Friday, November 30, 2012

PPBF: Zoo Poo

We found this Perfect Picture Book Friday at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo:

Zoo Poo
Written and Illustrated by Richard Morgan
Barron's, 2004

Suitable for: Ages 2 and up

Theme/Topic: Poo, Potty Training

Opening: "How do you doo-doo at the zoo?"

Brief Synopsis: Charlie watches the animals poo-in-progress during a visit to the zoo. In the end, he shows how he poos differently.

Link to Resources: The book has a page of tips for parents to talk about potty training. Charlie leaves a note of encouragement at the end of the story explaining his potty experience.

Why I chose the book: This was an impulse purchase as we "exited through the gift shop." Earlier, we watched a hippo swimming with her floating poop. Plus, I have a boy. I may need to familiarize myself with bathroom/poo-type humor. Anyone have a great resource or potty training tip? I may need those myself soon.

To find more Perfect Picture Books, visit Susanna Leonard Hill's Blog.

I hope everyone had a great Picture Book Idea Month. I've spent a lot of time in hiding doing homework and wrapping up final projects for this semester, but have been jotting down ideas. My goal next year should be for one a day. PiBoIdMo always gets the creative juices flowing. Thanks again Tara Lazar!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Writing from the Peak: Pictures Could be Worth a Thousand Fines

Here's my latest post for Pikes Peak Writers:

Writing from the Peak: Pictures Could be Worth a Thousand Fines: By Stacy S. Jensen Do you use photos on your blog? Yes. Do you know what happened to Author Roni Loren? If the answer is no, tak...

Friday, November 23, 2012

PPBF: The New Bear at School

Another library find for Perfect Picture Book Friday:

The New Bear at School
Written by Carrie Weston
Illustrated by Tim Warnes
Scholastic Press, 2007

Suitable for: Ages 4 and up

Theme/Topic: School, New Kid, Bullies, Friendship

Opening: The day that Miss Cluck said there was going to be a new animal in the class, everyone was very excited.

Brief Synopsis: The new kid Boris, a bear, has a difficult time fitting in at his new school. He's different than the other children. His size doesn't help and he scares some of his classmates. When trouble finds the students on their walk home, they discover Boris is just trying to be nice.

Link to Resources: New Kid on the Block lesson. The lesson plans are geared toward older children.  Penny Klostermann shared The Gingerbread Man Loose for PPBF about the first day of school with resources.

Why I chose the book: Tim Warnes illustrations are very lovable. My quick photo doesn't do justice to the expression on Boris' face. It's a sweet book with a powerful message about fitting into new places and with new people. It looks like this book may be called Oh, Boris! in the UK. It also looks like a fifth Boris book will be released in 2013.

To find more Perfect Picture Books, visit Susanna Leonard Hill's Blog.

Friday, November 16, 2012

PPBF: AlphaBetter

Another library find for Perfect Picture Book Friday:

Written by Dan Bar-el
Illustrated by Graham Ross
Orca Book Publishers, 2006

Suitable for: Ages preschool to grade 1

Theme/Topic: Alphabet, Sharing

Opening: Alberto had an alligator, but he didn't have a bathing suit.

Brief Synopsis: In this offbeat alphabet book, children find themselves with the wrong objects for the tasks at hand until they find a way to help each other out.

Link to Resources: Alphabet Letter Worksheets A list of 10 online lesson plans for Learning ABCs. The story provides an opportunity to talk about sharing with others.

Why I chose the book: You know from the title the book is different. When I opened it up, I enjoyed the unique illustrations for each letter's character. An alphabet book with a fun, unexpected ending is always nice. We are reading a lot of ABC and counting books right now. This book provided a nice twist in our reading experience.

To find more Perfect Picture Books, visit Susanna Leonard Hill's Blog.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Special Guest Author Clara Bowman-Jahn

Today, please welcome Clara. She shares her path to publication for Annie's Special Day with a small publisher. You'll have to read to the end to know what kind of dance she did. I wrote about the book here.

My Publishing Story 

By Clara Bowman-Jahn

After I wrote “Annie’s Special Day” I started sending off query letters that my writing group had critiqued to a list of publishers my mentor friend, Bobbi Carducci had given me. There was a list for snail mail and a list for email.  

I started sending off letters to both of them simultaneously. I got many rejections and few agents were polite enough to say anything on the SASE form letter they sent back to me. 

Then I happened to look at my query letter. I saw blatant errors! Typos! Sentence structure! I couldn’t imagine how I had sent such a letter out on such an important errand! How did that happen? I couldn’t imagine how. I was crushed. It’s one of those things you have one chance at.

Then I learned about the Muse online writer’s conference. On the website I saw where authors could pitch their book to a publisher or agent and maybe get a manuscript looked at. However by the time I saw this there were no openings on the publishers who specialized in picture books. Then, the last day, Saturday, two publishers I hadn’t seen before opened up at 10 a.m. with a pitch session. 

One was eTreasurespublishers. There really was no time for me to any research before 10 a.m. So I put in my request and waited till the time for me to go into the pitching session.

Martha, the publisher of eTreasures was very friendly and easy to talk to (or should I say type to) LOL. She laughed with me when I misspelled her name. That kind of broke the ice right then and there. Martha liked that the kids themselves would be able to read the book because I had written it in easy to read text. She asked for the manuscript right away and from the web site under submissions I saw were she would reply in two to three weeks. 

After three weeks I contacted them asking about the status of the book and she said she had filed the contract in her filing cabinet but had not sent out to me. LOL. So I got the contract! Did my Scooby dance, looked it over and sent it back. And that’s the end of my publishing story.

But when you get a small press the story doesn’t end there. You need to have the illustrator, the book cover, the text embedded and the book formatted. That’s all up to you. Fortunately my husband was up to learning all this with the help of a printer friend, Sue Walls. And my story about how I Found my illustrator is famous. I’ll tell you all about it on another post.

Clara Bowman-Jahn worked as a registered nurse for thirty two years finally trading that job for her true love, writing. Clara’s short  stories have been published in the anthology of the “Campaigner’s Challenges 2011” Book.

When Clara is not writing, she does volunteer  work for a local elementary school and her church. She also likes taking long walks with her husband, blogging, and reading books. She is a member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Pennwriters, Bethesda Writer’s Center and Round Hill Writer’s Group. She lives in rural Loudoun County, Virginia with her brilliant husband, a senior dog and  two cats. And she  is the proud mother of two wonderful grown sons and a grandmother to a delightful grandson. 

You can learn more about Clara over at Patricia Tilton's Children's Books Heal. Patricia's author interview appeared on Nov. 12. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

PPBF: Roar of a Snore

I found this Perfect Picture Book at the library: 
Roar of a Snore
Written by Marsha Diane Arnold
Pictures by Pierre Pratt
Dial Books for Young Readers, 2006

Suitable for: Ages 3 and up

Theme/topic: Sleep

Opening: The sky was dark. The stars were bright.
Each Huffle fast asleep that night.

Brief Synopsis: Disturbed by a deafening snore, Jake wakes up the family and animals one by one in search of the noisy culprit.

Link to resources: Activities on the author's website include Building Storytelling Skills. The activity sheet can be downloaded as a PDF or a Word document.

Why I chose the book: I found this at the library and fell in love with the names in the book — Blue, Sue, Papa Ben and Mama Gwyn, Josie Jo and Jennie Lynn — as Jack investigates the noise. Re-reading the book for this post also reminded me of my recent trip to visit family. The whole house rumbled with noises as everyone slept. I know I wasn't snoring, only because I was sitting at the kitchen table doing homework.

To find more Perfect Picture Books, visit Susanna Leonard Hill's Blog.

Friday, November 2, 2012

PPBF: Trucks Whizz! Zoom! Rumble!

Trucks: Whizz! Zoom! Rumble!
Written by Patricia Hubbell
Illustrated by Megan Halsey
Marshall Cavendish Children, 2003

Suitable for: Ages 3 and up

Theme/topic: Trucks, Occupations (associated with trucks), Rhyming

Old trucks,
New trucks,
Going to the zoo trucks.

Brief Synopsis: This is a simple rhyming story about all types of trucks, their noise and occupations.

Link to resources: Kindergarten transportation unit, Crayola lesson on Trucks at Work. We spend a lot of time spotting trucks while in the car or looking at construction vehicles in our neighborhood.

Why I chose the book: I met the illustrator Megan Halsey at the Denver-SCBWI conference. She talked about her personal mixed media collage projects and how those led to work projects. The illustrations are awesome. You also don't have to stop with trucks. Hubbell and Halsey teamed up for several transportation vehicle books. The best reason to choose this book — this is the one that's been "missing in action" for several weeks. I found it in a pile of books after Enzo emptied his bookshelf. He's a helper.

To find more Perfect Picture Books, visit Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.