1000 Picture Books in 2016~March

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ReFoReMo winner 2016 badge

Reading for Research Month is such a fantastic motivator. The insightful blog posts and mentor text recommendations were outstanding this year. Follow the new site to become a member of the ReFoReMo family!

ReFoReMo helped me revise several WIPs this month. One of the recommended mentor texts gave me an idea for my March 12 x 12 draft. I have always read a lot of picture books, but this reading challenge has helped me hone my craft. I am studying these picture books (with tools I learned in ReFoReMo) and applying what I learned to my own writing.

Be sure to join the One Thousand Picture Books Facebook group as well as the Goodreads group.

Here’s my March reading list with Goodreads links:

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  1. Even Monsters Say Good Night by Doreen Mulryan Marts
  2. The Woods by Paul Hoppe
  3. Deer Dancer by Mary Lyn Ray
  4. Stanley the Mailman by William Bee
  5. The Sniffles for Bear by Bonny Becker
  6. Strega Nona’s Gift by Tomie dePaola
  7. Frankencrayon by Michael Hall
  8. Do Princesses Scrape Their Knees? by Carmela LaVigna Coyle
  9. A Night at the Zoo by Kathy Caple
  10. Lacey Walker, Nonstop Talker by Christianne C. Jones
  11. I Don’t Want to Be a Pea! by Ann Bonwill
  12. Mustache Baby by Bridget Heos
  13. Baking Day at Grandma’s by Anika Denise
  14. Quest by Aaron Becker
  15. No Two Alike by Keith Baker
  16. The Wonderful Habits of Rabbits by Douglas Florian
  17. Counting Crows by Kathi Appelt
  18. The Night World by Mordicai Gerstein
  19. Surf’s Up by Kwame Alexander
  20. Over the River and Through the Wood: A Holiday Adventure by Linda Ashman
  21. Hoot and Peep by Lita Judge
  22. Telephone by Mac Barnett
  23. Seaver the Weaver by Paul Czajak
  24. In a Village by the Sea by Muon Van
  25. Thank you and Good Night by Patrick McDonnell
  26. Bug in a Vacuum by Melanie Watt
  27. Ideas Are All Around by Philip C. Stead
  28. Sir Cumference and the Roundabout Battle by Cindy Neuschwander
  29. Dexter Bexley and the Big Blue Beastie on the Road by Joel Stewart
  30. Dino-Wrestling by Lisa Wheeler
  31. The Little Red Pen by Janet Stevens
  32. Little Bea and the Snowy Day by Daniel Roode
  33. The Bear Who Shared by Catherine Rayner
  34. No Nap! Yes Nap! by Margie Palatini
  35. Learning to Ski with Mr. Magee by Chris Van Dusen
  36. Nino Wrestles the World by Yuyi Morales
  37. The Biggest Kiss by J.M. Walsh
  38. Orlando on a Thursday by Emma Magenta
  39. I Can’t Do Anything! by Thierry Robberecht
  40. A Stick is an Excellent Thing: Poems Celebrating Outdoor Play by Marilyn Singer
  41. Two Mice by Sergio Ruzzier
  42. Your Alien by Tammi Sauer
  43. Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed by Moe Willems
  44. Art & Max by David Weisner
  45. Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late! by Mo Willems
  46. Billy’s Booger by William Joyce
  47. The Boys by Jeff Newman
  48. Good Night, Truck by Sally Odgers
  49. Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator! by Mo Willems
  50. I Dare You Not to Yawn by Helene Boudreau
  51. Going Places by Peter H. Reynolds
  52. Love, Mouserella by David Ezra Stein
  53. The Day I Lost My Superpowers by Michael Escoffier
  54. This Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers
  55. Imogene’s Last Stand by Candace Fleming
  56. While You Were Napping by Jenny Offill
  57. Pretty Penny Makes Ends Meet by Devon Kinch
  58. Mutt Dog! by Stephen Michael King
  59. Some Days Are Lonely by Young-Ah Kim
  60. Say Hello to Zorro! by Carter Goodrich
  61. Giddy-Up Buckaroos! by Shanda Trent
  62. The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt
  63. Chu’s Day by Neil Gaiman
  64. Lucy and Lila by Alison Fletcher
  65. What’s the Opposite? by Oliver Jeffers
  66. The House That Zack Built by Alison Murray
  67. Hide and Sheep by Andrea Beaty
  68. Sandy’s Incredible Shrinking Footprint by Femida Handy and Carole Carpenter
  69. Run for Your Life!: Predators and Prey on the African Savanna by Lola M. Schaefer
  70. Everyone Loves Bacon by Kelly DiPucchio
  71. My Teacher is a Monster! by Peter Brown
  72. Batman’s Dark Secret by Kelley Puckett
  73. The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen
  74. Ten Creepy Monsters by Carey Armstrong-Ellis
  75. Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses by Kimberly Dean
  76. Digger and Tom! by Sebastien Braun
  77. Snowmen All Year by Caralyn Buehner
  78. Pumpkin Time! by Erzsi Deak
  79. Snow Day for Mouse by Judy Cox
  80. The Stupids Step Out by Harry Allard
  81. Don’t Call Me Pruneface! by Janet Reed Ahearn
  82. The Very Fairy Princess by Julie Andrews Edwards and Emma Walton Hamilton
  83. Sugar White Snow and Evergreens: A Winter Wonderland of Color by Felicia Sanzari Chernesky
  84. Smarty Marty’s Got Game by Amy Gutierrez
  85. Slow Down for Manatees by Jim Arnosky
  86. No Moon, No Milk! by Chris Babcock
  87. Chloe and the Lion by Mac Barnett
  88. Who Done it? by Olivier Tallec
  89. Pepper & Poe by Frann Preston-Gannon
  90. Little One by Jo Weaver
  91. Little Why by Jonny Lamber
  92. The Night Gardener by Terry Fan
  93. The Whisper by Pamela Zagarenski
  94. Sparky! by Jenny Offill
  95. What if…? by Anthony Browne
  96. Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae
  97. Lawn to Lawn by Dan Yaccarino
  98. When You Were Born by Emma Dodd
  99. It’s a Firefly Night by Dianne Ochiltree
  100. Stars by Mary Lyn Ray
  101. Light Up the Night by Jean Reidy
  102. Julia’s House for Lost Creatures by Ben Hatke
  103. Chester’s Masterpiece by Melanie Watt
  104. Chester by Melanie Watt
  105. You’re Finally Here! by Melanie Watt
  106. Hedgehugs by Steve Wilson
  107. Ten Kisses for Sophie! by Rosemary Wells
  108. Marilyn’s Monster by Michelle Knudsen
  109. The Typewriter by Bill Thomson
  110. My New Mom & Me by Renata Galindo
  111. Gretchen Over the Beach by R.W. Alley
  112. Little Butterfly by Laura Logan
  113. Pete the Cat and the Bedtime Blues by Kimberly Dean
  114. Chester’s Back! by Melanie Watt

1000 Picture Books in 2016~February

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Reading for Research month ( ReFoReMo) starts March 1st. What a wonderful opportunity to keep on track with the 1000 picture books in 2016 reading challenge! Hop over to Carrie’s blog to learn more about ReFoReMo.

ReFoReMo 2016

Visit my January post to learn more about the 1000 picture books in 2016 reading challenge. There is a Facebook group (search One Thousand Picture Books) and a Goodreads group for the challenge. Here’s my February reading list with Goodreads links. Happy reading and writing!

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  1. Two White Rabbits by Jairo Buitrago
  2. One Family by George Shannon
  3. Aaron and Alexander: The Most Famous Duel in American History by Don Brown
  4. Action Movie Kid by Daniel Hashimoto
  5. Wait by Antoinette Portis
  6. Whose Shoe? by Eve Bunting
  7. Toys Meet Snow by Emily Jenkins
  8. What James Said by Liz Rosenberg
  9. One Snowy Rescue by Christina Butler
  10. Big Bad Bubble by Adam Rubin
  11. Secret Pizza Party by Adam Rubin
  12. Here Comes the Easter Cat by Deborah Underwood
  13. Mother Bruce by Ryan Higgins
  14. Be a Friend by Salina Yoon
  15. There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight by Penny Parker Klostermann
  16. Little Red Gliding Hood by Tara Lazar
  17. I Wish You More by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
  18. Lucy in the City by Julie Dillemuth
  19. Princess Nina by Marlise Achterberg
  20. Zen Socks by Jon J. Muth
  21. Sonya’s Chickens by Phoebe Wahl
  22. Flora and the Penguin by Molly Idle
  23. The Boy Who Lost His Bumble by Trudi Esberger
  24. Everything by Emma Dodd
  25. Gilbert the Ghost by Guido Van Genechten
  26. Aqualicious by Victoria Kann
  27. 10 Easter Egg Hunters: A Holiday Counting Book by Janet Schulman
  28. Water is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle by Miranda Paul
  29. Penguin in Love by Salina Yoon
  30. Penguin on Vacation by Salina Yoon
  31. Penguin and Pinecone by Salina Yoon
  32. The Little Snowplow by Lora Koehler
  33. Not All Princesses Dress in Pink by Jane Yolen
  34. What Does the Fox Say? by Ylvis
  35. Pretty Princess Pig by Jane Yolen
  36. Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick
  37. Alice in Wonderland: Down the Rabbit Hole by Lewis Carroll
  38. The Red Bicycle by Jude Isabella
  39. Snappsy the Aligator by Julie Falatko
  40. Freedom in Congo Square by Carole Boston Weatherford
  41. The Quickest Kid in Clarksville by Pat Miller Zietlow
  42. Little White Fish Has a Party by Guido Van Genechten
  43. Float by Daniel Miyares
  44. Fancy Nancy: Saturday Night Sleepover by Jane O’Connor
  45. How to Dress a Dragon by Lynne Thelma Godin
  46. You Can Do it, Bert! by Ole Konnecke
  47. One Word From Sophia by Jim Averbeck
  48. Happy! by Pharrell Williams
  49. Here Comes Valentine Cat by Deborah Underwood
  50. Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras by Duncan Tonatiuh
  51. Nose to Toes, You Are Yummy! by Tim Harrington
  52. The Full Moon at the Napping House by Audrey Wood
  53. You Make Me Happy by An Swerts
  54. All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey
  55. The Impossible Voyage of Kon-Tiki by Deborah Kogan Ray
  56. The Ladybug Race by Amy Nielander
  57. Ten Rules of Being a Superhero by Deb Pilutti
  58. The Weatherboy by Pimm van Hest
  59. Orion and the Dark by Emma Yarlett
  60. The Best Pet of All by David LaRochelle
  61. A Good Home for Max by Junzo Terada
  62. Hilda Must be Dancing by Karma Wilson
  63. Many Moons by James Thurber
  64. Knuffle Bunny Free: An Unexpected Diversion by Mo Willems
  65. Zero by Kathryn Otoshi
  66. Dear Yeti by James Kwan
  67. Love Monster and the Perfect Present by Rachel Bright
  68. Tickle Monster by Josie Bissett
  69. Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty
  70. The Noisy Clock Shop by Jean Horton Berg
  71. Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett
  72. Let’s Do Nothing! by Tony Fucile
  73. Diary of a Fly by Doreen Cronin
  74. Diary of a Spider by Doreen Cronin
  75. Zoom! Zoom!: Sounds of Things That Go in the City by Robert Burleigh
  76. Slightly Invisible by Lauren Child
  77. The Peddler’s Bed by Lauri Fortino
  78. Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa by Donna L. Washington
  79. Hiawatha and the Peacemaker by Robbie Robertson
  80. Happy by Emma Dodd
  81. Betty Bunny Wants Everything by Michael B. Kaplan
  82. My Dog, Bob by Richard Torrey
  83. Swap! by Steve Light

 

 

MARCH-ing Books to Kids in 2016

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I am excited to participate in the second annual MARCH-ing Books to Kids book drive. Picture Book Pass it On is encouraging folks to participate in MARCH-ing Books to Kids during the month of March. The founder of PBPiO, Michelle Eastman, has given kid lit lovers and authors a wonderful opportunity to help children in need through the  Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, Storybook Project.

The number of kids with incarcerated parents has increased nearly 80% in the last 20 years, according to data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. More than 2.7 million children have a parent who is incarcerated, and parents of another 10 million children have been incarcerated at some point.  The experience can be profoundly difficult for children, increasing their risk of living in poverty and housing instability, as well as causing emotional trauma, pain, and social stigma. http://www.americanlibrariesmagazine.org/article/reading-inside

But, through programs like the Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa Storybook Project, some of that stress melt away when kids and parents are able to share a special book together. Through an audio-tape reading program wherein imprisoned parents/grandparents read books to their children/grandchildren on tape, family bonds are strengthened and literacy skills improve as parents encourage their children to read with them and in their absence. Read this touching NY Times article to learn about the impact these programs have, from an incarcerated mom’s viewpoint. http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/07/07/behind-bars-finding-meaning-in-a-book-read-aloud/?emc=eta1/

How can you help?  Donate a book. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3…

Now, through the month of March, Picture Book Pass it On is launching a special initiative called “MARCHing Books to Kids”.

We encourage book lovers to donate a favorite children’s book, and we invite authors and children’s authors to donate signed copies of their books to the Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, Storybook Project.

The Storybook Project serves children Birth-17 years. They welcome donations of board books, picture books, early readers, graphic novels, chapter books, novels, non-fiction, etc. The sky is the limit!

To participate in MARCHing Books to Kids, please follow the 3 calls to action:

#1 Pledge to donate a new or very gently used children’s book/s to Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, Storybook Project. Authors are invited to sign their books. Please include a note stating that your book is part of the MARCHing Books to Kids initiative. Books may be mailed to:

VNS of Iowa, Storybook Project

c/o Tabby Kuehl

1111 9th Street

Suite 320

Des Moines, Iowa 50314

#2 Post your pledge on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO. Share it on your blog and on social media. Please include our badge and ‪#‎PBPiO‬, and #‎MARCHingBookstoKids

PBPiO badge

#3 Pass it on. When you post about your pledge, challenge one or more friends to join your #PBPiO giving chain. Encourage them to take the pledge and keep passing it on…

If distance prohibits your ability to mail books to the Storybook Project, please consider donating books to children in need in your own community. Oh, and be sure to share your giving story on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO We love to see how books are reaching kids all over the globe. So far, we have people “Passing it On” in the US, the UK, Australia, and Greece!

Thank you for making the difference in the lives of children and families!

 

burn books

My 3 Calls to Action:

#1 Pledge: I pledge to donate ten signed copies of my picture book, Mama’s Purse, to the Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, Storybook Project.

#2 Post: I will share my pledge on the Picture Book Pass it On #PBPiO Facebook page, my blog, and social media:

Facebook author page

Facebook blog page

Facebook book page

Twitter

Pinterest

#3 Pass it on: I challenge YOU to join the #PBPiO giving chain. Take the pledge and keep passing it on!

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All I Really Need to Know…I Learned Writing Kids’ Books

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Great post, Michelle!

Michelle Eastman Books

I posted this piece a few months ago…

Writing is a solitary vocation. I spend a lot of time alone, pondering and reflecting, constructing and connecting. Most recently I connected my life, as a writer, to a well-known poem by Robert Fulghum. http://www.robertfulghum.com/ In the poem, Fulghum reflects on his days in kindergarten and how those lessons prepared him for life.

kindergarten

As I read his words, I began to ponder how becoming an author has enriched my life. I may not have learned “All I really need to know”, but I am constructing my journey one keystroke and lesson at a time. Here’s what I know…

All I really need to know…I learned writing kids’ Books

Share everything-

Give back to your fellow writers. Share articles and resources. Share your failures; they matter too. Lift someone up; show him the way. Give your books away to kids in need. Give…

View original post 499 more words

Finding a Critique Group to Nurture Your Fire

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This is a great post! I love the Burning Man analogy.

WRITERS' RUMPUS

by Joyce Audy Zarins

Good crit groups give you perspective. Good crit groups give you perspective.

You’ve heard of Burning Man, right? The arty, fire-infused festival takes place each Labor Day week in the middle of the 400 square mile Black Rock Desert in Nevada. Disclaimer: It’s not kid rated, but does serve as a tantalizing analogy.

Imagine that you are there in 1996 when 8,000 people come to witness it all. There is no fence around the parched, absolutely flat alkali lakebed, no signs to direct you, but you follow instructions given in miles and by compass points.

Critique groups help you progress. Critique groups help you progress.

You must bring everything you need: shelter, food, water, shade, and perhaps creative installations or artworks, the bigger the better. You see dozens of crazy art cars festooned with found objects and one car in the shape of a shark with a movable tail, stilt walkers and fire breathers, art pavilions…

View original post 1,091 more words

1000 Picture Books in 2016~January

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If you are an aspiring picture book writer chances are you are familiar with 12 x 12, PiBoIdMo, Revimo, and ReFoReMo. Reading, writing, and revising challenges help motivate kid lit writers. We hear time and again how important it is read A LOT of books in the genre you write.

I recently watched the January 12 x 12 webinar with Julie Hedlund and Tara Lazar. Tara offered great advice on improving craft: read 500-1000 picture books. Then I discovered the Read 1000 Picture Books in 2016 reading challenge. Coincidence? I think not! I joined the Facebook group and the Goodreads group. The groups share reading lists so you will never run out of books to read. I encourage you to join the challenge! Here’s my January reading list with Goodreads links to get you started. Happy reading and writing!

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  1. Louise Loves Art by Kelly Light
  2. Little Elliot, Big City by Mike Curato
  3. Nellie Belle by Mem Fox
  4. Monkey: Not Ready for Kindergarten by Marc Brown
  5. Zora’s Zucchini by Katherine Pryor
  6. Creepy Carrots! by Aaron Reynolds
  7. Thankful by Eileen Spinelli
  8. The Pigeon Wants a Puppy! by Mo Willems
  9. Leopold by Ruth Westheimer
  10. Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt
  11. Pete the Cat’s Groovy Guide to Love by James Dean
  12. Wish by Emma Dodd
  13. The Red Hat by David Teague
  14. Sheep Go to Sleep by Nancy E. Shaw
  15. Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev
  16. Cat Nap by Toni Yuli
  17. What Does it Mean to Be Kind? by Rana DiOrio
  18. Rufus the Writer by Elizabeth Bram
  19. A Perfectly Messed-Up Story by Patrick McDonnell
  20. Michael Recycle and Bootleg Peg by Ellie Bethel
  21. Liplap’s Wish by Jonathan London
  22. I Don’t Want a Posh Dog by Emma Dodd
  23. Skunkdog by Emily Jenkins
  24. Shoe Dog by Megan McDonald
  25. A Small Brown Dog with a Wet Pink Nose by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen
  26. This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen
  27. Ninja! by Arree Chung
  28. Uni the Unicorn by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
  29. Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman
  30. No Yeti Yet by Mary Ann Fraser
  31. So Many Days by Alison McGhee
  32. Chicks and Salsa by Aaron Reynolds
  33. Sleep Tight Anna Banana! by Dominique Roques
  34. Where’s the Baboon? by Michael Escoffier
  35. Igor Spot Champion by Guido Van Genechten
  36. By Mouse and Frog by Deborah Freedman
  37. Chooky-Doodle-Doo by Jan Whiten
  38. This is Sadie by Sara O’Leary
  39. Snowy Bear by Tony Mitton
  40. Pete the Cat: Five Little Pumpkins by James Dean
  41. Click, Clack, Ho! Ho! Ho! by Doreen Cronin
  42. Anna Banana and the Chocolate Explosion by Dominique Roques
  43. Claire and the Unicorn Happy Ever After by B.G. Hennessy
  44. Grandma’s Gloves by Cecil Castellucci
  45. Grandma’s Purple Flowers by Adjoa J. Burrowes
  46. Boats for Papa by Jessixa Bagley
  47. Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs by Tomie dePaola
  48. Anna’s Corn by Barbara Santucci
  49. I Remember Miss Perry by Pat Brisson
  50. Never Ask a Bear by Louise Bonnett-Rampersaud

 

Listen to the Wind: The Story of Dr. Greg & Three Cups of Tea

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I chose a very special book for my second post for Dive Into Diversity. My son, Mason, will be seven years old next month. After he was born, my friend came from Idaho to visit us in Oregon. She brought Mason a beautiful book as well as an inspiring CD for me. I am listening to Women of the World: Acoustic as I write this post. I hadn’t listened to this music in a long time. I also hadn’t read Listen to the Wind in a long time. Mason is now old enough to appreciate this beautiful true story about compassion, celebrating culture, and working together to make the world a better place through education and peace.

Listen to the Wind: The Story of Dr. Greg & Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson ~ art by Susan L. Roth

Listen to the wind

Greg Mortenson stumbled, lost and delirious, into a remote Himalayan village after a failed climb up K2. The villagers saved his life, and he vowed to return and build them a school. The remarkable story of his promise kept is now perfect for reading aloud. Told in the voice of Korphe’s children, this story illuminates the humanity and culture of a relevant and distant part of the world in gorgeous collage, while sharing a riveting example of how one person can change thousands of lives.

The first page of Listen to the Wind introduces young readers to the children of Korphe.

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The last three sentences draw the reader in and set up the story.

“We study in the school that we helped build.

Before our school was built,

we had lessons outside.

We wrote with sticks,

on the ground.”

We learn how the people of Korphe helped Dr. Greg and how Dr. Greg wanted to give back to the people of Korphe. Dr. Greg asked the wise man how he could help. The wise man said, “Listen to the wind.”

Dr. Greg closed his eyes and heard the voices of the children.

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The language throughout the entire book is inviting. I love the use of “folds” to describe the mountains.

“We watched him walk away until he disappeared into the folds of the mountains.”

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Susan L. Roth’s collage illustrations are breath-taking. I had a difficult time deciding which pages to include in this post!

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The outcome of all their hard work is displayed powerfully in the final spread, which includes a letter from the children of Korphe and an illustration of them studying in their new school.

“We are the children of Korphe. Can you hear our voices?

Listen to the wind . . .”

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The end of the book includes a beautiful Korphe scrapbook as well as an artist’s note.

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My favorite photograph in the scrapbook is of Haji Ali, the wise man who tells Dr. Greg to “listen to the wind.”

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To learn more about the story behind Listen to the Wind visit Three Cups of Tea.

diveintodiversity

 

 

 

MARCH-ing Books to Kids

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I believe books are one of the most special gifts we can give children. According to Reading is Fundamental (RIF), nearly two-thirds of low-income families in the U.S. DO NOT own books. The literacy initiative Picture Book Pass it On is working hard to get books into the hands of less fortunate children.

I was super excited when I discovered Picture Book Pass it On. I singed five copies of my picture book, Mama’s Purse, and headed down to the Women’s and Children’s Alliance to donate them. Then I wrote a blog post and completed the three PBPiO calls to action. What an incredible feeling to help children in my community!

I love reading. I love picture books. I love helping kids. When I learned about MARCH-ing Books to Kids, I said, “Count me in!”

Picture Book Pass it On is encouraging folks to participate in MARCH-ing Books to Kids during the month of March. The founder of PBPiO, Michelle Eastman, has given kid lit lovers and authors another wonderful opportunity to help children in need through the  Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, Storybook Project.

Michelle discusses the details of MARCH-ing Books to Kids and the VNS Storybook Project in her post:

MARCH-ing Books to Kids…Calling all Book Lovers and Authors to Make a Difference to a Child in Need…

According to Reading is Fundamental (RIF), Nearly two-thirds of low-income families in the U.S. DO NOT own books.  That is just plain wrong.  But, we can help fix it.

girl wagon

I believe that every child’s Bill of Rights should be indelibly inked with the right to have picture books read to him/her and to own their very own books.  Many of us take for granted the sacred ritual of cracking open a picture book, and cuddling together while the words and pictures collectively take us away.  You can probably recall having been read to by your parents or caregivers.  You likely hold a special picture book, from your childhood, close to your heart.  And, until now, you’ve probably not given much thought to how profound that experience can be.

Imagine, never having that.

I CAN imagine a child, growing up, never knowing the power of a picture book.  I WAS that child.  I DO want to lead the charge to ink “Picture Book” on every child’s Bill of Rights.  I’m a mom, teacher, and children’s author who believes, passionately, that we should never, ever, underestimate the power of a picture book.

I celebrate the power of the picture book through my Picture Book Pass it On (#PBPiO) project, encouraging people to donate books to kids in need.

Throughout the month of March we are launching a special initiative called “MARCHing Books to Kids”.  PBPiO encourages book lovers to donate a favorite children’s book, and we invite children’s authors to donate signed copies of their books to the Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, Storybook Project.  The Storybook Project recruits, screens and trains volunteers to work with incarcerated parents and/or grandparents at the Iowa Correctional Institute for Women (ICIW) in Mitchellville, Iowa and the Newton Correctional Release Center (CNRC) in Newton, Iowa. Once per month, volunteers work with the mother, grandmother or father. The parent/grandparent and volunteer choose a book from the Storybook library that is appropriate for the child. The parent or grandparent reads the book while the volunteer records the reading onto a digital voice recorder. The book and CD are mailed to the child.

To participate in MARCHing Books to Kids, please follow the 3 calls to action:

#1 Pledge to donate a new picture book/s to Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, Storybook Project.  Authors are invited to sign their books.  Please include a note stating that your book is part of the Picture Book Pass it On/MARCHing Books to Kids initiative.  Books may be mailed to:

VNS of Iowa, Storybook Project

c/o Tabby Kuehl

1111 9th Street

Suite 320

Des Moines, Iowa 50314

#2 Post your pledge on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO .  Share it on your blog and on social media.  Please include our badge and #PBPiO, and #MARCHingBookstoKids

#3 Pass it on.  When you post about your pledge, challenge one or more friends to join your #PBPiO  giving chain.  Encourage them to take the pledge and keep passing it on…

If distance prohibits your ability to mail books to the Storybook Project.  Please consider donating books to children in need in your own community.  Oh, and be sure to share your giving story on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO We love to see how books are reaching kids all over the globe.

Please feel free to contact me at www.michelleeastmanbooks.com

Thank you for making the difference in the lives of children and families!

PBPiO badge

My 3 Calls to Action:

#1 Pledge: I pledge to donate five signed copies of my picture book, Mama’s Purse, to the Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, Storybook Project.

#2 Post: I will share my pledge on the Picture Book Pass it On #PBPiO Facebook page, my blog, and social media:

Facebook author page

Facebook blog page

Facebook book page

Twitter

Pinterest

#3 Pass it on: I challenge YOU to join the #PBPiO giving chain. Take the pledge and keep passing it on!

20150226_113147

Big Bad Bubble + More Marvelous Books By Adam Rubin & Daniel Salmieri

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We are huge Adam Rubin/Daniel Salmieri fans. I get the same response every time we read one of their books. “Read it again, Mom!” And again. And again. And again. All their books are clever, fun to read, and down right hilarious. Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri make a great picture book team. Daniel Salmieri’s art is a perfect match for Adam Rubin’s words.

Those Darn Squirrels

those darn squirrels

Old Man Fookwire is a grump who only likes to paint pictures of birds that visit his backyard. The problem is, they fly south every winter, leaving him sad and lonely. So he decides to get them to stay by putting up beautiful birdfeeders filled with seeds and berries. Unfortunately, the squirrels like the treats, too, and make a daring raid on the feeders. The conflict escalates—until the birds depart (as usual), and the squirrels come up with a plan that charms the old grump.

Squirrels love to pester our dog, but this squirrel crossed the line.

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Gutsy squirrel eating Charlie’s food!

Secret Pizza Party

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How does Racoon love pizza? Oh, let him count the ways. He loves the gooey cheesy-ness, salty pepperoni-ness, sweet sweet tomato-ness, and of course the crispity crunchity crust. But someone is always chasing poor Raccoon away from his favorite food with a broom! What’s a hungry raccoon to do? Plan an elaborate secret pizza party, of course!
But shhh! It’s a secret! In fact, you should probably just forget I told you. Nope, no secret pizza party happening here.You didn’t already tell all your friends, did you? Uh oh . . .

Be prepared for pizza requests after reading Secret Pizza Party!

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Sophie enjoying her pizza after reading Secret Pizza Party.

Dragons Love Tacos

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Dragons love tacos. They love chicken tacos, beef tacos, great big tacos, and teeny tiny tacos. So if you want to lure a bunch of dragons to your party, you should definitely serve tacos. Buckets and buckets of tacos. Unfortunately, where there are tacos, there is also salsa. And if a dragon accidentally eats spicy salsa . . . oh, boy. You’re in red-hot trouble.

Sophie made her dragon pretend tacos after reading Dragons Love Tacos.

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Pinky the dragon.

Big Bad Bubble

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An ordinary bubble may seem pretty harmless to you. To the monsters of La La Land, however, a fragile, shimmering bubble is an object of terror, and when the frightening habits of bubbles are detailed by a fear-mongering monster, Yerbert, Froofle, and Wumpus run away and cry. But with encouragement from the narrator and from readers—“Go on, Wumpus, you can do it. (Tell Wumpus he can do it.)”—the three learn to confront their fears and triumph over the bubbles!

Big Bad Bubble is by far my children’s favorite Adam Rubin/Daniel Salmieri book. It is wonderful when we discover books that they BOTH love. Mason, six, and Sophie, two, think Big Bad Bubble is the funniest book ever written.

Mogo’s fear of bubbles began when a chewing gum bubble attacked his face when he was a young monster.

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Mogo teaches the other monsters why they should fear bubbles. Bubbles are sneaky. They travel in packs. Summer is the feeding frenzy for bubbles.

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The narrator encourages the reader to disagree with Mogo, and to cheer on the other monsters.

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Tell Wumpus he can do it.

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Yerburt, use you fangs.

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Froofle, use your claws.

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Mogo finally discovers that he can pop bubbles, too.

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There is a fun twist at the end of the book that made my kids laugh and laugh.

What did we do after we read Big Bad Bubble for the 17th time? Went outside to blow bubbles, of course!

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We can’t wait for the next Adam Rubin/Daniel Salmieri book!

Party time! Hop over and read more fabulous kid lit related posts at these link parties: Kid Lit Blog Hop, Booknificent Thursdays, and The Book Nook.

 

 

 

 

How to Beat Writer’s Block

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I am working on multiple manuscripts in various stages of completion. I tried to develop an idea into a rough draft. Nothing. I tried to revise a rough draft. Nada. I tried to tweak a polished manuscript that was still missing something. Zilch. Did I lose my ability to write? What should I do? How will I get unstuck? Panic. Panic. Panic. I turned off my computer. It cannot be forced. The words will come . . .

My #1 job is being a stay-at-home mom. I beat writer’s block by exploring other creative outlets and reading a lot of mentor texts (picture books). I strive to incorporate reading in most of the activities I do with my children.

Idea jar

My two-year-old daughter, Sophie, and I made a rainy day idea jar. Sophie enjoyed coloring, counting, and putting the popsicle sticks in the mason jar. We came up with a lot of fun ideas!

  • Play dress up
  • Build a blanket fort
  • Put a puzzle together
  • Play hide-and-seek
  • Make a collage
  • Jump in puddles
  • Play the djembe
  • Call Grandma
  • Water the plants
  • Play trains
  • Make cookies
  • Paint
  • Pillow fight
  • Draw on the chalkboard
  • Legos
  • Coloring books
  • Play a board game
  • Pick something from the toy box

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Sophie was ecstatic with the first idea she picked. I turned up the tunes and we boogied down in the kitchen.

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Sophie picked read a book for the next idea. She chose I Dare You Not to Yawn by Helene Boudreau, illustrated by Serge Bloch.

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Idea jars are great tools for writing prompts. Pull out three idea sticks and write a story. This exercise helped me come up with two picture book ideas.

Go for a walk

One of the wonderful benefits of being a SCBWI member is receiving the SCBWI magazine. I read a great article in the latest issue about the correlation between walking and creativity.

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I grabbed the leash and took my dog, Charlie, for a walk to the river. It worked! Ideas for a revision started popping into my head one after another. I keep a pocket-sized notebook and a pen with me at all times because the best ideas come at the most unexpected times. When I am walking with my children I try to remember to be observant and follow their lead. What do they stop to look at? How do they explain what they see? Children share incredible descriptions of their surroundings. Pay attention and take notes. Then read a book about going for a walk when you get home!

Say Hello! by Rachel Isadora celebrates the rich diversity in America’s neighborhoods. Carmelita greets everyone in her neighborhood as she takes her dog, Manny, for a walk. My son is always asking me how to say hello in different languages. These are the hellos you will find in this book: Arabic, French, Spanish, Italian, Swahili, Japanese, Mandarin, and Hebrew.

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Visit your neighborhood greenhouse

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Get away from the gray and gloom of winter and go to the greenhouse! The vibrant and warm atmosphere will stimulate your senses and get the creative juices flowing.

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Then read a book about gardens! What Does Bunny See?: A Book of Colors and Flowers by Linda Sue Park, illustrated by Maggie Smith is a fun rhyming book with page turns children love. A rabbit explores a garden, finding flowers of every color. Rhyming clues invite the reader to answer the question: What does bunny see?

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Study books with creative page turns. How can you build anticipation and make your manuscript interactive?

Be silly!

Don’t be afraid to be silly or get messy. Explore different textures with your kids. Draw designs in flour on the kitchen floor. Make creations out of beans, noodles, buttons, strings, paper bags, and toothpicks. You just might discover a new character or setting for a book.

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Make monsters with your kids. What do they name them? What sounds do they make? How do they move? Put your story in motion through play.

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I never would have imagined playing with window gel clings would lead to a manuscript idea, but it did! Sophie and I put heart gel clings on a window, a drinking glass, and a toilet paper roll, which she claimed was a telescope.

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Sophie had another super idea when she wanted to put the hearts in a book. We picked Here Comes the Easter Cat by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Claudia Rueda.

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Why should the Easter Bunny get all the love? That’s what Cat would like to know. So he decides to take over: He dons his sparkly suit, jumps on his Harley, and roars off into the night. But it turns out delivering Easter eggs is hard work. And it doesn’t leave much time for naps (of which Cat has taken five–no, seven). So when a pooped-out Easter Bunny shows up, and with a treat for Cat, what will Cat do? His surprise solution will be stylish, smart, and even–yes–kind.

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Go to the park

It’s important to be around children if you write for children. I write picture books. My children are the perfect ages for this genre. Parks are great locations if you don’t have children or your children are different ages than your target genre. Listen to what they say. Pay attention to the games they invent. Tune into your imagination by observing children as they play.

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Read a book about parks! My son loves Big Machines by Karen Wallace.

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Crash! Scrape! Scrunch! A new park is being built. See big machines in action and find out what they do.

Blog about your writing experiences

What tricks work for you? How do you beat writer’s block? What mentor texts do you recommend? Where do you write? How do you make your writing space work for you? What time of day do you write? Do you write best at home? At a coffee shop? A bookstore? The library?

If you are writing a blog post you are writing something. I often write a blog post when I get stuck on a manuscript. The simple act of writing something else stirs up ideas for other writing projects. It feels great get words on that screen.

Take advantage of the moments when you feel motivated to write. Let your kids occupy themselves even if they turn the house upside down. Leave the mess for later and write, write, write.

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Read an inspirational book about writing. One of my favorites is Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg.

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I start all my manuscripts with pen and paper because it is a more intimate experience. I feel more connected to my work. I love the rush when ideas come so fast I get a cramp in my hand as it flies across the paper.

Natalie Goldberg writes, “Handwriting is more connected to the movement of the heart.”

Affirmations

Make affirmations and put them in your work area, on the fridge, on a mirror in the bathroom, in your car. Build your confidence. You are a writer! You are a wordsmith! Never give up. Write every chance you get. Don’t worry about grammatical errors. Let go and write, write, write.

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Make a victory jar

I am a member of the Facebook group Mothers Writing Picture books. One of the women shared a fabulous idea with the group. She made a mission accomplished jar. Sometimes we can only get in 15-20 minuets of writing per day. I often feel like I am not accomplishing much in such a short amount of time. I decided to make my own victory jar to celebrate my writing accomplishments. Progress is progress whether you write 25 words or 250 words. The next time I am feeling down about my writing journey I will reach inside the jar and remind myself of all my hard work. Celebrate success!

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Make an idea jar, go for a walk, visit the greenhouse, be silly, go to the park, write a blog post, make affirmations, make a victory jar, and read! Beat writer’s block and create word strings that sing!

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Be sure to check out all the fabulous kid lit related posts on the Kid Lit Blog Hop!

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