Random Pic Of Cuteness: Writing Prompt #13

Just for fun, I’m sharing–at random–cute photos to inspire your picture book writing. Perhaps a picture will spark an idea for a character, setting, or even an entire story. Have fun!

*All photos are available in the public domain (or were taken by me), and are free to use and share.

Picture Books At The Library 192

I catalog hundreds of new picture books each year, and I read as many of them as I can. Unfortunately, I can’t review them all. But I can share them! Below are a few recent titles. (Summaries have been taken directly from the books whenever possible.) Check your local library or bookstore for availability.
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PENCIL’S PERFECT PICTURE: Pencil wants to create the perfect picture for his dad, but he doesn’t know what it takes to make it perfect.
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THE TIDE: A young girl, who loves her grandpa very much, worries about his forgetfulness and whether he’ll forget her one day.
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GONDRA’S TREASURE: Gondra, a little dragon, celebrates her uniqueness while talking with her parents about differences between her father’s homeland in the East and her mother’s in the West. Clever concept!
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ELENA’S SHELLS: Elena loves collecting shells, but when a hermit crab decides to move into one, she’s not happy. Cute!
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GOOD NIGHT, WIND: After working hard through the fall and winter, Wind is ready for a nap, but everywhere he goes to rest, he’s turned away. Amazing art!
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THE THREE VIKINGS: On their daring trip to Valhalla, three vikings, even the littlest one, use their skills in different ways.
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MOMMY SAYANG: When Aleeya’s mom becomes sick, Aleeya worries, but then she finds the perfect way to help her get better.
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BIKES FOR SALE: Maurice and Lotta, two bike riders whose paths never cross, become friends after both of their bikes are wrecked.
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WHEN A TREE GROWS: When Moose rubs his antlers against the tree where Squirrel built his nest, he sets off a chain of comic catastrophes.
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AMY IS FAMOUS: Amy loves being the superstar of her class, but when a new girl comes to school and becomes the new superstar, Amy is jealous.

Picture Books At The Library 191

I catalog hundreds of new picture books each year, and I read as many of them as I can. Unfortunately, I can’t review them all. But I can share them! Below are a few recent titles. (Summaries have been taken directly from the books whenever possible.) Check your local library or bookstore for availability.
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HAND IN HAND: Separated from her mother and her brother, Ruthi struggles to find hope and carry on with her life.
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BEDTIME FOR LITTLE BULLDOZER: Little Bulldozer was ready for bed, but he wasn’t sleepy, even after reading to his stuffed animals, getting nice and cozy, and having a drink of oil.
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IN A MINUTE, MAMA BEAR: Mama Bear tries to hustle her cub through the days activities, but Bella insists on going her own pace and showing Mama the value in slowing down. Rhyme
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LAWRENCE IN THE FALL: While on a hike through the woods with his father, Lawrence the fox discovers the beauty of nature and finds the perfect thing to collect.
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LAMBSLIDE: A flock of lambs mishears the word “landslide” as “lambslide” and begins a campaign to have one built for them on the farm.
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SADIE AND THE SILVER SHOES: After Sadie loses one of her new silver shoes, she meets a new friend, Ellie, and discovers that Ellie has a shoe that matches hers.
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NOBODY HUGS A CACTUS: Hank, a cactus who is as prickly on the inside as he is on the outside, decides he wants a hug. Most adorable cactus ever!
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BEING EDIE IS HARD TODAY: A sensitive girl imagines transforming herself into different animals to help manage her intense emotions during difficult situations at school.
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GARGANTUA JR.: Gargantua Jr. wants to protect Earth from space robots and giant asteroids, just like his mom, but he’s too little.
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DOG VS. ULTRA DOG: Tuffy the dog worries that his boy Tim will soon replace him with Ultra Dog, a superhero dog whom Tuffy can’t compete with.
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MITZVAH PIZZA: During her weekly fun day out with Daddy, Missy meets a new friend and learns she can buy pizza for people who can’t afford a slice.

Picture Books At The Library 190

I catalog hundreds of new picture books each year, and I read as many of them as I can. Unfortunately, I can’t review them all. But I can share them! Below are a few recent titles. (Summaries have been taken directly from the books whenever possible.) Check your local library or bookstore for availability.
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THE NIGHT LIBRARY: A boy learns to love reading again with the help of two enchanted lions, Patience and Fortitude.
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FERGAL AND THE BAD TEMPER: Fergal the dragon has a fiery temper, especially when others tell him what to do, or when thing’s aren’t fair.
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A KITE FOR MOON: Using a kite as stationery, a young boy makes a promise to one day visit the moon.
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TEDDY: The almost-true story of a president, a cartoonist, a toymaker, and a bear, and the creation of the world-famous teddy bear.
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PUP 681: A tiny sea otter pup is rescued after being washed ashore and learns that sometimes family can be just one person who loves you.
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JUST LIKE MY BROTHER: Little Giraffe proves her courage during a game of hide-and-seek with her older brother.
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MY ISLAND: A girl with a vivid imagination sings, shares, and dreams with her animal friends.
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A NEW HOME: In a shared voice, a boy moving from New York City to Mexico City and a girl moving from Mexico City to New York City express their fears about leaving home to live in a new and unfamiliar place.
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AFRICVILLE: A young girl visits Africville, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and all the stories she’s heard from her family come to mind.
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MY FOREST IS GREEN: Using different artistic mediums like collage, photography, and paint, a young artist creatively depicts the many shapes, colors, and textures of his natural surroundings.

Picture Books At The Library 189

I catalog hundreds of new picture books each year, and I read as many of them as I can. Unfortunately, I can’t review them all. But I can share them! Below are a few recent titles. (Summaries have been taken directly from the books whenever possible.) Check your local library or bookstore for availability.
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A TWIN IS TO HUG: A celebration of the ups and downs of being a twin. Rhyme
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THE SECRET CAT: Lucy yearns for a pet, so when a mysterious cat named Silvring appears one night, Lucy follow her on an amazing adventure.
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BUG: Bug loves insects, not math, but maybe insects can help Bug pass her math test.
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KARATE KAKAPO: Kakapo’s ready for her black belt test, but when it’s time to do a flying kick, there’s a problem, kakapos can’t fly.
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THE TALLEST TREE HOUSE: Fairies Mip and Pip have a contest to see who can build the tallest tree house the fastest, but when a gust of wind blows through the forest, one fairy’s tree house is in trouble.
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RAJ AND THE BEST DAY EVER!: Raj is sure he will have the worst day ever when Dad forgets his wallet at home and they can’t do any of the things they had planned.
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HOW I LEARNED TO FALL OUT OF TREES: Roger and Adelia have been best friends for many years, so when it’s time for Adelia to move away, she plans a special parting gift for Roger to help him cope.
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GEORGIA’S TERRIFIC, COLORIFIC EXPERIMENT: In order to become a great scientist, Georgia must create her own, unique experiment, but her family can’t help because they’re all artists, not scientists.
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SHHH! I’M READING!: When pirates, penguins, and aliens arrive and invite Bella on an adventure, she tells them all to sit quietly and wait because she’s reading.
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DANCE, DOLPHIN, DANCE: A playful dolphin dances through the kelp forest, but when a shark gives chase, the dolphin must swim for its life.

Picture Books At The Library 188

At The Library Too

I catalog hundreds of new picture books each year, and I read as many of them as I can. Unfortunately, I can’t review them all. But I can share them! Below are a few recent titles. (Summaries have been taken directly from the books whenever possible.) Check your local library or bookstore for availability.

I’m a bit behind in my posting, but hopefully you’ll find some titles here that you haven’t yet read. More coming soon!

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MIRA’S CURLY HAIR: Mira doesn’t like her very curly hair until she discovers something wonderful about her mother’s beautiful hair.

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OTTO AND PIO: A strange creature is left on Otto the squirrel’s doorstep, and he does his best to care for it even though it keeps growing larger.

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GOODBYE, SCHOOL: Franny finds a way to say goodbye to the school she loves on the last day of class.

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BABYMOON: First-time parents spend time together bonding with their new born baby.

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STUBBY: Based on the true story of a brave little stray dog that accompanied a soldier all the way to the front lines during WWI.

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RUBY’S SWORD: Ruby wants to play with her older brothers, but they always leave her out of their games, until she starts to build her own castle. Love the art!

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I WILL BE FIERCE: A girl conquers her fears on her first day of school just like a fierce warrior off on an adventure.

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VACATION FOR DEXTER: Dexter the dinosaur helps his best friend Jack to be brave on their first plane ride.

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GROWING SEASON: When El’s best friend Jo suddenly has a growth spurt, leaving El as the smallest student in her class, she begins to feel smaller every day. Sweet story and illustrations!

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ERNESTINE’S MILKY WAY: When Mama gives Ernestine a special job–to carry two jars of milk down yonder to Mrs. Ramsey and her children, Ernestine knows she can do it.

Show Me How! with Vivian Kirkfield and Sweet Dreams, Sarah

Folks, we’re back with another wonderful Show Me How! post from kidlit author and friend Vivian Kirkfield. This post is number three in Vivian’s three-part Frog on a Blog series, in which she shares a summary of one of her picture books, followed by a Positive Parental Participation Note, then a craft, and finally, a recipe, just like she does in her book Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking. (For more information about Show Me How! and to read my review, click HERE.)

Two weeks ago, we showcased Pippa’s Passover Plate. Last week, we talked Four Otters Toboggan: An Animal Counting Book.

Today, I’m excited to feature the picture book biography Sweet Dreams, Sarah!

But first, let’s hear a little about the book’s journey to publication.

Sweet Dreams Sarah: The Journey

I am so thrilled to have another opportunity to share a little bit more about my journey to publication. I’m blessed to have five book deals…with five different publishing houses…with five different editors…with five different illustrators…and of course, each of the manuscripts is different.

I wrote Sweet Dreams, Sarah in July 2014, the month after I took an online class in writing nonfiction picture books. I’d always been a fan of nonfiction….as a child, I read the Encyclopedia Britannica for fun. 😊 The teacher of that class encouraged us to surf the internet to find interesting topics…the first this…the first that. And I found Sarah E. Goode, one of the first African American women to get a U.S. Patent. I researched…there was almost nothing about her – and that spurred me on to dig for more because it makes me so sad when someone back in history does something amazing and they are forgotten…or worse, never even recognized in their own time.

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Image from Sweet Dreams, Sarah

Reaching out to librarians (HURRAY FOR LIBRARIANS!) and checking census records, I was able to amass enough information to write a story. And here is the process I used to refine it. I gave it to a few critique buddies. Then I revised based on their feedback. I sent it to Rate Your Story. It got an ‘8’. ☹ I revised as per their feedback and gave it to more critique buddies and revised based on that. And sent it to Rate Your Story. It got a ‘3’. Then I revised again and sent it to more critique buddies and polished based on their thoughts. And entered it in the Rate Your Story annual contest, won second place, and knew I had a strong story that I could send out to agents and editors. Which I did. It was Sweet Dreams, Sarah that garnered interest from four different agents. I signed with Essie White of Storm Literary Agency in late 2015, she sent it out immediately, and we had a book deal before the end of the year.

But every book has its own journey, right? Some are quick out of the gate and then slow to be published. Others take time to find the right home and then everything is golden from then on. The journey to publication for this book fell into the former category. There were many frustrations for me as the author because I felt an obligation to honor the subject of my story and I felt responsible to make sure the book was authentic and true. It was a long haul, but I’m happy to say we now have a beautiful book that is getting excellent feedback from the major reviewers. And I’ll be presenting it to four elementary schools and a bookstore in the Chicago area (where Sarah lived and worked and had her store) next week!

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SHOW ME HOW!: Sweet Dreams, Sarah

SUMMARY: With freedom in her pocket and hope in her heart, former slave Sarah E. Goode comes north to Chicago. She opens a furniture store, but after listening to her customers, she realizes that much of the furniture sold is too boxy, too bulky, too big for their cramped living conditions. And then, Sarah not only builds a unique cabinet bed that saves space, but she also applies for a patent. Remember, this is 1885, a time when most women don’t even own anything, much less a patent. They can’t vote and many times, they don’t control their own wages. But Sarah was a trailblazer and her courage and ingenuity will inspire young children today.

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Image from Sweet Dreams, Sarah

*Positive Parental Participation Note: We all have hopes and dreams – and young children are no different. We can encourage kids by listening to them and by respecting their thoughts. We all need a cheering committee and parents are a child’s biggest fans. Is your child interested in art, science, math, sports, nature, reading, or maybe carpentry, like Sarah? Join together in activities that validate your children and their passions.

CRAFT ACTIVITY: Make a Build Your Dream into Reality” Chart

There are many simple woodworking crafts to be found in books or online and I hope you will check those out to try with your children so they can be builders like Sarah.

But here’s an idea that may help your children build their dreams into reality.

  1. Talk about dreams. What are their dreams? A trip to Disneyland? A camping weekend with friends? A room make-over? Becoming a cartoonist or a major league baseball player?
  2. Make a chart on a piece of poster board or paper. Detailed instructions are here: https://www.imom.com/printable/brilliant-goals-chart-for-kids/#.XOxSbIhKg2w
  3. List the steps to get to the goal. Your children may have to do research to find out what steps they need to take. Earn money for the trip? Clear out clutter for the make-over. Take art classes/join a team/practice for the life goals?
  4. As the weeks pass by, check progress on the chart together.
  5. Goals can change…and we can have more than one goal.

COOKING ACTIVITY: OATMEAL RAISIN COOKIES

I don’t know if Sarah E. Goode ever made oatmeal raisin cookies for her children, but I know I did. And I also know that oats were an important staple in Chicago, and the Quaker Oats Company still has a factory in Illinois that produces granola bars and cereals.

For a detailed ingredient list and instructions, please go to: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/10264/oatmeal-raisin-cookies-i/

I’ve made these and they are GREAT! I hope you all get to try them also.

Thank you so much, Lauri, for having me…it was fun stopping by Frog on a Blog. And now I’m off to prepare my presentation for four schools in the Chicago area next week. I’ll also be at the Andersons Bookstore in La Grange on Saturday, June 8 at 11am, reading Sweet Dreams, Sarah. But before I fly off to Chicago, I have a bookstore event in Dedham, MA at Peter Reynolds’ Blue Bunny Bookstore…it’s on Saturday, June 1st at 1pm…I hope if your readers are in either area, they’ll bring the kiddos and stop in for a story and a craft activity…and the kids will get a free Otters activity book.

If you’re going to be in the Chicago or Dedham, MA areas while Vivian is there, I highly recommend you stop in to see her. You won’t be disappointed!

Thanks so much, Vivian, for taking time out of your busy schedule to visit with us here at Frog on a Blog, not once, but three times! We are lucky indeed. 🙂

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Writer for children – reader forever…that’s Vivian Kirkfield in five words. She’s got a bucket list that contains many more than five words – but she’s already checked off skydiving, parasailing and banana-boat riding. When she is not looking for ways to fall from the sky or sink under the water, she can be found writing picture books that she hopes will encourage young kids to become lovers of books and reading. She is the author of Pippa’s Passover Plate (Holiday House, Feb 2019); Four Otters Toboggan: An Animal Counting Book (PomegranateKids, March 2019); Sweet Dreams, Sarah (Creston Books, May 2019); Making Their Voices Heard: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe (Little Bee Books, Spring 2020); From Here to There: Inventions That Changed the Way the World Moves (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Fall 2020). Vivian lives in the quaint New Hampshire town of Amherst where the old stone library is her favorite hangout and her young grandson is her favorite board game partner. You can visit Vivian on her website, Picture Books Help Kids Soar, where she hosts the #50PreciousWords Writing Challenge every March. Or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Linkedin, and just about anywhere people are playing with picture books.

 

Random Pic Of Cuteness: Writing Prompt #11

Just for fun, I’m sharing–at random–cute photos to inspire your picture book writing. Perhaps a picture will spark an idea for a character, setting, or even an entire story. Have fun!

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*All photos are available in the public domain (or were taken by me), and are free to use and share.

Show Me How! with Vivian Kirkfield and Four Otters Toboggan

Yay! Kidlit author and friend Vivian Kirkfield is back for part two in her three-part series of Show Me How! posts right here on Frog on a Blog. Last week, she featured her picture book Pippa’s Passover Plate. Vivian shared a summary of the book, followed by a Positive Parental Participation Note, then a craft, and finally, a recipe, just like she does in her book Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking. (For more information about Show Me How! and to read my review, click HERE.) 

Today, we continue the fun and learning with Four Otters Toboggan: An Animal Counting Book. Read on!

Thank you so much, Lauri, for giving me space on Frog on a Blog again. …I wanted to speak for a moment about the writing journey that many of us are on. It’s not an easy trail to follow…there are twists and turns and boulders that sometimes block the way. Your critique buddies weigh in on your manuscript and you wonder which advice to take…which suggestions to implement. If you send your stories out to agents and/or editors, many may be rejected. Sometimes you don’t even find out because they don’t send a response. But I want everyone to know that I truly believe if you are passionate about being a picture book/children’s book writer, then please, don’t give up. The Only Failure is the Failure to Keep Trying.

Let me share what happened with Four Otters Toboggan. I wrote it back in 2013…it was called ‘Visitors to Deep Pool’ then. I revised it dozens of times with the help of my critique buddies. I sent it out…an agent responded: this is pure poetry…so beautiful…but not for me. UGH! Then after I signed with my agent Essie, she sent it out…numerous times…and editors kept passing on it. One editor wrote: This is the most beautiful lyrical language I’ve ever read. I got lost in the musicality of the words. Every child should have a copy of this book. But sorry, it’s a bit too quiet for my list.

DOUBLE UGH!

But we didn’t give up and, finally, an editor fell in love with it and thought it was perfect for his list. That’s the thing. This business is so subjective…and our stories have to find their way to the person who falls in love with them.

I was lucky because my agent sent some art samples from one of her illustrator clients along with the manuscript. The editor loved the pairing and signed Mirka Hokkanen to do the pictures. The publication process was lovely, and I got to see early sketches. Mirka and I and the Pomegranate team collaborated in an effort to create a book that is beautiful to the ear, and features STEM back matter that makes it a must have for early primary school classrooms.

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SHOW ME HOW!: Four Otters Toboggan: An Animal Counting Book

SUMMARY: Four Otters Toboggan: An Animal Counting Book (PomegranateKids, April 2019), illustrated by Mirka Hokkanen, is a counting book that introduces kids to ten endangered animals who visit a pristine river where the character of the water changes as quickly as a young child’s moods. Filled with lyrical text and modern woodcuts, we see dragonflies dancing, ballerinas on a liquid stage, river otters tobogganing down a mudslide, and mud turtles stretching their necks as day turns into dusk and the mountains swallow the sun.

*Positive Parental Participation Note: Encourage children to get involved with saving the planet. Small steps like not running the water while brushing teeth will save precious energy…and using canvas shopping bags will cut down on the plastic that pollutes the oceans and endangers sea creatures.

CRAFT ACTIVITY: Make Animal Finger Puppets

All you need is a piece of paper, a pair of scissors, glue, and markers or crayons. For detailed instructions: http://www.auntannie.com/Puppets/ConeFinger/

For simpler instructions:

  1. Cut a small square of paper that fits around one finger when you roll it up and apply glue so that it stays rolled in a cylinder.
  2. Draw a separate small circle that will be the head of the animal (otter, fox, etc.) or the shape of a butterfly or a fish.
  3. Add features to the circle or shape…eyes, nose, whiskers, or markings on the butterfly or scales on the fish.
  4. Glue the circle or shape near the top of the cylinder.
  5. Make several so that you and your child can role play as endangered animals. 

COOKING ACTIVITY: TRAIL MIX

Kids love to help in the kitchen…and there is so much learning that can go on there. Science, Math, Geography, History, Problem Solving…the list goes on and on. Why not make some healthful trail mix to take along on a woodland walk as you look for animals in the ‘wild’…even a day at the playground can yield birds, squirrels, chipmunks, and all types of insects and bugs to the observant child.

Combine your favorite nuts and seeds and dried fruits…almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, raisins, etc.

Mix well and store in airtight containers or zip-lock bags.

Easy-peasy for kids to help make!

Now I think I need to mix up a batch because I’m hungry for something healthy! And I just might take a bag of this along with me when I go to my upcoming book events. I’ll be at Paul Reynolds’ Blue Bunny Bookstore in Dedham, MA on Saturday, June 1 at 1pm for a story-time, reading FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK and also SWEET DREAMS, SARAH. And then I’ll be flying to Chicago the next day and will be at Andersons Bookstore in La Grange, IL on June 8 at 11am for their story hour, sharing OTTERS and SARAH. I hope if any of your readers are in either of those areas, they will COME ON DOWN to say hello and spread the word to friends who have children.

Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Lauri!

So glad you were able to stop in again, Vivian!

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Writer for children – reader forever…that’s Vivian Kirkfield in five words. She’s got a bucket list that contains many more than five words – but she’s already checked off skydiving, parasailing and banana-boat riding. When she is not looking for ways to fall from the sky or sink under the water, she can be found writing picture books that she hopes will encourage young kids to become lovers of books and reading. She is the author of Pippa’s Passover Plate (Holiday House, Feb 2019); Four Otters Toboggan: An Animal Counting Book (PomegranateKids, March 2019); Sweet Dreams, Sarah (Creston Books, May 2019); Making Their Voices Heard: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe (Little Bee Books, Spring 2020); From Here to There: Inventions That Changed the Way the World Moves (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Fall 2020). Vivian lives in the quaint New Hampshire town of Amherst where the old stone library is her favorite hangout and her young grandson is her favorite board game partner. You can visit Vivian on her website, Picture Books Help Kids Soar, where she hosts the #50PreciousWords Writing Challenge every March. Or connect with her on Facebook, TwitterPinterest, InstagramLinkedin, and just about anywhere people are playing with picture books.

Coming up next week: Post number three in Vivian’s Show Me How! three-part series. She’ll be sharing a fun craft and delicious cooking activity for her book Sweet Dreams, Sarah. Stay tuned!

Picture Books At The Library 187

At The Library Too

I catalog hundreds of new picture books each year, and I read as many of them as I can. Unfortunately, I can’t review them all. But I can share them! Below are a few recent titles. (Summaries have been taken directly from the books whenever possible.) Check your local library or bookstore for availability.

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QUEENIE QUAIL CAN’T KEEP UP: When Queenie’s watchful eye spots a cat in the grass, she rescues her family from danger and teaches them the value of slowing down.

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MAYBE TOMORROW: Optimistic Norris invites melancholy Elba to accompany him on a trip to the ocean. Love the feel good colors!

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RUBY’S BIRDS: When energetic Ruby’s neighbor invites her on a nature walk, Ruby learns to quiet down and look for birds.

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THE QUIET BOAT RIDE: Unlikely friends, Fox and Chick, enjoy a boat ride, a chocolate cake, and a sunset together.

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THE FARMER: Paul the farmer works hard to tend the earth and sow his seeds, but what happens when the water dries up?

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SPROUT, SEED, SPROUT: A young boy learns to be patient while waiting for his avocado seed to sprout.

Show Me How! with Vivian Kirkfield and Pippa’s Passover Plate

I’m so excited to feature kidlit author and friend Vivian Kirkfield on Frog on a Blog! When my book The Peddler’s Bed came out a few years ago, Vivian was one of the first bloggers to host me on her fantastic site Picture Books Help Kids Soar. I couldn’t wait to return the favor! And now I’m overjoyed to finally have the chance!

In a series of three posts in three successive weeks, Vivian will offer craft and cooking activities that parents and children can do together after reading one of her picture books. First, she’ll share a summary of the book, followed by a Positive Parental Participation Note, then a craft, and finally, a recipe, just like she does in her book Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking. (For more information about Show Me How! and to read my review, click HERE.) How cool is that! Today’s book is Pippa’s Passover Plate.

Hello, Lauri! Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog. Frog on a Blog has long been a favorite of mine and I’m honored to be here.

My journey on this path to picture book publication started decades ago. I wasn’t writing picture books then…I was reading them…first to my kindergarten students and then to my own children. But I never seriously considered writing them until my 64th birthday. You see, I had self-published a guide for parents and teachers, SHOW ME HOW! BUILD YOUR CHILD’S SELF-ESTEEM THROUGH READING, CRAFTING AND COOKING (MoneyPenny Press, 2010). It was the book I had wanted when I was teaching and raising my children – 100 picture book suggestions and a craft project and a cooking activity for each title.

Long story short, my son took me skydiving for my 64th birthday and when my feet touched the ground, I knew that if I could jump out of a perfectly good airplane, I could do anything I wanted. And what I wanted was to become a picture book author. I began blogging to spread the word about the parenting book and met loads of people who also wanted to become picture book writers. I joined challenges. Took classes. Wrote and revised and submitted. And was lucky enough to snag an amazing agent and, over the next few years, received a bunch of book contracts.

This year, three of my picture books launched. And so, when you suggested that we follow the format SHOW ME HOW and provide a craft and cooking activity for each of my picture books, I was thrilled!!!

Pippas Passover Plate cover

SHOW ME HOW!: Pippa’s Passover Plate

SUMMARY: Pippa’s Passover Plate (Holiday House, Feb. 2019) illustrated by Jill Weber, is a joyful rhyming tale of courage, friendship, and perseverance. When Pippa Mouse can’t find her special Seder plate, she must face her natural enemies to question each even though Cats and Snakes and Owls make her Quiver, Quaver, Shiver, Shake with fear. But time is of the essence – sun sets soon, it’s getting late…and the Passover holiday will be starting. Spills and chills occur when Pippa goes to ask Golda Fish if she has seen the plate and the little mouse falls in the lake. Oh no! But life is good when friends are near and Pippa and her new friends join together in a wonderful Passover celebration.

*Positive Parental Participation Note: Encourage children to build relationships with friends by arranging playdates with schoolmates. Create finger puppets to role play with your child – sometimes a child will open up and be more honest about things they are afraid of when they can pretend they are someone else.

CRAFT ACTIVITY: Make a Seder Plate

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Photo courtesy: PJLibrary.org

Materials needed: Paper plate, cupcake liners, marker or crayons, glue.

Directions: Print the names of the foods at the bottom of each cupcake liner. Glue onto plate. Decorate plate.

COOKING ACTIVITY: MATZO BALLS 

(Recipes courtesy of illustrator Jill Weber)

There are two secrets to light and fluffy matzo balls—letting the mixture sit for at least a half an hour. (the mixture will become spongy and thick.) and simmering the matzo balls long enough. To be sure, cut one open to make sure it is cooked through.

Makes about 18 medium sized matzo balls.

3 tablespoons of chicken fat (or canola oil)
3 large eggs
3/4 cup matzo meal
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
3 tablespoons of chicken stock

Using a fork, blend together the chicken fat and the eggs. Mix in the matzo meal and salt. Finally, add the chicken stock, mix well, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Bring 2 quarts of water, lightly salted, to a full boil. While the water is boiling, form little balls about the size of a walnut from the matzo mixture. Drop into the boiling water. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for 40 minutes. The matzo balls will double in size and rise to the top. When they are done, remove with a slotted spoon and add to the soup for 10 minutes or so to absorb the flavor of the broth.

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MATZO BALL SOUP

We usually serve this with shredded chicken from the stock and about 4 small matzo balls per person.

2 quarts homemade chicken stock
1 cup of sliced carrots
1 rib of celery sliced
salt to taste

Reheat the stock and simmer until the vegetables are tender. Add the matzo balls and simmer another 10 minutes. Serve. Enjoy!

And I hope everyone enjoys the book…so far, the reviews have been lovely. I think this is so much more than a book about the Passover holiday. It’s a story about courage, perseverance, and friendship…qualities that we hope all children will embrace.

Thank you so much for letting me stop by to visit, Lauri.

It’s my pleasure, Vivian! You’re welcome anytime!

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Writer for children – reader forever…that’s Vivian Kirkfield in five words. She’s got a bucket list that contains many more than five words – but she’s already checked off skydiving, parasailing and banana-boat riding. When she is not looking for ways to fall from the sky or sink under the water, she can be found writing picture books that she hopes will encourage young kids to become lovers of books and reading. She is the author of Pippa’s Passover Plate (Holiday House, Feb 2019); Four Otters Toboggan: An Animal Counting Book (PomegranateKids, March 2019); Sweet Dreams, Sarah (Creston Books, May 2019); Making Their Voices Heard: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe (Little Bee Books, Spring 2020); From Here to There: Inventions That Changed the Way the World Moves (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Fall 2020). Vivian lives in the quaint New Hampshire town of Amherst where the old stone library is her favorite hangout and her young grandson is her favorite board game partner. You can visit Vivian on her website, Picture Books Help Kids Soar, where she hosts the #50PreciousWords Writing Challenge every March. Or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Linkedin, and just about anywhere people are playing with picture books.

Everyone, be sure to stop by next week for the second post in Vivian’s Show Me How! series. She’ll be sharing a fun craft and delicious cooking activity for her book Four Otters Toboggan: An Animal Counting Book. I can’t wait!

Picture Books At The Library 186

At The Library Too

I catalog hundreds of new picture books each year, and I read as many of them as I can. Unfortunately, I can’t review them all. But I can share them! Below are a few recent titles. (Summaries have been taken directly from the books whenever possible.) Check your local library or bookstore for availability.

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POETREE: Sylvia loves poetry, and even leaves a poem tied to a tree, but she’s surprised when the tree writes back.

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I DO NOT LIKE BOOKS ANYMORE: Natalie is excited about reading on her own, but when she tries reading her first book, the letters and words look like scribbles and she becomes discouraged.

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BORN TO RIDE: In Rochester, NY, in 1896, Louisa defies convention and ignores her brother’s warnings by learning to ride a bicycle.

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LUBNA AND PEBBLE: When a lost little boy arrives in the “world of tents”, Lubna must decide if he needs Pebble more than she does.

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A LITTLE CHICKEN: When one of her mother’s eggs accidentally rolls out of the coop, Dot must pluck up her courage to save her soon-to-be sibling.

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I LOVE YOU ALL YEAR THROUGH: Cuddle up and celebrate the simple, special moments shared between grown-ups and little ones all year through. Rhyme. Beautiful illustrations!

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YOU ARE YOUR STRONG: A child explains how to conquer fear, anger, and other emotions to find your “strong.” Love the gold cover and interior art!

 

The Whimsical World Of Bilingual Books by Derek Taylor Kent

Please welcome back to Frog on a Blog, author, screenwriter, performer and director Derek Taylor Kent. You may remember Derek’s last visit when he shared “The Mystery of the Picture Book” along with his first El Perro book El Perro con Sombrero: A Bilingual Doggy Tale. (Read that article along with my review of his fabulous book by clicking HERE.)

Derek and his wife author Sheri Fink are the founders of Whimsical World, an empowering children’s brand that publishes books and produces whimsical merchandise, inspiring entertainment, and magical experiences for children of all ages. 

I’m happy to report that the sequel to El Perro con Sombrero, El Perro con Sombrero meets Los Gatos con Gelatos (that’s fun to say!) is hot off the presses. I asked Derek to stop in and tell us a little about the book and how it ties in with Whimsical World’s mission “to inspire, delight, and educate children of all ages while planting seeds of self-esteem and high achievement.”

The Whimsical World of Bilingual Books

By Derek Taylor Kent

Hello Frog on a Blog readers! This is Derek Taylor Kent, AKA Derek the Ghost. You may know me as the author of the middle-grade series Scary School, the bilingual picture book El Perro con Sombrero, and many more that have been reviewed right here on this blog.

derek book collage new book copy

I’m here today to share with you some exciting insider info about my latest book, the sequel to El Perro con Sombrero called El Perro con Sombrero meets Los Gatos con Gelatos.

But first, in case you hadn’t heard yet, last year I married fellow children’s book author Sheri Fink! (www.SheriFink.com) We are truly the perfect match for each other and have had soooo much fun and so many adventures since we’ve been together. Check out Sheri’s Instagram @Sheri_Fink and you’ll see what I mean.

One of the best parts about our relationship is that we got to combine our imaginations and books together to create a brand new children’s brand called Whimsical World. We say that our mission at Whimsical World is to inspire, delight, and educate children of all ages while planting seeds of self-esteem and high achievement. This mission includes not only our library of books, but also live events such as school visits, book festival appearances, comic cons, plus pop-up experiences like Unicorn Parties and whimsical book launches.  We also have whimsical merchandise, lesson plans for schools to accompany our books, interactive fan experiences on our website, and some truly incredible things in the works that we can’t wait to share with you.

Some of you may be wondering how my latest book, El Perro con Sombrero meets Los Gatos con Gelatos, fits in with our Whimsical World mission to inspire, delight, and educate children while planting seeds of self-esteem and high achievement.

All of our books at Whimsical World carry important social-emotional learning messages. They are designed so that every child discovers something new about themselves when they read each story. They can also come to a better understanding of how to be a good person, a good friend, or a good family member. Some of our most popular titles with these messages include The Little Rose, The Little Unicorn and The Little Seahorse. Some of the books are also certified STEM educational books such as Counting Sea Life with the Little Seahorse and Simon and the Solar System.

El Perro con Sombrero meets Los Gatos con Gelatos fits into both categories, as it can be used for educational purposes as well as for social-emotional learning. On the education side, it can be utilized by youngsters learning either Spanish or English. Since the text is written in both languages (see images) children will naturally gravitate toward the language they don’t know once they’ve heard it in their native tongue for the first time. With the first El Perro con Sombrero, parents have often told me that their kids prefer to have it read to them in Spanish even though they don’t speak it! That’s because they know the story so well that hearing it in Spanish makes it a whole new story for them and their brain starts automatically picking up the language. Much to the parents’ shock, the kids start speaking it around the house automatically!

from book

Dual immersion schools also use El Perro con Sombrero because sometimes stories can create a more positive language-learning association than textbooks. When they read the story about Pepe, the homeless dog who chances upon a lucky sombrero that turns his life around, students become excited about language because they see that no matter where you come from, we all love the same characters and stories.

Besides the two El Perro books, I have a third bilingual picture book called Doggy Claus/Perro Noel, about Santa Claus’ dog who takes Santa’s sleigh so he can deliver presents to all the dogs in the world.  This one is perfect for language learning during the sometimes distracting holiday season!

Doggy Claus Cover Cropped Correct

In El Perro con Sombrero meets Los Gatos con Gelatos, Pepe has settled at home with his new family and his best friend is the daughter, little Lucia. He waits patiently at her feet while she finishes her homework so they can go outside and play together. But when Lucia accidently drops her homework assignment on the way to school, Pepe decides he must bring it to her before school starts so she can get her A in math. However, his mission turns out to be fraught with peril, including a gang of ice-cream-loving cats called Los Gatos con Gelatos who have other plans for Pepe.

Throughout his journey to the school, Pepe is confronted with a series of obstacles where the easy thing to do would be to give up and go back home, but each time he makes the conscious decision not to give up and come up with clever and creative solutions. The social-emotional learning message in this book is about persistence, hard work, creative problem solving, and how good deeds can end up benefitting you in the long run.

Overcoming multiple trials and errors to accomplish his goal gives Pepe the ultimate feeling of peace and earned self-esteem by the end.

That’s a valuable lesson no matter what language you speak. Olé!

I look forward to hearing your thoughts about the book and how you have been able to use books and stories to teach languages and important lessons to your little ones. 

You can learn more about Derek’s books and Whimsical World at www.WhimsicalWorldBooks.com and www.DerekTaylorKent.com. Follow on Social Media @DerekTaylorKent and @WhimsicalWorldBooks

Derek and Sheri2

Derek, Sheri and Zander

Derek Taylor Kent is an author, screenwriter, performer and director based in Los Angeles. Best known for his children’s books, his best-selling, award-winning books are treasured in hundreds of thousands of homes across the world. He and his wife, author Sheri Fink, are the founders of Whimsical World, an empowering children’s brand that publishes books and produces whimsical merchandise, inspiring entertainment, and magical experiences for children of all ages.

8 Fun (and Easy) Origami Bookmarks For Young Readers

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Fact: Kids who love books, love bookmarks! Whenever we put a stack of bookmarks out at the library, they’re gone super quick. (Grownups love them too! I have a small collection myself.) There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of your book, and then being called to dinner, or told it’s time to go. Bookmarks give a child peace of mind that they can pick up right where they left off when they return.

flower and bee bookmark

Bee and Flower origami bookmarks (photo property of Personal Creations)

Fact: Kids also love crafts! Making crafts is fun! The library’s craft sessions are always well attended by enthusiastic young makers. When I saw these cute bookmarks from Personal Creations that kids can make themselves, I knew they’d be perfect to share here on Frog on a Blog!

 

 

Grab your favorite book, because Personal Creations has crafted free printable templates you can use to make adorable origami bookmarks  (follow the link to view printable templates and an instructional video)! These little bookmarks (which only have six easy steps) are perfect for readers of all ages!

superhero and monster bookmarks

Superhero and Monster origami bookmarks (photo property of Personal Creations)

Whether your little reader loves animals or superheroes, there’s a bookmark for every young bookworm you know! These bookmarks make the perfect craft for classrooms, rainy days, or just because. All you need is some paper to get started!

materials

Materials you can use to make origami bookmarks (photo property of Personal Creations)

 


Stay tuned for guest posts from kidlit author and friend Vivian Kirkfield, who will share crafts and recipes that pair perfectly with three of her fantastic books, coming up soon!!!

Picture Books At The Library 185

At The Library Too

I catalog hundreds of new picture books each year, and I read as many of them as I can. Unfortunately, I can’t review them all. But I can share them! Below are a few recent titles. (Summaries have been taken directly from the books whenever possible.) Check your local library or bookstore for availability.

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MUSIC FOR MISTER MOON: All Harriet wants to do is play her cello by herself, but when she throws a teacup out the window to chase away a noisy owl, she accidentally knocks the moon out of the sky.

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HERE AND THERE: When Ivan’s with his mother, he’s like a noisy bird, but when he’s with his father, he’s as quiet as a mouse, until his father gets out his guitar.

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THE LITTLE PINK ROSEBUD: A little pink rosebud is reluctant to leave the safety of her tiny, dark underground house.

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AS WE GROW: A depiction of each stage of life and the journey of transformation that we all experience as we grow up. Rhyme

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WHEN GRANDMA GIVES YOU A LEMON TREE: A girl is unhappy at first when she receives a lemon tree for her birthday from her grandma instead of one of the gadgets on her wish list.

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PAULA KNOWS WHAT TO DO: When Paula’s father, grieving the loss of her mother, can’t get out of bed one morning, Paula knows how to help him.

 

 

 

Happy Book Birthday to GREETINGS! by Raven Howell!

  • Title: GREETINGS!
  • Author: Raven Howell
  • Illustrator: Ann Pilicer
  • Publisher: Michelkin Publishing
  • Release Date: May 3, 2019
  • Format: Paperback
  • Summary: Join the journey on a poetic romp through the seasons! Celebrate nature and landscapes throughout the year by meeting and greeting birds, beaches, colorful leaf piles and magical snowy hills for sledding. 
  • Author’s Site: www.ravenhowell.com

Do you have a children’s picture book coming out soon? I’d love to wish it a Happy Book Birthday here on Frog on a Blog! CLICK for more information.

Picture Books At The Library 184

At The Library Too

I catalog hundreds of new picture books each year, and I read as many of them as I can. Unfortunately, I can’t review them all. But I can share them! Below are a few recent titles. (Summaries have been taken directly from the books whenever possible.) Check your local library or bookstore for availability.

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A SCARF FOR KEIKO: After Sam’s Japanese neighbor, Keiko, is sent to an internment camp in 1942, he makes her a special gift as a token of friendship.

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CAKE: After being invited to a party, Cake finds the perfect thing to wear, a brand new hat. So colorful!

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THE DONKEY EGG: After Fox leaves him with a large, green egg, Bear spends weeks caring for it in the hopes that it will hatch.

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WILD BABY: When her baby goes barreling through the jungle, it’s up to mama to make sure her curious tot doesn’t get into too much trouble.

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ARRR, MUSTACHE BABY: Mustache Baby and his firstmate, Beard Baby, set out to be heroes on the high seas, but soon the lure of pirate treasure takes hold. 

 

A Debut Author’s View Of The First Month by Laura Roettiger

Every author celebrates and promotes the launch of their debut book in different ways. Some take trips around the world, while others stay closer to home. No matter how you celebrate, the first month after your first book baby is born is almost always a blur of activity, usually including readings and book signings at bookstores and libraries.

It is my extreme pleasure to host debut author and kidlit friend Laura Roettiger today! (Laura has done book reviews for Frog on a Blog, so I’m sure you recognize her name.) She’s here to share her “whirlwind” first month experience with us. If you’re a picture book author with a debut coming up, you might just garner a few ideas from Laura. Read on!

A Debut Author’s View Of The First Month

As a debut author, I spent months planning and preparing for what it would be like when ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON actually made it out into the world. I read about other authors’ experiences and one piece of advice that rose to the top of the pile was to “enjoy the experience and savor the moment.” It’s the same advice I was given before my daughters’ weddings last year. I have taken this advice to heart and would like to add my own two cents: “Take pictures and ask other people to take pictures for you!”

Laura signing with woman

Laura signing at the Boulder Public Library

The first few weeks after the official release date, February 19, 2019, which coincided with the full moon, were a bit of a blur. My release date launch party at the Boulder Public Library was well attended by critique partners from both my local groups, my only local relative, and friends I’ve made since I moved here two and a half years ago, including some well-known published authors that I treasure for their support and wisdom. Unfortunately, the weather that day was snowy and several people who had planned to attend didn’t make it. In spite of the weather, it was a magical experience, and my first time sharing the slide show I had created for school visits with photos of me, the inspiration for the book, and ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON, so it could be shared on a big screen. It also allowed me to hear feedback on my slideshow from a trusted source who suggested an addition, which I made the following day.

Laura with friends

Laura with fellow SCBWI members at Second Star to the Right bookstore in Denver, CO

My second launch party, four days after the book release, was at a lovely bookstore in Denver, Second Star to the Right. If you love books, and especially if you love children’s books, it is a place worth visiting. You will probably want to move in. This time, there were children and their parents whom I didn’t know that came for story time. It was lovely seeing how engaged they were in the story. Also, at this launch, was a wonderful group of writers and illustrators from our local SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) chapter, including some big names. One friend brought her children who were older than the usual story time crowd, but they were also a wonderful audience. Side note: if you want to write anything from picture books to YA, you should join SCBWI immediately.

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Laura at the KRFC88.9FM radio station in Fort Collins with Kristen Olsen and Jonathan Bennett

The following week, eight days after the book release, I was featured on a wonderful radio show at KRFC88.9FM in Fort Collins, “Tunes and Tales”, which was an hour with Kristen Olsen, the show’s host, Jonathan Bennett, a musician friend, and me reading ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON. The three of us talked about how nature serves as an inspiration for curiosity and creativity. It was a wonderful coalescence of creativity from the aspect of writing and music and how the theme of creativity in my book is so important. The show was aired, but won’t be available until the podcast is up and running, hopefully soon.

A week later, sixteen days after the release, if you’re counting, I left for a ten-day book tour in Chicago, which I set up on my own. I had been a lifelong Chicago resident, and a teacher in the city for ten years before I moved to Colorado, so I had a lot of connections and spent considerable time before the book came out contacting people to put everything in place. The ten days included two bookstore story times and nine school visits. It was a whirlwind, but gratifying in every way imaginable.

A few bookstore highlights:
• Childhood friends, some of whom I hadn’t seen in several years, coming to see me and buying signed copies of ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON.
• Children I didn’t know listening intently as I read the book. Some of whom coming to the rug with other books in their hands that they immediately abandoned when I started reading.
• Seeing my book on the shelf with the label SCIENCE underneath.
• Seeing my book next to a highly acclaimed 2018 release written by an editor I met at a conference.
• An author I met and have remained friends with from a conference surprising me and afterwards, over coffee she said glowing things about my work.

A few school visit highlights:
• Presenting at the Kindergarten-second grade school where my children attended and sharing my book with over 400 children in one room who were silent except for a few oohs and ahhs over my photography and some welcome comments and interaction during the story. When they were leaving the room, several of the children stopped by to tell me “thank you,” “you did a good job,” “I love your book,” and “I’m proud of you.”
• Returning to the kindergarten classroom where I did my student teaching to find that kindergarten is still a happy place full of love thanks to amazing teachers.
• Seeing former students even though I wasn’t able to go back to the school where I taught for ten years. People who came to see me included a college freshman, and a few other families with children I remember from when they were in kindergarten, but are now taller than I and are in middle school.
• One school had me scheduled for multiple presentations, all of which were well received and it was great to see how different grades interacted with me and with my presentation. There was even a former student of mine there whose family had changed schools when I left. At the end of the last presentation, when I went back to the first class to get my coat, the students had written lovely thank you letters sharing their favorite parts of the book. Some even drew pictures that looked like pages from the book.

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Laura with former students sisters Valentina and Valerie

And one last, but not least, highlight to share, seeing a family I had lost touch with, including the now fourth grade girl who was part of the inspiration for Aliana. Her family had changed schools and I had a phone number for them that no longer worked. Luckily for me, her mother found me on social media and we connected a week before I left for Chicago. Maria and I arranged to meet in the afternoon before pickup time at school to surprise the girls. It was a huge surprise, emotionally overwhelming at first, but when Valentina recovered from her shock, she pulled my book out of her backpack – yes, she had been carrying it back and forth to school since she got it the day it came out!

If you have any questions for Laura about launching a debut book, please post in the comments, and I’m sure she would be happy to respond.

Laura signing girl in purple

Laura Roettiger is the author of the picture book Aliana Reaches for the Moon (Eifrig Publishing, 2019) She has enjoyed working with children ever since she was no longer considered a child herself. She was a reading specialist and elementary teacher in Chicago, IL before moving to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado where she worked in Environmental Education and is now a mentor for reading and writing at a STEM school. Her superpower is encouraging curiosity in children and letting them know she believes in them. Laura has three children of her own, all of whom were led by curiosity and creativity into STEM-related professions. Laura is also a part of #PictureBookBuzz, a group of authors with books being released in 2019.

Find Laura on Twitter @ljrwritenow and at her website LauraRoettigerBooks.com.

Picture Books At The Library 183

At The Library Too

I catalog hundreds of new picture books each year, and I read as many of them as I can. Unfortunately, I can’t review them all. But I can share them! Below are a few recent titles. (Summaries have been taken directly from the books whenever possible.) Check your local library or bookstore for availability.

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THE BABY BEAST: When an egg arrives on Beast’s doorstep, he’s not sure how to take care of it. Super bright and colorful!

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DIANA DANCES: When Diana struggles in school, her parents can’t figure out how to help, but a doctor recommends dance school, and it changes everything.

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THE BIGGEST PUDDLE IN THE WORLD: Sarah and Charlie go to stay at their grandparents’ house and it rains for days, but when it finally stops, their grandfather leads them on a quest to find the biggest puddle in the world.

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WHEN SPRING COMES TO THE DMZ: Through the seasons, a boy and his grandfather look out over the DMZ, the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, which is teeming with wildlife, and dream of the day they will be reunited with family. Fascinating!

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SHEEP DOG AND SHEEP SHEEP: An oblivious sheep helps a sheep dog to be the best sheep protector he can be. So cute!

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LITTLE DOCTOR AND THE FEARLESS BEAST: A girl who lives in the jungle treats the crocodiles aches and pains.

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WHY SHOULD I WALK? I CAN FLY!: Follow a baby bird as it tries, fails, and tries again to fly. Rhyme

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WHEN I FOUND GRANDMA: When Maya’s grandmother comes for a visit from far away, she’s not what Maya was expecting.

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WHEN YOU ARE BRAVE: Just as a young girl who moves away to a new home conquers her fears, so, too, can we all be brave when life is scary. Love the color palette in this one!

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BE A MAKER: From a snack with a friend to a trip into outer space, discover the many ways you can imagine, create, and be a maker in the world. Rhyme

Writing Children’s Books Young Readers Will Love by Rosie Russell

Rosies Books

Please welcome author/illustrator Rosie Russell to Frog on a Blog. Rosie is a former teacher who now creates children’s books full time. I love that she donates a portion of profits from her book sales to great causes! Rosie stopped by today to offer tips on writing books that young readers will love.

Writing Children’s Books Young Readers Will Love

I love picture books! Reading them to children and exploring how the author and illustrator came up with their story fascinates me. It’s the drive and passion that started my job as a full-time author and illustrator.

I’ve had many people tell me writing picture books must be easy. I wish I could tell them it is, but it’s very hard. Coming up with a tale that young readers will enjoy and finding important elements to work with, are the keys to success for creating entertaining books.

Write from your heart.

I base most of my books on something or someone in my life. Either it’s a memory or event that was personal or topic a child will love reading about.

It’s great to come up with a theme outside of your own experience. When doing so, make sure you incorporate your own voice in the story, along with lots of research on the subject.

Make your books engaging with colorful illustrations.

Children love bright colors, so use them often.

I made one that has a darker cover. It’s called Moonshadow Mae. I ran a survey with my fans and they voted for the image.

They liked how it looked more intriguing and mysterious. The inside illustrations are much brighter. The story itself is about a young girl named Mae that loves and adores the moon. It’s my first hardcover with a Library of Congress number for those that wish to add to their libraries and stores. It’s also available in paperback.

Add information for a more interactive story.

Another tip readers love: Have an interactive story or information with fun things to think about or do in the back of the book.

Many of my books include activities, fun projects, and recipes. A few of them have added questions for further learning.

In Beasley’s Journey, I’ve included simple questions the reader can answer, and an important tip for pet owners.

For Beasley and Friends to the Rescue, I’ve included pictures of the real live pets, each character is based on.

For my Maggie, Millie and Merrie series, I include art projects, recipes, and fun things to do at home.

My two Search and Find books show over a hundred things to find: Picture finds for non-readers, and word finds for readers.

Last, include fun dialogue.

Children love it when a character’s voice is heard through the dialogue. Change up the voices in a read aloud to convey their special traits. 

Thank you for having me as your guest today.

Thank you for stopping by, Rosie!

Rosie RussellRosie Russell is the author and illustrator of eight children’s books.
She has studied Early Childhood Education and has taught students in elementary and middle school for fifteen years in the Midwest.
Rosie now writes and illustrates full time and is looking forward to sharing her books with students, encouraging them to write and illustrate their own stories.
A portion of profits from her books will be donated to different causes, depending on the subject of her books.

For more information about Rosie or to purchase her books, click the following links:

Books By Rose

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Rainy Day Books

Happy Book Birthday to WONDER WALK by Ilham Alam!

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Title: WONDER WALK
Author: Ilham Alam
Illustrator: Kerry Bell
Publisher: Iguana Books
Release Date: April 16, 2019
Format: Hardcover, Softcover, mobi, ePub
Summary: Get out there with the curious Johnny and his patient Mommy, in this colourful, rhyming book, celebrating all the wonders of the everyday world. What do they see? What do they hear? What do they talk about?
Author’s Site: www.storymummy.com


Do you have a children’s picture book coming out soon? I’d love to wish it a Happy Book Birthday here on Frog on a Blog! CLICK for more information.

Happy Book Birthday to I’M HAPPY-SAD TODAY by Lory Britain!

Im-Happy-Sad-Today

Title: I’M HAPPY-SAD TODAY: Making Sense of Mixed-Together Feelings
Author: Lory Britain
Illustrator: Matthew Rivera
Publisher: Free Spirit Publishing
Release Date: April 15, 2019
Format: Hardcover
Summary: Happy and also sad. Excited but nervous too. Feeling friendly with a little shyness mixed in. Mixed feelings are natural, but they can be confusing. There are different kinds of happy—the quiet kind and the “noisy, giggly, jump and run” kind. And there are conflicting feelings, like proud and jealous, frustrated and determined. With gentle messaging and charming illustrations, a little girl talks about her many layered feelings, ultimately concluding, “When I have more than one feeling inside me, I don’t have to choose just one. I know that all my feelings are okay at the same time.” A special section for adults presents ideas for helping children explore their emotions, build a vocabulary of feeling words, know what to do if they feel overwhelmed, and more.
Author’s Site: www.lorybritain.com


Do you have a children’s picture book coming out soon? I’d love to wish it a Happy Book Birthday here on Frog on a Blog! CLICK for more information.

Beautiful Earth by Lisa Olson

Trees Cover

Please welcome author Lisa Olson to Frog on a Blog. You may remember Lisa from a while back when she stopped in to talk about her wonderful picture book series American Herstory. (You can read about the series by clicking HERE.)

Today, Lisa’s back with a gorgeous new book And the Trees Began to Move, published by Eifrig Publishing just in time to celebrate Earth Day on April 21, and to “honor nature and all of its blessings!”

Lisa’s love for our Earth and the abundance of amazing life that surrounds us every day is evident in her article below. Enjoy!

Beautiful Earth

The earth laughs in flowers.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
In wilderness is the preservation of the world.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
Nature is painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty.” ~ John Ruskin

Walk through any wooded lot with your eyes WIDE open and your mind perfectly still and you will find a real-life Enchanted Forest. If you look…REALLY look…with all of your senses, you WILL see it. Magic…REAL magic, moving all around us. Living, breathing, growing and ever-changing…this tiny revolving planet in a vast solar system of stars is home to us ALL! Every day, life is exploding around us in a dazzling display and we barely flinch at the wonder of it.

Trees pic

*a sneak peek illustration from AND THE TREES BEGAN TO MOVE

Nature is glorious…TRULY! Shades of green and gold shimmer and the wind whispers its secrets to the trees as it passes through the canopy of leaves. Wildflowers speckle the ground in a colorful spray amid dappled shadows and bright splashes of sunlight. The sharp whiff of pine mingles with the sweet scent of newly budded blossoms and together they move among the oaks and willows in an endless dance. Delicate butterflies with gossamer wings taste the world around them with their feet! AMAZING! Buzzing bees and tiny dragonflies with iridescent wings dart here and there in miraculous loops and aerial maneuvers that leave you dizzy as your eyes track their journey from flower to flower.

With Earth Day fast approaching, we have the perfect opportunity to reflect on the miracles and everyday magic that literally surrounds us every moment of our lives. If we all plant just one seedling, together we have the power to grow an entire forest! We are called to be good stewards of our natural world. The TREES call to us…listen! It’s no coincidence the innermost part of a tree is called The Heart. Beating together, we thrive.

Lisa pic 1

First and foremost, Lisa Gammon Olson is a mom of three amazing young men; Grant, Kyle & Jay. She lives with her husband Bruce in Coon Valley, WI, where she is the secretary at the Coon Valley Elementary School….a job she adores! She believes the most important skill we can ever teach our children is “How to be Kind.” Any kindness we do, no matter how small, has the power to change someone’s life. Growing up in northern Wisconsin has instilled in her the wonder of nature… sparkling lakes, endless forests and trails littered with pine needles and possibilities. Preserving our planet and populating it with human beings who are Respectful, Responsible, and Kind seems like an awesome idea.

For more information about Lisa and her books, visit lisagammonolson.com.

Happy Book Birthday to DADDY, CAN YOU SEE THE MOON? by Gayle C. Krause

  • Title: DADDY, CAN YOU SEE THE MOON?
  • Author: Gayle C. Krause
  • Illustrator: Carlos de la Garza
  • Publisher: Clearfork/SPORK
  • Release Date: April 9, 2019
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Summary: Written in rhyme, Daddy, Can You See the Moon? is about the special moments a young boy and his deployed dad share by looking at the moon, until the father comes home a wounded warrior and the boy realizes that love was what kept them connected all along.
  • Author’s Site: www.gayleckrause.com

Do you have a children’s picture book coming out soon? I’d love to wish it a Happy Book Birthday here on Frog on a Blog! CLICK for more information.