July 27, 2015
July 20, 2015
July 19, 2015
Earlier this month, I introduced you to Bookroo, a new children’s book-of-the month club service with a bright future and a mission to promote literacy by providing an easy and affordable way for parents to build their children’s book collections. Read that post here.
Now Bookroo is back with a Buy One, Give One! deal that’s too good not to share with you. In honor of John Newbery’s birthday, Bookroo is offering the next 250 new customers a coupon for a free one-month gift subscription. So if you sign up as a new Bookroo customer, you’ll be able to send a coupon to a friend who can get their own Bookroo box for free. The deal starts tomorrow, but I got special permission to share it with Frog on a Blog followers first! For more information, click here. Happy reading!
July 18, 2015
“For every eBook you buy, we donate one to a child in need.”
That’s the Budding Reader eBooks pledge.
Melinda Thompson, the visionary behind Budding Reader, a company that creates award-winning learn-to-read eBooks, has a question for you.
Get out your pencils. It’s time for a pop quiz:
If you read to your child 20 minutes a day for the first five years of life how much time will you have spent reading to your child?
A. More than 600 hours
B. More than 25 days
C. Approximately 1% of your child’s life
D. All of the above
The answer is D: All of the above! That’s a lot of time spent reading, isn’t it? And all that reading is likely to entail thousands (yes, thousands not hundreds) of picture books. (Thank goodness for libraries!) Is all that reading really worth the time? Research answers with a resounding YES! Time and again, research studies have demonstrated the importance of reading for wiring brains, building vocabulary, promoting empathy, and increasing knowledge of the world. So clearly, spending time reading to a child is time well spent and a commitment well worth making.
Melinda Thompson of Budding Reader eBooks is on a mission to make learning to read easier and more fun for children, especially struggling readers. For tips on working with emergent readers, check out this free eBook from Budding Reader.
To learn more about Budding Reader and it’s amazing line of eBooks, click here.
July 13, 2015
July 12, 2015
Title: Randy Bamboo In Chicken City
Author: RC Beaird
Illustrator: Amy Koch Johnson
Blurb (from back cover): ‘Chicken City’ is an exciting tale about a kid from the city moving to the country with his family. Join this suspense filled adventure as Randy raises chickens and hopes for eggs that he can one day sell.
Randy Bamboo is a boy with a lot of personality, energy, and imagination. He lives in the city, but can’t wait to move to the country with his family and finally be a “good old country boy”. He’s most excited about raising his very own chickens. A few weeks after settling into their new country home, Randy’s father takes him to the local feed store to buy several baby chicks. And that’s where the real adventure begins. Randy soon learns that taking care of chickens isn’t as easy as he thought it would be. Feeding, watering, cleaning up droppings, and protecting his flock from coyotes, were all his responsibility. And then he had to wait six long months to get his first egg!
Randy Bamboo In Chicken City is well-written, nicely paced, and fun to read. It would be a good choice for children who have just begun to read on their own. Content and word-length, as well as the message of learning responsibility and the discussion questions in the back of the book, make this story suitable for that age group as well. Children of all ages will enjoy the book’s colorful illustrations and the Chicken City song that’s included at the end. And if you’re interested in learning a little something about raising chickens, Randy Bamboo In Chicken City can help. I learned a lot!
July 8, 2015
I love the idea of a book-of-the-month club for young children. Books make awesome gifts! I’ve used a book-of-the-month club for my two little nephews for the past year and a half. Both the boys and their parents love to receive a brand new book every month, right on their doorstep. And it’s always wrapped, so it feels like each new book is truly a gift. And as an added benefit, I feel good having helped build my nephews’ book collection which I hope will help them both to become strong readers as they get older.
When I researched book-of-the-month clubs for children a year and a half ago, there weren’t many to choose from, though I did, eventually, find one that suits my needs. But now there’s a new company I’ll be keeping in mind for the future with a mission I can really get behind. Bookroo‘s mission “is to enable and empower parents to build their children’s book collections in an affordable and exciting way through curated monthly book deliveries. We believe in the power and impact of the written word in the life of a child, and believe it’s never too early to start reading to children!”
I asked Jane Tanner, who co-founded Bookroo with her husband Kesler, Kesler’s two brothers, and their wives, to tell me a bit more about the passion and vision behind Bookroo.
There’s something magical about getting a package in the mail, addressed to you, and containing several wrapped presents. Especially when you’re a child. And especially when the wrapped presents contain books–new and exciting stories for you to read in your favorite nook or sprawled across the couch upside down.
At Bookroo, our mission is to empower parents to build their children’s book collections easily and affordably in a way that enhances the excitement of reading for children. We believe, as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did, that, “It is a great thing to start life with a small number of really good books which are your very own,” and we want to help make that ideal a reality for children across the country and then the world.
Why? Because reading to children is powerful. It’s like magic or fairy dust, except actually accessible to us grown-ups. For example, did you know that for every year you read with your child from infancy to preschool, his average lifetime earnings increase by $50,000?  Or that reading to your baby increases not only her vocabulary, but also her math skills?  Reading to your children is a powerful force for good. As Albert Einstein said: “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
Rather than having the experience of individually wrapped books and a handwritten note to the parents and child come at a premium, in order to ensure that the maximum number of households can benefit from Bookroo, the retail value of the books in each box always exceeds the subscription price you pay. So it’s a win-win-win.
So what is Bookroo? It’s a monthly delivery of curated children’s books–either 3 board books or 2 picture books–individually wrapped and delivered to the child in your life. We invite you to help us on our mission to promote literacy from a young age, as a way to improve the future by increasing the abilities and potential of the children of the world!
Besides their dedication to literacy and children, the folks at Bookroo are doing even more to help make the world a better place by using recycled and recyclable packaging in their Bookroo boxes and they also donate books to children in need through Reach Out and Read, a non-profit organization that partners with medical providers “to promote early literacy and school readiness to young children and their families in all 50 states”. Bookroo is a company with a bright future. If you’ve ever considered using a book-of-the-month service, I encourage you to check out their site.
July 6, 2015
I love my dog, Java. He brings so much joy into my life. My husband and I adopted him from a local animal shelter about five years ago and I can’t even imagine my life without him now. He’s inspired several of my stories including one that is currently being considered by a publisher.
As a dog lover, when I heard about the blog tour for Barbara Barth’s A Dog Dreams of Paris, I was curious to learn more about the book. It’s all about a real rescue dog named April, the sixth dog to be adopted by Barbara! And when I discovered that a portion of all book sales will be donated to animal rescue, I signed up for the tour without hesitation.
Barbara’s had some success with raising funds for charities through book sales, a topic I’m very interested in, and has written an article for Frog on a Blog about three positive experiences she’s had doing exactly that–Earmarking a Portion of Your Book Profits for Charity. Before we get to the article, let me share Barbara’s sweet book A Dog Dreams of Paris with you.
Title: A Dog Dreams of Paris: From Rescue Dog to Diva
Author: Barbara Barth
Genre: Gift Book/Children
Publisher: Gilbert Street Press
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Paperback: 52 pages (also available as ebook)
Synopsis: Meet April, a rescue dog turned Diva, in this charming picture book for dreamers of all ages. This fantasy dog memoir is April’s travel diary on places she would visit in Paris. April was the sixth dog adopted by author Barbara Barth. She had trouble finding her place in the pack and sat quietly watching the other dogs. During a photo shoot for an Easter blog post, a vintage pink hat, complete with a large silk rose, was placed on April’s head. She wore the hat with style and transformed from April to Miss April in Paris. For a few months she had a blog of her own, where she dreamed of visiting the city of lights. April has completed her Paris diary and is sharing it with you here.
Earmarking a Portion of Your Book Profits for Charity
by Barbara Barth
I love the idea that a book will bring pleasure to the person reading it and help a great cause with its sales. The two together are a win-win situation. I am not a professional fundraiser, but like to feel my sales can help my favorite charities. In my case, mostly animal rescue groups, since I live with six dogs from my local shelters. To be honest, I confuse myself with some of my ideas, because I wing it many times. There are no set guidelines; I just do what pops into my head at any given moment. I will share the three experiences I’ve had and the great outcomes from all three.
The book that started it all for me (my calling myself a writer) was my memoir on my first year as a widow. The Unfaithful Widow, published in 2010, was a series of essays over a year on finding a life of my own again. Dogs played a huge role in my healing process. I adopted five dogs in nine months, giving me six dogs at home, with my old dog Foxy. My book launch was at a friend’s huge Victorian bed and breakfast, complete with a silent auction to benefit the agency that brought me most of my dogs, Animal Action Rescue. The evening was a gala for me and for the rescue group. I planned on keeping the wholesale cost of each book I sold and then donating the profit to the group. The first person who bought my book wanted to write a check. “Who should I make the check out to?” A simple question, but it kick started a thought in my mind. I didn’t want to figure out the profit at the end of the evening. Right there I decided to donate the entire price of my book to my rescue group. I gave the woman the animal rescue groups name for her check (which also allowed her to claim a charitable deduction) and to my surprise, she wrote a check for twenty dollars for my $15.95 book. The rest of the evening went like that. As soon as I told a customer all the money went to the rescue group, they paid more for my book, both in cash and check. One woman, who was a huge dog lover, wrote a check for $100. I was amazed at the generosity of people when it came to donating to a cause, rather than just buying a book. The evening was magical.
In December 2014, I published a Christmas anthology that include stories from thirty authors. Originally, it was going to be a free e-book on Kindle. The perk for the authors, they had their bio and web links at the end of their piece. Again, things did not go as planned. The book had to have a price to be uploaded to Kindle, and then I could put it in KDP select for a short free promotion. I didn’t want to profit from the work of my fellow authors, and if we had sales, the money needed to go to a charity. A quick e-mail to everyone took care of that. We would donate any sales to a children’s literacy group. I chose First Book, a group that provides access to new books for children in need. I contacted their home office; wanting to be sure it was okay for me to link back to them in the e-book. The bottom line, I explained to them, we may not have many sales, but with thirty authors involved, First Book would receive additional press and let others know of their work. First Book is a huge charity, but you can never have too much great PR. The sales for our e-book were not great, but the response from the authors who were in the book was awesome. Some donated directly to First Book, and I donated the sales and a contribution of my own. Disney matched all donations made by December 31st by tripling the number of books donated to children. We met that deadline, so our small amount of sales plus personal donations escalated thanks to Disney’s generosity and that of our group.
A Dog Dreams of Paris is my dream of the perfect book to help raise money for animal groups. I am still working on a plan for it. The book had a quiet launch with all profits in May going to Friends of DeKalb Animals, again a group close to my heart. Immediately after the book was available for sale I went into the hospital for hip replacement surgery. I have not had a chance to get the book out for book signings or to local shops. That is next month’s goal after my physical therapy is completed and I am mobile again. The picture book is based on Miss April in Paris, the last rescue dog to come to me at the beginning of 2011. It is her story on finding her way in the pack. I donated books to the group that brought me April, Atlanta Canine Adoption Project as a thank you for my lovely dog. In addition, it states in the book and in my promotional material, rescue groups can buy the book at my wholesale costs for fundraising.
I am sure there are professional guidelines on how to donate part of your book sales to charity, and you can Google them. I just wanted to share my experiences in this post. I have never figured out how to make money for myself with my books, but I write for the love of writing, pulling a project together, helping other authors with publicity, and finding a way to give to the folks who give to others of their time and energy. It isn’t about the money; it is about doing what feels right.
About Barbara Barth:
Barbara Barth likes a lot of things: turquoise jewelry, surfing the ‘net, and margaritas, to name a few. Then there are the dogs. As many as her house can hold! After her husband died she recorded the year that followed in a series of essays that became her memoir The Unfaithful Widow. When she isn’t writing you can find her at the local thrift shops or pounding another nail into the wall to hang the paintings she can’t resist. She published a romance novel Danger in her Words before one of her dogs, Miss April in Paris, insisted it was HER turn to write a memoir. Miss April in Paris now refers to Barbara as “my secretary”.
Barbara Barth’s website:
Barbara Barth’s blog:
Barbara on Facebook:
Barbara on Twitter: @writerwithdogs
Organizations referred to in the article:
First Book http://www.firstbook.org/first-book-story
Animal Action Rescue http://www.animalactionrescue.org/
Friends of DeKalb Animals http://friendsofdekalbanimals.com/
Atlanta Canine Adoption Project http://awos.petfinder.com/shelters/acap.html
Please visit the other stops on the tour:
Monday, June 29 @ The Muffin
interview and giveaway
Tuesday, June 30 @ Bring on Lemons
Wednesday, July 1 @ Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews
Friday, July 3 @ Deal Sharing Aunt
Monday, July 6 @ Frog on a Blog
Wednesday, July 8 @ Building Bookshelves
Thursday, July 9 @ Words by Webb
Friday, July 10 @ Oh My Dog!
interview and giveaway
Tuesday, July 14 @ Writer with Dogs
Wednesday, July 15 @ Hott Books
Thursday, July 16 @ Margo Dill
Friday, July 17 @ Renee’s Pages
Friday, July 24 @ MC Simon Writes
July 6, 2015
July 1, 2015
Today is exactly 2 months until the release of my debut picture book The Peddler’s Bed on September 1! And I couldn’t be more thrilled! I can’t believe it’s been nearly 2 years since I submitted the manuscript to Ripple Grove Press; time sure flies! Last month, I interviewed Bong Redila, the illustrator of The Peddler’s Bed. This month, it’s my pleasure to share an interview I did with author/illustrator Jami Gigot. Jami’s picture book Mae and the Moon comes out September 8, also from Ripple Grove Press. It looks spectacular and I can’t wait to read it!
Please enjoy Jami’s fabulous interview!
Q. What inspired you to write your debut picture book Mae and the Moon?
After my kids were born, I wanted to capture these amazing fleeting moments of our lives and also started thinking a lot about my own memories as a child. I started to write and draw bits of memories, words, silly poems and stories, trying to see things from a child’s point of view. When my daughter Mae was a toddler she once told me that the moon was following us, and we would often (and still do!) spend time looking at the sky searching for it, so I wrote a poem one night that inspired this particular story. I have always wanted to pursue creating my own ideas and stories and have an incredible passion for picture books, so decided to give it a go!
Q. Have you always been a creative and artistic person? Besides writing and illustrating children’s books, in what ways have you used your creativity?
I would say so, yes. I’ve always kept journals full of random thoughts and drawings, but they have just been my personal little books, and focusing on illustration and writing to this level and sharing it in this way is quite new to me. I went to school for film and animation and have spent the last several years working on feature films as a visual effects artist, so I mostly work on the computer in a 3D environment, and in collaboration with many other talented folks. For a few years, I also ran a business called “The Grateful Thread” with my husband where we designed and sold rock n’ roll inspired soft toy guitars and monsters, which was good fun. I love the process of making things and I also love learning, so it’s not uncommon for me to have several projects on the go, from painting, to upholstery, to trying to learn the ukulele. There are just not enough hours in the day!
Q. What part of the process did you like best when you created Mae and the Moon?
Really, I enjoyed the whole process very much. I love the moment when after staring into space and thinking so hard my brain hurts, I’ll get the little sparks of an exciting new idea that helps move the story along. My favorite part of illustrating is getting to the place where the image is really starting to work and I can envision more clearly where I would like it to go. I spend a lot of time drawing, erasing, and redrawing trying to get the character expression and posing right, changing the composition, and exploring the color palette, so my drawings often look pretty messy, but I need to try things out to get it right. Once I feel like the composition and initial sketches are working then it’s all about building it up bit by bit.
Q. How did you hear about Ripple Grove Press and why did you decide to submit Mae and the Moon to them?
When I felt I had a dummy book in a state that was ready to send to publishers I did a lot of research into potential publishing houses. I don’t have an agent and most of the big name houses won’t accept unsolicited materials, so I targeted a few of the mid and smaller ones. I found Ripple Grove Press online. It is run by a married couple Rob and Amanda Broder, and having run a business with my husband before, I admire them for taking a risk and following their passion. I read an interview that Amanda had done and she mentioned a few of her favorite picture books, which really matched my personal taste, so it seemed like a good fit.
Q. Do you have a favorite picture book, favorite picture book author, or favorite illustrator?
So many! I love everything by Arnold Lobel, Maurice Sendak, Shel Silverstein, and Roald Dahl. There are so many amazing illustrators there and I’m constantly discovering new artists. Some of my long time favorites are Moebius, Mike Mignola, Hayao Miyazaki, Dave McKean, Tove Janson and Shaun Tan, and some more recent favorites include Daniel Salmieri, Jon Klassen, Mac Barnett, Julie Morstad, David Weisner, the list could go on and on.
Q. Why do you feel picture books are important?
The time spent between adult and child connecting through a world of wonder, learning and imagination is incredibly precious. Picture books cross all sorts of different styles, mediums, and cultures; they inspire children and bring out the child in adults.
Q. Where can fans connect with you online?
and I occasionally blog on Tumblr https://www.tumblr.com/blog/jamigigot
Q. Do you have any advice for aspiring picture book authors or illustrators who are trying to get published?
Keep writing and/or drawing! The act of working itself will spawn more ideas and take you to new places. Experiment with your craft and push yourself to improve. Seek out advice and constructive criticism from individuals with more experience than you and don’t be afraid to change things.