In honor of Eric Carle’s classic, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, today is Very Hungry Caterpillar Day. Each year there is a theme around Very Hungry Caterpillar Day and for 2012 the theme is “inspiring hungry minds to grow.” Carle’s books have helped generations of children learn basic concepts like colors and counting, encouraged healthy eating, and inspired kids to grow their imagination. In honor of the day, we have some fun downloadable activities including Caterpillar ABC's and Counting Fruit--you can find all the Very Hungry Caterpillar Day activities here, under the heading Activities for Your Hungry Reader.
For over 40 years, The Very Hungry Caterpillar has been a staple on baby's first bookshelf and seems to be universally loved by those who read it as a child, or who have read it to their own kids. Several of us in the office developed a bit of a crush on this remarkable author/illustrator after watching the video of Carle talking about his inspiration for The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse (you can see it here). It's fortunate that Eric Carle's passion for writing books that teach and excite young readers hasn't waned in the decades since The Very Hungry Caterpillar first arrived on the scene, and I always think it's fun to see what people's favorite titles are. I especially love The Grouchy Ladybug, Mister Seahorse, and The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse. What are your favorites?
Last year author Sherri Duskey Rinker published her first picture book, Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site, and it has become a slush pile success story, including a spot on our Top 10 Best Picture Books of 2011 list and topping the New York Times' bestsellers list for Children's Picture Books in January of this year. With 5-star reviews from Amazon's customers and raves from the media, Goodnight has become the little engine that could.
Sherri graciously agreed to write something special for our Omni readers, sharing her inspiration behind the book (calling all Virginia Lee Burton fans!) and her story of getting it published with an illustrator she'd never heard of. I have a feeling Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site is going to be a staple on kids' bookshelves for many years to come. --Seira
From the Slush Pile to #1: Realizing my vision. Or not.
I grew up loving picture books.
I can still hear my grandmother's voice over the sound of the pages turning, the old wind-up Westclox alarm clock ticking away and the sound of traffic rolling down Howard Street. I remember the smell of books mingling with the smell of freshly laundered sheets.
Virginia Lee Burton's The Little House was my favorite, and I obsessed over the whimsically sweet illustrations of that little pink house happily sitting upon a hill covered in daisies.
Inspired, I wanted to be an artist. I also wanted to be a poet, an art teacher, and a journalist. The ping-pong ball of art vs. words ended with a career as a graphic designer. It was a perfect fit: I took pictures and words and put them together in a pretty way.
I met an artist, a photographer. He also had grown up with Virginia Burton: Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel. It was a sign. So I married him. We had two boys and two good excuses for buying dozens (and dozens) of picture books.
Inspired by my youngest son's tireless (literally!) obsession with trucks, I wrote Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site in stolen moments during the workday and late at night, after the boys were tucked in. And with the words emerged a vision (dare I say "obsession") for how the book and my trucks would look.
I could see it so clearly: realistic illustrations of trucks superimposed with facial expressions to convey the mood and create the characters. Strong, yet simple graphic elements to create the setting. A bit of realism. A bit of collage. A bit of a grunge to compliment the dirty work of the trucks. I included the concept illustration with my manuscript and sent it, unsolicited, to Chronicle Books.
When my editor contacted me, three months aft
Welcome back to Author Rachael Renee Anderson! I adore Rachael and am thrilled to feature her book Minor Adjustments as part of Best I've Read 2011.
I love to read, write, and do most anything outdoors, with the exception of rock climbing and sky diving. (I have serious height phobias.) If there's something I can do within five feet of solid ground, count me in!
For lots of fun, random things about Rachael visit her blog: http://rachaelreneeanderson.blogspot.com/p/about-me.html
You can read my review of her book Minor Adjustments HERE
For me, there's nothing like reading a good, fun, happy, feel-good love story--which why I also love writing them. So years and years ago, when I started writing my first novel (pre-kids), I love, love--and I mean LOVED--the name Kennedy for a girl. So of course that's the name I gave my first heroine. A few years later, I had my first daughter--who I also named Kennedy. Fast forward several years and that book ended up getting published. Yay! I happily dedicated it to my daughter and looked forward to the day I could put the book in her hands and read her the dedication.
But when that day came something I should have anticipated, but stupidly didn't happened. My two sons, who were standing nearby, asked, "Why isn't my name in your book?"
So about a year later, my second book was published which featured Brighton, my oldest son. He was thrilled that his name made it into a book, too, and asked me to read the story to him (keep in mind that he was 9 at the time and Luck of the Draw was a romantic comedy). Against my better judgement, I agreed, and together we read a chapter or two every night. When we finished, I asked, "Did you like it?" "It was okay," came his response. "Well, what didn't you like about it?"
Get this: "That my name wasn't in it."
Haha! Your fault, buddy!!! :)
So onto my third book--Minor Adjustments--featuring none other than Devon (child #3). Equal opportunity, right? But with this book, I took it a step further. Although the mc's name IS Devon, the child in the book (a darling four-year-old boy) was pattered after MY Devon--who was also four at the time. Which means that someday, when he, too, gets upset with me for writing a love story with his name in it, I can also tell him that little boy is him, too. :)
And no, I am hard at work on my 4th book featuring my youngest--Taycee Lynne. Here's hoping she'll love fun, happy romances as much as I do. :)Minor Adjustments
Chicago businessman and bachelor Devon Pierce doesn't want to be appointed guardian of Australian four-year-old Ryan Caldwell - but Ryan's solicitor, Stella Walker, won't take no for an answer. Little does Devon know that this "minor" adjustment will grant him a fut
Welcome back Author Amber Argyle! I'm featuring her book Witch Song as part of Best I've Read 2011. You can read my review of her book HERE.
Amber Argyle grew up with three brothers on a cattle ranch in the Rocky Mountains. She spent hours riding horses, roaming the mountains, and playing in her family’s creepy barn. This environment fueled her imagination for writing her debut novel. You can follow her on:
She has worked as a short order cook, janitor, and staff member in a mental institution. All of which has given her great insight into the human condition and has made for some unique characters.
She received her bachelor’s degree in English and Physical Education from Utah State University.
She currently resides in Utah with her husband and three small children.
Website INTERVIEW:What is one book everyone should read?
I just finished Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver and I LOVED it. Anyone who’s ever had to climb a social ladder (that’s everyone, BTW) should read this book (you just have to get past not wanting to strangle the MC for the first 50 pages).Pet Peeves?
Winter. I pretty much freeze for 5 months every year. Doesn’t matter that I’m wearing ther
It's that time of year for "Favorites of 2011" posts and rather than combine all of mine into one giant post, I thought spreading them out over a few weeks might make more sense. These are a few picture books that I loved this year and have really enjoyed recommending and gifting to family and friends. Book titles all link to my reviews. Stars
by Mary Lyn RayBlackout
by John RoccoNaamah and the Ark at Night
by Susan Campbell BartolettiIf Rocks Could Sing: A Discovered Alphabet
by Leslie McGuirkPress Here
by Herve Tullet
Welcome back to author Shannen Crane Camp.Shannen Crane Camp
I was fortunate to get my hands on a very early review copy of Shannen Crane Camp's release The Break-Up Artist. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and my review can be found HERE.
Shannen Crane Camp was born and raised in Southern California where she developed a love of reading and writing, completing her first (very) short story in the fifth grade. She continued to write throughout junior high and high school before finally deciding that enough was enough; it was time to be an author. She moved to Provo, Utah, to attend Brigham Young University where she attained a bachelor's degree in Media Arts and a very well received proposal from her fellow California resident Josh Camp. The two are now happily married and living in Provo. http://breakupartistbook.com/GUEST POST: “Budgeting your time with exact change”
Recently I’ve been busy. Not the “should I play video games or read a book?” busy but “I just worked 11 hours and now I need to sneak in a meal before going to bed and starting all over again” busy. Not the fun kind of busy. The unfortunate part of this is the fact that my very first book just came out on December 8th and I have absolutely no time to market it.
I look around at the other authors with books similar to mine doing book signings a few times a week, writing blog posts like they’re going out of style, and giving away ipads if you sign up for their mailing lists… OK… maybe they aren’t giving away ipads but still. As a first time author with very little time on her hands and no money to spare on giveaway items, it can seem overwhelming to compete in this market.
And then I stopped feeling sorry for myself. At least, I’m working on it. But while working on this feat I realized there are probably a lot of authors in the same boat as me. Struggling with your day job while also struggling to market a book you know could do well if only you had the time and resources to get it out there.
So here are a few things that have worked well for me even with my limited time and budget.
First off, the internet is a WONDERFUL source of marketing. This blog post, for example, I am writing after an 11 hour day at work (which may be evident by the fact that it’s all over the place and I’m switching tenses like there’s no tomorrow), but it’s still something I can do in a half hour to help people hear about my book. Online marketing has been a savior for me since the only time I can market is late at night after work. Ready fo
I went back to January 2011 and picked one piece of art from each illustrator featured this year. It was a hard process and I am sure your choices would be different. Heck, if I went back in a few weeks my choices probably would not be the same, either. I loved so many of the illustrations, but I do have a Christmas tree to decorate and just this much was hours of work.
Below you will find one illustration from each Saturday, the name of the illustrator and a link to their featured page. Hope you enjoyed what the illustrators shared with you this year.
Susan Jeffers – http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2011/01/08/illustrator-saturday-susan-jeffers/
Ponder Goembel – http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2011/01/15/illustrator-saturday-ponder-goembel/
Lean Shiffman – http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2011/01/22/illustrator-saturday-lean-shiffman/
Andrew Cox – http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2011/01/29/illustrator-saturday-andrew-cox/
Nathan Clement – http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2011/02/05/illustrator-saturday-nathan-clements/
Katia Wish – http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2011/02/12/illustrator-saturday-katia-wish/
Hazel Mitchell – http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2011/02/19/illustrator-saturday-hazel-mitchell/
J. H. Everett – http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2011/02/26/illustrator-saturday-e-j-everett/
Lee Harper – http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2011/03/05/illustrator-saturday-lee-harper/
By: JoVon Sotak,
If you're sweet on a levitating girl or an invisible boy, then we have the perfect eCards for you. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children was one of our favorite books of 2011, and this Valentine's Day, those peculiar children are delivering heart-felt messages in a one-of-a-kind way. Why settle on message-stamped candy hearts, when an image can say so much more?
See all the peculiar Valentine's Day eCards available for free from Quirk Books.
Best of 2011 Giveaway Hop
December 27th to 31st
The year is quickly coming to an end. It's time to spotlight my favorite reads of 2011. Again this year I will be taking part in Best I've Read - A giveaway event with 10 other bloggers. We have some great book giveaways & author interviews lined up.
But that's not the only event I'll be participating in!
I will also be hosting giveaways at the end of December for some of my favorite reads for 2011. I invite you to join me!
- Your giveaway should be for one of your favorite reads of 2011. It can be a book that was released in 2011 or a book your read in 2011. Alternately you may include a list of your favorite 2011 reads for the winner to choose from. You may provide a gift card for them to purchase the book.
- You must include the hop image and linky in your post.
- Your post must be up by 12:01 AM on December 27th.
- No restrictions on the number of entries but please try to keep it simple. Long lists of things to do discourages people from entering.
- Only family friendly sites & books (no erotica, etc.)
To participate simply add your blog to the linky. Please include shipping info in parenthesis after your blog name.
By: Carol B.,
As the year winds down, the three of us will be posting our favorite children's and young adult book covers published in 2011. Woo.
But we want to know yours. Double woo!
Your mission: Post the titles/authors/illustrators of your favorites of 2011 (how about the top five?) in the comments here and we'll compile them into a gorgeous, celebratory post in January. Can't wait to see what you've seen!
The first book I'm featuring on my site as part of Best I've Read 2011 is Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. You can read my review HERE.Title: The Daughter of Smoke and BoneAuthor: Laini TaylorSeries: Book 1 of 3Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young ReadersReleased: September 27, 2011
Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky. Giveaway Details:
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.
Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.
When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?
1 copy of The Daughter of Smoke and Bone.
Open to US only (no PO Boxes)
To Enter Fill out the Rafflecopter Form.
Content: Not a clean read but neither was it overly explicit or graphic. The book started off with Karou in an art class drawing nudes, remorseful over having given up her virginity to the male model. I wasn't sure about the book at that point but it definitely went up from there. There was language throughout the first half of the book but I didn't notice as much during the second half of the book, probably because the character that swore the most was no longer a part of the storyline. There was implied sex but without details. Recommended only for older teens and adult.
Be sure to visit all the BIR2011 Blogs to see which book they are featuring today!http://bestiveread.blogspot.com/p/blog-schedules.html
It's official! Best I've Read 2011 is about to start and wow, do we have an incredible line-up for you this year! You can check out the full schedule HERE.
The Best I've Read Blog is kicking off this year's event with the amazing and talented Kristi Cook's debut YA novel, HAVEN. Be sure to stop by to enter the giveaway for your chance to win one of 5 copies of her book! Be the first to see the cover for the sequel mirage and read an exclusive Mirage excerpt! Visit http://bestiveread.blogspot.com!
Each of the 11 participating blogs voted on their favorite books of 2011. The top 8 books will be featured on BEST I'VE READ. Each participating blog then chose at least 7 other books to feature this week. You are going to want to stop by all their sites for your chance to win some great books!
I'm excited to introduce this years Best I've Read Blogs to you. All of us were previously member of another online community. We've since all become book bloggers and have joined together to bring you the Best Books of 2011.
Best I've Read Blogs
I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
Books Complete Me
A Good Addiction
2 Comments on Best I've Read 2011 #BIR2011 Kickoff, last added: 12/12/2011
There are a lot of paranormal young adult books out there now days, many of them blend together and I don't remember which story line goes with which book. This was not the case with the Wolves of Mercy Falls. Maggie Stiefvater is an amazing writer and I have really enjoyed her Wolves of Mercy Falls Series. See my review of Shiver HERE, Linger HERE, Forever HERE.Title: ForeverAuthor: Maggie StiefvaterSeries: Wolves of Mercy Falls Book 3 of 3Publisher: ScholasticReleased: July 12, 2011
The thrilling conclusion to #1 bestselling Shiver trilogy from Maggie StievaterGiveaway Details
In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. In Linger, they fought to be together. Now, in Forever, the stakes are even higher than before. Wolves are being hunted. Lives are being threatened. And love is harder and harder to hold on to as death comes closing in.
2 winners will each receive a copy of Forever
Open to US only
Ends 12/31/11a Rafflecopter giveaway
Content: Pushed the limit of my comfort zone on language and innuendo.
Be sure to stop by the BIR2011 blog to read and interview and enter the giveaway for today's featured book Divergent by Veronica Roth: http://bestiveread.blogspot.com/2011/12/bir2011-divergent-interview-giveaway.html
Welcome back to Author Mary Lindsey!
Mary's writing is a natural expression of her love of reading and a fascination with the flexibility of the human imagination. Books make the impossible possible.
Prior to attending University of Houston Law School, Mary received a B.A. in English Literature with a minor in Drama from the University of Houston. She has taught drama and playwriting in a large public high school and English in a private school. Currently, Mary teaches acting to children and teens at a private studio in Houston, Texas.
She is represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency.
Mary lives in Houston with her husband, three kids, two dogs, her daughter's pet rats, an Australian Bearded Dragon and dozens of Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. (The roaches are long story—don't ask.)
If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose?
The question didn’t specify dead or alive, so I’m going with both!
What is one book everyone should read?
Shattered Souls, of course! No, just kidding. The one book everyone should read is To Kill a Mockingbird.
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
Yes! I recently sold another book to Penguin. It is a young adult gothic novel based on Edgar Allan Poe’s last poem, “Annabel Lee.” I’m really excited about it.
If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world.. which would it be?
11 Comments on Book Giveaway & Author Interview: Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey #BIR2011, last added: 1/9/2012
Welcome back Author Lesley Livingston!
Lesley is a writer and actor living in Toronto, Canada. Captivated at a young age by stories of mythology and folk lore, past civilizations, and legendary heroes, she developed into a full-fledged Celtic Mythology Geek, steeped in stories of the Otherworld, Faeries and King Arthur. Lesley went on to earn a Master’s Degree in English from the University of Toronto specializing in Shakespeare and Arthurian literature.http://lesleylivingston.blogspot.com/
For almost three years, Lesley hosted weekly late-night movie marathons on the nationally broadcast television show, SPACEBAR, as the Waitron-9000, a sparkly holographic waitress with an encyclopedic knowledge of obscure B-movie trivia. She is also a founding member and principal performer with Tempest Theatre Group.
Lesley is an unrepentant egghead – a character-trait that somehow doesn’t interfere with a love of shoes and shiny things. Lesley is the author of the Wondrous Strange Trilogy: Wondrous Strange 2008, Darklight 2009, Tempestous 2010.
If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
The past. I spend a lot of time there anyway and know my way around the place!
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
If it’s a ONCE EVERY NEVER book: Time-travel-romance-adventure-historical-fantasy-teen-chick-lit-sci-fi-rom-com-romp! If it’s a WONDROUS STRANGE book: Urban-Faerie-breathtaking-romance-adventure-Otherworldly-shenanigans-with-a-touch-of–Shakespeare-and-wicked-cool-fight-scenes!
Any other books in the works?
I just finished the first book in the (brand new, set in the same universe as the WS
Welcome back Author Ruta Sepetys! Between Shades of Gray was one of my favorite reads of 2011. I'm thrilled to be featuring Ruta & her book as part of BIR2011.Bio:
Born and raised in Michigan, Ruta Sepetys is the daughter of a Lithuanian refugee. The nations of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia disappeared from maps in 1941 and did not reappear until 1990. As this is a story seldom told, Ruta wanted to give a voice to the hundreds of thousands of people who lost their lives during Stalin's cleansing of the Baltic region.http://www.rutasepetys.com/ INTERVIEWIf you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
Ruta lives with her family in Tennessee. Between Shades of Gray is her first novel.
RS - I would go back to the past, take my college economics course and try to improve my grade!
What is one book everyone should read?
RS - "Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor E. Frankl
If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
RS - Health restoration for sick children.
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
RS - Coffee.
What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
RS - Brownies. I know, horrible, but it's true.
Night owl, or early bird?
RS - I guess I'm a combo - an Early Owl. If I'm writing I'm up early, but if I'm working on projects for my day job I often have to stay up very late.
Skittles or M&Ms?
Today I'm featuring Jenni James as part of Best I've Read. As a huge fan of both Jane Austen and Young Adult books her new book Pride and Popularity is a perfect mix of both and was right up my alley. You can read my review of the book HERE.Jenni James Bio
I'm married to a totally hot, redheaded Air Force Recruiter, named Mark. Together we have 10 kiddos (7 ours, 3 fostered). We have just moved back to the States after living 9 awesome years in the Azores Islands of Portugal and England! Our kids love the USA. When I'm not writing up a storm, I enjoy reading, acting, portrait painting, directing plays, cooking, planning elaborate parties and chasing my kids around the house. INTERVIEW:If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
Organization. Hands down. I think anyone who naturally possesses the talent of organization is a superhero. I struggle with this every single day of my life. Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
Well, since I’m rewriting & modernizing all 6 of the Jane Austen novels, I’ve got those coming out. The second one Northanger Alibi releases in February and the third Persuaded will come out this summer. Followed closely behind by Emmalee, Mansfield Ranch, and Sensible & Sensational.
I’m also working on a cookbook, some more YA, and a few Middle Grade novels… so stay tuned. *waggles eyebrows and grins*What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?
Oh, goodness! My most favoritest book, is still my most favorite story. I love to read it over and over again. And watch it, I own several—SEVERAL—different versions of this story: Cinderella. Which is why I guess I love Jane Austen so much. What's one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Never give up, never surrender! Don’t do it. If this is your dream, then work, scrape, beg, borrow and climb. Don’t worry about rejection—it’s just God’s way of saying, “they weren’t who I had in mind for you to work with anyway…”If you could choose only one time period and place to live, when and where would you live and why?
Right here. Right now. I can’t wait to see what happens next. Yes, there’s a lot of bad in this world, but there’s also so many amazing things happening under our noses. Miracles, cures, discoveries… this really is the most amazing time to be alive. I say do your part to get rid of the bad and allow this time to shine. Can you see yourself in any of your characters?
Lol! Yes. There’s a bit of me in every single book I write. There has to be, or it wouldn’t be real. Though, Chloe in Pride & Popularity is the most like me of any of The Jane Austen Diaries. If you could have a signed copy of any novel what would it be and why?
Eeek. Are you kidding me? Jane Austen’s Persuasion! Can you imagine? I think I just might faint at the thought. :DTV or Movies?
Movies. I don’t watch any televisio