Sunday, October 25, 2015


So excited to have just signed up for my third year of Picture Book Idea Month,
check it out at Tara Lazar's website.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Good writers are those that keep language efficient.
~Ezra Pound

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Thursday, October 1, 2015

A classic is a book that has never finished what it has to say.
~Italo Calvino

Monday, September 28, 2015

Don't tell me that the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.
~Anton Chekhov

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some are to be chewed and digested.
~Francis Bacon

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Surprising Delivery

There was a special delivery during the 4th grade field trips at the Belding Wildlife Management Area today. A prayng mantis started laying her egg case. What a great treat that the children could see her in action.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

New Resources

I have added a new link to a resource that I found very helpful when working on new ideas. It is the
Children's Picture Book Database at Miami Univ.  What a great way to see what other books are out there on certain topics, or it's fun to see what topics might inspire me when I'm stuck for a new idea.

I have also started following a new blog Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. It's fun and full of great information.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Red backed salamander

I found this red-backed salamander under a log in the garden...yes, a dead tree can be a good thing. It provided a habitat for this cool little creature.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Perhaps no place in any community is so totally democratic as the town library. The only entrance requirement is interest.
~Lady Bird Johnson

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Butt in Chair

I'm not sure that this is what they mean by "butt in chair" but we all need to recharge now and then.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

My Mighty Milkweed

Possibly the best fragrance a flower can have!! And the food source for monarch butterflies. Milkweed is one of my all-time favorites.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

When you re-read a classic you do not see more in the book than you did before; you see more in you than was there before.
~Clifton Fadiman

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Monday, April 13, 2015

Trends and Previews in KidLit

I just watched a webinar as part of 12x12. It was presented by Susannah Richards, who gave a passionate and highly informative talk. She shared some great links that I thought I'd pass along. They are full of information about some trends in children's literature and a preview from publishers of the Fall 2015 releases.

Fall 2015 Children's Sneak Previews

We Need Diverse Books | Official site of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks Campaign

What’s Trending? Hot Themes in kidlit and what we want to see

Thursday, March 19, 2015

A Busy Month, and Year, Ahead!

I'll be participating in Rhyming Picture Book Month again this year. It was such fun last year, with loads of great rhyme to read from a very supportive group.

I also splurged this year and joined 12x12 founded by Julie Hedlund. The goal is to write a new PB rough draft and revise a manuscript each month for the year of 2015. There are really helpful discussion boards, monthly webinars and more. Nothing like a deadline to keep me motivated!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Slush Pile Pointers

A friend from my critique group passed this on to me. It's a guest post titled You Can Tell a Book by Its Title, and Other Wisdom from the Submission Pile on the Writers' Rumpus written by the President and founder of Ripple Grove Press, Rob Broder. It's full of great points from the editor/publisher's side of the slush pile.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

News on Reviews- Take 2

There are also negative reviews in the journals that librarians receive. One big lesson here is know the market, because editors and librarians certainly will. If one of these summarized comments strikes a bit close to home, time to revise, revise, revise...

~for a more atmospheric portrayal of this situation, try....
~kids will be confused by an incongruous depiction (i.e. well behaved child is suddenly naughty, quiet child is suddenly loud etc)
~this is not an essential purchase
~good art with a lightweight story
~narrators voice sounds too adult
~for libraries that already have...., this would not be a first choice
~for a better told, funnier version, try...

Some of these may seem harsh, but perhaps it's why a manuscript is not making it out of a slush pile. The editors job is to select books that will sell!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

News on Reviews

Reading picture book reviews in periodicals like School Library Journal and Horn Book is a great exercise. Not only can you see what new books are being published, but you can also read about what critiquers and potential purchasers are looking for. Editors must think in these terms as they are considering manuscripts. Can these summaries of rave reviews apply to anything you are currently working on?

~ a fine choice for read alouds
~will have readers conjuring worlds where anything can happen
~an energetic reading experience sure to be a hit
~inspired and instructive silliness
~the message bubbles throughout the story without ever being heavy handed
~exceptional economy of words, striking art and a great choice for all libraries

Reviews in these publications are often factors in purchases made by public and school libraries. With limited budgets, they need to really be discerning.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Eagle Eye

Nothing like the appearance of a bald eagle to bring all work to a screeching halt. Awesome!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Predictable Texts- Part 2

Predictable texts for picture books work in several ways so the reader can anticipate what come next. Different types of predictable stories include:

Songs- like Old MacDonald had a Farm
Cumulative stories- they build on themselves with repetition like The House that Jack Built
Sequences- they include familiar sequences such as counting or the days of the week as in Chicken Soup with Rice by Maurice Sendak
Pattern- a scene is repeated with a minor change as in The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss
Q&A Stories- A question is repeated as in Whose Footprints? by Molly Croxe
Repetition of a Phrase- a phrase is repeated almost like a refrain as in Goodnight, Gorilla by Peggy Rathman
Rhyme or Rhythm Repetitions-  as in Tough Boris by Mem Fox
Circular or Chain Stories- the story "comes full circle" and ends back at the beginning as in If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff

These story structures are fun to explore. Young children, parents and teachers all delight in them too!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Predictable Texts

A "predictable" picture book may sound ho-hum, but it is often just what the child, parent, reading specialist is looking for. Predictable texts are great fore shared reading. The child learns the pattern, repetition, rhythm or rhyme scheme and can "predict" what comes next. It also allows for pretend reading time, an early literacy skill, when the adult isn't helping and soon the child know the story. Think about children that want to hear the same story over and over again. It is becoming predictable. The child is learning.

Predictable books come in many forms and there are great resources for finding them. In my search to find some mentor texts for my picture book writing, I found these sites very helpful:

Monroe County Public Library Children's Booklists

University of Wisconsin- Polk Library

Saturday, January 31, 2015


Metafiction is all the rage. It is defined by Merriam-Webster as fiction on the topic of fictional writing and its conventions In other words, it is often a story about being a story. They are fun to read, I know the adult readers enjoy them as much as children do. Some great ones that come to mind are those by:

Deborah Freeman - Blue Chicken
Mac Barnett- Chloe and the Lion
Herve Tullet- Help! We Need a Title
Richard Byrne- This Book Ate My Dog

There are many more, and they are worth exploring for an often humorous look at picture books-- which is even more entertaining to those of us trying to create them!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The View from the Circ Desk

Things have been a bit quiet in the children's library, with multiple snow days and all. Favorites of late have been princesses, trains and a every possible book on snowmen, snow days, snow monsters, snow kidding!

I'm going to share a personal pet peeve of mine. I don't know who decides on the actual size a picture book will be. I'm sure the author has little to no say in it at all. As someone who selves and re-selves, hunts for books and watches children choose books...the over-sized or tiny sized books are a nuisance. They may look beautiful in a bookstore where there are loads of display shelves. Their covers look lovely for on-line shopping. However, on a crowded shelf with limited height, the over-sized ones are usually rotated so the pages rather than the binding/title show (nothing to attract a young reader to pull it out) The "mini" books often get hidden between taller ones and are overlooked. Just tiny rant from behind the circ desk.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A New Year and New Challenges

Well, I thoroughly enjoyed the PiBoIdMo in November and we are now through all the holidays. There's no more time for excuses, so I have decided to challenge myself by joining The 12x12 Challenge. I hope to take some of the ideas from last November and tweak, embellish and revise so I have a new picture book manuscript each month for 2015. I'm out of my comfort zone with all the technology involved, but so for the instructions have been incredibly user friendly. There is encouragement for the use of social media, another weakness of mine. I'm excited...and if you're not scared, you're not growing, right?

I Can't Wait!!