|Art from Poppy's Path|
|Art from Poppy's Path|
Got kids on your Christmas gift list who like, love or need books?
Allow me to hook you up with the 4:00 Book Hook, a fantabulous e-newsletter dedicated to children and YA literature. The latest edition features their annual holiday book gift guide and I’ve gotten the okay to post that section online :).
The holiday gift guide features author reviews and recommendations of some of their favorite children and young adult books on the market. With the wonderful variety of books for kids and teens, you’re sure to find something for your selective young reader.
For your convenience, I’ve uploaded the entire Holiday Gift Guide section of the 4:00 Book Hook–just click on the page links below:
BTW, my recommendations for three of my favorite recently-published picture books are on page 4.
Oh, and please don’t forget to buy your books from your local brick ‘n mortar bookstores or at independent bookstores online–not that nameless shameless one using books as loss leaders :(. This holiday season especially, let’s show support and love for true book-loving booksellers… just sayin’. :-)!
Happy gift giving and reading!
P.S. 4:00 Book Hook is a free e-newsletter for people who share books with kids: parents, home-schoolers, teachers, grandparents and librarians. Contact the 4:00 Book Hook at this email address for your free subscription: email@example.com
(The above image came from this article).Add a Comment
Last Saturday I attended my first Kid Lit for Adults session at one of the beautiful Charlotte-Mecklenburg regional libraries. It was wonderful! Two talented library staff members prsented the material, the coffee was hot, and the price was perfect--FREE, absolutely free. Most of the attendees were teachers seeking new ways to get their students involved with reading and writing. But there were aDisplay Comments Add a Comment
Little Johnny Brown could not touch the ground, but he will go to Beijing and try to get published.
The time has come for Becky and I to head off on our Summer travels. The weather is so darn hot here in Zhejiang province that we have decided to head north and look for cooler climes, and some book deals. Our first stop is Beijing where are very happy to be meeting with some publishers to see if any are interested in publishing all of our Moo-Cow Fan Club work to date (all 16 issues of the magazines and the two books). While there I’ve also decided to pitch my two new picture book ideas to them. The image above is a concept illustration from one called Little Johnny Brown Could Not Touch the Ground.
Regardless of how the pitches go, I’m very excited to get an inside look at the way the publishing industry here works (we’re getting some tours too). As with everything in China, it is growing extremely fast as anyone who has been to a mega-bookstore in a major city here can tell. You walk into one of these stores and it’s like someone’s made a high-rise by stacking a Barnes and Noble, Borders and Books-A-Million on top of each other. SO - MANY- BOOKS!
Here is a Airport sized bookstore in Nanjing. Photo Credit: John Meckley
The major problem with the industry here is not that people are not reading (there are more literate Chinese people now then ever before in history) it’s the seemingly futile struggle against piracy. Downloading whatever you want for free is just how everyone gets pretty much everything in China. Even official government organizations will just download software, movies, books, etc. The biggest web company in China, Baidu, actually offers a place for people to download books that have been uploaded by users. There have been a lot of recent moves against this kind of thing lately, even Han Han, China’s biggest and most influential blogger and writer, has gotten involved, but it will be a long time before piracy is not the norm here for all entertainment industries.
Luckily for us, all over the world kids books are something to be physically held and read by the child, so I’m not so worried about all of that.
The kids are alright. Photo Credit: Stian
So, our first stop is Beijing and then it’s off to Inner Mongolia! I’ll keep you updated and share some pictures throughout our journey.Add a Comment
This summer has been packed with loads of great soccer games. The excitement generated from the Women’s World Cup in Germany, and our U.S. Women’s National Team making it to the finals, resulted in more people watching the Women’s Final on ESPN than for any other soccer broadcast in their history.
I know of so many parents who sat and the watched the games as a family. No doubt this interest will result in more children (especially girls) wanting to play soccer. I think this interest can also be used to get kids into reading. There are many excellent soccer books available for young readers. I’ve reviewed plenty on Book Dads and thought it might be a good idea to recap some of these books and share the reviews again with you.
Here’s a list of soccer books to add to your summer reading list:
* Big Kicks by Bob Kolar - Biggie Bear lives in a quiet corner of a busy little town. He collects stamps, plays jazz, and enjoys being by himself. One day, the town soccer team knocks on his door, and they need BIG help. But Biggie’s never played soccer before, and once they are out on the field, they realize that maybe there is more to soccer than just being big.
* Goal! by Mina Javaherbin - Goal! is the story of Ajani and his group of soccer-loving friends who live in South Africa. Ajani earned a brand-new federation-size soccer ball for being the best reader in his class. For Ajani and his friends, once chores and homework are done, it’s soccer time. However, the boys live in fear from the bullies in their unsafe neighborhood, and are worried about losing their new ball.
* That’s Not How You Play Soccer, Daddy by Sherry Shahan - Mikey takes his duties as captain of the Hot Diggity Diner soccer team very seriously. After a toughAdd a Comment
I’m a bit behind on everything theses days. Can’t believe I forgot to brag that I finished the PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) challenge, which makes me a winner!!
Winners get this cute-as-a-lightening-bug’s-ear winner’s badge, created by Bonnie Adamson and also a notebook full of at least 30 picture book ideas!
Myself, I have exactly 30, no more and no less and I am thrilled! This is the biggest cache of ideas I’ve had in… well… ever! Thanks to Tara Lazar, creator and host of PiBoIdMo and all the participants who became quite the community of cheerleaders for each other.
Due in large part to all these terrific folks I now have at least 5 ideas that I am pretty excited about, another 5 or 6 nuggets that have potential. The rest I consider “seedlings” or “meh” ideas that might possibly turn into or perhaps lead to ”aha!” ideas somewhere down the line.
So now, just to keep the ball rolling, myself and several others will be participating in 12×12 in 2012, clever brainchild of Julie Hedlund. We’ll be taking our 12 favorite picture book ideas from the 30 and drafting them out through the year. One a month is the goal.
Can I do it?
That remains to be seen. But my guess is, I’ll have a lot more done by the end of this year than I would have without these challenges and the wonderful support of the kid lit community participating.
Weeeee! It’s going to be a productive year, I can feel it!
Happenings this Month
The School Visit Front :: I celebrated Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and Children’s Book Week with the students of Earhart School of Alameda, CA where I appeard for a full day of assemblies, a family evening presentation and some kinder book readings.
Above photo: Teaching the kids a sitting hula. * Special thanks to Principal Joy Dean and Media Center Teachers, Ana Soria-Kevy and Jeni Marr. I had a fantastic time at your school!
The Internet Scene :: My interview with editor Tarie Sabido of Into The Wardrobe, a delightful children’s and YA literature blog is up now. This month, Tarie highlights kid lit authors and illustrators who have a unique Asian Pacific connection. She posed some excellent questions that I hope I answered well. FYI, I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning, typing out my answers to the best of my ability ** note: bleary eyes but full heart** I am honored to be part of this month’s festivities. Please check out the interview and blog here.
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You know what middle age is?
The right age.
The age when you realize that everything you wanted to do, has already been done by yourself.
Now is the time that you can do those things better.
P.S. – I am a published author by simply hitting the keys and clicking the Publish button.Posted in Cent. 2, Economy, Kid Lit, Uncategorized Tagged: and, Author, I, Me, Myself, Published
I decided to modify a version of Botticelli’s Birth of Venus around the time I quit pursuing publishing. That was close to ten years ago. I spent several years prior with a very strong focus on picture books but that gradually gave way to frustration.
The industry was changing. While I was repped at the time, I had a hard time with the change. Externally, things looked all right. Internally, I was at odds with myself. I painted my heart out—pouring all my feelings onto canvas. I took three years off. When I returned, I was able to look at the painting with a “fresh” set of eyes.
Finding Your Path in Kid Lit
Sometimes I’m approached by people who want to write and/or illustrate children’s and YA books. I might sound like a broken record but I always utter the initials: S C B W I. It stands for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
One thing I did upon returning to children’s books was join the SCBWI. It has been instrumental in helping me reach my goals. I do the work, stayed focused, yada, yada. However, the SCBWI provides a ton of resources and has helped me make important connections. I can’t speak highly enough of it.
Check out the SCBWI here.Display Comments Add a Comment
Early August, I attended the Society of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Summer Conference in LA. All the fun and excitement took place at the Century Plaza Hyatt hotel. Below, and in the next few posts, I’ll share the highlights of my trip, a few observations and then some..:-)Add a Comment
…we started a new year: Twenty Ten! Yay!
In honor of 20th day of the new year, here are twenty news bits and random observations. (Um, that four month gap since my last post was well worth the wait, right? ;-))
1. My geeky self is thrilled at the speed and beauty of Snow Leopard on my new Mac Mini.
3. Purging old stuff from my studio including books. Making room for more.
4. Went to an amazing SCBWI Cyber Promotions retreat in Santa Barbara. (More to come~cross my heart…)
5. Started up Hula again.
6. Tackling my To Do list with some friendly help.
7. Shifting priorities with a smile.
8. Pleased that Project Runway is back in the Big Apple.Display Comments Add a Comment
It’s been a while, folks. In February, I traveled abroad on family business and since returning I’ve been occupied with playing catch up. Life is gradually returning to “normal.” For starters, I am involved in a fun spring event—the annual childrens book illustrator show at MOCHA (Museum of Childrean’s Art) in Oakland, Once Upon A Time. Come to the Artist Reception tomorrow, March 27, 2010, 2-4 pm. For location and more info, visit the museum online.
The following image is a pencil draft of a page in my picture book, Can You Catch A Coqui Frog? written by Vera Arita and illustrated by yours truly. If you’d like to see the actual finished illustration, then do come to the show which runs until May 7.
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The Hospital of Wild Sorrows
Friend of Dossy
The Heavy Men
My friend Sean Hurley (aka Sherwin Sleeves) is an incredible writer and storyteller, both on the page and in the traditional vocal sense. He has written and produced a podcast called Atoms, Motion and the Void for a number of years and he now is working on a YA book called The Rulebook and Calendar of Kittery Embers which he has been serializing as he finishes chapters. You should really give it a listen and if you are in the publishing world you should get in touch with him because he is now looking for an agent and publisher for this story.
The above images are character and style idea sketches I’ve been doing purely out of love for the Kittery Embers story. I of course would love to do illustrations for the actual book as well if it ever came to that (ahem).Add a Comment
I LOVE this post and this one, too, about query letters. Actually, I love this blog period. The blogger sounds like a really sensible blogger/agent/person all the time. Enjoy.Display Comments Add a Comment
I did it! I’m almost caught up on my words as I did a lot of NaNo writing today—chalking up over 6k words! Not an easy task for an AR *anal retentive* writer like me. Usually, I stop every thousand words or so and whittle down to the basic bones of the story.
Like I’ve said before… NaNo writing requires a large degree of commitment and risk-taking. You write a story dictated entirely by your muse. No questions asked. It’s like diving into a pool blindfolded with no idea of how deep it is or what lies at the bottom. Okay, maybe the blindfolds are off if you have a loose outline.
I’m very close to 20,000 words (yipee!), so I’m posting two things to help mark the occasion:
1. Just a fun pic of me (above) dressed as a RoboCat at a New Orleans Halloween event last month with halau Na Lei Hulu. I promised my costume maven friend, Sandra, that I’d post a pic so… voila! I’m posing with Lela, a character from Futurama, AKA Rose from halau. Yes, I’m like a B-movie RoboCat.
2. Here’s a paragraph from my NaNo middle-grade novel called Between Friends. Thanks to my NaNo buddy, Laura, who has posted sentences from her novel, I’m inspired to post an entire paragraph from mine. Disclaimer: This from my first draft. Just a first draft…
“I dunno. I’m just making up something,” she says. I know and I’m a bit wary about what she’s making. I inspect the floor to see if there’s anything from the kitchen. The last time Deanna made her concoctions, or whatever it is she calls them, she used real milk in some of those bottles. Then she stored them under her bed and forgot all about them. A week or so later there was a gross smell. Worse than that were these little maggots, horrible spindly white things, crawling out from under her bed. Deanna refused to sleep in her bed for weeks, long after the mess was cleaned up.
I aim to get to 30k words by mid-week. Stay tuned…!Add a Comment
I won my first NaNoWriMo. Yipee-Yi-Yi-Yay!
The third time’s a charm, as the saying goes. In previous years, I’d reached 35k and 14k. But this go-round I wrote beyond 50k with a story I had swimming around in my head for a while. It’s a middle-grade tale and it’s far from complete. It’ll probably end at 70-80k. Then I’m onto rewriting and editing.
The above image is a composite of Norman Rockwell’s Thanksgiving dinner with a girl typing away at her laptop. That’s me (symbolically). I typed my NaNo novel like a maniac over Thanksgiving holiday: en route to Philly, Delaware, D.C. and back. (Thankfully, my family understood.)
Venturing into NaNo-land, especially this time of year, requires a steel gut and harded-headed determination. Was I made of the right stuff? Could I pull if off? Here’s what I did: After downing several helpings of turkey and all the trimmings and favorites like green bean salad, Tex-Mex salad, pumpkin pie and my mom-in-law’s special thumbprint cookies, I tickled my NaNo reflex and purged my story in all its glory, its nouns, pronouns, verbs and adjectives, spiked with typo’s, adverbs and run-on sentences into my trusty Macbook Pro. Yes, it was far from pretty. I slogged my laptop around, hunching over the shining LCD screen with a bum wrist from tennis elbow, wherever and whenever, I could. This got the job done. Whew.
So, what had I learned? I found that the same writing muscles for PB’s are the same as in noveling, with slight differences. Both require a love of language and story and an eagerness, perhaps an obsession, for taking a risk. I discovered that my inner novelist eye could be fine-tuned with a story that reached into distant memories, while my eye for picture books was bent on something more immediate, neatly wrapped with colorful ribbons.
Also, I learned that I enjoyed writing novels, as much as, PB’s and that the 50k goal was attainable with people cheering and prodding you on like family and NaNo buddies—notably, Laura, Kailani and the NaNoWriMo crew at Verla’s Blueboards.
Winning NaNo is only the beginning, so I’ll close the post with an inspirational tag that has followed me throughout the years a la my French college roommate, Eliane: Reagis bon sang! Loose translation: React. Do it now. Make today count.Add a Comment
This site is right up my alley:
like netflix but for children’s books, and rather then simply returning them to you can donate them to school libraries in need. I just found out about this today, but the concept is very intriguing. Especially when library hours dwindle, and you can’t get a copy of the book you want. If anyone has tried it, let me know if it is worthwhile.Posted in Kid Lit, Other Trains of Thought Tagged: book donations, excitebooks, Kid Lit, netflix
Remember doing Show ‘n Tell back in grade school? That’s essentially what I do when I visit schools and libraries as a visiting author/illustrator. I love sharing with young audiences the process of creating a picture book. Depending on how long I have, I take my audience through the journey of book-making from idea to publication and printing. Often, I’ll share a little bit extra about the culture and food of Hawai’i. If there is time, I’ll even perform a sitting hula like I did at Fairytale Town in Sacramento this fall. The photos above and below show the audience involvement. Fun for all ages!
I’ve performed in classrooms and school assemblies of all sizes since my book, The Sleeping Giant: A Tale From Kaua’i was released in fall 2006. I look forward to doing more school and library performances in 2009. To find out how to book me for a school appearance, please visit this link.
Hau’oli Makahiki Hou! Happy New Year!
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(as in the art of…accepting my first book deal…making a deal on the first script from HCP…
finalizing a sale deal on my condo…getting a deal on my monthly bills and traveling)Posted in Century 1, Kid Lit Tagged: 2009, Deal, one word
So, as I have had no email due to a technical glitch that can only be handled by the people that don’t answer the phones - don’t get me started on Customer Service as a right not a privilege…. I devoured a great Writing Prompt Book - Jack Prelutsky’s Pizza, Pigs, and Poetry: How to Write A Poem.
One really cool thing about him, he is the first Children’s Poet Laureate. I love that distinguished title, it is something so grown-up like “Consultant”, but his poems reflect the pure joy of wordplay. That joy was in the reading and in the exercises or “tips” as he labels them - stuff that I forgot like concrete poetry: words as art. He wrote a poem in the shape of a circle, that you had to spin it around to read - something right up my skating alley, as I love to spin!
So I wrote one in the shape of a boomerang:
Just pure fun!
I’ve been stressing out about writing for the conferences, and getting the rejections, and crafting the words just right that nothing comes out— that creates a big writer’s block of nothing.
So thank you Jack for your personable poetry book, and someday I hope to take over your laureate position.Posted in Kid Lit, Other Trains of Thought Tagged: Boomerangs, Jack Prelutsky, Kid Lit, Poet Laureate, Poetry, Writer's Block
Today was one of those days - a stepping out of the comfort zone day. A do stuff for myself day.
My comfort zone is all about giving gifts - either giving my thoughts or time or money to others. I was so touched by this thank you from my friend’s son for a package that I sent to his family in the mail, and equally moved by his mom’s card as well: Real Paper, Real Scribble,Real thanks.
Change is in the air again, and I felt it. My pup was acting more rambunctious as usual. I had a very eye-opening discussion about selling my condo. There is a real possibility of a short sale, and since I am a short person I guess it is fitting…
Then an earthquake.
But there is more than a short sale going on here, it is my cleansing; getting rid of the part of myself that is too generous to others. I often spread myself thinly on my own bagel, and give the heaping gobs of goodness to the others of my life. But I’m simply not into self-preservation here, it is self-redemption. Getting myself stronger and secure so I can get back to helping others without the total self-sacrifice. The past few years was part of that strengthening process: 2007 was the year of being a volunteer, since the writer’s strike left me income-less, my job became volunteering. I knew what it was like to really retire, not the kind of retirement where you sail around the world in your yacht living off the interest of your investments. No, this kind is the living on Social Security kind which lots of us probably won’t get to experience. It was in 2007 that I started to train for a Marathon. 2008 I completed my first Marathon, and it was the hardest physical thing I’ve ever done. 2009 is about getting my finances in order (horrible timing!) but is also about accomplishing the hardest mental thing I will ever do: to let go of everyone else and really take care of myself. Admitting that I’m a writer and exposing people to my true passion. To live a life without suppression or subjugation. The thank you from Thomas showed me that I love to excite the minds of children.
And another admission - Last year I did my first book signing, and my first book was SELF-published. I hadn’t discovered SCBWI or knew the process of getting legitimately published yet, I just want to dive in head-first and do it for myself. There are self-published wild success stories, and mine is not of them, but I think it served a greater purpose. I donated a lot of books, and just wanted them in the library to touch the hearts or funny bones of kids. Yesterday, a friend that I gave the book to for Christmas said his 4-year old absolutely loved it. That made me feel so great, that’s why I’m spending my non-existent money and time on this children’s lit thing, although my favorite author is the “grown-up” Albert Camus. Maybe I’ll still be a “stranger” to being legitimately published, but here’s a review of my self-published book that leads me to believe that I’m being pointed in the right literary direction:
So, as we all go through “the change” today, some things don’t change - like having to get back to the reality of work and bills. I’ll have my take on the Santa Barbara Picture Book Retreat later, but I thought I’d share the poem I wrote in Joan Graham’s electric language presentation. She read us many examples and gave us randomly selected words to include in writing an impromptu poem, here are the words: time, dark, sweep, voice, wonder.
Here is my poem:
Over time, a dark voice booms out
calls to glory
ricochet off locker doors
and hit the hearts of the players.
No wonder they will sweep.
He told them too.
If you have some poems from the weekend feel free to post them here…Posted in Kid Lit, Other Trains of Thought
Query, Query, Query,
I must confess - I love writing them too!
Jill’s compiled a fabulous set of links for the not-so-quey-eyed writer.
Rock On Jill!Posted in Kid Lit, Other Trains of Thought, Submissions Tagged: Jill Corcoran, Kid Lit, Query Letters
Busy is a word reserved for the few, the proud, the busy. But when you are so busy, you cannot pursue your complete pursuit of happiness… Sometimes you have to change the order of the to-do list.
Easier said than done, when the government has deadlines, and bill collectors have their deadlines, and publishers have their deadlines. When they all converge at once, it sometimes helps to apply that old test-taking philosophy: Do the easy questions first, then go back to the hard ones if you have time at the end of the test.
So, after doing the fun, but tiring things (like volunteer for ISU Skating Worlds), and the pressing things (like finishing up work on “Breaking Bad”), my April Fools Day was spent doing taxes.
I also managed to fit one more thing in– a revision that I am actually happy with on my manatee picture book. I have been wrestling with the concept of this book for years, going through many critiques from fellow writers and editors alike — and I am going to declare that I found it’s voice. It’s truer to me now, and I know there will be editorial revisions in the future, but finally to me the story is clear. It hit me as I did the dummy on it, and with the non-verbal “editing” skills that I use at work with ease, I cut and pasted my way to the heart of the story.
Thanks to Alexis O’Neill and the blank book from Santa Barbara retreat, it has been my work horse.
When I got home from my taxes appointment and flipped on the t.v. - this is what I saw:
I have gone to several Writer 2 Writer events here, and was thinking of doing a birthday detour to it this Sunday…I hope the bookstore and everyone who worked there can survive something as freakish as this. My sympathies go out to those hurt and to the families of the victims of the crash.Posted in Kid Lit, Other Trains of Thought Tagged: Alexis O'Neill, Busy, Flintridge Book Store
Here’s a picture book written by Vera Arita and illustrated by yours truly. This 24-page PB features a fun romp with animals in the Hawaiian islands. It’s due for release in Fall ‘09.Display Comments Add a Comment