Friday, February 28, 2014

Interview with Darcy Pattison


I am pleased to bring you an interview with the amazing writer Darcy Pattison! She is author of many picture books and how to books (see list below). She also has a great blog on her webpage which I will have to review in the future. Grab a coffee, relax and enjoy the interview!


------
Author, blogger, writing teacher, and indie publisher, Darcy Pattison (www.darcypattison.com) has books in eight languages. Middle grade novels include, THE WAYFINDER, SAUCY AND BUBBA: A Hansel and Gretel Tale, THE GIRL, THE GYPSY AND THE GARGOYLE, and VAGABONDS. Recent nature books for children include: ABAYOMI, THE BRAZILIAN PUMA: The True Story of an Orphaned Cub (Mims House), WISDOM, THE MIDWAY ALBATROSS (Mims House), a Starred Review in Publisher’s Weekly; DESERT BATHS (Sylvan Dell), an NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book 2013; and, PRAIRIE STORMS (Sylvan Dell). Other ebooks for writers include Start Your NovelHow to Write a Children’s Picture Book, and The Book Trailer Manual. Darcy Pattison is the 2007 recipient of Arkansas Governor’s Arts Awards for her work in Children’s Literature. Download a free ebook, After the First Draft, at her website, darcypattison.com

Dani: What is your favourite part about being a writer?

Darcy: I love when a story comes together. I’ll be writing along and moaning because the story isn’t working, and then, I tweak a couple words and – Wow! – everything falls into place. It happens over and over as I trust the process. It always amazes me when it happens.

Dani: Who is your favourite author(s) and why?

Darcy: So many authors, so little space: I love so many authors. Perhaps, though, I could mention Sandra Boynton, the author-illustrator of toddler books such as Moo, Baa, La, La, La. Somehow, she manages to put together rhymes, humor, and a story that as an adult, I don’t mind reading again and again. The durability of her stories is amazing.

Dani:  What inspired you to write Abayomi, The Brazilian Puma?

Darcy: Kitty Harvill is my friend and illustrator of another picture book, WISDOM, THE MIDWAY ALBATROSS: Surviving the Japanese Tsunami and Other Disasters for Over 60 Years. She lives half the year in Arkansas and half the year in southern Brazil. Through her ties to the Brazilian conservation community, she heard the story of a cub who was orphaned and brought me the information. We wanted to do another animal biography—a story of a specific individual wild animal—and this story seemed perfect.

Dani:  Can you tell me about the kinds of research did you have to do in writing this book?

Darcy: For this book I Skyped the scientists in charge of the orphaned puma and the plans to restore the cub to the wild. Sergio and Marcia were on the spot when the cub was recovered and have an ongoing interest in wild pumas and their survival. Their intimate knowledge of the situation meant I could sift through the scientific data to find the story. I researched puma natural history and how they fit into the environment. Using the amazing technology of Google Earth, I drove along the roads that border the wooded areas and sugar cane fields where the pumas live. I studied photographs of the area and of the pumas. Scientists said that pumas were important because of how they fit into the predator-prey relationship: pumas eat capybaras, which are host to ticks that carry Brazilian tick fever (similar to our Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever). That meant I had to study ticks and capybaras to understand the puma. Part of the conservation effort involved setting up a puma corridor, or a protected set of connected wooded areas through which wild life can travel safely to connect populations of pumas. This was important so that the pumas didn’t become genetically isolated, creating problems from inbreeding. All in all, I did huge amounts of research just for a 32-page picture book.

Dani:  Please tell us a bit about your publisher and how you got involved with Mims House.

Darcy: My book, WISDOM, THE MIDWAY ALBATROSS, is a Mims House book; it received a starred Publisher’s Weekly review and has been distributed in Smithsonian Museum stores. Mims House (MimsHouse.com) is my Indie publishing house, where I publish my fiction and nonfiction for kids, how-to-write books for adults and teacher resource books.

Dani:  I read that you have a Novel Revision Retreat. How does this work and what do writers learn during these?

Darcy: In 1999, I created the Novel Revision retreat. In order to attend, a writer must have a complete draft of a novel and we spend the weekend talking about how to revise that novel. The best known alumni of the class is Kirby Larson, who attended and then revised her manuscript, which sold in ten days flat. It became Hattie Big Sky, which went on to win a Newbery Honor. For more on the retreat, seewww.darcypattison.com/speaking

This year, I’ll be teaching a Novel Revision retreat in the Boston area in August, along with a one day workshop on writing picture books. For more information, see http://annebroyles.com/whats-new.html

Finally, I’ll be at the Highlights Foundation in June to teach PB&J: Picture Books and All That Jazz, along with author/illustrator Leslie Helakoski. For full information, see http://www.highlightsfoundation.org/workshops/picture-books-and-all-that-jazz-2014/

More about Darcy: 

www.darcypattison.com
TheCoreStandards.com
DESERT BATHS: 2013 NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book
WISDOM, THE MIDWAY ALBATROSS: Starred PW Review

Forthcoming:
ABAYOMI, THE BRAZILIAN PUMA: March 2014
THE GIRL, THE GYPSY & THE GARGOYLE: March 2014
VAGABONDS: April 2014
SAUCY AND BUBBA: May 2014
www.mimshouse.com
Fiction Notes blog Voted one of the Top 10 Blogs for Writers
Sign up for my newsletter.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What's Up Wednesday - The Something Edition

For some reason I've spent time on Twitter but not at all on my blog this week. I didn't plan it that way. I've just been sick/busy and haven't been able to get onto the computer! It was midnight when I realized I had completely forgotten to do a blog review. I am happy to say that I do have a great interview for Friday!

What I'm Reading
Julius Caesar Brown and the Green Gas Mystery (by Ace Hansen) but I do like it so far. 

What I'm Writing/Drawing 

I've been working on the same 3 paintings I have for the last couple of weeks. They are coming along, but still not finished by any means. I do have colour on the paper, but still need to push myself to finish. I do have a couple of ideas for future work, but I don't want to get too many things started before I've finished what I've started. 

I'm trying to gear myself up for a major webpage overhaul. This is not a fun thing for me at all. I learned a lot in school but actually working on web design is mentally painful for me. Or maybe it's just thinking about doing actual web design is what's really painful. Ah well, it has to be done. 

Every Day Possible
- Beefing up the portfolio

Wed 02/26

- Post What's Up Wednesday Post - DONE
- Work on artwork - Done

Thursday 02/27

- The trains will keep them quiet, the trains will keep them quiet. 


Friday 02/28

- Portfolio work

Saturday 03/01

- Having fun with the family.

Sunday 03/02


- Sending out more interview questions.

Monday 03/03

- Ponderings on why I stopped drinking cocoa.

Tuesday 03/04

- Blog review - Don't forget this!

- Last toddler dance class this week - sadness ensues

Wednesday 03/05

- What's Up Wednesday! Post

What Inspires Me Right Now

All the great Twitter interactions I've been having lately!

What Else I've Been Up To

Baby Minding 
Night time kicking and screaming - need I say more? 

Ect.
Hopefully getting more exercise and sleep this week! 

*What's up Wednesday is part of Jamie Morrow's summer writing intensive: "Ready. Set. WRITE!" There are other host blogs including: Erin L. FunkAlison MillerKaty Upperman, and Elodie Nowodazkij.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What's Up Wednesday! The Tired Edition

I've had a terrible past few months. I'm exhausted and haven't able to get things done. Went to the doctor and apparently it's just back to back colds. It's not.. I think I'm dying. This might be my last post. (Ha, ha, ha!)

Having been sick has made it next to impossible to do all I need to do. It was a tough decision but I've decided to delay my web comic until July. I need to get my portfolio/website in order and I can't do that and get a web comic going at the same time. I'm not giving up on the dream, but some dreams are more pressing right now!

Also, since I've been sick I don't think that I'll have an interview for Friday. I haven't been able to keep up with sending out interview questions. I'm hoping that I'll start feeling better and be able to be better next week.

What I'm Reading
Just got my copies of Julius Caesar Brown and the Green Gas Mystery (by Ace Hansen), SuperHERo Tales, and Jingle Bells in the mail.  

What I'm Writing/Drawing 

I'm working on a series of paintings and basically going over my whole portfolio again. I would like to do a new portfolio site and am considering getting my own domain name and maybe even paid hosting. I don't want to get stuck with the limitations of a free website, and I don't want to change my website midway through my career. 

Every Day Possible
- Working on my portfolio.

Wed 02/19

- Post What's Up Wednesday Post - DONE

Thursday 02/20

- Insane children in my house. 


Friday 02/21

- Working on my portfolio

Saturday 02/22

- Great big gobs of non-greasy grimy artwork getting made!

Sunday 02/23


- Sending out interview questions.

Monday 02/24

- Discovering the meaning of life.

Tuesday 02/25

- Blog review

- Toddler dance class!

Wednesday 02/26

- What's Up Wednesday! Post

What Inspires Me Right Now

My bed.

What Else I've Been Up To

Baby Minding 
We are learning all kinds of expressive statements right now. 

Ect.
Hopefully getting more exercise and sleep this week! 

*What's up Wednesday is part of Jamie Morrow's summer writing intensive: "Ready. Set. WRITE!" There are other host blogs including: Erin L. FunkAlison MillerKaty Upperman, and Elodie Nowodazkij.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Chris Barton's Bartography

Chris Barton is actually an author I discovered on Twitter recently. I was scouring #kidlitart on Twitter to look for an illustrator's blog to review. I didn't find an illustrator, but I am not disappointed in who I found. Chris is the author of three books: "Can I See Your I.D.?", "Shark Vs. Train" and "The Day-Glo Brothers". He also blogs several times a month on his blog "Bartography". You can read his blog here: http://chrisbarton.info/blog/index.php

The thing that first caught my eye on Chris Barton's blog was his newsletter in this post: http://chrisbarton.info/blog/2014/02/february-edition-of-bartography-express-nikki-loftin-giveaway-more-jo3bot-art.html Often when you sign up to receive updates from a blog you get an RSS feed or something similar. These newsletters are nicely laid out and fun to read. In this newsletter is a mini-interview, an introduction to Joey Spiotto's artwork, several links to topics of interest to people in the book industry and he answers a question about his writing from students in a second-grade class.

Chris's blog contains interviews, excerpts from his books, giveaways and much more. My favorite part of his blog is his "Interview Across a Breakfast Table" series. In these interviews Jennifer Ziegler interviews Chris about his life as an author. In this series he talks about everything from everyday life to specific questions that many writer's ask. This series is a must read for all aspiring authors. 

Chris Barton is definitely an author to follow.  Bartography has a lot of great information for writer's and book enthusiasts alike. I had a lot of fun discovering his blog and I know you will too. Check out his blog and tell me what you think!

Find Chris on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/Bartography 

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chris-Barton-Author-of-Books-for-Young-Readers-of-All-Ages/142809582422113

Monday, February 17, 2014

Before Christmas

Here is another painting I did before Christmas! It's actual size is only 2.5 by 3.5 so it might look a little grainy because it's blown up here. Man, with my paintings poor Santa is never going to get cookies again.




Friday, February 14, 2014

Interview with Bobi Martin

Bobi Martin is a writer and editor of many published books. She has written many feature pieces, celebrity interviews and children's book reviews. She is a librarian of a large elementary school, Teacher at the Institute of Children's Literature, and finishing her degree to earn her TESL/TESOL certification (Teaching English as a Second Language). Bobi loves travelling and has travelled to many destinations across the US along with several countries including Canada, Mexico and Japan. You can visit Bobi's website here: http://www.bobimartin.com/


Dani: How does being a librarian affect your writing?

Bobi: Working with kids on a daily basis is golden! I get to see what nonfiction topics are piquing their interest, and what kinds of stories are most popular. I hear how kids at different ages speak to each other, what kinds of issues concern them, and I see what really hasn't changed since I was young. It's like having research come to me.

Dani: What's it like working for the Institute of Children's Literature? 

Bobi: I've enjoyed teaching for ICL for some 15 years. Seeing how students do (or do not!) follow formatting directions gives me an idea of what slush piles look like and why a properly formatted manuscript stands out right away. It is hugely gratifying to help someone realize their dream of becoming a published author. My youngest student to sell a manuscript was 15 and the oldest was a woman in her 80s who won several awards for her first book.

Dani: Where do you get inspiration for your books? 

Bobi: Ideas are everywhere! When I'm asked for a book our library doesn't have and I can't find it elsewhere, I jot that topic down. Experiences from my childhood, or things my kids experienced are springboards for stories. Things in the news are inspiration too. I often wonder how the person not being talked about feels, or what one thing could have been changed that would have created a totally different outcome.

Dani: Why do you write Non Fiction?

Bobi: I think few people realize that kids really like nonfiction--even in kindergarten and first grade. And kids of all ages love to learn interesting facts their friends and family don't know. I like being able to take a topic and make it understandable to young readers. When I was writing a column on Junior Showmanship for DogWorld Magazine, I tried to make my topics clear enough for someone new to the sport to understand and yet interesting and relevant to experienced juniors as well. 

Dani: You travel a lot. Where is your favourite travel destination?

Bobi: I almost always want to go somewhere new, so my favorite destination is usually the next one on my wishlist. Right now Scotland and New Zealand are at the top of a very long list of places I want to see. But I'd love to get back to the Netherlands because it is a fascinating country.

Dani: What's the neatest thing you've learned in your travels?

Bobi: That no matter how different we seem, we all need the same very basic things: to be treated kindly, to have enough to eat and a safe place to sleep, to be able to make our own choices about what job we'll have, who we'll marry and how to live our lives. The most fun thing I learn is how to say 
"thank you." I can say it in nine languages now.

Dani: If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go and why? 

Bobi: My dream come true would be to take an expedition with National Geographic because their guides and photographers could teach me so much more than I could learn on my own. And then I could share what I learned with my students and by writing about it to get other people interested in traveling. Closer to home, 
 I've been to all but six states 
(
 all on the east coast
)
, so 
I'd love to take a trip that would let me see each of those. 

Dani: I hear you have a new book coming out later this year, could you tell us a little bit about it? 

Bobi:My next book is about muscles. It's part of a series on the human body written to help younger readers have a basic understanding of how their body works.

Dani: Do you have any words of wisdom you'd like to share?

Bobi: Read, listen, question. Read widely in the area you want to write about, and read at least a little in some other areas too because you may discover a new interest. Listen to conversations around you and to what people are saying to you because you will get some of your best ideas this way. Question everything: How does the younger sister of the boy in the news (who just got arrested) feel? Where is that woman rushing off to and why does she look so excited? How will talking cars make us safer and could someone create mayhem by jamming their signals? 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

What's Up Wednesday!

David, my wonderful 3 year old decided to add his own touch to one of my WIP. It was one of three illustrations, and I was out of the paper that I created the other two with, so I decided to start from scratch. It's not all for nothing. One of the illustrations was completed several months ago, and it makes more sense to do them altogether now with my current skill and technique rather than trying to make the later paintings look like the first. 

What I'm Reading
Old issues of the SCBWI bulletin!

What I'm Writing/Drawing 

I'm not working as hard on my web comic as I should. Maybe it's becoming too real? Ha ha! It's just me trying to do everything at once. Fixing up my portfolio while attempting to get my web comic up and running.

Saturday is my regions next illustrator's meeting. I'm happy and for the first time in months I'll have no toddler with me! I may also do a presentation on Twitter Marketing, but not sure yet. I will have something prepared either way!

Every Day Possible
- Working on my Web Comic.

Wed 02/12

- Post What's Up Wednesday Post - DONE

Thursday 02/13

- Toddler play date and some other craziness.


Friday 02/14

- Artwork, artwork, artwork.
- A romantic dinner?
-  Interview Day!

Saturday 02/15

- SCBWI
- More artwork getting done!!!

Sunday 02/16


- Moar interview questions!

Monday 02/17

- Brushing my hair.

Tuesday 02/18

- Blog reviewing!

- Toddler dance class!

Wednesday 02/19

- What's Up Wednesday! Post

What Inspires Me Right Now

Networking with friends.

What Else I've Been Up To

Baby Minding 
He ate 5 drumbsticks tonight at dinner. 5 and he's 3 years old. Gah!

Ect.
I have three books coming in the mail soon!

*What's up Wednesday is part of Jamie Morrow's summer writing intensive: "Ready. Set. WRITE!" There are other host blogs including: Erin L. FunkAlison MillerKaty Upperman, and Elodie Nowodazkij.

Teresa Robeson and Homestead Notes

Teresa Robeson is a fantastic artist and writer. Her blog, Homestead Notes, gives readers a look into her life both in and outside of her professional life. http://homesteadnotes.blogspot.ca/ Whether you are looking for a laugh, a good story or just want a warm fuzzy feeling go to Teresa's. WARNING: DO NOT READ ON AN EMPTY STOMACH! (It's just too yummy!)

Not many blogs have a lot (and in this case I do mean a lot) of writing. Teresa's blog is the opposite of most blogs, because she shares a lot of her writing. I think this is a great thing, because it leads to better stories and poetry in the end. In reading her work it's very evident why several magazine publishers have chosen her work for their magazines!

Teresa writes a lot, but she is also an artist and illustrator at heart. You can see a lot of her work featured on her blog and website: http://www.teresarobeson.com/ I love when she posts her doodle day drawings. Teresa is skilled in many different artistic mediums. Of these she seems to favor Pastel and Charcoal (Two mediums that I struggle with myself). I do hope to see her work in a picture book or cover of a novel soon!

Throughout her blog you will find videos of her talking about books. These are short and to the point, and so worth watching each and every one! I love that you can watch them in about a minute, but they are also so cozy. It's almost having a nice warm cup of cocoa... almost!

Other than her book talk: my most favorite part of Teresa's blogs is all the information about food. I love this, because outside of blogs about art, writing and books I love blogs about food the absolute best!  I am not kidding about the warning above. You will drool when you see the things she makes. She is a woman after my own heart, because she eats desserts (the healthy kind with oatmeal and stuff) for breakfast.

Anyone who visits Teresa's blog will find something they love. She has a timeless and fun personality and I love interacting with her on Facebook and Twitter. I love you guys, but I have to go. I need to bake a cake. Yes, a cake at midnight. How else will it be ready for breakfast?

Follow Teresa on:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TeresaRobeson

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/teresa.robeson

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/inwriter/

Monday, February 10, 2014

It's an... Art Card Painting!

 Around Christmas time I did a lot of Art Cards.  These images were 2.5" x 3.5" and done in watercolour. I've been meaning to share them with you. I just realized that I hadn't shared these (or just about anything else I've done lately) and got right to work posting. This image is (of course) a lot smaller than what you see on your screen. I scanned them in at a high dpi (600) so that I could enlarge them later for prints. This one is one of my favorite of the bunch. I know you've seen it already as a colouring page, but here is the final image as well! The character depicted is Grunt from The Pattern Pals. I will be posting more paintings soon!

What really happens when kids get coal in their stocking.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Interview with Suzy Leopold


Suzy Leopold is a very talented writer, painter and educator. The paintings you see are ones she created herself! Suzy lives in Staunton, Illinois with her husband Perry. She has five boys and is a grandmother to seven grandchildren. Suzy has Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s of Science degree in Reading. She likes cycling, jogging, crafting and gardening. She has a profound passion for learning, and she works towards teaching children the important skills they need become successful not only at school, but in life as well. Suzy doesn't ignore parents in the learning process but empowers" parents and guardians with tips and tools that are needed to support their child’s learning at home and at school, prepares the child for a successful future." With her love of education comes the desire to help children everywhere experience the joy of reading. You can visit Suzy's blog here: http://sleopoldblog.wordpress.com/




1. You say that you aren't a published writer, but you just got an article published in the Macoupin County Enquirer~Democrat. How does it feel to have an article published?

     Excited and encouraged, is how I feel as a published writer.  Excited to have my first published article in a local newspaper, Macoupin County ~ Carlinville Enquirer~Democrat on January 9, 2014.  The title of the article is:  Make a Personal or Family Resolution and Fulfill the Promise.  As part of the Enquirer~Democrat Write Team, I have the opportunity to share five more columns throughout the year.  Encouraged, I feel, to fulfill a dream of becoming a published children’s picture book author as I continue to hone the craft of writing. 



2. Does having a class full of 3, 4 and 5 year-olds help you with your writing, or does it hinder you?

     As an educator of hundreds of students, throughout the years, from preschool through eighth grade, along with college level students,  I find my career  supports my desire to write, along with instilling the love and value of reading with all who pass through my classroom door.

      Read alouds are always shared with students, on a daily basis, in    my classroom.  Reading to children should begin with young babies and toddlers, using board books while vocabulary is developed along with listening and speaking skills.  Preschoolers enjoy picture books with rhyme and rhythm and repetition.  Interactive books, such as lift the flap books, are great choices for the preschool years.  Children that are read to develop literacy skills, increased vocabulary, and acquire many concepts, which prepares a child for success in school as he/she enters prekindergarten and kindergarten.  As a student becomes an independent reader, read alouds should continue throughout a student’s school career.  Introducing students to a wide variety of genres, both fiction and non fiction, promotes the importance and value of reading.  
     
     What an honor to share read alouds with my English Language Learners [ELLs}, from throughout the world: Sweden, Mexico, Cambodia, Columbia, Japan, Germany, Korea, and China,to name a few countries. Sharing read alouds with my ELLs, provides a better understanding for content area subjects, of Math, Science and Social Studies.  The high expectation to master required concepts, can be achieved through the simpler language of picture books, and provide mastery of the required objectives, when picture books are read to my ELLs in prekindergarten to eight grade.

     As I prepare college level students, to become future teachers, I share read alouds with young adult students in our Integrated Language Arts class.  I model, for my adult students, the gift of reading and the benefits of sharing books with their future students. 
     
     My current teaching assignment is in an early childhood classroom at St. Michael’s School.  Such a joyful heart, I have, as I share the love of reading with my three, four and five year olds, on a daily basis.  Everyday the children grow as readers, writes, and creators.   Everyday, as their teacher, Mrs. Sue, grows as a reader, writer and creator.  My preschoolers teach me so much and I am thankful for the many ideas and topics, that the students share with me, that I can write about.


3. What made you want to become a writer?

     The Cat in the Hat, Charlotte’s Web, Good-night Moon, Stuart Little and Winnie the Pooh are all beloved children’s books that my Mom read to me fifty plus years ago.  You may recognize the list of classic book titles, may have listened to, or even read the same books as a kid.  

     I am so thankful that my Mom instilled the value of reading in me.  She modeled for my sister and me the value of learning, as young children.  Visiting the public library and checking out a tall stack of favorite books, and sometimes checking out the same titles numerous times, was a family event that we enjoyed, prior to kindergarten and continued throughout our attendance in elementary school.  Reading picture books to my sister and I was a special time when Mom shared the joy of reading with us.  Reading was part of our daily routine, usually as a bedtime ritual, while cuddling in bed or sitting together in a big, comfy chair.

     So, just like I knew I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up, I also knew I want to be an author of children’s picture books, when I grow up. So, I will continue to follow the dream.





4. I know that you paint as well, do you think that you'll end up doing some illustrations for a future book?

     Being a creative crafter, from sewing, to acrylic and watercolor painting and a wide variety of arts and crafts is also an interest of mine.  What an amazing goal to reach for and to become an author of a children’s picture book, and an illustrator of children’s picture books.

5. What are some of the things you are doing this year to further your writing career?

     To further develop my many interests of reading, writing and creating, can sometimes be a challenge to balance all that life brings my way as I find time to pursue creative opportunities.  For the first time, I participated in PiBoIdMo by Tara Lazar in November 2013 and Shannon Abercrombie’s Start the Year Off Write 2014.  I belong to a picture book critique group and enjoy reading many tips, ideas, and suggestions about becoming an author, from numerous blogs and books.

6. I know you have a passion for literacy, so is there anything you'd like to share about the importance of literacy for young readers?

      Sharing the importance of the love of learning is a passion of mine. The key to learning and growing is in the power of the written word. Knowing how to read, comprehend what is read and the skill of writing are required skills that will equal student success.  
     
     Do you value literacy and the importance of reading everyday?  Do you promote the love of reading everyday?  Parents can help promote their child's literacy and the development of reading comprehension.  Even before a child can exhibit the skill of reading, young children begin to acquire basic concepts about literacy.  The single most important activity for building these understandings and skills, that are essential for reading success, is reading aloud to children.  Board books read to babies from birth develops the infant’s brain that continues to develop during the first year of life. Nursery rhymes read to tiny toddlers, lays the foundation for language development. Picture books read to children during the preschool years, builds success in learning. Reading to and with elementary school age kids, equals expanded vocabulary and builds a foundation for student achievement. 

     Want your child to be a better reader, develop the habit of reading as lifelong learning, and be successful in school?  It is plain and simple; just read.  Reading is magic.  Read, write and create everyday.    

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

What's Up Wednesday! The Short(er) Edition

Things are progressing slowly for me. I was out almost all week with a cold. Couldn't even take my son to his dance class (he was too sick), but he should be great this week. I'm starting to feel better so I hope I can do more this week.

What I'm Reading
Hopefully something more than Tweets, Blogs, Facebook and similar posts. I have some books coming in the mail so that's exciting!

What I'm Writing/Drawing 

I'm hoping to have time tomorrow to at least do some serious sketches for my web comic. I'd also like to do some sketching for a few things that I'm lacking in my portfolio. Maybe it's too much of me listening to other people, but I probably need some human characters in my illustration portfolio so I need to get moving on that. 

Every Day Possible
- The Pattern Pals Web Comic is COMING SOON!

Wed 02/05

- Post What's Up Wednesday Post - DONE

Thursday 02/06

- Working on all the art things.

Friday 02/07

- INSANE CHILDREN PLAYING IN MY HOUSE!

- Post my second interview!

Saturday 02/08

- More artwork getting done?

Sunday 02/09


- Send out another round of interview questions

Monday 02/10

- Finding my sanity

Tuesday 02/11

- Getting my blog review on.

- Toddler dance class!

Wednesday 02/12

- What's Up Wednesday! Post

What Inspires Me Right Now

My family.

What Else I've Been Up To

Baby Minding 
Sick toddler all week long... hopefully the coming week will be better.

Ect.
I have three books coming in the mail soon!

*What's up Wednesday is part of Jamie Morrow's summer writing intensive: "Ready. Set. WRITE!" There are other host blogs including: Erin L. FunkAlison MillerKaty Upperman, and Elodie Nowodazkij.

Amber and The Mile Long Bookshelf

I have not done many book blogs in the past. To make up for that I'm writing about a second book blog this week. This week I'm writing about Amber and her blog "The Mile Long Bookshelf". This review is long overdue because this blogger is fantastic! Check Amber's blog out here: http://www.themilelongbookshelf.com/

Amber reviews YA (Young Adult) and NA (New Adult) fiction. NA fiction is something I hadn't heard about before. Basically these books fall in between the YA books and Adult books.Though Amber likes to stay in the area of YA and NA she has reviewed books for children as young as 9 years old. You don't have to do any guesswork when looking for a new book. Amber has the listing of each books by age group. She's also got an A - Z index if you are looking for a certain title.

Amber's reviews are intelligent, passionate and witty. She will tell you exactly what she thinks about a book despite it's popularity.Amber goes into detail about the merits of a book both good and bad. What you end up getting is a detailed explanation of why you should buy the book, plus a deeper understanding of the book before you buy!

It's not just reviews on The Mile Long Bookshelf. Amber has in depth discussions about many different book related subjects. She also has interviews, giveaways and lots of fun surprises on her blog. One of my favorite posts of hers is her End of 2013 Book Survey.

If you find you love Amber's blog and you want more, then you are in for a treat. Amber posts often on YouTube about the book world. Her YouTube channel is here: https://www.youtube.com/milelongbookshelf These videos are as fun to watch as it is to read her blog. You might even find out some deep dark secrets about Amber herself. (Spoiler: Amber loves reading books - okay bad joke!)

I almost hate to bring it up, but I will anyway. One thing that really impresses me about amber is her age. I graduated from high school the same year she was born (yep, I'm old). She is doing more at her age than I was doing at 25. (Only a little jealousy here.) She is completely professional and wildly talented. Please, check out her blog!

You can also find Amber on:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MileLongBookS
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/themilelongbookshelf
Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/amber-kirk-ford/58/193/351