip to your child’s school…by car or bus or walking…and draw a map, taking note of stores and other landmarks you pass along the way.

Thank you all for stopping by today and spending your precious time here. If you have a few minutes left over (I know this is Memorial Day weekend and many of you may be celebrating), please thank your favorite authors by posting reviews of their books on Amazon, Goodreads, or other book review sites. This is the best gift we can five them!

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Hello Goodbye Dog PLUS Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday. Actually, for me, every day is a perfect day for reading a picture book. And today we have one that will win everyone’s heart. It’s brand new…not even out yet…and I was lucky enough to get a copy of the F&G’s…but if you leave a comment on this blog post today, you might win a copy of the real thing.

But before we talk about today’s featured book, we need to announce the winner of Susanna Hill’s giveaway from last week’s Perfect Picture Book Friday post. And the winner is…

SANDY PERLIC!!!!

Congratulations, Sandy! I’ll send a joint email to you and Susanna so she can mail your prize to you.

And now it’s time for today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday pick.

hello goodbye dog cover

HELLO GOODBYE DOG

Written by: Maria Gianferrari

Illustrated by: Patrice Barton

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (July 2017)

Ages: Preschool – Grade 3

Themes:

Friendship, pets

Synopsis:

From Amazon:

For Zara’s dog, Moose, nothing is more important than being with his favorite girl. So when Zara has to go to school, WHOOSH, Moose escapes and rushes to her side.

Hello, Moose!

Unfortunately, dogs aren’t allowed at school and Moose has to go back home.

Goodbye, Moose.

But Moose can’t be held back for long. Through a series of escalating escapes, this loyal dog always finds her way back to Zara, and with a little bit of training and one great idea, the two friends find a way to be together all day long.

Why I like this book:

  • Great text and page turns
  • Wonderful illustrations
  • Full of humor and heart
  • Perfect launch pad for discussions about relationships, friendships, and how animals help us

RELATED ACTIVITIES

PAPER BAG PUPPET – DOG

bag-dogPhoto courtesy: http://www.dltk-kids.com

Just give me a group of young children, a stack of paper bags, and some scissors, glue, markers and construction paper – we’ll be happy for hours.

And to make this adorable dog puppet, that’s all you’ll need.

For detailed instructions, go here: http://www.dltk-kids.com/animals/pets-dogs.htm

Other activities:

Check out your local library…ours has a therapy dog that comes once a week to listen to the children read.

Please don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway for a copy of HELLO GOODBYE DOG. And there is more picture book awesomeness afoot!

Tomorrow’s Will Write for Cookies post has a special giveaway…a Picture Book Manuscript CRITIQUE from author Maria Gianferrari. DON’T MISS IT!

I hope you all have a wonderful and safe weekend!

Will Write for Cookies: Duncan Tonatiuh PLUS Giveaway

 

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

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DUNCAN TONATIUH

This summer I attended the WOW Retreat in Georgia. One of the most compelling presentations was from the incredible Duncan Tonatiuh. Lucky me…he was also one of my Round Table mentors. You can imagine how thrilled I was when he said he’d been willing to participate in Will Write for Cookies.

 Duncan Tonatiuh (toh-nah-tee-YOU) is an award-winning author-illustrator. He is both Mexican and American. He grew up in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and graduated from Parsons School of Design in New York City. His artwork is inspired by Pre-Columbian art, particularly that of the Mixtec codex. His aim is to create images and stories that honor the past, but that are relevant to people, especially children, nowadays.

p-and-w

I want to remind everyone that there will be a giveaway of a copy of Duncan’s newest book, The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanos (click here to read my Perfect Picture Book Friday review). Please stick with us throughout the post and then leave a comment at the end.

Welcome, Duncan! We are so very happy to have you here.

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

 DUNCAN:

 I remember reading and really liking Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss and The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I also remember liking a book in Spanish called Macario by B. Traven. When I was about eight years old, I really enjoyed the Choose Your Own Adventure books. I read all the ones they had in my school library.

In terms of illustration I was really into comic books and anime. That is what got me interested in drawing. I collected Spider-Man and X-Men comics and I would watch a cartoon about warriors called Knights of the Zodiac and another one about soccer called Captain Tsubasa.

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

DUNCAN:       

It takes time to build a career. When I was first getting started as an author-illustrator, I also taught, tutored, painted houses, walked dogs, baby sat and did other odd jobs to make ends meet. It was frustrating at times to take on certain jobs because I had to, not because I was passionate about them. As I published more books though, more people became familiar with my work. I started to receive more recognition for it. Nowadays I dedicate myself to writing and illustrating full time and I am able to support my family doing so. I feel very lucky that I get to do something I love for a living.

 funny-bones

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

DUNCAN:

I like to write with a pen on a notebook before I type on the computer. My favorite place to write is the library, but often times I find myself writing on a bus or a plane.

pancho-rabbit

ME: When during the day (or night) are you most productive? Do you set a schedule for working or do you write/draw when the muse speaks?

DUNCAN:

I am definitely a night person and I get most of my writing and drawing done at that time. When I am able to, I like riding my bike to the library in the morning. I like to write and draw there for a few hours. In the afternoon, I type out what I wrote and I scan my drawings so I can start revising my work.

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ME: Why do you write for children?

DUNCAN:

I want children of color, especially Latinx children, to see themselves in books. There is a very small number of books where they can do that. I want them to feel proud of who they are. I hope my books help them know that their culture and their voices are important.

 dear-primo

I also want non-Latinx children to engage with my books. I think that when kids learn about people different than themselves they realize that we are all more alike than different regardless of our skin color, religion, physical abilities or sexual preference. If children learn about and care about people different than themselves through books, they are less likely to be afraid of others or have prejudices towards them when they are adults.

I couldn’t agree with you more, Duncan! And books like yours DO help! Thank you so very much for participating in Will Write for Cookies…this was so much fun!

 To find out more about Duncan and his amazing books or get in touch with him:

Website: http://www.duncantonatiuh.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DuncanTonatiuharte

Twitter: https://twitter.com/duncantonatiuh

And now for the sweet treat that ends all of our Will Write for Cookies posts. Duncan wanted to share his favorite Ria cookie made with walnuts, sunflower seeds, and chocolate…plus other deliciousness…the cookie is made by his cousins who own the fabulous Sweet Poppy in Hudson, NY…but unfortunately, the recipe cannot be shared…HOWEVER, I urge you to check out their Facebook page and if you live in the area, please give them a call and order some. https://www.facebook.com/sweetpoppyhudson/

sweet-poppy

But we knew that everyone wanted something special for the holidays. I found a traditional Mexican wedding cookie recipe to share…and believe me, you won’t want to wait for a wedding to make and eat these…they are PERFECT for the holidays! Many thanks to Bernie at AllRecipes.

mexican-wedding-cookiesPhoto courtesy: http://allrecipes.com/recipe

They are as easy as 1, 2, 3. You will need: 1 cup butter, ½ cup white sugar, 2 tsp vanilla, 2 tsp water, 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup chopped almonds, ½ cup confectioner’s sugar.

  1. In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Stir in vanilla and water. Add the flour and almonds, mix until blended. Cover and chill for 3 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  3. Shape dough into balls or crescents. Place on an unprepared cookie sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from pan to cool on wire racks. When cookies are cool, roll in confectioners’ sugar. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

Find complete details on ingredients and instructions here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/15542/mexican-wedding-cookies/

 

And now, dear friends, don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Duncan’s book. Why not share the title of your favorite folktale?  

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend…please don’t forget…Susanna Hill has posted the FINALISTS FOR THE HOLIDAY WRITING CONTEST…hop on over and read the 12 stories and VOTE for your favorite.