Thoughts about Editing and Proofreading Your Writing

Posted March 10, 2022 by Cathy Stefanec Ogren
Categories: Editing and Proofreading

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I find one of the hardest parts of writing is editing and proofreading my work. Making sure content, structure, clarity, spelling, punctuation, and verb tense are all correct can be daunting. There are times I’ve read my work over and over, and I still miss quirky mistakes I’ve made.

Some of my misses have been simple ones like your and you’re, their and they’re, and it and it’s. And sometimes I put a period where I know it should be a question mark. This happens when I type too quickly, and the incorrect word or punctuation sneak in without me noticing.

Editing and proofreading tips I’ve gotten from others:

Let it sit for a while.

Read it backward.

Read it out loud.

Advice to myself is to take my time when going over my work and make sure all corrections are made before sending it. If you happen to find a mistake in this post – so be it!

Do you have any editing tips or mistakes you have made?

If you’re looking for more tips, here are Twenty-five Editing Tips for you.

Women’s History Month

Posted March 3, 2022 by Cathy Stefanec Ogren
Categories: Women's History Month

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Welcome to Women’s History Month!

It’s time to celebrate key roles and accomplishments mighty women have played in history.

Check out these awesome picture books to see the difference women have made in the lives of many.

From a Small Seed: The story of Eliza Hamilton Find out how Eliza Hamilton, the wife of Alexander Hamilton, established the first private orphanage in New York City.

Dorothea Lange: The Photographer Who Found the Faces of the Depression Dorothea Lange traveled across America and used her camera to document those most affected by the Great Depression.

What Isabella Wanted: Isabella Stewart Gardner Builds a Museum Isabella Stewart Gardner loved art. She traveled the world, collecting extraordinary art pieces. She displayed them in her home which she eventually turned into a museum to share her collection with the public.

On Wings of Words: The Extraordinary Life Of Emily Dickinson Emily Dickinson, a famous poet, used words that touched and inspired others.

A Voice for the Everglades: Marjory Stoneman Douglas It took the courage of Marjory Stoneman Douglas to speak up to help save the Florida Everglades.

Human Computer: Mary Jackson Engineer Mary Jackson overcame many difficulties to become the first African American engineer at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Ablaze with Color: A story of Painter Alma Thomas Alma Thomas, an exceptional artist, was the first Black woman to have her art chosen for the White House collection.

Revolutionary Prudence Wright: Leading the Minute Women in the Fright for Independence You’ve heard of the minutemen, but what about minute women? Prudence Wright formed a group of “minute women” to fight the British who were threatening her Massachusetts community.

Fight of the Century: Alice Paul Battles Woodrow Wilson for the Vote Alice Paul, leader of the suffragette movement, was a thorn in President Woodrow Wilson’s side as she fought with him to create a new amendment that would allow women the right to vote.

Listen: How Evelyn Glennie, A Deaf Girl, Changed Percussion Evelyn Glennie was a musical talent, but when she lost her hearing as a young girl, she didn’t lose her passion to become a musician. Find out how she met the challenge of her hearing loss to create extraordinary music.

Things you can do during Women’s History Month.

Using Picture Books to Enhance Reading, Writing, and Math in Schools

Posted February 24, 2022 by Cathy Stefanec Ogren
Categories: Pairing Picture Books with Teaching Basic Skills

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As a former elementary school teacher, I believe the early years of school instruction should concentrate on the basics of reading, writing, and math. Mastery of these skills will open the door to a successful future.

There are many creative ways to make reading, writing, and math exciting for young students. Learning should be fun. As a teacher, your excitement about teaching will engage students in learning. Teaching skills like phonics, math facts, and a proper way to write a sentence can be a bit tedious, but, like pepper, you can spice them up.

Enter the picture book. It is a versatile tool. A picture book tells a story with a beginning, middle, and end. It presents information in an imaginative way. Captivating illustrations within a picture book encourage students to want to read more. Below are a few examples of picture books that can be paired with teaching skills to enhance learning.

Writing

The Plot Chickens is a humorous book that demonstrates what to do and not to do when writing a story.

Punctuation Takes a Vacation Learn what happens when commas, periods, question marks, and other punctuation go on a holiday.

Reading and Writing

You Are Reader! You Are a Writer! This rhyming book is two books in one. Read it from the front. Read it from the back. The stories meet in the middle. It’s an inspiration for reading and writing.

Reading and Math Concepts

Circle Under Berry A delightful study of concepts that combines colors, shapes, and words, and how they relate to one another.

Math

Dozens of Doughnuts A delectable book about dividing and sharing doughnuts with friends.

The Pizza Problem A yummy way to learn about fractions.

How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? Work on estimation and skip counting skills with pumpkins big and small.

There are numerous picture books that can be paired with teaching skills to enhance learning. Give it a try. Once students have achieved success in the basic skills of reading, writing, and math, the flood gates will open, and learning in all areas of the curriculum will flow freely.

Read! Read To Your Children

Posted February 17, 2022 by Cathy Stefanec Ogren
Categories: Reading

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We love to read!

Why read? Because…there is pleasure derived from reading. It can whisk you away to a fantastical place. It can introduce you to dinosaurs of long ago. It can create belly shakes of laughter. It can bring tears to your eyes. It can embrace you with a warm feeling of love.

Starting from the earliest years of your children’s lives, read aloud to them. Studies have shown there are numerous benefits to be gained.

It’s a bonding experience.

It exercises the brain.

It’s a way to interact with your children.

It improves language development.

It increases vocabulary and understanding.

It stimulates the imagination.

It builds knowledge.

It helps with problem-solving.

It boosts memory skills.

It improves concentration and attention span.

It strengthens writing skills.

It prepares children for school.

Reading to your children encourages them to read and instills the love of reading that will continue throughout their lifetime. It’s a recipe for success.

Reading is magical!

Check out these articles for further reading.

https://www.healthline.com/health/childrens-health/reading-to-children

https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/publication/read-it-again-benefits-reading-young-children

https://www.pbs.org/parents/thrive/why-reading-aloud-to-kids-helps-them-thrive

Bring on the Valentines! Picture Books to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

Posted February 10, 2022 by Cathy Stefanec Ogren
Categories: Special Days

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Valentine’s Day is Monday. Love is in the air. Greeting cards, flowers, candy, sparkly gifts are all ways to show the special people in your life that you love them. For the younger generation, plush toys may be a just-right gift. But what about books? There are a variety of picture books that illustrate love, caring, friendship, and kindness. They would make terrific heartfelt gifts for the young and old.

Maybe one of these books will touch your heart!

The Love Letter

Sealed With A Kiss

Groggle’s Monster Valentine

I’ll Love You Till The Cows Come Home

Click, Clack, Moo I Love You!

This Is N0T A Valentine

The Pete Cat’s Groovy Guide to Love

Love You By Heart

Viking In Love

What Is Love?

Here Comes Valentine Cat

Love Is For Roaring

Love From The Very Hungry Caterpillar

If You Were My Valentine


Celebrate Black History Month

Posted February 3, 2022 by Cathy Stefanec Ogren
Categories: Black History Month

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The month of February is designated as Black History Month. It’s a time to celebrate the history, accomplishments, and contributions of African Americans. Below are a few of the powerful books that display the grit and courage of some amazing Black Americans. They are a definite must-read.

Nina: A Story of Nina Simone written by Traci N. Todd and illustrated by Christian Robinson, G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 2021

The People Remember written by Ibi Zoboi and illustrated by Loveis Wise, Balzer + Bray, 2021

We Wait for the Sun written by Dovey Johnson Roundtree & Katie McCabe and illustrated by Raissa Figueroa, Roaring Book Press, 2021

Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Floyd Cooper, Carolrhoda Books, 2021

Stitch by Stitch: Elizabeth Hobbs Keckly Sews Her Way to Freedom written by Connie Schofield-Morrison and illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon, Holiday House, 2021

Ablaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas written by Jeanne Warner Harvey and illustrated by Loveis Wise, HarperCollins, February 22, 2022

Flying Free: How Bessie Coleman’s Dreams Took Flight written by Karyn Parsons and illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, Little Brown Books for Young Readers, 2020

Opal Lee and What It Means to Be Free: The True Story of the Grandmother of Juneteenth  written by Alice Faye Duncan and illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo, Thomas Nelson, 2022

Kids, check out this website for an easy-to-understand history of why we celebrate Black History Month.

2022 Multicultural Children’s Book Day Review

Posted January 28, 2022 by Cathy Stefanec Ogren
Categories: Multicultural Children's Book Day Book Review

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My Sister, Daisy is written by Adria Karlsson and illustrated by Linus Curci, Capstone Editions, 2021.

This is a heartfelt book about gender identity. From the time his younger brother is born, the two boys are friends. They immediately bond. They play together, laugh together, and share activities. The summer after the younger brother finishes kindergarten, there is an unexpected change. The younger brother declares he is a girl. The older brother knows his brother likes to wear dresses, play with girls, and have long hair, but that doesn’t make him a girl. The older brother asks his brother again. “Are you sure you’re a girl?” The younger brother answers, “I know who I am, and I know I’m a girl.” Mom and Dad agree they may have been wrong about the younger sibling being a boy. They begin calling her Daisy, the name she prefers and using the pronouns she and her. The older brother is confused and scared the close friendship the two had will be lost. He talks to his Dad who reassures him everything will be okay. The family has open discussions that offer support for one another. They meet other families who have two moms or two dads and families that have a transgender child. The older brother has days when he is angry and frustrated with the way things are, but with the help of his parents, he gradually learns to accept Daisy, not as his brother, but as his sister. She’s someone he loves. Someone to play with, laugh with, and share activities. Daisy is someone who will always be his best friend.

Why I like this book:

Based on a true story, this book is an honest look at a young child who believes inside his boy body he is a girl. The text is written with a clarity that is easily understood. Along with the text, the bright and colorful illustrations display the special bond between the two siblings in a loving family atmosphere. Readers see how the family interacts with one another to support and create a close family unit as they work together to adjust to the change. The author’s note is written with tenderness and compassion from someone who has lived the experience. This book is a valuable resource to have available.

My Sister, Daisy was generously gifted to me to review for the Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2022 event. Review and opinions are my own.

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2022 (1/28/22) is in its 9th year! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those books into the hands of young readers and educators.

MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves. Read about our Mission & History HERE.

MCBD 2022 is honored to be Supported by these Medallion Sponsors!

SUPER PLATINUM: Make A Way Media

PLATINUM: Language Lizard

GOLD: Barefoot Books, KidLitTV, Candlewick, Capstone, Abrams Books

SILVER: Pack-n-Go Girls, Charlotte Riggle, Kimberly Gordon Biddle  

BRONZE: Carole P. Roman, Patrice McLaurin, Dyesha and Triesha McCants/McCants Squared, Redfin.com, Redfin Canada, Redfin Mortgage, Redfin/Title Forward, Create & Educate, Star Bright Books, Vivian Kirkfield, Dr. Eleanor Wint, Kind World Publishing, Snowflake Stories, Lisa Wee, SONGJU MA, Melissa Stoller, J.C. Kato and J.C.², Crystel Patterson, Audrey Press, Pragmaticmom, TimTimTom, Wisdom Tales 

MCBD 2022 is honored to be Supported by these Author Sponsors!

Charlene Mosley (official MCBD2022 Poster Creator)
Illustrator Isabelle Roxas (Class Kit Poster Creator)

Alva Sachs, Brianna Carter, Ebony Zay Zay, Rita Bhandari, Gwen Jackson, Lois Petren/The 5 Enchanted Mermaids, Valerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, Josh Funk, Afsaneh Moradian, Eugenia Chu, Maritza Martínez Mejía, Diana Huang, Kathleen Burkinshaw, CultureGroove, Sandra Elaine Scott, Dorena Williamson, Veronica Appleton, Alejandra Domenzain, Lauren Muskovitz and Sandfish Publishing, Tonya Duncan Ellis, Kimberly Lee, Susan Schaefer Bernardo & Illustrator Courtenay Fletcher, Nancy Tupper Ling, Winsome Hudson-Bingham, Amanda Hsiung-Blodgett, Sivan Hong, Michael Genhart, Debbie Dadey, Elizabeth Cureton, Stephanie Wildman, Maryann Jacob, Sherri Maret, Rochelle Melander, Dia Mixon, Kiyanda and Benjamin Young, Shereen Rahming, Linda Thornburg and Katherine Archer,  Rebecca Flansburg and BA Norrgard , Maxine Schur  Natalie McDonald-Perkins

MCBD 2022 is Honored to be Supported by our CoHosts and Global CoHosts!

MCBD 2022 is Honored to be Supported by these Media Partners!

Check out MCBD’s Multicultural Books for Kids Pinterest Board!

FREE RESOURCES from Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Diversity Book Lists & Activities for Teachers and Parents

Homeschool Diverse Kidlit Booklist & Activity Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Activism and Activists Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Empathy Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Kindness Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Physical and Developmental Challenges Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Poverty Kit

FREE Homeschool Diverse Kidlit Booklist & Activity Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Raising Awareness on Systemic Racism in America Classroom Kit

Gallery of Our Free Posters

FREE Diversity Book for Classrooms Program

Join us on Friday, January 28, 2022, at 9 pm EST for the 9th annual Multicultural Children’s Book Day Twitter Party! Be sure and follow MCBD and Make A Way Media on Twitter!

This epically fun and fast-paced hour includes multicultural book discussions, addressing timely issues, diverse book recommendations, & reading ideas.

We will be giving away an 8-Book Bundle every 5 minutes plus Bonus Prizes as well! *** US and Global participants welcome. **

Follow the hashtag #ReadYourWorld to join the conversation, connect with like-minded parts, authors, publishers, educators, organizations, and librarians. See you all very soon on Twitter! Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

Tomorrow Is the Day

Posted January 27, 2022 by Cathy Stefanec Ogren
Categories: Multicultural Children's Book Day Book Review

Tags:

Just a reminder that my blog will appear tomorrow in celebration of Multicultural Children’s Book Day.

The Cake Fiasco

Posted January 20, 2022 by Cathy Stefanec Ogren
Categories: Life and Family

Tags: , ,

My husband is a cake person. Several months ago he bought a cake mix to have on hand when his sweet tooth came calling. Last Sunday, he decided he needed cake. I was fine with that as long as he made it. I looked at the ingredients to see what was needed. Water. Three eggs. Seven tablespoons of butter and the cake mix. WHAT? Water? Butter? I asked what kind of cake mix he bought. He answered that it looked like the one I usually buy. No, not really. To help, I greased and floured the cake pan, preheated the oven, and headed to the office to write a book review.

Shouting between kitchen and office began.

Husband: What bowl do I use?

Me: The mixing bowl in the bottom cabinet.

Husband:  Do I melt the butter and stir it in the cake mix?

Me:  Did you read the directions?

Husband:  What spoon do I use to make sure the butter gets mixed in?

Me:  READ THE DIRECTIONS!

Husband:  Where’s the mixer?

Me:  In the pantry where it always is.

Husband: This batter doesn’t look right.

Me:  Did you follow all the directions?

Husband: Yes. It’s ready to put into the pan.

Me:  Do it.

Husband:  How do I set the timer?

Me:  I’m coming.

After that, it was quiet for a while. Until…

Husband:  The oven is off!

A fuse blew. We reset everything, hoping the cake would survive.

About 20 minutes later, I heard the timer go off. The next thing I heard was a crash and my husband loudly expressing himself.

Me:  What happened? I yelled, running to the kitchen.   

My husband put the grip side of the oven mitt on wrong. The cake pan slipped out of his hands.

Grip Side
Slip Side

I looked at the mess. My only reaction was to laugh at the cake fiasco. I laughed so hard I cried.

Later that evening, we enjoyed a plate of crumby cake hidden beneath ice cream and fruit.

Clearly, from the events of the day, my husband conveniently forgot everything he was able to do in the kitchen before we were married. A smart move on his part.

Do you have a taste for cake? Check out these yummy books.

Every Cake Has A Story written by Christina Tosi and illustrated by Emily Balsley, Dial Books, 2021

Eat the Cake written by M.H. Clark and illustrated by Jana Glatt, Compendium Publishing & Communications, 2020.

Please note: Next week’s blog will be posted on Friday, January 28 to celebrate Multicultural Children’s Book Day.

Snowflakes

Posted January 13, 2022 by Cathy Stefanec Ogren
Categories: Nature

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I sit here with a blank page in front of me, trying to decide what inspiring words to write today. I’m distracted by the frost on my windowpane.

I stare at the tiny crystals and their intricate designs. I am awed!

Seeing their beautiful structures, I’m reminded of a book from years ago, Snowflake Bentley. This picture book was a Caldecott Medalist in 1999. Wilson A. Bentley was the man who developed a way to photograph microscopic pictures of individual snowflakes. He discovered snowflakes are made up of ice crystals, and each snowflake has six sides. No two snowflakes are alike. The story and the information the book contains are fascinating. If you’ve never read Snowflake Bentley or haven’t read it in a while, now is a good time to sit back and enjoy this book.

Snowflake Bentley was written by the talented Jacqueline Briggs Martin and illustrated with beautiful woodcuts created by Mary Azarian, published by Houghton Mifflin Company, 1998.

Winter is my second favorite season. It’s all because of how snow dresses up the landscape of a sometimes dreary winter.

Below is an action play, written by me, that was purchased by “Highlights for Children” some years ago.

Snowflakes

Lacy little snowflakes

Flutter through the air.

(Move fingers through the air.)

Jump up and catch them.

They’re falling everywhere.

(Jump up and catch imaginary snowflakes.)

Whoosh blows the North Wind

and swirls them all around.

(Twirl in circles.)

What a merry mix-up

when they reach the ground.

(Gently fall down.)

My page is no longer blank thanks to the beauty right before my eyes. Nature is incredible! Wherever you live, take time to enjoy the beauty of the world around you.


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