Archive for September, 2012

September 24, 2012

A free book for your scientific (or unscientific) girl

 

Getting girls into science is a big deal. I wrote an article about this in ParentMap after a great study was published by the AAUW (American Association of University Women). One of the biggest factors they talked about was having role models for girls in science–that girls didn’t see themselves in the typical movie scientist (think old guy with white hair). So maybe reading Ivy and Bean is all they need! If you think so, and want a chance for your own daughter or student, just comment below!

Here are last week’s winners:

Ivy and Bean book: HeyLookAWriterFellow

Ivy and Bean mini notes: Jasmine, Carol, Tania

Title: Ivy and Bean What’s the Big Idea?
Author: Annie Barrows
Illustrator: Sophie Blackall
Genre: Fiction
Age: Early Elementary

And if you want to win this next book, What’s the Big Idea, Just comment below! Runners-up get a set of cool mini-notes.

September 19, 2012

Ivy and Bean Dance for Free

 

Title: Ivy and bean Doomed to Dance
Author: Annie Barrows
Illustrator: Sophie Blackall

I love this one. Who doesn’t have memories of dance class? My memories of my friend and I starting tap dance in 8th grade. For some reason, maybe partly because it was an older age for kids to start, or maybe it’s just the class we found, we took a class with women 50 and above. Some way above. It was absolutely awesome. I totally fit in. I think I’ve always been about 75 at heart…I guess that’s the opposite of being young at heart, but in a good way, I think. My 4yo, the Wizard of Why, is similar. 🙂

Someone told me recently (while I was wearing a top from Talbots) that I couldn’t wear Talbots yet, I had to save that for when I was older. I replied that I had to start on Talbots now because I needed to have time for my LL Bean days. 🙂 But in reality, I’m already wearing LL Bean. In fact, I have one of their sweaters on right now, and one of the things I’m most excited about my move from Nashville to Michigan is that I can put aside the trendy sundresses for some way more practical winter coats. My mom’s LL Bean boots are already in my front closet, just waiting. But back to dance, I am hoping in my new town to find an adult tap class to start again. And this time, I won’t be out of place.

Want to win a great book about a dance class? Just comment below. Tell me about a dance class experience, or if you, too, are an old soul or maybe you are young at heart. Or just leave your name. Good luck!

And here, of course, are WEEK 5’s winners:

THE BOOK: Heidi Grange
The mini-notes: Jennifer Rumberger, Mary Comfort Stevens, and Carol L

Thanks for playing everyone! Come back every week for more books to win! And don’t forget to comment below to enter this week!

 

 

September 13, 2012

Is your child’s sippy cup half full or half empty?

I have a great interview today with Jeff Mack, the author/illustrator of Good News Bad News. He has some awesome advice for parents about how to use his book to help kids learn how to find the positive in a negative situation and how to see that the pros and cons are all interconnected. Plus, a fun story about a creative way in which a mother and daughter bonded through the love of a book.

It’s not just about the reading! Find out ways you can connect with your kids through these great books, and let me know in the comments if anything has worked well for you lately!

From Indiebound.org: “Good news, Rabbit and Mouse are going on a picnic. Bad news, it is starting to rain. Good news, Rabbit has an umbrella. Bad news, the stormy winds blow the umbrella (and Mouse!) into a tree.

Title: Good News Bad News
Author: Jeff Mack
Genre: Picture Book
Ages: Infant, Toddler, Preschooler

Q and A with the author:

Were you more of a good news kid or a bad news kid or both?

I was a lot of both. I was an intense kid who would work for hours on a project without a break. My mom used to bring home cardboard boxes from the grocery store, and I would try to turn them into pinball machines with working flippers and rubber band bumpers.  I wouldn’t quit until I got them to work. When I did, everything seemed like good news to me. But if I got stuck and couldn’t figure out a certain mechanism, it felt like really bad news. My frustration spurred me to turn that bad news into good news. I suppose I’m still a little like this when I’m writing and illustrating books today.

Any advice for parents of a bad news kid?

I think kids often copy what they see and hear from their parents. If you want them to recognize the positive side of things, consciously model positive attitudes and notice if they start adapting that point of view. Also, take the time to learn more about their pessimistic perspectives rather than discouraging them from showing negative emotions. There are many valid ways to view the world, and some negative feelings have the power to inspire positive changes. That’s what happens at the end of Good News Bad News when Rabbit and Mouse swap attitudes and become better friends as a result of their newly-found empathy.

In your school trips or other interactions with kids, have you met children who relate to some of your main characters or have otherwise gained insight from your books (even if they don’t see it quite like that)?

At school visits, I often find I gain as many insights about being a kid as the kids gain about being an author. However, I just received an email from a mom who enjoyed reading my Hippo and Rabbit books with her daughter. They both connected with the comical way the characters deal with slightly scary situations like spiders and swings. (Rabbit tends to be overly bold for his modest size while Hippo is a bit timid for his extra-largeness. She told me they invented voices for the characters and got into the habit of seeing things from their quirky perspectives. Since then, they’ve been talking like Hippo and Rabbit in all kinds of random places like the grocery store or the swimming pool. As the author, it feels great to hear that my ideas have caught on as a game that these two readers can share and use to become closer as a family. I think Good News Bad news has the potential to produce even more positive effects like this!

Any conversation ideas that parents can have with their kids after reading the books to help them see how to make good news out of bad news without lecturing them?

Kids learn better when they’re having fun. So turn the conversation into a game. When something positive happens, trace its cause back to something that seemed like bad news at the time. For example “Good news! You discovered a new favorite ice cream flavor! But that’s only because of some earlier bad news: they were sold out of your formerly favorite flavor.” Then trace that bad news to the good news that preceded it: “We’re going to get ice cream!” Seeing good news and bad news as part of an on-going chain of events is surprisingly catchy. Plus, it may offer a little distance from the emotional impact of the bad news. Later, when something disappointing happens, kids may have an easier time seeing that the bad news may literally be setting the stage for something positive in the future.

September 10, 2012

Want to win a book? Or maybe you already did!

Yes, it’s week 5 already of our Ivy and Bean giveaway countdown! You can tell I’m surprised by that because I haven’t even announced the week 3 winners. 🙂 So here are the winners of the last two weeks. And if you want to enter to win Ivy and Bean Book 5, please leave a comment (with a way to get in touch with you if you win) below!

Week Three Winners

Ivy and Bean Book 3: Melissa Spradlin

Mini-notes: Heidi G, Vanessa, and Yolanda

Week Four Winners

Ivy and Bean Book 4: Erin Gutierrez

Mini notes: Tammy Shelnut, Jamilee Xiong, and Alson Burke

Happy reading to the book winners and happy writing to the mini note winners! Let the Ivy and Bean celebrations continue!

Title: Ivy and Bean Bound to be Bad
Author: Annie Barrows
Illustrator: Sophie Blackall
Genre: Realistic Fiction, School, Chapter Book
Age: Early Elementary School

The Ivy and Bean website says this about book 5: Ivy and Bean decide to be so good and kind and pure of thought that wild animals will befriend them. When this doesn’t work, they decide that perhaps a little badness can be good.

Maybe when you are done reading it, you can convince your own offspring to try being good and kind and pure of thought. It’s certainly worth a try!

If you’d like to see other blogs participating in the Ivy and Bean countdown, check these out:

Media Darlings  http://www.mdarlings.com/
There’s A Book  http://www.theresabook.com
Kid Lit Frenzy  www.kidlitfrenzy.com
In the Pages  http://inthepages.blogspot.com
The O.W.L.  http://owlforya.blogspot.com
Coquette Maman  http://www.coquettemaman.com
Ruth Ayres Writes  http://ruthayreswrites.blogspot.com
Watch. Connect. Read. http://www.MrSchuReads.com
One Page to the Next  www.onepagetothenext.blogspot.com
Van Meter Library Voice  http://vanmeterlibraryvoice.blogspot.com/
The Family That Reads Together  http://thefamilythatreadstogether.com
Roundtable Reviews for Kids  http://roundtableforkids.blogspot.com/
sharpread  www.mrcolbysharp.com
The Children’s Book Review  www.thechildrensbookreview.com

Comment below to enter to win Book 5!

September 4, 2012

Your chance at two mischievous plotters

Ivy and Bean want to show that Bean’s sister is the WORST babysitter ever. Will they? Let me know your prediction in the comments below for a chance at a free copy of this book! REMEMBER TO INCLUDE an email address, or to check back and see if you won! I cannot give you anything if I cannot find you!

TitleIvy and Bean Take Care of the Babysitter
Author
: Annie Barrows
Illustrator: Sophie Blackall
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Early Chapter Book
Age: Early Elementary

And remember to check out these other cool blogs who are giving away Ivy and Bean books, too! Free free to enter there as well!

Media Darlings  http://www.mdarlings.com/
There’s A Book  http://www.theresabook.com
Kid Lit Frenzy  www.kidlitfrenzy.com
In the Pages  http://inthepages.blogspot.com
The O.W.L.  http://owlforya.blogspot.com
Coquette Maman  http://www.coquettemaman.com
Ruth Ayres Writes  http://ruthayreswrites.blogspot.com
Watch. Connect. Read. http://www.MrSchuReads.com
One Page to the Next  www.onepagetothenext.blogspot.com
Van Meter Library Voice  http://vanmeterlibraryvoice.blogspot.com/
The Family That Reads Together  http://thefamilythatreadstogether.com
Roundtable Reviews for Kids  http://roundtableforkids.blogspot.com/
sharpread  www.mrcolbysharp.com
The Children’s Book Review  www.thechildrensbookreview.com

Comment below WITH SOME WAY TO CONTACT YOU to win!

September 3, 2012

I write in a garbage dump…

…and other information for GUTGAA’s (Gearing Up To Get An Agent) meet and greet. Here are my answers in case you are hopping over from Deana Barnhart’s blog! And if you are not, here are a few things about my writing I’m sharing with some other unagented (pre-published) writers. 🙂
Where do you write?
Usually (like now) I write at my desk, a huge, heavy wooden ones that movers hate and I love. My mom bought it for me when I was a lot younger than I am now. I did all my high school homework at this desk while listening to the Mariners lose games in the bottom of the ninth. Or sometimes earlier than that. I had a phone on my desk that I sometimes used to talk to this cute boy at school, the one who took the kids to the pool today so that I could get some time to read my book before submitting it to be read for the Highlights Foundation workshop this fall. (Eek!)
Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see?
This is not pretty. A messy pile of books, an upturned trash can, a closet stuffed with empty three-ring binders and an ergonomic keyboard I should be using right now. In my defense, we moved into this house three weeks ago and mom’s study is last on the list of rooms to be conquered. I’m trying to convince my husband that a great present for the person who unpacked every other room in the house would be having a professional organizer come and unpack my study. So far, it isn’t working. If you have a good argument for me, please include in the comments below.
Favorite time to write?
The mornings, but it’s usually at naptime or bedtime.
Drink of choice while writing?
Iced tea. I wish it was something cooler, like Jack Daniels.
When writing , do you listen to music or do you need complete silence?
Both. I think silence is better, but sometimes I just need the music to keep my brain from running away.
What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it?
The inspiration at first came from my grandfather, through his introducing me to the Civil War through the letters of my great-great-great grandfather. Those letters have been an important part of my life and they inspired me to write this book. But the overarching theme in the book came from reading Night by Elie Wiesel and Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi. Both have important things to say about remembering our past, but Primo Levi says something that struck me powerfully: we cannot FULLY remember. If we REALLY remembered, we could never go on. Certainly that is true for a Holocaust survival. Is it true for all of us? That there is some delicate balance between remembering and not remembering that allows us to go on but hopefully prevents us from repeating the atrocities of our history? On an abstract level, my book tries to deal with that question, not only for society as a whole, as the present gets obliterated when people forget the past, but also for the characters on a personal level, as they struggle with the usual middle school issues and learn to embrace themselves and their pasts in their own ways.
What’s your most valuable writing tip?
Delete. Delete. Delete.