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Results 1 - 25 of 371
1. New Map ~ After the Ashes

























I love getting snail mail, especially when it's a shiny new book with a map that I worked on earlier this year!

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2. Cybils Awards: Five Reasons to Apply as a Judge!


Everyone else is doing it, so I thought I'd post my five reasons why you should apply to be a Cybils Awards judge. As you would expect, there's a lot of overlap with other people's reasons, but I'll add my own spin on them, and with an emphasis on my category, Young Adult Speculative Fiction. For those who don't know what speculative fiction is, it includes fantasy, science fiction, horror, dystopian, steampunk, and basically anything else with supernatural, fantastical, or futuristic elements.

1. Read and discuss good books. Hopefully you don't need an excuse to read, but it doesn't hurt to be able to say, "Sorry, I can't do the dishes, I have to finish this Cybils book." Cybils judges engage in intense reading - and for Round 1, a LOT of reading - and intense discussions with a small group of people who share your book passion.

In YA Spec Fic, we've sometimes had upwards of 200 nominated books in Round 1, and while you don't have to read them all, Round 1 judges in YA SF can expect to have to read at least 40 books over a 3 month period. (Presumably, you'll already have read some of the category nominations). It's crazy intense, but so much fun! Round 2 judges have to read 5 to 7 books in a little under 6 weeks, but they get to read "the best of the best" and choose a winner.

2. Make lifelong friends. Those intense discussions with like-minded people? Turns out they're a great basis for a friendship. I've made lifelong friends from serving together on a Cybils panel. (And KidLitCon is a great place to meet up with them in person!)

3. Influence the books available for children/teen reading. Yup, awards do have an influence. And while the Cybils don't get as much media as, say, the ALA awards, we have a pretty big and dedicated following that includes teachers, librarians, and booksellers. The books you choose may end up on reading lists, getting purchased by a library, or in bookstore displays. Books that win awards and get that attention may be more likely to be reprinted or have a sequel or other books by the author published.

4. Get your blog better known. Did I mention we have a following? Round 1 judges are encouraged to blog about the books you read, and while Round 2 judges can't blog the finalists during the round, they can post reviews after the winners are announced. Throughout the Cybils season, we post review excerpts with links to reviews by both Round 1 and Round 2 judges to the Cybils blog, thus further aiding discovery of judges' blogs. During the summer, you can contribute themed book lists for posting on the Cybils blog. Being a Cybils judge can bring greater visibility to your blog, increase your traffic, and give you greater credibility with publishers.

5. Learn a lot. I mean, a lot. I sometimes think I know a lot about YA SF, but every year I'm blown away by the knowledge and expertise of my fellow judges, and every year I learn more from them.

What I'm looking for

As Category Chair for YA Speculative Fiction, I have the responsibility to choose the judges for my category. It's my least favorite part of the Cybils: I hate having to choose one person over another, but unfortunately we usually don't have room for everyone.

Here are some of the things that I look for:

1. A passion for speculative fiction. If your "about" on your blog says that you don't really like most spec fic, then I'll most likely pass. If you don't post about SF much, I'll think long and hard before choosing you.

2. Knowledge of spec fiction and its subgenres. Speculative Fiction is a very diverse genre. One day you might be reading a scary ghost story, and the next a futuristic dystopian. I look for people who have read broadly within the genre and can discuss the various aspects, literary elements, and tropes of the genre.

3. Critical thinking skills. I have to know that you can think critically about books and analyze the literary elements and readability of a book. Reviews are a great way to demonstrate this, but if you don't review books, hopefully you can submit other blog posts that demonstrate your critical thinking skills.

4. Open to diverse perspectives. I want to see that you have a demonstrated interest in diversity, and a tolerance for worldviews different from your own.

5. Diverse backgrounds. I mean this in two ways. First, I look for people who can bring expertise or experience with one or more under-represented groups, in what we usually mean when we say diversity. For example, do you blog about people of color, LGBTQA+ characters, differently-abled characters, different religious or worldviews, etc.? Second, I look for a variety of personal and work experience, so that the panel is hopefully made up of a good mix of librarians, teachers, parents, booksellers, authors, etc.

So I have I scared you off yet? Oops, I was supposed to be convincing you why you should apply! Please do apply, and if YA Speculative Fiction isn't your thing, we have plenty of other categories ranging from Easy Readers to Young Adult. We even have a book apps category!

Here's the information on how to apply!

Also, see the following posts for more reasons to apply!




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3. The Golden Compass Book Review and Activities for Young Readers

It’s winding down! Summer may slipping away, but the Jump Into a Book team is always looking for creative ways to showcase amazing kidlit authors while also offering up companion activities to keep families reading and “jumping” into the pages of their favorite books.
This week I would like to focus in The Golden Compass; a wonderful book by author Philip Pullman.
 The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

In the world of Jordan College at Oxford, Lyra Delaqua’s life is more than simple. She shares many adventures with her daemon Pantalaimon and her best friend Roger. She occasionally learns from the scholars, but only when she’s in the right mood. She’s neither a peasant nor a noble child.

However, this simplicity only lasts until she catches the Master of Jordan trying to poison her nobleman uncle, Lord Asriel. This sets off a series of events that wrenches Lyra from her careless life at Oxford.

Lord Asriel is the first to introduce the aspect of Dust to her, something that he believes can only be found in the north, the place she desires to go more than anywhere else on planet. Thoughts of the great, white north race through her mind on a daily basis. This could be her chance—to travel to the north with her scholarly uncle to help him discover this so called dust.

But events are set in place to keep this from happening. Children are disappearing from Oxford. No one knows where they go or what happens to them once they are gone. All they know is who is taking them—the Gobblers. But the gobblers are faceless, and day by day, more children and their daemons are disappearing from all over the world.

After Lyra’s uncle has departed for his journey into the north, Lyra is introduced to the charming and graceful Mrs. Coulter, who intrigues Lyra so that she agrees to go with Mrs. Coulter and her eerie golden monkey to become her assistant, learn the ways of traveling, and venture into the north.But before Lyra leaves Jordan College, she is called to the Master who gives her a curious device called an alethiometer—a truth measurer. He gives her no information—not how to read, nor why he is giving it to her. He only emphasizes the great need to keep it secret.

For the first few weeks with Mrs. Coulter, Lyra’s life is drastically improved. She dresses well, bathes frequently. She learns about geography, cartography, and every other “ography.” But dark secrets are soon revealed—secrets of Dust, something called the Oblation board, and possibly what is happening to the children snatched up by the Gobblers. Lyra escapes from Mrs. Coulter just barely, and on her journey to find truth and her friend Roger, she encounters and learns more than she could ever imagine including Lord Faa and Farder Coram of the water-bound gyptians, Lee Scoresby the hot air balloon pilot from Texas, Serafina Pekkala—queen of a tribe of witches–, and Iorek Byrnison, an exiled bear prince from Svalbard. Together this ragtag band of determined allies travel into the north, discover the secret of the Gobblers, and many more secrets that even the alethiometer kept hidden.

The Golden Compass was one of the most interesting, intriguing books I have read in awhile. Everything is different about this book. Pullman has his own style, his own view of the world. The introduction of the idea of daemon’s as a person’s external soul is a very beautiful idea to me, especially since I am such an animal lover. There are so many unique, intricate ideas weaved into this book that you must read closely to catch them all. I am thoroughly intrigued and can’t wait to finish out the series with The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass.
author philip pullman
**Some of these links are affiliate links
Golden Compass Inspired Activities at Copalette.com. Enjoy a plethora of fun activities inspired by the book including Serafina Pekkala’s Mini Bow and The Golden Compass Game Spinner:
activities inspired by The Golden Compass
Make a pouch to hold your own alethiometer at Special Collections Learning:
What are the Northern Lights?
Northern Lights
Scientifically known as Aurora Borealis, the northern lights are electrically charged particles from the sun that collide in earth’s atmosphere. So basically it’s these tiny particles that are really excited and in turn create these beautiful colors in the sky. SO..Where is the best place to see the northern lights?
  • Remote Islands in Norway
  •              Scotland
  •             Canada
  •             Greenland
  •             Finland
  •             Iceland
  •             Sweden

(and my Head Elf, Becky, tells me that Northern Minnesota should be added to this list! :)

****
Follow me on Pinterest!
Follow Valarie Budayr @Jump into a Book’s board Jump Into a Book Kidlit Booklists on Pinterest. Follow Valarie Budayr @Jump into a Book’s board A Year In The Secret Garden on Pinterest.

*****
Do your young readers love nature and all of nature’s critters? Experience the magical story of a family of foxes that took up residence right in the front yard of the author and publisher, Valarie Budayr. The Fox Diaries: The Year the Foxes Came to our Garden offers an enthusiastically educational opportunity to observe this fox family grow and learn together.
The Fox Diaries
From digging and hunting to playing and resting, this diary shares a rare glimpse into the private lives of Momma Rennie and her babies. Come watch as they navigate this wildly dangerous but still wonderful world. Great to share with your children or students, The Fox Diaries speaks to the importance of growing and learning both individually and as a family unit. It is a perfect book for story time or family sharing. Not only can you read about the daily rituals of this marvelous fox family, there is an information-packed resource section at the end of the book that includes lots of facts and even a few “fox movies” that you can enjoy with your family. Grab your copy of this beautiful and inspiring book HERE.

 

The post The Golden Compass Book Review and Activities for Young Readers appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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4. #TBT in B&W






































Maggie meets her grandmother, and Oliver gets a scolding. (From MAGGIE & OLIVER OR A BONE OF ONE'S OWN.)

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5. Details, Details...









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6. New Map



















Here's a new black & white map for a middle-grade novel coming out soon. I'll post the book when I get a copy. (I've been humming that Dora the Explorer song A LOT lately... I'm the map, I'm the map, I'm the map, I'm the map...)

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7. New Books for Children’s Book Week and a giveaway

Achoo_187 AnimalMouths_187 Fibonacci_187 PrimateSchool_187 ThisLand_187 WandrngWoolly_128

Would you like to win a set of Arbordale’s spring releases?

Here is a fun little fact scavenger hunt related to our spring books complete it this weekend for a chance to win free books.

  • If you suffer from seasonal allergies eating _________________ from your local area may help alleviate symptoms.
  • Butterflies, Bees and other insects don’t have ____________. They have different parts of the mouth that makes eating nectar easy.
  • Iguanas have sharp teeth and are classified as omnivores but they primarily eat __________ and especially ripe _____________.
  • Monkeys also love to eat fruit, and as a ____________ they are animal cousins to humans.
  • Ring-tailed lemurs are primates that live on the tip of Madagascar an ___________ off the coast of ___________.
  • A very large animal that lives in Africa today, the ________________ is a close relative to this extinct Ice Age animal ___________.

Email your answers to Heather (at) Arbordalepublishing.com to win copies of Achoo! Why Pollen Counts, Animal Mouths, Fibonacci Zoo, Primate School, This Land is Your Land and Wandering Woolly!


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8. What I'm Working On Now

I haven't forgotten about you, little blog. I've just been knee-deep in revisions, and now final art (yay!) for Charles Around The World.

I'm posting a lot more frequently over on Instagram, if you'd like to follow along...



























































(My hairy little assistants... always good for adding hair to the watercolors...)

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9. We’re Bugging Out!

beecover

Super excited to announce that our Bee Bully is being featured in Bookbub today and is only $.99 for a limited time.  To celebrate we have some free gifts to tell you about.  From April 1st – April 5th you can download our latest release, Caterpillar Shoes, absolutely free from Amazon.  Check out what’s troubling Patches the caterpillar and the silly decision she makes to live her life to the full.  There are some interesting caterpillar facts in the back of this book.

 

Caterpiller-cover_AM

I’ve also got more surprises to share.  My friend, Laura Yirak, is also giving away a copy of her delightful bee book, Bumble Babees during this same period.

 

bee_0J

 

Scott Gordon has another treat for you. His book, The Most Beautiful Flower will be FREE April 2-April 6.  This book is only $.99 on April 1st.  Don’t you just love spring!  Enjoy these goodies while they last.

the-most-beautiful-flower


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10. Caterpillar Shoes

Caterpiller-cover_AM

Happy World Poetry Day!  We’ve been busy working on our latest children’s picture book, Caterpillar Shoes.  This story is about a colorful caterpillar named Patches.  She’s an energetic caterpillar trying to decide what activities to do.  In the end, she doesn’t put any limits on herself and lives her life to the full.  This is our twelfth children’s book and we are so excited for it’s release.  Stay tuned here to learn about upcoming promotions for this book and others.

Th only limit to a paintbrush and a blank canvas is your imagination.

 


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11. Can You Smell What DC is Cooking?

Before I let you know what’s cooking, I’d like to wish you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I’m happy to announce that I’ve done something I’ve always wanted to do and some of my fans have asked me to and that is to publish a boxset of the Billy and Monster books.The Billy and Monster Collection Included in this boxset are the first five books in the Billy and Monster series. They are:

Billy and the Monster who Loved to Fart

Billy and Monster: The Superhero with Fart Powers

Billy and the Monster who Ate All the Easter Eggs

Billy and Monster’s New Neighbor Has a Secret

Billy and Monster’s Golden Christmas

Over the weekend, I posted the cover you see to the right on my Facebook page and asked family, friends, authors and fans to let me know what they think. One recurring theme was that the grey color was a bit dull so I’ve asked my designer to change it to a brick red and I know that is really going to stand out. If you have any thoughts, I’d be interested to hear them.

I have to admit that the driving force behind me doing this boxset was because I wanted to covert it to an audiobook. I use a company called acx.com (an affiliate of Amazon) to do my audiobooks and will be working with a professional voice-over artist over the next month to give Billy and Monster a voice. Can’t wait to share that with you.

#BREAKINGNEWS You can actually get a copy of this boxset at the link below!

The Billy and Monster Collection

Thanks for all your support. It’s much appreciated.

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12. First few passes of color. #comic #kidlit #illustration #sketch ...

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13. Interview with Kidlit Author, Kristen Lamb

It’s Author Interview Thursday and I’m so glad you’ve taken out time to join me today.K Lamb As you may already know, today is World Book Day and it was interesting seeing all the children dressed up as different literary characters on my way to drop off my bambinos at school. And what better day to have a children’s book author remind us why the written word matters. Today’s special guest was introduced to me by C.L. Murphy who was on the hotseat a few weeks ago. In the weeks leading up to today’s interview, I’ve been impressed with her passion to see literacy levels increase in children. Her blog contains lots of good stuff plus interviews with children book authors. Her book covers make you take a second look and she has loads of fans in different countries across the world. Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming Kristen Lamb.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

This is the part where I want to tell you lots of exciting things, but the truth is―I’m just a simple gal from the San Francisco Bay Area. As an indie writer I find joy in telling my stories and seeing the smiles they produce on a child’s face. I am a wife, mother, and business woman that lives a quiet life. My adventurous side finds peace hiking through the Yosemite Valley and my playful side can be found hanging out with Goofy and Mickey at the “Happiest Place on Earth.” Most importantly, I am always thankful for each new day’s dawn and the promises it brings. I believe it is important to be grateful.

 

Tell us about the first time someone complemented you on something you had written?  

Surprisingly, I remember quite well the “moment” I was complimented on my writings and the feeling it evoked. The details are a little more fuzzy. I was in grammar school and it was first or second grade. We had an assignment where we had to write a story and then make it into a bound book using material, cardboard, and book binding tape. I was so enthralled with the project, I asked my teacher if I could make two books. Our class “literary masterpieces” were proudly displayed at Parents Night. I can still remember the feeling inside when my teacher smiled down at me that night and then told my parents that someday I was going to be a writer. There was a feeling that radiated from somewhere deep inside of me that seemed to concur with her prediction.

 

What were some of your favourite books as a child?  Massachusetts-6

When I was very young, I loved my big red book of nursery rhymes. The book was bigger than I was at the time! I’d drag it around everywhere. Then of course, I had my all-time favourite Dumbo. It was more of a treasured memory in that my grandmother (who lived next door) would always tuck me in and read it to me. She must have been so tired of that story! But I loved our routine. She would tuck me in, read me the book, and finally sing me Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah before kissing me goodnight. How could that book not be my favourite?

Oh my, now the truth comes out. The quirkier side of me loved gothic horror. Yes. I admit it. When I was really young I loved the gothic comic books. As an advanced reader, I moved on to novels rather quickly such as Frankenstein, Dracula and countless others. Of course those were contraband that I kept at my grandmother’s house. To be honest, my love of these books probably also relates to the fact that my grandmother and I would always watch the old black & white “B” horror movies together. I loved cuddling up with her as we munched on popcorn and drank Dr. Pepper. For me, the stories were never scary because they came from a safe place.

When at home I would read my favourite Nancy Drew mysteries and other childhood books. I loved Little Women, Red Badge of Courage, Diary of Ann Frank and the classics. The genres I enjoyed varied greatly. Luckily, my grandmother was an avid reader who shared her love of literature with me so my supply of books was endless.

 

You have currently published three books in the Dani P. Mystery series. Was it a conscious decision to write a series and what led you to do it?Dani and the Haunted House  

The birth of Dani P. Mystery started out as a short story. It was a gift of love to my daughter. Dani, the protagonist in my series, is loosely based on my daughter and it was created specifically for her when she was seven years old.

When I became an ‘empty nester’ my family encouraged me to publish one of my stories. I always thought someday I would, but then they challenged me to make it a reality. I had worked on several projects and could have released any one of them, but in my heart I knew it had to be Dani P.  It is then that I decided to create the series and share Dani’s adventures with other children.

As you mentioned there are currently three books in the series:  Dani and the Haunted House (1st edition), Dani and the Mall Caper (1st edition), and Dani and the Rocking Horse Ranch. There will be more books available in the future and I look forward to seeing what Dani gets into next! The important thing to know about the books is that I always try and include some kind of message in the story, in a subtle way that promotes self-esteem or life lessons. And although the books are part of a series, they can be read independently in any order.

 

What have you found to be a successful way to market your books? 

Gasp. I have not begun marketing! You mean there’s more to it than just writing a book? Okay, so that’s my humour showing through. As any indie writer will probably tell you, writing a book is the easy part! Marketing is what drains your life away.

In truth, I really haven’t begun marketing my books yet. I made a conscious decision not to until I had three books in which to market. I feel it is important, especially when doing a children’s series, to have more than one book available to a child before getting them “hooked.” Right now I do have three books available on Amazon, but I am in the process of having the first two books re-illustrated by my amazing new illustrator, Katrina Glidewell. When the first three books are complete with all new illustrations, then I will begin marketing. As it is, I get inquiries all the time asking me when the next Dani P. book will be released. This is an incredible feeling, but at the same time I don’t want to let the kids down by not having the next book immediately available, which is why we are still on the soft release without a big marketing campaign.

In the meantime, I am getting out there and letting people meet Dani. I’m connecting with teachers, parents, and children. I’m slowly building the platform to (hopefully) make her a success. We have our website, Facebook Page, and Twitter account where we can interact with her readers. One of the things I have thoroughly enjoyed is the communication I’ve had between the parents/children and teachers. They make each day brighter with their notes, their pictures, and feedback. We even have a new feature on our website where we are tracking where Dani has visited. Our readers are notifying us when Dani “visits” them and we are marking those visits on our world map. We look forward to expanding the map as more people learn of this feature!

 

I really like your book covers as they stand out. What advice would you offer other children authors with regard to working with an illustrator for illustrations and book covers? Dani and the Rocking Horse Ranch

There are several factors one needs to consider when deciding upon an illustrator! My first piece of advice would be to take your time. Don’t rush. We all get so excited when we write that story and we want to see it brought to life, but it is so important to wait for the right illustrator to come along.

It is also important to shop around. Spend the money to get several concept pieces done from different illustrators. Who best understands your vision? Can you communicate well with them? Do they respond? All of these are key factors. And ultimately, put your agreement in writing. It is crucial for both parties to have a clear understanding of each other’s expectations.

A writer must also focus on the reality of the situation: what can you afford? Personally, I don’t expect to make a profit from my books. It would be wonderful if I did, but it isn’t the reason I write. I write for children. To share the gift of reading. However, you have to be realistic that the overall cost of production is within means to produce and sustain. Ask yourself the hard questions and be prepared to answer it honestly.

 

Do you think social media is a waste of time and how has it helped or hurt you as a writer? 

I absolutely do not believe social media is a waste of time. But that does not mean it equates to book sales either. Social media is a wonderful way to connect with readers, parents, teachers, and other authors. The relationships, and even friendships, I’ve built from social media cannot be depreciated because they don’t bring in sales. Never underestimate the power of human connections and their true worth.

As an author friend of mine says, social media is a “time vortex.” Time disappears when on these sites. It is important to monitor the time you are investing in them and balance that out with productive time. It is all about accountability to yourself, and ultimately, to your writing.

 

What tips do you have for writing good dialogue? 

Honesty. I believe it is simple. Become your character. Would a character on a page really speak the same in real life? And don’t forget to listen. The world is a wonderful place to learn if you’re willing to be a sponge. Soak it all up. Then pour it all onto the page through your writing.

 

Is there a particular book or film that inspires you to be a better writer and why? 

Hopefully this doesn’t come out the wrong way, but I don’t want to be inspired by a book or a film. I want my inspiration to come from within. I want it to be genuine, and me.

I do have a book that has inspired me, but not as a writer―as a person. Many years ago, a client brought in a book for everyone in our office. He said he had received it as a gift and it moved him so much, that he bought dozens of books to share with others. The book was The Ultimate Gift by Jim Stovall. I easily understood why it moved him as it struck a chord within me as well. Truth be told, I bought several copies of it myself and shared with family members.

 

Toy Story or Shrek? 1 - ATW Map

You’ve got a friend in me….Toy Story. I love the entire dynamic between Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and Andy. In today’s life too many things are disposable and friendship shouldn’t be one of them. There is always room in our heart for one more. Although, I am a person that values genuine friendship over acquaintances. My grandmother always taught me that it is better to have a few true friendships than a multitude of false ones. It is all about quality over quantity.

 

What three things should a first time visitor to your city/town do? 

Living in the San Francisco Bay Area there is never a loss of things to do, whether it is taking in the theatre, strolling through Golden Gate Park, visiting Napa Valley, or heading out to the ballpark!

The possibilities are as varied as the personalities that visit! There is truly something for everyone. Of course, you can always visit one of the many libraries!

 

What can we expect from Kristen Lamb in the next 12 months? 

In addition to re-releasing the first two books, it is my hope to have the next two books in the Dani P. Mystery series released as well. The fourth book in the series is Dani and the Hidden Treasure and the fifth book is Dani and the Magician. That is a lot to accomplish in such a short period of time, but I like setting goals. It is always good to be striving toward something.

 

Where can readers and fans connect with you? Dani and the Mall Caper

I love connecting with Dani’s readers! You can find us at:

www.danipmystery.com

www.amazon.com/author/klamb

www.facebook.com/danipmystery

www.twitter.com/danipmystery or @danipmystery

www.authorklamb.blogspot.com

 

Any advice for authors out there who are either just starting out or getting frustrated with the industry? 

Decide whether you want to be an indie author or publish traditionally. Then have patience. Being a writer isn’t glamorous. It takes a lot of hard work, even longer hours, and it doesn’t happen overnight. But if you have a voice that demands to be heard, it is worth it.

 

Thanks for sharing so much with us today Kristen. I really loved the tips you gave on working with an illustrator and how we shouldn’t rush into working with the first person who comes along. As its World Book Day, I’d like to encourage everyone to checkout Kristen’s page on Amazon or any other retailer of your choice and pick up one of her books. We’d also love to hear an questions or comments you may have and as always do share this interview on your social networks.

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14. A fine blend of non-sense engineering and cats. #sketch #pencil...

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15. Good News When You Least Expect It...


Life is a constant roller coaster and I'm blown away by two exciting offers this week...


The first offer through the Greenwich Academy via Izabela O'Brien, parent volunteer chairing the Greenwich Academy book fair on April 12, 2015. They have asked me to appear as their guest author.

The second offer...


I reached out to the Collingswood Book Festival after participating as an exhibitor October 11, 2014 as to their application process to be an invited/featured author for their 13th book festival to be held October 3, 2015. After receiving the details, I eagerly filled out the application and low and behold I heard from the Author Selection Committee and I am now a confirmed featured author.

Please know I'm not bragging, I'm just sharing how networking and assisting others on their road to publication and beyond is essential in getting your name out there! I implore you to do the same, you never know what doors will open.

Here's to your inspiration!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Multi Award-winning Children's Author

Ignite curiosity in your child through reading!

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A Sandy Grave ~ January 2014 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2014 Purple Dragonfly 1st Place Picture Books 6+, Story Monster Approved, Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Powder Monkey ~ May 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Hockey Agony ~ January 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ New England Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014 Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

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16. Billy and Monster Get Featured on BookBub

Great news!Billy and the Monster who Ate All the Easter Eggs

My book – Billy and the Monster who Ate All the Easter Eggs – has just been accepted by Bookbub and will be featured on March 21st.

Why is this great news I hear you say? Well it is great news as Bookbub has more than a million subscribers and will email everyone on their list interested in Children’s books. BookBub email their subscribers daily and offer to them eBooks at a discount. I have to admit that I have discovered and downloaded many eBooks recommended by BookBub. You can actually sign up here.

One of my books – I Love Baby Animals – got featured on Bookbub about a year ago and became a Top 10 best-selling book on the Amazon store in the Children’s category. What’s even more exciting this time, is that the book will be available to readers on Apple, Kobo, Scribd, Barnes and Noble plus Foundry.

If you can’t wait for March 21st, then grab a copy of Billy and the Monster who Ate All the Easter Eggs at the link below

Biily and Monster on Amazon

Billy and Monster on Apple

Billy and Monster on Barnes and Noble

Billy and Monster on Nook

Billy and Monster on Kobo

Billy and Monster on Scribd

Billy and Monster on Foundry

 

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17. Happy New Year of the... Sheep? Ram? Goat?

















I vote for goat!

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18. Interview with Kidlit Author – C.L. Murphy

Its back! Author Interview Thursday is back for the first part of the year and I’d like you to get ready for some inspiring authors who will not only provide the necessary fuel to turbo-charge your writing career to another level but will also offer tips, personal stories and current industry trends.CL Murphy - Childrens book Author Today in the hotseat, we have a lady who I met on Twitter. She absolutely and truly gets Twitter and to observe her interaction with fans and fellow authors on that social media platform is truly remarkable. She’s forever drawing attention to other authors books but guess what? The spotlight is firmly on her today. I’ve learned so much from her from afar and I’m glad I get the chance to ask the questions I’ve always wanted to ask her. So without further ado, please join me in welcoming C.L. Murphy.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the first time someone complemented you on something you had written.

Whilst some may call me an author, I consider myself more of an illustrator. The first time I received recognition for something I created was in the third grade when I won a school wide poster contest. I lost my focus from art after my Mom died when I was 12. She was a talented artist and some of the happier times that I recall from early childhood, were of her creativity.  It wasn’t until my last year of high school that I was encouraged again by the teachers who told me that art was what I needed to be doing. I went on to college with a concentration in design. My creative spirit has led me down many paths, but none as rewarding as creating children’s picture books. One of those paths led me to paint a mural or two (or twenty). Colourful jungle critters “keep the beat” in this mural that I painted on a children’s music classroom wall.

 

What can a reader expect when they pick up a book written by C.L. Murphy?CL Scribbles 1

I hope readers will fall in love with the lovable wolf pup character that I’ve created. He’s a kind lil’ fellow that loves all creatures and wouldn’t think of harming any of them. Uniquely, he considers himself a herbivore. He and his kooky, right-hand(wing) raven, Roxy, will take children on adventures in the great outdoors, introducing them to animals, all while trying to be true to his kind and curious nature.

 

You write and illustrate your books. Can you tell us your process in terms of what comes first and pertinent advice for other children’s book authors looking to illustrate their stories?

Because I am such a visual person, I always have the story envisioned in my mind prior to beginning. I start by sketching the story on paper and then creating the new characters digitally. The characters seem to speak to me during this part of the process as they come to life in my mind. I cannot give any advice to others because that would make me appear if I were some kind of expert. If anything, I’d say; find your style and keep crafting it.

 

Cathy, you’re the absolute master when it comes to Twitter. Can you give us a few tips on connecting with fans and authors on Twitter and how its been beneficial to you as an author?

Master? I’m just another twit on twitter. Haha! I do have fun, though, and enjoy the social platform. I find the 140 character limit a perfect format to connect with people.  I have benefited from Twitter by meeting and forming friendships with delightful people from all over the world. Many authors, teachers, readers, parents and creative folk are out there in Twitterland ready and willing to connect and share. They all brighten my day. I love following fellow KidLit tweeps but also appreciate those that enjoy life. I am interested in many things and what people have to say. Be kind and curious, just like Lobo’s character, and other tweeps will engage.

 

What were some of your favourite books as a child?Sunny the Sand Angel

Favorites? I can find merit with any book and I dislike playing favorites. It’s like asking me which of my sons is my favorite child. I love them dearly for different reasons. I owned a decent sized collection of books as a child and I would play librarian with the assortment. I categorized my books (which is surprising because I’m not what you’d call orderly) and taped check out slips in every single one. My library “stamp” was the family Christmas greeting that was used to stamp our signature on our yearly greeting cards. Oh, how I’d love to to find one of the books with the imprint of Merry Christmas from Bill, Bette, Carol & Cathy Lou, stamped in it. Those ALL would be my favorites!

 

You’re a member of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators). Would you advise other children’s book authors and illustrators to join and how has it helped you? 

I’m a member of a fairly new branch of an Oregon chapter. We don’t assemble as much as I’d like, but when we do, I always leave the meeting enthused about what I’ve learned and anxious to use the knowledge. The society is a wonderful wealth of information and I would highly recommend any author or illustrator to join their local chapter. I feel it is almost mandatory to join if you want to stay involved with the industry.

 

How do you reward yourself once your book is published?Lovable Lobo North Pole

Once a book is available to readers, the work is far from over, so there’s no time to celebrate. A successful launch includes promotions and honest reviews in hopes that others take note. You hope that children and their parents will like, or better yet, LOVE, what you’ve poured your heart and soul into. The BEST reward is when something you’ve created is appreciated!

 

What is your favourite Hollywood Animal film and why?

There you go asking me to play favorites again, David. As a child, the movie Bambi, made quite an impact on me. I’d listen to the story on a record player over and over again. I had a pet rabbit that I named Thumper based on one of the movie’s characters. I enjoy animated movies and ones that capture your imagination. I’ll always be a kid at heart with a soft spot for the furry and the feathered.

 

What three things should a first time visitor to Oregon do?

Oregon has so much to offer! There’s outdoor activities galore, available year round, in every corner of the state! A visit to Crater Lake National Park is a must. If you’re a fan of live theatre, then world renowned, Oregon Shakespeare Festival can’t be missed. We’re famous for our microbreweries and wine regions, if you partake. Don’t get me started on the local cuisine!  How does some warm MARIONBERRY cobbler à la mode or a chocolate HAZELNUT torte or a PEAR upside-down gingerbread cake with caramel drizzle sound? Oops. I think my sweet tooth is showing.

 

Lovable, who is the main character in your popular series – The Adventures of Lovable Lobo – was inspired by a wolf you raised for 14 years. Can you tell us something we possibly don’t know about wolves?musicroom

I could perhaps tell you everything you’d ever want to know (or not) about wolves. Okay, that’s not true. I believe them to be magnificent, intelligent creatures with a very caring social structure. Interestingly, the wolf has inspired many legends and stories, their imagery is present in many cultures and even prehistoric man left evidence of their existence. Did you know that wolves are one of the few animals that communicate using a great range of facial expressions?

 

With Christmas just gone, can you tell us the most memorable gift you received growing up?

A very memorable gift was a copy of The Wizard of Oz book that I received from an aunt at Christmas. Memorable, because I found it creepy. That wicked witch gave me nightmares as did the house coming down and squishing her. And those flying monkeys! I appreciate that the newer story’s adaptions have lessened the creepiness, but back then, I hid the book from sight. I did want a pair of those ruby slippers, though.

 

What can we expect from C.L. Murphy in the next 12 months?Lobo Huddling

Lovable Lobo will go on another adventure. I have two stories in the works. They are fighting amongst themselves and the strongest shall prevail. I’m hoping to announce a BIG surprise, that no one will see coming, sometime in 2015 but it may not happen until 2016.

 

Where can readers and fans connect with you?

 

Website: http://lovablelobo.com

Blog: http://lovablelobo.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LovableLobo

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lovable-Lobo

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6852948.C_L_Murphy

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/murphymess

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+CLMurphyKidLit

 

Any advice for authors out there who are either just starting out or getting frustrated with the industry?Lobo Goes to the Galapagos

I waited until my sons went off to college to start the journey even though I had plenty of ideas. When they were young, they were always a source of inspiration. I’d take my notebook along and write and draw during our outings. For instance, they liked to fish. I did not. I took that opportunity to create in between baiting hooks. Ah, worm guts. Nature can be so inspiring! The point is; I could have started back then. Could have. Would have. Should have.

It is both an exciting and interesting time in the publishing world. Never has it been so easy to self-publish and that has created a glut of self-published books on the market, with absolutely NO filter. How do you stand out amongst the gazillions? You produce a quality product and develop a loyal fan base whether you’re traditionally published or not. It is not easy, as I’m sure you know all too well, David. It takes dedication and an inordinate amount of time. If you love what you do, you keep doing it. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes but learn from them when you do, try new things, make new connections, stay informed and see where it takes you, but NEVER give up. That’s my strategy and I’m sticking with it.

Thank you, David, for this opportunity to share.

 

The pleasure was all mine Cathy. I like how you ended by encouraging us never to give up. It sometimes seems like the time is never perfect to begin that dream. Sadly, things will never be perfect for us to begin that dream and the best time to start is usually now. Please connect with Cathy at the links she provided above and let her know you got to know her through my interview with her. She currently has two books about Lovable Lobo that you can get on Amazon and other Online Retailers. Kindly leave a question or comment below so Cathy and I know you stopped by.

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19. Do You Know How to Enchant a Child? The Little Fir Tree Does.

 The Little Fir Tree by Margaret Wise Brown is a heart grabber. The book has the most beautiful paintings which really remind me of my sweet boy “O”. Jim Lamarche, the illustrator, has contributed to the magic of this great story.

They put golden tinsel

 on his branches

And golden bells

And green icicles

And silver stars

And red and green and blue

And purple chains of shining Christmas balls.

All alone in an empty field grew a little fir tree. It dreamed of being part of a forest, or part of anything at all. Then one winter day, a man takes the little fir tree away and it finds itself at the center of a little boy’s very special celebration. This sweet little boy is special, he has a lame leg and he has never been to the forest and so his father brings the forest to him. This little tree gets planted in a wooden tub. “You have come to me from the wild green forest, and you are a part of my very own world.” said the little boy.

 

snow cream

 

Something To Do

You can bring the magic of a fir tree into your very own home. Though some of us may have big trees decorated in our houses, making a little fir tree to go into a child’s room is something truly special of their very own.

firtree 3

Supplies:

  • One small fir tree, fake or real. Both work.
  • A string of 35 lights. Color your choice.
  • small cinnamon sticks
  • Cranberries
  • Small pinecones
  • String
  • Large long needle
  • Thick Thread
  • A collection of small decorations
  • Small hooks
  • Tree topper

firtree 1

Instructions:

  1. Thread your needle. Knot it at one end.
  2. Put the needle through a cranberry and move it to the end. Then move the needled through a small pinecone and move it to the end. Add a cranberry and move it to the end, and then a cinnamon stick, moving it to the end. Continue in this pattern until you have a string long enough to wrap around your little tree.
  3. String the lights around the tree.
  4. Add your cinnamon garland.
  5. Place hooks on your decorations and hang them on the tree.
  6. Put on your tree topper.

Place your tree in your child’s room on a table top, or bookshelf. This is a beautiful way to bring light during the darkest time of the year into a child’s room. They will be thrilled and find it quite magical and spectacular. I have it from very good opinion that this one is a winner. Enjoy !!!

firtree 3

Special Note!

Many of you also may know that I am Co-founder of the wildly successful Multicultural Children’s Book Day. Our second celebration is coming January 27th, 2015 and so many amazing things are happening! We now have fourteen Sponsors for this event, 9 amazing Co-Hosts, a brand new Facebook page, a brand new Twitter page and we were featured in Publisher’s Weekly this week!
fb collage
We also rolled out our Diversity Book Lists & Resources for Teachers and Parents on the site and we’d like to remind everyone to watch for the event’s hashtag; #ReadYourWorld. Please retweet and share when you see it!

The post Do You Know How to Enchant a Child? The Little Fir Tree Does. appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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20. Happy, Merry, Peace All!






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21. Snow Festival Day 2: Snow by Uri Shulevitz

Snow by Uri Shulevitz has stood the test of time in our house. In winter it is never far from reach and is always the very first book to come off the shelf during the very first snow storm of the season.

snow

“It’s snowing, said boy with dog.

“It’s only a snowflake,” said grandfather with beard.

No one thinks one or two snowflakes will amount to anything. Not the man with the hat or the lady with the umbrella. Not even the television or the radio forecasters. But one boy and his dog have faith that the snow will amount to something spectacular, and when flakes start to swirl down on the city, they are also the only ones who know how to truly enjoy it. This playful depiction of a snowy day and the transformation of a city is perfectly captured in simple, poetic text and lively watercolor and pen-and-ink illustrations.

The story is a perfect balance between words and illustrations. It isn’t cluttered with too many words. It allows both the reader and the read -to, to use their own imagination, and to wonder what is really happening or what is really going to happen. Each time we pick up this classic read, we can always spy something new which could be happening.

Something To Do: Homemade Snow Cream!

When one is hoping for a giant snowstorm and then one appears, the next thing one should be thinking is, SNOWCREAM. Did you know you can make ice cream out of snow?  If by chance today  you are in a place where it is snowing you can make yourself a little bowl of magic right now. For the rest of us, we will just have something to look forward to.

snow cream

  • 8 cups of snow
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup of evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla

snow cream

Mix milk, vanilla, and sugar until dissolved. Add snow, stir until consistency is thick and creamy. Serve immediately. Might I suggest that it tastes great with chocolate chips or little goodies (small candy) too.

What kind of snow fun can you create?

DON’T FORGET! There’s only a few days left of the Audrey Press Holiday Book Sale! (ends 12/31/14)

Year in the Secret Garden

 

A Year in the Secret Garden (inspired by the classic children’s book Secret Garden) is on a wonderful sale until December 31st. Books always make an excellent gift for anyone in your life and it’s not too late to get your copy of A Year in the Secret Garden book for the special holiday price of $15.00 (ends December 31st) if you use the secret code word secret garden at checkout.

This guide uses over two hundred full color illustrations and photos to bring the magical story to life, with fascinating historical information, monthly gardening activities, easy-to-make recipes, and step-by-step crafts, designed to enchant readers of all ages. There’s also a link to a free download website for all of the wonderful paper toys that Marilyn Scott-Waters has created. Each month your family will unlock the mysteries of a Secret Garden character, as well as have fun together creating the original crafts and activities based on the book. This book also includes month-by-month activities as well INCLUDING fun book-related fun for the colder months of the year!

Get your copy here.

**some of these links are affiliate links

The post Snow Festival Day 2: Snow by Uri Shulevitz appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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22. New hot headed #character #sketch for a story I’m working...

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23. Taking a look at my inner Snark. #character #sketch #watercolor...

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24. New Art For A Tuesday


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25. 'Brushing up' on a #story about a Kat, and a ghost cat. #sketch...

0 Comments on 'Brushing up' on a #story about a Kat, and a ghost cat. #sketch... as of 1/14/2015 1:54:00 PM
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