Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Busy Toes and Busy Fingers are featured

Oh Wow!

Mary Bowman-Kruhm​ and I got a shoutout for our picture books, Busy Toes & the companion book, Busy Fingers, on this blog - plus the author, Kerry Aradhya, added activity ideas to go along with them.


Click here to get to Picture Books & Pirouetts - A celebration of Dance, Movement, and Children's Literature.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Nonfiction Monday - Remember the Ladies

Is this Women's History Month?
If not it should be.  In fact, every month should be women's history month because our history blends with all the men's history in the history books.

Harness, Cheryl. Remember the Ladies: 100 Great American Women. New York: HarperCollins, 2001.
            (Collective Biography grades 3-5)  

My first reaction to this book was being blown away by all the illustrations, done by the author and carefully inserted into the text, which so accurately portray important women in the history of the United States.

           Written in an informal, storytelling style, Harness includes Native Americans (Sarah Winnemucca), African Americans (Ida Bell Wells-Barnett), and Hispanic (Antonia Novello) and intersperses her short biographies with paragraphs of historical events (bicycles in the 1890s/ the Great War ending in 1918).  (I happen to be related to number ten – Margaret Corbin.) 

Eight pages of back matter extend the information and adds more. 
A wonderful book to spend hours pouring over for information, and incidentally, the changes in fashions of dress.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Nonfiction Monday - Noah Webster and His Words

Ferris, Jeri Chase.  Noah Webster and his Words.  Illus. by Vincent X Kirsch. Boston:  Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2012.           

            (SCBWI Golden Kite Winner, 2013) 
This is a  picture book biography of the man whose American spelling book was instrumental in making American spelling different from British spelling. Ferris cleverly inserts definitions of words onto every page, which continually reminds the reader that he created the still-famous Webster’s Dictionary and she connects his American Speller with major events in American history. 
Although most picture book biographies concentrate on one event in a person’s life, Ferris includes almost Webster’s complete life and offers additional information with a timeline, more facts about Webster, plus a bibliography.  
A very good example of a picture book biography.

Jeri has been an online friend of mine for many years and I was thrilled to see this book of hers be honored with so many awards

More Nonfiction Monday selections can be found here. Click on over to check them out.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

A few Spring and Easter Books

Did you find a basket of beautiful eggs today?
I decided to skip the egg coloring and go straight to the deviled eggs.  YUM.

One of my favorite Easter books is Max's Chocolate Chicken by Rosemary Wells.
I see that she's come out with others - Max's Easter Surprise and Max and Ruby Celebrate Easter.

And my new favorite is Here Comes the Easter Cat by Deborah Underwood.

These and some other Easter books are discussed (with pictures) on the Picture Book Builders blog.  Go check it out.  Fun.

Friday, April 3, 2015

If you are going to ALA this year -

ALA (the American Library Association's Summer Conference) is in San Francisco this June. Here's a mixture of things to do and see:

The price of the Newbery/ Caldecott banquet is high, but well worth it. Plus you take home a CD of the speeches. (dress up)  

Spend several days walking the Exhibits. (wear good walking shoes so you don't get blisters - it's huge. Carry a large bag for things you collect and wear casual clothes here, plus carry a sweater. Parts of the Exhibit area get very cold.) 

Be sure to visit the Children's publishing area several times because different people will be signing. Sometimes books are given out free and sometimes at a discount. Other goodies are available at the booths from chocolate to pens and pencils to really nice stuff.  

I papered my library and my child's room with posters from ALA. 

Go through the events catalogue (it's huge) and write down the times of signings and lectures and other events and only carry this list with you - to make sure you get to all of the things that interest you. 

Beware of anything that Mo Willems MCs - the audience is usually huge. (often I couldn't hear or see at these events.) 

Meet online friends for lunch or dinner.  
Have fun.  
Be sure to ride the cable car - you'll get a great tour of San Francisco that way.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Nonfiction Monday - Gary Paulson

Today I want to bring your attention to some of Gary Paulson's autobiographies.

Guts: The True Stories behind Hatchet and the Brian Books. New York: Delacorte Press, 2001.
For people who love, love, love Hatchet and its sequels and want more. Using examples of events in his own life, Paulsen traces how he put realistic emotion into his award winning books.

Winterdance, the Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod.  New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1994.
Not everyone knows that Paulson has run the Iditarod many times. (the dogsled race in Alaska that originally was from Seward to Nome.  But with the changes in weather conditions the actual race path varies.) This slice of his life relates the training and strengthening of the dogs - and of the driver himself. The first half of the book gradually became historically funny as he discovers the dogs need heavier and heavier things to pull and he ends up having them pull an old car - which falls apart around him as they race/ crash through the forrest. The second half of this tale suddenly switches to the intensely serious survival adventure of running it.  Not many of those who begin this race actually reach the finish and you discover why.

How Angel Peterson Got his Name: and Other Outrageous Tales About Extreme Sports.  New York: Wendy Lamb Books, 2003.
I give this book to every female parent who is just discovering that raising boys is very different from raising girls.  Example - boys and electric fences.  It seems that every boy has to experiment with them. By peeing on them. (I get the feeling that boys feel the urge to test themselves by peeing on everything, but what would I know - I'm female.)  As the boy(s) hobble into the house, the father simply nods.  "It's genetic," he says.  How did Angel Peterson get this nickname?  Well, it involves a sledding experiment - which nearly kills him.  And so on. And so on. Until you wonder how male children manage to survive childhood and teen hood. (betcha can't help laughing, though.)

Here's the official Iditarod website.

I can't find a Gary Paulson website. Maybe he's too busy raising and training sled dogs. But you can find out lots about him at the official Gary Paulson Random House books site.

The Nonfiction Monday roundup seems to be here.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Can you earn a living as a writer?

There's no easy answer to this question.
Some can.
Some can not.  (me)
True confession - I make between $2,000 - $3,000 a year of writing income.
Some years less.
Some years more.
But there are other writers who have expanded their skills into other areas of income.

Here's a link to Laura Purdie Salas's yearly report(s) about how much she earns writing.
You'll notice that only a portion is made from writing trade books.
The rest comes from many other places. Places that  you might be interested in exploring is you want to expand your writing income.

She also has a link to another interesting article about the reality of six-figure book deals. Just in case you are dreaming about getting one of those.