Posted tagged ‘Picture Books’

My Favorite September Picture Book Choices

October 7, 2021

Below are some of the books I read during the month of September that piqued my interest.

Beatrice Was a Tree written and illustrated by Joyce Hesselberth, Greenwillow Books, 2021

Not wanting to go to bed, Beatrice stays outside. She imagines herself to be a tree that changes during the four seasons. She stretches her branches, feels the warmth of the sun, provides homes for animals, sheds her leaves, and, after a snowy winter, she blossoms once again. The magic of imagination is broken when Mom calls, “Beatrice, Bed! Now!” This book is filled with whimsical illustrations and lyrical text that will delight readers who appreciate nature. 

Mel Fell written and illustrated by Corey R. Tabor, Balzer + Bray, 2021

I love this book because of its unique format. It’s not your usual book as you follow Mel who wants to learn to fly. But before she flies…”Mel fell.” Readers follow Mel as she falls down, down, down past the critters in the tree who try to help her. Mel and the book take a turn (literally) as she plunges into the water. Make sure you follow the directions on how to turn the book to find out if Mel ever learns to fly. This book is sure to entertain readers!

Are You a Cheeseburger? written and illustrated by Monica Arnaldo, Katherine Tegen Books, 2021

Grub, a raccoon, and Seed, a seed, meet in a garbage can. Grub is convinced if Seed grows, cheeseburgers will blossom. Grub plants Seed and the two spend every night talking to each other and describing what is going on above ground and below ground. When Seed finally sprouts, they celebrate. Grub makes sure to water Seed every day as he longs for the promise of delicious cheeseburgers that will soon appear. But when Seed blossoms as a flower – not a cheeseburger plant – Grub is quiet. What is he thinking? You’ll have to read the book to find out. I love the uniqueness of this delicious book and the unusual friendship that evolves.

Mucky Truck written by Ammi-Joan Paquette and illustrated by Elisa Ferro, Henry Holt and Co., 2021

Kids will love this rollicking story about a little truck, a crane, a digger, and a forklift that get stuck in the muck until the firetruck comes to get them out. Onomatopoeia and rhymes will keep kids engaged along with an unexpected messy ending.

The Rice in the Pot Goes Round and Round written by Wendy Wan-Long Shang and illustrated by Lorian Tu, Orchard Books, 2021

This is a delightful story of a Chinese family coming together to prepare for their evening dinner. Readers will have fun joining in with the rhythmic text that goes along with the familiar song, “The Wheels on the Bus.” 

The Longest Storm written and illustrated by Dan Yaccarino, mineditionUS, 2021

Stuck in their house with no place to go, a single father and his children slowly learn how to reconnect with one another to become a supportive family unit once again. A definite must-read!

Norman Didn’t Do it! written and illustrated by Ryan T. Higgins, Disney-Hyperion, 2021

A humorous picture book about learning to share your best friend with others and accepting new friends.

Bright Star written and illustrated by Yuyi Morales, Neal Porter Books, 2021

A beautifully illustrated book about love, honor, and respect.

If any of these books are of interest to you and your family, make sure to check them out and enjoy!

A Perfect Pick!

September 23, 2021

On Tuesday, my husband and I picked a peck of apple-icious apples!

Pick a Peck

Each picked apple conjured up tasty treats – apple sauce, apple crunch, apple pie, apple cake, apple donuts, apple cider, apple butter…

It was a beautiful day at Sunnycrest Apple Farm and Farmer’s Market.

Apples, and Mums, and Pumpkins, – Oh, my!

There was no need to mask up. We had wide-open spaces to roam up and down rows of apple trees.

Walkin’ Down the Apple Highway

There were no crowds, but the branches were jam-packed with apples.

Apples Galore

After picking our pick of apples, we splurged and bought ourselves a special treat.

Yum!

It was a great day to be out in the fresh air and sunshine. Now it’s time to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

Apple anyone?

Remember. An apple a day keeps the doctor away!

Pick one of these apple books.

How to Grow an Apple written by Beth Charles and illustrated by Katie Rewse, Albert Whitman & Company, 2020

Let’s Go Apple Picking written by Lori Haskins Houran and illustrated by Nila Aye, Golden Books, 2020.

Applesauce Day written by Lisa J. Amstutz and illustrated by Talitha Shipman, Albert Whitman & Company, 2017

Apple Picking Day! written by Candice Ransom and illustrated by Erika Meza, Random House Books for Young Readers, 2016

An Interview with Author Janie Reinart and a Giveaway!

July 8, 2021

Janie Reinart

Meet Janie Reinart. Whether she’s writing, teaching, puppeteering, performing interactive musical stories, clowning around, or presiding as a poet-in-residence at an elementary school, Janie’s enthusiasm is infectious. Today I have the honor of interviewing this multi-talented author as she talks about her newest book When Water Makes Mud: A Story of Refugee Children. Readers can see my book review here.

Welcome, Janie Reinart, and congratulations on your beautiful book. Tell us more about the background of the story and why you wrote it.

Cathy, thank you so much for taking the time for this interview. It is my pleasure to celebrate the South Sudanese children in the story.

My inspiration and resource for WHEN WATER MAKES MUD: A STORY OF REFUGEE CHILDREN is the National Geographic photographer, Nora Lorek, who took four trips to the Bidibidi Settlement and documented her travels in photos. Nora has graciously answered my questions for the story.

I was inspired by the refugee children at the Bidibidi Settlement; children who invented toys from found objects using their imagination and critical thinking skills. One of my favorite quotes from Albert Einstein is “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” These children without toys created something from nothing. These children have hope. Their hope becomes our hope.

Your story has a lovely lyrical feel. Can you discuss some of the writing techniques you used to create such a heartfelt story? Did you use mentor texts?

When I started working on the manuscript, I knew I wanted a playful structure to match the heart of my story—children creating, playing, cherished sibling relationships, kindness, and caring. I had fun figuring out the smallest to the largest ways to show mirth—from a grin to a laugh.

Poetry does the heavy lifting of capturing emotions. I enjoyed using animals the children see every day as similes. The repetition in the story helps the read-aloud to be interactive. A picture book that stuck with me and became my mentor text was Miranda Paul’s, Water Is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle illustrated by Janson Chin.

What do you hope readers will take away from this story?

Social and emotional learning through stories helps us feel empathy, make caring decisions, and find out we are more alike than different. I would like to see today’s tech-savvy children disconnect from screens and spend more time using their imaginations and creating. I’m hoping When Water Makes Mud will also inspire people to donate to UNICEF. Publisher’s profits from When Water Makes Mud are being donated to UNICEF.

It’s very impressive of the publisher to make those donations.

Marketing a book can be challenging. What are some of the things you’ve done to promote your book?

It takes a village to market a book. I would like to thank my debut groups @thekidlitcrew and @readingfunin21, and my critique partners Charlotte Dixon, Pamela Courtney, Kathy Halsey, Melissa Rutigliano, Marietta Apollpnio, and Monique Morales Wakefield.

The wonderful thing about the kid lit community is their generosity in sharing news about books on social media and interviews on blogs. I’ve found all you have to do is ask. Thank you again, Cathy, for this interview.

It’s my pleasure, Janie.

Do you do school or virtual visits? Describe what one of your visits would be like.

In previous years, I did live school visits. This past year, I had the opportunity to take the fabulous Kate Messner’s classes on virtual visits. What fun to be able to Zoom all over the place and interact with kids. One of my virtual visits includes jokes, a sing-along with hand motions, creating a group poem, choral reading, interactive reading of the picture book story, five ways to adapt a fairytale, discussion on why we write, and Q & A. I also provide free downloads for activities to go with the story.

Your program sounds amazing. Can you share something not many people know about you?

I obviously do like to play! I coordinated and performed in a gentle clown ministry when we lived in Cincinnati, Ohio. We visited St. Elizabeth’s Hospital adding silliness and play to a child patient’s routine, as well as being comic relief for parents, nurses, and doctors. My troupe was all mimes—no talking when you were in full costume. Laughter is the best medicine!

Janie and her daughters clowning around

What’s next for you, Janie?

I am researching a story that has to do with my childhood. I have several stories out on submission and have others waiting to be revised again. I love the writer’s life and making the writer/reader connection—heart to heart.

Thank you, Janie. I’m so pleased to have you as a friend and as a guest on my blog!

Learn more about Janie Reinart below.

www.janiereinart.com

Twitter

Instagram

Pinterest

Book Trailer

The Giveaway!

Janie has generously agreed to give away a copy of When Water Makes Mud.

For a chance to win, please leave a comment below. For extra chances to win, like this post and post this giveaway on social media. Make sure you state where you posted it in your comment. Please note:  You must be a resident of the U.S. and at least 18 years of age to enter. The giveaway ends on Wednesday, 7/14/21 at 11:59 pm EST. The winner will be randomly picked and announced on my 7/15/21 blog post. Good luck to all!

An Extra:

A reading of When Water Makes Mud on #StoryTimeWithMrLimata

Thursday, July 8: WHEN WATER MAKES MUD by JANIE REINART, illustrated by MORGAN TAYLOR. Published by BLUE WHALE PRESS

Story Time is 11:00 am PT on Facebook and YouTube Live! Find where to get the book in Mr. Limata’s bio or at https://bit.ly/MrLimata-Find-The-Books

How About a Hug?

January 21, 2021

It’s National Hugging Day!

A hug lifts you up. It gives you a sense of comfort and security. A good hug is like good medicine. Studies have shown that a twenty-second hug relieves stress. Sometimes, a hug is all you need.

Do a good deed. Reach out and hug someone today. If not physically, do it virtually. Make a difference in someone’s life!

“A hug is the perfect gift; one size fits all, and nobody minds if you exchange it.~Unknown

   

Share these sweet books with someone you love!

Bird Hugs written and illustrated by Ged Adamson, Two Lions, 2020. See my review here.

Hedgehog Needs a Hug written and illustrated by Jen Betton, G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 2018. See my review here.

National No Socks Day!

May 7, 2020

Did you know that May 8th is National No Socks Day?

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It’s great that we have socks, but they can be a real pain. They end up with holes. They get lost in washers. They pair up with a mismatch. They get lost in dryers. They are smelly. They like to hide in sheets. They cling to shirts. And there’s always that sock that is permanently missing from the sock drawer.

So, get ready to toss those socks away tomorrow. Give your little piggies room to wiggle and breathe the fresh air!

When you’re finished getting your socks in order, here are some sock books to share with your little ones.

red sock

One Red Sock 

pig and fox

A Pig, A Fox, And Stinky Socks

LIttle sock

Little Sock

goldy

Goldy the Puppy and the Missing Socks 

And don’t forget…

fox

Fox in Socks

 

 

A Tribute to Tomie dePaola

April 2, 2020

On Monday of this week, Tomie dePaola, winner of numerous awards and accolades, passed away. He had an enormous talent for writing and using his artistic skills for illustrating books that have entertained young and old readers over the years. Most of all, Tomie was a kind and generous man who put you at ease the moment you met him. He was a treasure!

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In October of 2018, I had the opportunity to interview Tomie at his home in New London, New Hampshire for the Catholic Library Association Conference. To say the least, I was extremely nervous. When my husband and I walked through the door of Tomie’s studio, we were welcomed by Tomie and his assistant, Bob Hechtel. My nervousness melted away. After a short video rehearsal with the Catholic Library Association, we took a tour of Tomie’s studio, and then he invited us into his home for a tour. (See the tour here.) Afterward, Tomie and Bob extended an invitation to join them for a delightful lunch. A week later, my husband and I were back in New London for the scheduled interview. On the evening before, we joined Tomie and Bob for a delicious dinner with laughter and conversation. Life doesn’t get any better than that!

There was a special aura surrounding Tomie. He made you feel like you were his best friend. He was charming, a good listener, and told stories that made you burst into laughter. To know him was to love him!

Some of my treasures from my visit with Tomie.

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An advance copy of QuietA New York Times bestselling picture book.

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One of my favorite books.

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Tomie’s Christmas card that year.

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With Tomie’s passing, the world has lost a bit of its twinkle. Luckily, we still have the gift of Tomie’s books and art for which I am forever grateful!

 

 

 

African American History Month

February 13, 2020

This month we celebrate the tenacity and accomplishments of African Americans who made a difference in the history of America. Below are some picture book biographies that readers might enjoy.

marcher

The Youngest Marcher:  The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activistwritten by Cynthia Levinson and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton, Antheneum Books for Young Readers, 2017.

Katherine

Counting on Katherine:  How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13written by Helaine Becker and illustrated by Tiemdow Phumiruk, Henry Holt and Co., 2018.

Mae

Mae Among the Stars written by Roda Ahmed and illustrated by Stasia Burrington, HarperCollins, 2018.

miles

Birth of the Cool:  How Jazz Great Miles Davis Found His Soundwritten by Kathleen Cornell Berman and illustrated by Keith Henry Brown, Page Street Kids, 2019.

carter

Carter Reads the Newspaperwritten by Deborah Hopkinson and illustrated by Don Tate, Peachtree Publishing Company, 2019.

maya

Rise!  From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelouwritten by Bethany Hegedus and illustrated by Tonya Engel, Lee & Low Books, 2019.

kwame

The Undefeatedwritten by Kwame Alexander and illustrated by Kadir Nelson, Versify, 2019.

dream

Dream Builder:  The Story of Architect Philip Freelonwritten by Kelly Starling Lyons and illustrated by Laura Freeman, Lew & Low Books, January 2020.

george

The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver, written by Gene Barretta and illustrated by Frank Morrison, Katherine Tegen Books, January 2020.

Watch for this picture book biography coming soon!

box

Box:  Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedomwritten by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Michele Wood, Candlewick, April 14, 2020.

 

Music to My Ears

October 24, 2019

I love a piano,
love a piano
I love to hear somebody play
Upon a piano, a grand piano
It simply carries me away

~From Irving Berlin’s “I Love a Piano”

I’ve always loved music – especially piano music. The downside of my love of music is I can’t carry a tune, and I never learned to play the piano well. The upside is our daughter has a talent for playing the piano.

This past Monday, our beloved piano that had a special place in our home for twenty-seven years moved out of our house and into our daughter’s new home.

Old Home

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The downside of giving the piano to our daughter is a big empty space in our great room. The upside is the piano will once again have loving hands that will make it sing.

New Home

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I’m eagerly looking forward to seeing our granddaughters follow their mother’s musical talent and learn to create sounds that will be music to my ears.

This book will put a song in your heart and be music to your ears when you read it.

bear and piano

The Bear and the Piano written and illustrated by David Litchfield is a captivating story of a bear cub who finds a piano. Over the years, he learns how to play the piano and charms his woodland friends with his music. One day a man and his daughter hear the bear playing and invite him to come to the big city. The bear had always dreamed of learning more about music and “to play bigger and better than before.” He finds leaving behind his forest friends is difficult, but the city calls to him. The bear becomes a famous pianist, winning awards and playing for crowds who give him standing ovations. But one day he realizes with all that he has accomplished, there is something missing. David Litchfield has written and beautifully illustrated this touching tale of fame and lasting friendship. It’s a must-read book.

Beginning Lines that Hook a Reader

October 3, 2019

When it comes to writing, first lines in a book are important. You only have so long to hook a reader before they may decide to choose another book.

Here are some books that hooked me with their first lines.

hey water

Hey, Water! written and illustrated by Antoinette Portis

First lines:

Hey, water! I know you!

You’re all around.

This playful and informative book gives readers a look at the importance of water.

marshmallows

Most Marshmallows written and illustrated by Rowboat Watkins

First lines:

Most marshmallows don’t grow on trees

or come from storks

or even Mars.

This tasty book is a clever take on life according to marshmallows and how to be true to yourself.

crumugeon

The Unbudgeable Curmudgeon by Matthew Burgess and illustrated by Fiona Woodcock

First lines:

How do you budge

an unbudgeable curmudgeon

who really refuses to budge?

So how do you deal with someone who is a bad mood? You try all sorts of things in this rhythmic tale that takes readers on a bad mood-good-mood journey with a slight twist at the end.

star eater

Nova The Star Eater written by Lindsay Leslie and illustrated by John Taesoo Kim

First Lines:

Nova can’t stop eating. A munch here. A gobble there. A crunch, crunch, crunch.

If you love space, you’ll love reading about Nova’s humongous appetite for stars. But when Nova gulps down the sun, panic ensues.

Check out these books and see if you agree with me.

 

 

 

 

 

Catching the Eye of an Editor

May 23, 2019

I’m sure many of us wish we could write the perfect picture book that would immediately catch the eye of an editor.

 

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It’s not an easy task, but here are some tips to keep in mind while you’re writing your masterpiece.

First of all, your book should be marketable. Research your competition. Has your book done before? How is your book different from the others? Do you have a unique angle?

More tips to consider as you’re writing and revising. Does your manuscript have:

A strong voice

A compelling plot

Conflict

A unique theme

An interesting structure

Sentences that flow seamlessly

Visual potential

 

Other writing elements to consider:

Pacing

Page turns

Rhythm

Repetition

Rule of Three

Wordplay

 

Of course, there’s much more to consider when attempting to write the perfect picture book. Keep on your toes.

feet

Read, read, read everything in your genre. Hone your craft. Join critique groups. Revise, revise, revise and keep on writing. Never give up. When you least expect it, one of those picture books you’ve been working on, for what might seem forever, may catch the eye of an editor. And that just might happen because you finally discovered how to create magic!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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