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By: Chris Barton
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A Gamer's Alphabet
, Attack! Boss! Cheat Code!
, Bartography Express
, Brain Burps About Books
, Chris Barton
, Cynthia Leitich Smith
, Don Tate
, Jennifer Ziegler
, Kari Anne Holt
, Katie Davis
, Picture Book Month
, Revenge of the Flower Girls
, Rhyme Schemer
, Shark Vs. Train
, The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch
, The Day-Glo Brothers
, The Nutcracker Comes to America
, video games
, writing advice
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I’m a few days late to the party, thanks to my participation in the YALSA and ILF events, but I’m happy this morning to share with you this recently recorded interview I did for Katie Davis’ kidlit podcast, Brain Burps About Books.
In addition to discussing Shark Vs. Train and Attack! Boss! Cheat Code!, Katie and I talked quite a bit about my email newsletter, Bartography Express, which I wrote about earlier this year for Cynsations. And in fact, while I was listening to our interview, I was actually putting the finishing touches on this month’s edition.
The November edition includes, among other things, a Q&A with K.A. Holt and a giveaway of her new book, Rhyme Schemer. If you want to receive this issue in your very own inbox and get in the running for the giveaway, you can sign up on my home page.
Hooray for Hat!
by Brian WonAdd to GoodreadsAbout the Book:
Elephant wakes up feeling grumpy. Until a delivery arrives at his door and a new hat cheers him up. Elephant wants to share his hat and along the way cheers up his friends.GreenBeanTeenQueen Says:
I'm a sucker for retro-style illustrations. There's just something about them that make me feel happy. Hooray for Hat!
features what could be called some retro-style illustrations and it fits the book perfectly.
Elephant is grumpy but his hat cheers him up. He visits his friends throughout the day and cheering them up with a hat of their own. The text is simple and the illustrations are bright and simple and not distracting making this a great storytime book. There's also a nice repetitive refrain of "Hooray for Hat" that kids can cheer along as the animals become happy.
This is a great story of how a simple act of kindness can make someone's day. This would be a great book to talk to kids about being kind, helping others, and paying it forward.
I've used this one in storytime a few times this year and each time I've read it it's been a bit hit. The kids catch on quickly to saying "hooray for hat" excitedly with each animal. And the joy the animals experience in sharing their gifts expands to the kids. The illustrations catch the expressions of the animals perfectly and the kids can see that and they get just as happy as each animal gets a new hat.
A fun picture book debut that is a great storytime addition.Full Disclosure: Reviewed from final copy borrowed from library
About the Book: A snake finds himself in the wrong pit. Instead of a snake pit, he winds up in an orchestra pit and learns about the various instruments that make up an orchestra.
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I have a music teacher mother so I was raised on music and books about music. I love finding books that I can use in storytime to introduce instruments and music to kids. Sometimes books that talk about the orchestra are a bit too long or detailed to use with a young audience. Johanna Wright fills that void with The Orchestra Pit.
As our snake finds his way through the orchestra pit, he discovers the various instruments and sections of the orchestra. He even discovers what the instruments sound like comparing the percussion to a gorilla and the horns to a elephant.
Younger readers might need a bit of help understanding that where an orchestra plays is called an orchestra pit and that each instrument has a unique sound. But The Orchestra Pit is the perfect starting point for that introduction. Read this one before you visit the symphony (or have the symphony visit the library for an instrument petting zoo and concert!) for an extra special treat.
Full Disclosure: Reviewed from galley sent from publisher
My post on “Why Picture Books Are Important” went up on the Picture Book Month blog this past week — but my insights are just one-ninth (at most!) of what’s been shared so far by a host of authors and illustrators.
If you haven’t stopped by yet and enjoyed what Arree Chung, Robin Preiss Glasser, Kelly Bingham, and others have had to say on the topic, what are you waiting for?
Cheers for a Dozen Ears: A Summer Crop of Counting
by Felicia Sanzari Chernesky, illustrated by Susan SwanAdd to GoodreadsAbout the Book:
A family visits the local farmer's market to stock up on fresh fruits and veggies.GreenBeanTeenQueen Says:
I always think it's fun to read books that introduce fruits and veggies to kids. It's a nice way to read about food and help them understand that fruits and vegetables are good to eat. (I don't know that reading about them makes them eat them at home, but I can try and help the parents out at least!)Cheers for a Dozen Ears
is the perfect book to add to my food themed storytime. It pairs wonderfully with Rah, Rah, Radishes. Y
ou can even add in the board book We're Going to Farmers Market
for a full storytime about fresh foods.
With rhythmic, rhyming text, the kids make sure to get all the items on their list. From eggplant to squash, peaches and green beans, the family counts as they add items to their cart. The bright colored illustrations capture the feel of a hot summer day.
A fun book that incorporates counting and food that makes a nice addition to storytime.Full Disclosure: Reviewed from finished copy sent by publisher for review
Little Elliot, Big City
by Mike CuratoAdd to GoodreadsAbout the Book:
Little Elliot is a little elephant who lives in a big city that is so much larger than he is. Elliot would love a cupcake but he's too small to reach. Will he get his treat?GreenBeanTeenQueen Says:
Every year a book is released that is so adorable and sweet I just sigh with happiness each time I read it. Little Elliot, Big City
is that book for me in 2014.
Elliot is adorable-there's just no better way to describe him. I would love a little polka-dotted elephant friend and I would love to share a cupcake with Elliot.
Not only is the story of Elliot finding a friend in the big city sweet, but the illustrations add to the tenderness. Mike Curato captures emotion on Elliot's face as he has to be careful in crowds or when Elliot is too small to reach what we wants. But Elliot doesn't let his size get him down and he takes notice of the small things. The two page spread of Elliot looking sad after he can't get his cupcake is heartbreaking. I also think it's appropriate that the only person that notices Elliot in a crowd is a small child. Of course a child would have the innocence and wonder to notice Elliot. It's a picture that is so simple and also speaks volumes. When Elliot meets mouse and learns he can help someone else, the spread of Elliot feeling big and proud captures Elliot's monumental achievement.Little Elliot, Big City
is Mike Curato's debut picture book and I can't wait to see more from him. I think Elliot would make a nice storytime book and would pair wonderfully with A Sick Day for Amos McGee
about a storytime on sweet and tender friendship.Full Disclosure: Reviewed from galley sent by publisher for review
Earlier this week, I told you about Melissa Stewart (NESCBWI colleague, by the way) sticking with a book project for ten years. Then I heard about Anne Broyles (whom I also know) working on Arturo and the Navidad Birds for thirteen years.
Now I'm thinking that this should be the test for any project a writer is considering taking on: Do you think you could work on this for at least a decade, maybe more?
Today is the last day of Picture Book Month 2013. What better way to see the month out than with a post by DeWitt Community Library children’s librarian Jennifer Burke on why she believes picture books are important.
After you read Jennifer’s thoughts here on Frog on a Blog, check out her awesome blog Miss Jenny Reads at http://jennythelibrarian.blogspot.com.
Jennifer says she can go on and on about the importance of picture books. That means a lot coming from the chair of the Empire State Award Committee of the Youth Services Section of the New York Library Association.
Why Picture Books Are Important
by Jennifer Burke
Why are picture books important? What a question with many answers! I love picture books and using them in story times. Nothing makes me happier than sharing a picture book with a group of children and seeing them interact with the pictures and being read to. One important thing I’d like parents to know is that picture books aren’t just for “little kids”. There are a variety of picture books that can be enjoyed by children all the way up to high school! In my experience as a children’s librarian, some parents try to push their young child into chapter books too early, not understanding that picture books are a valuable tool in learning to read.
Picture books are generally a child’s first encounter with books and it introduces them to reading, even if they aren’t able to read yet. The pictures are a major part of the written story and they expose children to different styles of art, while also enhancing the story with visual cues, like the emotions on a character’s face. Interacting with the pictures while listening to the story helps a child become engaged in the reading process, and helps foster a love of reading.
From a librarian’s point of view, picture books are important because they are a tool in teaching parents early literacy skills they can do with their child to get them ready to read. Reading picture books is critical in children developing a sense of how words sound, what words mean, and what the letters of the alphabet look and sound like. While reading to a child, adults can talk to them in a way that encourages the child to engage in the story and understand what is being read to them.
Finally – and this is a personal perspective – picture books provide a sense of comfort. When I open up a picture book that I read as a child, wonderful memories of my grandfather and mom reading to me wash over me and I feel like I am returning home. Reading the same books as an adult brings me back to my childhood and I enjoy the book even more because I am experiencing those memories again. And that’s a wonderful feeling.
Thanks, Miss Jenny!
Teacher/author/blogger Monica Edinger
's book, Africa Is My Home
, was recently included in a a New York Times Book Review column,
a very positive response for a first book. But as Monica said in a comment to yesterday's post
, Africa Is My Home
is another picture book that took thirteen years to write, sell, and publish.
My observance of Picture Book Month is ending on an unexpected note. These stories of the realities facing picture book authors coming one after another like this are inspiring/reassuring for people well into a writing life. But I'm left wondering if people outside writing realize this is the way publishing can work. I think there's an understanding that it's a hard field to break into, but I'm not sure how many people know that just breaking in isn't necessarily getting you "in" to anything. At any stage in their careers, writers can find themselves with a decade or more of work and hurry up and wait on one project or another.
So my Picture Book Month is ending with a detour away from picture books themselves to a little coverage of the picture book writing life.
I’m excited to be featured in Picture Book Month this year along with a host of other authors and illustrators. My spot on the calendar comes next Thursday, Nov. 6, but throughout the month the picture book champions will include:
Robin Preiss Glasser
Rene Colato Lainez
Kelly J. Light
Debbie Ridpath Ohi
Ann Whitford Paul
Linda Joy Singleton
We hope you’ll join us in this celebration of the print picture book and all it does for readers and families.
November is Picture Book Month! To celebrate, throughout the month I will be sharing about picture books!Bedtime at the Nut House
by Eric LitwinAdd to GoodreadsAbout the Book
: It's time for bed but two little nuts, Hazel and Wally are having too much fun! Will they listen to Mama Nut?GreenBeanTeenQueen Says:
I love Pete the Cat (let's be honest, I love the original four written by Eric Litwin). They are in my go-to storytime collection. I can recite I Love My White Shoes
and Four Groovy Buttons
from memory. So I was excited about The Nuts
because I couldn't wait to see what fun and groovy book Mr. Litwin would come up with next.
And I'll be honest, the first time I read this one, I wasn't sure what I thought. It was cute, but did it meet my high expectations and was another good storytime book? Then I read it aloud to my niece and I had my answer-yes!
The key to Bedtime at the Nut House
is that it needs to be read aloud. The song needs to be sung and you need to have an audience to enjoy Wally and Hazel's antics.
When I read this one in storytime, the kids really enjoyed it. I had them practice Mama Nut's song "all little nuts need to go up to bed" and Hazel and Wally's refrain of "we're nuts, we're nuts, we're nuts!" and then we were ready to read. The kids had a lot of fun singing "we're nuts!" and the parents laughed at Hazel and Wally's refusal to go to bed and the various ways they try to put off sleeping. Be sure to sing Hazel's part of "fig-a-nut"-it always gets a big laugh. And listen to the nut lullaby on www.thenutfamily.com
-it's very sweet and I even sing it to my son at bedtime!
When you have a one on one reading with a child or a small group, you can point out all the jokes in the illustrations. The "dipped nuts" in the ball pit, mama as a "roasted chestnut" when she's upset, and my favorite, the "Nutvana" poster in Hazel and Wally's room. There are so many funny things to find in the illustrations it's a book you'll want to read over and over.
I would add Bedtime at the Nut House
to your storyhour collection and gift to every parent and child who have had the battle over bedtime. Another winner from Eric Litwin!
I can't wait for the next Nut adventure
We all have cherished picture books, the ones read to us, the ones we read to others: Madeline, Green Eggs and Ham, This is Not My Hat, The Hungry Caterpillar, The Lion & the Mouse, Good Dog, Carl…
November is Picture Book Month, so prepare to read, reminisce, and revel in the stunning richness and variety of picture books.
Now in its third year, Picture Book Month is an international literacy initiative that celebrates the print picture book, founded by author and storyteller Dianne de Las Casas. Co-founders Katie Davis, Elizabeth O. Dulemba, Tara Lazar, and Wendy Martin helped build it into a worldwide event.
Partners in the initiative include the Children’s Book Council, Reading is Fundamental, The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Scholastic, Better World Books, The American Association of School Librarians (AASL), Friends of Tennessee Libraries, and others.
For a page of fun ways to celebrate picture books this November, visit Picture Book Month’s Celebrate! Page, here.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
By: Mark G. Mitchell
Blog: How To Be A Children's Book Illustrator
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children's book art
, children's book author-illustrators
, children's book illustration
, Pictures worth a thousand words
, children's picture book trailer
, Chris Barton
, Mark Mitchell
, Peter McCarty
, Picture book Chloe by Peter McCarty
, Picture Book Month
, Add a tag
Below, a sweet picture book trailer by author-illustrator Peter McCarty for his incomparable Chloe (HarperCollins Childrens). You can see art samples from the winners of the New York Times Best Illustrated Books Awards for 2014 here and enjoy best-selling picture book author Chris Barton’s post about why children’s picture books are important here. Picture Book Month is an international literacy... Read More
The post Celebrating children’s picture books! appeared first on How To Be A Children's Book Illustrator.
November is Picture Book Month! To celebrate, throughout the month I will be sharing about picture books!Add to GoodreadsAbout the Book:
Buddy is a monster who wants to eat some bunnies. But these are smart bunnies who know just how to escape being monster dinner.GreenBeanTeenQueen Says:
Ok, so I will probably say that anything Bob Shea writes is wonderful and hilarious. But trust me, Don't Play With Your Food
is wonderful and hilarious!
Bob Shea masters writing humor that is appealing to kids and adults and I think he hits the perfect balance with this book. The bunnies are clever and adults will catch on quickly to the bunnies tactics. Kids might be a bit slower to understand exactly what the bunnies have in mind, but they will soon figure it out and be laughing along with the bunnies as they district Buddy with their plans.
Bob Shea also includes lots of clever jokes in the illustrations. It took me a few times reading it to notice the bunnies multiplying throughout each day. It's a small joke that works masterfully in the story.Don't Play With Your Food
is an absolute treat to read aloud. I've used it in storytime multiple times and each time it's a big hit. I love that you can create different voices for the characters. It also works well as a partner reading. I used this with a co-worker on an outreach event and one person played Buddy and one person played the bunnies. It was lots of fun to pair up. I think it could also be a fun speech or reader's theater piece for older students.
Add this one to your storytime and personal collection now if you want to be laughing out loud! It never fails-I crack up every time I read it!Full Disclosure: Reviewed from library copy
Okay, so you remember a few days ago
I said I was going to do a blog post about a discussion I had with David Johnson
at the Connecticut Children's Book Fair? And you've been waiting and waiting for me to get around to that? Well, wait no longer.
David pointed out that his book, The Boy Who Drew Cats
, was published by Rabbit Ears Entertainment
, a Connecticut company. Rabbit Ears, Rabbit Ears, I thought. I started accessing my memory files. David is telling me that Rabbit Ears made children's videos with narrators such as Meryl Streep
. Rabbit Ears...Rabbit Ears...goes the google search in my mind.
"Theater?" I may have said out loud.
David had done the art work for some of the Rabbit Ear videos, The Boy Who Drew Cats
being one of them. And now Rabbit Ears had published the story as a picturebook with the art David had done for the video and perhaps more. I was busily going Rabbit Ears? Rabbit Ears? and wasn't as mindful with my listening as I should have been.
You all know I am just obsessive enough not to have left this alone. And after seeking out the Rabbit Ears website
, I found what I was trying to remember, not Rabbit Ears Theater but Rabbit Ears Radio, a program on public radio distributed by Public Radio International in the 1990s. It sounds as if the radio productions were the audio of the video productions. Rabbit Ears Radio brought a marvelous and really different angle to public radio, which is news and arts for adults.
Rabbit Ears Entertainment appears to be publishing picture book versions of its videos, which is interesting because usually it goes the other way--the book comes first and then a film version.
Last month's Carnival of Children's Literature
included Playing by the Book
's post on a new edition of Richard Scarry
's Best Word Book Ever
. I'd been planning to share that this month, anyway, but a quick conversation with a family member earlier this week made me decide to blog about it sooner rather than later. The family member didn't remember Richard Scarry, possibly because his mother didn't care for the author and moved him out of those books as fast as she could.
What was my...er...her objection to the Scarry books? No narrative. She was a story person and needed something happening to somebody with her reading.
No harm was done, but in thinking about Richard Scarry recently, I realized that this is another situation in which adult gatekeepers and children aren't necessarily going to be interested in the same things. And do adult interests have to trump every time
Sometimes, I decided, when you're sitting with a two- or three-year-old, you just have to suck it up and look at random pictures of bears dressed in clothes and riding around in vehicles. There are worse things you can be doing.
The Falling Leaves Master Class Retreat sponsored by SCBWI Eastern New York alternates its topics among novels, nonfiction, and picture books. Next year it will be time for another picture book retreat.
I've had The Dark
by Daniel Handler
writing as Lemony Snicket,
with illustrations by Jon Klassen.
floating around the house for a little while because, quite honestly, I didn't quite get the first volume of A Series of Unfortunate Incidents
by L.Snicket. Life is short, time is limited. Should I spend any of it reading another Snicket book?
Why, yes, I should.
What I particularly liked about The Dark
was its coherence. It both seems to lead you astray, suggesting this is going to be a creepy piece of fluff or a clever joke, and then with that same material makes clear that all this time this was a very straight story. Anthropomorphizing the dark could mean turning it into a monster or it could mean turning it into a logical, calming follow.
Which way did Handler/Snicket go?The Dark
is a Cybils nominee
this year in the fiction picture book category.
I received It's a Book
by Lane Smith
for my birthday. I recall it getting a lot of attention when it was published in 2010, and I can remember something else, too, though I'm having some trouble putting my finger on it. Was there just a little bit of controversy over this thing? Maybe because of the text on the last page? Because some considered it too adult?
I think the whole book is kind of adult. It's all about a monkey trying to get through to a jackass that a book is a book, not an electronic device. The whole issue of children being too plugged in too early seems to be a very adult concern to me, not one that children are even aware of. You could make the argument that that is the point, to make children see this before they become too enamored of electronics. But if kids haven't yet become enamored of electronics will they understand terms like "text," "tweet," and "Wi-Fi?"
There's an overt message in It's a Book
, I think, one that adult readers concerned about keeping reading a traditional book-centered activity will embrace. That's okay. I'm a big fan of picture books for adults. In fact, it could be a fun read-aloud for them with their little ones. I don't know how many young picturebook readers will get this on their own, though.
When Picture Books and Adult Literature Collide at Cultivating Culture deals with the issue of picture books for adult readers, which I was talking about yesterday. It doesn't go into the subject very deeply, covering mainly parodies (I have a copy of Goodnight iPad) and adult writers writing picture books. It doesn't address straight picture books written on subjects of interest to adults rather than children or using vocabulary or a voice that adults will appreciate more than children will.
I hope that before the end of Picture Book Month I'll find some more on this subject.
November is Picture Book Month. I love that there is a month dedicated to picture books! All month long, on the official Picture Book Month site http://picturebookmonth.com/, picture book authors and illustrators have shared their thoughts on “Why Picture Books Are Important”. I thought it would be fun to post my own thoughts on the subject right here on Frog on a Blog.
Why Picture Books Are Important
by Lauri Fortino
Between the covers of every picture book there is a world of wonder waiting to be discovered. It’s a world of color, imagination, and new friends. It’s also a starting point for literacy because a picture book has the magical ability to instill the love of books and reading in a child. Reading is something that many of us take for granted. But for those who struggle to read, it can mean the difference between success and missed opportunity or the difference between feeling accepted and feeling lost. If children are introduced to books and reading early on and throughout their growing-up years, I know that they will become strong readers. The best way to begin the journey toward literacy is by reading picture books. So parents, and grandparents, aunts, uncles, sisters, and brothers, read picture books with the children in your lives often. By doing so, you will help those children grow up to be successful, thriving adults who in turn will have the opportunity to introduce their children to the wonderful world of picture books.
The ability to read is the jump-off point from which all of life’s successes take flight.
The current issue of The Horn Book
includes an article called Hey, Al and the Choice
by Kathleen T. Horning
. Hey, Al
, illustrated by Richard Egielski
and written by Arthur Yorinks
, won the Caldecott in 1987, even though it is, according to Horning, "clearly an adult's fantasy."
The entire article deals with the issue of Hey, Al
being signaled out for an award for children's books when its protagonist is an adult. Horning says, "...I'm not sure it's a completely satisfying story for children. Essentially, it's a retelling of their mentor's masterpiece, Where the Wild Things Are
, told from the perspective of a middle-aged man."
It's not a definitive article on picture books for adults, in general. Think of it more as a variation.
Last month I posted here about Barbara McClintock's presentation at UConn on the imbalance between the number of women illustrators in children's publishing and the number of women who win the Caldecott Medal. They dominate the profession but have only won 22% of the Medals, according to McClintock's figures.
Today author Laurel Snyder has a post at her blog relating to the Goodreads Best Picture Book of 2013 nominees, which are almost all written by men. (In defense of the list, this is the final round. There were more titles originally, though I have no idea how well women were represented.) She points out that the Goodreads' final round list was made by Goodreads' readers (after voting on that earlier list.) The earlier list that the final round list came from may have been determined through some kind of popularity figures available to Goodreads from its readers.
Laurel asks, "WHAT’S GOING ON? Do men actually just make better picture books than women? Do men get better marketing and publicity budgets than women for picture books? Or… as I’m beginning to fear… do we, the (largely) women who buy and blog about picture books have a tendency to elevate books by men?"
She then lists picture books published by women this past year, recommended to her by readers posting in comments.
If you are a children's litblogger who belongs to the Kidlitosphere community, that group has been discussing this issue today at its listserv.
Years ago, I met a guy in a hiking group whose wife had just had a baby. When he heard I wrote children's books, he said his wife was considering writing some children's books while she was home childrearing, to generate some extra income. I didn't know how to respond to that.
If only I'd had Melissa Stewart's timeline to publication for her picture book No Monkeys, No Chocolate. Ten years, folks. Ten years. You can be home with a lot of kids in that time.
Keep in mind that Melissa has written and published many books. Many, many. And many of them were written and published during the ten year period she was working on No Monkeys, No Chocolate. Projects must be juggled. Sometimes for a long time.
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The new issue of The Horn Book includes an article by Leonard Marcus called Northward Bound: The Picture Book Art of Isol. Isol recently won the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in children's and young adult literature.
Yes, she's notable for that reason. But what I found interesting about her was this bit from Marcus: "The two most celebrated Argentinian writers of the twentieth century--Jorge Luis Borges and Julio Cortazar--share with Isol what the artist, in a conversation I had with her in Stockholm this May, spoke of as an Argentinian obsession with the role of chance in every aspect of life."
There's something I don't hear about at many SCBWI events.