Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Author Meet and Book Signing

I'm back a little early from my blogging break, simply because I have some fun news to share. Last night I had the opportunity to meet one of my favorite picture book authors, Kelly DiPucchio! She was at Nicola's Books in Ann Arbor sharing her new picture book, Crafty Chloe. Here we are:

It was so exciting to meet Kelly in person and talk. I just love her writing and the subtle messages she inserts into her stories for kids. Here are a few links to my thoughts on some of her books:

I am so grateful for the opportunity to meet and share with Kelly. The writing community is filled with wonderful and amazing people!  I would also like to give a shout out to Nicola's Books. It is an amazing bookstore and their children's department is HUGE!

Be sure to stop by next week on Monday for an amazing middle grade book I want to share with you.  On Friday I will be part of a blog tour for a brand new picture book by another favorite author of mine.  I will also be giving away a signed hardcover of the book.

On another note, I've been pretty successful with my personal goal of writing for five minutes every day. Some days it is only for the five, but other days it is much more.  But no matter what, I'm writing and that's what counts!

And as a reminder, if you would like to receive my blog posts via email, sign up in the box to the right. See you next week!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Time to Refocus

For the rest of March I'm going to take a break from blogging. I need some time to refocus and get back on track with my writing and reading. My day job is keeping me very busy right now, and I definitely need to keep family time a priority. So as I figure out how to keep a better schedule, I'm going to step back from my blog.

Yesterday while I sat at my older son's basketball tournament, I was reading an old issue of The Writer (May 2011). It featured an interview with children's writer Kathi Appelt. I was intrigued, first because there was an actual article that was aimed at children's writers in this particular magazine, and secondly because my friend Barbara Watson shared Appelt's book THE UNDERNEATH as part of Marvelous Middle Grade Monday this past week and is giving away two hardcover copies.  (The drawing is still open until tonight, stop by her blog to enter!)

In the article, Appelt shared her writing process. One thing she mentioned is that she has a goal to write five minutes a day and has kept that commitment for the past 20 years. The paragraph ended with this quote, "Five minutes a day. Try it."  I almost answered out loud sitting in the stands, "I WILL!" 

I now know the reason I hadn't gotten to this issue yet and it had been sitting on my coffee table for almost a year. Yesterday was the day I needed to read this challenge.  Yesterday I committed myself to this challenge as a building block for my new refocused writing.

I look forward to blogging again in April.  The first week I will be part of a blog tour for a brand new picture book and I hope you'll stop by. I'm close to finishing an amazing middle grade book that was recommended to me by a sixth grader. How cool is that! I will share the book in April as well.

Until then I challenge any fellow writers out there: Five minutes a day. Try it!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Crafty Chloe

Welcome to Perfect Picture Book Friday! I hope this post will be a help to those who love picture books and want to share them with their own children or those they teach.

Written by: Kelly DiPucchio
Illustrated by: Heather Ross

Atheneum Books for Young Readers  2012
Fiction for ages 4 to 8

Themes: crafts, creativity, friendship, helping others

Opening and brief synopsis:
I have to share the first three pages.
This is Chloe.
Chloe isn’t very good at sports.
Video games were never her thing.
And when she took dance lessons, she had the grace of a camel in roller skates.

From the Simon & Schuster website:
When another girl has already purchased the most perfect birthday gift for Chloe’s friend Emma, Chloe decides she’ll make a present—something you can’t buy in a store. But crafting isn’t easy, and it’s beginning to look like she won’t have a great idea in time. Fortunately, with a good doodle session and a whole lot of glitter to inspire her, Chloe figures out just the thing to save the day—and with a little help from her trusty glue gun, she just might save a friendship, too!

Why I like this book:
This new picture book series from Kelly DiPucchio and Heather Ross feature a new lovable character in Chloe. Chloe may not be the best athlete or very good at video games, but she has amazing talent when it comes to being crafty. She is her own woman and uses her talents to help others and make them happy. I love Kelly DiPucchio’s books (she’s a fellow Michigander) and her writing style is so fun and real. She brings her characters to life in their own original and special way. I can’t wait for more Chloe!

Check out www.craftychloe.com. It features “how to’s” of the crafts featured in the book as well as other fun info about Chloe.

Perfect Picture Book Friday is a wonderful idea started by Susanna Leonard Hill.  For other “Just Right” books, visit her blog.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Judy Blume and Fudge

For this week's MMGM, I wanted to spotlight the "Fudge" books by Judy Blume. Amazingly 2012 is the 40th anniversary of TALES OF A FOURTH GRADE NOTHING!  I finally convinced my middle grade son to read the book, and of course, once he gave it a chance he loved it enough to use it for his February book report and is now reading SUPERFUDGE.

Here's a brief synopsis from the back of the book:

This Fudge isn't so sweet.

Two is a crowd when Peter and his little brother, Fudge, are in the same room. Grown-ups think Fudge is absolutely adorable, but Peter and his pet turtle, Dribble, know the truth. From throwing temper tantrums to smearing mashed potatoes on the wall, Fudge causes mischief wherever he goes. What will the tiny terror do next?

My son loved reading about Peter and Fudge because the book shows how to survive with a younger brother.  His favorite part "was when they were at Hamburger Heaven and Fudge smeared mashed potatoes all over the wall."

I agree that this is a great book for kids, especially those with younger siblings. It takes place in every day life and with ordinary circumstances. I find it so cool when a book is still loved by kids, even after being published for 40 years.

Thanks for stopping by and for my middle grade love, check out the links to the right! 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Chicken Dance

Welcome to Perfect Picture Book Friday! I hope this post will be a help to those who love picture books and want to share them with their own children or those they teach.

Written by: Tammi Sauer and Illustrated by: Dan Santat

Sterling Publishing Co. , Inc. 2009
Fiction for ages 3 and up

Themes: be yourself, humor, animals

Opening and brief synopsis:
Marge and Lola took one look at the poster
on the barn door and almost lost their cluck.
Elvis Poultry was top bird. They had to win
those tickets.

Marge and Lola need to find a talent to beat out the ducks at the talent show and see Elvis Poultry in concert. They try all sorts of things – bowling, tightrope walking, flying, but nothing works. They arrive at the talent show not sure what they are going to do and end up acting like themselves and winning over the most important judge of all.

Why I like this book:
I love Tammi Sauer and pairing her with Dan Santat makes for one great picture book. The chickens are hilarious, and I love how by being themselves and acting like chickens they win more than they thought possible. The competition between the ducks and chickens makes for great humor and helps the reader root for the chickens even more. The rock and roll terms thrown into the farm story add to the love for adults.

Tammi's website has a variety of resources including a teacher’s guide. Also check out THE OFFICIAL CHICKEN DANCE website with a ton of fun things for kids.

The sequel to CHICKEN DANCE is coming in April 2012. Watch my website the first week of April as I will be one of the stops for the BAWK AND ROLL blog tour! I’m so excited!

Perfect Picture Book Friday is a wonderful idea started by Susanna Leonard Hill.  For other “Just Right” books, visit her blog.