HIGHLIGHTS magazine has a Valentine's Day challenge for you with a special hidden picture, "Cupid's Target Practice." Can you find all the objects? The picture makes for a fun coloring page as well. Enjoy! Add a Comment
VALENTINE'S DAY is only two weeks away now. So if you need to make some special Valentines for the special people in your life, here is a fun craft video from HIGHLIGHTS magazine on making "secret" Valentine cards.
And if you'd like to read a story about two new friends and a super-fancy Valentine's Day card, then please read my story, "The Fool Proof Valentine Plan."
Rich Davis is an amazing illustrator. On his website he demonstrates how to draw a leafless tree. In just over a minute, Rich--with his pen in one hand and his camera in the other--draws a beautiful tree. He brings the blank paper to life as if by magic. Well, if a picture is worth a thousand words then Rich's illustrations speak volumes. Check out the link above and see if you can keep up with his wizard drawing skills.
Then after you've created your own tree, try writing a story around it.
Leaf-it-out, so to speak.
Is your tree in your main character's front yard? Maybe it has a favorite swing attached to it.
Or perhaps your tree is in the middle of a cemetery. Will your main character dare to climb it in the dark at midnight?
Have fun writing and illustrating!
The Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC) recently announced this year's Charolotte Zolotow Award. This award is "given annually for outstanding writing in a picture book published in the United States in the preceding year." This year's winner is EACH KINDNESS by Jacqueline Woodson (Putnam, 2012). The tale involves the treatment (or rather mistreatment) of a new girl at school. One of the offenders realizes the seriousness of her actions too late.
The Jewish Book Council also announced their winning books for 2013. In the Children's and Young Adult category, MEET AT THE ARK AT EIGHT by Ulrich Hub (Eerdmans, 2012) won first place. When two penguins smuggle their friend aboard the ark, trouble ensues in this humorous picture book.
More children's book awards for picture books will be announced soon by the American Library Association. If you'd like a list of past Caldecott Award winners while you wait for the ALA's latest announcement on January 25th, click here for a link.
So many wonderful books to choose from!
Congratulations are in order for Darcy Pattison, author of WISDOM THE MIDWAY ALBATROSS, and illustrator Kitty Harvil. The book won the 2013 Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Award in the children's picture book category. The beautifully illustrated book is the story of an albatross who survived the Japanese tsunami. Wisdom has since returned to Midway Island and is now expecting babies!
I hope you have a chance to check out this book, along with others by Darcy Pattison--like DESERT BATHS and PRAIRIE STORMS. She creates lyrical nonfiction reads for young ones sure to delight everyone. I've twice had the opportunity to attend writers' retreats led by Darcy, and she is as amazing a teacher as a writer.
Best wishes for 2013!
May all your stories this year have happy endings :)
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Sorry--no posts this month, but I'm busy churning out a new middle grade novel. I plan to finish the rough draft by the end of the month.
About 30,000 words so far...
Halloween has always been a fun time of year for me. I love dressing up in costume. It's very much like creating the characters in my stories, only in costume I become a character for real. In fact, I bring some costume pieces along with me when I do school visits and help the students devise new and interesting characters.
So today's post is a collection of interesting Halloween(ish) news I've unearthed of late.
Of course, you know I love libraries, so how cool is a haunted one? That's right, in Deep River, Connecticut, the public library (a former home built in 1881 by a local businessman) has not just one ghost but many. Wouldn't that make for some interesting storytimes?
The American Library Association's GREAT WEBSITES FOR KIDS isn't too scary, but there are a frightfully wonderful number of cool places to visit there. Take for example this website on BATS--the kind that fly in the night. That's kind of spooky.
Or try National Geographic's CAT site. Have you ever seen a cat skeleton?
So I admit, Math was always a little scary for me. That's why I've included this site here called COOL MATH--An Amusement Park of Math and More. Check it out for puzzles, games, and Bubba Man in his awesome Halloween costume.
Halloween will be here in just two-and-a-half weeks. What a good time to start reading some spooky stuff. Below are two brand new scary tales.
THE BOO! BOOK by Nathaniel Lachenmeyer is a new picture book adventure, complete with its own ghost right inside the book. Do you dare to read it???
TEN CREEPY MONSTERS by Carey F. Armstrong-Ellis delivers a bookful of monsters and mystery on a Halloween quest for treats.
Check out the list on my website for a bagful of other great spine-tingling reads: FRIGHTFUL READS FOR KIDS
Although books are initially a visual experience, they become an auditory encounter as well when read aloud. So what better way to help introduce young readers to the wonders of music than through well crafted picture books on music. The illustrations combined with the sound sensations of the words create a fun and enlightening experience.
Here are some gems to share with your little ones:
M Is for Music by Kathleen Krull. This alphabet book is a great introduction to musical terms and composers.
Ah, Music! by Aliki. Another introductory book, this one combines lovely illustrations with explanations of musical concepts, including pitch, rhythm, tone, as well as information on conductors, instruments and the history of music.
I Know a Shy Fellow Who Swallowed a Cello by Barbara Garriel. A silly story of a young man who swallows a cello, saxophone, fiddle, kazoo, harp, and a bell. When he belches out the instruments, they emerge with their accompanying sounds.
The Jazz Fly by Matthew Gollub. A fly jazzes up animal sounds to create a hit.
Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler. A fun read-aloud that celebrates the sound of jazz.
Some exciting new books for kids are premiering tomorrow, October 2nd.
Madeline L'Engle's 1962 Newbery Award winning, A WRINKLE IN TIME, is being revisited as a graphic novel.
SON by Lois Lowry is the fourth book in her futuristic world that began with THE GIVER, another Newbery winner, and continued with GATHERING BLUE and MESSENGER.
Both these new stories are fantasies. I told you last week about just having finished ADVENT by James Treadwell. That fantasy reminded me of a classic fantasy series by Susan Cooper, THE DARK IS RISING. You should check it out.
All of the above reads have been for YA readers, but another fun fantasy series is THE CHRONICLES OF PRYDAIN by Lloyd Alexander. It's not new, but middle grade readers should enjoy it. Lots of adventure, plus some laughs.
Jumpstart is a national organization which promotes childhood education. They are combining forces with Penguin and the Pearson Foundation all next week and finishing with a record reading day on October 4. The effort helps to reach millions of preschool children "to encourage them to read."
When parents and teachers work together to create fun and inviting reading opportunities for children, the children will reap the rewards. Here are two interesting articles concerning young readers. In the first, a group of California educators has teamed up with parents to study the issue of family literacy--how to build it. The teachers have expanded their meetings to include parents from across the area. They hope to use the parent's input to make the literacy plan more comprehensive. Bravo to all of them!
I promised I'd tell you some of what I've been reading. Just recently, I've been exploring Darcy Pattison's NOVEL METAMORPHOSIS, Uncommon Ways to Revise. I had the opportunity to attend a retreat last weekend presented by Darcy. It was a great jumpstart for my novel in progress. Darcy had tons of tips, insider info on the writing business, and lots of encouragement. Just what I needed! Darcy has an amazing website and blog. If you are children's author or want to know more about children's books, I'd advise you to stop by. She has a wealth of info there.
I also studied two books Darcy suggested, SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS and THE FIRST FIVE PAGES. Both are writer how-to gems.
As for what children's literature have I been reading--well, I just finished James Treadwell's ADVENT. This is the first book in a trilogy of the Arthurian legend, and it is masterfully written. But it's a YA book for sure. Quite an interesting modern take on the ancient legend.
I received wonderful news a while back that my short story, "Sky High Stitches," had been selected as a Judges Pick for the upcoming anthology, WELL VERSED 2012. The Columbia, Missouri Writers' Guild publishes this collection of writings--fiction, nonfiction, and poetry--annually. Here is their description of the anthology:
The Columbia Chapter of the Missouri Writers' Guild annually publishes the anthology Well Versed. It has grown from what poets would call "chapbook" size to a two-hundred page volume. Every year submissions come from a greater area, giving the judges a wider choice of works to consider. The judges are professionals in the writing field, which puts the contest for publication high on a writer's list to enter.
Well Versed - Literary Works 2010 was named anthology of the year at the Missouri Writers' Guild Conference, an honor of which the chapter is very proud.
I'll keep you posted when the publication is in print and available for purchase. Three of my poems will be included as as well.
Such a nice writerly start for this year!
There is a lot to celebrate in April--Poetry Month and School Library Month and next week (April 8-14) is NATIONAL LIBRARY WEEK.
Libraries have so much to offer for people of all ages. If you're not sure what's happening in a library near you, visit the @ Your Library website to find out.
Be sure to click on the link there for great family ideas at the library. For sure the price is right--you can't beat FREE! And the opportunities are endless.
To celebrate Children's Book Week, Slyvan Dell Publishing invites you to view one of their delightful ebooks for free. Simply visit their website and click on their ebook link. You'll find many titles to choose from, but remember--May 13 is the last day for this special offer.