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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: For Writers, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. November Is For Writing


November is all about writing for me—partly because of NaNoWriMo (that’s National Novel Writing Month, in case you’re unfamiliar). I normally don’t join, because writing 50,000 words in one month is a bit much for me, especially since November includes Thanksgiving.
This year, I decided to unofficially quasi-join: I’m aiming to finish the first draft of a crime novel for adults I’ve been working on, plus a few chapters of a middle-grade, and maybe a short story or two. So not quite following the rules, but then I rarely do. I think I’ll get about half of that 50k in words—not bad for this writer.

Also, this November I’m hoping to start a new format for the blog. I considered packing up for a little while; blogging is sort of on the way out, and I sometimes feel like I’ve said everything I wanted to say.
But for now, I still like blogging. So I thought I might try posting the first Thursday (or so) of each month, and talk about more about mysteries in general—books, TV, movies—and about writing and other stuff. And maybe I’ll share a recipe or two. I hope you’ll stick around, guys!

Mystery books and TV

This month, TV and books intersect for me. I’m reading Michael Connelly’s latest novel, The Wrong Side Of Goodbye, and I’m also watching Bosch, the series based on his books. I’m a big fan of the books, so I was reluctant to watch the series. The old cliché is usually true: the books are always better than the movie.
But in this case, I was pleasantly surprised. The Bosch series is doing the character and the books justice, with a solid mystery and good attention given to police procedure accuracy (most of the time anyway).
I’m just starting season two; I’ll keep you posted.

One of my favorite crime writers, Greg Bardsley, has a new book out this month called The Bob Watson.
He told me about the concept of it a few years ago, and I've been awaiting the publication of this novel ever since. Go buy this book now!
Greg Bardsley is a brilliant writer; if you haven't read his first novel, Cash Out, you can start there if you like. Funny, sharp, and great. One of those writers whose books should all be made into movies...


For writers

I picked up a copy of Matt Bird The Secrets of Story, just in time for November’s go-go writing activities. So far, I’m loving it: he focuses on character, and gives lots of clear, practical and down-to earth advice.

I recommend you get yourself a copy if you’re looking for inspiration. 

On the web

I’ve been off the grid a little bit, since we’re remodeling the house and I’m still trying to keep the writing going. But I did find some newsworthy tidbits to share:

For you writer folk attempting NaNoWriMo, here are ten tips over at International Business Times. Hang in there…
Favorite kid author R.L. Stine is writing the story for a Marvel comic; get the story here at GalleyCat
Jessica Haight and Stephanie Robinson, the authors of the great middle-grade mystery The Secret Files of Ms. Fairday Morrow, ran a drawing contest where kids sent in some amazing artwork. Check out these drawings and their great blog over here; they always have something fun going on.
And for you artistic types, Dan Blank of WeGrowMedia has a brilliant post on creating the best environment to be creative, right here. Some great advice for darn near everything in life, I think.

Tip from me this November: unsubscribe from all unwanted emails, especially ones trying to get you to buy stuff (especially as the holiday season nears...). I did that just this week, and my inbox is already much quieter. Less (stuff) is more (time to write).
In the meantime, I hope you have a great November, full of writing, hot cocoa, and a little fall weather!

What are you up to this month..?

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2. Perfect Picture Book Friday - Little Boo

Cackle, cackle!

It's Perfect Picture Book Friday, and almost Halloween!  So what better to share than a Perfect Halloween Picture Book?

This is such a cute one!

Title: Little Boo
Written By: Stephen Wunderli
Illustrated By: Tim Zeltner
Henry Holt & Company, August 2014, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-7

Themes/Topics: Holidays (Halloween), Emotion (patience/impatience), Nature (lifecycle of a seed), Common Childhood Experiences (wanting to be bigger/older)

Opening: "The wind blew, the leaves fell, and a tiny seed hid in the garden.
"Boo," the seed said to a leaf rolling by.
"You're not scary at all," the leaf said.

Brief Synopsis: A little pumpkin seed tries hard to be scary but he just can't seem to scare anyone - not the leaves or the grubs, not the snowflakes in winter or the bees in spring!  "Be patient," the wind tells him, "you'll be scary soon enough."  But it's awfully hard to wait!

Links To Resources: plant a seed and watch it grow - indoors in a container or outdoors in a garden; 40 Things For Kids To Do With Pumpkins9 Easy Pumpkin Recipes For Kids

Why I Like This Book:  It's just so cute!  Look at that little pumpkin seed face - how can you not love it?! :)  The story is simple but so relatable for kids who always seem to want to grow up faster than nature allows.  And within the sweet story we also get a nice little glimpse of the life cycle of a seed - so cleverly slipped in there!  To top it off, the art is absolutely gorgeous -  colorful and warm and so appealing!  This is a wonderful one to add to your Halloween book shelf :)



For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!  And put the finishing touches on those Halloweensie Contest entries!  (You know, the thing I STILL haven't even started thinking about... :) )  I am so looking forward to the contest which starts MONDAY!!! Woo hoo! :)



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3. KidLit’ers Help Needed! – Wizard Pickles by Author-Illustrator Chuck Whelon

One of the newer ways for self-publishing authors to get their books out is to start a Kickstarter fundraising campaign. I have helped to fund a couple of these ventures, but never tried to help a book by posting about it here at Kid Lit Reviews.

Well, today I am actually going to do just that. Traditionally published children’s author, Chuck Whelon (Dover Publications, Simon & Schuster, Michael O’Mara Books, SKODA Man Press), and winner of the 2002 Web Cartoonists’ Choice Award for Best Fantasy Comics (The Weird Worlds of Pewfell Porfingles), is publishing a story/puzzle book called Wizard Pickles (which will be reviewed soon). Here is the Kickstarter video about Wizard Pickles:

Wizard Pickles tells the story of young Mazie Pickles and her Aunt Wilma. Aunt Wilma works as a wizard at the local castle. Well, she did, until angering Queen Blackthorne, who is set to award the Golden Cup at the annual Picklefest. For one, Aunt Wilma has lost her wand, which was found by pickle gnomes. The pickle gnomes had a glorious time using the magical wand to reek havoc throughout the village. Now, Mazie needs to help her aunt retrieve the wand before anything worse should happen (hint:  it does!)

Every page in Wizard Pickles is filled with different picture puzzles for readers to solve. They range from simple search-and-find activities to muddling mazes, cryptic codes, and complex logic problems that will keep you baffled for many hours of puzzling fun! More than a puzzle book, Wizard Pickles contains a mystery story that runs throughout the whole book.

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Chuck is looking for a total of $1000, meager by Kickstarter standards. The campaign is open until September 17th and offers many perks to those who pledge from $5 to $500.

WP_00_FrontCover_800px_noBleedWhat I have always liked about Kickstarter book campaigns is the opportunity to help wonderful authors and books you can believe in, and help the book travel from conception to publication. As with Wizard Pickles, most book campaigns give you enough information that you can discern the story and the illustrations, getting a good idea if this is a book you would want your children or students to read. For a small $5—less than a cup of Starbucks coffee—you can help a deserving author’s dream come true.

Here are the Fund “Rewards”
Pledge of $5 or more – a PDF eBook of Wizard Pickles
Pledge of $20 or more – the above, plus a Hardback edition of Wizard Pickles (PDF offers endless solving of the puzzles!)
Pledge of $35 or more – all the above, plus your name (or any name you choose) on the Dedication page of Wizard Pickles
Pledge of $50 – all the above, plus a copy of Chuck’s original game Legitimacy* (Minion Games $40.00)

The “rewards” increase from there. To see them all, and to read more about Wizard Pickles and Chuck Whelon’s plans for publication, go to the Kickstarter link below:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/whelon/wizard-pickles-puzzle-adventure-book

Chuck explained to me that many publishers loved Wizard Pickles, but when the book got to the marketing department, they had a difficult time categorizing his book and this makes any traditional publication all but dead. So Chuck did what any author who truly believes kids will love their book does:  He found a way to get it published.

BIG CVER

*LEGITIMACY
“The kingdom of Legitimant is in turmoil. The old king has died, leaving no legitimate heir… He has, however, left several illegitimate ones.

“Since you were an infant, your mother has told you of the royal blood that runs in your veins. Now the time has come for you and your trusty animal sidekick to set out on an epic quest to fulfil your destiny and claim the throne that is your birthright.

“Whether you choose to follow a path of righteousness or use every dirty trick in the book, you’ll need nerve, cunning and just a little luck as you assemble an assortment of strange creatures and magical objects to out-maneuver and overpower your rivals and prove that you are, indeed, the one true heir of Legitimacy!” [website]

Legitimacy is a fast-paced board game for 2—6 players, who fight to claim their birthright as heir to the throne of a magical kingdom.

chuckheadshot2Chuck explains the game’s creation like this,

“I created and designed the game as a showcase for my illustration and graphic design skills, and as something strategic and fun to play with my 8 year-old son which would not give me a competitive advantage!! It is fun to play and has a unique mechanic where your character can switch from being good to evil, or vice-versa.”

Chuck Whelon is a proficient author and illustrator of many children’s books, comics, and games. Below is a sampling.

Traditionally Published by Chuck Whelon
Where’s Santa?
Where’s the Penguin (in multiple languages)
Word Play: Write Your Own Crazy Comics (also many other editions)
What to Doodle?
Alien Invasion!
Create Your Own Monsters Sticker Activity Book
The Comic Book Guide to the Mission
           . . . and many more, including
Games Published by Minion Games
Legitimacy
Those Pesky Humans
Battle Merchants
Tahiti
         . . . and many more
Comic Book Series
Pewfell
Trogs
Rooftops

⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓Now you have the total scoop!⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓

HELP WIZARD PICKLES MAKE IT TO PUBLICATION.
Even a small $5 pledge goes a long way in this Kickstarter book campaign!

BookAnima_02

Book size: 17″ x 11″ — 26 pages (12 full-color spreads)

Wizard Pickles Kickstarter Campaign Link:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/whelon/wizard-pickles-puzzle-adventure-book

Read more about the Kickstarter Campaign:  https://www.patreon.com/cartoon?ty=h

Here area few ways you can connect with Chuck Whelon.
Website:  http://whelon.com/
Blog:  http://whelon.com/blog/
Blogger:  http://wizardsofur.blogspot.com/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/pewfell
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/chuck.whelon
Linked In:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/whelon
Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Chuck-Whelon/e/B0036Q6OQO

Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators:  http://www.scbwi.org/members-public/chuck-whelon
National Cartoonists Society:  http://www.reuben.org/members/
Wikiwand:  http://www.wikiwand.com/en/Chuck_Whelon

Comics Sites:  http://www.stripamatic.com/~pewfell/whelon/  —  http://www.pewfell.com/  —  http://comicfury.com/comicprofile.php?url=pewfell  —  http://tapastic.com/chuck

whelon drawing.

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Ask Chuck any question you might have:  [email protected]

 

 

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Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

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Full Disclosure: Text and illustrations of Wizard Pickles copyright © 2015 by Chuck Whelon, and received from Author/Illustrator/Publisher, Check Whelon for promotional purposes.


Filed under: Author Spotlight, Children's Books, Comics, Digital Book, For Writers, HELP!, Illustrator Spotlight, Picture Book, Special Event Tagged: Chuck Whelon, Kickstarter, Legitamacy, traditionally published children's author/illustrator, Wizard Pickles

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4. Perfect Picture Book Friday - I Wanna Go Home

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

If anyone is wondering, it is monsoon season on Blueberry Hill!  What wild, wet, windy weather we are having!  Thank goodness for my trusty canoe :)  If anyone wants to mount a rescue mission to bring in supplies of chocolate and friendly company, wear appropriate foul weather gear and do not attempt an umbrella - it will end in disaster :)

With rain on the brain, here's my pick for this week which also starts out in the rain :)

Apparently I am a one-person advertising agency for G.P. Putnam's Sons.  This is the second week in a row I've posted one of their books!  But I promise, it just worked out that way.   I love both books and they're being offered as prizes in the Halloweensie Contest, so I wanted to make sure everyone got a chance to see how fantastic they are :)

Today's choice is the 3rd book in Karen Orloff and David Catrow's super-fun I Wanna series that began with I Wanna Iguana.  I hope you like it :)

Title: I Wanna Go Home
Written By: Karen Kaufman Orloff
Illustrated By: David Catrow
G.P. Putnam's Sons, September 2014, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: family (grandparents), appreciation, visiting relatives, persuasion, humor

Opening: "Dear Alex, Ethan and Annie,
We're so glad you're coming to visit us.  You'll love it here!  Do you know how to play bridge?  It's a card game all our friends enjoy.  When you come, we can play for hours and hours!  Can't wait to see you.
Love,
Grandma Shirley and Grandpa Ralph
P.S. Hope you like broccoli lasagna!"

Brief Synopsis: From the Amazon review: "Alex is not happy about being sent to his grandparents’ retirement community while his parents go on a fabulous vacation. What could be worse than tagging along to Grandma’s boring bridge game or enduring the sight of Grandpa’s dentures?

But as the week goes on, Alex’s desperate emails to his parents turn into stories about ice cream before dinner and stickball with Grandpa. Before he knows it, Alex has made a surprising discovery: grandparents are way cooler than he thought!"

Links To Resources: Classroom Activities for persuasive writing (this is actually for Karen's 2nd book, I Wanna New Room, but much of it applies as is and the rest can be easily modified to match this book); talk about what kids do with their grandparents - what activities do grandparents like to do?  Are they old-fashioned?  What activities do kids like to do?  Can you learn fun things from your grandparents?  Can they learn fun things from you?  What are some things you've learned how to do from your grandparents? What are some things you've taught them?



Why I Like This Book: Alex's letter-writing is always amusing.  He's a master of showing his side of the argument and getting his way, (although in this case he changes his mind and learns that maybe visiting grandparents isn't all that bad.)  Things begin badly at the Happy Hills Retirement Community.  It's raining.  Alex is bored.  Grandma Shirley is dressing baby Annie up in girly outfits, and Grandpa's false teeth are disgusting!  But as the days go by, Alex discovers square dancing, bingo, and stick ball, and realizes that his grandparents are pretty fun to hang out with.  By the end, he doesn't want to go home.  I love the way Alex's attitude turns around, because that happens so often in life - especially with kids.  They think they're going to hate something and don't even want to give it a chance, and it turns out to be pretty amazing :)  This book, like Karen's others, is filled with humor and believability and is just tons of fun from start to finish!

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you and see your wonderful picks for this week!

And please remember that there will be no PPBF next week due (October 31!!!) to the fact that the Halloweensie Contest will be underway!!!  So exciting!  I can hardly wait until Monday... to see if anyone enters... anyone at all...  I'm hoping for at least a few - your stories are always so creative and fun!  (And no, I have not written my sample yet.  But I still have a couple days.  It could still happen... :))

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! :)


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5. Perfect Picture Book Friday - Ninja Red Riding Hood

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

I was certain this book had been reviewed already for PPBF, but when I went to find the link (so I could add it to the prize mention on the Halloweensie Contest) I couldn't find it anywhere!  Is it possible that since it came out in July while we were on hiatus it never got reviewed?  Or did I just not see it?  Who knows?!  But it's too good to miss, so enjoy!  (And if someone already did it, you'd better give me the link! :))

Title: Ninja Red Riding Hood
Written By: Corey Rosen Schwartz
Illustrated By: Dan Santat
G.P. Putnam's Sons, July 2014, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: fractured fairy tale, humor, girl power, language fun (rhyme)

Opening: "Once upon a Ninja-filled time,
a wolf couldn't catch any prey.
He kept getting licked
by the dinner he picked
and was growing more ticked by the day."

Brief Synopsis: The big bad wolf, having taken a licking from the three nina pigs, decides to attend martial arts school and then see if he can snack on Little Red Riding Hood.  But Red turns out to be way more than he bargained for!



Links To Resources: Teacher Guide/Activity Pages; compare this version of RED with the traditional tale of Little Red Riding Hood, Little Red Writing, and any other versions you like (this page lists quite a few!) - how are the stories alike? How are they different?

Why I Like This Book: For starters, I love fractured fairy tales, and this is such a clever one!  The rhythm of the rhyme is terrific, and just begs to be read aloud.  The story, complemented perfectly by the illustrations, is tons of fun.  I love that Red has a few tricks up her sleeve and is well able to take care of herself - a great message for girls.  Gran has a few surprises too.  And the poor old wolf... you just have to feel a little sorry for him :)

Hopefully, here's the trailer (although my internet is currently being extremely uncooperative and refusing to show any videos, so we'll just have to see if this works or not!)



For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!  I hope you're all thinking about and/or writing your Halloweensie stories!  Personally, I am still in the thinking about stage :)


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6. Perfect Picture Book Friday - You're Here!

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

I love getting to read piles of picture books and pick out the best of the best to share here, but every now and again I get the extra-special pleasure of being able to share a book written or illustrated by someone I know and admire and am lucky to count as a friend.  Be assured - no matter who writes or illustrates the book, it only makes it onto Perfect Picture Book Friday if I really genuinely think it's perfect.  So today I have the joy of introducing you to a book by a very talented illustrator.  (She is also a talented writer, and I have no doubt we'll be seeing books where she is both the author and illustrator before long!)  Those of you who hang out in the kidlit circles probably already know her well.  Congratulations, Julie, on your first book-baby - it's here! oh, it's here! oh, it's finally here! :)

I hope you will all enjoy this sweet little picture book for newborns :)


Title: You're Here!
Written By: Karla Oceanak
Illustrated By: Julie Rowan-Zoch
Bailiwick Press, October 2014, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: Newborn - 2

Themes/Topics: first year milestones, family, new baby, love

Opening: "You're here! Oh, you're here! Oh, you're finally here!
Hip, hip, hooray! We've been waiting, my dear!
For your fingers - so perfect.  Your nibbly toes.
Your wide-window eyes and your neat, nubbin nose."

Brief Synopsis: A new baby is welcomed with much anticipation of all the wonders and milestones the first year will hold.

Links To Resources: Just read this lovely story with infants to begin the tradition of reading together; read with older children and talk about their first year - all the things they did and when, and how wonderful it was, maybe share their baby journal if you kept one, or look at photographs of them as infants; read with new siblings to help them understand what they can expect from their new little brother or sister.

Why I Like This Book: The story is simple and sweet, and expresses beautifully the wonder and love and happiness of a new baby.  It would make a perfect gift for any family with a newborn.  If you are a parent, it will make you a little teary, thinking about when you first met your babies :)  But the reason I love this book the most is the art.  Julie Rowan-Zoch's sweet drawings are simply perfect for this story.  The family, depicted as elephants, are just darling.  The baby's rosy cheeks, delightful expressions and infant antics are picture perfect.  Julie's art adds an extra layer of warmth and emotion to this little treasure of a book :)

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you!  I can't wait to see what you've chosen this week!  And I will not be surprised if someone else has chosen this book! :)

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! :)


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7. Perfect Picture Book Friday - Little Boo

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

Now that it's October, it's fair to start sharing Halloween picture books, right?

I'm glad you agree :)

Here's a pretty new one, just published this August.

Title: Little Boo
Written By: Stephen Wunderli
Illustrated By: Tim Zeltner
Henry Holt & Company, August 2014, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-7

Themes/Topics: Holidays (Halloween), Emotion (patience/impatience), Nature (lifecycle of a seed), Common Childhood Experiences (wanting to be bigger/older)

Opening: "The wind blew, the leaves fell, and a tiny seed hid in the garden.
"Boo," the seed said to a leaf rolling by.
"You're not scary at all," the leaf said.

Brief Synopsis: A little pumpkin seed tries hard to be scary but he just can't seem to scare anyone - not the leaves or the grubs, not the snowflakes in winter or the bees in spring!  "Be patient," the wind tells him, "you'll be scary soon enough."  But it's awfully hard to wait!

Links To Resources: plant a seed and watch it grow - indoors in a container or outdoors in a garden; 40 Things For Kids To Do With Pumpkins; 9 Easy Pumpkin Recipes For Kids

Why I Like This Book:  It's just so cute!  Look at that little pumpkin seed face - how can you not love it?! :)  The story is simple but so relatable for kids who always seem to want to grow up faster than nature allows.  And within the sweet story we also get a nice little glimpse of the life cycle of a seed - so cleverly slipped in there!  To top it off, the art is absolutely gorgeous -  colorful and warm and so appealing!  This is a wonderful one to add to your Halloween book shelf :)



For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you!

And although I haven't been posting on Mondays, be sure to visit this coming Monday for an important announcement!

Have a great weekend, everybody!!! :)


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8. Perfect Picture Book Friday - You Are (Not) Small

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

I spent easily half my week writing a picture book which is not working and which at this point I hate a little bit :)  Why is it that an idea which seems so good when it starts out in your head can turn out so badly when you get it on paper?  I still feel like there's a kernel of good story in there somewhere, but darned if I can find it right now :)

Ah, well, at least I have a lovely, fun picture book (not mine :)) to share with you today!

Title: You Are (Not) Small
Written By: Anna Kang
Illustrated By: Christopher Weyant
Two Lions, August 2014, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 2-6

Themes/Topics: Differences, Perspective, Humor

Opening: "'You are small.'
'I am not small.  You are big.'
'I am not big.  See?'"

Brief Synopsis: Two creatures (whose fur, noses, and expressions suggest that they are indeed closely related) argue over who is small and who is big.  But it's really all in how you look at it :)


Links To Resources: Kids Activity Guide with printable growth chart; Classroom Guide for K-1st with Common Core Standards; start a discussion on the difficulty and/or desirability of establishing standards; read with Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal - how are these books alike? how are they different?

Why I Like This Book:  This book is short and simple, yet it manages to convey an important message with humor.  I dare you not to laugh at the end :)  In 91 words, it manages to get across the idea that we can be big and small at the same time, and in spite of our perceived differences we have much in common.  The art is appealing, and the characters' expressions speak volumes.  For anyone who has ever felt too little (or too big), this is the perfect story.

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you!  Can't wait to see what other wonderful picture books will be on the list this week!

Have a wonderful first weekend of Autumn, everyone! :)


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9. Perfect Picture Book Friday - The Most Magnificent Thing PLUS The Goodnight Ark Giveaway Winner!

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

Boy do I have the most magnificent book to share with you today!  It's one of those books that makes you revel in how perfect it is when you get to the end and want to read it again right away in case you missed anything and then again just to enjoy how much fun it is :)  I hope you all like it as much as I do!

Title: The Most Magnificent Thing
Written & Illustrated By: Ashley Spires
Kids Can Press, April 2014, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-7

Themes/Topics: creativity, perseverance, perspective, emotion (frustration)

Opening: "This is a regular girl and her best friend in the whole wide world.  They do all kinds of things together.  They race.  They eat.  They explore.  They relax.  She makes things.  He unmakes things.  One day, the girl has a wonderful idea.  She is going to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing!"


Brief Synopsis: A little girl sets out to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing with the help of her best friend and assistant, her dog.  Imagine their shock when the thing turns out not to be magnificent!  In fact, it's not even "good. It isn't even kind-of-sort-of okay. It is all wrong."  So she tosses it and starts again.  But it's not easy to turn her vision into reality.  Frustration leads to anger, and anger leads to defeat.  Luckily, her assistant suggests a walk which brings calm and clarity and a new perspective... and a most magnificent thing :)

Links To Resources: supply a variety of craft items and/or found objects and encourage kids to think up and create their own "magnificent things"; Goldie Blox Toys (which encourage girls to put down the dolls and pick up the tools and might give you some invention ideas)

Why I Like This Book:  I love that this story addresses what may be the most common of all childhood emotions: frustration!  The little girl has a great idea.  She can imagine it perfectly.  She knows exactly how it will look.  But she has a hard time translating what she sees in her mind's eye to the physical reality of her most magnificent thing.  Her escalation of emotion is real and believable (and kids will relate to it so well!)  And the message that sometimes a little distance and a little time to calm down can help improve your perspective is a wonderful one.  In the end, she makes something that is just perfect (but I won't tell you what it is :))  The art is cute and full of humor.  The depiction of emotion is spot on.  The story touches on imagination and creativity, making things from found objects, dealing with frustration and disappointment, keeping/finding your perspective, not giving up, the idea that it's okay to make mistakes, and the importance of having a good friend.  All around, a book kids will enjoy and parents will be glad to read multiple times.

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

Now, before we all trot off so see what everyone else picked this week, I'd like to take a moment to announce the winner of last week's giveaway.  Laura Sassi and her publisher, Zonderkidz, generously contributed a copy of GOODNIGHT, ARK and the lucky winner is . . .

Sandy Perlic!!!

Congratulations, Sandy!  Please email me so we can organize getting you your book!  And thanks to everyone who shared their bedtime routines - we all had so much fun reading about them!

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you!  I can't wait to see what's on the list for today :)

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! :)


0 Comments on Perfect Picture Book Friday - The Most Magnificent Thing PLUS The Goodnight Ark Giveaway Winner! as of 9/19/2014 4:00:00 AM
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10. Contests

Two contests crossed my desk that I thought might be interesting. The first is for anyone. Chronicle Books is looking for a new humorous book, of any length or genre, to publish as their second (annual?), The Great Tumblr Book Search. Unpublished writers are encouraged to submit a story.

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For every hit, there has to be a sequel. The Great Tumblr Book Search is back and the search for the next big humor book is on! Last year, Chronicle Books partnered with Tumblr on the first-annual Great Tumblr Book Search. The winning Tumblr was Sht Rough Drafts by Paul Laudiero. Chronicle offered Laudiero a publishing contract and now Sht Rough Drafts the book is coming to a bookstore near you on April 15th. And YOU could be next!

How to Enter:  Use Tumblr to explain your humor book idea. Then our editors will judge the entries and choose a grand-prize winner whose idea will be considered for publication. You may use an existing Tumblr or create a new Tumblr to illustrate your book idea. Just make us laugh!

Contest Details at Chronicle Books Tumblr

Hurry, the contest ends 3/31/2014Read the official rules and submit your Tumblr entry now! Winners will be announced by April 30th.

1 Grand Prize:

  • Book idea considered for publication
  • $300 of Chronicle books
  •  Feedback session with a Chronicle Books editor

3 Runners-Up:

  • $100 of Chronicle books
  • Written critique from Chronicle Books editors

Questions? Email [email protected]

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

“The second contest is for kids. Peachtree Publisher is asking kids to write an essay in celebration of the April release of Charlie Bumpers and the Nice Gnome (reviewed here). Mrs. Burke, Charlie’s teacher, will explain.

You vs. Who? Contest & Giveaway

Mrs. Burke“Since the title of Teacher of the Year was bestowed upon me, I’ve received a number of inquiries on an array of subjects.

“What is my first name? What activities are best for fourth graders? Did I suffer any lasting effects from the flying sneaker incident? How is my snap so impressively loud?

“I’ve been asked to answer a few of those questions here today.

Snap Fingers

“The Snap”

“The snap, I’m afraid, is one of the most fiercely guarded secrets of the Empire—Mrs. Burke’s Empire, that is. The technique was passed down in a sacred trust from my mother, and I couldn’t possibly divulge it here.

“Actually, I suppose I could, but my hood of ninjas would instantaneously escort every person reading this post to a remote island surrounded by man-eating octopi. I doubt the secret of the snap would do you much good in such an exile.

“Activities, however, I am happy to share!

“1. Plays:  Each year, the citizens of Mrs. Burke’s Empire perform a play. I’m not given to bragging, but this year’s—The Sorcerer’s Castle—might be this director’s masterpiece. I’ve found that my students learn quite a bit about themselves when they’re forced to play someone else.

“2. Writing:  I suggest having your students write about their own experiences. Here’s a prompt that works well with my own students: You vs. Who?

“Students must write a story about a time they faced some sort of obstacle. Stories can be silly or serious; true or fictional; about school, home, or extra-curriculars! Give it a title like Suzie Rice vs. The Vacuum of Suction Destruction or Mrs. Burke vs. The Slippery Ramen Noodle.

“3. Contests:  When all other hope is lost and mutiny seems inescapable, make it a contest. In fact, let’s do just that! Have your child, student, or library patrons answer the You vs. Who? prompt.

“You (the teacher, librarian, parent, etc.) must send the stories to the folks at Peachtree Publishers via e-mail or snail mail before the deadline. (March 26, 2014) See details below. Win a glorious prize and bring honor to your own empire!”

Charlie Bumpers Gnome Title

CONTEST DETAILS

PRIZE: Peachtree Publishers is giving away ten (10) Charlie Bumpers prize packs!

Nine winners will receive one (1) hardcover copy of Charlie Bumpers vs. The Teacher of the Year, (reviewed HERE), and one (1) galley of Charlie Bumpers vs. The Really Nice Gnome (April 2014!).

One Grand Prize winner will receive one (1) hardcover copy of Charlie Bumpers vs. The Teacher of the Year, one (1) hardcover copy of Charlie Bumpers vs. The Really Nice Gnome, and one (1) Audio Book CD of Charlie Bumpers vs. The Teacher of the Year (performed by author and Grammy Award-winning recording artist, Bill Harley!).

TO ENTER: Students must write a story about a time they faced some sort of obstacle like Charlie does. Adult must send the stories in to Peachtree Publishers via e-mail or snail mail. Stories can be silly or serious; true or fictional; about school, home, or extra-curriculars!

E-mail Address:  publicity(at)peachtree(dash)online(dot)com

Snail Mail Address:

Peachtree Publishers

Publicity Dept.

1700 Chattahoochee Ave.

Atlanta, GA 30318

DEADLINE: Contest ends March 26, 2014, at 11:59 pm EST

OPEN TO: US Addresses Only

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

Okay, what are you waiting for? Get those sharp pencils or fully charged computer out and get to writing. Imagination encouraged!

 


Filed under: Contests, For Writers, Interesting Links Tagged: aspiring authors, Charllie Bumpers and the Nice Gnome Contest, Chronicle Books, contests, Peachtree Publishers, The Great Tumblr Book Search, unpublished authors, writing contests, writing contests for kids

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11. The Dreaded Intent – Food Fight ’14

FirstPeekAtLogo

The Dreaded Intent – Food Fight ’14

Julie Rowan-Zoch has started an interesting story in honor of WORLD READ ALOUD DAY. The story, beginning on her website, is about a food fight, but she needs your help to get it to the end. Bring your best food and a good arm. To read more, including the story thus far, go HERE! Or here: http://julierowanzoch.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/the-dreaded-intent-food-fight-14/#comment-6582  And for more on the WORLD READ ALOUD DAY go HERE! or here: http://litworld.org/litworldorg/2014/1/31/the-world-read-aloud-day-2014-banner-is-here.html

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THE DREADED INTENT

“It was a lunch hour like any other at Bacon Elementary, when a chill ran up Mateo’s spine. His hair stood at attention down his bony arms. Cautiously he lifted his gaze, millimeter by millimeter. He dreaded the worst. And sure as a pop-tart is sugary, there she was, staring straight at him. Priscilla Weatherspoon – the meanest, leanest prankster this side of the Mississippi. Her eyes grew smaller as they locked onto his. Slowly, slowly but sure as a mosquito bite, she drew her chin towards her chest and that’swhen Mateo saw The Intent, right there under her thick, dark caterpillar eyebrows knit between her tightly pulled braids. Those chesnut-brown peepers were. not. cute. He knew then and there. He had just become her business. It was a speck of a second, but felt like slow-motion sickness. As the sweat started to gather in his armpits, and a heat rose to his ears, he lowered his sandwich with his left hand as he went for the juice box with his right…” continue reading . . . 

(Check out comment #3 – Erik, our friendly kidlit kid; and #5, me, your wanna be writer of all things humorous.)

mateo_01-1

Thank you Julie Rowan-Zoch for the great illustration of Mateo. I think Julie’s illustrations are fantastic!  Okay, now what are you waiting for? Go! Go on and continue Mateo’s story and remember to READ ALOUD TO SOMEONE TODAY! Preferably a book.

For more food fight sotries in honor of WORLD READ ALOUD DAY, go to WriterOutline. Or start your own story and add it to the list.


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Favorites, For Writers, Interesting Links, Middle Grade, Special Event Tagged: food fight story, help write a story, Julie Rowan-Zoch, kid lit, March 5 2014, The Dreaded Intent, World Read Aloud Day

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12. For #fridayreads, which author do you admire?

After reading TAKEN last year, I discovered I really like Robert Crais' books. I'm a little late to the fan party, I know--the man has written a good bookshelf full of mysteries.

So I picked up his recent release, SUSPECT. The book opens with a chapter written from a military K-9 dog's perspective; I was choked up by page ten... As a writer, it left me in awe. Don't we all wish we could write that powerful of a story?

How about you, readers and writers? Which author do you admire?

4 Comments on For #fridayreads, which author do you admire?, last added: 3/10/2013
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13. Why Birmingham Is Where It's At

I've been a bit quiet around here lately, as you may have noticed. I'd like to say that I'm off having summer fun, but it's more like I've been hiding out from the HEAT. July is hitting me full force here in ol' Mississippi. I'm catching myself saying things like, "Lord, have mercy," and "It's a scorcher, y'all."

It's a little frightening, I know.

But I thought I'd come out of air-conditioned hiding for a moment to tell you about a cool event in Birmingham this October: the Southern Breeze chapter of SCBWI is having their annual fall conference (Writing and Illustrating for Kids) October 19-20.

And I'll be on the faculty with a workshop on YA and MG mysteries. It'll be fun, so I hope you'll consider coming to Birmingham. I know, it's hot in Alabama too, but I hear it's lovely in October...

Get the scoop on the Southern Breeze Writing and Illustrating for Kids conference here.


1 Comments on Why Birmingham Is Where It's At, last added: 7/29/2012
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14. Where I Geek Out And Declare My Love For Research (Writerly Wednesday post)

Confession time: I love to do research. I love to surf the web--or even better: check out a big stack of books at the library. There's just nothing better. I'm geeky that way.

For Double Vision, I must've read a dozen books on Leonardo da Vinci. I combed travel guides on Paris, learned about its awesome catacombs. I dove into the fascinating history of codes and ciphers.

So you'd think the book is full of facts and history, right? Not really. I think that out of all that research, maybe one percent makes it into the book.

I could save myself a lot of time by just looking for what I need and getting back to writing. Maybe research is just avoidance, hmmm...

How 'bout you, writer friends? Do you like research, and where do you go to get your data?

I talk some more about research at Sleuths, Spies and Alibis.


5 Comments on Where I Geek Out And Declare My Love For Research (Writerly Wednesday post), last added: 7/20/2012
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15. If You Could Write For TV, What Show Would It Be? (Writerly Wednesday post)

Oh, how I love TV. I know, that's not very classy for a writer to admit, but it's true. I read a lot, but I can so enjoy a good TV show (preferable with a healthy dose of snacks).

Here at the Bradley house, we're all about Leverage. There's a good heist, great characters, and a big dose of humor--when I hear the Leverage theme song, I smile. And it's just about PG enough to watch with my tween posse, so big fat extra points for that.

The show's new season begins this weekend. Can't wait to see what they've cooked up for us this time. 

Which got me thinking yesterday... How cool would it be to be able to write an episode? No way that'll ever happen, and the writers of Leverage do just fine on their own--but a writer can dream, no?

If I could choose any TV show to write for, it would probable be Leverage.

How 'bout you, writer friends?


6 Comments on If You Could Write For TV, What Show Would It Be? (Writerly Wednesday post), last added: 7/11/2012
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16. How To Find The Right Literary Agent--A Quick Guide

I have a YA/MG/(fill in the blank) manuscript. Who's your agent?


I get this question a lot now, and the answer is more difficult than you'd think. Not because my agent is top-secret (he's Stephen Barbara at Foundry, and yes, he's awesome), but because finding an agent should be more involved than asking for a name. And I didn't always know that either, so I thought I would give you the five-minute answer here.

How you should select your agent:

1. Does (s) he have the same vision for your manuscript (and career) as you do?

This seems like an easy one, and "I don't care, as long as (s)he sells it!" is not the right answer. You'll be doing edits, changing plot lines, characters--your agent will also be your editorial adviser. Make sure YOU know what you want your work-in-progress--and your career as a writer--to be.

2. Do you communicate well with each other?

This is a big one, and I didn't get that until I worked with some people who just didn't communicate like I do. I like straight answers, directness, specificity. Just tell me what stinks. Some people like an agent who talks in broad terms, maybe you're looking for lots of small talk or weekly updates. Think about all this before you sign with an agent. Ask questions. Talk a while, and ask yourself if you're both on the same page.

3. Has (s)he sold manuscripts in your genre?

You need an agent who has the connections to editors, and having sold manuscripts is the real test here. If you go with a brand-spankin' new agent, make sure they're with an agency that has those connections. See the resources below on how to get this information.

Ask your prospective agent where (s)he thinks your manuscript might fit (publishing house, editor). Better yet, do your own homework, and know who publishes what in your genre.

4. What agency is the agent with?

You want an agent who has access to other agents, to sell foreign rights, movie rights, etc. If the agent is a solo op, ask how (s)he handles this.

These are just a few questions I would ask. Think of your own, and add them to the list. You'll be working closely with your agent, so make sure (s)he is the right agent for you.

Here are some resources online, so you can research stuff:

Publishers Marketplace: Agents get to design their own page here, so you know you're getting the info about submitting, etc. straight from them. You can subscribe to get access to Publishers Marketplace's deals database (see #3 above).

Agentquery: Great for a quick database, but make sure you check all info against the agent's website.

Preditors and Editors: To make sure your agent didn't sell swamp land in Florida last week. Simply check the name against their A-to-Z database.

Jacketflap: A hub for kidlit writers, editors and agents. Vet any agent name against the sources above, because remember: anyone can call themselves an agent.

AAR: Association of Authors' Representatives--a regulating organization that's all about protecting your rights. Extra points if your agent or their agency belongs to AAR, because that means they'll adhere to their canon of ethics. Belonging to AAR comes with a price tag, though, so I wouldn't rule out an agent based on their AAR membershi

3 Comments on How To Find The Right Literary Agent--A Quick Guide, last added: 5/6/2012
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17. Why It Pays To Join Professional Writers Organizations

I was lucky enough to be part of a Skype conference call with author Lee Child a few weeks ago--I know, you're a little jealous. To tell you the truth, I didn't talk much. There were a few other debut authors who were asking these really smart questions, so I mostly listened.

The funny thing? I never thought that joining organizations like International Thriller Writers would do a whole lot, other than maybe make me look like I know what I'm doing. But ITW has this great debut authors program that gives you a boost by helping promote your book, find other newbies, and get advice.

From Lee Child. How cool is that?

Anthony J. Franze wrote up an article about what we learned; check it out here.

4 Comments on Why It Pays To Join Professional Writers Organizations, last added: 4/4/2012
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18. Advice for Young Writers and Editors


For you young writers and editors: PW's Rose Fox has advice on her Genreville blog. Check it out here.

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19. Dromkeen

DromkeenA visit to Dromkeen is a magical immersion in the world of Australian children’s literature. On beautiful grounds with long vistas of the surrounding countryside, Dromkeen is the former country home of children’s book sellers and supporters Court and Joyce Oldmeadow. Now owned and administered by Scholastic Australia, the property houses the Oldmeadows’ collection of early Australian children’s books, a reference library, and a children’s library, as well as their lovingly assembled Dromkeen Collection of valuable original materials–manuscripts, drafts, sketches, book dummies, story boards and other evidence of the process of book production, over 6,000 pieces in all.

These resources are put to regular use by 7500 visitors annually. Schoolchildren come on day trips and for 3-day bookmaking workshops with illustrators and writers. (They stay at a nearby camp.) Teachers come for professional development seminars. Uni students and graduate scholars come to peruse the primary source materials. Changing displays of illustrators’ work occupy the four large public gallery rooms of the house. There’s an adjoining building where other art is exhibited and visitors can picnic or have tea on the grounds while they watch and listen to the peacocks–and the screeching cockatoos!

In warm weather, a writer arrives monthly on Sunday afternoons to read a story to visitors young and old. There’s a magic cape, decorated by Australia’s most beloved illustrators, and a throne-like storytelling chair. An outdoor sculpture garden features bronzes of characters from Aussie classics like the gumbaby from Meg Gibbs‘ 1918 Snugglepot and Cuddlepie. For a list of outstanding children’s books about the Australian natural environment, including Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, click here. (And here for Tim Young’s new book, Drawn to Enchant, documenting American children’s book illustration from the Yale Beinecke Library.)

Dromkeen also has a dvd library of writers and artists talking about their work and has recently published two Sketchbook dvds as teaching resources, “Illustrators at Work” and “Producing a Picture Book.” In each, noted illustrators, some also authors, demonstrate their process.The prestigious Dromkeen Medal has been awarded annually since 1982 for “significant contribution to the appreciation and development of children’s literature in Australia,” and a Librarian’s Award is also conferred yearly.

Dromkeen is only about an hour’s drive out of Melbourne, north of the airport. It’s a treasure that’s certainly worth the trip. Many thanks to Judith Macdonald for making my visit possible!

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